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Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
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PrescottCR
Senior Member
PrescottCR
Joined: 19 Dec 2012
Posts: 136
Location: Prescott
Expertise: Pro Roaster

Espresso: Breville
Grinder: Baratza
Roaster: Diedrich
Posted Wed May 7, 2014, 8:39am
Subject: Re: Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
 

carz07 Said:

the ultimate goal is taste

those numbers and approaches are sort of a stepping stone to fine tuning the taste you want

otherwise things will be coming from everywhere

Posted May 7, 2014 link

Exactly.

So the goal is- identify the variables. Control all the variables. Adjust one variable at a time, measure and record results. Once you find the result you like the best, look at all the settings you had and repeat them. Let your RESULTS dictate your variables (time, volume, dose, etc.), sample shots that aren't quite what you thought was 'the sweet spot' because you might find you like them as well or better. Keep an open but educated (by your own trial and error) mind! Most of us keep the dose, volume & tamp pressure constant and vary the grind size to get the time we like. I feel it's safe to make that generalization but I don't really represent 'most of us' :)

As enticing as a precise time, or volume is, the truth is every espresso blend is different and every taste is different. Sometimes I'll pull shots where I only get 18gm of liquid espresso in 35 seconds because the grind was too tight. I'll sample those shots to see what they're like. My preference is ~30gm of liquid espresso from ~18.3gm of ground coffee in ~30 seconds given my pre-infusion settings. For whatever reason my FTO decaf is better at 36gm liquid espresso from the same settings.

I should point out I'm presuming everyone is using coffee roasted in the past week or two.

FWIW- I'll try different things that others post on boards sometimes, for the sake of experimenting. I completely changed the way I grind recently, start with an empty Baratza Vario, weigh out 19gm of beans, flush a couple through the grinder, then grind the dose until the grinder goes dry and check the weight of ground coffee. Despite the conventional wisdom (and the grinder manual) this produces a great shot and less waste. I'm shy about advocating this method as I don't know if it'll shorten my grinder's burr's life span, but it works for me.

Hope this helps!
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michaelgo
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Jan 2012
Posts: 108
Location: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville 900XL
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Wed May 7, 2014, 9:06am
Subject: Re: Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
 

PrescottCR Said:

FWIW- I'll try different things that others post on boards sometimes, for the sake of experimenting. I completely changed the way I grind recently, start with an empty Baratza Vario, weigh out 19gm of beans, flush a couple through the grinder, then grind the dose until the grinder goes dry and check the weight of ground coffee. Despite the conventional wisdom (and the grinder manual) this produces a great shot and less waste. I'm shy about advocating this method as I don't know if it'll shorten my grinder's burr's life span, but it works for me.

Posted May 7, 2014 link

I too have been grinding just the beans needed for a single dose and it's working out well.  I never thought it would impact the burrs but so far so good.  I do find that I have to adjust a little more frequently but that's a minor issue.
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lparsons21
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jul 2006
Posts: 311
Location: Herrin, IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, Ascaso i2,...
Roaster: Gene Cafe, Behmor,...
Posted Wed May 7, 2014, 10:06am
Subject: Re: Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
 

Well, FEDEX showed up before noon!!  :)   That seldom happens, but this shipment required a signature so I had to stay home.  Usually when I do that, they don't show up until late afternoon, but sometimes come much earlier, just no way to know.

Flushed it out as instructed and then it was off to the races!!  Used the 'normal' portafilter 2 cup, ground my usual timed grind with no changes from the Vario that I've been using on the Alex.  worked fine although it isn't exactly right on yet.  Had to play around with the amount of grounds a bit, but frankly this was the quickest dial-in I've seen on any machine.  Took about 5 tries and I have it just right imo.

It shows right at 10 during the brew cycle which is a little higher than I have my Alex set to, but only by about .5.  That should be more than good enough I would think.  A funny thing happened while doing the flush.  2nd part of it is to let the hot water run 30 seconds, which I did.  But since the water had stopped, I didn't turn off the valve.  So there it was blinking at me and no other lights.  I thought 'crap!', I just knew I got a bad one.  After fiddling a bit, it finally dawned on me, so know I have a dent in my forehead!!  :)

Haven't tried steaming milk yet as I'm not big into milk drinks, but just observing the steam during the initial flushing cycle, it is very obvious that while it produces plenty of steam, it sure isn't coming out nearly as fast as the Alex does, which means slower.

I did try a ridgeless portafilter in it, but that would have taken much more dialing in and since the ridged ones seem to work fine, I'm not convinced I'll gain anything.  Overall my first impressions are that this is a very nice machine that works as advertised.  And my experience with Breville with some other products makes me not worry much about longevity or repairability.  Thanks to all that posted about these Breville BDBs, I never would have even looked at them if I hadn't read about it here and H-B.

 
Lloyd
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lparsons21
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jul 2006
Posts: 311
Location: Herrin, IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, Ascaso i2,...
Roaster: Gene Cafe, Behmor,...
Posted Thu May 8, 2014, 10:00am
Subject: Re: Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
 

Some followup after using it yesterday and today.

Set temp to 203F as that is what I flush to on the Alex and have for many years.  Seems to produce a better cup for me.

Fiddled a bit with the Vario to further refine the grind.  This was caused by me hurrying yesterday.  I just grabbed a portafilter out of the box and thought it was the non-pressurised version.  But no, I got the pressurized one and that was giving me issues with getting the right volume of grounds in it and the right tamp.  The pulls looked good but seemed to be pulling short shots, about 1/4 to 1/2 of what I thought they should.

So finally getting the right portafilter in there, the Vario went back to something nearly the same as what I used for the beans/roast level of the coffee I was using when making it in the Alex.  That was now very close to spot on and only required a couple more pulls to dial it in.  Now the double-is getting 2oz as I want in 28 seconds, so I've set the double-button to that.  Time and different beans/roasts will tell if that is a one-size fits all setting.  I really imagine it won't be and I'll end up using the manual button more often than not.

A very big plus with this unit is that it doesn't take a lot of water compared to HXs.  No flushing needed though I generally do a quick flush of less than an ounce out of habit.

A question about cleaners.

I have Cafiza which I know is fine for use with this machine.  How about Urnex Tabs?

 
Lloyd
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PrescottCR
Senior Member
PrescottCR
Joined: 19 Dec 2012
Posts: 136
Location: Prescott
Expertise: Pro Roaster

Espresso: Breville
Grinder: Baratza
Roaster: Diedrich
Posted Sun May 11, 2014, 9:08am
Subject: Re: Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
 

That's pretty funny about grabbing the wrong PF basket!

Sounds like you have it dialed in, so hopefully you won't need to go through so much coffee again.

As for flushing- I think you're smart to do a quick flush, Breville's own videos show Phil doing flushes (IIRC) and it knocks out some of the stuck grounds.

As to cleaners- I'm using a local version of Cafiza with no issues. If There's any left I run another cleaning cycle. I can't speak to other tablets besides Breville's. My gut says if they have the same chemicals it would work but my brain says 'there's always a chance there's some odd ball additive.' Which I highly doubt. I would think that a bucket of powder is less expensive then a bunch of tablets, so that's what I use.

Occasionally I'll do a back flush with no chemical just to knock stuff loose. I always get some chunks of grounds so it seems to be a good idea, one that I recommend to commercial establishments to do during lulls in espresso machine use.

Enjoy!
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lparsons21
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jul 2006
Posts: 311
Location: Herrin, IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, Ascaso i2,...
Roaster: Gene Cafe, Behmor,...
Posted Sun May 11, 2014, 12:41pm
Subject: Re: Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
 

I do a quick flush when I'm done with each pour and then a wipe off with a paper towel.  When I'm done with it for the day I do a quick clear water backflush.

But to do a pour, I just grind and tamp and away we go!!  Dead perfect each time.

 
Lloyd
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des16
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Jul 2012
Posts: 16
Location: ithaca, ny
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue May 13, 2014, 7:36am
Subject: Re: Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
 

I have had difficultly getting the milk to froth well, and noticed that the steam is concentrated out of one hole. There is definitely no blockage, which is apparent when the steam wand is first engaged and water flows from all three holes for a second or so. I called Breville and sent them videos. The person I spoke with said that indeed, there was no blockage, and that it was perfectly normal for the steam to come out of one of the three holes. I asked why they would design a three hole wand, if the system was intended for the steam to be concentrated out of one hole. He did not have an answer, but said that what he observed was nonetheless perfectly normal. Does anyone else have a similar problem or issue?
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lparsons21
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jul 2006
Posts: 311
Location: Herrin, IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, Ascaso i2,...
Roaster: Gene Cafe, Behmor,...
Posted Tue May 13, 2014, 9:02am
Subject: Re: Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
 

I haven't had a problem steaming milk, but it certainly is much slower than my Alex.  And I did notice that it doesn't seem to have even steam coming out of each hole.

When I got my Alex it had a 3 or 4 hole steam tip, can't remember which.  I replaced it with a single hole tip and it made the steaming quicker and easier.  I wonder if a single hole tip is available for the 900XL?

 
Lloyd
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michaelgo
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Jan 2012
Posts: 108
Location: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville 900XL
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Tue May 13, 2014, 2:12pm
Subject: Re: Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
 

No problems here steaming but to get decent foam, I have to use at least 2%.  But I think I have steam coming from more than one hole.  And I have seen a single hole tip but haven't checked for anything new in a while.
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PrescottCR
Senior Member
PrescottCR
Joined: 19 Dec 2012
Posts: 136
Location: Prescott
Expertise: Pro Roaster

Espresso: Breville
Grinder: Baratza
Roaster: Diedrich
Posted Wed May 14, 2014, 4:19pm
Subject: Re: Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL Owners Thread
 

Steam wands are very straight forward. Not to insult anyone, but you must, must, MUST purge the steam wand for a couple seconds before and after using. Also, never leave the wand in milk after shutting off the steam as the air in the wand will cool and suck milk up into the system.

Even so, there will be times you need to clean the wand and tip. Unscrew the tip and use the Barista tool that Breville includes with the machine to poke out the holes. You can look through the tip and see if any are clogged up. Once the tip is off that's a good time to use a pipe cleaner to make sure you don't have any gunk inside the tube.

If you are skeptical about the ability of cooling air shrinking enough to suck milk up into the machine, try this- steam into an empty milk carton that has a screw top until you can't hold it anymore. Put the top on quickly and wait about 15 minutes. You'll see how much 1/2 gallon (or a whole gallon) of heated air will shrink to room temp. It's a fun way to make room in your recycle bin.

All this is assuming that y'all didn't get a steam wand tip that didn't get all the holes properly drilled :)
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