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Help - noob worried about underextraction

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  • Help - noob worried about underextraction

    Hi all,

    This is my first CS post, so apologies if there's a more appropriate subforum for this (not sure).

    Got a Breville BES860 for Christmas, and have been using it flat out since (used a moka pot for a few years until I could persuade the OH a machine was worth it).

    Since purchasing, I've been worried that my machine has the same problem that many other BES860s apparently have, in that the grinder does not grind fine enough, and that I'm underextracting as a result. From the beginning, i've noticed that the shot pours quite fast (20-25s) and seems to blonde quite quickly. I'm not the most confident in discerning different flavours, and the OH was sticking to mostly milk coffees, and so I didn't worry too much. However, the OH started drinking more espressos, and immediately complained that it tasted very metallic, confirming my earlier fears.

    I've cleaned the grinder, tried different beans (both from my local, recently roasted, etc), and the same result. I've tried different doses, because the manual recommends dosing so that the metal cap on the tamp is level with the top of the basket, but elsewhere I've seen recommendations of 14-16g in grinds, which is substantially less (about 3mm from the top of the basket once tamped).

    I've read the thread here:

    and also here:

    which describe methods of modifying the grinder to get it to grind finer (I'm currently using the 2nd highest setting, and have tried the highest with no change in result), but this will undoubtedly void my warranty.

    So... I've uploaded a video of it to Youtube here: Underextracting espresso? - YouTube

    Hopefully you can see it well enough, not the greatest quality (apologies for the music in the background, forgot the stereo was on).

    Thoughts? Suggestions?

    Cheers, J.

  • #2
    From the video it does seem a little fast.

    If you can't grind finer, then try more grounds in the basket. The 5-cent test will tell you when you've reached the maximum. If that doesn't work then you'll have to change the grinder.



    • #3
      Greg - thanks. Coincidentally, while I waited for this post to be cleared by the mods, I tried putting more grounds in the basket - while the puck was drier (the 14-15g pucks were wet on top, this one looked about right to me), it still tasted like crap! Will try the 5c test in the morning, hadn't heard of that one ;-)


      • #4
        Ok, interesting observations.

        1. Ground more into the basket, 5c was pressed into the puck (as well as screen print), but not buried. Flavour was less metallic, but still there and not good.

        2. Took some grounds in to the local roaster/cafe this morning to compare against their grind of the same blend - texture/fineness was v. similar to the point of being indistinguishable.


        - just the machine wearing in? or..
        - our water?


        • #5
          Hey mate,

          Which basket are you using? Does it have one small hole on the underside or lots of holes?



          • #6
            I'm using a single-walled double basket - it has a fine mesh, ie lots of small holes. Never seen one with one hole, but I'm relatively new to this?

            Edit: that is, looks like

            Last edited by Jimbo23; 9 January 2013, 03:57 PM.