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So I just bought the Breville 860XL
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > So I just bought...  
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Corrupy
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Feb 2013
Posts: 22
Location: South Africa
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Mon Feb 4, 2013, 2:35pm
Subject: So I just bought the Breville 860XL
 

Yes... yes... I bought it pre-CG. Don't try make me feel bad now. I have read all the bad reviews about it since. However, since I can't change my current situation, I'm going to try extract the best out of it.
I'm VERY new to espresso machines and all. How exactly do I get the best out of my machine? I seem to over-extract or under-extract. I usually try to make lattes but the coffee itself seems to be very watered-down.
Also the temperature of the coffee doesn't seem to get high enough. I do pre-heat the machine for sufficient time (generally around 5 minutes) and even run some water through the filter first to heat it up.
What do I do? !?







Moderator moved to Espresso Machines Forum
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,388
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Mon Feb 4, 2013, 2:47pm
Subject: Re: So I just bought the Breville 860XL
 

5 min is not even close to enough, at least 30-60 minutes really for any machine to warm up fully. Sure the boiler may be at temp, but not the rest of the internals etc. 30-60 min and pull a blank shot to make sure pathway is hot.
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Corrupy
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Feb 2013
Posts: 22
Location: South Africa
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Mon Feb 4, 2013, 3:05pm
Subject: Re: So I just bought the Breville 860XL
 

Hmm.. That's no good. I don't usually have that much time in the morning haha. The manual says it only requires 1 minute. I thought me doing 5 minutes was more than sufficient. I'll give it a go.
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MerleApAmber
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Nov 2012
Posts: 203
Location: Atlanta
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville BES900
Grinder: Baratza Preciso + Esatto
Vac Pot: Yuma
Drip: bah-humbug
Roaster: Hot Top 2K P
Posted Mon Feb 4, 2013, 3:14pm
Subject: Re: So I just bought the Breville 860XL
 

a daily timer which switches on an electrical socket serving the machine?  I don't know if this unit has a rocker or a make/break power switch.
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,891
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 Tue Feb 5, 2013, 9:33am
Subject: Re: So I just bought the Breville 860XL
 

I removed the double post, and copied 2 posts from it before deleted.
I'll reprint the copy here:

Posted Tue Feb 5, 2013, 8:55am
Subject: Re: So I just bought the Breville 860XL
 
("CalBlacksmith" said)
My guess is that you are using pre ground coffee from a large store and you do not have a grinder.

You can NOT make espresso without a grinder, if you try to use coffee ground at a store, you will have thin, watery fast gusher shots as the coffee is both stale and not ground for your machine.

You should be getting 2 fl oz of espresso from about 14 to 18 g of ground coffee, in about 25 seconds when the machine is producing 9 bar of pressure and a water temp of 195 to 205 f.

A machine needs to warm up. 5 minutes is not enough, it takes about half an hour for the machine to come up to temp. Not only the water needs to be hot but the whole machine and all the metal parts on it need to be to proper temp too.

Coffee ground more than 15 minutes before use is stale, coffee that is more than 15 days since the day it was roasted is pretty much stale for espresso use and green beans should not be more than about 15 months old from picking until they are roasted.

Welcome to the board!

 



Posted Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:24am
Subject: Re: So I just bought the Breville 860XL

("Corrupy" said)

The machine comes with a grinder. I've had people complain about the grinds being too coarse, however I do not seem to have any problems with it (just yet).
I've tried to leave the machine on for 30 minutes to an hour and the results have improved.

I will try out your suggestion on the amount of coffee to espresso ratio. I don't seem to be getting a long enough pull.
The pressure output varies quite a bit. Then again I haven't exactly found the perfect amount of coffee to grind in each time. Also I think my tamping pressure varies significantly :P.
I haven't really found any shops near me that specialise in coffee beans, but I have bought a somewhat commercial brand - mixing both light and dark roast together and it tastes fine (sometimes)

Still trying to find my favourite ground.

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


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,388
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Tue Feb 5, 2013, 9:41am
Subject: Re: So I just bought the Breville 860XL
 

The built in grinder of the 860XL isn't capable, it's like a scaled/weak version of the Smart Grinder which in itself is just barely capable of espresso grinding. But if your also buying store bought beans, their stale (unless you have a store that carries from roasters with a roast on date), can't pull good shots with stale beans even if you had a high end grinder.
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,157
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Tue Feb 5, 2013, 9:43am
Subject: Re: So I just bought the Breville 860XL
 

oh Man!  I was in the middle of typing a reply when you moved it!  oh well, I guess I could retype it...

I fully agree with what Wayne (calblacksmith) said.  To clarify...what he inferred is the grinder integrated in that machine is a POS...plain and simple.  It just won't make the adjustments that you need to dial in a good shot.  You've probably read by now, that the grinder is more important than the "hot water under pressure" machine.  Well, it's as important, but we need to emphasize that, so we say it's more important.  Anyhow, if you get a good free-standing grinder, you should be able to make good espresso, if your Breville machine can deliver approximately 200F water at approximately 9bar - provided you freshly grind fresh good quality beans on an as needed basis.  If not, you're SOL.  



Please substitute politically correct phrases for POS and SOL, if those acronyms are offensive.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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dspear99ca
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Jan 2013
Posts: 93
Location: BC, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Coffee
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Posted Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:12am
Subject: Re: So I just bought the Breville 860XL
 

CMIN Said:

The built in grinder of the 860XL isn't capable, it's like a scaled/weak version of the Smart Grinder which in itself is just barely capable of espresso grinding. But if your also buying store bought beans, their stale (unless you have a store that carries from roasters with a roast on date), can't pull good shots with stale beans even if you had a high end grinder.

Posted February 5, 2013 link

If you look at the posts in this forum as a whole, the recommendation in probably 75% of them is to buy a better grinder.  Every espresso tutorial one reads starts out by saying that the grinder is the most important item in the espresso brewing chain.  I drank watery shots with little to no crema for a long time... not that I didn't know they could be better, I just figured it was a limitation of my machine.  It wasn't.  I recently purchased a good grinder and I will tell you straight out that it is the difference between consistently good espresso and random, mainly bad, espresso.  

As others have noted, the internal grinder in your machine will never make great espresso.  That having said, most grinders can be adjusted to achieve a fine enough grind to make a passable attempt at espresso grind... on my last grinder I filed off some plastic stops inside so that my grind would be fine enough.  It would probably be worthwhile if you are at all handy to open up the machine and see what you have to work with in there.  There's a thread here with a good dose of info about the grinder inside your machine... it appears that there is a "shim kit" available for the SG that may (or may not) fit your machine which makes the grinder grind finer.

Many folks on this forum are down on Breville products as they cut the corner between quality and price too fine and their machines often miserably fail to deliver or simply fail period in short order.  Personally, my last grinder was a Breville, and I no longer own it.  It worked, but it would not grind espresso, lacking both an appropriately fine grind setting and the granularity of settings to dial in a proper shot.  That having been said, it kept me caffeinated for many years.  I don't understand why Breville would consistently sell grinders which COULD make passable espresso grind with minimal modifications but which, as is, are incapable of delivering the goods.

Regarding "stale" beans I will start off saying that this is just my own, uninformed, non-barista experience.  You CAN make drinkable espresso out of store-bought beans (not to be confused with pre-ground espresso which should be avoided IMHO).  I buy a brand that's roasted locally and, given the speed at which it sells out, I am guessing it's not very old, less than let's say 6 weeks or so, probably much less old than that.  I also make (what I consider to be) drinkable espresso from Lavazza beans.  These are probably several months old by the time I get them, although maybe not.  We're not talking amazing, god-shot, to-die-for shots, we're talking espresso shots suitable for milk-based drinks in the morning if you're not feeling too terribly picky.  If you live in a decent-sized burg and can afford it, fresh-roasted is the way to go as there really is a difference, even to the uninitiated such as myself.
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