Returned - Espresso at 128 temp!

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

#1: Post by Hisgirl »

After reading over some of yall's post, I feel largely inadequate to post...I don't know the lingo.

All I know is I wanted an espresso machine under $800. I bought a breville bambino and the espresso came out at 128 temp. My spouse practically spit it back out.

I don't want to have to warm the cup, pre-steam, and do all the other suggested things to get warmer espresso.

I just want a good, hot espresso.

And I can't seem to craft a good enough google question to see who makes a hot espresso.

Happy to be told what to buy. Don't want automatic. Don't want manual. Want to keep it under 800. *puts my listening ears on*


#2: Post by *sigh* »

Have you measured the water temp coming out of the group head? First step would be to determine if it's a boiler temp issues or a heat loss issue happening during/after the pull.

And I understand you don't want to preheat, but preheating both the portafilter and cup are very important for hot espresso. With drip coffee the larger volume can help make up for lack of preheating, but with a shot of espresso only being 1.5-2oz it can lose a lot of temperature even just from being pulled into a cold glass.

Hisgirl (original poster)

#3: Post by Hisgirl (original poster) »

Yes, I do understand and agree with you.

The machine was brand new. We used to have one that lasted for several years and the espresso came out really hot. Hubby is serious about wanting a hot espresso. How can I find one that is more in the 160s? I make a milk drink for myself and heat milk so it's a non issue for me.

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#4: Post by HB »

I know nothing about this particular espresso machine, but here's what the manufacturer says:
Innovative ThermoJet heating system achieves the optimum extraction temperature in 3 seconds. Ready to make your best coffee without the wait. Uses up to 32% less energy annually compared to a Thermoblock heating system.
This sounds like something written by a marketer that knows nothing about espresso, but read that the heating system coils reach temperature really fast. Even if that's true, I am genuinely and deeply skeptical the portafilter and what it locks into can heat to "optimum extraction temperature" in 3 seconds.

With small boiler espresso machines and thermoblock-type espressos machines, it's all about preheating the brew path. As a test, try running ~60 milliliters of water into a cup and waiting 2 minutes; repeat 3 more times. At that point, the brew path should be preheated as hot as it will ever get.

It's a bit dated, but the Newbie Introduction to Espresso - Buying Advice covers from small single boilers to double boilers to lever espresso machines. In my experience, what you get as you move from entry level to mid-tier is much, much better ease of use and consistency.
Dan Kehn

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#5: Post by Pressino »

HB's suggestion is an excellent way to check if your machine is able to achieve recommended brewing temperatures. Turn the machine on and let it sit turned on for a few minutes or whatever period of time the manufacturer recommends, then turn on the brew switch and run about the same amount of water for a typical shot into a styrofoam cup or other cup (prewarmed so it doesn't draw much heat from the water) and measure the temperature with a fast acting digital thermometer. If it's just 128F your machine is not adequately heating the brew water. It should be coming out at 180+ degrees.

If it does that and the coffee in the cup is so cool it tastes bad, then the problem is "downstream" from the machine itself. Note that coffee at 128F shouldn't taste bad just because it's cooled down after being brewed at proper temperature. If properly brewed coffee tastes bad just because it has cooled down, there was probably something wrong with the coffee itself or how it was prepared for extraction.


#6: Post by mycatsnameisbernie »

Espresso is brewed with water that first reaches the coffee puck at a temperature of around 200°F. The liquid rapidly cools as it traverses the puck, a cold portafilter, air, and lands in a cold cup. If you measured the temperature of the brewed espresso in the cup, then 128°F isn't out of the ordinary. Even if you buy a high end espresso machine that costs thousands of dollars, you will want to preheat the portafilter and cup.

Many espresso machines will heat the empty portafilter as they warm up, provided it is left in the group. Unfortunately with the quick warm up time of the Bambino, that doesn't happen.

Don't try to measure the water temperature exiting the group without ground coffee in the portafilter. Without back pressure from the coffee to slow down the water flow, water will flow through the Bambino's thermocoil too fast to heat up. If you brewed espresso with too coarse a grind or a low dose, so that the shot's brew time was very short, that could also result in too cool a shot.

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#7: Post by Pressino »

While it's true that the temperature of water as it is dumped directly into a styrofoam cup will not read at the ideal 190F or so temperature required for extraction (that's why thermofilters like the Scace or my homemade version are diagnostically better), the fact is you can get a decent idea of whether or not a mchine like the OP's can heat water more or less adequately. You just need to: 1) let the machine warm per manufacturer's recommendations; 2) use a fairly well insulated cup (styrofoam is quite good); and 3) make sure you measure the temperature with a fast responding digital themometer (best would be with a lightweight wire thermocouple) immediately immersed in the water coming out of the group. You won't record anything near 190F, but in my experience you should be getting from 155 to 180F depending on how quick and skillful you are doing this test.

The other point I made was that the temperature of the espresso in the OP's cup is not really a measure of how well the machine brews coffee. The key is going to be how it tastes. If it tastes good, it was at some point extracted properly and at the proper temperature. If not (as the OP's comment that it was spat out suggests), it was likely not extracted at the right temperature or something else was wrong with it).