Can't seem to get it right - First espresso machine - Sage / Breville Barista Express

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

#1: Post by tyeezy »

Hi All,

So i've been throwing cup after cup away like a mad scientist trying to dial my espresso machine in but don't know where im going wrong. I watched this YT video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0g8umpINGQ) however im not getting the same results.

Okay so im using Starbucks dark roast - ground on setting 5 (16 = coarse, 1 = super fine)

1) I weight out 18g of beans and grind them - my puck is overflowing like crazy with this much in and wont tamp down with so much in so i remove a little at a time until I can tamp it down. (PS: Im using the double espresso portafilter)
2) I put an espresso cup on my scales and lock it in puck/handle - press the programme button and then click the double espresso button
3) I wait until the scales read 36g and then stop it.
4) The guy in the video says this should take around 20-30 seconds .... Mine took 8
5) However the espresso came through quite slowly it wasn't like it was firing out - more of a trickle.
6) I moved the grind setting to a 4 .. and this took around 9 seconds, but Im no where near where it needs to be and I can't increase the dose any further and doubt grinding any finer is going to fix this.

Also the shot tastes bitter as hell.

Can someone tell me what im doing wrong its driving me nuts haha

Also 36g seems to arrive so quickly - Is this the correct grams for a double espresso?

Cheers!

Ben Z.

#2: Post by Ben Z. »

You must start with relatively fresh, not burnt coffee or it's gonna be next to impossible.

User avatar
mckolit

#3: Post by mckolit »

Like what was just stated, the coffee you bought might be bitter no matter how you prepare it. It might also be very old beans. Are you using the built in tamper? Your grinder might not be able to grind fine enough.

tyeezy (original poster)

#4: Post by tyeezy (original poster) »

Ben Z. wrote:You must start with relatively fresh, not burnt coffee or it's gonna be next to impossible.
Thanks for the reply. On the back of the packet it says they where roasted 1st November, is this too old?

tyeezy (original poster)

#5: Post by tyeezy (original poster) »

mckolit wrote:Like what was just stated, the coffee you bought might be bitter no matter how you prepare it. It might also be very old beans. Are you using the built in tamper? Your grinder might not be able to grind fine enough.
Thanks for the reply, as above its dated 1st November (maybe thats too old?) Would the age of the beans affect the time to generate 36g though?

Ive bought one of those palm tampers where you use on side to level and the other to tamp.

Im using the grinder built into the system.

User avatar
mckolit

#6: Post by mckolit replying to tyeezy »

Yes, the age of the beans will affect shot time. Although 4 weeks isn't too old, it is getting there. Usually need to grind finer the older the beans get.

espressoren

#7: Post by espressoren »

I've been able to get good shots out of weeks old dark roasts. Something really off, that's pretty fast to 36. Maybe you do need to try going finer, but are you sure you have compressed the puck as far as it will go? Sometimes these double sided tamping tools can be tricky because they have a built in stop and may not be calibrated to fully compress your specific grind.

You can certainly do a smaller shot (say 15 grams), but you may also just need a funnel and a regular tamper. Grind into the basket with funnel attached, the funnel will keep it from overflowing. Then level it as much as possible (wire distribution tool and/or some gentle shaking or tapping) then tamp it down slightly. Then remove the funnel and double check it is tamped completely and the puck is tight and level.

beans+crumble

#8: Post by beans+crumble »

If you're reaching your yield weight in 8-9 seconds I would agree with the other replies that you need to grind finer. Perhaps a smaller dose might work better. When I had the Barista Express I had good results with a 16g dose... just keep the ratio the same (1:2)... so try 16g in 32g out and see how it goes. Dark roasts like Starbucks might do better at a lower ratio... 1:1.5 or even 1:1. If you can get the input/output in 25-30 seconds and it's still super bitter try decreasing the brew temp a little. You might also want to just try different beans from a local cafe or roaster... you might get much better tasting espresso a bit easier.

iyayy

#9: Post by iyayy »

u just fell into the dose weight trap.
while some claims that beans weight doesnt differ much, my personal experience with starbucks beans is that they are very over roasted hence ridiculously light.
i can only fit 16g in my bdb 20g basket without spilling, if using any roasters medium beans only then will i be closer to 20~22g and am able to choose 18g as start.

also i find starbucks beans gets bitter very quickly, i'd agree on previous post. try 86~88degree and 1.5 ratio or smaller.. therefore ur shots may actually be in 20~25s instead of 25~30s.

tyeezy (original poster)

#10: Post by tyeezy (original poster) »

Super helpful! Thanks everyone.

Ill try and get some fresh beans from a local roaster first to see if that makes things easier. Feel like im fighting a losing battle with these starbucks beans.

Ill play with the tamping, dose & grind settings some more to see where im going wrong.

Thanks again!