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BDB pre-infusion taking forever

DJ_Ace

New member
Jan 6, 2022
3
3
Boise
Hi all,

I recently upgraded from the Breville BES-840XL. Was a great budget friendly machine that lasted me 6 great years. It ran like a champ...even used it to make over 15 drinks on more than one occasion and it got used almost every day for the 6 years I had it. Put it to good use, haha! Anyways, it finally started having an electrical issue so my wife and I decided to upgrade to the Breville Dual Boiler. I kept the Vario that I was grinding my beans with as I didn't see the need to swap that out.

So after working on getting it dialed in, I am still having issues. Since the Vario that I have goes by time and not weight I used a kitchen scale to make sure I am getting the recommended weight of 19 -19.5 grams. I am using single origin beans from Ritual's (San Francisco) Single origin Ace offering which is currently "BOLA DE ORO, GUATEMALA ACE." The big problem is that the BDB is taking a very long time for the pre-infusion. Usually close to about 30 seconds before I start to see it drip and can release it out of manual to finally pull the shot. When I release it, it has no problem going up to the 9 psi for the duration of the shot and the volume is decent at that point. If I don't use the manual mode and just press the 2 cup button, I will get no pre-infusion reading and then the shot will go to 9 psi, but not actually provide good volume. I tried cleaning the Vario today, partly because it needed it. But that didn't change much. Is this an issue with the machine or the grinder? (or the user, haha)

Thanks for any help!

-Ace
 

Musicphan

Well-known member
May 11, 2014
1,596
34
Kansas City
I have no experience with that particular machine but generally, pre-infusion on an espresso machine is only a few seconds. The purpose of this is to saturate the puck to disperse CO2 vs extraction. You should not be extracting espresso at this point.
 
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DJ_Ace

DJ_Ace

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Jan 6, 2022
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I have no experience with that particular machine but generally, pre-infusion on an espresso machine is only a few seconds. The purpose of this is to saturate the puck to disperse CO2 vs extraction. You should not be extracting espresso at this point.
Thanks for the response.

Pre-infusion is a variable that can be adjusted based on coffee and desired taste by most 3rd wave coffee shops and some home machines. Most machines are pre-programmed to be a short time and not sure what your experience is or what machine you use as well. So in this case, the BDB is pre-programmed on a double shot to pre-infuse for 7 seconds at 60% pressure. The cool thing on this machine is you can adjust the pre-infusion time on the double shot as well as the pressure. There is a video out there from whole latte love that they use the same beans and adjust the both to see what shots they prefer. However, when I use the default settings of 7 seconds at 60% I am not getting pressure and it is also not fully soaking the puck before going to full pressure. There is a manual button on the machine that allows you to pre-infuse for any length of time and then when you release the button you can choose when to stop the full shot extraction once the correct shot volume is achieved. From everything I have read on this machine and when you are working on dialing it in, it is better to start with manual.

This is a bit of a head scratcher for me because I cannot figure out why the pre-infusion is lacking so much and taking so long. 30 seconds seems way to long and the flavor of the shots isn't great. I have been thinking that the issue is with the grind, but I cannot figure out if the grind is too fine or to coarse. I have it pretty well dialed in to achieve the 19-19.5 grams that is needed for the 58mm portafilter.
 

Musicphan

Well-known member
May 11, 2014
1,596
34
Kansas City
I think I'm understanding your problem... essentially you are expecting to see the first drips of your pre-infusion faster than 30 seconds. If that is the challenge then your grinds are too fine (or your tamping too hard). I'm curious to see if you increase your grind size if the shot will extract too fast...
 
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DJ_Ace

DJ_Ace

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Jan 6, 2022
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I think I'm understanding your problem... essentially you are expecting to see the first drips of your pre-infusion faster than 30 seconds. If that is the challenge then your grinds are too fine (or your tamping too hard). I'm curious to see if you increase your grind size if the shot will extract too fast...
Yes, I was thinking the same thing and tried 3 times today to adjust the grind size to be a little less fine to help alleviate the issue. By the 3rd shot, I had a much better pre-infusion. But then the problem became that I was not getting good pressure at the 9 psi and the volume was a little high. Feels like I am closer than I was though. Appreciate you chiming in and helping confirm some of my suspicions.
 

shadow745

Active member
Aug 15, 2005
1,622
15
Central North Carolina
Personally have never found pre-infusion on any machine to really be useful. Only real positive I see with using it is less puck destruction on start-up, but if you make a bit of effort on consistent puck prep there shouldn't be much of a problem. I will say don't get too caught up chasing numbers as many tend to do that and end up chasing their tail in the process. Method to my madness is grinding quite fine, updosing as much as possible, light on the tamp and don't see the first drop until around the 15 second point, then I run most coffees to upwards of the 50 second point to give me maybe a 1 oz. yield on average. I never go by time/volume/weight, but have noted those on occasion out of curiosity. Some coffees tend to do a bit better cut a bit shorter, but I have pushed a few just over the 1 min mark with a fantastic end result. Once the warranty expires on my somewhat new machine I plan to swap out the pump for a severe duty Ulka that can easily run up to 2 mins followed by just 1 min to cool down. Not saying I'll ever hit the 2 min point on extracting, but just never know... These days anything much less than 40 seconds of contact time is weak and unbalanced, but I've done my fair share of dialing things in over many years. Just tinker with your new machine and focus primarily on taste and texture as the 'ideal numbers' don't always indicate that.
 
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