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Breville Bar Italia + good drinkable coffee possible?

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  • Breville Bar Italia + good drinkable coffee possible?

    Hi there guys,

    Ive just entered the world of coffee making...I was given an old Breville "Bar Italia" and have only just started mucking around with it because it was free (had zero interest in coffee making until it was given to me haha).
    However I find myself having a bit of fun making coffee in the mornings for a family who know nothing but instant! LOL

    Anyways, to the point: my challenge is that I dont wanna spend any more than $100 to improve this setup...Im sorry for the CS out there who are cringing at the thought of this! I have a feeling my machine isnt great to begin with :P

    but seriously, I cannot spend anymore on this new hobby of mine (amongst getting married and a zillion other hobbies).

    So the challenge is: What do I spend my money on? Chuck it all towards a decent grinder (EM0480?), try out a "naked" portafilter (dont really know what that is, but have heard its good haha)...or just chuck the machine away and save my $100 lol. 

    seriously though, Im never gonna spend $500 on a nice setup, Im already content on drinking coffee that isnt instant and doesnt taste like crap.

    Is it possible to get a decent cup of coffee (crema??) with a basic machine and a good grinder?

    hope this post doesnt offend too many people hehe


  • #2
    Re: Breville Bar Italia + good drinkable coffee possible?

    Hi Stonedewok

    Yes, you can get a reasonable coffee out of a Bar Italia - this was my first machine and started me on my coffee journey originally! The good thing about the BI is that its a boiler machine, so simple and easy to use for those starting out. I really cant remember whether it had a dual walled basket or not, though - someone may be able to help out there. The dual walled basket can sometimes be modified with a Dremel to make it single walled - there is a thread on the site regarding this, but it will be worth it if you can.

    Now, to answer your questions...

    1. Get a grinder - even if it is a hand held one. Do not get a spice grinder. Its no good getting a bottomless naked portafilter if you cant use beans youve ground yourself fresh and on-demand (coffee goes stale quickly after grinding ie; 3 minutes).

    2. Yes, you can get a good crema if you use fresh beans, freshly ground and in a single walled basket. You can source fresh beans from BeanBay or many of the Sponsors. Note - beans from a supermarket are rarely fresh as theyve been potentially shipped from overseas and then sat on a shelf for God knows how long. Roasted beans usually last 3-4 weeks before starting to go stale.

    Good luck with the wedding and your new coffee journey! Do what my friends are doing - theyve been together for a while now and are asking for donations to put towards a coffee machine & grinder setup for their wedding presents!



    • #3
      Re: Breville Bar Italia + good drinkable coffee possible?

      Hi Di,

      Thanks heaps for that info, really appreciate it! Its good to know the BI will suffice (for now :P) - and yup its a single walled basket (theres a double and quad included).

      1. Sounds good, ill definitely be looking at a manual grinder or the EM0480 - which seems to be well-received here on CS

      2. Yup, this is what I keep hearing too! Ive just purchased some Single Origin beans from Central Coast coffee which should be delivered next week!

      Is it true youre supposed to let freshly roasted coffee "sit" for a while before grinding them??

      Oh and thank you for the sentiment/suggestion! I have a feeling a decent espresso machine will be going on the gift registry



      • #4
        Re: Breville Bar Italia + good drinkable coffee possible?

        You only need to let them sit if you roast them yourself, or if you buy them on the day, or within a day or two of roasting, although this definitely is dependent on each individual and their taste buds - Ive been known to drink coffee made with beans Id only finished roasting minutes before because of poor planning!

        The general rule of thumb is to let them sit for up to five days, so they have time to rid themselves of the gas they release after roasting - I find really freshly roasted beans a bit grassy tasting, but still palateable if youre desperate for caffeine.

        Coming through the post, they will more than likely be good to go. I have a habit, nowadays, that if I buy commercially roasted coffee from a cafe I havent used before, then Ill ask when they were roasted - most good cafes should be able to tell you, or at least find out from the roaster.

        I tend to always buy BeanBay beans, personally, because I know Andy, he puts a roast date on his bean bags, roasts them to order each Sunday and Tuesday and a certain portion of the proceeds go to the FairCrack project. Oh, and he does my favouritest blend in the whole wide world!!! ;D


        • #5
          The bar italia is where I started too!! They have non pressurised baskets. The single shot and double shot both non pressurised. The single shot basket sits well with my breville 800es, which was my upgrade!! win!!!