Breville Infuser with bottomless portafilter - dialling in

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
jasiano

#1: Post by jasiano »

Hi all

long time stalker, first time poster (only very recently signed up).
Apologies in advance for the life story below....

I've had a Breville Infuser espresso machine for a couple of years paired with a Breville Smart Grinder, and it was making (to my inexperienced eye and palate) some decent coffee - I usually make the good ol' Aussie flat white with milk so it kind of reduced/mitigated any harshness in the shot itself.
But overall the coffees tasted fine, sometimes I stuffed up the milk steaming so it wasn't smooth but mostly it was in my mind on par with a barista made coffee at most cafes in town.

But in the past few months after reading waaaayyyy too many posts on HB and watching too many James Hoffman videos, I thought I'd get super serious about my espresso technique.
I bought a bottomless portafilter (I put in the double shot basket that came with my Breville Infuser - 54mm tapered) to try and see what sort of shot I was getting - it was carnage. Spray everywhere.

Very recently I upgraded to a Baratza Sette 270 grinder based on what I read online as it being a very good 'bang for buck' upgrade for beginner/intermediate home setups. It has improved the extraction quite a bit, but I'm still getting a slightly messy cup and intermittent spritzes from the portafilter (not a constant multi-stream disaster like it was previously though).

I've tried a few different things (changing the dose, grind size, manual pre-infusion time) but can never get that clean single perfect stream that I see a lot of - I am determined to get there, but does anyone have any suggestions?

- Currently my dose is 16.5g at '7E' on the Sette. Beans are never more than 2weeks (i know that is a long time for some, but it's just me drinking coffee at home).
- I put a couple of small drops of water to mitigate the static (I will get some small spray bottles).
- Grinds into the plastic bin that comes with the Sette, I give it a shake then pour into my basket (with dosing collar for ease). I don't have a special WDT tool, I just use a long thin toothpick.
- Level out with a (eBay special) distributor and then tamp.
- Manual pre-infusion until I see some drops, and then I let it go. Pressure on the dial goes quite 'high' towards the 'max' end of the ideal range according to the dial... but I read that's kind of the thing with the Infuser machine.

What else can I try/adjust? The shot has very good looking crema to be fair, but it's not 'clean' in the cup, there is the odd spray, and flavour is never exactly consistent....

PS. I was also thinking about trading up to the BDB if I can find a good price here in Oz (they semi-regularly go on sale) but wanted to try and get my general technique squared away first...

Many Many thanks in advance.

-Jason
-Jason

Down Under

avocado2020

#2: Post by avocado2020 »

Couple of suggestions:

1) Use home made WDT tool using 0.4mm needles & wine cork (or something similar)
https://levercraftcoffee.com/products/l ... ion-tool-1

2) Do OPV mod to reduce brew pressure to ~9 bar
https://coffeeforums.co.uk/topic/53197- ... s-opv-mod/

Hope this helps. Good luck

slaughter

#3: Post by slaughter »

I have almost the same machine Breville Barista Express and thought to try the naked portafilter. It was a disaster. Tried everything like you but never succeeded. Always a mess and coffee not as good as regular portafilter. When I bought my new machine that came with a naked as well I was afraid to use it due to my previous experience. To my surprise the first shot I tried was perfect and now this is the one I use. Barista express and Infuser are not made for a naked portafilter :(

PeetsFan

#4: Post by PeetsFan »

avocado2020 wrote:Couple of suggestions:

1) Use home made WDT tool using 0.4mm needles & wine cork (or something similar)
https://levercraftcoffee.com/products/l ... ion-tool-1

2) Do OPV mod to reduce brew pressure to ~9 bar
https://coffeeforums.co.uk/topic/53197- ... s-opv-mod/

Hope this helps. Good luck
I had an Infuser before upgrading to the Bezzera, and I noticed that the Infuser brews at very high pressure - much higher than 9 bar. I think Breville does this to get impressive-looking crema, but it causes bitterness, and it's probably why the bottomless portafilter cannot be tamed. So the OPV mod sounds worthwhile, and I would have done it if I'd known about it.

DamianWarS

#5: Post by DamianWarS »

I'm not familiar with the infuser but from their product page it's listed at 15 bar pressure. 15 bar is going to be too much pressure. there is a sweet spot with pressure if it's too low the shot will be slow and lack crema with increased pressure the flow increases which is what you want but if it's too high there is a counter effect to this. higher pressures will push on the puck and compact and will also cause the puck to erode quicker and channels will develop which will cause the sort of effects you're getting. Without getting into too much of the weeds 9 bar at the pump (8 bar at the group) is a sweet spot for the amount of pressure you want it to climb to. If you try and target this pressure you will have to try and grind coarser to hit 8-9 bar on the meter (depending on where it measures the pressure) and see how that improves the shot. although there is a max pressure the resistance of the puck can also determine the pressure so a coarser grind will have less resistance and it won't max out the pressure. I suspect these higher pressure machines are more suited for pressurized baskets than bottomless ones where you use a coarser grind and 15 bar forces everything out in a little hole to get better crema. since you want to take this beyond a pressurized basket then if you can find a way to mod the OVP to lower the pressure then I would suggest doing that.

luisguilherme

#6: Post by luisguilherme »

Hello! I have a Sette 270 and a Barista Express with a naked portafilter.

1. Do not use the bin. Grind directly onto the portafilter. The Sette drops the grounds with zero clumps. The plastic container is probably adding static and making things worse. My shots were worse with WDT than directly out of the grinder.
2. You may be grinding too fine. Try to go coarser without tinkering with preinfusion to see if the channeling gets better (even if it doesn't go away). As long as you're having too much channeling, you won't be able to evaluate your shots by taste, since they'll have both under and over extraction defects. However, if the problem is just fine grind, you can avoid channeling by doing a very long preinfusion.
3. You may be tamping too hard, or not very leveled. You may try the Staub tamp (/naked-extr ... -tamp.html), it can even worsen channeling, but it's worth trying.
4. Change your technique first before doing any mods to the machine. It's true that the Breville single boilers have too much pressure, but that's not the root cause of your channeling.
5. Infuser + Sette 270 is a fantastic combination. I think no other pair can make better coffee at that pricing point. It's harder than professional equipment, but you can learn a lot.

luisguilherme

#7: Post by luisguilherme »

Not a great shot, there are problems with distribution, you can see my "spray scars" from previous tries. But there are no channeling disasters here. Same equipment as OP.

jasiano (original poster)

#8: Post by jasiano (original poster) »

Thanks for the responses. Really appreciate it.
I did reduce the dose a bit (15.5g instead of 16.5g) to reduce the pressure but still spritzed a bit.

Interesting that grinding coarser to reduce the pressure could work (I haven't tried yet, at work but will try when I get home).
I was reading this https://www.letsgrindsomecoffee.com/bo ... #tab-con-6 which was showing similar output to mine, albeit mine had the odd spritz. So I tried grinding finer instead of coarser and getting the super high pressure.
I tried pulling a shot using only preonfusion like what I says here:
https://espressoaf.com/manufacturers/b ... usion.html
Pressure was just about into the lower end of the grey 'ideal' range on the gauge but really lacked body and was quite blonde.

Will keep trying tonight - starting with a slightly coarser grind.

PS. You are all legends for trying to help. Love a community like this :)
-Jason

Down Under

jasiano (original poster)

#9: Post by jasiano (original poster) »

luisguilherme wrote:Hello! I have a Sette 270 and a Barista Express with a naked portafilter.

1. Do not use the bin. Grind directly onto the portafilter. The Sette drops the grounds with zero clumps. The plastic container is probably adding static and making things worse. My shots were worse with WDT than directly out of the grinder.
....
....
5. Infuser + Sette 270 is a fantastic combination. I think no other pair can make better coffee at that pricing point. It's harder than professional equipment, but you can learn a lot.
I probably overthought the dosing and grinding when I got the Sette. New grinder, must do all the WDT etc.
I did notice that the grinds straight out of the Sette were nice and fluffy and then sort of reclumped when I tried pouring into the PF.
Will try grinding directly to the PF.

And yes agree for the price this is a good combo. If I just used the spouted PF and not actually seen the spraying and channeling from the naked PF, I would have been none the wiser and thought everything was perfect. But using the naked PF I do taste the espresso more thoroughly and slowly vs just using the normal spout and pouring in milk for a flat white and being nine the wiser !
-Jason

Down Under

jasiano (original poster)

#10: Post by jasiano (original poster) »

An update for anyone interested/having similar issues.

I tried grinding coarser to reduce the pressure during the brew, the spray was horrendous :D
So I changed it back to finer grind, but reduced the dose in the breville double shot basket to 15.5g then 14.5g (interestingly the manual does say 14g is the optimal dose for the breville Infuser).
Pressure is better, higher than the theoretical 9bar on the unlabelled gauge, but not maxing out. 30g out in 30secs as well so it's about right.
Still the colour is a bit blond and a bit (albeit less) spritz but it's getting there. Maybe. I managed to source a Levercraft WDT tool in Oz so waiting for that to arrive to see if that improves it further.

Damn this obsession over the perfect shot haha
-Jason

Down Under