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JoelCigan
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 30
Location: Fresno, CA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Nov 20, 2011, 3:54pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

Jason,

What espresso machine and grinder are you using now?  Also, where do you order your beans from?  I've found that coffee gets stale pretty quickly if you don't use it and that's why I might use a pod instead of going through the trouble to grind my own.

You have a timer set to power your machine up in the morning?

Joel
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JtothaR
Senior Member
JtothaR
Joined: 20 Dec 2010
Posts: 753
Location: Las Cruces, NM
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: NS Appia, Oscar
Grinder: K10, Lusso, GM 875
Drip: Pour-Over, FP, Toddy
Roaster: Agapao, Metropolis, CC
Posted Sun Nov 20, 2011, 4:06pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

JoelCigan Said:

I've found that coffee gets stale pretty quickly if you don't use it and that's why I might use a pod...

Posted November 20, 2011 link

Pods start out stale. If you insist on using a pre-ground, pre-packaged, stale coffee, then just save your money on good equipment and buy a nespresso.

 
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davenfi22
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Nov 2011
Posts: 4
Location: Northern Maine
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Nov 20, 2011, 4:37pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

I have been reading through this posting string and it appears there is a lot of experience, hence reason for joining.

I have been scouring the internet regarding the Breville BES900XL for best pricing and info.  I have been watching all the youtube videos, including the coffee crew's review, Breville's web site, etc.....  Yes most of the higher end major retailers are selling machine as well as the coffee crew, Clivecoffee, ABT, Amazon, etc...

We currently own Brevelle's most recent k-cup machine, we have had it almost a year, it appears to be a quality unit.  We have excessively hard water (we now only use water from a Zero Water Pitcher) and had some scaling issues and short cupping.  We contacted Breville and they were ready to send us a new machine (we purchased ours from Amazon), we went through further descaling and some diagnostics.  After a few days of Zero Water, the machine started working properly again (it was like the machine had passed a kidney stone), my point, Breville was very responsive.

I recently spoke w/an associate from CliveCoffee and was advised this was the first Breville Espresso Machine they were willing to sell, the associate was very strait forward.  They appear to sell a lot of the machines mentioned in this thread and yes I have been looking at them as well.

The BES900XL appears to be an aesthetically pleasing machine, it appears functional and most of the write-ups are positive.  I would like to see some comments from an actual owner/user.

The research I have been doing leads me to believe Breville is an Australian Company that is International.

Even though I would like to hear from some actual user(s)/owner(s), I would like feedback as to what are the main items to be looking for.  Living in Northern Maine, we do not have the ability to walk into anywhere and get any hands-on experience.  Thanks for the info in advance.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,467
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sun Nov 20, 2011, 5:25pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

JoelCigan Said:

What's the story on these VST baskets anyway?

Posted November 20, 2011 link

They are VERY expensive.  They are highly engineered, and they address a facet of the process no one else has really addressed:  the basket.  Are they better?  Probably not -- at least not in any significant, dramatic, obvious way.  Are they better?  Probably, in what is a very subtle, possibly meaningful way.  But the only way to tell is to taste test them side-by-side BLIND, and I have been unable to do that.

JoelCigan Said:

I'm still confused on when to perform a "flush."  Without a PID, how do you know when the temperature has gotten too hot?

Posted November 20, 2011 link

If you flip the switch and steam -- instead of water -- comes out of the grouphead, it's too hot.  ;^)  Seriously, you are worrying too much about too little -- especially as a self-acknowledged "newbie."  That said, read How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love HXs by Dan Kehn.

JoelCigan Said:

At $549.00, the Vario-W is reasonable.  What do you think about not being able to dose directly into the portafilter?

Posted November 20, 2011 link

Joel, have you ever driven an automobile with a manual transmission?  Some people swear by it; others will only drive automatics.  But you know what?  Assuming you know how to drive them both, both will get you there -- and sometimes the manual is a lot more fun to drive!  Some grinders come with a doser; some are doserless.  Some people love dosers.  Some people love  doserless.  Again, each has their advantages and disadvantages, and there is no such thing as one size fits all!

JoelCigan Said:

Also, was just wondering how many grams constitutes a single, double and triple?  Is 17g a single?

Posted November 20, 2011 link

Joel, it has occurred to me that you are reading a lot, but much of it is about the wrong things.  (Sorry, but that's what it feels like.)  Seventeen grams is most certainly NOT a single!  

7 grams = single
14 grams = double
16-18 grams = updosed double
21 grams = triple

JoelCigan Said:

Pods are quick and fast and that's what I'm used to.  Plus they're individually sealed.  Who do you order your coffee from and how do you keep it fresh??

Posted November 20, 2011 link

Pods are no less "quick and fast" -- in all honesty -- and they start off stale! (Can I ask you to re-read Babbie's Rule of Fifteens?)

Most of us here get their beans from here.

In terms of storing our beans, look here:
Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,467
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sun Nov 20, 2011, 5:59pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

JoelCigan Said:

What espresso machine and grinder are you using now?

Posted November 20, 2011 link


Joel, if you look to the left
<---------------------------
you'll see what almost everyone is using:

JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member

Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 4,671
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -... (Olympic Express Cafferex - Arrarex Caravel)
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -... (Baratza Vario - Cimbali Max Hybrid - Nuova Simonelli MCI)
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another... (hobby!)

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

At home, I have an Elektra "Sixties" Deliziosa T1, paired with two grinders -- the Mahlkönig K30 Vario and the Baratza Vario.  I have another setup in my office.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

JoelCigan Said:

Also, where do you order your beans from?

Posted November 20, 2011 link

Joel, I pointed you already to the List of Our Favorite Roasters, but specifically, most of my coffee comes from Red Bird Coffee.  

JoelCigan Said:

I've found that coffee gets stale pretty quickly if you don't use it and that's why I might use a pod instead of going through the trouble to grind my own.

Posted November 20, 2011 link

If you want good coffee, you grind your own.  Period.  Let me one more time remind you of what you seem to be very resistant to and unwilling to accept:   Babbie's Rule* of Fifteens:
-- Green (unroasted) coffee beans should be roasted within 15 months, or they go stale.
-- Roasted coffee beans should be ground within 15 days, or they go stale.
-- Ground coffee should be used within 15 minutes, or it goes stale.

JoelCigan Said:

You have a timer set to power your machine up in the morning?

Posted November 20, 2011 link

Many of us do.  Any serious espresso machine NEEDS to be in a state of thermic stability, and even with a purely home model like a Rancilio Silvia, that can take 30 minutes or more.  So many people have a small appliance timer, such as this.

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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JoelCigan
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 30
Location: Fresno, CA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Nov 20, 2011, 7:51pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

I was looking at the Elektra Art T1 but for $3,000.00, can't really justify it.  I would imagine the "Sixties" Deliziosa T1 is too expensive of a machine too but I honestly haven't checked pricing.  I did see that they are both commercial machines and not totally geared for lower volume home use.  Does the Elektra offer anything that a Rocket Giotto or Izzo Alex Duetto II can't provide?  As you were saying, an experienced barrista can pull great shots from a lower calibre machine...

I was looking again at the Breville BES900XL and I noticed that it times the shot whereas these other machines don't.  When you're pulling a shot, do you really count 25s and then stop the flow?  If no, how do you know when the pull is done?  Is it good to look for this feature in a machine?  Seems like the Breville might be geared more to the inexperienced user.  Overall, I get a lower quality feel from it and the times I've tried buying from say Macy's I've been let down.  At this point I'm on the fence but Williams & Sonoma does have a 90 day return policy...

Thank you for all the info.  I don't think buying coffee in bulk is the way to go considering it can get stale 15 days post roast.  It's better to buy in smaller quantities then and use those airscape?? containers.  Someone on here was saying you dont really need an Espro tamper and that 50 pounds of force? isn't too much.  That was the tamper I was considering.  I was also looking at the toroid pitcher by Espro.

Joel
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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 Sun Nov 20, 2011, 8:21pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

The "fiddling" is part of the experience, but I also think you are thinking/worrying about it too much.  It's not that difficult, it doesn't require a Master's degree, and most of it is an on-going process -- meaning, each time my daughter gets behind the wheel of a car, she is becoming a better driver.  The day she stops improving will probably be the day she does something stupid and causes an accident.  Every time you pull a shot, it will be different than the last one, different than the next one, and while the ideal is to be consistent, there are far too many variables to EVER be "robotically consistent."  The age of the bean (post-roast), the humidity, the adjustment of the grind, the focus of the barista, and more -- all vary from day-to-day, and in some cases from shot-to-shot!

Just my 2¢, and worth far less -- no doubt.

Cheers,
Jason

Posted November 19, 2011 link

Excellent post Jason, 2 cents and all.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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JtothaR
Senior Member
JtothaR
Joined: 20 Dec 2010
Posts: 753
Location: Las Cruces, NM
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: NS Appia, Oscar
Grinder: K10, Lusso, GM 875
Drip: Pour-Over, FP, Toddy
Roaster: Agapao, Metropolis, CC
Posted Sun Nov 20, 2011, 8:34pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

JoelCigan Said:

I was looking again at the Breville BES900XL and I noticed that it times the shot whereas these other machines don't.  When you're pulling a shot, do you really count 25s and then stop the flow?  If no, how do you know when the pull is done?  Is it good to look for this feature in a machine?  

Posted November 20, 2011 link

Based on these questions, there are alot of the basics that you still need to understand. That's fine we were all there at one point.

You should read this guide completely and then give us any further questions you have after. I know it's a lot of info.

http://www.home-barista.com/espresso-guide.html

Good Luck,
-James

 
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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 Sun Nov 20, 2011, 8:40pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

Joel, get the Baratza Vario-W or used Mazzer Super jolly, whichever HX looks best to you visually (as that appears to be of importance to YOU...as it is to many of US), a couple of Espro pitchers, a good tamper, some cleaning supplies, and a bottomless PF...and get to work.
Too many side issues, my man!
Forget VST baskets for now, learn the process and ENJOY THE COFFEE!!

FRESH roasted coffee, stored properly.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,467
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sun Nov 20, 2011, 10:21pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

Joel?

JoelCigan Said:

I was looking at the Elektra Art T1 but for $3,000.00, can't really justify it.  I would imagine the "Sixties" Deliziosa T1 is too expensive of a machine too but I honestly haven't checked pricing.

Posted November 20, 2011 link

1) They are  the same machine.
2) I never suggested you get what I have.  Rather, what I have suggested (repeatedly) is that no one size fits all.  There are dozens of machines that will last a long time and suit your needs.  the one you choose is up to you . . .  

JoelCigan Said:

I did see that they are both commercial machines and not totally geared for lower volume home use.  Does the Elektra offer anything that a Rocket Giotto or Izzo Alex Duetto II can't provide?

Posted November 20, 2011 link

Again, no one size fits all.  I also purchased my Elektra BEFORE either the Rocket Giotto Evoluzione or the Izzo Alex Duetto II were on the market . . .

JoelCigan Said:

I was looking again at the Breville BES900XL and I noticed that it times the shot whereas these other machines don't.

Posted November 20, 2011 link

Who cares?

JoelCigan Said:

When you're pulling a shot, do you really count 25s and then stop the flow?

Posted November 20, 2011 link

No.

JoelCigan Said:

If no, how do you know when the pull is done?

Posted November 20, 2011 link

You stop on blonding.

JoelCigan Said:

Is it good to look for this feature in a machine?

Posted November 20, 2011 link

I don't think so.
Seems like the Breville might be geared more to the inexperienced user.
No.  The Breville is geared to the housewife, the husband, the person who wants a home appliance, rather than a serious piece o prosumer equipment that will last.  

JoelCigan Said:

Overall, I get a lower quality feel from it and the times I've tried buying from say Macy's I've been let down.  At this point I'm on the fence but Williams & Sonoma does have a 90 day return policy...

Posted November 20, 2011 link

Would you buy your new Italian sports car from the store that sells riding lawn mowers?  Do you buy your expensive Italian suits at JC Penny?  (Trust me, even Men's Warehouse is a significant step up!)  Do you want to buy your hand-tied, antique Persian rug at a department store, or at the person who specializes in Middle Eastern rugs?

Where do you think you should buy your espresso equipment, a housewares store or a serious (and dedicated) espresso equipment merchant?

JoelCigan Said:

I don't think buying coffee in bulk is the way to go considering it can get stale 15 days post roast.  It's better to buy in smaller quantities then and use those airscape?? containers.

Posted November 20, 2011 link

So, where do YOU think you should buy your coffee?  And how much do YOU think you should buy at one time?  And, finally, since pods are already stale (have you given up on that idea yet?), what's YOUR idea for storage?  

JoelCigan Said:

Someone on here was saying you dont really need an Espro tamper and that 50 pounds of force? isn't too much.  That was the tamper I was considering.  I was also looking at the toroid pitcher by Espro.

Posted November 20, 2011 link

No one that I know tamps at 50 psi.  30 pounds seems to be an American "standard" of sorts, but -- again -- many of us don't tamp at all, or just lightly tamp (5-10 pounds, if that).  

There is -- again, Joel -- more than one way to skin a cat, more than one way to pull a shot.  Tamping is the LEAST important part of the process.  About the only thing we all agree on is that those plastic tampers that come with most machines are useless.  After that, the most important thing about a tamper is that it's the right size for your baskets, and comfortable in your hand.  After that, all is personal choice:  flat, convex, C-curve; Reg Barber, Espro, Cafelat, Thor, whatever . . . .

Same thing with pitchers -- Espro, Cafelat, Motta, Rattleware, whatever . . . .

The crucial thing is -- in order -- a great grinder (honest -- more important than the machine!), fresh coffee, a capable machine, and a "user" capable of learning and adapting, rather than relying on formulae or mechanical devices . . . .

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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