Newbie worried about tamp force setting in my Breville Oracle

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
Quozl
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Joined: 4 months ago

#1: Post by Quozl »

Greetings: this is my first post, sorry if format is incorrect. I've searched my question and found hundreds of non related to my situation. I may have missed the right one, again, my apologies.

I'm 55+ year old, and started drinking coffee at the end of this summer to help my wife justify the price of the Breville Oracle. LoL

That said of watched over 100 videos on Espresso and how to make, how to set up, how to how toooos, :D

So my first couple of tries were a grind setting of 30 which Brev suggests. it was waaaay off, the grind was 19grams and the shot was 90 something. down down down

last attempt was a grind setting of 10. i got 20 grams into porta filter, i get the 10 second preinfuse, the 20 seconds of water pressure. I ended up with 59grams of espresso.

Since I'm getting so far from the suggested, i double checked that the test was done with a double shot, which the Brev video showed. so my next thought is that the internal tamp force setting needs to be changed to move the over range closer to that 30 suggestion.

I see one video on the Brev site, which shows how to do it, but no logic surrounding that, so I don't know if it's something I should do or not.

As a side point, this is my second unit, the first had pressure issues after 3 or 4 months, and to Brevs credit they sent me a brand new unit. The original was the same issue, and I just used it in the 10 to 14 range for all my coffee bean types. so I tend to think that overall tamp force setting may simply be too low.

Unless I'm misunderstanding this whole thing all together.


Any suggestions would be appreciated, I'll probably try it for a cup, and see if I don't blow up my machine.

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Jeff
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#2: Post by Jeff »

Welcome to H-B!

When were your beans roasted?

For many blends appropriate for espresso, more than a couple weeks ago (or more than opened a week) can make pulling shots challenging.

(Within reason, tamping force doesn't change extraction speed much.)

I think you're near Toronto. If so, Hatch is a roaster that I enjoy and should be available to you without mail order.

Quozl (original poster)
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#3: Post by Quozl (original poster) »

So I'm up in Orangeville, so I've tried 5 different bags of coffee so far. 4 fancy blends from Esc Coffee out in Burlington, and a bag of Lavazza from Costco. So I've tried a few, and the bag that I'm working out of now was opened 2 weeks ago and has sat tightly sealed waiting for my replacement Oracle to arrive.

So now that I've tried a few different bags, on my original machine, and all of them have been between 10 and 18 on the grind, no where near the suggested 30 of Breville.

My question still stands, do I bother to move that setting, or just keep going down closer to zero on the grind to get that 2 to 1 ratio?

Thanks for the response and suggestion so far

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Jeff
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#4: Post by Jeff »

My very biased opinions follow

You're unlikely to get good espresso from supermarket-purchased beans or even from many local roasters. Same goes for anything from the big names that has been open more than a day or two. There is little to suggest to me that ECS supplies fresh, quality coffee from their website. I'd suggest working with one of Hatch's blends or something of similar quality and freshness (within two or three weeks of roast and within a week of opening the bag).

The Oracle instructions say to start at 30 and adjust as needed.

Quozl (original poster)
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Joined: 4 months ago

#5: Post by Quozl (original poster) »

So either throw out all the beans i have left, or dial down to a 5 or so to get the optimal 2 to 1?

Ok, thanks for your help.

in the future if i buy from Hatch and it still has me going down into the low teens, is that just ther way this machine has been made?

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Jeff
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#6: Post by Jeff »

If some are still in sealed bags, you might try those.

There are enough hard things to become aware of and learn when making espresso that adding in more complexity can make it even more frustrating. I'd avoid things like expensive baskets, lighter ("filter") roasts, decaf, stale beans, roast defects, ... aside until someone gets the basics down.

If you're working with an "unknown", it's hard to know if the espresso is too bitter/sour because of something under your control, or if it's just not coffee you can enjoy.

espressoren
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#7: Post by espressoren »

Yeah, older drier beans tend to flow faster than fresh (roast date maybe a week or two out at most is ideal).

You can probably make it work on sealed but questionable roast date beans within reason. People like James Hoffman have suggested a 2.5 or even 3:1 espresso weight to bean weight ratio works well on the Breville ThermoJet type machines and you're in the ballpark but ultimately it's to your taste.

If you're a stickler about getting the best results, you'll end up ordering beans from someone who roasts daily and can ship them to you in 2-3 days. Or better yet a local roaster.

espressoren
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#8: Post by espressoren »

And yes, if it isn't fully tamping down that may be an issue. It's not really possible to over tamp but maybe there's an outside chance the auto tamper is not compressing enough. If there are instructions to calibrate that it may be worth reviewing.

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mrgnomer
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#9: Post by mrgnomer »

In my experience good extraction is possible with store bought beans like Kimbo or Lavazza. They roast for long shelf life with classic extraction.

Local roasters can be a hit or miss. Fresh roast beans with a good rest extract better than stale. Dark classic can be good after 4 days. Light roasts need sometimes 10 days+ I've found.

Idrinkcoffee roasts their own. They're in Milton. Never tried their roast but they're a good vendor. Pilot roasters are in Toronto. I like their roasts. They guarantee freshness and deliver. Their light rests have a lot of character. They have some good espresso blends.

I don't have a Breville so I don't know how it controls variables. There's a lot of variables starting from bean, roast, grind, dose, distribution, tamp/tamp pressure, temp setting, preinfusion time/pressure, pump/extraction pressure. Different roasts extract at different grinds. Dark classic extracts at coarser grinds than light beans.

One of the grind dial in techniques is to go finer until you choke your machine and back off from there until you get your target extraction rate. Store bought beans are great to use as dial in beans.
Kirk
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