Sage Smart Grinder Pro with Bambino Plus - Having to set very fine grind?

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
Kid Degen

#1: Post by Kid Degen »


I'm new to the forum :)
I was hoping that maybe someone here can help me.

I read quite a lot of instructions and watched quite a few videos on how to make decent espresso but have a question.

I bought a Sage Bambini Plus (mainly for its milk frothing capabilities) and love the machine.
So far I only used store ground coffee and some I had ground for me in the coffee shop.

To get good espresso out of them I had to always use the dual wall filter and it actually came out decent.

I decided to upgrade and added the Sage Smart Grinder Pro. I'm using the single wall filter that was included with the Bambino Plus.
I watched a lot of videos and read quite a bit about how to set it all up but here's my issue:

Most instructions say the grind setting should be around 10 - 14.
I tried 14 and 10 and with the both the coffee just runs through like water. I do tamp it with a good bit of force.

I had to go all the way down to a fine grind of 4 to achieve a 2 to 1 espresso in 20 to 30 seconds.
At the setting of 4 it actually tastes pretty good and the colour looks great too.

Having watched a lot of videos on the Sage equipment it seems like my settings are way off to all the reviewers and pros out there. Am I doing something wrong?
The grinder setting in the head of the machine is factory set by the way. I didn't change that.

Thank you for any help :)

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Team HB

#2: Post by Jeff »

That grinder is often found by people to need its burrs adjusted to be able to grind fine enough for espresso. I believe it is a low/no-tool process and is intended to be done by end users. There are multiple videos available, including ones from Breville (AU. as I recall).

As the upper burr is often adjusted, it is hard to compare grind settings with another user.

Some search results: Search Results?q=adjust+burrs+smart+grinder

Kid Degen (original poster)

#3: Post by Kid Degen (original poster) »

Thanks for the info!
I wish the coffee video bloggers would include the info that they might have changed it :)

I'll try 2 notches finer.


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#4: Post by Nunas »

Jayson, As the previous commenter advises, the numbers don't mean much. Do this. Crank your grinder down to the finest setting. Prepare your portafilter with a standard basket as you normally would. Try to pull a shot. If your grinder is capable of grinding fine enough, no coffee will come out, or maybe only a dribble. We call this "choking the grinder". Assuming your grinder can choke the machine, then back off on the grind setting to somewhat finer than the one that gave you the gusher, and repeat the process. Presumably, you've now bracketed the shot (one too coarse, one too fine). Now move the dial somewhere between the two, and you should be in the ballpark. From there, make only tiny adjustments until you get what you want. We call this "dialing in the grinder". BTW, this isn't a set and forget it procedure. You'll likely find that as your beans age or if you change to different beans, you'll have to tweak the setting a bit.
Edit: PS if your grinder can't choke the machine, you'll need to calibrate it. The manual should say how to do this.

Kid Degen (original poster)

#5: Post by Kid Degen (original poster) »

Thats a great tip, thanks!

If I can't choke the machine I adjust the upper burr to a finer setting.

I'll try that tomorrow.

Kid Degen (original poster)

#6: Post by Kid Degen (original poster) »

I tried what you suggested and it did let me choke the machine.
After dialling it in properly I ended up on a setting of 6.
I guess I could just leave it there without adjusting the upper burr.


#7: Post by palica »

I have the same set-up (grinder and espresso machine) and my grinder setting will vary from 6 to 12, depending of the beans, humidity, roast level etc... so nothing abnormal for you. Enjoy your coffee: what you get in the cup is what counts.
BTW, Bambino Plus and SGP is a great startup kit which gave me 100% for more than 2 years, and I can not sell it. It is my vacation kit when we rent cottages in Summer/Winter :mrgreen: