Dual Boiler Single Wall Filter Basket
After a recent disaster with Breville's post warranty repair service on my BES900XL here in the US, Breville replaced it with a BES920XL, which arrived today. This is a certified remanufactured machine, its looks brand new in every way and has a few features my 900 didn't have. My questions pertains to the "new" single wall 2 cup filter basket. It's a different shape than the one that came with my 900 four years ago. It's straight walled and has a greater volume. The 900's basket has slightly V'd walls where it was more narrow at the bottom than the top. This machine came with the gold colored razor trimming tool to shave excess grounds out of the filter basket.
Just wondering if they changed the wall shape and size of the 2 cup single wall filter basket to allow the razor to produce a preset amount of coffee or is there another reason for the filter basket shape change? Tried Googling for the answer but couldn't come up with anything. The 2 cup dual wall basket is the same as the one that came with my four year old 900 and the single cup baskets are the same as well. They only changed the shape of the 2 cup single wall basket.
As far as I know, the shape change was only to make the coffee puck remain in the basket after extraction. This addressed the issue of the puck sticking to the shower screen with the older shape which many users gave feedback about. To this end, the revised shape is successful. I have both versions and much prefer the older design after using both. I prefer the extraction and dose size of the early design and feel the later design slightly compromised these to address the above issue. The early version requires some practice to perfect the dose. Once you nail that, pucks never stick to the shower screen.
If you're with me up to here, you don't need the razor tool to get the dose right. Using it is like a click tamper. Makes it too easy, takes away part of the espresso making ritual so many of us CSers find rewarding.
The razor tool trims the dose to a height relative to the top of the basket and therefore could be used with any basket used on the dual boiler.
The new vertical walled 2 cup filter basket is a pain in the a$$ to get in and especially out of the porta-filter as compared to the sloped walled one that came with my 900XL as the wire spring scrapes against the entire height of the wall, I have sore finger tips today :-) However, I took my old sloped wall basket, put it in the new porta-filter and weighed it, empty. Zeroed it out, ground my coffee and when I thought I was done filling it up, I weighed it, it came out at 19grams. I then took the razor tool, did its thing and re-weighed it. It came out right at 18 grams. So, I won't be using the new vertical walled filter. Probably won't use the razor much either :-)
This board won't let me post pix, maybe I'm too new, dunno but the new porta-filter has a flat spot between the end of the handle closest to the bowl and the bowl itself, my old one is just round. In looking at this, if I use my old one, that part of the handle comes in slight contact with the underside of the brew group whereas the new one with the flat spot has a bit of clearance. They also changed the leading edge of the tabs that engage within the brew group as you insert and rotate the porta-filter. My old one has more of a slanted leading edge making it a bit easier to engage and rotate.
However, the biggest change I see is that the hole at the bottom of the porta-filter is smaller in the new 920XL than it was in my old 900XL. Any reason why they did that? I had my 900XL process dialed in so I could almost do it in my sleep with results a mother could be proud of. I'm having difficulty with this new one so started trying to figure out why. In order to get 2 ozs of espresso with 18 grams of coffee and the grind set as it was with my 900XL, it takes upwards of 60 seconds using the Flow mode! So far I've not made it past the porta-filter changes. I mean how many espressos can one drink while experimenting?!? I'm sorta wired right now and its not even 10:30am!
I think the relief in the new portafilter and corresponding extended group head is so the 900 filter doesn't get used with the 920 machine. The ramps on the lugs are redesigned on the 920 to address an issue of the portafilter spinning out during extraction some users encountered on the 900. If you use the 900 filter in the 920 this may happen to you and it can be hazardous.
The smaller hole makes not one bit of difference except it's probably less machining to manufacture.
Edit: I use manual mode exclusively. Took quite some time to become consistent but was worth the effort.
Since for some reason this machine doesn't like the process I used for years on my 900XL I've decided to take a different route to shorten the time to tweak it in. I changed the extraction method from Flow to Timed and set it for 30 seconds. Using 18 grams, I measure the amount of extracted espresso using the 2 cup button and look for a few observations during the brewing.. .. 2 ozs of espresso, a nice crema, a steady flow right after pre-infusion and of course, a good taste. This should simplify getting the new process down as it only leaves grind size and tamping pressure to play with.
I've needed to change the grind size to a bit more coarse and am still experimenting. Once I get to the point of a consistent good extraction. I'll go back to the flow mode and see if I can duplicate it. Oh well, just something to do I guess :-)
Do you know of any way to determine the software version in the machine?