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Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
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swimjay
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 37
Location: Berkeley, CA 94708
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville BES900XL
Grinder: Baratza Preciso, Orphan...
Posted Tue Apr 24, 2012, 3:26pm
Subject: Re: Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
 

mcknightp Said:

Well the baskets were already "off-tool" when I started with the company 2 years ago, so there was no plan to re-tool those. If I'd been able to choose a design back then, I would have gone with a Synesso style ridgeless design. But there may be something in the skunk-works, but that's more than 6 months away.

The current stock baskets don't need any precise dose to work. I set dose where the coffee tastes the best. I have to say I don't weigh it, but it would be in the range of 18-21g. Fresher coffee needs a bit more head space & older coffee needs less. I think some users are trying to hold dose at a certain weight (more likely height in the basket) cause they see this as to curing pucks sticking to the dispersion screen. Frankly I don't care about the puck sticking, I'm far more concerned about the taste of the espresso.

Cheers, Phil

Posted April 24, 2012 link

Definitely agree about puck sticking being no biggy.  Also agree that there's nothing wrong with the Breville baskets' build quality.  If there is an advantage to the VST (and in my experience there is), it may be because of the straight sides--water travel path consistent throughout the puck-- and the greater number of holes in the VST--lets you grind finer.  But with some difficult beans, like a lightly roasted bean in which, when ground, the coarser node of the bimodal distribution dominates, the Breville might actually be the better choice, because of its greater back-pressure--maybe what Bubbadude is referring to he says "I've gone back to the stock double basket because it gives me better control over three day post-roast beans".  (In general, I think the mechanical properties of the beans get more forgiving as the bean ages--less likely to have a gusher, or a spritzer, etc.)

In general I find that the VST 18g blonds more slowly and less abruptly, more gently than the Breville, with the result that yield can be 2 to 4 mg. higher.  I think the extraction is more even with the VST.  

A Breville with straight sides, and therefore more holes/greater open area and more uniform water travel, would probably have a similar character.
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JohnLyn
Senior Member
JohnLyn
Joined: 15 Aug 2011
Posts: 244
Location: Golden, BC, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldy
Grinder: Vario
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Toastess popper
Posted Tue Apr 24, 2012, 3:32pm
Subject: Re: Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
 

mcknightp Said:

Well the baskets were already "off-tool" when I started with the company 2 years ago, so there was no plan to re-tool those. If I'd been able to choose a design back then, I would have gone with a Synesso style ridgeless design. But there may be something in the skunk-works, but that's more than 6 months away.

Posted April 24, 2012 link

thank you for the candidness on your response. I look forward to what will come in the future.

mcknightp Said:

The current stock baskets don't need any precise dose to work. I set dose where the coffee tastes the best. I have to say I don't weigh it, but it would be in the range of 18-21g. Fresher coffee needs a bit more head space & older coffee needs less. I think some users are trying to hold dose at a certain weight (more likely height in the basket) cause they see this as to curing pucks sticking to the dispersion screen. Frankly I don't care about the puck sticking, I'm far more concerned about the taste of the espresso.

Cheers, Phil

Posted April 24, 2012 link

I agree. the puck sticks occaisionaly with the VST's as well but i don't see that as a problem. I do weigh and the only problem with the slopped sides is dosing down to 17 due to the inability to tamp correctly (even though tamping is less important than distribution). that's probably just a habit that I have developped with the VST's simply because I can and have had good results rather than just working with a higher dose range.
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JJC
Senior Member
JJC
Joined: 2 Apr 2012
Posts: 56
Location: Santa Barbara
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville 900Xl, Saeco...
Grinder: Compak K3
Roaster: Behmor, Nesco
Posted Wed Apr 25, 2012, 9:08am
Subject: Re: Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
 

Another new BDP user (1 month) and home roaster (2 months) here.

I selected the BDB after reading all the threads at CG and HB as well as other sources. Seemed like the best "design" by modern instead of steampunk standards. And with a superlative feature set and conveniences. Especially the ability to pour water in the front. And the wife loves its appearance.

Just to comment on a couple of things.
First, mine came through with the OPV problem so there are still some of those in the pipeline. Matt at BrevilleUSA was surprised but quickly sent out a replacement which got here the next day. Can't beat that service.

The downside of reading too much is that I also bought some stuff I didn't need. I got VST baskets and started out with them, getting dry pucks and what seemed like good extractions. However, in the last few days I have gone to the Breville double and really it is more consistent and tolerant of a little bit of grind issue (doing home roasting of both caf and decaf coffees, I find that the decafs need to be ground significantly finer than the cafs and the mixes are even harder to hit right) so it makes things better in that way.

Also I got an espro tamper which is very nice but really was a silly way to spend $100 given the perfectly adequate one with the machine. Tamp just doesn't seem that difficult.

I am loving the intense flavors and richness of the espressos. (I do really like bitter and sour tastes so I have a wide tolerance of what is right if it is rich and flavorful.) And the SO's are so yummy and unique. I'm much more into variety than correct standards. And I like my own espresso a lot better than the relatively bland stuff at what I previously thought was the best place in town.

Phil's level headed, just the facts, insider comments have been especially valuable, but I have learned from all of you and thank you for that.

JJ
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dagoat
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 318
Location: santa barbara, ca
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Europiccola, BDB...
Grinder: baratza vario
Vac Pot: aeropress
Drip: manual
Roaster: cafe rosto
Posted Wed Apr 25, 2012, 10:23am
Subject: Re: Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
 

JJC Said:

The downside of reading too much is that I also bought some stuff I didn't need. I got VST baskets and started out with them......Also I got an espro tamper which is very nice but really was a silly way to spend $100 given the perfectly adequate one with the machine. Tamp just doesn't seem that difficult.

And I like my own espresso a lot better than the relatively bland stuff at what I previously thought was the best place in town.

Posted April 25, 2012 link

welcome, fellow santa barbarian.  well, your wallet may be a little lighter now for blowing money on fashionable "gotta have's", but it looks like you didn't waste too much of life's precious time chasing down the time honored rathole: that flushing money will compensate for inexperience.  you have great equipment that will not hold you back on your journey, as you set to work developing your barista skills in earnest.  good on you, for learning a very important lesson early on.

your espresso is better than the stuff at the "best place in town"?  lol.  the french press.  i agree.  i only go there about once a year.  they are actually a fine espresso place, it's just that, well, when you are at home, you have the time do to the things like weighing every dose, and taking great time and care in distribution, to get the very best shot possible.  interesting thing about the couple that started the place, (the french press):  word has it, they were total newbies in the months before they opened the place, but they attended professional barista training in earnest to learn how it's done right, and by all accounts, they learned well.  

there is a new place you should visit here in santa barbara, on east cannon perdido.  it's called handlebar coffee roasters, apparently started by former pro road bicycle racers.  worth a check.  i have no affiliation with them, just that they seem to be at least as serious as the french press.

-peter
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SupraTT
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Apr 2012
Posts: 19
Location: SoCal
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Apr 26, 2012, 12:54am
Subject: Re: Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
 

Hi all, just ordered a BDB today from Amazon - can't wait to try it out. Just hope that it is already calibrated. Just a couple of questions that I hope you guys can help me with:

  1. Has anyone ever tried using a hand grinder (Hario MSS-1B) to grind espresso for their BDB? If so, how were the results and any tips for using it for this machine... I am guessing the finest setting should work.

  2. Is using distilled water a good idea or should I just stick with filtered tap water?

Thanks!
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JJC
Senior Member
JJC
Joined: 2 Apr 2012
Posts: 56
Location: Santa Barbara
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville 900Xl, Saeco...
Grinder: Compak K3
Roaster: Behmor, Nesco
Posted Thu Apr 26, 2012, 11:15am
Subject: Re: Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
 

Peter,

Thanks for the welcome. I will try Handlebar, though it may push my caffeine consumption into the lethal level given how much espresso I am drinking these days at home.

Big kick today was the first expresso and cap for my wife (a lifelong coffee addict) who has been gone for the whole month in which I decided to get an espresso machine, acquired and then learned to use the machine. SM Monkey blend espresso at FC+ She immediately declared it was the best coffee she had ever had and that she didn't know how good coffee could taste before this. Now I'm teaching her to use it. One of the reasons, among many, for going with the BDB was its straightforward controls and layout, that I hope will make it easier/more interesting for her to learn this still esoteric process. (She did mutter something about it being dangerous to leave me alone with the credit cards, when she started adding up the costs of the shot glasses, baskets, brushes, tamper, pad, knock box, cleaning products, etc. and she is still amazed at the cost of the grinder)

She is concerned about the additional electricity consumption from the BDB and thinks we should more seriously consider solar for the house!
Dangerous.
She is also delighted by the way the chrome Compak K3 grinder complements the BDB. She would have found it difficult to live with a Baratza Vario next to the beautiful (she is a bit of a geek) BDB.

JJ
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mcknightp
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Feb 2009
Posts: 77
Location: Sydney, Aus
Expertise: Pro Barista

Espresso: LM 3 Grp
Grinder: Robur, Swift
Posted Thu Apr 26, 2012, 2:23pm
Subject: Re: Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
 

SupraTT Said:

Hi all, just ordered a BDB today from Amazon - can't wait to try it out. Just hope that it is already calibrated. Just a couple of questions that I hope you guys can help me with:

Has anyone ever tried using a hand grinder (Hario MSS-1B) to grind espresso for their BDB? If so, how were the results and any tips for using it for this machine... I am guessing the finest setting should work.

Is using distilled water a good idea or should I just stick with filtered tap water?

Thanks!

Posted April 26, 2012 link

DO NOT use distilled water. Firstly the machine requires water with some mineral content to activate some essential electronics & almost as important, you need minerals for taste.....

Cheers, Phil
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klund
Senior Member
klund
Joined: 31 Mar 2012
Posts: 71
Location: Southern MN, USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler
Grinder: Baratza Vario-W
Posted Thu Apr 26, 2012, 2:36pm
Subject: Re: Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
 

mcknightp Said:

DO NOT use distilled water. Firstly the machine requires water with some mineral content to activate some essential electronics & almost as important, you need minerals for taste.....

Posted April 26, 2012 link

Oh crap, I'm going to have to buy something else, aren't I?

I've been using Reverse Osmosis water in my BDB. Is that a no-no? But I will also assume that I shouldn't use my tap water, due to it's hardness. Thus, I'm expecting that somebody will post a link to something that I need to buy to get the proper type of water...

 
-- klund

Well then, you should see me without coffee.
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Stuart
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Feb 2012
Posts: 113
Location: TX
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Roaster: Air Crazy popper
Posted Thu Apr 26, 2012, 5:07pm
Subject: Re: Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
 

The filters supplied with the BDB should handle a reasonable amount of hardness. I have only had my machine for a couple of months, so can't vouch for the long-term advisability of this. But I mix RO water about 4:1 - 5:1 with San Antonio tap water to target a hardness of 3-5 grains. (Straight tap water here is high in minerality but quite good otherwise. The primary water supply is a limestone aquifer. Basically, our water is saturated with CaCO3 (and some magnesium). I can see it precipitate when I boil straight tap water in a pan -- I can imagine what it'd do inside a boiler, without some softening.

Typically, RO water has a good deal more conductivity than distilled water.
http://www.mbhes.com/conductivity_measurement.htm

(After reading that, I may adjust my ratio a bit. It looks like RO water is more conductive and has more dissolved solids than I thought.)
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BubbaDude
Senior Member
BubbaDude
Joined: 8 Jan 2011
Posts: 510
Location: Frisco Bay
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Vac Pot: Yama
Drip: Clever Coffee Dripper
Roaster: Hottop 2KB
Posted Thu Apr 26, 2012, 5:59pm
Subject: Re: Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
 

I use straight RO water in my BDB. It reads 68 on my TDS meter today and works fine.

I lived in Austin for many years and wouldn't want any Centex well water in my BDB at all.

 
"I've Scaced many HX/E61 machines, seeing shot variances of up to 8-10F or more. [The BDB] stays within 1F." - Mark Prince
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