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My BDB is here - what do I do?
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Cafeshio
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Jun 2013
Posts: 17
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler
Grinder: Cunill El Cafe Tranquilo
Vac Pot: wha..?
Drip: My fawcet
Roaster: Car without a rof?
Posted Wed Nov 13, 2013, 5:23pm
Subject: My BDB is here - what do I do?
 

Hello everyone,

Well, I finally pulled the trigger on a refurbished BDB for $800. It arrived last night. I removed it from its package and have to say it is a thing of beauty. It was very well packaged and no visible blemishes anywhere.

But then I realized I don't know what to do... Sure, I should probably read the manual, but I think my fellow coffee geeks will surely have a few pieces of advice on how to get started.

For example, do I just put water in and make it run?
Or do I need to do something first (besides removing the plastic parts and installing the filter in the reservoir that is)?
Do I need to flush it to remove any factory residues in the pipes?
Would I use just water or a cleaning solution (water + vinegar, for example)?
How do I know where to start with my coffee? (Have a Cunill El Café Tranquilo and use it in a fairly thin grind for moka pot, but no idea where to go set it for the BDB)
What other things do I need? A knock-box, cloths, espresso glasses, demi cups?

I discount my first shot will be awful, but how do I know which way to correct? What things should I be looking for that would cue me into what corrective action I need to take to calibrate the right shot?

Thanks a lot for all your assistance!
Cafeshio
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MerleApAmber
Senior Member


Joined: 12 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 Wed Nov 13, 2013, 7:36pm
Subject: Re: My BDB is here - what do I do?
 

You're going to either like, or puzzle over, the following suggestion:
"Just do it!"

Ya, good to run some water through it; if you want use one of those cleaning tablets they've included and learn the path through the cleaning cycle they describe in the owners manual. That's always good to do with any equipment you're going to prepare food through. Blow down the steam tube and run some water out the water spigot.

Then, it's going to take some time to figure out what grind consistency will give you the ball park 25 - 28 second extraction at 9 bar pressure. I'd recommend learning to use the manual button to run the pulls to start... tis another ball game getting the preset buttons just where you want them - volumetrically.  Along the way to skill with the manual button, you'll start understanding pre-infusion.  I've found, very often, a pack of coffee that will hold up to a 10 second preinfuse often comes very close to your 28/9 ratio... totaling 35 to 38 seconds on the in-machine-timer you can bring up on your front display.  Learning the behavior of espresso and extraction temperature of the water will be your advanced studies, start with default and once you're consistent pulling shots, try discovering what the extract looks and tastes like changing the temperature one degree at a time.

Then, taste, ponder, do it again.

If you have people you'll be making milk drinks for, start playing with the steamer too.  After you've come comfortable with things you'll find the rythem to start steaming, get to 100 F start stretching the milk, and make your extraction. Usually things work out pretty close - at my house - using the equipment as it's designed.

most of all?>>>  ENJOY <<<  No matter what the future holds; right here, right now, you've got the tools to make very very good espresso and coffee drinks!
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MerleApAmber
Senior Member


Joined: 12 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 Wed Nov 13, 2013, 7:40pm
Subject: Re: My BDB is here - what do I do?
 

oh! forgot: Double shots only... Save the single charge basket for some other time.
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Cafeshio
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Jun 2013
Posts: 17
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler
Grinder: Cunill El Cafe Tranquilo
Vac Pot: wha..?
Drip: My fawcet
Roaster: Car without a rof?
Posted Fri Nov 15, 2013, 11:56am
Subject: Re: My BDB is here - what do I do?
 

Thanks for the advice.

Ok, so I made my first coffee. It was really bitter - no crema.
Second coffee was a bit less bitter with some crema
Third coffee about the same but little crema

Same beans, sitting in the hopper for a couple of days. Same grind. Maybe too fine?

The bar gauge NEVER goes past 5 bar... The automated double shot button extracts for like 15 secs including pre-infusion...

Do I have a faulty machine or just not grinding/dosing/tamping right?

Was able to do awesome microfoam at my first attempt (maybe it just seemed awesome to me and actually it wasn't good, but it's the best I've ever done, but the bar was super low since I probably only tried a handful of times before).

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Regards,
Flavio
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uscfroadie
Senior Member
uscfroadie
Joined: 2 Aug 2008
Posts: 440
Location: San Antonio
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: GS/3 Strada MP, BDB; owned...
Grinder: K30 Vario, Forte, Zass and...
Vac Pot: Nope
Drip: Nope
Roaster: owned Behmor
Posted Fri Nov 15, 2013, 12:21pm
Subject: Re: My BDB is here - what do I do?
 

Cafeshio Said:

Same beans, sitting in the hopper for a couple of days. Same grind. Maybe too fine?

The bar gauge NEVER goes past 5 bar... The automated double shot button extracts for like 15 secs including pre-infusion...

Do I have a faulty machine or just not grinding/dosing/tamping right?

Posted November 15, 2013 link

Everything you mention above points to old beans and/or too coarse of a grind.  5 bar pressure means you never have enough resistance at the puck for it to get higher.  Assuming your dose is high enough, your grind is too coarse.

15 second shot.  Assuming you are ending up with a normal volume at the end of those 15 seconds, so once again, your grind is too coarse and/or your dose is too low.

With your grinder running, adjust to a finer grind.  Discard all the grounds used while making the adjustment.  With the grind now levelled out, grind for a double and check your results.  If still too fast, purge more grinds while adjusting finer.  Repeat until you have a 25-30 second shot (assuming 6 seconds pre-infusion with first drops appearing at about 10 seconds.

**The reason for dumping the grounds when you are making an adjustment is to get rid of coffee ground at various settings.  You want all grounds the same in the portafilter basket.

Good luck.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,218
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 Fri Nov 15, 2013, 12:26pm
Subject: Re: My BDB is here - what do I do?
 

probably need to grind finer.  How long were your shots running before turning watery?  I'm guessing something really short like 10-15 seconds.  Ah, sorry, just read the rest of your post...so...you should be shooting for an approximately 30 second shot before the stream turns thin and watery.  Watch the cup for white spots on the crema. As soon as you see them, stop the shot.  Try to stop all of your future shots right before that white spot appears. What volume did you get in the shots?  Grinding finer will probably boost your pressure gauge too.  Besides all of that, you need to look at your dose weight.  Do you have a scale that reads in 0.1g increments?  Low weight doses need to be ground finer to get the same extraction rate as higher dose weights.  It's not as much the actual number as the relativity between what you have been doing and what you're doing now.  However, once you get an idea how to make decent shots, then you adjust dose weight and grind setting based on flavor profile.  But start with baby steps...first thing to do is get something drinkable.

read this article...Easy Guide to Better Espresso at Home.  It's #12 under how to on www.espressomyespresso.com

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


Joined: 7 Jun 2013
Posts: 17
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler
Grinder: Cunill El Cafe Tranquilo
Vac Pot: wha..?
Drip: My fawcet
Roaster: Car without a rof?
Posted Fri Nov 15, 2013, 3:51pm
Subject: Re: My BDB is here - what do I do?
 

Oh oh oh I have this tingling in my back... dying of anticipation to get back home and start tinkering with my shots!

Thanks a lot for the suggestions. Funny how my intuition was that the grain was too fine and therefore pressure could not reach 9 bars, when it is obviously the opposite; the grain is letting water pass through too easily thus pressure does not build up adequately - where did I put those physics textbooks of yore???? :)

OK, so age of beans - yes, they are not the freshest. Bought at Costco and opened the package about 2 weeks ago. Colombia Supremo or something like that, 5 pounder I think.

In the hopper for a couple of days.

My grinder lumps some ground coffee in the chute, so I need to smack it here and there and then clean it well with a brush. A bit annoying, so my next step will be to upgrade my grinder, surely - Cunill El Café Tranquilo.

Anyhoo - I will drive for a finer grind and try to reach the 25-30 sec mark with what I have for now :)

I have a digital scale with that precision so I will start measuring that too. One thing I noticed is that the portafilter does not seem to be deep enough for more coffee than I'm already grinding pre-tamping. What I mean is that I grind directly on the portafilter 2 shots (Cunill has a button that dispenses coffee for x amount of seconds). At that point I have a little mountain of coffee in my portafilter. I very carefully distribute with my finger and then tamp. The tamper goes in all the way until it hits the taper in the portafilter and the coffee remains barely tamped... so it seems like I need more coffee, but can't fathom how to grind more without it falling off the portafilter altogether.

Also, the BDB portafilter has a plastic insert that I read somewhere should be removed, but I just can't pop it out. How important is the removal of this part? There must be a reason why it was put there???

Thanks a lot again. Sorry I have ever more and more questions it seems....

But I AM LOVING THIS!!!!!
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Fri Nov 15, 2013, 4:32pm
Subject: Re: My BDB is here - what do I do?
 

Shio,

Columbia Supremo makes for crappy espresso. Out of all the single origins I've tried, it's probably the worst--runny, no body, high acidity. Costco's coffee will not give you any indication of roast date at all.

We're both in Seattle, so let me give you my sources. Forget Stumptown, Lighthouse, or most of the other boutique roasters. If you want fresh beans immediately that make an excellent espresso, hit your nearest Bigfoot Java 24-hour drive-thru. Whole bean coffee is ten bucks a bag and they have the roast dates on a sticker on the bottom. If it's older than ten days, pass. Also, Top Pot Donuts' "El Presidente" blend is out of this f-ing world. Caffe Vita's Del Sol blend is really nice, with a fruity, yellow crema. You can find it at Uwajimaya and Whole Foods, as well as their own store in Capitol Hill.

If you're willing to venture into Kent or Everett, WinCo has a fantastic selection of coffee (Roasted by CBI in Portland), but freshness is hit-or-miss. I learned all my skills, blazing through bag after bag of WinCo coffee since it's $6 a pound. If you ever find their Tanzanian Peaberry fresh, it's a treat beyond measure as espresso.

Regarding distribution, I am of the opinion that if you have to touch the coffee with anything other than the tamper, then you're overdoing it. What I do is tap my tamper lightly across the BOTTOM of the PF rim (assuming it's naked) to settle the grounds evenly and break up clumps. If you have an aluminum tamper, use the handle, not the business end, as aluminum nicks when hitting the brass. Then lightly nutate the grounds as you tamp to even the puck and seal the sides. Nutation is the motion that a rolling coin or ring makes as it settles on the ground. If you have a good grinder, you should never have to poke, scrape, prod, or stir your mound of coffee. Don't make yourself crazy, you're just starting ;)
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Iluvdabean
Senior Member
Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,279
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro...
Drip: Bonavita BV 1800 TH
Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Fri Nov 15, 2013, 5:01pm
Subject: Re: My BDB is here - what do I do?
 

You happen to live in a city that has IMO one of the best coffees Ive ever had by one of coffees premier soldiers.
David Schomer.
http://espressovivace.com/

Iluvdabean: Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 7.58.32 PM.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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Cafeshio
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Jun 2013
Posts: 17
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler
Grinder: Cunill El Cafe Tranquilo
Vac Pot: wha..?
Drip: My fawcet
Roaster: Car without a rof?
Posted Fri Nov 15, 2013, 8:40pm
Subject: Re: My BDB is here - what do I do?
 

OK, I'm all jittery and not much closer to a good coffee cup :(

I brought my grinder all the way to the finest setting (next step makes the burrs to basically not rotate). The coffee comes out with the texture of confectionary sugar. In fact I love to touch it, it's like talk.

Dose 14 grams.

Coffee is not Colombian Supremo, but probably not much better anyway.

Seattle Mountain Coffee Organic Sumatra - full bodied taste.
No roasted date, only best consumed before Feb.
2.5 lbs bag, about half way there.

So, I know that is a big hindrance but I'm strapped at the moment since it is too late to go buy fresh coffee (not that I'm at any risk of falling asleep though :P).

Experimented with different levels of grinding until I got to the limit but not once pressure built up beyond 4 / 5 bars.

The final one had the best tasting coffee with a somewhat nice crema, but it was still bitter. Perhaps the bitterness has to do with this particular coffee, so not terribly worried about that. But the pressure does worry me. Additionally the puck comes wet more often than not.

Is it possible that my burrs are tired and need to be replaced? I bought the grinder used, so this would make sense. However considering the texture of the coffee I'm getting, not sure whether I could conceive an even finer grind.

I'm HATING THIS :)
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