Barista With Breville

Barista with Breville: A guide for new home baristas

As a home barista, you have the power to create your own delicious and unique espresso shots. However, the journey to perfecting your craft can be challenging, especially if you are new to the world of espresso machines. There are many factors that go into brewing a delicious espresso shot, from the type of coffee bean you use to the fineness of the grind, and the tamping pressure. With the right tools, techniques, and patience, anyone can become a barista with a Breville espresso machine.

 

In this guide, we will share some tips and tricks to help you get started with brewing the perfect espresso shot using a Breville espresso machine.

1. Fresh Coffee Beans

The key to a delicious espresso shot is to start with freshly roasted coffee beans. The taste and aroma of your espresso will depend on many factors, including the freshness of your coffee beans. If you are using old or stale coffee beans, your shot extraction will be weak, and the resulting espresso will not be as full-flavored as it could be.

 

For the best results, we recommend using coffee beans that are freshly roasted and consumed within four to twenty-one days from the roasted date. Pre-ground coffee is not recommended for espresso extraction, as it loses its flavor and aroma quickly after being ground. Store your coffee beans in an airtight container in a cool, dark place to preserve their freshness.

 

It’s time to stop buying coffee beans from the supermarket and switch to fresh beans from BrewRatio for optimal coffee extraction.

2. Dialing in the Grind

Each type of coffee bean requires a different grind setting for optimal extraction. There is no one perfect setting that works for all coffee beans. As a result, you will need to dial in the grind setting that works best for your coffee beans. Keep a record of your grind settings so you can switch between different coffee beans and return to your optimal setting with ease.

 

The grind size should be fine but not too fine or powdery. The grind size affects the rate at which water flows through the grounds in the filter basket and, in turn, affects the taste of your espresso.

 

  • If the grind is too fine, the water will not flow through the grounds properly, resulting in an over-extracted espresso that is too dark, bitter, and with an uneven crema.
  • On the other hand, if the grind is too coarse, the water will flow through the grounds too quickly, resulting in an under-extracted espresso that is lacking in flavor and with a thin crema.

3. Brew Ratio

The brew ratio refers to the weight of the coffee grounds in your portafilter compared to the yield of your espresso shot. To get the optimal flavor, you need to dial in the correct brew ratio. 

Breville Extraction Guide
Breville Extraction Guide

Below is a general guideline for Breville espresso machines.

  • Single Shot Filter (yields 20ml of espresso) – Around 10g of coffee grounds
  • Double Shot Filter (yields 36ml of espresso) – Around 18g of coffee grounds


The dual-wall technology of Breville espresso machines makes it easy for beginners to achieve a rich crema. The best results are achieved using freshly ground coffee and the right grind setting. 

A single shot of espresso is made from approximately 10 grams of ground coffee and takes approximately 25 seconds to brew. A double shot of espresso is made from 18 grams of ground coffee, takes 25 to 35 seconds to brew, and yields approximately 36ml of espresso. Once you have consistency, you can adjust your brew ratio to adjust the taste of your coffee.

4. Tamp Firm

One of the biggest mistakes that new baristas make is not tamping the coffee grounds hard enough. A good tamp should be around 13 kilo of pressure. This pressure creates resistance, which makes the brewing water work harder to extract the coffee flavor. When the coffee grounds are evenly compacted, the water pressure pulls the oils from the grounds, resulting in a bold and rich taste. If the coffee grounds are loose and uneven, water will flow through the gaps instead of extracting flavor, resulting in a weak and flavorless espresso.

 

If you find that the default tamper that comes with your espresso machine is too difficult to work with, consider upgrading to a BrewRatio tamper.

5. Level and Flat Tamping

Another common mistake that new baristas make is not tamping the coffee grounds evenly or level. To achieve a level and firm tamp can be challenging for new baristas. A levelling tool can help with this by providing an even and level surface on your puck of ground coffee. Simply place the leveller in your portafilter, spin it, and then tamp the coffee to finish.

6. Extraction Pressure

Once you have tamped the coffee grounds properly, it’s important to monitor your extraction pressure.

Pump Gauge
Pressure gauge

The extraction pressure is achieved by a combination of the freshness of the coffee, the grind size, and the firmness of the tamp. The ideal extraction pressure for optimal espresso flavor is 9 bar, and it can be monitored using a gauge on the espresso machine.

An extraction pressure gauge, like the ones found on the Barista Express, Infuser, or Breville dual boiler, is an excellent tool to help you achieve optimal coffee extraction.

7. Summary

As a coffee enthusiast, the quality of your espresso shot is of utmost importance. A weak or over-extracted espresso can not only ruin the taste, but also the entire coffee experience. Therefore, it’s crucial to identify and address the causes of a weak or over-extracted espresso. 

 

  • One of the most important factors that contribute to a good espresso shot is the quality of coffee beans. It’s crucial to use fresh coffee beans that are consumed within four to twenty-one days of roasting. Old coffee beans can result in a weak or bitter espresso shot. At BrewRatio, we recommend using only the freshest coffee beans for a delicious espresso experience.
  • The grind setting is another critical factor in determining the quality of your espresso shot. If the espresso tastes sour, it’s a sign that the grind is too coarse. In such a case, you should dial in with a finer grind. On the other hand, if the espresso tastes bitter, the grind is too fine, and you should dial in with a coarser grind.
  • In addition to the grind setting, the grind amount is also crucial. It’s recommended to use 10g of coffee grounds for a single shot and 18g of coffee grounds for a double shot. To ensure that you are using the right amount, we recommend using a coffee scale from BrewRatio.
  • Another factor that contributes to a good espresso shot is the firmness of the coffee grounds in the portafilter. It’s essential to tamp the coffee grounds firmly, around 13 kilos, to achieve a good crema. If your tamper is not firm enough, you can consider upgrading it with a BrewRatio tamper.
  • The coffee grounds in the portafilter must also be levelled to ensure that you are getting a consistent espresso shot. Investing in a leveller from BrewRatio can help you achieve consistently levelled espresso shots.
Extraction Guide
Extraction Guide

A good crema is a result of fresh coffee beans, the right grind size and amount, and properly tamped and levelled coffee grounds.

It’s also important to clean your filter after each extraction to ensure that the filter holes are not blocked. Used coffee grounds should be thrown away with domestic waste and not down the drain as it can cause blockages. A knock box can bring convenience for discarding used coffee puck.

A final encouragement from BrewRatio – keep trying. There is nothing more fulfilling than drinking a shot of espresso made from your very own hands at your home, being a true Barista With Breville!

A final tip - Adjust the upper burr

If you’ve tried everything but are still getting a weak extraction, the fresh coffee beans you are using might need a finer grind, which the default upper burr setting may not be able to achieve. In such a case, you can adjust the upper burr setting. 

The secret lies in your upper burr setting

Some types of coffee may require a wider grind range to achieve an ideal extraction or brew. Breville barista grinders (built-in or standalone) have the ability to extend this range with an adjustable upper burr.

 

We recommend making only one adjustment at a time, until you achieve the grind setting that gives you the optimal 9 bar pump extraction. The factory setting of the upper burr is default at 6. The minimum is 1 for a finer grind, and the maximum is 10 for a coarser grind. A smaller number brings the upper burr closer to the bottom conical burr, resulting in a finer grind. By tweaking the upper burr setting 1 by 1, in combination with your grind size dial, you can achieve your optimal extraction. Combining both settings can unlock different grind settings to match the needs of your fresh coffee beans.

Breville Grinder Setting
Breville Grinder Setting

Now you should have master most important tip being a Barista With Breville espresso machine. Happy brewing!

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