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Sage Barista Touch Newbie Q's


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So I'm a newbie to the world of good coffee. I used to have a Delonghi bean to cup, but have taken the plunge and purchased a BT!

 

I've read a lot and taken the advice on buying decent beans (Just signed up try Pact) and the process of brewing a decent espresso.

 

In the mean time I am using some Union beans that were roasted 2 weeks ago so should be reasonable for my first batch of coffee?

 

I've started with a Grind Setting of 10, 15 second grind which seems to tamp into the portafilter nicely at a weight of 19g. I am however getting very bitter coffee which starts to pour at around 5 seconds and if I let it continue for 30 seconds I end up with about 70g of coffee. (I understand it should be a ratio of about 1:2 or 1:25?)

 

From what I understand if it is bitter it means the coffee is over extracted, which means I should grind coarser beans or reduce brew time, however given the quantity coming out it suggests that I should also be using finer grinds to slow down the extraction as I understood a 30 second extraction was about right?

 

Does it mean I'm not tamping with enough pressure?

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

Luke

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Are you sure your not confusing bitter with sour? What you are describing is under extracted coffee pouring that quickly.

I would suggest grinding finer, until to can a get a double espresso to extract in around 30 seconds.

Also adjust your dose, the maximum dose really is 18g, for the baskets that come with barista touch. Try grind setting 8 with a 18g dose as the manual suggests a starting point. Then weigh your dose and total extraction weight aiming for around 1:2 ratio in around 30 seconds. even try a longer a ratio 1:3 see what tastes best to you. Just keep adjusting until you find what works best for you.

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So I'm a newbie to the world of good coffee. I used to have a Delonghi bean to cup, but have taken the plunge and purchased a BT!

 

I've read a lot and taken the advice on buying decent beans (Just signed up try Pact) and the process of brewing a decent espresso.

 

In the mean time I am using some Union beans that were roasted 2 weeks ago so should be reasonable for my first batch of coffee?

 

I've started with a Grind Setting of 10, 15 second grind which seems to tamp into the portafilter nicely at a weight of 19g. I am however getting very bitter coffee which starts to pour at around 5 seconds and if I let it continue for 30 seconds I end up with about 70g of coffee. (I understand it should be a ratio of about 1:2 or 1:25?)

 

From what I understand if it is bitter it means the coffee is over extracted, which means I should grind coarser beans or reduce brew time, however given the quantity coming out it suggests that I should also be using finer grinds to slow down the extraction as I understood a 30 second extraction was about right?

 

Does it mean I'm not tamping with enough pressure?

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

Luke

 

Bitter does not always equal to over extracted, the progression of taste that is sour > sweet> bitter is not correct, taste is not always linear.

In your case 19> 70 os going to be ore likely over extracted , and weak.

Extraction is also a function of the coffee to water ratio .....in your case your ratio of 1:4 means you are more than likely on the "over extracted ' range and yes bitter.

I would adjust , grind finer, taste , keep grinding finer until you get a better balance

Lastly dont get hung up on time , shots can be tasty from 25 -45 seconds ball park

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I'd also suggest checking the dose of grinds with the razor tool. Some people have problems with the puck spinning when it's used. Maybe they tamp too lightly or are trying to remove too much coffee, I always tamp again after using it. It's not a bad idea to strain a little when that is done as it more likely to be consistent.

 

I too would suggest starting at 8 but would add wasting a few grams of grinds each time the setting is changed to get rid of the previous settings grinds. Sage grinders don't retain that much in this respect but not doing this can lead to people chasing their tail. Also when going finer just one step at a time. In some respects any grinder should be run when it's adjusted finer but I'm happy that one step is ok. If someone has a problem with a Sage grinder adjustment and reports it one of their engineers is likely to ask if the user does that.

 

People often say I have an X gram filter basket. There is a problem though, the density of beans vary. I do use one bean myself that on the single basket takes nearly 1g less of grinds compared with some others. That is extreme. A new user hasn't really a clue about how much to put in a basket, the weight may even need adjusting as the grinder setting is changed. ;) I don't think this is why Sage supply it but it's useful for just this reason. It's probably there to allow a timed dose to be trimmed to the same level every time rather than have to set the timer exactly or periodically adjust it. It doesn't work so well on the DB but on the BE I got into the habit of using it on any new bean to establish the grinder setting and then made minor adjustments to the weight.

 

John

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Thanks all for the replies. I will try and grind finer first and also reduce the dose slightly to 18g as a starting point. (I have checked with the razor however it is always below the limit which perhaps means I am tamping too hard.) Does anyone have a suggestion on how to check how hard they are tamping?

 

I have been running through a couple of shots at each change of setting to allow for grinds already in the machine.

 

I'll experiment a bit more with the comments above in mind and will come back with my results.

 

Fingers crossed.

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Thanks all for the replies. I will try and grind finer first and also reduce the dose slightly to 18g as a starting point. (I have checked with the razor however it is always below the limit which perhaps means I am tamping too hard.) Does anyone have a suggestion on how to check how hard they are tamping?

 

I have been running through a couple of shots at each change of setting to allow for grinds already in the machine.

 

I'll experiment a bit more with the comments above in mind and will come back with my results.

 

Fingers crossed.

Don't get overly concerned about you tamping pressure, just push til you can feel no real resistance . Tamping ( as long as level ) has the least impact on what you are doing.

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Thanks all for the replies. I will try and grind finer first and also reduce the dose slightly to 18g as a starting point. (I have checked with the razor however it is always below the limit which perhaps means I am tamping too hard.) Does anyone have a suggestion on how to check how hard they are tamping?

 

I have been running through a couple of shots at each change of setting to allow for grinds already in the machine.

 

I'll experiment a bit more with the comments above in mind and will come back with my results.

 

Fingers crossed.

 

If it's any consolation, I've had my BT for about 3 weeks and have found exactly the same with respect to the razor. I've concentrated on only using the double shot basket. I've played with bean and grind time and can pretty consistently get 18g in the basket, but after tamping it's always about 1 or 2mm below the level of the razor. I've tried a few beans so far, some from OOC locally, some from pumphreys locally and some from foundy. I've found them all pretty consistant except for one of the beans from pumphreys (espresso crema) these beans were very light (weight to volume was about half of the other beans) and I found the machine struggling to grind them. I've given up on them.

 

Generally to start I've concentrated on trying to get my 18g to about a 36g shot in the 30 second standard double brew.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello All,

 

So I thought I should report back following the helpful comments.

Using Pact coffee I seem to be getting some better results now. (I think the grinder needed a little time to settle down from being new)

I'm also now weighing my beans before grinding and running the grinder empty each time. Results seem to be ~0.1g in and out.

18g of coffee seems reasonable and after pulling the shot you can just about see the indent of the shower screen from where the grinds expand.

It starts to pour around 6 seconds and I will get roughly 60g of coffee at about 35 seconds. This seems reasonable and I'm getting some nice flavours from the coffee. (Is this the sort of quantities I should aim for because Sarracenae is getting almost half the coffee for the same weight of beans?

I think I'm going to have to start a Pact subscription as I don't want to go through this fuss from every change of beans!

 

Thanks All.

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I assume it will operate in a same fashion as Barista express.. if so.. I suggest you put exact amount of beans that you intend to grind in hopper and grind it all.. 18g would be a good starting point. grind size should vary between 4-7... Go for 6.. You do seem to have recent roast. (bear in mind that dark roast produces more defined strong taste.. some say bitter. On the other hand medium roast should be more mellow). Does it have a pressure gauge when you extract? Older version has it and it will give you range for good espresso (12o'clock isshhh..) you can extract 1:2 ratio.. but it doesn't say that you cant do double shot. Important thing is to let coffee come out as a 'warm honey'. If it drips then it is over extracting.. if it comes out like a water it will be underextracted. As far as the tamping goes.. don't tamp it to death.. nice and good tamp.. make sure it is FLAT!.

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I assume it will operate in a same fashion as Barista express.. if so.. I suggest you put exact amount of beans that you intend to grind in hopper and grind it all.. 18g would be a good starting point. grind size should vary between 4-7... Go for 6.. You do seem to have recent roast. (bear in mind that dark roast produces more defined strong taste.. some say bitter. On the other hand medium roast should be more mellow). Does it have a pressure gauge when you extract? Older version has it and it will give you range for good espresso (12o'clock isshhh..) you can extract 1:2 ratio.. but it doesn't say that you cant do double shot. Important thing is to let coffee come out as a 'warm honey'. If it drips then it is over extracting.. if it comes out like a water it will be underextracted. As far as the tamping goes.. don't tamp it to death.. nice and good tamp.. make sure it is FLAT!.

 

OK So I reduced the grind by one notch to 9 now. 18g in and 54g out so this is certainly a lot closer to what is expected. It has a nice crema, however I feel like I'm still not getting all of the flavours from the coffee.

I'll keep fiddling with the grind and see where it goes. it has a nice 'warm honey' flow and only gets spluttery towards the end, it also seems to be leaving a slightly wet puck, could this be because the dose in the porta filter is too low and its not expanding fully?

 

I can see myself becoming quite addicted to getting the perfect shot!

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  • 2 weeks later...
OK So I reduced the grind by one notch to 9 now. 18g in and 54g out so this is certainly a lot closer to what is expected. It has a nice crema, however I feel like I'm still not getting all of the flavours from the coffee.

I'll keep fiddling with the grind and see where it goes. it has a nice 'warm honey' flow and only gets spluttery towards the end, it also seems to be leaving a slightly wet puck, could this be because the dose in the porta filter is too low and its not expanding fully?

 

I can see myself becoming quite addicted to getting the perfect shot!

 

 

Have you checked the temperature of the espresso coming out or tried testing the temperature of the water without the portafilter? I bought one recently and it was only brewing at 55 C so I took it back and the other machine was exactly the same - so I bought an Oracle instead and now no more bitter espresso.

 

Hope this helps.

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Thanks Geezercdg.

 

Without any accurate thermometer in the house yet I've had to improvise with a jam thermometer. I'm also not sure where to measure from.

Method was to pre-heat a shot cup and then re-fill with hot water and measure that.

I did this both from the hot water outlet and directly from the shower screen with no porta filter connected.

From both I got 56C. I then fiddled with the settings and put it to maximum and it now comes out at 58C.

 

Can anyone confirm if this temperature should be a lot closer to 90C as I am now convincing myself it is too cold having read Geezercdg's other thread. Can there really be a whole batch of these machines that don't get up to temperature?!

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I’ll test mine later but I’d suspect I’ll get a similar result.

 

Checked my temperature with a thermapen, no portafilter and run three times to flush through. 58 degreees and that’s on the highest brew temperature.

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Checked my temperature with a thermapen, no portafilter and run three times to flush through. 58 degreees and that’s on the highest brew temperature.

 

I've just ordered a digital thermometer and see what my results are.

 

Are we saying that the highest brew of 58C out of the shower screen is OK or is there a machine problem?

It would be good to know if anyone with a Barista Express or Oracle gets similar readings?

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Temperature now measured with an accurate digital thermometer. I'm getting 66C from the shower screen after flushing it a couple of times.

 

I'm really hoping we get some responses from other model owners as I'd really like to see if this is a specific model issue, then I can go back to Sage and see what they have to say!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've registered for the forums having come across this thread over the past few weeks when trying to research issues I'm having with my Sage Barista Touch purchased just before Christmas.

 

I'm also having trouble with the espresso produced not being hot. When preheating the portafilter and my cup by running 2/3 brews of just water through I get an espresso temperature of 55C. I've also taken a temperature for just the water being run through the preheated portafilter and basket (without any coffee) and this is 60-65C in the cup.

 

Unfortunately it does seem like this is not an isolated issue and quite a few others have been having temperature trouble with their Barista Touch machines.

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Temperature now measured with an accurate digital thermometer. I'm getting 66C from the shower screen after flushing it a couple of times.

 

I'm really hoping we get some responses from other model owners as I'd really like to see if this is a specific model issue, then I can go back to Sage and see what they have to say!

 

i wouldn’t assume you have brew temperature issues to start with... why would you think this?

 

are you still playing & experimenting with different brew ratios?

 

if you are still pulling 18/50ish & wanting more then keep playing...

 

are you drinking espresso or milk based drinks?

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