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Need help with sage barista express (newbie)


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Hello everyone

I recently bought sage barista express, so for first two weeks I was using supermarket beans, illy and starbucks and some random brand. It was very easy to dial in with them, i sticked to 3-5 grind setting and usually had to increase the dose and give a good tamp, my pressure was pretty much always in "Perfect range" and timing was good, also the yield and taste was perfect - all that using auto dual shot button.

After 2 weeks of doing good coffee with supermarket beans i decided to buy some "Premium beans" that are freshly roasted, bought some medium-dark roast beans and now have absolute nightmare trying to dial.

At low grind setting 3-5, and normal 18g dose and good tamp, pressure would skyrocket and extraction would be really slow and coffee ends up thick.

With higher grind setting 8-10, if i use same dose of 18g and give a good tamp, it's the same. If i decrease the dose and don't tamp as hard the pressure goes to higher end of "espresso range" and extraction is very fast, also the auto mode no longer gives 30-40g, the yield has increased to like 100-150g lol, i never reprogrammed it? Also i tried resetting to default settings and it's the same, the yield is super high.

Any advices?
 

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Sounds like you need to grind coarser. Forget everything you did with the supermarket and Starbucks beans - you can't use them as a benchmark for anything when using good quality fresh beans. Maybe try grinder setting 10 and see what happens

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1 minute ago, dutchy101 said:

Sounds like you need to grind coarser. Forget everything you did with the supermarket and Starbucks beans - you can't use them as a benchmark for anything when using good quality fresh beans. Maybe try grinder setting 10 and see what happens

Thanks for response, i tried grinding at 10 with pretty much same dosage and tamping and it was similar, i now tried tamping lighter and pressure was better but extraction was very fast and auto button doesnt seem to give adequate coffee yield anymore

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As above, one the key questions is how fresh are the beans. 
Dark roasted beans don't last all that long, unlike lighter roasts. So anything over say 4 weeks on a dark roast may not produce great results. 

A few things. 

1. Ignore the pressure gauge. 
2. ALWAYS do a manual extraction, never use Auto, it's all over the place. 
3. Focus on dose in and out and an approximate time. Time is not THAT important, but something in the 20-50 second range is a good ball park. 
4. Tamping is just compressing the puck to push air out. So keep it consistent and don't tamp like a Gorilla. Just push down evenly until you feel the tamper stop moving and the puck is compressed. 
5. On a BE and a dark roast bean I found 17g was better than 18g. My rough rule was, darker roast 17g, medium 18g, light up to about 18.5, sometimes 19g. This produced roughly the same headroom above the puck owing to different densities. 
6. Oh and make sure you are half filling the BE hopper and purging 5g or so between each shot as that will be the old stuff stuck in the chute. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, dutchy101 said:

What date were the premium beans roasted on / how fresh are they?

2 days ago roasted and another pack 4 days ago, but they are pretty much the same, i have hard time dialing in lol

Edited by coffeenator
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30 minutes ago, coffeenator said:

2 days ago roasted and another pack 4 days ago, but they are pretty much the same, i have hard time dialing in lol

oh wow, yes way way too fresh. At least a week with a dark roast. maybe up to 10 days. 
Lighter roasts you're looking at 2 weeks. 

After 2 days you will get a huge CO2 release on extraction which will actually suddenly cause high pressure in the puck but reduced extraction. 
Would explain what you are seeing.

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4 hours ago, TomHughes said:

oh wow, yes way way too fresh. At least a week with a dark roast. maybe up to 10 days. 
Lighter roasts you're looking at 2 weeks. 

After 2 days you will get a huge CO2 release on extraction which will actually suddenly cause high pressure in the puck but reduced extraction. 
Would explain what you are seeing.

Great thanks for advice, ill try it out.. Also noticed that beans are kinda hard when compared to supermarket coffee, i mean supermarket coffee i had to tamp and the tamper would go in a bit, but with this coffee tamping doesnt change much lol tamper doesnt really go in, just flattens out the coffee

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Thanks guys - i’m also new here with a barista express - and had v fresh beans.  Got some good advice to use a paper clip to even out the grind before tamping too...  and, while i’m still learning have bought a calibrated tamper to try to get a feel for the correct pressure.  Not sure if it’s a gimmick or not, will find out tomorrow 😊

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Definitely have found the calibrated tamper a good thing.  Also invested in some scales to measure the finished espresso as the original programme setting was quite a way off.

just changed beans today to 10day old Mission Coffee Works (Bells), which I have really enjoyed previously.  Am struggling to get the tamping pressure right though vs the Mission Coffee Works (Los Ureña)... thought I had nailed it by the end of the previous beans and now seem to need to tamp much lighter....  have kept grind size consistent, but miles off on my tamp we these 🤦‍♂️

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57 minutes ago, dutchy101 said:

Different beans usually means a different grind size is required to dial in. Keep the tamping as consistent as possible whichever beans you use

Thanks very much.  
 

Grinding at 10 and with consistent tamp (compared to last beans) I get only a few drops of espresso in the end in a double...  I assume I should go coarser on grind?  I’ll try in the morning.

 

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Yeah try maybe setting 11. I have the Smart Grinder Pro and they recommend starting at point 12 for espresso for dialing in beans. If the shot runs roo fast I then take it finer by 1 setting until it's right or similarly if it runs too slow / chokes then I'll take it courser by 1 setting

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