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Breville Cafe Roma, short pull times and sadness
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andylane
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Oct 2009
Posts: 5
Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Oct 8, 2009, 6:54am
Subject: Breville Cafe Roma, short pull times and sadness
 

Hey everyone,

I've searched a bit to see if anyone's talked about this already, but I hope I'm not repeating anyone else.

So, I bought a Breville Cafe Roma on woot.com about a year ago for $80, which I thought was great. I was planning on switching from my Aeropress to it, but I never got good results (weak, bitter coffee with small amounts of grounds in it). I have it paired with a Breville burr grinder (which I think is decent). The main problem I'm finding is that it's taking a really short amount of time to pull each (double) shot - only about 6 seconds for 60ml.

Has anyone else had this same problem? I'm assuming that the normal mods - changing the filter basket for a depressurized one, for example - aren't going to help with this particular issue.

Thanks

Andy
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drdreydel
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Jan 2009
Posts: 81
Location: MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ07
Grinder: Le'Lit Pl53
Posted Thu Oct 8, 2009, 9:01am
Subject: Re: Breville Cafe Roma, short pull times and sadness
 

Hi Andy,

I think I got a Roma from the same sale. It was my first machine and I've since upgraded, but...If your shots are too fast, grind finer. If you can't grind finer, then you're a bit out of luck. You could try tamping harder but that's not really what you want to be doing. The krups basket will help improve the quality of your shots, but I still wouldn't expect too much. I was able to get some drinkable shots form the machine when I paired it with a Le'Lit PL53 grinder, but I had upgradeitis from day one. Practice a bit on this one and decide if you want to step up to the next level.

Good luck,

Andrey
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andylane
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Oct 2009
Posts: 5
Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Oct 8, 2009, 4:46pm
Subject: Re: Breville Cafe Roma, short pull times and sadness
 

Thanks - that sounds like the logical thing to do. I had my grinder at 'Espresso', but it can go pretty far beyond that, I think. I'll try it tomorrow and see if it helps.

The hassles of this machine just make me appreciate the Aeropress all the more...
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,929
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600+, CO/UFO combo
Posted Thu Oct 8, 2009, 4:56pm
Subject: Re: Breville Cafe Roma, short pull times and sadness
 

Trust me here, we ALL had hassles in the beginning of the espresso journey, even with machines and grinders costing 4x's as much as your gear.
Don't be discouraged. Be ENcouraged that you are able to recognize the shortcomings of your gear.
I'm going to assume tightening the grind won't help a whole lot.
If not, I'd start the process with a better ESPRESSO grinder. Around here, our mantra is GRINDER FIRST!
There are several good manual grinders, but why not go to our BST Forum and see if there is a grinder in your price range available. Folks around here get "upgrade-itus" pretty quickly. If something looks promising, search for CG threads with the grinder in the name, or post a question on the grinder forum area.
Once you've got the grinder in hand, then figure out your machine price range, and type.
Feel free to ask questions, or better still, search here or Google for CG threads that apply to your future machine.
Above all, don't be discouraged! You'll be rockin' along quicker than you might think.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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andylane
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Oct 2009
Posts: 5
Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Oct 8, 2009, 5:04pm
Subject: Re: Breville Cafe Roma, short pull times and sadness
 

That's awesome - thanks for the encouragement!
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,929
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600+, CO/UFO combo
Posted Thu Oct 8, 2009, 6:42pm
Subject: Re: Breville Cafe Roma, short pull times and sadness
 

You bet!
BTW, welcome to CG.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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Jmanespresso
Senior Member
Jmanespresso
Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 2,109
Location: Westchester NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Compak K10 - Vario
Vac Pot: Yama-SY5/SY8/TCA5
Drip: V60, Beehouse, CCD
Roaster: Hottop B
Posted Thu Oct 8, 2009, 10:47pm
Subject: Re: Breville Cafe Roma, short pull times and sadness
 

Rob could not be more correct(and btw, Rob, where you been?  I havent seen you posting in a while{congrats on being a new Moderator BTW} around these parts) in his comments.  We ALL, at one point or another, have been EXACTLY where you are.

As your read the forum, you will look at peoples equipment(left side, under thier name/location) and say, Jeeze, Im way out of their league.  Pay little, if any attention to that.  Look at mine.  Now, consider what I owned in the beginning of this year.  A delonghi EC140B and a Cuisinart DMB-8 Supreme Grind.  Translation-definition of pieces of crap.  But I managed, and I enjoyed my espresso just fine.  Trust me, the time will come, much sooner then you think, where you will be more then happy with the quality of your gear, and more importantly, the quality of your espresso.

That said...

the first thing you should, is get to work on de-pressurizing your portafilter.  IIRC, the Breville Portafilter is a 53mm portafilter.  A normal filter basket from Krups should fit nicely.  I forget exactly which one it is, I THINK it might be This One.  Im pretty sure that will fit, but here is a whole page of parts whith a bunch of different krups baskets.  EspressoEd, a fellow coffeegeek user uses the Krups XP 4030 or 4020, I forget,,, But he is the guy to talk to about the 53mm Krups regular basket.  A quick search for him, then click on his profile and send him an email if you're unsure about which basket to buy.  That is priority one.

Secondly, and just as important, is a new espresso grinder.  The breville grinder leaves much to be desired, and isn't really up to the task.  Now, no need to spend a fortune, you can get a more then capable hand grinder, which does a damn good job, from Orphan Espress for under 100 bucks.  Rob and I both have hand grinders, as well as electric grinders, and He will also tell you, Hand Grinders do a great job, and the ones from OrphanEspresso are GARUNTEED to grind for espresso machines.  I often use my hand grinder, which I bought for 85 bucks, with my ~1500 dollar espresso machine.  The other option, is go to Ebay and search for a Used MAZZER grinder.  Super Jollys are very popular on there.  Usually, they go for around 350-400.  They might look a little beat up, but they will always work.. They literally define what it means to be "built like a tank".  I bought a mazzer major from Ebay, and its the best money Ive ever spent. You NEED to buy a new set of burrs(about 40 bucks) which can be found from most vendors online... ChrisCoffee has the best prices I can find.  Install the new burrs, and you will have one of the best grinders on the market, which will last you a lifetime... Literally.

Once you have a good grinder, and have got a regular basket, good espresso is a matter of good technique, and high quality beans.  Beans.. Thats the other thing.

Are you using fresh coffee from an Artisan roaster?  Even with your setup, exactly as it is, you should be suing high quality coffee.  The coffee bag NEEDS to have a "Roasted On: DD/MM/YYYY" date stamped onto the bag, and the beans needs to be used within 14 days of that date.  If the bag of coffee doesn't have a "roasted on dd/mm/yyy" date stamped onto the bag, you can bet the bank the beans are stale.. and no grinder or machine in the world will produce anything remotely near what you would want to drink.

Mail-order is the best way to get beans at thier freshest, and most, if not all of us on here mail order.  Many of us also homeroast own our beans as well, but thats another thread.  There is a plethora of roasters out there who will roast to order, pack and ship your beans on the same day... Most of them offer some sort of 3-day delivery so you get the beans quiclkly.  For me, 5days is the absolute maximum amount of time I will wait for beans.  that means, if they ship on monday, they need to get to me by friday.  I prefer to have them wednesday.  If you are unsure about when they will arrive, Email the roaster in question, they will be able to let you know what the best shipping option is.  Now, you don't need to spend a fortune, not at all.  You would be surprised what some of the best beans in the world cost.  I order and consume about 4lbs of coffee in a 14 day period( i know, i know :) ), and 1pound bags usually cost between 12 and 20 bucks.  12-16 is the norm, and they are still of the highest quality.  Below is a list of roasters which I have compiled as I become aware of a roaster.  I suggest ordering from different roasters every couple of orders... Some people find one blend, and order that one blend, over and over and over, never trying anything new.  there is way too much great coffee out there to restrict yourself to one blend, from one roaster.  Each roaster offers their own blends, each with thier own style and flavor profile.  Try em all..if you can!! hehe.

Here is a list of some of the roasters most of the board members order from on a regular basis:
-Intelligentsia
-The Coffee Klatch
-Counter Culture Coffee
-Metropolis
-Zoka Coffee & Tea
-Vivace Cafe
-Barefoot Roasters
-Ritual Roasters
-Ecco Cafe
-Caffe Fresco
-Gimme! Coffee
-Paradise Roasters
-Mocha Joes
-PT's Coffee
-Barrington Coffee Roasters
-Blue Bottle Coffee Roasters
-Terroir Coffee
-Stumptown Roasters
-49 Parallel Coffee Roasters(In Canada, but ships to the US)
-Atomic Cafe
-Veltons Coffee
-Chris' Coffee Service-An equipment vendor with a few roasted coffee options.

 
Follow Your Bliss

Coffee makes your constantly overcome your prejudices and re-evaluate your own "received wisdoms" when it comes to judging cup flavors. -Tom Owen, SweetMarias
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andylane
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Oct 2009
Posts: 5
Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Oct 9, 2009, 6:24am
Subject: Re: Breville Cafe Roma, short pull times and sadness
 

Wow - thank you very much all the excellent info. I'm surprised and happy that the machine isn't something I need to scrap right away. A new one isn't in my future while I'm still in grad school.

I definitely like to keep things simple and not throw money at stuff for the wrong reasons; $85 for a decent grinder is definitely appealing (especially from those guys - the equipment they restore looks beautiful). And $15 for the new basket won't break the bank. I've checked out the threads on that before - I think I've figured out the right one.

You're going to laugh/cry at this, but the beans I've been using are some I picked up at Costco. Honestly, if I could just get any flavor at all out of them - I know something acceptable is in there, since I've tasted it on the Aeropress - I'd be happy. But you're right, they're nowhere near as fresh as they should be. Minneapolis has a ton of small coffee shops, and many of them roast in-house and sell their coffee. If I'm looking for decent coffee, I try to get fresh stuff from them. I'm going to have to buy some and compare it with some of the suppliers you've mentioned.

Thanks again!

BTW, grinding finer and tamping harder hasn't helped much this morning. Not quite as weak as before, but still basically ditchwater.
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andylane
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Oct 2009
Posts: 5
Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Oct 9, 2009, 6:37am
Subject: Re: Breville Cafe Roma, short pull times and sadness
 

Just looking at my last cup, the amount of (pretty coarse) grinds in the bottom of it, combined with the fast pull-times suggest to me that it's leaking somewhere along the way, presumably there's a hole somewhere that's stopping pressure building up and letting grinds through. Hopefully the new basket will help. Is there a gasket or anything I should be looking for? The current basket looks undamaged.
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tedegreene
Senior Member
tedegreene
Joined: 4 Oct 2005
Posts: 164
Location: JACKSONVILLE

Espresso: Bezzera BZ40
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Tue Oct 13, 2009, 6:03am
Subject: Re: Breville Cafe Roma, short pull times and sadness
 

I had the same problem with my depressurized Cafe Roma. I modified the Breville grinder as directed on this site and it still wouldn't grind fine enough.  Once I got a Le'Lit 53 grinder the problem was solved as soon as I dialed it in.  I have a great commercial machine now but the Cafe Roma could make espresso that rivals it.  It wasn't as easy, or as fast. or as consistent as the big one but it was capable of good espresso just the same.  I know a $270 grinder doesn't seem to make sense for an $80 espresso machine but the Breville grinder is just not up to the job.  Get a little bit better grinder and you will get much better results.  I highly recommend the Le'Lit if its in your budget and you only want to grind for espresso. The adjustment mechanism is to fine for changing to different brewing methods.  It would take too many turns of the dial and be too difficult to dial back in for espresso to be practical.
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