HELP! Sage/Breville Barista Express adjustment

sine

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Jan 6, 2024
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Denmark
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Hi everyone,

I just bought the Sage/Breville Barista Express machine this Tuesday (Jan. 2nd) alongside some good quality beans.
The first few cups I brewed was very good and I just used the standard settings - Grind size 8 and grind amount 3.
However, now after a few days the coffee tastes horrible (maybe a bit sour?) as a shot and doesn't taste like anything when combined with milk.
I know this is a sign of under extraction and the shot time and flow points to under extraction as well. However, the actual look of the color and foam leans more toward the correct extraction (however, the shot is very small) whereas the pressure barometer points to over extraction. We only use filtered water and since the machine is only a few days old, I don't suspect anything is wrong with it. I have tried adjusting both the grind size towards coarser and finer settings as well as the grind amount towards less. Nothing really helps, but sometimes the pressure barometer lands in the correct area. The shot time lasts around 8-15 secs and the flow starts after around 7-8 secs.
Needless to say, I'm very confused on what the issue actually is and was hoping some of you might be able to help. I'm getting a bit desperate and annoyed at all the coffee and water I'm wasting 😧

Thank you in advance!
Sine
 

shadow745

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Aug 15, 2005
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You mention 'good quality coffee', but do realize that coffee ages as it sits. Important to keep an eye on coffee storage, grinder cleaning/purging after daily use, etc. Espresso is quite demanding and variables change constantly in many cases. Ambient temp, especially humidity can really affect the end result.
 

Enigma-2

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Oct 26, 2023
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Based on your times you posted, the espresso is running too fast.

I'd look for first drip around 10 seconds, a reading of mid-to high on the pressure guage (in the grey portion), and a time of 25 to 30 seconds pull, for 34 to 36 oz for a double shot of espresso.

Grind size 3 sounds like too little coffee.

I use a cheap scale and measure exactly 18 oz of beans. (I always measure out the beans for each shot and don't keep any in the hopper). Then set the grind size to max (I also use a basket funnel to prevent making a mess). After grinding I use a WDT tool to eliminate the clumps and settle the grinds. Then a level tool and then calibrated tamper (with a 20 lb. spring).

In your case, I'd recommend going back to the #8 grind setting, turn UP the grind amount to little past mid. At this point, if you have a scale, weigh the ground coffee to see how much is in the basket (don't forget to place the EMPTY basket on the scale and press TARE to zero out the weight of the bssket.) You're looking for 17-18 oz of coffee grounds for a double. Also recommend the use of the plastic funnel on the basket as 17 oz of coffee will overfill the basket.

It's not important which settings you actually settle on, what's important is to be consistent. Your only variable (once dialed in) should be the tamping pressure.
 
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shadow745

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Aug 15, 2005
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A few things to note... if you're using up to 18 OZ of coffee per double that's one helluva deep basket, bwahaha... Do realize that there's lot of variables involved with espresso and will vary from one setup to another. There are no hard/fast rules and simply find what works. Definitely don't get caught up in trying to follow lame volume/time/ratio garbage as numerical values will never trump taste! To claim tamp pressure is the only variable is a bit much as that's way overrated as well. I purposely vary my dose weight by a few tenths, grind fineness, etc. per extraction based on what I'm shooting for and the coffee being used.
 
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