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Thread: Newbie looking for help with Breville Dual Boiler (BEP920)

  1. #1
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    Newbie looking for help with Breville Dual Boiler (BEP920)

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi everyone,

    In early Feb I bought the dynamic duo pack and have never been able to get it quite right. I have spent a lot of time troubleshooting and have even taken the machine to be looked at, only to be told there is nothing wrong with it. I'm at a bit of a loss now.

    Here is a video which details the trouble I have had. It's long (16 mins) sorry.

    https://youtu.be/ss-MUvaih6k

    The first half of the video is just me explaining what I have attempted. Skip to 8:24 if you would like to see me demonstrating what I believe is the issue.

    (I left out an important part: here is me pulling 2 more shots, one with 22grams and one with 25 grams)
    https://youtu.be/xotBr-ZWkTU


    So, am I doing something wrong? Are all machines in this price range this temperamental?
    Any help would be great.
    thanks.

    Edits to answer some FAQs:
    People have asked about beans: I have only ever used fresh whole beans from reputable cafes and roasters (Elixir, White Horse, Wolff, Black Sheep, Campos). Always well within a month of roasting. More often than not i'd say within a week or two.
    Last edited by meetle; 18th March 2019 at 10:07 AM.

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    Also, if you don't want to watch the video, feel free to just ask me questions. I will edit the OP later but I gotta run to work now.

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    I have also just realised that I didn't show two extractions so I'll post another video here once it's done uploading to youtube. But to summarise it: I show a 22 gram pull which results in an overflowing cup. and a 25 gram pull, which works great!

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    Senior Member Erimus's Avatar
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    You don't give any details of what coffee you're using. You are massively overdosing which you should not need to do and it looks like your problem is as simple as stale beans. You must use fresh beans, can't emphasis that enough.

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    I agree with both points raised above - too much coffee, and likely stale beans. I also have this machine, and it is not temperamental at all. It does what it does - any changes in shot are caused by beans, grind setting, dose and tamp (all controlled by the user).
    warthog likes this.

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    Senior Member noonar's Avatar
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    Agree with Erimus's initial thoughts. Looks like way too much coffee in the basket, evidenced by excessive tamper pressure and inability to lock the PF in without excessive force which are symptomatic of poor beans or grinding (all other things being OK of course). Zero experience with the espresso machine but I do have a smart grinder which needed shimming before I could get it to grind fine enough for espresso (on a Domus Galatea and R58). The majority of us here will ask you about the freshness of your beans first. Good Luck meetle. You will get there. Didnt watch the whole video so you may have already answered this, but how did the coffee taste?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Erimus View Post
    You don't give any details of what coffee you're using. You are massively overdosing which you should not need to do and it looks like your problem is as simple as stale beans. You must use fresh beans, can't emphasis that enough.
    Hi erimus, thanks for your time to respond! I understand not everyone has the time to watch, but most of the detail is in the first video. At 15:10 i talk about beans, but to summarise, I have only ever used fresh beans bought from extremely reputable cafes/roasters. I can say with 99% confidence it is not a bean issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noonar View Post
    Didnt watch the whole video so you may have already answered this, but how did the coffee taste?
    Hi noonar, thanks for replying. When using 25 grams, the coffee tastes good. see this video for that extraction https://youtu.be/xotBr-ZWkTU

    As for grind size, check out 15:45 (https://youtu.be/ss-MUvaih6k?t=945) in the first video. Does that look right? (not sure if you can tell from the video).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andywg View Post
    I agree with both points raised above - too much coffee, and likely stale beans. I also have this machine, and it is not temperamental at all. It does what it does - any changes in shot are caused by beans, grind setting, dose and tamp (all controlled by the user).
    hi andy, thanks for replying.

    I agree with everything you have said. Its not the beans (see above) so I am left with the following options: The grind size is wrong (even though I have tried on the absolute MINIMUM the Smart Grinder can go, see https://youtu.be/ss-MUvaih6k?t=850)

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    Hi Meetle

    A few points
    The acidic taste you refer to in the vid with a fast shot is an astringent taste and yes it’s not nice ��
    Beans are obviously ok as refered to in the video.
    The dose is massive, but the machine sounds to be doing it’s job ok. You state that you can not grind any finer so I will suggest it’s a grinder issue. The dosing guide from breville would be a good ball park to start in. The breville basket I’d say is about 20g by looking at it. The VST basket is a much better basket, but also requires a finer grind than most other baskets. It also is probably too deep for your group handle. I’d be surprised if the depth of it doesn’t bottom out.

    A large dose will put upward pressure on the shower screen and in some cases causes channeling as water is lazy and looks for an easy way through. The tamp level supplied from breville also looks correct.

    I strongly suggest that it’s a grinder issue, you can’t grind fine enough.
    Can you borrow another grinder from someone and try it with your espresso machine?
    magnafunk likes this.

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    Who did you do the course at Wolff with? Not Josh by any chance

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    Senior Member Erimus's Avatar
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    I would agree with Ronin, looking like a grinder problem. Just make sure you're getting the correct pressure
    through the machine. Put the rubber cleaning disc in and you should be getting around 9.5 bar on the gauge.
    The optimum dose on the BES920 is usually between 19 to 21 grams depending on beans and grind.

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    Senior Member deegee's Avatar
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    I agree that it's probably a grinder problem. In the 22g vs 25g video, the grinds look a bit coarse to me, and the 22g shot is a bit of a gusher. So I suspect that you are having to over-dose the basket to compensate. If you could grind finer, you should be able to reduce the dose and still get a good extraction. Have a look at this thread : https://coffeesnobs.com.au/general-c...-pressure.html

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    If you have the smart grinder have you took the burrs out and moved them round to get a finer grind ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronin View Post
    Who did you do the course at Wolff with? Not Josh by any chance
    Yep it was josh! He's awesome.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronin View Post
    Hi Meetle
    You state that you can not grind any finer so I will suggest it’s a grinder issue. The dosing guide from breville would be a good ball park to start in. The breville basket I’d say is about 20g by looking at it. The VST basket is a much better basket, but also requires a finer grind than most other baskets. It also is probably too deep for your group handle. I’d be surprised if the depth of it doesn’t bottom out.
    Cheers ronin, I'll experiment over the next few days with the grind size again. If I can't get it to work I may need to get a shim kit.
    As for the VST basket, it looks very big but I have used it and it fits well, getting past the ridge easily to lock into place. If it is touching the bottom, is thatgoing to adversely affect the shot?

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    Quote Originally Posted by deegee View Post
    I agree that it's probably a grinder problem. In the 22g vs 25g video, the grinds look a bit coarse to me, and the 22g shot is a bit of a gusher. So I suspect that you are having to over-dose the basket to compensate. If you could grind finer, you should be able to reduce the dose and still get a good extraction. Have a look at this thread : https://coffeesnobs.com.au/general-c...-pressure.html
    Thanks for watching the video deegee. did you see this part of the first video? (https://youtu.be/ss-MUvaih6k?t=945) . Here I show the grind size with still images and with a 10c coin to compare. Does it look too coarse?

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    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    I have a BES920 and used to use the BCG800 and later BCG 820 with it. Still use the 820 for cold brew.

    Step 1: never ever dose the basket that high again. Having to put that much force to lock the PF means you're significantly shortening the life of the collar and other locking pieces there. Try doing a 5c test to determine the maximum height in the basket you can go. To do this flush, then wipe the shower screen dry. Dose and tamp as normal. Carefully lay a 5c coin on the centre of the puck. Insert the portafilter and lock it in as per normal. Then without pulling a shot remove the portafilter and carefully remove the coin (won't matter if you muck up one side as long as the other is ok). It's ok if there's a very slight indent but if the coin is pushed all the way in your dose is too high. If the coin isn't pushed in at all, happy days. You can use the Razor tool as a guide, but you can go a bit higher than that shows. Also note that the fitness of the grind will change the maximum weight of coffee that will fit but the height will not change (the finer the grind the less room it will take up).

    You would not be the first person to have a dud BCG820 out of the box. Call Breville and get them to replace it, they will probably ask you a couple of questions but shouldn't give you any grief.
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    As long as it doesn’t impede flow I doubt it. Good that it fits though, my vst didn’t fit at home, lucky I have a naked filter.
    They are great baskets. More even hole size allows you to grind finer = more flavour
    When dialing in a grinder I usually start by feeling partial size about castor sugar before I try a shot. It’s usually a fast shot but it’s a starting point.
    Hope it works out Meetle

    Josh from Wolff is a good guy. I’ll tell him you liked the class

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    Senior Member Erimus's Avatar
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    Just concentrate on the stock basket for now, you're just complicating things bringing a vst basket into problem until you sort your grinder out. Whether the Breville grinder will grind fine enough for the vst I don't know. We'll need a Breville grinder owner to confirm.

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    @Erimus @Ronin thanks a lot. I'll have one final testing session where I see if i can pull shots from the finest settings available on the smart grinder. If it doesn't work I'll try contacting Breville for a shim kit/replacement grinder.

    I gotta get me one of those naked filters! Love watching the espresso flow through them, and good for troubleshooting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    Try doing a 5c test.
    thanks a lot, I'll try this as well. I'm assuming this is a good test to use once you are close to your ideal grind settings, in order to get the dose correct?

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    Quote Originally Posted by meetle View Post
    Yep it was josh! He's awesome.
    Of course That may be so...
    However I take it he clearly stated the reasons for ensuring the setup
    of your coffee puck to be clear of the ShowerScreen when the handle is locked away?

    To alter the dose size by up to 3g - 22g vs 25g is a massive variance when your trying to establish
    a base grind setting.
    In this phase you need to remain 100% consistant with your bean quality And the dose level / weight.
    GL

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    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meetle View Post
    thanks a lot, I'll try this as well. I'm assuming this is a good test to use once you are close to your ideal grind settings, in order to get the dose correct?
    Basically its a test to see if you are over dosing. Essentially you dose/tamp your basket and place a 5c piece on the top of the coffee. Then put the portafilter in as if you are going to pull and shot and take it out.
    The puck will swell and if there isn't sufficient room the puck will hit the shower screen and a small imprint of the coin will be visible in the spent coffee puck. This means you have overdosed a little too much. Ideally you want the imprint of the coin to be barely visible at all - ideally the puck will almost touch the screen but not quite.
    Last edited by WhatEverBeansNecessary; 18th March 2019 at 02:58 PM. Reason: Fixed the proceedure

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    Quote Originally Posted by EspressoAdventurer View Post
    Of course That may be so...
    However I take it he clearly stated the reasons for ensuring the setup
    of your coffee puck to be clear of the ShowerScreen when the handle is locked away?

    To alter the dose size by upto 3g - 22g vs 25g is a massive variance.
    I don’t think it was Josh who suggested the increase does.
    FWIW Josh knows his coffee. Head barista & trainer at Wolff coffee roasters

  26. #26
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhatEverBeansNecessary View Post
    Basically its a test to see if you are over dosing. Essentially you dose/tamp your basket and place a 5c piece on the top of the coffee. Then pull you shot as normal.
    The puck will swell and if there isn't sufficient room the puck will swell against the shower screen and a small imprint of the coin will be visible in the spent coffee puck. This means you have overdosed a little too much. Ideally you want the imprint of the coin to be barely visible at all - ideally the puck will almost touch the screen but not quite.
    ???? You don't 'pull the shot as normal'. You remove the portafilter from the group and see whether there is an imprint and if so, how deep.

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    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Beat me too it Barry.

    Whether or not it hits the shower screen at the point of pressure release and puck expansion doesn't matter. If it hits the shower screen before pulling a shot is when you cause issues like channelling and equipment damage.

  28. #28
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Barry is correct, you don't pull the shot with the coin in place.

    This from a previous post of mine, many moons ago.

    "Depends on the size of the basket and type of machine Noel, I use an 18 gram LaMarzocco basket in a Bezzera machine and it just so happens that 18 grams clears the shower screen nicely using the 5 cent piece test,
    (Correct depth of the coffee puck is a whisker away from the shower screen at lock in" suggest you try the 5 cent piece test, fill the porta filter, tamp and place 5 cent piece in the centre top then lock PF in, if the coin is pushed into the coffee reduce the dose a little, the object is to have a gap between the tamped coffee and shower screen approx the thickness of the 5 cent piece.
    Yes, I weigh my beans for every shot, I start with a clean grinder and empty hopper, weigh out 18 grams, dump into hopper, when finished grinding brush any bean debris into burrs from throat of hopper, dose, brush doser clean with small paint brush.
    Sounds time consuming, it's not, I can complete the task quicker than it's taken me to type this sentence (no smart remarks about being a slow typist please) others disagree with weighing, it works fine for me and gives me a high degree of repeatability, of course it wouldn't be practical in a commercial situation."

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    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    ???? You don't 'pull the shot as normal'. You remove the portafilter from the group and see whether there is an imprint and if so, how deep.
    Fixed up my post to reflect the actual procedure. Been a while since I have done it. Must be the outboard fumes going to my head from the weekend
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    ???? You don't 'pull the shot as normal'. You remove the portafilter from the group and see whether there is an imprint and if so, how deep.
    Egcxackery ....Bawwy ! (;
    And then trim the puck to say around a 5th of the coin imprinting*.
    Weigh this 'level' of dose. And then don't change it or the 'Mid Weight' tamp
    OR the Beans....
    whilst the grinder dial in is occurring.

    * this level in my experience will allow the puck to saturate and expand into the showerscreen.
    Which I reckon provides maximum back pressure, resistance, against the flow rate of the machine.
    and assists in helping with the quickest grind setup procedure IME.

    Once I've got the grind setting where I'm happy...I fine tune & experiment with output shot time and yield
    till I taste a nailed it 'recipe'.
    I also will drop the puck level / dose weight marginally until I no longer get 'screen imprint', post shot
    Why? As I reckon this marginally higher dose just adds to my cleaning routine by contaminating the brew path
    and therefore requires extra effort & even higher chemical use.


    PS My previous post was not intentioned to impune or question the roaster / trainer.
    It was an obv point to raise given the thread responses to that point.
    AND yes from my reading and to prior hitting the go / posting button,
    a further 6 posts came up online.

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    To clarify on all these posts, if the basket is deep enough that the puck doesn't actually contact the shower screen, is that also bad?

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    Quote Originally Posted by meetle View Post
    To clarify on all these posts, if the basket is deep enough that the puck doesn't actually contact the shower screen, is that also bad?
    Assuming you mean after the shot and not before, no not at all. The 920 tends to leave the top of the puck a bit wet and messy if it doesn't but it won't affect the shot.

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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EspressoAdventurer View Post
    * this level in my experience will allow the puck to saturate and expand into the showerscreen.
    Which I reckon provides maximum back pressure, resistance, against the flow rate of the machine.
    and assists in helping with the quickest grind setup procedure IME.
    Contrary to popular belief the puck does not expand when saturated with water. The screen imprint comes when the shot is stopped and the pressure is relieved when the 3-way valve opens which results in a negative pressure in the portafilter sucking the puck up against the screen.

    Have a read/view of the Clear naked portafilter thread from 5 years ago.


    Java "Clear view" phile
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    Quote Originally Posted by meetle View Post
    Thanks for watching the video deegee. did you see this part of the first video? (https://youtu.be/ss-MUvaih6k?t=945) . Here I show the grind size with still images and with a 10c coin to compare. Does it look too coarse?
    In that video the particles on your finger do look finer than the ones in the P/F in the other clip. But it's really hard to be sure from a pic or a video, and it's even harder to get any idea of how consistent the particle size is.

    Even with my own grinders, I can't tell if my setting is right just by looking at it. Feeling it between finger & thumb will get me closer, but the only real test is to weigh the beans, tamp the grinds, and pull a shot.

    My opinion above was based mainly on the flow of the two shots in the 22/25 gram video.. The first was clearly too fast, and the second was much better. The pressure also seemed low during the first pull, and higher for the second.

    Now this is just an example, but with a stepped grinder I own, if I want to reduce a dose by three grams, I would go two or three clicks finer to get the same extraction time/yield. The actual numbers will vary for other grinders, as the size of the steps can vary a lot between makes/models.

    If I understood correctly, you have not just set the grinder to the finest setting, you have also re-calibrated to the finest zero point as well. If this is so, then you need to exchange the grinder under warranty, because even if it was fine enough now, you have no adjustment left to cope with wear over time. You should not have to shim a brand new grinder.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    "sucking the puck up against the screen."Java "Clear view" phile
    Ha 'The Old Sucked Puck Syndrome' hey .....
    I haven't heard of Kaos pushing that one since Ziegfried and Steiger were locked up in Old Grafton Gaol a few years back...
    Wait till the Chief hears about this!


    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    Contrary to popular belief the puck does not expand when saturated with water.Java "Clear view" phile
    Well if it doesn't Why is it such a popular (mis) belief?
    Good comeback hey !

    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    Have a read/view of the Clear naked portafilter thread from 5 years ago.Java "Clear view" phile
    Ah I remember that thread ....yes I do...but just like the "why does stretched milk' weigh more re-opened thread of a few months back I can only say that at that time my BS Antennas were far too sensitive to even bother opening either 'em.
    Thanks for the Link JP..... Ill have a read and compare to my real life experiences.

    And if you think Im going to engage ....a higher being (and a Super Mod at that!) in a battle of wits...then you doo'th over estimate my
    lesser state of battle readiness ! Indeed.

  36. #36
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    Contrary to popular belief the puck does not expand when saturated with water. The screen imprint comes when the shot is stopped and the pressure is relieved when the 3-way valve opens which results in a negative pressure in the portafilter sucking the puck up against the screen.

    Have a read/view of the Clear naked portafilter thread from 5 years ago.


    Java "Clear view" phile
    Schroedinger's Puck?
    flynnaus, deegee and noonar like this.

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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    Schroedinger's Puck?
    Hahahaha Nice one. Except in this case it's not a 50/50 chance.


    Java " " phile
    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

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    Hi everyone. Thank you all so much for the help.

    I have gone back and changed the internal burr mechanism to be the finest it can go, and turned the external dial to 1 as well....Voila! I pulled a shot that was too short! it was indeed a grain size issue. I might need to order a shim kit as is don't think I should have to use the most fine setting in a new grinder. I'm kind of bummed cos I tried this before (I even made a table to log all my data!) to no avail. Having said that, I bought a new scale in the meantime, so perhaps my old weights were incorrect.

    Not to worry, at least I now know the issue and how to go about fixing it. I just pulled a 44 gram shot from 20 grams coffee (not ideal, I know) and treated myself to an affogato

    Once again, thanks everyone. Very happy now.
    deegee likes this.

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    I wouldn't get to hung up over getting the coffee/water ratio to the gram , It really is all about the taste rather than the volume.

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    Quote Originally Posted by buderim11 View Post
    I wouldn't get to hung up over getting the coffee/water ratio to the gram , It really is all about the taste rather than the volume.
    True to a point, however get your ratio's around the mark and you will find taste/flavour improve dramatically.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    True to a point, however get your ratio's around the mark and you will find taste/flavour improve dramatically.
    just noticed you are from Moonta! My grandparents used to live there. I have very fond memories of climbing up their aerial and looking over the town. haha.
    Dimal and inorog like this.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by meetle View Post
    just noticed you are from Moonta! My grandparents used to live there. I have very fond memories of climbing up their aerial and looking over the town. haha.
    Morning Meetie, yep, have lived in the Moonta for about 11 years, nice area, well away from big city turmoil and pollution, we certainly enjoy the life style.

    Still plenty of antenna towers around to climb if your still so inclined.

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    Looks like OP's problem is solved but after 5 years with a BDB BES920XL w/ a Baratza Vario I can offer this:

    - Distribution. I always use Weiss Distribution Technique (WDT). I've found no other distribution method is as foolproof.

    - BDB doesn't like overloaded basket (and WDT is a mess if overfilled). I dose 20g in a VST 22g basket and 22g in a VST 25g basket. The top of the puck never touches the showerscreen.

    - VST 22g basket and smaller will fit the OEM double spout PF handle. VST 25g basket will not (too tall). VST 25g basket will fit the OEM bottomless PF handle.

    - BDB w/ VST wants really really fine grind size. 1 week post roast coffee I use 1J on the Vario (N.B. 1A is the finest possible setting).

    - On my Vario, if I change the grind settings, it takes at least 20-50g of beans to run through the grinder for the burrs to achieve consistency. More if it's a big change.

    - BDB default preinfusion time is 7s. IMHO it's too long. I prefer 3-5s. Shorter preinfusion makes the initial shot consistency thicker and more honey like.

  44. #44
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Posts
    15
    Quote Originally Posted by SmashMonkey View Post
    Looks like OP's problem is solved but after 5 years with a BDB BES920XL w/ a Baratza Vario I can offer this:

    - Distribution. I always use Weiss Distribution Technique (WDT). I've found no other distribution method is as foolproof.

    - BDB doesn't like overloaded basket (and WDT is a mess if overfilled). I dose 20g in a VST 22g basket and 22g in a VST 25g basket. The top of the puck never touches the showerscreen.

    - VST 22g basket and smaller will fit the OEM double spout PF handle. VST 25g basket will not (too tall). VST 25g basket will fit the OEM bottomless PF handle.

    - BDB w/ VST wants really really fine grind size. 1 week post roast coffee I use 1J on the Vario (N.B. 1A is the finest possible setting).

    - On my Vario, if I change the grind settings, it takes at least 20-50g of beans to run through the grinder for the burrs to achieve consistency. More if it's a big change.

    - BDB default preinfusion time is 7s. IMHO it's too long. I prefer 3-5s. Shorter preinfusion makes the initial shot consistency thicker and more honey like.
    awesome tips. thanks a lot I'll try all these out.

  45. #45
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    USA
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    4
    One more tip: if the grinder produces a mountain of fluffy grinds that is impossible to tamp without spilling everywhere, tap the PF to collapse all the air pockets.
    Last edited by Javaphile; 20th March 2019 at 11:58 AM. Reason: Commercial link removed

  46. #46
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    1,115
    Before buying VST baskets to use with a BCG820, consider how much of a learning curve you're ready for. The Breville grinders just aren't consistent enough to make it easy. If you do switch to VST you'll have to weigh your dose every time and perfect your distribution technique, you'll also likely need a new tamper as the Breville one is too big for my VST basket. I would suggest that the Breville stock baskets are good enough for now, master the basics with the Breville kit before looking to upgrade. If you get to thinking about upgrading the grinder then think about the baskets.
    Dimal, pcrussell50 and inorog like this.

  47. #47
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Warwick, QLD
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    16,447
    Good advice from 'ninja...

    Mal.



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