Posted Fri Oct 24, 2008, 10:28am Subject: Espresso minitutorial with the Breville 800ESXL
[Change log:edited on 11-6-2008 to correct info to LETS START and EQUIPMENT NEEDED; edited on 10-26-2008 to add info to tamp part & grind part; edited on 12-2-08 to removed preparation step; edited on 12-8-2008 to add TEMPERATURE TIPS section]
ESPRESSO MINITUTORIAL WITH THE BREVILLE 800ESXL
INTRODUCTION EQUIPMENT NEEDED BASIC APPROXIMATE MEASUREMENTS LETS START THE GRIND PART THE TAMPING PART TEMPERATURE TIPS INTERNET LINKS
The breville 800ESXL is an affordable way to enter the espresso world. This is a brief and basic tutorial to help you get started and to help me put my thoughts in writing as a newbie. Please correct this tutorial as needed. Thanks.
Brevilled 800ESXL: What can I say. It has a pump to pressurize the water and a thermoblock to heat it.
Grinder: In my own experience, the Breville is very susceptible to two variables, grind and tamping technique.
Glasses for espresso: they need to be marked in ounces to time the shot.
Tamper: You can get by with only the plastic supplied tamper but I use a 51mm steel tamper. I fill the two-cup filter up to only 2/3 to adjust the flavor.
(Option) Krups part number MS-0907163: This is a nonpressurized basket (filter) that will fit on the Breville portafilter perfect. It has many holes instead of only a center one. It will allow you to extract a better flavor and works better overall. It cost ~$7. It will work with the same 51mm tamper.
Timer: I use a casio wristwatch but any watch will work.
BASIC APPROXIMATE MEASUREMENTS:
One shot (one cup) of espresso needs:
7 grams of ground coffee (14 grams for a double)
1.5 oz (3 oz for a duble) of water heated at ~205F
27 seconds of duration for the extraction time
(NOTES:The difference between a one-cup shot and a two-cup shot is in the area of the filter. The one-cup filter has less area. This allows you to keep the same time setting of 27 seconds for a one-cup as for a two-cup. But, the two-cup will give you better results because it is easier to tamp, it has more predictable results, will also give you more cream, and can be partially filled to adjust for flavor potency.)
Total preparation time approx 5 mins
1 Start the machine to warm it up
2 Prepare the portafilter to have it ready.
3 GRIND the coffee and TAMP it (refer to the end).
4 Pour the heated water in the machine and prime by turning knob to the right for a few seconds to warm up the internals of machine. Turn knob to the center (off).
5 Put the loaded portafilter inside.
5 Turn the knob to the right for 27 seconds
THE GRIND PART (timing the shot)
The grind part combined with the tamping part determine the duration of the shot but the grind part plays the main timing role. Before you get a good shot, you need to adjust the grinder to obtain the correct setting. Ground coffee from a can will not work because it is not customized for the Breville.
Grind coffee and tamp it (refer to the TAMP part)
Insert the loaded portafilter and start your timer. Turn the knob to the right to start the shot and measure the time duration to fill 3 oz (for two cup filter)
If your time is shorter than 27" then repeat GRIND PART but this time grinding smaller
If your time is longer than 27" then repeat GRIND PART but this time grinding bigger
If your time is 27" the grind setting is correct
(NOTES: The 20" to 30" region is when most of the flavor changes take place. The duration of 27" can be altered by errors in the tamping technique. Anything from 20" to 30" is usually acid muted and drinkable. The priming time does not count. Grinding for 27" is close to the choke point but a good grinder will let you stay comfortably in that region. Some grinders will require very small adjustments, like only 1/16 of an inch in the dial for a 5 second difference, while others may take as much a two whole turns on the dial. Stepless grinders can fine tune with much more precision but if you own other coffee machines, they are more difficult to return to a previously known setting if you use them for another coffee machine. A stepless grinder is recommended. Different beans will need different settings and every time you change beans you may have to repeat this adjusting process. Generally, fresh roasted beans require grinding larger, while aged beans require finer grinding. Easiest beans to pull a 27 second shot are roasted in middle range. Very dark-light beans are more difficult to dial in in the grinder)
THE TAMPING PART
Tamping is an art and changes from person to person. This is my version. In the tamping part your concern is with equally distributing the coffee so as to avoid weak spots inside the filter. Weak spots will create channeling and the water will drain faster. Tamping affects timing because of the possible weak spots introduced, which can create a rapid flow. The longest shot will be achived by the size of grind when there are no weak spots. Most weak spots come from the area of the walls of the filter, that's why some people prefer to leave a little mountain on the center so when you tamp it, the coffee spreads to the sides. Start by pouring the coffee inside the portafilter and then stirring the coffee with a toothpick to break any clumps. Then lightly tap several times the filter basket against a table to distribute the coffee and to fill empty space. You'll notice that the volume goes down a little sinking on the center. Fill up some more and break the clumps from the surface again. Craft a little mountain centered in the middle by pushing with the toothpick. Tap again to create a flattened mountain. Use the tamper to press down. Most people recommend a force of about 30 lbs (you can use a weight scale if you want to).
If your shots come out low in temperature, you can try the following:
Do not use straight cold water from a refrigerator. In the refrigerator the temperature is bellow 40F and it needs to climb up to 200F in a very short time. So if you put cold-cold water it may not make it all the way.
If you let the machine warm up for 20 minutes with the portafilter plugged in, it gets warm. You want to keep the portafilter and the filter warm because the water will loose heat with the touch during extraction. Your portafilter is made of solid brass (chrome plated) and it is intended to be kept warm. After warming up, do the grinding but don't wait too long to put the portafilter back inside the machine.
Always preflush to heat up the water lines right before pulling your shot.
You can use a preheated glass. Just put hot water in the glass and let it warm up. Right before you pull the shot, you empty it, and put it underneath. It helps keeping things warm for longer on the glass.
Posted Sat Oct 25, 2008, 8:09am Subject: Re: Espresso minitutorial with the Breville 800ESXL
ILUVDABEAN, It looks really good. I am pretty sure that quality and commercial parts make a difference. I'll have to try to take a pic tomorrow. Today no way Jose. I already had like 5 shots and more. But hanging here makes you see shiny objects and makes you consider upgrading. I may upgrade in taxtime. I'll see how things go. Cheers.
Posted Sat Oct 25, 2008, 11:22am Subject: Re: Espresso minitutorial with the Breville 800ESXL
For detailed how-to and troubleshooting your espresso making read my "How To" #12, linked in the RIGHT-HAND column of my website. The basics are fairly straight forward when using any espresso machine. The difficulties come when something isn't working, diagnosing the problem, and then knowing what to do to correct it. My tutorial covers all that in fairly plain language and in step by step detail. Check it out (no ads and nothing for sale).
Posted Sat Oct 25, 2008, 10:24pm Subject: Re: Espresso minitutorial with the Breville 800ESXL
No I'm not from England. I guess it was just a complete mental breakdown. For whatever reason while I knew what you meant it made me think of Glasses and the wizard of "oz". Then to make it worse I thought of those glasses Elton John used to wear. Kinda like one of those disjointed dreams one might have. My only mistake was putting it on the internet. Oh well no one will see it anyway. Right?
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