pcrussell50 wrote:G'day Brian. Love NZ. Spent a year of Uni there at Vic in Wellington.
Five and a half years in, and my only costs have been $10 to Amazon for several lifetimes worth of o-rings, and about $50 for a new solenoid, where the old one was still working fine, but was getting buzzy sounding. The pumps are widely available, standard Ulka's but they don't seem to fail very often. I don't know of any. So far, the only failures that seem to have come up are leaks from o-rings that should have been replaced, and the damage from those leaks that could have been avoided if the leaks were dealt with as they happened... or before. The occasional steam valve leak, but that seems to be hit or miss... Not everybody has this problem.
You say you had trouble pulling truly excellent shots with your BDB? Can you tell why? It's Scace testing seems to fall into the saturated brew group territory.
That's good to hear. I really don't know why I couldn't pull great shots out of it. Also I might be overreacting on the repair costs, I have had a few issues with various breville machines and mine had the leaking steam wand, buzzy solenoid and I think there was something else? I can't quite remember. Maybe some context will explain my situation:
I started off with crappy thermoblock machines that I quickly realised the limits of and ended up with the smart grinder and a brasilia club (think butt ugly silvia) with fresh beans as my first real introduction to espresso a couple years later. This combo was capable of producing an amazing shot once I had the temp surf rain dance down right, and is what converted me to drinking espresso straight. I still remember my first thick syrupy ristretto shots and how much they blew me away with their amazing flavours. Even though I had a fairly inconsistent run, I could get great shots 1/2 the time and most of the rest were fairly drinkable. As with most single boilers the milk steaming routine drove me nuts.
About this time the BDB was announced and was getting some serious hype. I was thinking "no way, a better shot and it can steam milk well?!" "Its not 3k!" "I gotta get me one!" So I saved hard (was a student at the time) and blew my summer savings on a BDB in march 2012 after selling the brasillia club. And I couldn't get the same quality of shots. I scoured the internet to find what I was doing wrong. The thick body and depth of flavours were gone and I seemed to be tasting a shadow of what I used to enjoy. I thought with flasher baskets maybe my distribution was the culprit so I tried WDTing it. No change. Some people said that the smart grinder wasn't suitable for getting the most out of the BDB so I picked up a used La San Marco SM90 and put new burrs in it. No change. Tried different beans from different roasters. Still no good. Tried convex tampers, flat tampers etc, no good. One thing that was nice was that I learnt through the BDB how to adjust temp by taste, so I am pretty sure that the pids were all good. Also while I moan about its steam power, the steam quality was excellent and I consistently got good microfoam out of it.
My shots were reasonable, and everyone thought my drinks were really good. This thread has got me thinking again about it and the only avenue that I didn't look into was the water going into it. Our water is quite soft here so I don't know if the filter in the water tank might have taken too much out? The water definitely tasted ok, maybe a bit of chlorine taste, but I would fill it from a filtered jug to remove chlorine. There were times when I did run it without the in built filter that didn't seem to make much of a difference.
Having no more money to spend on a machine I stopped caring and accepted that for me it was just a flat white coffee machine. I looked forward to having enough money to replace it with something that will bring back my love for coffee. I ended up selling it in 2014 and have only recently started getting back into espresso with the la scala butterfly I have been borrowing and the linea mini I am picking up tomorrow, both of which I have already made far better shots on than what I made on the BDB.