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Breville Cafe Roma fast extraction
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Nim
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Jan 2014
Posts: 2
Location: NZ
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Jan 3, 2014, 3:38am
Subject: Breville Cafe Roma fast extraction
 

Hi guys,

First post from me, I just got my first machines at home for Xmas, An Imat conical burr grinder and a Breville Cafe Roma. I spend the money on the grinder, the machine my mother in law was given/brought about a year ago and never used. I'm aware it's not amazing, but I'm also broke so it will have to do for now.

I've got the grind as fine as it will go and the machine will still poor a shot, any finer and the water won't come through at all, and at that setting the coffee is a touch bitter, and the shot is very fast, maybe 20 seconds at the most. Is that the best that machine is going to do, or is there some way I can improve it?

Is it possible the Cafe Roma is just a fast machine, if there is such a thing. It is a pressurized portafilter if that is relevant.

Also if I understand correctly the bitter notes are mostly at the end of the poor, so I should probably be stopping even sooner given my shots are a little bitter?

Any help would be great.
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,389
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Fri Jan 3, 2014, 7:00am
Subject: Re: Breville Cafe Roma fast extraction
 

... Imat conical burr grinder and a Breville Cafe Roma ...

Not optimal by a long shot.  The bad news is that you'll never have good control over what you make, and you'll never get close to what's possible.  The good news is that you can pull a pleasant shot, and do better than a lot of cafes -- if you choose and use good beans of appropriate freshness.  

I've got the grind as fine as it will go and the machine will still poor a shot, any finer and the water won't come through at all, and at that setting the coffee is a touch bitter, and the shot is very fast, maybe 20 seconds at the most. Is that the best that machine is going to do, or is there some way I can improve it?

Diagnosing problems is all about isolating variables.  The first thing to look at are your beans.  You want to avoid anything canned, and anything too dark.  "Espresso roast" is almost always too dark; but "espresso blend" usually isn't.  For now, stick with "medium" roasts.  You never want to buy coffee with a "use by" date; but always want to buy coffee with a "roasted on" date.  Because of the limitations with your equipment, your goal won't be "perfected technique" so much as "first, do no harm."

"Bitter" frequently means "over extracted." You solve that with lower brewing temperatures, larger doses, and/or coarser grinds.   I'm not sure if or how you can lower the brew temp for your machine.  However, larger doses and coarser grinds are pretty much self-explanatory.

Is it possible the Cafe Roma is just a fast machine, if there is such a thing.

No, and not really.

It is a pressurized portafilter if that is relevant.

You can't make actual espresso with a pressurized portafilter.  You really want to depressurize it.  While that will open another can of worms (crema), it will get you part of the way to controlling the espresso you make.  

Also if I understand correctly the bitter notes are mostly at the end of the poor, so I should probably be stopping even sooner given my shots are a little bitter?

Here's how to find out: Pull half a shot into one cup, move it out of the way while sliding another one to catch the last half.  Taste the two shots; and if the first half is pleasant, while the second is unpleasantly bitter, you have your answer.  If the second is bitter, you have conclusive evidence that your shots have been over extracted, and you can remedy that as I already explained and/or by cutting the shot shorter.  

Good luck,
BDL
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Nim
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Jan 2014
Posts: 2
Location: NZ
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Jan 3, 2014, 5:52pm
Subject: Re: Breville Cafe Roma fast extraction
 

boar_d_laze Said:

use good beans of appropriate freshness.

Posted January 3, 2014 link

I've been using fresh beans from a local award winning roaster, a medium roast too, so probably not the issue. They are the guys I got the grinder from so I got some beans while I was there.


boar_d_laze Said:

"Bitter" frequently means "over extracted." You solve that with lower brewing temperatures, larger doses, and/or coarser grinds.   I'm not sure if or how you can lower the brew temp for your machine.  However, larger doses and coarser grinds are pretty much self-explanatory.

Posted January 3, 2014 link

Lowering the temp is hard, I can run it till it starts to 'heat' before I start so it's a low as it will go, but that's about it. The first time I used the machine I preheated it with the portafilter on and could get nothing but burned shots, now I used it straight away (as soon as it comes up to temp) and don't preheat it with the portafilter on. No more burned taste, reviews suggest this machine ofter runs too hot to too cold, my guess is I got a hot one.

Since the shot is already going pretty fast won't going coarser make it even faster? The first variable I was focusing on was time, but even as fine as I could go and tamping what felt like very hard didn't get to more than a 20 second shot.


boar_d_laze Said:

You can't make actual espresso with a pressurized portafilter.  You really want to depressurize it.  While that will open another can of worms (crema)  

Posted January 3, 2014 link

My googlefu suggests I might be able to get a de-pressurized portafilter that is probably stop one when money allows, I do have dremel too but I won't try that just yet :)

Also as you mention I'm after serviceable, I realize I won't get amazing from this machine, I was hoping the grinder would get me a reasonable way, perhaps paired with a machine that doesn't retail for under $100. I guess I'm asking is the grinder ok, it was one of the few mid level grinders that were well reviewed and I could get locally :)
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dwRK
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Sep 2013
Posts: 92
Location: Houston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Jan 3, 2014, 7:35pm
Subject: Re: Breville Cafe Roma fast extraction
 

Pictures Google came up on your Imat sure looks like the usual Trespade burr design...the burr set does have good reputation...if yours is not out of alignment, then it should be ok. Can you take it back to the shop, grind some beans and pull a shot with their machine? That should be a good test...
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