Posted Thu Feb 16, 2012, 12:44am Subject: Breville Cafe Roma (any tips to pulling a "decent" shot)
This is my very first post. I'll admit this; I watched the movie "Green Lantern" awhile ago. I saw Kato prepairing a nice latte Rosetta. I honestly though it was CGI. I had never before been anywere that did latte art.
Since seeing that movie I inherited a Breville Cafe Roma. Beautiful looking machine. I've been lurking this site for sometime (thanks to all the poster's, a wealth of knowledge) and have come to realize the limitations of a PPF.
Because of my initial interest in latte art, I primarily focused on creating a decent microfoam. Did my online research and created some art capablie foam (I had read that it would take a couple months...sure enough, it took awhile, still dialing it in).
Since I had honed my milk froathing ability to what I figure is a half decent foam, I started to look more at my shot.
Here's where my current questions come with the PPF: Current Process: - Grinding with an Kyocera CM-50 to a very fine (prob. 3 steps up from closed) - Bean is a quality roaster espresso blend. - Purge my machine (PPF installed in ganghead) for roughly 2 cups. - Tinkering with running the steam wand for 1min, turning off and, turning dial partially to steam, just until the heating ite comes on - Wait with heating light on for 10sec (attempting to increase the heat of the thermaclock) - flipping the switch to pull the cup. - I pre-dump the first 1/2 second of the pull (the jet back part). - Filling double basket (I can only get about a 12g dose) - Being a PPF (and reading), I've become to realize the limitations of what I'm dealing with and tamping. - I level the double basket and, tamp litely (I don't have the correct sive tamper for this machine). - insert preheated cup and pull for about 12sec (that's the best I think I can do without it being to bitter it is only a 12g basket), anything longer and it starts getting bitter. - stop pull before it gets whitish (this is the area where I'm having trouble sorting what I've reading for pull times with a 21g pf and a 12g ppf.) - then I play with the milk...
The best my machine can do is: Cuppa - 85c Steam - 95c
I've read in several places that the best temp to exctraced is 92-96c. my Machine falls short by roughly 10c.
Has anyone else outthere with this machine spend a great deal of time with it and find a trick that I haven't that will help in pulling a "good shot"? I've had several: - OK crema (2oz, alright colour and volume) (inconsitant through blends...to be expected I guess, new at this) - OK-to-Good taste - on the bad side - Burnt, bitter, pour this down the drain.
This machine seams to be all over the map (likely due to TB and low/inconsitent temps)
I've realized that I've started rambling about coffee...starting to get accused of that from some friends.
I guess I'll go back to my point in this post:
- Has anyone with this machine been able to pull consitently "good" shots? If so, how?
Thanks to everyone who has posted here, a wealth of knowledge
Posted Thu Feb 16, 2012, 10:25am Subject: Re: Breville Cafe Roma (any tips to pulling a "decent" shot)
hmm, one initial question - how are you measuring the temperatures of the brew water and steam? There's no way that steam is coming out of your machine at 95C. It's pretty hard to get a good measure of the temperature of steam or brew water without taking some precautions to avoid heat losses.
Have you calibrated the thermometer in water at a rolling boil?
The biggest thing to do would be to depressurize the portafilter (you can buy the single wall baskets here), and get a correct sized tamper - you should be able to get 14g in the basket with a good tamp, and that's the nominal amount for a double shot. You can always run it short with a finer grind to get close to the same effect as updosing a full size double. The next step might then be a more adjustable grinder, but only go one step at a time!
WBW Senior Member Joined: 20 Mar 2011 Posts: 29 Location: Vancouver Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Thu Feb 16, 2012, 4:09pm Subject: Re: Breville Cafe Roma (any tips to pulling a "decent" shot)
I will echo the recommendation to get the Breville Single Wall Filter baskets - I have the Breville as well and they were a worthy purchase in improving the taste potential of your espresso.
It sounds like you "temperature surf" already - I do that, too.
I usually turn on the machine and let it warm up for 30+ minutes before pulling a shot. Not sure if it is as applicable with a thermoblock machine, but in general you want the entire machine (not just the thermoblock / boiler, but all the metal parts, casing, cup try etc) to reach a stable temperature.
With fresh beans I can regularly pull shots that are 25 seconds for 1.5 oz and loads of real crema. They don't taste anywhere near as good as something most people on this website will accept, but it is better than most basic cafes (but again nowhere near as good as a nice cafe around Vancouver). I see you are from Ottawa - you can expect to make something better than Starbucks, Second Cup or Timothy's for sure....won't be able to match a good cafe though....can't think of any in Ottawa off the top of my head..maybe Bridgehead.
Kind of off topic - what sort of tips do you have for making latte-art quality microfoam?
I infrequently make milk drinks, and when I do, it's mostly soymilk for my wife. When I have cow's milk, I usually practice and the best I have achieved is able to make an ugly heart....I find my best results are with very small amounts of milk as with larger amounts I have a lot of difficulty getting the milk to roll well.
Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012, 9:30pm Subject: Re: Breville Cafe Roma (any tips to pulling a "decent" shot)
I've taken your tip on letting my machine heat up for at least 30mins
I'm stuggling making a drinkable shot. I've been experimenting with grind, dose and tamp variables today and have dumped about 12 shots down the sink.
In regards to you microfoam question: - Firstly I removed the ruber/plastic foam enhancer. I'm just using the metal tip. - I had to find a smaller stainless steel pitcher (12oz) - I keep the pitcher cold in the fridge and bring it out just as I'm about to pull my shot. - I use about 4oz of cold 2% milk (just because that's whats in the house) - I'll run the steam wand for about 1min (into some empty cup) - turn it off - partially engage the heater on the steam wand (temp surf) for 10sec - place the cold milk pitcher into the nozle and imediately turn it on. - With the amount of milk I have in that size pitcher, the nozle tip will be almost fully submerged - I will then very slowly raise the tip in the milk (and I mean very slowly) - I'll notice that the milk will start to strech at around 35-40c - Be very careful, not to raise the tip too fast, you don't want to hear any "ripping papper" sound (introducing too much air and you get too many big bubbles) - I like to think it sounds like a steady static sound, WHEN I do it right - When I feel the milk has stretch enough around 65c, I'll plunge the tip all the way back it and shut off the steam wand (the run off will bring it to about 70c) - Once you hear the steam stop you can safely remove your pitcher of milk. - a couple lite taps on the counter and some steady swirling with give you some pretty decent microfoam.
Now I just wish I had a decent shot to pour the stuff in.
Can you explain what you mean by this? Like you turn the dial halfway or something?
I definitely agree that the steam gets better after running it a while - I usually run it about 15 seconds into an empty cup just like you say, to get rid of the sputtering, but I guess I will try running it even longer. Is that latte art in your avatar made with your Breville?
Regarding your espresso, come post back when you get the unpressurized baskets, then you can start to compare apples with apples with me and others on the site. Pressurized baskets always seem to produce those bitter shots with the white/yellow crema. Also then you will really get a sense of whether you are at the right grind. Can you choke the machine with your grinder? Forgive me as I know nothing about the Kyocera.
MARIOBARBA Senior Member Joined: 26 Sep 2011 Posts: 126 Location: MONTREAL CANADA Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Ascaso DUO Prof TRONIC Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Sun Feb 19, 2012, 1:45pm Subject: Re: Breville Cafe Roma (any tips to pulling a "decent" shot)
I went through all the same growing pains as you. I ended uP selling the machine for 100$ and buying a real espresso machine for 225$. Money well spent. The non-pressurized baskets didn't help me. I know its no what you wanted to hear but you will be much better off with a Gaggia baby or similar machine. Good luck.
That's right. If you slowly turn the dial to the steam setting, you can engage the heater (light will turn on) without engaging the steam pump. When I have the heater on, I'll hold the dial in that position for about 10sec, then plunge the milk and turn the dial all the way to engage the pump.
Be aware when doing this that you are bypassing the thermostat, which could potentially cause overheating issues, possible fire risk and may shorten the life of the unit. I really don't know, so please don't take my word for it. For myself, I figured 10sec of additional heat on this unit shouldn't be too bad.
And yes, my profile pic of the latte art is something I created using this unit and the methods I described. (I'm actually pretty proud of that one...There are some that I wouldn't let anyone take a picture of) I think I'll make a post in the latte art section showing 3 pics of my progression, culminating in the profile pic.
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