Breville Barista Express Experiment

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?

#1: Post by Noangel72 »

So, after reading the newbies section of the Home Barista I decided to run a temperature analysis on my Breville Barista Express BES870XL. I'm not entirely sure what to make of the results and so I thought I would post them and see what other people have to say....

I used a digital food probe inserted in the portafilter immediately under the basket to take temperature readings.

_at 5min after switching on the machine I pulled a shot (with coffee): temperature reading 73.4°C

Switched off machine for an hour.

_at 5min after switching on the machine I flushed the group and portafilter, THEN I pulled a shot (with coffee): temperature reading 82°C
Left puck in group head!
_at 10min, discarded puck, wiped clean portafilter, flushed group only, pulled a shot (with coffee): temperature reading 85°C
_at 20min repeated as above: temperature reading 85.4°C
_at 28min repeated as above: temperature reading 85.4°C
This time I discarded the puck after last shot.
_at 35min wiped clean portafilter, flushed group only, pulled a shot (with coffee): temperature reading 85.7°C
I discarded the puck, removed basket and took reading inside portafilter (with no coffee) at 40min: temperature reading 90.5°C

This suggests me that flushing the machine DOES increase temperature substantially, leaving the puck in the portafilter makes no difference, extraction temperature remains fairly constant at 85°C (within 40min use and 5 shots), true water temperature at shower head is 90.5°C (after 40min use and 5 shots).


#2: Post by Jimmmy72 »

What is the temperature of the water in the machine reservoir when you are doing these experiments? I used to have a ES800XL for a while and found that the thermoblock can get overwhelmed very quickly if you are using fresh cold water from the tap in the reservoir. If you combine this with a machine that is not fully warmed up, looking at brew temperatures over a time period will be very confusing.

Since the 90.5°C maximum you reached is still a little cool and you were getting inconsistent results, I would recommend giving your machine at least 20 minutes to warm up, then filling the reservoir with hot water (either from the tap or heated in the microwave), flushing the machine with the hot water (one push of the double button should be enough), waiting a minute, and then pulling a shot/observing the temperature. This should help bring your temperature up, keep it consistent through the pull, and give you decent shot-to-shot repeatability at least until the water in the tank gets cool. Hope this helps.

Noangel72 (original poster)

#3: Post by Noangel72 (original poster) »

So, I have measured the extraction temperature again.

I have warmed up the machine for 40min, then I have run a shot (no coffee) and measured 89°C, then a second shot and measured 92.5°C, third and fourth shot both measured 95°C. This seems to indicate that I should flush the group twice in order to get consistent and high extraction temperature. (In my previous cycle of tests I had reached a maximum measured temperature of 90.5°C after 40min but I was using coffee and had pulled more shots). Whether 95°C is still too low for espresso making I don't know, I can however change temperature by 2°C up or down in increments of 1°C!

It would be interesting to know how this compares to semi-commercial machines and how badly it can really affect espresso making.

(Water tank temperature measured 21°C after sitting in tank all day, I don't think I would want to use hot water as I can't see myself changing water every time I make espresso but I won't either fill thank with cold water immediately before brewing. So, thanks for the tip anyway...I hadn't thought about this!)

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#4: Post by blueboyz »

I'm looking at The Breville Oracle as it has temp brew settings etc and has an integrated grinder just like The Barista Express.

Noangel72 (original poster)

#5: Post by Noangel72 (original poster) »

Breville doesn't seem to attract much attention on this forum....or maybe it's the newbie factor :? Anyway, the Barista is my upgrade after several years of entry level DeLonghi and Gaggia machines. I lived in Italy until a year ago, so the DeLonghi was fine for cappuccinos in the morning then I would go to the "Bar" for proper (inexpensive) espresso! Now I am in the UK and it's nearly impossible to get proper coffee :cry: and so the Breville upgrade! It's a good machine, it has a lot of features for the price and makes really good shots, the grinder seems good (at least to a newbie)! The Oracle is way to expensive for me but if I could afford that price tag I would probably look at a semi-commercial brand instead. One thing I learned from this type of coffee geeks websites is that there is a substantial reliability and performance divide between entry-use-and-discard machines and semi-commercial-mostly-Italian machines and in the UK the £600 mark passes right through it....
I think Breville is trying to go the other side of the divide, whether they have succeed or not I don't know, one because I never owned or used a semi-commercial machine, two because I've had the Barista for only two weeks.....

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#6: Post by Luposian »

We just bought a Breville Barista Express BES870XL and while it seems to work fine, a single "cup" of espresso is so tiny! I mean, it's a mere sip! Is that a normal shot? It says it's supposed to be putting out 1oz, for a single cup (a single "shot", I presume), but is one ounce THAT small?

The pressure needle is indicating on the high-end of the solid grey range, so I assume that's ok. But it surely doesn't extract for anywhere near the "normal" duration for a shot of espresso (20-25 seconds or so), as from what I've read here and elsewhere on the internet. I mean, the total extraction time (from pre-infusion to end) is maybe 15 seconds, I'd guess. I could time it, but it's nowhere near the amount of time I've timed from my Mr. Coffee ECM50 (or whatever the model number is) espresso machine.

Is this machine factory preset to output Ristrettos or close to it? I've been filling my demitasse cup almost to the brim, before shutting off my (Mr. Coffee espresso maker) machine. My demitasse is one of those tiny little brown "teacups". I assumed that was supposed to be filled up, not just have a tiny bit of espresso at the bottom, with most of the cup empty! How much espresso have I been consuming and didn't know it?!?

Just want to make sure the machine is functioning properly. It seems to be working ok, just giving out so little espresso. Unless that's normal, and I just never knew it!

Noangel72 (original poster)

#7: Post by Noangel72 (original poster) »

Well! A single shot is 30ml and a double 60ml. If you were filling the cup to its rim then you would have had close to 90ml....nearly an Americano in my book! :)

Re Barista Espresso: mine used to have the same problem, needle in the right range but extraction well under the recommended 25" (for a single shot of 30ml.... :wink: ). In fact, my Barista proved to be so temperamental and inconsistent that I gave it back! Funnily enough I bought a Gaggia Classic, a third of the price and a mile away from the the high specs of the Breville, and this paired with a really good grinder (Baratza Vario) makes much better and more consistent shots.

Re machine working properly: if you measure the brewing water and you get 89C then machine is OK, you can also test the steaming pressure, if you can get 10ounces of water to 60C before you run out of pressure then that works too! I guess if pressure dial is responsive, then pressure works too. However if you wanted to measure the pressure you'd need a modified portafilter with pressure gauge.

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#8: Post by Luposian »

For "1 Cup", it's putting out just a shade under 3/4th of an ounce of espresso. So it's basically outputting a Ristretto. I measured with a 1oz medicine cup. So, now I know how much it's giving me. But the manual says it's supposed to be putting out ~1oz. So, it's under par for that... hmm.

Ristretto's are supposedly the "purist" shot, from what I've read, so... I dunno.