Food & Drink

Pulling Good Espresso Shots

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  • Oct 23rd, 2018 2:16 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jun 11, 2010
1447 posts
842 upvotes
ottawa

Pulling Good Espresso Shots

Hey RFD,

I finally jumped on the bandwagon here and got the BES870XL to go in our reno'd kitchen. I've been having a difficult time pulling some good espresso shots though, and noticed I need to crank the grind size all the way down to 1 to get the pressure up to ~9bars. I kept the grind amount dialed in with the razor tool but am going to get a scale shortly to be more accurately around 18g.

Anyone have any tips or experience with this machine to get a quality espresso shot?
6 replies
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Sep 1, 2005
16739 posts
11483 upvotes
Markham
barqers wrote: Hey RFD,

I finally jumped on the bandwagon here and got the BES870XL to go in our reno'd kitchen. I've been having a difficult time pulling some good espresso shots though, and noticed I need to crank the grind size all the way down to 1 to get the pressure up to ~9bars. I kept the grind amount dialed in with the razor tool but am going to get a scale shortly to be more accurately around 18g.

Anyone have any tips or experience with this machine to get a quality espresso shot?
Depending also on beans....Tamping pressure and grind size have to be matched up. If you don't want to grind so fine, You could try more tamping pressure.
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[OP]
Deal Addict
Jun 11, 2010
1447 posts
842 upvotes
ottawa
gr8dlr wrote: Depending also on beans....Tamping pressure and grind size have to be matched up. If you don't want to grind so fine, You could try more tamping pressure.
I don't mind grinding finer - was just curious if others had to grind finer as well to get a decent quality shot? I tamp to around 30lbs of pressure.
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Oct 3, 2017
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Sorry to be negative here but Breville 870 and great shots don't go together. It's not bad but not great either. Coffee beans used make a big difference but I have used it and another Breville which is similar but without the built in grinder and I could not pull a great shot using a variety of beans. Tried quite a few different types of beans. Every time I have used one of these Brevilles I can't wait to go back to my Rancilio Silvia V1 (no PID) but I do temp surf it. It's (Silvia) an entry level machine in the non auto quality category and a good grinder is required (another $500+) but I have never had a coffee at a shop which is better or often nearly as good as what I pull at home.

Flame away people but I find mixing Lavazza Rossa whole beans half and half with a quality light roast is a great bean mix for espresso. Also with the 870 I find the ground beans come out of the machine a lot warmer than I like, most likely from the grinder being built in. One solution would be to only add the beans you will be using each session and do your grinding right away instead of when the machine is at operating temp.

If you ever go for a vacation in Oaxaca Mexico they have some of the best coffee beans I have ever had. Have not found it in Canada. Pluma Hidalgo is what you are looking for. Bring back as much as you can squeeze into your luggage. I came back with 4 kg last time I went and almost instantly regretted not buying more. I find freezing beans keeps em fresh with no degradation that I can notice. I use a chest freezer maybe a fridge freezer with the defrost temp swings would affect taste. Again there is a lot of argument as to whether or not freezing is bad. Seems to work for me. When I use frozen beans I portion out the beans I will be using for the session and let them warm up for 10 minutes before throwing in the grinder. Don't think defrost condensation is great for the burrs of the grinder but that's just a guess.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jun 11, 2010
1447 posts
842 upvotes
ottawa
George613 wrote: Sorry to be negative here but Breville 870 and great shots don't go together. It's not bad but not great either. Coffee beans used make a big difference but I have used it and another Breville which is similar but without the built in grinder and I could not pull a great shot using a variety of beans. Tried quite a few different types of beans. Every time I have used one of these Brevilles I can't wait to go back to my Rancilio Silvia V1 (no PID) but I do temp surf it. It's (Silvia) an entry level machine in the non auto quality category and a good grinder is required (another $500+) but I have never had a coffee at a shop which is better or often nearly as good as what I pull at home.

Flame away people but I find mixing Lavazza Rossa whole beans half and half with a quality light roast is a great bean mix for espresso. Also with the 870 I find the ground beans come out of the machine a lot warmer than I like, most likely from the grinder being built in. One solution would be to only add the beans you will be using each session and do your grinding right away instead of when the machine is at operating temp.

If you ever go for a vacation in Oaxaca Mexico they have some of the best coffee beans I have ever had. Have not found it in Canada. Pluma Hidalgo is what you are looking for. Bring back as much as you can squeeze into your luggage. I came back with 4 kg last time I went and almost instantly regretted not buying more. I find freezing beans keeps em fresh with no degradation that I can notice. I use a chest freezer maybe a fridge freezer with the defrost temp swings would affect taste. Again there is a lot of argument as to whether or not freezing is bad. Seems to work for me. When I use frozen beans I portion out the beans I will be using for the session and let them warm up for 10 minutes before throwing in the grinder. Don't think defrost condensation is great for the burrs of the grinder but that's just a guess.
Interesting - I think the built in grinder just isn't getting it fine enough. Finally read the manual tonight and the burr grinder can be manually adjusted even further by undoing the pins and spinning it slightly. Adjusted it finer this evening so I'll give it another test tomorrow.

Overall the shots have still been decent with an okay crema just not as high pressure so a little bit sweeter than I want. I like this machine though as it saves counter and plug space, and I just wouldn't want to keep the Silvia or gaggia out on the counter if I had it they just look cheaper even if they are more expensive. We'll see though on to day five tomorrow.
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Feb 10, 2003
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Calgary
You haven't said what beans you're using... freshness plays a big part in how fine you'll have to grind to get your extraction times right.
Try picking up a bag of beans from a local roaster that's within 2 weeks of the roast date and see how that goes.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jun 11, 2010
1447 posts
842 upvotes
ottawa
Strider wrote: You haven't said what beans you're using... freshness plays a big part in how fine you'll have to grind to get your extraction times right.
Try picking up a bag of beans from a local roaster that's within 2 weeks of the roast date and see how that goes.
I was using Happy Goat (medium roast) beans that were recently roasted (within 2 weeks as you mention).

Maybe I'll try a light roast next instead.

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