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Looking for Breville BES820 upgrades and owners

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  • Looking for Breville BES820 upgrades and owners

    Its my first espresso machine, a use BES820, and Im learning a lot about make espresso, and obviously about upgrades and mods... But always on Gaggias and Silvias... Its really, really, really dificult found good information about Breville machines!! Especially in Brazil, where even this model exists.. So the technical assistance dont respond my emails...
    Im lookin for Breville owners, or anyone who can help me to know better my machine, and, who knows, make some upgrades on it.

  • #2
    Re: Looking for Breville BES820 upgrades and owners


    Welcome to CoffeeSnobs and Breville ownership.

    To find anything on this site, use quick search at the top right of this page.

    Quite acceptable coffee can be made on the cheaper machines if you work on coffee quality, freshness, grind, dose and tamping.

    The grinder you use is very important.

    I think the 800 has a dual walled filter basket. Get a single walled basket if you can. Dual walled filter baskets are made to get fake crema when using stale coffee.

    I did use a BES860 and with some modification to the built in grinder I got acceptable coffee. I have now upgraded to the dual boiler BES900 and I am enjoying it.

    Have a search and see what others have posted on this site about the 820. Let us know how you are going and ask us here for further help.



    • #3
      Re: Looking for Breville BES820 upgrades and owners

      Hi Ricardo,

      I used to use an 820, and theres not much modification you can do to the machine itself.

      The best improvement comes from a good grinder (eg the BCG800 but not the BCG450), single-wall filters/baskets, and a better tamper (and of course fresh beans)

      You can modify the baskets yourself, or buy the single-wall set from Breville.

      Keep us updated on your progress


      • #4
        Re: Looking for Breville BES820 upgrades and owners

        First: sorry my bad english .. Viva la vida Google

        This is my first espresso machine, but Im studying the entire process for some time. There are a lot of material to learn about making a good espresso, but about the Breville machine there is nothing!
        I already have 2 single wall filter, the tamper is coming - the original is useless ... And the coffee / grinder Im using a coffee shop near my house, fresh and ground properly, so this is ok.
        Im thinking about how take a better control on machine, like a PID, OVP and 3 way solenoid and all that good stuff...
        Its possible take a good coffe without these things, but i guess it can be better!


        • #5
          Re: Looking for Breville BES820 upgrades and owners

          Originally posted by 405B515340565D57414657445741320 link=1335559928/3#3 date=1335790792
          fresh and ground properly, so this is ok.
          unfortunately if its ground at a cafe, its no longer fresh by the time you get home. Theres a rule of threes:
          Green beans - 3 years
          Brown beans - 3 weeks
          Ground beans - 3 minutes (some say 30 seconds!)

          You may get reasonable preground coffee from your cafe, but it wont be as good as it can be.

          By the way, why didnt you buy the 840 or 860 - or arent they available in Brazil?

          Originally posted by 405B515340565D57414657445741320 link=1335559928/3#3 date=1335790792
          Im thinking about how take a better control on machine, like a PID, OVP and 3 way solenoid and all that good stuff...
          The single largest improvement you will make will come from grinding your own fresh beans. Without doing that, a PID, OPV, and solenoid valve are a waste of time. They may end up causing more hassles than they are worth.

          I dont mean to be mean, but I hope that you would spend your money first on the things that will make the most improvement (a good grinder) before you spend it on modifications


          • #6
            Re: Looking for Breville BES820 upgrades and owners

            @iaindb tks for reply
            I bought an used machine from a brazilian coming from AU, he bought a BES900 and brought the BES820 to sell, I was saving money to buy a nice grinder, but I liked the machine and was an opportunity...

            I dont expect get a better coffee with all this upgrades, I expect a lot of more difficulties, I know that. I just want to know how far I can go with this machine, until buy a new one, with all this ups or do it myself.


            • #7
              Re: Looking for Breville BES820 upgrades and owners

              Hi ricardo,

              I think many here are willing to help you.  I dont think you have actually said what is wrong with the coffee you are making now on the 820. Maybe if you let us know your results now we can help you improve?

              As most already mentioned. The best start is to have freshly roasted beans.  Grind the amount that you need for one coffee session.  Like Iaindb mentioned, 3 minutes after grinding the beans it is considered stale already.  Looks like you already got rid of the original pressurised filter baskets and replaced with the single wall baskets, next is to have a good burr grinder so that you can grind the fresh roasted beans evenly and to the best fineness (you will have to try a few times to work out the right grind) that will allow you to make 30ml of espresso in approximately 30 seconds. The amount of coffee and level that you tamp to is also very important.

              Thats the basics.  I am sure you already researched this.


              • #8
                Re: Looking for Breville BES820 upgrades and owners

                @saoye, youre right, I didnt say that my 820 its not making a good espresso... In fact, Im happy with my machine!
                Maybe I didnt make myself clear, lets start from the basics that Im already getting the best off my 820.
                What upgrades are possible to implement on 820?
                - Its possible implemente a PID?
                - After a shot, the coffee on pf its too wet, the 3 way solenoid can helps with that, right? Again, can i install this on 820?
                - I see people saying that it have, some saying that not... Afterall, 820 have or not a OPV? If not, can I install one?

                Sad but true, all products by Breville are very beautifull and bla bla bla, but their service is terrible, do not get response from breville from AU much less in Brazil ...

                Tks a lot for all attention and all responses.
                Sorry if my words dont sound friendly, but my english is limited


                • #9
                  Re: Looking for Breville BES820 upgrades and owners

                  Hi Ricardo,

                  Regarding your question on PID, there is a site sponsor that sells PID kits (, however I dont think there has been a trial on the BES820. These kits are quite expensive compared to an "entry level" machine which we both have -- I have the Sunbeam EM5900 at the moment. Ive mostly been seeing Silvia owners adding these PID kits. "Gronking" is an alternative to this (

                  As for the wet pucks, it is quite common with our machines even with the single wall filter baskets. Maybe you can try waiting a bit after pulling the shot (around 15 seconds or so) to let the coffee puck dry out before tapping it out? I find that having the dose at a correct level also minimizes the excess water on top. Unfortunately I havent seen anybody "adding" a 3-way solenoid valve, as it looks to be built into the machines which have them.

                  From the product information of the 820, there is mention of a pressure gauge (, so that may be useful in the absence of an OPV. The machine wont automatically release the pressure but at least it gives you a rough guide in when you can pull the shot.

                  Certainly the machine is far from perfect, but in my opinion these entry level machines give us the opportunity to practice on the grind-dose-tamp, when coupled with an okay grinder. With freshly roasted and freshly ground beans, Ive found my coffee journey to be enjoyable so far, and hopefully you will too, despite the limitations


                  • #10
                    Re: Looking for Breville BES820 upgrades and owners

                    Man, this kits are really too expensive... But here in Brasil I have friends who buy the parts and install spending +- US$ 90,00... Im sure the quality of the kit must really high, but the really do it yourself brazilian kit also do their job.
                    Oh, as usual, always on Silvia....


                    • #11
                      Re: Looking for Breville BES820 upgrades and owners

                      Im not convinced that a PID would be worth it for your machine at this point (without a grinder). The reason being that the fundamental limitation of a thermoblock machine is that the water temperature is linked to the flow rate. The block must be heated to greater than the appropriate extraction temperature in order to heat water to the correct temperature while it flows. Therefore, if you choke the machine, you should find that the water gets hotter. On my old machine, if I made a really slow shot, switching to steam was noticably faster because the thermoblock had cooled less.

                      Point being that unless you own a grinder, your flow rate is going to be all over the place. In which case, you might set the temperature of the thermoblock quite accurately, but that isnt reflected in precise water temperatures.

                      For wet pucks, AFAIK that is just going to happen to you on a machine with no solenoid. That just means that you cant interpret a wet puck as being a bad thing, it is what your machine does when you are using it correctly. The bigger issue with no solenoid is that you cant remove the PF immediately.

                      Similarly, for the OPV, the biggest problem with my old machine was that without an OPV, choking the machine would increase the load on the pump. In theory, you should be able to make an espresso (although not necessarily a ristretto) at the ideal 9 bar pressure purely by adjusting the grind- that is, if you had an OPV, nothing would be coming out of it.

                      I guess at the end of the day, if you dont have a grinder then there is still a long way for you to go with your machine. Aside from the freshness of the beans, the main reason to have a grinder is so that you can adjust the grind shot-by-shot. If you are just getting it ground at a cafe, it is almost certainly not ground properly for your machine. That makes a *huge* difference, and personally I wouldnt think of doing any mods to your machine before you have had a good chance to play with your own grinder and proper tamper Good luck!


                      • #12
                        Re: Looking for Breville BES820 upgrades and owners

                        For all, I really know that I took the wrong way, ignoring the mantra "Buy a good grinder first.. buy a good grinder first!!" ;D But Im saving money to do that, I promess!!
                        Seriously, the grinder will be the first upgrade on my machine.

                        @papagoose Tks, thats what I has looking for, knowledge about the BES820 specifications, to understand its possibilities and limitacions.


                        • #13
                          Re: Looking for Breville BES820 upgrades and owners

                          ricardo, search for "pid saeco" on google and youll find some more relevant results, or look here:

                          Essentially you need a pid controller, SSR, thermocouple, wires, and some know-how. You can even buy a miniature general purpose micro controller and write your own PID for about $20, but it wont have any isolation or protection. Technically all you have to do is intercept the power to the element and put your PID/SSR in between. Then put the thermocouple somewhere on the hot side of the thermoblock. Youll also need to intercept the control board wiring for steaming and on/off. Test, tune, and drink! Much easier said than done!

                          You dont have an OPV either, so that would be another mod.

                          I didnt find the lack of solenoid a problem.

                          The only point I was making about buying a grinder first, is that you may go to all this PID/modification effort to find it does nothing, because your quality is degraded too much by the pre-ground beans already... So long as youre aware of that, go for it!

                          And take pictures and post them here so we can improve the lack of information on this machine