Are you tired of inconsistent, lackluster espresso shots from your Breville Barista Express? As coffee lovers, we know that there’s nothing worse than under-extracted espresso that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.
That’s why we’re here to share an easy solution to this common problem, so you can enjoy delicious, perfectly extracted espresso every time. So grab your favorite mug and let’s get started!
If you’re not getting the flavorful and balanced espresso shot you’re looking for, it’s possible that your coffee is under-extracted. Under-extraction occurs when not enough flavor has been extracted from the coffee grounds, resulting in a weak and sour espresso shot.
The causes of under-extraction can vary, but some of the most common reasons include:
- Grind size: If your coffee grounds are too coarse, water will flow through them too quickly and not enough flavor will be extracted. Conversely, if your grounds are too fine, the water will have trouble passing through and the espresso shot will taste overly bitter.
- Water temperature: If the water temperature is too low, the extraction will be weak and flavorless. If the temperature is too high, it can result in over-extraction and a burnt taste.
- Tamping pressure: If the coffee grounds are not tamped with enough pressure, water will pass through too quickly and not enough flavor will be extracted.
To identify whether your espresso shot is under-extracted, look for the following signs:
- A thin, watery consistency with no crema.
- Sour or overly acidic taste.
- Lack of sweetness or body.
Now that you know what under-extraction is and how to identify it.
The Easy Solution: Adjusting the Grind Size
One of the easiest solutions to under-extraction is to adjust the grind size of your coffee beans. This simple step can make a world of difference in the flavor and quality of your espresso shots.
Here’s how to adjust the grind size on your Breville Barista Express:
- Start by grinding a small amount of coffee beans and making an espresso shot.
- Observe the quality of the shot and make note of any signs of under-extraction or over-extraction.
- If the shot is under-extracted, make the grind size finer. If it’s over-extracted, make the grind size coarser.
- Adjust the grind size in small increments, making a new espresso shot each time until you find the optimal setting for your taste.
It’s important to note that the optimal grind size will vary depending on the type of coffee beans you’re using and your personal taste preferences. As a general rule, espresso shots should have a rich crema, a smooth mouthfeel, and a balanced flavor with hints of sweetness and acidity.
To help you find the perfect grind size, here are some tips:
- Start with a medium grind size and make adjustments from there.
- If the shot is too bitter, try a coarser grind size.
- If the shot is too sour or acidic, try a finer grind size.
- Remember to make small adjustments and test each shot before making further changes.
By adjusting the grind size on your Breville Barista Express, you can improve the quality of your espresso shots and avoid under-extraction. But remember, grind size is just one factor in achieving the perfect shot.Other factors, such as water temperature and tamping pressure, also play a role in the extraction process.
So be sure to pay attention to all of these variables to achieve the best possible espresso shot.
Other Factors to Consider
While adjusting the grind size is an important step in addressing under-extraction, there are other factors that can also affect the quality of your espresso shots.
Here are some additional factors to consider:
- Water Temperature: The ideal water temperature for espresso is between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water temperature is too low, the extraction will be weak and flavorless. If the temperature is too high, it can result in over-extraction and a burnt taste.
- Tamping Pressure: Tamping the coffee grounds with the correct pressure is important for achieving a consistent extraction. If the pressure is too low, water will pass through too quickly and not enough flavor will be extracted. If the pressure is too high, the water will have trouble passing through and the espresso shot will taste overly bitter.
- Coffee Freshness: The freshness of your coffee beans can also affect the quality of your espresso shots. Coffee beans start to lose their freshness as soon as they are roasted, so it’s important to use them within a few weeks of the roast date. Stale coffee can result in under-extracted, flavorless shots.
- Portafilter Distribution: Properly distributing the coffee grounds in the portafilter is important for achieving an even extraction. Uneven distribution can lead to under-extraction in some areas and over-extraction in others.
- Machine Maintenance: Keeping your Breville Barista Express clean and well-maintained is essential for achieving consistent and high-quality espresso shots. Be sure to regularly clean the machine’s parts and descale it as needed.
By paying attention to these factors, you can further improve the quality of your espresso shots and avoid under-extraction.
Remember, achieving the perfect shot is a process of trial and error, so don’t be afraid to experiment and make adjustments until you find the right balance of factors for your taste.
Even with the best of intentions, sometimes espresso shots still don’t come out as expected.
If you’re experiencing continued under-extraction despite adjusting the grind size and other factors, here are some additional troubleshooting tips:
- Check the Coffee Dose: Ensure that you are using the correct amount of coffee grounds in your portafilter. For a double shot, you should use around 18-21 grams of coffee.
- Check the Tamp: Double-check that you are using the correct amount of pressure when tamping the coffee grounds. Use a tamper with a flat surface to ensure that the coffee is evenly distributed and tamped down.
- Check the Water Pressure: Ensure that the water pressure is set correctly. The Breville Barista Express has a built-in pressure gauge to help you monitor the pressure. The ideal range is 8-10 bars.
- Check the Water Quality: Poor water quality can negatively impact the flavor of your espresso shots. Consider using filtered water or installing a water filtration system for your machine.
- Check the Grinder: If your Breville Barista Express has been in use for a while, it’s possible that the grinder may need to be calibrated or even replaced. Consult the manual or contact Breville customer service for guidance on how to do this.
- Consider Professional Help: If you have tried all of the above troubleshooting tips and are still experiencing under-extraction, consider taking your machine to a professional technician for a more in-depth diagnosis and repair.
Remember, achieving the perfect espresso shot takes practice and patience. By following the steps outlined in this post, troubleshooting as needed, and experimenting with different factors, you can improve the quality of your espresso shots and enjoy delicious, barista-quality coffee at home.
Under-extraction can be a frustrating problem to deal with, but with the Breville Barista Express, there are easy solutions to help you achieve the perfect espresso shot. By adjusting the grind size and paying attention to other factors like water temperature, tamping pressure, and coffee freshness, you can improve the quality of your espresso shots and avoid under-extraction.
If you are still experiencing issues despite troubleshooting, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Breville has a great customer service team that can assist you with any questions or issues you may be experiencing with your machine.
Remember, making espresso is a process of trial and error. It takes practice and patience to find the right balance of factors for your taste. But with the right tools, knowledge, and determination, you can become your own barista and enjoy delicious espresso shots in the comfort of your own home.
We hope this guide has been helpful in addressing your under-extraction woes and empowering you to make great espresso.