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Beginner questions for espresso / long black (Breville Infuser)

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  • Beginner questions for espresso / long black (Breville Infuser)

    Hi all,

    Just bought myself a new espresso machine and trying to learn how to pull a nice espresso shot (mainly for a long black but also for other milk-based coffees for other people).

    Machine: Breville Infuser (
    Grinder: Breville Smart Pro Grinder (
    Beans: Axil espresso single origin

    Video of the pull:



    1. I tried to do a 1:2 ratio (18g beans, 36g out) - although it was over by a few grams. Is this considered 2 full shots or a double ristretto? (what dictates those two?)

    2. How do I calculate the extraction time? I'm using the manual mode of the machine which does the 'infusion' to wet the water (when I hold the button down) and then into normal mode when I release. How do you calculate extraction time? From when a button is pressed? Or when the water starts coming out? And do you include any 'infusion' time? From my video:

    - 18 seconds (from holding button to stopping) - which includes:
    ----- 8 seconds between first touch of button to first drop of infusion liquid coming out
    ----- 2 seconds of infusion liquid coming out
    ----- 8 seconds of the 'full extraction pressure' liquid coming out

    3. Looking at yields & extraction times on other sites, it seems a lot of people do about 20g in, 40g out at about 30 seconds or so. I'm already using less coffee (18g) to get 36g and depending on how you calculate extraction time, it's probably at most 18 seconds. I'm guessing I'm pulling a double ristretto based on this, but let's say I wanted to do a double full shot (~30 seconds) - how do I change this while maintaining my ratios? Do I adjust it by grinding finer to make it harder to come out? When I look at the pressure gauge though, it already looks like it's in the right 'grey' area and just past the middle of it.

    4. What temperature is advised for a long black? I've seen that at Padre here in Australia they use a urn of 70 degrees celcius water. I did mine by adding about 15ml of tap water, and then 35ml of the hot water from the machine spout to make 50ml at a hot but drinkable temperature. Does this sound about right?

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by snoffee; 15 June 2019, 04:01 PM. Reason: Commercial link removed; updated formatting of times

  • #2
    1. ratios basically go 1:1 ristretto, 1:2 espresso normale, 1:3 lungo. essentially as you pull more water through the shot, you trade off strength for clarity and sweetness. to an extent.

    what's a shot? in australia, cafes typically split their shots (i.e. don't pull singles) and catch one side which they can use to make a 6/8oz takeaway or a 5-7oz dine-in. so this could be half of a '20g in, 40g out' recipe, which defines your 'shot' as 20g of espresso normale.

    2. you start your extraction clock from the instant you press the button.

    3. you are pulling espresso normale (1:2). if you want to increase your contact time from 18s to ~30s, you grind finer (remember: more fine, more time). however, if your basket is not rated for 18g (i.e. it has a higher capacity), you may have issues with excessive channeling and not being able to grind fine enough to slow the flow.

    4. i set my kettle at 60c for a long black. works very nicely - hot enough to be hot, and drinkable. if your current system gives you the temperature you want, keep at it!


    • #3
      The pressure gauge is not calibrated, so go by other data to dial in your shot. Once you have it dialled in and know where it normally sits during the shot you can use the gauge to see that pressure is normal or not to indicate if something is wrong with your puck. That being said it looks too low during your shot to me for where these machines normally sit.

      Woodhouse had given you some great advice, I would only add the following: please confirm you're using the single wall baskets (lots of holes on the underside) and not the dual wall baskets (one hole on the underside). The dual wall baskets are only good for when your grinder breaks and you're forced to use preground coffee, or for when you want to sell the machine.

      Your baskets are 51mm diameter I believe, stick to a maximum dose of 16g in the double basket (so 36g out for a 1:2 espresso ratio). You need to grind finer already to slow the shot down, reducing the dose to 16g will require even finer grinding, don't be alarmed.

      If you find your grinder can't grind fine enough to slow the shot down to ~30s you can adjust the upper burr carrier to make the whole dial finer. The booklet has instructions.


      • #4
        Thank you very much @woodhouse and @levelninja.

        @woodhouse - Thanks for the confirmation on the espresso/ristretto definition. Looks like like extraction time is 18sec then based on pressing the button. Good idea with the kettle, I might try to experiment with a variable one later down the track.

        @level3ninja - Thanks as well. Funnily, I literally came here to post about my mistake because I realised I had used the dual wall / pressurised baskets which may have contributed to the high(er) pressure gauge but quick extraction time. I'll take your point though that I use the gauge as a 'relative to normal' measure as opposed to an absolute metric. Also just to clarify, do you mean stick to maximum dose of 18g of 16g? Because 36g is only 1:2 for 18g? Not sure if that was a typo or not. My grinder can go down a bit more so I'll try out a finer grind and using non-pressurised baskets tomorrow!

        Will report back here with my findings!


        • #5
          How hot do you like your long black?
          My gf likes it crazy hot. I put around 220ml of filtered water in borosilicate glass, and steam it till it's boiling in the glass. It has grown to around 250ml by then, I let it settle, then drop a double on top 17.5g in- 35g out.

          Seperately, I time half the infusion...


          • #6

            Must have an asbestos lining in her mouth.



            • #7
              Sips very gingerly for first 5 min.
              Doesn't like it in a latte cup as she says it cools too fast.

              I think Woodhouse 60° kettle is a good start, with a shot on top.


              • #8
                Hey snoffee,

                I just had 6 weeks intensive practice at home with the same setup. (Sadly my Breville died already, so I'm saving my pennies for an upgrade...)

                I had quite a bit of trouble getting that little machine to cough up anything less than 1:2.5. The extractions tended to run too fast and when grinding finer, the pressure quickly went past 13bar and choked to a drop or two. The Breville grinder may lack the finesse for very small grind adjustments.

                The basket is 54mm and Breville states the recommended dose 15-18g as per the manual.

                My best shots (and there were plenty of them) were 17gr in, (approx) 45gr out with about 28-29sec extraction. Time measured from press of button. First drops appear about 8sec in, if it takes more than 10sec, you have ground too fine. My Breville grinder was usually on the setting 10-13 depending on the bean, you have to search for your own sweet spot, I suppose. The numbers are not absolute.

                I never used the double wall baskets and everyone here will advise you to throw them away. Only the larger basket, single wall with 15-18g dose is a good starting point. Don't be afraid to let the pressure gauge go a little past the second screw, I found the most balanced shots there. Fast shots tend to be sour. If you go with the volumetric settings, you will find the accuracy pretty average, with many shots not running long enough to get a good tasting result.

                I also found the clumpy grinds and my amateur distribution techniques produced a lot of channelling. It's worth interrupting the grinder half-way and knock on the portafilter or generally pay attention to evenly distributing the coffee before tamping.

                Good Luck! It's a good little machine and with some practice will pull some good shots. Keep it as clean as you can! I wish mine had lasted a little longer...


                Fellow learner