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  1. #1
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    Best Solution for Low Shot Volume?

    Brand new to home espresso, and to this forum. Please be gentle.

    Just got a Breville BES870. I'm loving this new journey so far. Here's my question. If I run a double shot cycle through the portafilter WITHOUT any grind, I get almost precisely 60 mL, as one would expect. When extracting an actual double shot, however, I'm getting good pressure, and the time is generally in the right time frame, but the shot volume is quite a bit lower, in the 40 mL range.

    I realize that I won't get all 60 mL to come through, but what's reasonable to expect? And more importantly, what are the potential issues?

    I certainly can reprogram the machine to run longer, to compensate, but is there something else I need to adjust? Can the size of the grind or the density of the tamp, have this much of an effect on the shot volume? In other words, is my puck "holding" that much water? It doesn't seem too wet when I knock it out.

    I'm inclined to think that I should hesitate to start adjusting factory settings on the machine, being so new. Hoping someone here might have some insight.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    I have never weighed my 'wet' pucks to tell you what is normal absorption would be... but it sounds like your machine is operating effectively. How many grams of coffee is going into the shot? Most people use a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio of coffee:water. Assuming your portafilters holds 16-20 grams and pulling 40ml (or grams) espresso you are on target.

  3. #3
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  4. #4
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    Ok, makes sense, and the article you linked to is great, thanks!

    To make sure I fully understand, I'll restate what I think you're saying. If my machine is operating effectively, and my pucks aren't overly wet (or in other words holding too much water), then it's up to me to choose the weight of coffee, and manually SET my machine to an amount of water that I want. And there's no way any one can answer that for me, as it depends on the type of coffee, the character of the espresso I want, etc.

    Sounds like a scale is a pretty important tool in this game!!

    Thanks again.

  5. #5
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    When starting out going by numbers (time/volume) can be useful to get you in a good range, but after some time you will develop a sense/taste of what works/what doesn't for you, your equipment, coffees you like to use, etc. then can fine tune based on that.

    Personally I find it hilarious when people weigh during an extraction as it's just a number. I go by taste, texture, color, flow rate to determine exactly what my coffee is doing. Maybe some can't master espresso to that degree and must go by numbers to get it right consistently. Like those that insist a PID is a must-have for temp. consistency, which is also hilarious. That is just a training wheel crutch for those that can't master their machine.

    Good thing you came here for advice/info as the members here are rather knowledgeable and not nearly as judgmental as many on other forums.

    BTW puck moisture can be influenced by several things. Too low of a dose or too fine on grind can cause a soupy puck. Super fresh coffee, too high on the dose or grinding too coarse will usually lead to a more dry puck.
    I'm a legend among my own kind... you my friend are just a legend in your own mind. Later!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadow745 View Post
    When starting out going by numbers (time/volume) can be useful to get you in a good range, but after some time you will develop a sense/taste of what works/what doesn't for you, your equipment, coffees you like to use, etc. then can fine tune based on that.

    Personally I find it hilarious when people weigh during an extraction as it's just a number. I go by taste, texture, color, flow rate to determine exactly what my coffee is doing. Maybe some can't master espresso to that degree and must go by numbers to get it right consistently. Like those that insist a PID is a must-have for temp. consistency, which is also hilarious. That is just a training wheel crutch for those that can't master their machine.

    Good thing you came here for advice/info as the members here are rather knowledgeable and not nearly as judgmental as many on other forums.

    BTW puck moisture can be influenced by several things. Too low of a dose or too fine on grind can cause a soupy puck. Super fresh coffee, too high on the dose or grinding too coarse will usually lead to a more dry puck.
    It's quickly becoming apparent that this will be a positive resource for me, so I appreciate your insight and kind words. I also get what you mean in regards to "overquantifying" these things, at the expense of trial and error, trusting your instincts, experimenting, etc.

    At this point I don't even have a clue what 20g of finely ground coffee looks like, so I am curious about that! Otherwise, I'll just reprogram my machine to give me a little more water for a double, closer to 60 mL, and go from there!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by eligeorgia View Post
    Ok, makes sense, and the article you linked to is great, thanks!

    To make sure I fully understand, I'll restate what I think you're saying. If my machine is operating effectively, and my pucks aren't overly wet (or in other words holding too much water), then it's up to me to choose the weight of coffee, and manually SET my machine to an amount of water that I want. And there's no way any one can answer that for me, as it depends on the type of coffee, the character of the espresso I want, etc.

    Sounds like a scale is a pretty important tool in this game!!

    Thanks again.
    Yes... pretty much at least. Your portafilter can only handle so much coffee so its easier to get into a rhythm of dosing a consistent amount of coffee - say 18-20g for a double basket. Start with producing 40g of espresso (around 1.5 oz). Pull shorter or longer to taste. And Shadow is right.. don't overcomplicate things and go by your taste. It sound like your machine is setup about on...

    I would suggest a scale... at least while your learning you can keep your input/coffee weight constant. This is nice cheap one... and at some point of you get into pour over or similar you will need a scale.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    Last edited by Musicphan; 05-10-2017 at 05:31 PM.

  8. #8
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    Yeah +1 on the scale as it will help with dosing, minimizing waste, etc. Although I now use a digital scale with a .1 gram resolution, for years I used a kitchen scale with a 1 gram resolution and that worked fine. Most people likely won't taste the difference 1 gram makes, but I'm at the point I notice even .5 gram changes in taste, texture, etc.

    Don't know if you mentioned it, but what basket do you use? I ask as I believe many of Breville's machines come with pressurized and non-pressurized baskets. The difference between both versions is night/day.
    I'm a legend among my own kind... you my friend are just a legend in your own mind. Later!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadow745 View Post
    Yeah +1 on the scale as it will help with dosing, minimizing waste, etc. Although I now use a digital scale with a .1 gram resolution, for years I used a kitchen scale with a 1 gram resolution and that worked fine. Most people likely won't taste the difference 1 gram makes, but I'm at the point I notice even .5 gram changes in taste, texture, etc.

    Don't know if you mentioned it, but what basket do you use? I ask as I believe many of Breville's machines come with pressurized and non-pressurized baskets. The difference between both versions is night/day.
    I'm using the "non pressurized" basket I think. Whichever one that Breville recommends I use for freshly ground coffee.

  10. #10
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    Buy a new espresso machine. Check out this guide
    Last edited by Melissa.Faulk; 05-21-2017 at 07:10 PM.

 

 

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