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Help Please: Need guidance on espresso in general and Breville Barista Express

smokedoff

New member
Jul 19, 2019
3
0
Hey guys! New and excited to be here! I picked up a Breville Barista Express yesterday and have been doing some experimenting and found I need some help.

i have Starbucks espresso beans. I found a grind setting of 4 and a dose setting one over midway gets me close but a little light. My single wall double shot doesn’t quiet hold 16-18 grams without spilling, so I’m having to pull it out, slightly tamp, and top off to get about 17 grams ground.

Ive found when using the automatic 2 shot setting, it comes pretty close to 2 oz (Crema included). 31 seconds total from button press to cutoff. But when I weigh the 2 oz of espresso, the weight is 57ish grams. Isn’t that way heavy?

i need some clarity before moving forward. Everything I read is double shot = 2oz = ~36 grams. Maybe I’m over thinking it and trying to be too much black or white.

for me to get 36grams, it’s about 1.25-1.5 oz crema included. Am I way off somehow?
 

shadow745

Active member
Aug 15, 2005
1,629
16
Central North Carolina
I will start buy recommending you start with an actual quality/fresh coffee as Charbux is quite a bit over roasted and likely far from fresh when you buy it. I honestly can't believe so many think the quality is there, when they've done nothing but bastardize everything coffee can be simply for profit.

Don't get too caught up in what a basket 'should' hold as that can vary from coffee to coffee, roast level which affects density, fineness, etc. The only thing I ever use a scale for is to weigh the ground coffee to within .1 gram as dose is quite critical. .5 gram in either direction can make quite a bit of difference.

I can't really help you on the extraction as I've never gone by time, volume or weight (ratios) as I always go by taste, texture, color, flow rate, etc. Chasing variables might be OK for those starting out, but once you get things dialed in you will tweak things based on taste, etc. For a handful of years now some go on and on about how scales 'must be used' to dial espresso extractions in. May be true for those that don't have the skill and instinct to do it otherwise.
 
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smokedoff

New member
Jul 19, 2019
3
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I do agree with you, Starbucks has gotten my business due mostly to convenience in the past, not excellence. So I bought Starbucks beans hoping that I could learn using them bc I felt I knew what it “should” taste like. Learning by comparison. Heck, I don’t even know if they beans they sell are the beans they use. I have to agree that they are probably not a fresh roast, as they don’t even put the roast date on the bag, and it has a use by Dec date. That can’t be good.

I have an unopened batch from a local roaster, with a roast date of last Feb, and while I could tell they were not fresh, it tasted better and made a better crema than the Starbucks beans. It also let me know it was a step in the right direction. I pulled 2oz, including crema, and my weight went down. More crema, less liquid, given volume, trying to get down to that ~36g mark instead of high 40s.

i understand and appreciate your knowledge and response. I feel in need to have solid variables and guidelines while I’m just getting started. Then, when I get a feel for whats good, I can improve by look and so on. I’m a black and white learner, it’s frustrating not to have guides to begin with.

thanks!!
 

shadow745

Active member
Aug 15, 2005
1,629
16
Central North Carolina
To slow the flow down for a more complete extraction it's really just a matter of dialing things in on dose and grind fineness, as you surely know. I can understand where you're starting as we all start somewhere. I can agree that using scales for extractions would be helpful for some, especially just starting and trying to get a handle on everything happening. Just gets annoying when some on various forums go on and on about 'there's no way to achieve great espresso consistently if you don't measure every single variable'... blah, blah, blah... If somebody knows their equipment, how to get close on grind/dose just by how a coffee smells/appears, that's all you need. Espresso is the same as coffee roasting in that I consider it 1/3 skill, 1/3 science and 1/3 art form. Keep tinkering with it, try a few different coffees (with an actual roast date as you know is key) and it will fall into place.
 
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