Just bought delonghi bco264b newbie to espresso machines

isevilla

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Hello everyone just joined the forum today since I just purchased a delonghi bco264b machine. I had another machine the delonghi bco-070 which I received for a gift for mothers day. I took back the 070 and purchased the bco-264b instead. Im new to espresso and the machines. I used to frequent my local starbucks a few times a day and the hubby was furious so thats how i ended up getting a machine.

I have a few questions about the machine and was wondering if anyone here owns this machine and or could give some help with it.
 

shadow745

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Aug 15, 2005
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Well, I don't have one, but what would you like to know? I was actually looking into getting one a few years ago, but couldn't afford it at the time. It looks to be a nicely built combo machine. It looks to have decent features, except for the pressurized portafilter. In the past I didn't think it'd make that much difference, but it does big time. You can still get good shots from it, but not outstanding. All the info you may read regarding espresso might have to be thrown out the window, since pressurized baskets or portafilters changes alot. The good thing is you can use a less-than-great grinder and get away with it.

It appears to have a decent steam wand (from the pic I see) so lattes and cappas might be great. Let us know what info you need specifically and we'll help. Later!
 
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isevilla

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For starters I would like to thank you shadow for responding to my post. I didnt see any mention of this machine on this forum which I have been reading some posts for days now.

I am a newbie to the whole espresso/coffee world and dont expect my machine to perform like a store one either I just want a decent cup of iced espresso which I think I am getting.

Well when I got the other machine the bco-070 (steam unit) for mothers day last month, it had a little pot that had measurements on it for the amount of water to add. The filter basket had a dont fill past line as well one for 2 cups and another for 4 cups. You added the water to the back of the machine and turned it on and it would push out the shots and it would stop and you were done. The crema was only about 1/4 inch or so when done. When I would dump out the grinds I could tell they were used but they werent soaking wet or anything.

Now on to the new machine...This new bco-264b (I guess pressure unit) didnt come with a little pot, you dont measure the water from a little pot it goes into a container in the rear of the machine, there isnt a fill past line on the filter, nor does the machine stop pouring espresso out, and when dumping grinds they seem soaked, and my crema is still about a 1/4 inch or so.

My questions are as follows:

1. How high on the filter basket should the coffee grinds reach? The filter basket is supposed to hold enough for 2 shots (12 grams)?

2. How should the grinds be pushed down or tamped really tight or loose? I have a tamper on the machine which is a plastic one and I have some type of flat spoon type one that came with my starbucks measuring spoon.

3. When making my shots which is usually two (thats all the machine does at a time Bummer) do I stop the machine when the crema barely passes the 2 oz mark (I have been doing this) in my small glass measuring cup which I use for my pot?

4. Should I be concerned that the grinds are really soaked when I am about to dump them?

5. How much crema should I expect to get out of this particular home machine which cost me a tad over $300?
 
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isevilla

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Shadow I forgot to mention the steam wand...

It actually worked really nicely compared to the other unit I had which I couldnt get to froth milk if my life depended on it. This machine made the milk into froth really nicely. I usually make my drinks cold so I dont use it at all but that may change once winter rolls around.
 

shadow745

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From what you describe you previously had a steam unit, in which water was added, you let it heat up, it forces the water through the grounds and you have little or no control of the end result. Right?

Your new machine is a decent pump machine and you can control many variables that are involved with true espresso extraction.

1-Are you using the double or single basket? A decent double basket should easily hold 14 grams or more.

2-With a pressurized component (whether yours has pressurized baskets or portafilter) you don't need to tamp much at all, really just enough to compact the grounds to make the puck nice and even.

3-With espresso it's not about quantity, but more about quality. Yeah you don't get much from each shot, but nothing (IMO) can match espresso's powerful mouthfeel and lingering aftertaste. Please don't get caught up in the volume/time thing. Too many people make the mistake of thinking you must stop at a certain point, but the truth is each shot will usually be different from the last. I never go by volume or time. ALWAYS watch the color and pour pattern of the shot. When it starts out it should be fairly dark in color, maybe a deep reddish brown. Then as the shot continues it will lighten somewhat. Once it turns a light yellow in color you've gone too far and this is what most call "blonding", in which too much water has passed through the grounds and is extracting all the bad things from the bean.

4-Your machine doesn't have a 3 way solenoid valve, which instantly relieves the pressure from the grouphead after brewing. This is designed to allow the barista to pull shot after shot without waiting for the pressure to back off. After you brew, you should wait maybe 1 minute for the pressure to drop somewhat before removing the portafilter or it might blow out everywhere. Without the 3 way valve your pucks will be somewhat wet.

5-It's not really about how much you spend, but the most important thing regarding crema is having good quality fresh beans. What beans are you currently using? How are you grinding them? Beans must be ground right before use or they stale quickly if they were ground some time ago.

E-mail me at shadow745@earthlink.net if you'd like to ask anymore questions. I'll help where I can. Later!
 
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isevilla

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shadow745 said:
From what you describe you previously had a steam unit, in which water was added, you let it heat up, it forces the water through the grounds and you have little or no control of the end result. Right?

right

Your new machine is a decent pump machine and you can control many variables that are involved with true espresso extraction.

1-Are you using the double or single basket? A decent double basket should easily hold 14 grams or more.

Im using the double basket and I found last night that it will hold approx 12g of grinds.

2-With a pressurized component (whether yours has pressurized baskets or portafilter) you don't need to tamp much at all, really just enough to compact the grounds to make the puck nice and even.

Ill try doing that when i make the next cup.


3-With espresso it's not about quantity, but more about quality. Yeah you don't get much from each shot, but nothing (IMO) can match espresso's powerful mouthfeel and lingering aftertaste. Please don't get caught up in the volume/time thing. Too many people make the mistake of thinking you must stop at a certain point, but the truth is each shot will usually be different from the last. I never go by volume or time. ALWAYS watch the color and pour pattern of the shot. When it starts out it should be fairly dark in color, maybe a deep reddish brown. Then as the shot continues it will lighten somewhat. Once it turns a light yellow in color you've gone too far and this is what most call "blonding", in which too much water has passed through the grounds and is extracting all the bad things from the bean.

When mine starts out its very black for a few seconds then comes out like a caramel color with red tinges in it then lighter caramel. I stop it around 2oz.

4-Your machine doesn't have a 3 way solenoid valve, which instantly relieves the pressure from the grouphead after brewing. This is designed to allow the barista to pull shot after shot without waiting for the pressure to back off. After you brew, you should wait maybe 1 minute for the pressure to drop somewhat before removing the portafilter or it might blow out everywhere. Without the 3 way valve your pucks will be somewhat wet.

Ill try waiting a bit before taking it out after its done and see if that makes the puck dryer.

5-It's not really about how much you spend, but the most important thing regarding crema is having good quality fresh beans. What beans are you currently using?

I bought a bag of starbucks coffee and had them grind it up for me. The bag is a couple of days old already and I keep it in an airtight container in its original bag.

How are you grinding them?

Had starbucks do it for me. I dont own a grinder yet but I am looking for one.

Beans must be ground right before use or they stale quickly if they were ground some time ago.

E-mail me at shadow745@earthlink.net if you'd like to ask anymore questions. I'll help where I can. Later!
 

shadow745

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I'm surprised that a double will only hold 12 grams, but if that's what you have then work with it.

Sounds like you've learned what to do. Always stop it right at the point the colors lightens alot. Otherwise the bitter is extracted.

The preground stuff is OK when using a machine that utilizes pressurized component(s), but grinding for each shot is the best way to go. It's been proven that as soon as beans are ground each grain is exposed to oxygen and it instantly starts to stale.

Yeah I'd save for a grinder and stay away from the $50 or less units you see at Wal-Mart, etc. Go for a Solis Maestro or my favorite, the Capresso Infinity. You can buy the ABS version Infinity for about $90 and it will work great for your machine. I use mine often with my KA Pro Line machine and it works well. Very easy to use, adjust, clean, is super quiet, etc.

Later!
 
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isevilla

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yeah the instructions that came with the machine say to add 6+6 grams so its 12 total. it does seem like a little as there is about 1/4 inch left in the little basket from the top. I usually try to get it at about that much but sometimes im too lazy to take some out and ill just have it filled to the top.

Thanks much for the grinder recommendations and ill be looking into them for sure very soon.

on a good note my coffees have been coming out tasting much better and for some reason creamier as well. although i dont notice any difference in the crema or anything. i drink two espresso shots mixed with a shot or two of flavored syrup then add some milk and ice. they taste a heck of a lot better than how they did with the other machine and have been tasting better and better with this one so i must be doing ok.

thanks again you have been a great help. take care!
 

shadow745

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Does the basket make direct contact with the shower screen when the portafilter is locked in? If you fill the basket up, tamp and run a shot is there an impression in the top of the puck before you knock it out? Do you ever have grounds stuck to the screen?

What I've always done with my machines is with each shot I'd keep adding a bit more coffee to the basket, either by eye-balling it, going by volume or even by using a gram scale. Then I'd try to distribute the grounds in the basket in the same manner followed by consistent tamping. Then I'd use as much as it'd take until the puck would be hitting the screen, then back off a few grams. IMO it's always better to have a little extra than too little.

I use the same approach for finding the sweet spot on my grinders, especially after receiving a new bean order. I keep the dosing, distribution and tamping the same and keep grinding finer with each shot. Once the shots are starting to show signs of over extraction I back off a tiny bit and leave it at that. Espresso has so many variables and to me that's part of the enjoyment of pulling shots.

Well, taste is the ultimate factor as to whether something is working for you. I think too many people get caught up in measuring, weighing, timing, etc..... I've had some outstanding shots that were only 15 seconds and 1 oz. and I've had some that took 1 minute or more to pull 1 oz. and those have been the best shots I've had yet. No two shots will ever be exactly the same IMO.

One more thing, if you think preground Starbucks coffee is giving you good shots, wait until you get your hands on some Black Cat or Redline (or many others) beans and a good grinder. You'll get better taste and boatloads of crema. Send me your e-mail address and I'll send a few pics of what outstanding crema looks like. I have no idea how to post pics on a site. Later!
 
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isevilla

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shadow745 said:
Does the basket make direct contact with the shower screen when the portafilter is locked in?

If I do the 12 grams no it doesnt meet the screen at all. If I fill the basket all the way up it will have a slight indention of the screen in the coffee grinds.

If you fill the basket up, tamp and run a shot is there an impression in the top of the puck before you knock it out? Do you ever have grounds stuck to the screen?

Yes there will be an impression and there has been with mine if i fill up the basket. Yes I almost always have grounds stuck to the screen in both cases almost or not almost filled all the way up.

What I've always done with my machines is with each shot I'd keep adding a bit more coffee to the basket, either by eye-balling it, going by volume or even by using a gram scale. Then I'd try to distribute the grounds in the basket in the same manner followed by consistent tamping. Then I'd use as much as it'd take until the puck would be hitting the screen, then back off a few grams. IMO it's always better to have a little extra than too little.

I need to get a real tamper and there is a plastic crappy one attached to the machine beneath the upper part of the unit. I also have a flat spoon type that came with my measuring spoon but neither is working out as well as I think a real one would.

I use the same approach for finding the sweet spot on my grinders, especially after receiving a new bean order. I keep the dosing, distribution and tamping the same and keep grinding finer with each shot. Once the shots are starting to show signs of over extraction I back off a tiny bit and leave it at that. Espresso has so many variables and to me that's part of the enjoyment of pulling shots.

Well, taste is the ultimate factor as to whether something is working for you. I think too many people get caught up in measuring, weighing, timing, etc..... I've had some outstanding shots that were only 15 seconds and 1 oz. and I've had some that took 1 minute or more to pull 1 oz. and those have been the best shots I've had yet. No two shots will ever be exactly the same IMO.

I have found this to be so true in the past couple of weeks.

One more thing, if you think preground Starbucks coffee is giving you good shots, wait until you get your hands on some Black Cat or Redline (or many others) beans and a good grinder. You'll get better taste and boatloads of crema. Send me your e-mail address and I'll send a few pics of what outstanding crema looks like. I have no idea how to post pics on a site. Later!

That was the other question I had forgot to ask...I need a really strong and caramel tasting coffee recommendation similar the starbucks italian roast ive been getting. I guess im getting used to it already and its not keeping me on my toes like it used to.
 
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