Breville Barista Touch vs Cafelat Robot

Want to talk espresso but not sure which forum? If so, this is the right one.

#1: Post by nameisjoey »

I have a Barista Touch I use at home that I pair with an OE Pharos 2.0. At work I use a Cafelat Robot, paired with an OE Lido 3 (w/ upgraded fine adjustment module). Robot is the barista edition, bone stock. My breville has IMS shower screen and I use it with an assortment of baskets from the factory singe wall to IMS competition baskets all depending on the dose/ratio I am aiming for as well as roast profile. Both grinders are well aligned. My puck prep is consistent between the two machines, using WDT, and my extractions are even as observed on the bottomless portafilters. The Breville has about 7 seconds of pre-infusion. I usually pull shots on the robot with a slow ramp to 9 bars over about 5-6 seconds, then at about 50-60% of the desired weight I drop to 6 bars for the remainder of the shot.

One thing I have noticed after using both extensively, is that the espresso from the Robot - even when using the same beans and same dose/ratio - is that it has a much tastier end product. The shot texture is thicker and much more syrupy. The crema has an almost micro foam like texture, more density and lasts longer. The breville machine produces crema with a bit more bubbling and dissipates quicker and the texture is thinner.

I bring this up because I am curious - why are the differences in the cup so extreme? Could this be caused by overpressure from the breville? Difference in thermal stability? Is the small difference in pressure profiling I am using with the robot the sole reason for this or is there much more at play here?

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Team HB

#2: Post by Jeff »

My gut feeling is that a lot of the difference is due to a very different extraction profile. I think the difference are more than minor. How the grinds get wet, the speed of increasing pressure, the peak pressure, and how pressure/flow change during the shot seem to me to be very different. There may be other effects of water distribution, temperature, and some other things as well.

nameisjoey (original poster)

#3: Post by nameisjoey (original poster) replying to Jeff »

I guess that would make sense. I would think those are more minimal, but maybe you are right. Maybe that is what creates the drastically different end-product.

Nonetheless I walk away even more impressed with the Robot and can't recommend it enough. For such a simple machine it produces such a fantastic shot of espresso, far better than anything else I have had from anywhere using much more expensive and professional/commercial equipment.

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Kaffee Bitte

#4: Post by Kaffee Bitte »

Lever espresso is something the Italians have been chasing with pump machines since the e61. Especially LM. Flutter profile trying to replicate the manual levers flavor. Flow control machines that mimic spring lever profiles.

Aside from that though a good bit of the robots tastiness probably comes down to two things. The manual lever and that it's a pour over. The temperature is much more manageable than anything with a pump and can vary pressure during pull.
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#5: Post by Ken5 »

nameisjoey wrote: The Breville has about 7 seconds of pre-infusion. I usually pull shots on the robot with a slow ramp to 9 bars over about 5-6 seconds
Not sure about the barista touch, but I had the barista express for a couple of weeks and I am not sure that machine really pre infuses. The instruction manual stated the proper times for pre infusion and for the actual shot if the coffee was ground correctly. Stated that if it took about 10 seconds for pre infusion that the coffee was ground too fine. Mine always took 10 seconds and when I ran the machine without the portafilter in place it took 10 seconds before the water started coming out at all! I watched tons of YouTube videos back then and the occasional videos that showed the machine without the portafilter in place did the same thing.

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#6: Post by Jeff »

I find it hard to pull a bad shot with a good, manual/direct lever.

I suspect a lot of it is that awesome P-eye-D controller they get hooked up to when you put your hand on the lever, especially without a pressure gauge. Press, feel and watch that it it doing, adjust based on that. It's "nuts" that people are trying to hit a specific pressure all the time. By letting the pressure be what it will be to get a reasonable flow, things tend to self-adjust to a wide range of grind and dose.