Breville Barista Express BES860XL - Broken pressure gauge..or broken wannabe barista?

onipar

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Sep 9, 2018
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Hi, all! I'm new here, first post and all that.

I recently scored a Breville Barista Express (BES860XL, which is the older version of the BES870XL) from a friend. This is my first espresso machine.

My issue is with getting the proper pressure level during extraction. The reason I'm worried (and this is my real question I guess), is because the pressure gauge is low even when using the pressurized filter basket, which I was under the impression is supposed to simulate the correct pressure no matter how crap you are at making espresso. SO of course I'm worried (since this is an older, used machine), that perhaps there's an issue with the pressure gauge or pump?

When I try to pull shots using the single walled non-pressurized filter basket, I also get very fast extraction with low pressure (for reference, the pressure gauge has been getting to the first line in the gray "espresso" range of the dial). I'm still learning and dialing in the machine, so I figure I have to just make the grind finer, but so far my attempts have changed very little (still hitting only that first line in the gray area of the dial). And as I said, when I tried the pressurized basket, and got that same low pressure on the gauge, I began to worry.

SO, when using a pressurized filter basket, is it normal for the pressure gauge to still be kind of low (as mentioned earlier, basically the first line in the gray "espresso range" on the dial). So the gauge *is* moving, which I guess is a good sign.

And if this is normal, I guess i just have to keep making the grind finer until I start getting better pressure, and then I can start adjusting other variables from there?

Thanks so much! I know this is a rambling first post, so I appreciate the help.
 
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Musicphan

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May 11, 2014
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I have no experience with pressurized portafilter so I'm little help there... I would suggest that you continue to make the grind finer until you get an approx. 25 second extraction. Make sure you use fresh roasted coffee.. anything over a month or so will produce thin fast shots.
 

onipar

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I have no experience with pressurized portafilter so I'm little help there... I would suggest that you continue to make the grind finer until you get an approx. 25 second extraction. Make sure you use fresh roasted coffee.. anything over a month or so will produce thin fast shots.

Thanks for the response! Yeah, I forgot to mention I get my beans from a local roaster. The beans I got yesterday were roasted the day before, so only a couple days old (which is maybe *too* fresh?).

I also was reading a bit a troubleshooting and it's possible I'm also under-filling my basket, so on my next attempt I'll go a little finer and increase the dose. I'm *hoping* the low pressure with the pressurized basket is also due to under-filling. I'll report back, but any other comments of course are more than welcome.
 

onipar

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Looks like I was just being a newb. I decided to dial up the fineness of my grind by many notches (instead of incremental nudges), and My pressure gauge launched to the higher end of the acceptable pressure level. So that answered that. Of course now I how to figure out why the pressure gauge was at the high end, but the coffee still poured in 17 total seconds (from button push, not from first drip). I think I may have had some channeling from overfilling the basket, which I *think* could cause a fast pour? Anyway, back to dialing in, just wanted to update that the pressure gauge seems to be fine.
 

onipar

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Weigh out your coffee if you can... most portafilters will hold 16-18 grams in a double. You need to grind it fine... slightly smaller than table salt size
Thanks again! Yeah, I weighed it the last time I brewed, and got about 10 grams in the single (pretty sure I overfilled that) and ground it much finer than previous attempts. I wish I had a double shot single wall filter basket, but the machine didn't come with one. I'll have to eventually get one, but they're like $30 for the Breville ones, which is more than I want to spend right now. Thanks again for the help, looks like I just have to keep dialing in.
 

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