Post By Mb21
Flavor due to scale (or descale)
Pleased to join you in this forum.
I am a newbie on being a coffee snob, and I have a Breville Barista Express which I have been using almost everyday since I got it about 6 months ago. Although I struggled with getting a good espresso in the beginning (wasted alot of beans), but I think I'm starting to get the hang of good extraction.
Yesterday was the second time I descaled the machine, which brings me to the topic of this post.
I have noticed that the flavor of my shots changes whenever the machine needs descaling, the shots are bad and the espresso gushes out. However after descaling, the issue seems to go away.
Do you ever notice this? Would scale causes flavor change? From what I read, scale (heavy) may cause flow restriction, not sure what the implication is on flavor?
Good day Gnoils. When you say "descaling" do you mean cleaning with a tablet and / or flushing with vinegar?
Hi WarrenK, I mean flushing with vinegar.
Do you backflush the machine after each use with plain water? I find it helps a lot with keep insides cleaner longer. Nothing to do with scale though.
if scale is an issue invest in water filtration is my tip
A couple of thoughts, do you remove the filter before adding the vinegar, do you use the cheap unflavored vinegar, do you flush with clean water??? I am not having any after taste issue with mine. You still have warranty and can raise with Breville. Mb21 's suggestion is also relevant. Do you do a backflush with a cleaning tablet and use the rubber blanking disc when the clean me light comes on? Good luck .
Last edited by WarrenK; 22nd August 2018 at 09:40 PM.
Reason: Another thought
I remove the filter when descaling with those plain unflavored vinegar, then flush with clean water. I replaced the filter with a new one then do half tank flush with the filter installed.
I do a backflush with cleaning tablet when the clean me light comes on.
Also do a backflush without cleaning tablet sometimes.
The issue is that the flavor is bad (like underextracted or overextracted) before I descale. And after descale, seems to be ok again.
A couple of questions, firstly what water are you using, and if its tap water where are you based? Descaling twice in 6 months sounds unnecessary, was the machine second hand?
Scale shouldn't really affect flavour, after all its insoluble mineral deposits. Theoretically however it could affect the water temperature in a thermoblock machine, but unless its had heavy use with very hard water, I can't imagine this would occur. Furthermore, 'gushing' seems to suggest the flow rate is too fast? If you're still getting the hang of using the machine are you sure its not just a coincidence? Also importantly, what ginder and beans are you using? Are you getting ~30 mL in 30 sec?
I would also suggest backflushing with water every day. This will affect flavour much more than scale.
Cheers for the advise.
I use filtered tap water. Yeah, it feels unnecessary to me too.
What happened is that before 2 weeks ago, I was able to pull decent shots. And under the same beans/dose/grind (assuming my tamping is consistent), recently I am unable to pull good shots. I'm not sure if that is because the beans is getting old or the weather changes.
But it is frustrating.
My normal recipe is 16g (double), pulls 40ml in 25-30s. But nowadays it pulls 40ml in 20s or under. The flow seems to come out abit too quickly (time wise) at preinfusion (although good thick flow), but when full pressure is applied it starts to gush (thins, blonds).
Atm I'm not sure if I should grind finer. It feels like I'm grinding really fine already. Would weather changes affect it that much?
16 grams is on the low side for the BE baskets. I found that between 17/18 grams was the optimal dose for the Express, myself I would dose at 18 grams and go from there.
Cheers Erimus, I'll give that a go.