JazzCoffee wrote:Interesting. Yes, the beans do stay in the hopper. Do you have a suggestion for bean storage that is air tight and/or sealable with the regular change in bean volume?
When you mention using a scale to measure output, do you mean bean output or shot output?
Thank you! Is there anything else I might be missing?
Beans in the hopper will age/stale faster: coffee shops get away with it because they go thru so much in a short time. Single dosing is what many of us move to after going thru what you are going thru
Methods vary, but to try it out, you could start with a fresh bag, weigh out an exact amount (18-20G) of beans each time, resealing the bag tightly, squeezing out the air. Then you'd put this single dose in the hopper.
Weighing the output in grams is the other way most of us maintain consistency. Using time as the measure is less consistent, since the age of the beans, consistency of grind, tamp, level, and so on, vary and what happens in that time window will vary as a result. Volume is also tricky: crema amount varies, so judging a consistent volume is problematic.
Weighing beans, grind, and output shot let you standardize a recipe. For example: 18G beans/grind into the portafilter, stop the shot at 36g (might have to stop it slightly ahead of 36, since there will still be a bit of flow heading to the cup) gets you a 1:2 recipe. With this sort of control, you can also then begin to adjust the recipe once you are getting consistent results.
I'm assuming that you have the portafilter in place as the machine heats up. If it feels hot to the touch, I don't think you should have to do all the flushes to get it to temp. The Breville group head heating is pretty good. If you are putting a cold portafilter in place, flushes might not get you there as quickly. I leave my PF in place all the time. Not doing this might be a factor in a bad first shot. (It was for me).
Retention in the grinder (coffee left in the path from the last grinding) can play a big part in that first shot. If it has been 24 hours, that will definitely mess with the shot. Single dosing takes care of a lot of this, but there can still be retention in the grinder. Your goal is to minimize it by single dosing. Apart from that, upgrading to a low retention grinder, even a grinder designed for single dosing) is the long term solution.
You can search for single dosing threads here, find LOTS of options for single dosing approaches, storage, etc.
When I was using my Breville Smart Grinder Pro with my BDB, switching to single dosing was a huge improvement, overall. And keeping the portafilter in the group head all the time (or at least from power on) really did improve the first shots of the day.