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Can't dial in grind's with Barista Express.


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Yes think that will be my next thing to look at although it won’t be for a while. When you add up what you actually have spent on the BE and all the accessories my wife who drinks tea btw would not be best pleased if I started looking at grinders lol. Think I’ll give it a while. 

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What beans are you using - a link to them may help? Are they the ones listed on Amazon? Hand roasted etc.

The standard setting for the outer burr is 6. 5 is finer according to the manual. Page 22 I'd suggest you calibrate it as I mention. Brush the burrs clean and refit the burr one setting finer. Ha

Clock starts counting when you press the button, that is the pre-infusion stage.

1 hour ago, stingray said:

considering investing in a decent grinder. I could never get a consistent with the built-in Sage one.   

Maybe that's down to you as many manage to.

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Start the timer when you push the button.

The Sage grinder can't handle lighter roasts but should be fine with Revelation. 

Focus on puck prep to avoid channelling (The Sage grinder is a channel demon!!). The Sage grinder will get to a point where grinding finer makes things worse. Pressure builds and then it bursts through as a channel.

Consider WDT (stirring in the portafilter) with a tooth pick before tamping to ensure a fully distributed puck.

Edited by lake_m

GS3 MP, Ceado E92 and E37s, Feldgrind. Niche.

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You need to be cautious about resetting the outer burr. Too much and then grind fine enough for the burrs to rub and your likely to need new burrs.

I had an SGP with incorrectly set burrs. On a setting of 1 the burrs rubbed so much it near stalled the motor. As they rubbed they heated up and the friction increased and slowed it down even more. I managed to stop it quickly enough. Then found that the outer burr was set at the wrong number.

I have watched an engineer calibrate one of their grinders and all are exactly the same in this respect but they need dismantling to do it the way they do it. He was fitting a new grinder.

What I did is brushed the burrs clean. Started it up at a coarse setting and then went finer one step at a time. At the correct number the grinder slowed down slightly. Go 2 steps coarser and then one finer and they ran completely clear. There would never ever be a need to grind at a setting of one so that was ok. Going too coarse and then finer takes out back play in the mechanism. Worth doing when ever the grinder is set coarser. It's not the only grinder with that feature, even Mazzer have a bit of it.

I'd say the best option on the BE would be to adjust the outer burr so that the motor doesn't slow down and take great care on the one where it does and switch of quickly. Or remember not to use that setting. One step on the outer burr setting at a time.

The engineer way is to disengage the adjustment mechanism and then wind the rather large worm wheel that carries the burrs in until they touch firmishly. Then wind back a touch, set the adjuster to zero and connect it up. May need a couple of goes to only back them up a touch.

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Thanks for that advice so if I’ve got this right I may have went to far in the jump from 6 to 2 possibly better going to 5 and trying again from there. Will definitely be moving the burr setting up a bit don’t want to burn the motor out.  Great advice and much appreciated 

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Channelling and the Sage grinders. Over filling the basket wont help, too low a ratio wont either but it's generally down to prep and unequal pressure levels in the puck after it's tamped. Eg say the grinds heap is lop sided and you simply plonk a tamper on it. The high side will be compressed more than the low. You will be trying to keep the tamper level and should be as slope in a tamped puck will cause unequal flow across it as well. With the Sage tamper it's possible to run a finger around it and the basket and check it's level. If not best correct it with a bit more tamping force but sadly that can have effects as well.

Curiously a decent even heaped pile of grinds doesn't cause much of a problem - presumably because pressing the central heap down also press grinds out firmly to the sides of the basket.

I'd be inclined to say that the entire range of small filter basket machines are best suited to medium roasts and darker. Light roasts are trickier to tune but it can be done and has been. Likely to result in more speed variation when grinding them. Fines - after they have had a sensible quantity of beans through them mellow drinks can be produced if it's that type of bean. Grinder speed going up and down can be due to uneven roasting - more likely on light roasts.

The biggest problem with these machines really is it will be x.000000 grams of grinds in and 2x.0000000 out over 30.0000000 secs from the press of the button. When people weigh out they are adjusting time to maintain a ratio as closely as possible. Then there are people who use 40sec as the default. That big a change will usually change taste really noticeably as yield is likely to be higher. The 2x.00000, if only it was really that simple. The aim is to produce a taste that the drinker likes and suites the bean. Takes some work to find out but it's unavoidable.

Beans that are packed in preservative gasses to extend shelf life can be a problem. To be honest I don't think many if any are intended to use in an espresso machine. Lavazza do a specific range that is in 1kg packs. I've tried a number of others that I have used in a french press and the taste is usually completely different. Odd thing is with a Sage grinder I have managed to tune all of them even off the supermarkets shelves. Many people never manage so maybe I was lucky. Taste though generally crap. Some of the higher strength / caffeine ones might be viewed as improved but only maybe.

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Might be worth mentioning over sized tampers that reach right to the edge. A problem on the small basket machines. Offset it against the side of the basket and polish the puck with it like that all the way round. Just firmly not at what ever tamping pressure you use. TBH though I wouldn't put edge channelling down to Sage's own tamper. That problem for me went at some point when I had "got it right". ;) I suspect ~1kg of beans probably more also ran the grinder in on my BE.

The biggest grief with the Sage BE manual is where they show the needle on the guage going too. Invariably it will need to go higher but it's best to only allow it to go a little bit paste the solid grey sector. No gauge and the drip tray filling up rather quickly - try and reduce it but some people especially milk based like it this way. It's just short of where the machine will choke if the grinder is set finer. Then comes all of those under and over extracted comments. Forget them and concentrate on taste.

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Hi ajohn I moved the burr from 2 back up to 5 to try and see if I’m doing something wrong. I’m using 19g of beans with 19g out not all the time but if I’m short I grind a few beans more to bring it up to 19g. I’ve just started internal burr 5 and side grind I put at 12. Thought I’d go high and work my way down. Flow was far to fast so I came down 1 by 1 all the time and I’m now at 6 with same results. Had to walk away from it, but what I have noticed is when I’m tamping then using the leveling tool I seem to be taking quite a bit off. Also after reading your last post it’s possible I’m pressing down to much possibly because I know I’m taking off too much with the level.  
 

Sorry I’m saying internal burr when I notice you call that the outer burr. Great place to learn here. 

Edited by Full Of Beans
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Lots of good advice from ajohn, I don't want to give you a laundry list of things to do, but I would suggest reading the sticky in the Sage forum if you haven't, lots of tips in there.

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The standard setting for the outer burr is 6. 5 is finer according to the manual. Page 22

I'd suggest you calibrate it as I mention. Brush the burrs clean and refit the burr one setting finer. Have the grinder setting some where you know it's not rubbing. Slowly adjust the grinder finer 1 step at a time to the finest setting while the grinder is running. If the motor slows slightly the burrs are near rubbing. Run the grinder manually by keeping the portafilter pushed in so that when you pull out it stops immediately. Don't run it for long when this happens. If nothing happens set back to the coarse setting and adjust the outer burr one setting finer and repeat.

The motor runs a lot faster when it isn't grinding beans.

When it slows you have 2 choices, never use the finest setting or set the outer burr one setting coarser. The adjustments on the outer burr are very fine.

How ever you do it, say guessing an adjustment as you did you must check what happens as the grinder is set at it's finest otherwise if you have a difficult bean you might find yourself grinding with the burrs rubbing by mistake. Some time ago a person with an Oracle needed to buy new burrs. This probably what they did. I didn't need to do anythig on my BE. Grinder setting ranged from 4 to 8. 4 for a bean that tends to need fine grinding. I did on the SGP and the slight rub didn't cause any problems.

So an alternative is to set the burr as you had and check down to the finest setting. If they rub back the burr setting off and repeat. What people often don't realise about the burr adjustment is that all it does is alter the grind numbers for the same level of grind. However if it hasn't been calibrated properly when it was built it might not grind fine enough.

The other reason for the outer burr adjustment is long term wear but frankly I would say that's the time to fit new ones. That is likely to take several years of really heavy home use.

When a grinder wont grind fine enough with decent beans the best answer is to probably phone Sage but I suspect engineers aren't too keen on visiting with covid around.

Oh - by the way sometimes people who buy an Oracle comment on good coffee and guess what - same grinder. Some have used other stuff.

Edited by ajohn
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I’ll try it coarser to see if it helps. So when does the timing start is it from the first drop or when I hit the 2 cup button?

Clock starts counting when you press the button, that is the pre-infusion stage.
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As a fellow BE owner I know how frustrating this machine can be! Just to confirm are you weighing your beans after you grind them? This helped me a lot in the early days but the biggest flaw is the grinder. I find it very inconsistent and I’ve been trying to get hold of a niche grinder for months now :(

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Using any grinder via the timer is not much fun in terms of consistent doses and once it's achieved the output will still drift. I managed to do it on the BE by always having the same bean in it. On a timed grinder some do it setting a bulk and a top up grind via the 1shot 2shot buttons but I don't think that can be done on the BE.

SGP I weighed in. Same can be done on the BE.

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https://www.reddit.com/r/espresso/comments/dxfa33/guide_on_how_to_make_the_barista_express_grinder/

https://imgur.com/ZRRVBzg

Now do make sure you don't disturb the position of the large worm wheel or gears. Actually using the clip as shown in the image should make 1/2 steps possible.

This is also the way the burrs are calibrated but turn finer until the burrs touch the wind back a touch and refit the adjuster aligned at the finest setting, That means winding back to the nearest click positions. You'll never need to grind that fine so if in doubt don't use it.

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As a fellow BE owner I know how frustrating this machine can be! Just to confirm are you weighing your beans after you grind them? This helped me a lot in the early days but the biggest flaw is the grinder. I find it very inconsistent and I’ve been trying to get hold of a niche grinder for months now [emoji20]

Yes, certainly. We will know what is the dose in and what we will expect on the dose out, then calculate the brew ratio.
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ajohn once again thanks for taking the time to help. I now totally understand what you were saying before after seeing the pics from the link. I must admit I was totally pissed off with the machine but at the same time I know I could be me but I had to blame something lol. I just feel that there’s something I’m not doing right. I bought the machine from Amazon and contacted them to try and get a Sage engineer to maybe help me but the folk from Amazon just sent me a link to send it back totally useless. I really don’t want to send it back because what if I’m sending a machine back that there is nothing wrong with it only for another machine to be the exact same. I’m totally new to this and yeh it’s harder than I thought but I’m sure once I get this it will be a lot easier. I don’t want to just settle and make do with a double wall basket that’s the easy option but not the best. 
I do believe when I get my distribution and tamper tool it will help me greatly. Unfortunately I bought this from Amazon before realising it’s coming from China so maybe another week to go. 
I mean that link with the step by step instructions is class ajohn thanks. I have a couple of things I’m going to try before I attempt to do this. 
I weigh my beans 19g and I make sure I get 19g out if I’m short I’ll grind some more if I’m over I’ll take off. Tomorrow I will check my dose espresso. I know my puck is always wet with a bit of water visible on top. When I’m using the tamper that came with the machine I always check that I’m doing it level the pressure I use could be too much because every time I use the tool that levels the coffee I end up taking off quite a bit so I try to press it down to combat this. I know that all of this could be contributing to me not reaching the correct pressure or even the correct time for a shot. So this is what I’m going to look at this week. I have until March 27th to return the machine to Amazon but as I said there is a strong possibility that the machine is good and it’s me that’s bad lol. 
 

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