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Sage Barista Touch Newbie Q's


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My frustration is that a large part of choosing this machine was simplicity. For me, it’s not quite as advertised. I’m boiling a kettle, heating up the portafilter, then running a couple of empty shots through to get it up to a decent temperature.

 

i absolutely appreciate (now) that a decent cup of coffee doesn’t come easy and that there is effort involved but that’s not what this machine is billed as.

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Heating the portafilter is easy and only a little fiddly. Fit the single dual wall basket and run a shot through it. Minimises water use. If making several drinks on the trot it just needs doing on the first one. Just run the shot long enough to get the portafilter way too hot to touch. Then remove and fit the basket you intend to use. It can also be done via the hot water outlet or steam. :) How did I find out it needs to be heated - eventually when I made 3 drinks on the trot I tasted each one.

 

Some DTP users at one point suggested that it can also be heated by simply leaving it in for a while. 15min may have some effect or maybe less or even more. I never tried it due to the way I used the machine. Switch on, made the drink(s) etc and switched off.

 

If some one does go the dual wall heat up way a filter basket extraction tool off Amazon is useful. It's also useful when the time comes to clean behind the shower screen. Once I had used one of these tools for filter baskets frankly I wouldn't be without one. They are shipped promptly for free.

 

Based on the previous model and a straight BE I would say that if some one always runs the same beans through them they are an excellent bean to cup machine. All a user needs worry about is checking the weight of the grinds in the filter basket and adjusting grind time before the weight change becomes a problem. What I found on that score was that initially that might mean several adjustments a week but eventually that slowed down. This of course needs some one to master other aspect of making a coffee and people often have initial problems. One problem the is all of the must does on the web. I'd suggest initially people aim for weights in and weights out as suggested in the manual. Then change if needed to get a taste that they enjoy. Change it gradually - that way it's more likely to result in the taste the bean should have or the one some one wants.

 

I would also suggest making use of the razor tool. Some have had problems with the puck spinning. I didn't but it can still be used to check that the fill level is reasonably. Sometime a bit more weight wise is better but I do mean a bit.

 

John

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I’m only using a single wall portafilter at the moment. Leaving it on does nothing to warm it up. I left it on for a good half an hour and it didn’t make any difference.

 

i picked up one of the portafilter extraction tools following a suggestion on here. Very handy and saves burning my hand!

 

I am quite happy with the coffee I am getting out of it at the moment. In fairness, I know I am just scratching the surface on coffee at the moment. To be honest, until I started lurking on here I didn’t even know that there was even a surface such was my ignorance!

 

I started with Nespresso then found some better quality capsules which ruined the normal Nespresso ones for me. I just couldn’t abide them having tried some from Colonna, Pact and Volcano.

 

The next step for me was to go for beans but needed to get approval from the boss. She saw the Barista Touch and loved the look of it. And here I am.

 

I know that I have a colossal amount to learn but, from my perspective and my wife’s, we are drinking far better coffee that we ever have done before.

 

The temperature is just a bit of a niggle for me.

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I’m only using a single wall portafilter at the moment. Leaving it on does nothing to warm it up. I left it on for a good half an hour and it didn’t make any difference.

 

i picked up one of the portafilter extraction tools following a suggestion on here. Very handy and saves burning my hand!

 

I am quite happy with the coffee I am getting out of it at the moment. In fairness, I know I am just scratching the surface on coffee at the moment. To be honest, until I started lurking on here I didn’t even know that there was even a surface such was my ignorance!

 

I started with Nespresso then found some better quality capsules which ruined the normal Nespresso ones for me. I just couldn’t abide them having tried some from Colonna, Pact and Volcano.

 

The next step for me was to go for beans but needed to get approval from the boss. She saw the Barista Touch and loved the look of it. And here I am.

 

I know that I have a colossal amount to learn but, from my perspective and my wife’s, we are drinking far better coffee that we ever have done before.

 

The temperature is just a bit of a niggle for me.

 

what exactly is the temperature issue?

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I’m only using a single wall portafilter at the moment. Leaving it on does nothing to warm it up. I left it on for a good half an hour and it didn’t make any difference.

.

 

Single wall refers to the type of basket fitted into the portafilter. Sage also provide dual wall baskets. When empty they restrict the water flow to a similar level to a single wall filled with grounds. The dual wall is stamped on the bottom of the basket - it isn't used with coffee in it. Just used to get heat into the portafilter.

 

I didn't think leaving it in would heat it up. It's just that some one mentioned these machined did put a sensible amount if heat into it. I believe the correct portafilter temperature should be 80C bu some variation is likely to be acceptable. I found that the last of 3 shots done on the trot could heat it up from cold but feel the method I used is much better. I tasted each shot rather than just handing them to some one and was rather surprised by the difference so always preheated after that.

 

It's not that easy to measure the brew temperature of the water flowing through a puck. Measuring it without water flowing through a filled portafilter fitted is pointless as the flow rates will much higher than the machine is intended to cope with. One way of maybe getting some idea that it is of the right order could be the temperature coming out of a preheated portfilter correctly filled with coffee. I believe that should be some where either side of around 75C. Still not easy to measure.

 

The razor tool is there to solve a problem with timed grinders. It's not easy to set the time to give a required dose of grinds. It can be done but when the grinder is being adjusted the grind weight it produces in a set time will change. Rather than setting a grind weight it sets a constant fill height instead. When a satisfactory drink has been found that weight can then be used and maybe adjusted. It can also still be used while the grind timer is being set. If for instance it comes out low add a touch more manually which will probably mean razoring excess off. Personally I carried on using it when I switched to weighing beans in rather than using a hopper as once things were right I had a good idea how much the weight could be changed without any drawbacks.

 

I'd have thought that 2mm lower than it leaves would be too much but pass as I would be using a weight and nothing else once I had gone in that direction. I'd expect a rather wet soggy puck but have never checked. From memory I found 16g to be about the lowest weight that could be used in the double.

 

:( wish the razor that comes with a dual boiler worked so well.

 

John

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So I thought I should post a bit of an update. I returned the Barista Touch to Sage.

 

Whilst the BT may not have been 'broken' it didn't perform how I expected it to. The temperature of the water actually got up to around 85C when using a pressurised basket to reduce flow, but the portafilter would stay cold unless you ran some water through it with the pressurised basket.

 

So I have now replaced it with the oracle. This is an infinitely better machine. The heated grouphead is fantastic. 10 mins after turning it on the portafilter is too hot to touch and ready to brew.

A dual boiler machine is definitely the way forward. With the auto milk frothing you can actually prepare both parts of the drink at the same time. So that's a useful function.

And finally the grinding mechanism is easier to make finer adjustments with. It may be the same grinder as the BT, but it's an easier process to fine tune the coffee.

 

Thanks for all the help on this thread and now I can start discovering the world of coffee!

Edited by fuziduck
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So I thought I should post a bit of an update. I returned the Barista Touch to Sage.

 

Whilst the BT may not have been 'broken' it didn't perform how I expected it to. The temperature of the water actually got up to around 85C when using a pressurised basket to reduce flow, but the portafilter would stay cold unless you ran some water through it with the pressurised basket.

 

So I have now replaced it with the oracle. This is an infinitely better machine. The heated grouphead is fantastic. 10 mins after turning it on the portafilter is too hot to touch and ready to brew.

A dual boiler machine is definitely the way forward. With the auto milk frothing you can actually prepare both parts of the drink at the same time. So that's a useful function.

And finally the grinding mechanism is easier to make finer adjustments with. It may be the same grinder as the BT, but it's a an easier process to fine tune the coffee.

 

Thanks for all the help on this thread and now I can start discovering the world of coffee!

 

I returned my Barista Touch to Amazon last week due to the low water temperatures. As it seems to be a bit of a known issue with the Touch based on some of the threads on here and the customer reviews on retailer websites I've gone with the Barista Express as a replacement.

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You would need a Scace to really get an idea what the brew water temperature was as far as the coffee is concerned. Might stop people from dipping things in coffee / water flows to measure that temperature. They wont. Scace, a decent idea of what it is and how it behaves.

 

The reason for the difference in portafilter heat up time of their DB style machines and the others is how they are constructed. One has a metal heat conduction path to the portafilter and the others haven't. Going on the pre thermojet models if those had the same path there wouldn't be any significant difference. The DB has a separate group head heater because there is nothing else to heat it - a metal plate hidden inside the machine above the grouphead. The BE has the same but the thermocoil unit heats it. The DTP is the same but different parts and I would assume thermojet models as well.

 

Personally I want my morning coffee a few mins after I get up. That time varies so you can guess what I do on the DB to get it's portafilter hot. It also gives the machines a regular clean water backflush which will help keep the internals clean. To be honest if I didn't want the switch on and use a couple of mins later I probably wouldn't buy a Sage machine. Unfair in some ways as some would take over 1/2hr to be ready. ;) Big difference

 

John

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Edited by ajohn
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