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Thread: Using coffee beans from supermarkets.

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    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    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; 25th February 2016 at 07:58 PM. Reason: Added note

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    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?

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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote 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
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    Quote 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

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    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

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    Quote 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; 25th February 2016 at 08:00 PM. Reason: Corrected quote link

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    Quote 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.

    Quote 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; 25th February 2016 at 07:43 PM. Reason: Modified for clarity
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    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.

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    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; 25th February 2016 at 09:32 PM.

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    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.
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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    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.

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    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.

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    Quote 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.

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    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.

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    Quote 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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by readeral View Post
    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.
    Yes I intend to do that. She lives 15 minutes away (I have read to use ground coffee within an hour of grinding and use beans within 3 weeks of roasting.)

    I purchased some beans from a nearby roasting company yesterday and was told that they had been roasted during the past week. They also ground a small quantity in their 'commercial' grinder at their normal espresso setting.
    I could NOT get much pressure (below the 'espresso range' on the gauge - in the pre infusion area) and virtually no crema and weak tasting using the coffee they ground for me.
    Using the 'freshly roasted' beans I ground at setting '1' (the finest setting) and got a good pressure (almost to the 'overextracted' area on the gauge) BUT that was with the finest grind setting. As the settings range from 1 to 20 I would have thought that a higher setting (5 or more?) should be enough. The grinder is an integral part of the machine).
    I am trying to determine if I have grounds (sorry for the pun) to get a replacement machine or refund as it is only 4 weeks old and I have never been able to get a decent extraction pressure since it came out of the box - at first I put that down to learning how to use it correctly.
    Last edited by jparnold; 27th February 2016 at 12:09 PM. Reason: add text

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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    How were the beans being stored at the roastery where you bought them and how were they packaged for you to take home?


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    Quote Originally Posted by jparnold View Post
    Yes I intend to do that. She lives 15 minutes away (I have read to use ground coffee within an hour of grinding and use beans within 3 weeks of roasting.)

    I purchased some beans from a nearby roasting company yesterday and was told that they had been roasted during the past week. They also ground a small quantity in their 'commercial' grinder at their normal espresso setting.
    I could NOT get much pressure (below the 'espresso range' on the gauge - in the pre infusion area) and virtually no crema and weak tasting using the coffee they ground for me.
    Using the 'freshly roasted' beans I ground at setting '1' (the finest setting) and got a good pressure (almost to the 'overextracted' area on the gauge) BUT that was with the finest grind setting. As the settings range from 1 to 20 I would have thought that a higher setting (5 or more?) should be enough. The grinder is an integral part of the machine).
    I am trying to determine if I have grounds (sorry for the pun) to get a replacement machine or refund as it is only 4 weeks old and I have never been able to get a decent extraction pressure since it came out of the box - at first I put that down to learning how to use it correctly.
    Sounds like the grinder needs one or two shims. It's an easy job so don't be afraid to do it yourself. There's heaps of instructions online for the procedure. From you latest report I doubt that there's anything wrong with the machine itself and you'll be right once the shims are installed.

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    They were in large glass jars with lids (didn't notice if the lids sealed the jars but assumed so).

    They placed the beans in bags with a one way valve and told me each time I opened the bag to seal using the zip lock and to 'collapse' the bag by compressing it to remove all the air.

    Yes I guessed that the shims are easy to install especially as the manual shows how to remove the bottom grinder for cleaning. However the shim kit states that if not installed by an authorised Breville service person the warranty may be voided.
    I guess using too much shim could cause the grinders to touch each other and destroy themselves.
    Last edited by jparnold; 27th February 2016 at 12:51 PM. Reason: add text

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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    Sounds like the grinder needs one or two shims.
    Either that or...

    Quote Originally Posted by jparnold View Post
    I purchased some beans from a nearby roasting company yesterday and was told that they had been roasted during the past week.
    Quote Originally Posted by jparnold View Post
    They were in large glass jars with lids
    ...he's still using stale beans.


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    What exactly are stale beans? I read that roasted beans should be used within 3 weeks of roasting. Are 2 week old beans considered stale?
    More importantly can the pressure be affected between beans roasted on the day and those roasted 2 weeks ago?

    The proprietor stated that they were roasted in during the past week and they roast on site (I could see through to the back where there were a couple of guys working). Maybe they are stale but I have to take his word. How should they be stored before sale?

    I just read that beans should be stored in opaque air tight containers (clear ones allow light to affect beans). Surely the roaster should know this. Maybe it's time to try another roaster?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jparnold View Post
    However the shim kit states that if not installed by an authorised Breville service person the warranty may be voided.
    I guess using too much shim could cause the grinders to touch each other and destroy themselves.
    Open up the grinder to 'clean' it. Have a look to see if there's already some shims in there. If there is then there's no way that anyone would know if you'd added another one or two shims.
    And you're right, these appliance manufacturers err on the side of caution to avoid issues like the burrs touching. That's why you just go easy and add one at a time.

  23. #23
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    Using coffee beans from supermarkets.

    Quote Originally Posted by jparnold View Post
    They were in large glass jars with lids (didn't notice if the lids sealed the jars but assumed so).

    They placed the beans in bags with a one way valve and told me each time I opened the bag to seal using the zip lock and to 'collapse' the bag by compressing it to remove all the air.
    As Java pointed out, the glass jars might not be the best storage method. Coffee is fresh for up to 5 or 6 weeks in some cases, but the window of when they're at their best is usually around that 7-21 days post roast for most beans. But that's when they're stored correctly. Why on earth any roaster would spend thousands of money on roasting equipment to then store their freshly roasted coffee in clear glass jars is beyond me. Light could stale that coffee a hell of a lot faster than you'd normally expect, and if they're air tight that's not the best either as it won't allow carbon dioxide to escape.
    What they told you regarding the valve bag is pretty much spot on though.

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    I think that stale beans are ones that don’t taste fresh to you. No matter how well they are stored, they usually will be stale after about 4 weeks. Sooner if overcome by heat, light or air. Let your taste buds tell you.

    I don’t think that Breville and Sunbeam mind about you adding or removing shims to their grinders as they will sell them to you and tell you how to fit them.

    Barry
    Last edited by Barry_Duncan; 27th February 2016 at 03:34 PM.

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    It seems that I have a lot more to learn (now about noticing the difference between fresh and stale beans). I have been told by a few people including a barista that you keep on discovering/learning new things.

    Anyway back to the original reason for my post, using beams from supermarkets and can they affect extraction pressure as I seem to have issues with my brand new machine.
    My daughter has the same machine and was using the same (supermarket) beans.
    She ground some beans at setting 4 brought them to my place (15 minutes away) and she dosed a single cup and tamped at 'her pressure' and we then did the brew. The pressure gauge went around to about 3/4 of the scale which she said was much the same as she gets on her machine.
    I ground some of my beans with my machine at setting 1 (should have also used 4 the same as she uses but that doesn't matter - see below).
    She took them home, dosed a single cup and tamped at 'her pressure' and did the brew. She said her pressure gauge went to about the same place (3/4).

    SO I have to use grind setting 1 and she only uses setting 4 for the same extraction pressure which seems to me (IMHO) that my grinder needs shims so that I don't have to have it set to the finest setting.

    Does this sound correct?

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    Why don't you use a blind (or tape up the jokes inside your basket) and see what pressure you get, this will eliminate beans/grind/dose etc.

    Cheers

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    I am reluctant to use a blind or tape up the holes as I read somewhere (when I googled 'blind basket) that you should use one with a machine which doesn't have a solenoid? valve (not sure maybe a pressure relief valve which only seem to be in commercial type machines which require use of a blind regularly to keep them clean inside.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jparnold View Post
    I am reluctant to use a blind or tape up the holes as I read somewhere (when I googled 'blind basket) that you should use one with a machine which doesn't have a solenoid? valve (not sure maybe a pressure relief valve which only seem to be in commercial type machines which require use of a blind regularly to keep them clean inside.
    Hi jp,

    The cleaning disc inserted into the single cup, single wall basket is exactly the same as a blind filter basket. Whilst your machine has a solenoid, what protects it from overpressure is a device called an over pressure valve (OPV), which your machine also has.

    The OPV controls the maximum pressure the machine can apply to the coffee and stops the pressure from going too high by allowing water to flow back to the tank if and when it's preset pressure is reached. If your machine is providing correct pressure, this maximum pressure will be somewhere in the overextracted zone on the gauge.

    To test it, insert your single wall single cup basket into your portafilter, insert the cleaning disc into the basket, insert portafilter into your machine. Press and hold the single cup button and watch the gauge until it reaches it's maximum arc. This will tell you if the machine is OK.

    Forget the supermarket beans. They will ALL be STALE and incapable of reaching espresso extraction pressure no matter how finely ground they are, let alone producing tasty espresso.

    Use fresh beans from 1 to 4 weeks after roast date at all times. After 4 weeks, beans will be stale.

    Hope this helps.

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    Thanks saroadie,

    I think I can "put to bed" the issue about freshly roasted beans now. I have learned heaps and thanks everyone.

    I did the test you explained -

    To test it, insert your single wall single cup basket into your portafilter, insert the cleaning disc into the basket, insert portafilter into your machine. Press and hold the single cup button and watch the gauge until it reaches it's maximum arc. This will tell you if the machine is OK.
    The needle on the pressure gauge barely moved off the bottom of the scale and almost got to the first mark on the scale (bottom of the pre-infusion area)
    Does that indicate incorrect pressure?
    I have also tested by overdosing as much as I could (using coffee ground at the '1' setting - finest) and still get the port filter into the group head and the pressure went almost the the end of the scale.

    What do you think?

  30. #30
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    Sounds like you've pretty much sussed this out. Putting a shim in the grinder at some stage probably can't hurt, but the biggest favour you could do for yourself is stick to high quality, freshly roasted coffee. Then it's just a matter of practice. Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jparnold View Post

    What do you think?
    I think 3 things:
    1 Your machine seems OK as far as ability to reach brew pressure.
    2 Your grinder MAY need shimming. If you maintain the grind setting but reduce dose to full or only slightly over and cannot reach pressure, shimming is required.
    3 Holding the single cup button during the test may keep the machine in a preinfusion mode (low pressure). If you repeat the test but start single cup brewing instead of holding the button in and the gauge swings right round near max this would confirm. Your machine may operate slightly differently to mine (BES920). If so, my bad, sorry.

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    Yes I noticed that.
    While I held the button down the needle did not move off the bottom and I could tell by the sound of the machine that it was in pre-infusion 'mode'.
    As soon as I released the button the sound changed to the 'espresso' mode and the needle climbed but only marginally. Shouldn't it rise more than the first mark on the dial?

  33. #33
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    I've got a better idea: Use only the best, fresh coffee. Use only the single wall, double shot filter basket. Then cover that bloody dial up with a bit of tape or card or something. It seems like you've got the blinkers on and are only worried about the pressure gauge reading. Worry about what's coming out the portafilter and what ends up in the cup. What would you have done if you'd bought say a Silvia or Oscar that doesn't have a pressure gauge?

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    I am NOT worried about the pressure gauge reading BUT I am worried when the extracted coffee is watery and lacks taste.
    I thought that the pressure gauge was there for a reason - to indicate that extraction is correct.
    Yes I realise that you can also ascertain if the extract is correct by -
    how quickly the extracted coffee starts to flow after pressing the 'extract/make' button
    how fast the coffee comes out and the time it takes to do the extract (when the pressure is low it comes out fast and doesn't take long to come out so a double indication)
    the taste of the coffee (watery and weak when the pressure is low)
    crema - lack of it indicates underextraction.
    I am using the pressure gauge as well as those other things but it is the first evidence that the extraction should be ok. If I had stated "the extract starts quickly after the button is pressed, comes out quickly, is watery and lacks taste and little crema" it would have been more 'wordy'. So I referred to the pressure instead.

    It is the first thing to notice if the extraction is going ok.

    Please advise if I'm wrong.

  35. #35
    Senior Member saroadie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jparnold View Post
    Shouldn't it rise more than the first mark on the dial?
    Yes.

    Perhaps some water is making of past the cleaning disc in which case you'd find water dripping from the spouts. Or, longer may be required for pressure to be reached, either use the 2 cup button or do the test twice without touching anything in between. You've stated you can choke the machine anyway so play around with making coffee.

    As LeroyC so eloquently stated above, pressure gauges are NOT the primary focus. Results in the cup are.

    The single basket is way more difficult to master than the double. Start with the double.

    Your method should be to use a consistent dose and tamp so that grind is the variable used.

    You goal is a great tasting espresso. Try to get 50ml in 25-35 seconds as a starting point. From there taste is the gauge.

  36. #36
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    Thanks

    I am not primarily focusing on the pressure BUT I do want the needle to be in the 'ideal espresso zone' as I feel that is a good starting point to know that extraction should be ok.
    The instruction book (and Youtube videos) suggest that you should aim to get a consistent extraction pressure (in the espresso range on the dial).

    If the coffee was not watery and lacking 'body' and there was a nice crema I would be satisfied even if the pressure gauge indicated differently - I would then consider that the pressure gauge might be faulty


    I am using the double cup basket as I always need to make 2 cups (wife and myself). I use the 'razor' after tamping (while I am learning) to ensure the dose is consistent (the 'razor' is a device to 'trim' the dose so that it is consistent). The only thing I cannot control is the getting a consistent tamp. I guess I could place the portafilter onto a bathroom scale to check what pressure I am using as I tamp) - the instructions suggest a pressure between 15 and 20kgs but I just press very hard and the twist the tamper as I have seen people do this on many of the Youtube videos I have watched and I tell you I have watched HEAPS trying to learn correct techniques.
    The instruction manual also states the following (which I check for but hasn't been happening until lately) -
    the espresso should start to flow after 4-8 seconds (infusion time)
    the shot time should be 25-35 seconds

    I believe that I am doing as much as possible to get it right.

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    I also own the 870. The following points made a big difference.
    With the double basket I do a single shot then tamp, then another single shot then tamp.
    I only change grind settings while it is operating.
    Hope this helps.
    Cheers Stuart.

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    Further to the above post, I bought some pre ground coffee from a supermarket (ran out of home roasted supply)to use with our "Moka Express". Tried the leftover in the Breville. Complete waste of time. Fresh beans are the key
    Cheers Stuart.

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    Thanks Stuart,
    I also have tried the two single shots in a double with tamping after each. It made a little difference.
    Last night I ground some fresh roasted beans (well a week old since roasting). What a difference.
    For a start I needed to add some more ground coffee after the first dose (using the dose setting as it was from when using the supermarket beans). The fresh beans seemed to not result in as higher 'mound' prior to tamping and didn't seem to have as much air in it - might have just been coincidence.
    I immediately noticed that coffee did NOT start to come out during the infusion 'cycle' and then during the espresso 'cycle' the coffee looked 'thicker' and came out much slower, it must have taken 30 seconds for it to finish. Also the pressure gauge went almost to the 'over extraction' area.
    Of course the coffee tasted noticably better. BUT that is still using grind setting 1 (the finest) which I am not happy about as it gives me no latitude. The book states to start with setting 5 and adjust from there. In one Youtube video I saw using the same machine they were using grind setting 4 and the 'pressure' is high and also my daughter uses setting 4.
    Anyway it seems that all is well apart from the grinder. I will know soon if Breville will approve a replacement machine or if they make me take it to a service centre for repairs/adjustment (remember it had this 'problem' straight out of the box I just didn't know then that it wasn't me causing the problem as I am brand new to a manual espresso machine - previous one a De Longhi auto)

    Thanks again for helping me sort out what was wrong and also helping me through my learning experience.

  40. #40
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    Well as I expected Breville contacted me only to say that I have to take the machine to an authorised service centre and to make it worse the closest is an hour drive from where I live.

    If all they (service centre) do is install a shim kit I am considering doing that myself and if in the future the machine needs to go in for some other repair I will remove the shim kit and hope that no one notices that one was ever installed. From the directions they are easy to install only requiring the upper and lower grinder to be removed and even the instruction manual shows how to do this should cleaning of the conical burrs be necessary.

    At least now (using freshly roasted beans) I am getting great tasting coffee and I intend to experiment more trying a slightly higher number grind and maybe even experimenting with a change to the brew temperature to see if I noticed any difference (the machine allows for a change to temperature of +/-second crack in first crack increments.
    I must Google this first thought so that I know what to expect and if the experiment is worth the trouble - does anyone know?
    Also want to improve milk texturing and even work out fancy designs in the milk.

  41. #41
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    I think Breville would have a damn hard time voiding warranty unless your installation of the shims was proved to have caused damage.

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    Breville used to send out shims to customers who purchased a BCG800 grinder and found it wouldn't grind fine enough.
    Can't see them having much of a problem with the same procedure being carried out on the grinder in the 870.

    The service centre would probably just shim the grinder. It's what I do when i get a complaint like this.

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    Good to see things are headed in the right direction. Just a note - it's generally not recommended to have multiple layers in your filter basket. That is, the dose-tamp-dose-tamp method that you tried. The layers stay somewhat separated in this instance and you increase the chance of a poor extraction.
    Dimal and saroadie like this.

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    I have the same machine and use both brands of beans from Coles when I run out of fresh beans as per the original post.

    I have never experienced any of the issues mentioned. I usually grind on setting 3 or 4 for best results results and use a pretty hard tamp pressure.

    Definitely sounds like your grinder is at fault to me. Just put the shims in yourself. If it makes no difference then remove them and take it to the service centre.

  45. #45
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    Today after getting my contact at Breville to commit to covering me for warranty if I installed shims I did it. It was easy as I expected but I was just hesitant as the shim kit stated that warranty may be voided if a service technician didn't fit it.
    At first I added a 1.0mm shim (the instructions suggest a 1.00mm + a 0.4mm) but when I reassembled I noticed that when I attempted to turn the grind setting finer than 3 or 4 there was more resistance so I removed the 1.0mm shim and replaced it with a 0.4mm.
    Tonight I did my first double shot and set the grind setting back from 1.0 to about 2.5.
    Everything went well except that towards the end of the extraction the coffee was only dripped out of the portafilter yet the pressure was only in the high end of the espresso range.
    Anyway it seems that I should be more concerned with the time it takes and also the 'thickness' (some say like honey) than the pressure but it sure gives an instant idea on how things are going.
    The coffee tasted ok.
    Next time I will adjust the grind to maybe 3 or 3.5 and note the difference.
    I have to start the trial and error again adjusting the grind to get it right.
    I guess you probably have to do this everytime you use a different coffee bean blend and/or change coffee roaster.

    BTW in a post I read about the Breville BES870 the writer suggested throwing away the tamper which comes with it and buy a decent one. Any ideas why the one which comes with the machine isn't good enough? And are the ones I see listed on Ebay (all polished stainless steel) ok? What should I be looking for?

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    Another possibility

    Hi,
    I have the Breville BES840CBXL which is I think the same without the grinder. I use a mini-mazzer ginder which is absolutely excellent. I thought I had troubles with my machine when I got a bad batch of supermarket beans. I threw the beans out, got some fresher beans this time Lavazza, and presto problem gone. I have had several bad bags since and no change to the grind was fine enough. If a mini mazzer couldn't improve the grind sufficiently then no amount of shims in the Breville grinder are likely to either. I suggest going to your local café barrister and ask him to grind a small amount of his beans for you, race home and make a coffee within a few minutes and see if his or her grind solves your problem. If it does, buy some fresh beans.

    :/







    Quote Originally Posted by jparnold View Post
    Today after getting my contact at Breville to commit to covering me for warranty if I installed shims I did it. It was easy as I expected but I was just hesitant as the shim kit stated that warranty may be voided if a service technician didn't fit it.
    At first I added a 1.0mm shim (the instructions suggest a 1.00mm + a 0.4mm) but when I reassembled I noticed that when I attempted to turn the grind setting finer than 3 or 4 there was more resistance so I removed the 1.0mm shim and replaced it with a 0.4mm.
    Tonight I did my first double shot and set the grind setting back from 1.0 to about 2.5.
    Everything went well except that towards the end of the extraction the coffee was only dripped out of the portafilter yet the pressure was only in the high end of the espresso range.
    Anyway it seems that I should be more concerned with the time it takes and also the 'thickness' (some say like honey) than the pressure but it sure gives an instant idea on how things are going.
    The coffee tasted ok.
    Next time I will adjust the grind to maybe 3 or 3.5 and note the difference.
    I have to start the trial and error again adjusting the grind to get it right.
    I guess you probably have to do this everytime you use a different coffee bean blend and/or change coffee roaster.

    BTW in a post I read about the Breville BES870 the writer suggested throwing away the tamper which comes with it and buy a decent one. Any ideas why the one which comes with the machine isn't good enough? And are the ones I see listed on Ebay (all polished stainless steel) ok? What should I be looking for?

  47. #47
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    Hi,
    I have the Breville BES840CBXL which is I think the same without the grinder. I use a mini-mazzer ginder which is absolutely excellent. I thought I had troubles with my machine when I got a bad batch of supermarket beans. I threw the beans out, got some fresher beans this time Lavazza, and presto problem gone. I have had several bad bags since and no change to the grind was fine enough. If a mini mazzer couldn't improve the grind sufficiently then no amount of shims in the Breville grinder are likely to either. I suggest going to your local café barrister and ask him to grind a small amount of his beans for you, race home and make a coffee within a few minutes and see if his or her grind solves your problem. If it does, buy some fresh beans. Re the tamper, you may have some problems changing it as the Breville is a 54mm and the standard is 58 I believe. The tamper is fine IMHO.

    :/

  48. #48
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    Yeh freshly roasted beans improved the extraction pressure.
    I too started with some Lavazza beans (left over from use in my old machine) and while the extraction pressure was not good it was far better than when I started using Vittoria beans which was virtually nothing (so bean freshness does affect extraction pressure - but in my case the grinder definitely required a shim or two).
    I did notice today at my Coles some Lavazza beans with a use by date well into 2017 (more than 12 months in the future) yet the Vittoria beans only had a use by date of around 6 months ahead.
    Hard to know if the Vittoria are old stock or if the company believes coffee beans should be used close to their roasting/packing.

    Hey that brings me to another point.
    I have found that roasted coffee beans purchased at Gloria Jeans coffee shops have a use by date AND a packed date and that the packed date is always the day after roasting (as per Gloria Jenas). So you should be able to buy roasted coffee beans with confidence at Gloria Jeans
    I will probably continue purchasing freshly roasted beans from a roasting company 10 minutes drive away but will also maybe try Lavazza beans again so long as they have a use by date of 12 or more months to see what differences I can notice.

    BTW someone replying to my post either here or at another coffee forum said that beans must be used within 2 weeks of roasting. I have read elsewhere that roasted beans need a few days 'aging' (not the correct term used, can't remember) and a roasting company I contacted stated "We believe that coffee is at its absolute peak at 2 weeks of roast date"
    I wonder what the best really is.

    Yes I can't see what the problem using the supplied (Breville) tamper is. Plus it stores nicely. Yes you can buy 54mm tampers on Ebay.

  49. #49
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    That all sounds about right. The problem with buying beans from Gloria Jeans is that they're from Gloria Jeans. At least they're fresh, but they're pretty awful. Have you thought about buying some freshly roasted coffee from right here on Coffee Snobs Bean Bay?
    Also different beans will be good for different lengths of time, and storage can make a big difference too. But generally the peak is between about 7-21 days post roast. The outer limits are more like 2-45 days post roast. I usually find that I can taste the deterioration when making espresso when the coffee has reached about 30 days post roast.
    saroadie likes this.

  50. #50
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Yeh Gloria Jeans is very 'ordinary' tasting but they do have different blends and not sure which one they use to make the cups of coffee they sell.
    I 'posted' that just for interest.

    Thanks for pointing out that roasted coffee beans are available here. What is your favourite?

    Also they don't seem to be described with 'strength'/darkness and I have read somewhere that the darkest roasts can also be the more bitter ones. Any thoughts on that?



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