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  • Using coffee beans from supermarkets.

    I recently purchased the Breville Barista BES870 after having a DeLonghi semi automatic machine (in built grinder and auto tamping).
    There was a big learning curve to get the pressure into the 'espresso range'. I was using Lavazza beans from Coles and the double cup single wall filter cup and ended up having to set the grind to '2'.
    I was concerned that I needed to set the grind so fine with a brand new machine especially watching a few videos on You tube for this machine where the user had the grind setting at '5' with the same double cup single walled filter cup.
    When I ran out of the Lavazza beans I used Vittoria beans (also from Coles) and even after setting the grind to the finest I could not get pressure more than in the 'pre infusion' area with weak coffee and no crema.
    Believing the machine (grinder) to be faulty I contacted Breville who first advised that they would email me with instructions how to test the machine which after nearly 4 days of waiting never came.
    I phoned them again and they 'walked me through' a test using the rubber cleaning disk with the single cup single walled filter cup. The pressure barely moved off the bottom but the chap said that indicated the pressure was ok (how I will never know).
    Anyway he then asked if the beans had a 'roasted on date' and when I told him only a 'best before date' he told me that beans purchased from supermarkets could be very old and that I should be using beans from a roaster or coffee shop - has anyone else been told this?
    I challenged him by asking him why doesn't the user manual state this (eg "for best results only use freshly roasted beans")- he did not answer.
    I contacted the retailer who said that no one had ever told them this and later contacted Breville and was told by their contact that they would put in an internal complaint (within Breville) to have something done about it.

    Has anyone else experienced this problem (need for very fine grind using supermarket beans)?

    This post was copied from another thread to maintain continuity in this thread as replies to it were also moved here. Post #2 is actually the original post in this thread.
    Last edited by Javaphile; 25 February 2016, 07:58 PM. Reason: Added note

  • #2
    Using coffee beans from supermarkets.

    I was recently told by Breville that to get a good pressure during coffee extraction I should only use beans with a 'roasted on date' and not beans purchased ar supermarkets as they could be only and will lack the oils present in freshly roasted beans. I did read somewhere that roasted beans are best used within 3 weeks of roasting.
    But how much does this affect the pressure during extraction?

    I was using Vittoria beans and even using the finest grind setting on the inbuilt burr grinder could not get pressure higher than the 'pre infusion' area (eg underextracted).

    What coffee beans purchased from supermarkets are best for use in $800 home espresso machines?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by jparnold View Post
      What coffee beans purchased from supermarkets are best for use in $800 home espresso machines?
      None. Buy freshly roasted beans from a local roaster, one of our site sponsors, or from our own Bean Bay.


      Java "Bad beans = bad coffee" phile
      Toys! I must have new toys!!!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by jparnold View Post
        …even using the finest grind setting on the inbuilt burr grinder could not get pressure higher than the 'pre infusion' area (eg underextracted).
        This could also cause issues - some grinders are made to err on the 'safe' side of fine to prevent grinder damage by ham-fisted types - you might need a breville shim kit to get that grind finer - if what Java suggests above does not work first…
        Cheers Matt

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi there

          I first started my espresso making with Breville machine many years ago. I'd say now that they are good starting point for learning and using. At the time bought (an important investment) a reasonable grinder and alloy tamper from a coffee speciality store.

          I think these items I bought later were the best thing I did to make full use of my Breville.

          The machine used to work its heart out and lasted for a couple of years before a service. (the price you pay At times we used to wait 10 seconds or so (I guess) before the shot started. The grind setting and some strong tamping ensured we got a reasonable extraction time and the beans used always produced a nutty clean taste and with good creme. It takes a while to get to know any machine and what one has to do to get the best results. It's worth experimenting, being prepared to sink plenty of shots and half used pucks too. You'll soon see which way to head re grind settings. One thing we always did was tamp strong and polish, this seemed to ensure success.

          I hope this helps.

          Cheers
          William

          Not sure if you are trying to use the plastic tamper that comes with the machine, chuck it if you are using it.

          I

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by jparnold View Post
            I recently purchased the Breville Barista BES870 after having a DeLonghi semi automatic machine (in built grinder and auto tamping).
            There was a big learning curve to get the pressure into the 'espresso range'. I was using Lavazza beans from Coles and the double cup single wall filter cup and ended up having to set the grind to '2'.
            I was concerned that I needed to set the grind so fine with a brand new machine especially watching a few videos on You tube for this machine where the user had the grind setting at '5' with the same double cup single walled filter cup.
            When I ran out of the Lavazza beans I used Vittoria beans (also from Coles) and even after setting the grind to the finest I could not get pressure more than in the 'pre infusion' area with weak coffee and no crema.
            Believing the machine (grinder) to be faulty I contacted Breville who first advised that they would email me with instructions how to test the machine which after nearly 4 days of waiting never came.
            I phoned them again and they 'walked me through' a test using the rubber cleaning disk with the single cup single walled filter cup. The pressure barely moved off the bottom but the chap said that indicated the pressure was ok (how I will never know).
            Anyway he then asked if the beans had a 'roasted on date' and when I told him only a 'best before date' he told me that beans purchased from supermarkets could be very old and that I should be using beans from a roaster or coffee shop - has anyone else been told this?
            I challenged him by asking him why doesn't the user manual state this (eg "for best results only use freshly roasted beans")- he did not answer.
            I contacted the retailer who said that no one had ever told them this and later contacted Breville and was told by their contact that they would put in an internal complaint (within Breville) to have something done about it.

            Has anyone else experienced this problem (need for very fine grind using supermarket beans)?
            I have to tell you while in there is variability based on freshness, there is no way that if you are grinding Lavazza in finest that the machine would not over extract (needle PAST the range) You can also overtamp in finest because the grinds are so fine. My recommendation is to buy a set of beans from a local coffee place, have them grind half, in their finest. Do a test with their finest versus what the BE's finest setting If neither can get the needle up, then there is definitely an issue with the pump. If the Coffee shop grinds get the needle going but not yours, then it is the grinder that is having the issue.

            good luck
            Last edited by Javaphile; 25 February 2016, 08:00 PM. Reason: Corrected quote link

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by jefo13 View Post
              I have to tell you while in there is variability based on freshness, there is no way that if you are grinding Lavazza in finest that the machine would not over extract (needle PAST the range) You can also overtamp in finest because the grinds are so fine.
              While there is certainly variability based on freshness the problem with using Lavazza (Or any other!) beans from the supermarket is not that they have a little variability it is that they will most likely be long stale. Once the beans are that stale you can turn them into a powder and tamp them as hard as you can and not get up to proper pressure.

              Originally posted by jefo13 View Post
              My recommendation is to buy a set of beans from a local coffee place, have them grind half, in their finest. Do a test with their finest versus what the BE's finest setting If neither can get the needle up, then there is definitely an issue with the pump. If the Coffee shop grinds get the needle going but not yours, then it is the grinder that is having the issue.

              good luck
              Grinding the beans at the point of purchase does nothing but insure they are stale by the time you get home (Coffee stales in a couple of minutes of being ground.) and use them. Grinding them at the point of purchase is a waste of money.

              Buy known fresh beans that have been stored properly (Sealed in airtight/one way valved bags/containers. See this article for an introduction to the proper storage of roasted coffee and this forum for further discussions on the topic.) and use them with your setup testing different grind settings. If you can't get up to a good pressure doing that then it's time to deal with problems other than the beans.


              Java "If your beans aren't fresh you're wasting your time and money!" phile
              Last edited by Javaphile; 25 February 2016, 07:43 PM. Reason: Modified for clarity
              Toys! I must have new toys!!!

              Comment


              • #8
                Back in NZ I was able to obtain locally roasted beans from the supermarkets that were not even a week old! It was also the larger supermarket chains that had these types of beans available. There was a good support for coffee over there. Since coming back to Australia I would not touch any of the commercially packaged beans from the supermarkets.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks everyone for your input and advice.
                  My main 'beef' (with the manufacturer) is that no where in the instruction manual do they advise that not using freshly roasted beans will result in underextraction. All the manual says is that for best flavour always use freshly roasted beans (withing 2 weeks of roasting where as everywhere else I read 3 weeks and sometimes more).

                  I am still wondering if the machine has a fault as my daughter has exactly the same machine and using exactly the same coffee beans as I am now using (Vittoria) and she grinds coarser and gets pressure almost in the overextraction area (I doubt if she has the same strength as I do when tamping).
                  Having said that I must admit that when I grind the grounds look quite dry whereas I would have expected them to be more oily?

                  I did contact Breville 2 weeks ago and they sent a 'shim kit' for the grinder but the packet states that it must be installed by an authorised Breville technician and if not the warranty may be voided. The machine is just 4 weeks old and so I am reluctant to fit the shim.

                  Just what should look like when ground? Mine looks like ground pepper (the one you buy at a supermarket pre ground). Surely it shouldn't be as fine as say Turkish coffee which looks like dust or powder?


                  I will be purchasing some freshly roasted beans from my nearby coffee roasters and see what happens but I am not confident that I won't still have to use a very fine grind to get proper extraction pressure.
                  Last edited by jparnold; 25 February 2016, 09:32 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sounds like your grinder is not up to the task. No amount of tamping of tan bark coffee will provide an acceptable pour.

                    Regardless, there is zero value in wasting time with old, stale rubbish coffee.

                    Garbage in, garbage out- as they say.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      So the Breville manual does recommend freshly roasted coffee then. It probably doesn't explicitly mention under extraction as this is only one of a few different problems you can encounter when using rubbish coffee. Instead of continuing to wonder you need to compare with fresh coffee to know for sure. And yes, the grind should be quite fine. Not quite like flour (that's Turkish), but definitely finer than ground pepper.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for all the advice.

                        I will be purchasing freshly roasted beans later today and will see what difference (to extraction pressure) there is. I will also ask the roaster if they will grind a small amount of beans to the recommended grind for espresso and compare that to my grind.

                        I am not real hopeful though as my daughter has exactly the same machine (I bought mine on her recommendation) and she is using exactly the same coffee beans as I am using with a slightly coarser grind and she says that she gets pressure almost to the 'over extraction' area of the pressure gauge.
                        I am so annoyed that even though I took the machine to the retailer and demonstrated my problem and they phoned Breville who would not authorise an exchange (the machine was only 3 weeks old) when they learned that I am using 'supermarket' beans and not freshly roasted beans. Can freshly roasted beans make such a difference to extraction pressure? The beans have a 'best before date' of October 2016.
                        My daughter will also bring some of her freshly ground beans (using her machine) and make coffee using my machine and she can tell me if she gets a better pressure on her machine.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jparnold View Post
                          My daughter will also bring some of her freshly ground beans (using her machine) and make coffee using my machine and she can tell me if she gets a better pressure on her machine.
                          Because your daughter has an identical machine, why not make a video of the same coffee being put into both machines simultaneously to show the difference between the pressures and extraction rate if there is any. This will prove to Breville there is a problem with your machine. If you post the short video on youtube and email them the link, I am sure they will look.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Great idea.

                            Anyway I have has someone from Breville reply to my email and he suggested a test (overdose a single filter cup with the coffee ground on the finest setting) and the pressure should go into the 'over extracted' area on the pressure gauge. It didn't. He then suggested that I first get some freshly roasted coffee (which I plan to do later today) and if problems still exist advise him.
                            When I mentioned that my daughter has the same machine and using the same beans (Vittoria Mountain) gets plenty of pressure he stated that even though the beans are the same they are out of different packets and therefore could be different so -
                            Try her beans ground in her machine in my machine
                            Try my beans ground in my machine in her machine.
                            I guess that sounds fair.
                            He said that if still unsatisfied he will suggest I take the machine to a Breville service centre to have shims added to the grinder (wherever they are as when you try and find them on their web site it only shows retailers even when 'retailers and service centres' is selected - don't they even know that their web site is faulty? I once worked on 'intranet' web pages (web pages used internally at a business) and would never released them before extensive testing.

                            Did I say that initially Breville sent me a 'shim kit' but I am reluctant to install as it comes with a warning that use by a non Breville service technician may void the warranty?
                            I guess if too many shims are used the upper burr might contact the lower burr destroying it.
                            The kit comes with 4 shims (look like metal washers) and there is a 'recommendation' to use one shim 1.0mm and one shim 0.4mm.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jparnold View Post
                              Can freshly roasted beans make such a difference to extraction pressure? The beans have a 'best before date' of October 2016.
                              My daughter will also bring some of her freshly ground beans (using her machine) and make coffee using my machine and she can tell me if she gets a better pressure on her machine.
                              Absolutely it can. You'll be quite surprised I'm sure.

                              I recommend she brings her grinder to your place, rather than grinding beans and coming around (unless she lives 1 minute away). Beans stale because of oxidisation. The more surface area, the quicker the reaction. Ground beans = stale very fast.

                              Also, get your daughter to make a coffee on your set up (your grinder). Technique (and tools, if she has a proper Tamper) could be compounding your issue.

                              Comment

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