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Sage Barista Express Help please!


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Hi Everyone,

I’m after some advise on what I should do next.  I purchased a Sage Barista express a little over 6 weeks ago and after watching endless YouTube Videos and reading numerous blogs I believe I have got a grasp of the basics.  However, I appear to be hitting the same consistent problem, my coffee is extracting in around 13-15seconds, which form what I read is too fast.  For clarity, this is 13-15 seconds from the point that I see the first drip of coffee appear from the portafilter, so total time from pressing the double shot button is around 20-23 seconds.
So, here is where I am at so far… I grind exactly 18.5g of coffee on grind size 2 (I’m reluctant to go to grind size 1 as it leave me nowhere else to go from there).  I grind on setting 2 as mentioned, which means my pressure gauge sits at the top end of the expresso scale, around o'clock on a clock face.  I am tampering using the supplied temper tool and I try by best to evenly spread my grind out first.  The 18.5g means that when I use the supplied razor I have zero wastage and nearly all the time it’s at the level where the razor would start to shave off excess.  I have programmed the machine to extract 36g of coffee (2:1).  My beans are from Pact, so have been freshly roasted within the last 7 days and I have had possession of them for under a week.  So with all the above info, can anyone suggest what I need to get my extraction time to the more desirable 20-30seconds?  Equally please tell me if I am trying to achieve the impossible and I should just continue as I am!!  Thanks in advance.
 

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What is the roast level of the PACT beans? If too light then that may be your problem (grinder).

Also try WDT or puck raking to ensure you have a fully even bed. This helps to prevent channeling. 

Are you weighing your output?

Edited by lake_m

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

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The shot timer starts from when you press the button. What happens between that and the drips is the puck is being infused with the water at low pressure. Once the puck becomes saturated, the drips will appear. I would aim at 25 to 30 seconds for your desired weight. Presumably you weight the coffee out? 18.5 gms wants 37 (ratio of 2:1) which is by no means written in stone but a starting point. Toslow the shot down, either grind finer or put more coffee in

In a race between a donkey and a horse, to see who could reach the bottom first..........one side has a commanding lead

 

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19 minutes ago, Mark80 said:

I grind exactly 18.5g of coffee on grind size 2 (I’m reluctant to go to grind size 1 as it leave me nowhere else to go from there).

I had this problem when I got my BE, I could not grind fine enough no matter what bean I used, what weight or strength of tamp, it always came out too fast. So I adjusted the top burr. This involves removing the hopper and lifting out the top burr of the grinder. It has markings on it (1-6 I think), I put it down to 3 or 4, I can't remember which exactly). Whichever yours is on, put it down one, try that, if it's not fine enough, try the next one. There's a video in the main main Sage sticky thread of how to do it. This meant my outer dial (the one with 1-16 on it) was re-calibrated. Number 5 (well, all numbers of course) was now a much finer grind that it had been previously. All my coffees were ground in a small range from then on, I think it was 2-5. (I have a new grinder now).

It's been said on this forum you're not supposed to do this, I don't understand that point. The machine is designed to that, there's accessibility and markings on the machine itself (inside there the burr is, red markings) for that very reason. Make sure you hoover out the grinder so no beans/detritus are lodged in there when you turn it back on, like any adjustments of something mechanical if you don't put it back together properly, it won't work or could even damage the machine. If you are not entirely comfortable with the process *do not do it*.

As I said, others have said don't do this, so you have to choose for yourself. Call Sage, mention this, ask them what to do, see what they say. Watch the video and decide if it's something you want to try.

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Sage Barista Express, Mazzer Royal w/ DW Kit.

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58 minutes ago, lake_m said:

 

What is the roast level of the PACT beans? If too light then that may be your problem (grinder).

Also try WDT or puck raking to ensure you have a fully even bed. This helps to prevent channeling. 

Are you weighing your output?

Hi @lake_m, thanks for your response.  I'm new to all of this, so please excuse my poor response!  I can't see anywhere on the Pact labeling that shows the road level, is only states "Dark Espresso".  I'll go away and some some research on the puck rake, its not something i've heard of in my 6 weeks of having a barista style machine!  My output is between 36-37g, so i'm achieving the desired 2:1 ratio.  Thanks again

 

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1 hour ago, dfk41 said:

The shot timer starts from when you press the button. What happens between that and the drips is the puck is being infused with the water at low pressure. Once the puck becomes saturated, the drips will appear. I would aim at 25 to 30 seconds for your desired weight. Presumably you weight the coffee out? 18.5 gms wants 37 (ratio of 2:1) which is by no means written in stone but a starting point. Toslow the shot down, either grind finer or put more coffee in

Thanks @dfk41, i'll go ahead and experiment with the grind fineness (although i'm on grint setting 2 of 18 already with only grind 1 available for a finer option) and trying increasing my amount of coffee, although i'm not sure how much more the portafilter would be able to hold.  Thanks again.

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@Mark80 When increasing the amount of coffee, just do it in small increments of 0.5 gm. All you are doing, is trying to increase the resistance for the water to pass through the puck. If you leave it on setting 2, you could try to ensure the grinds are level in the basket and tamp a bit harder. If you search on here I think others have found a work around for your grinder by shimming. Also, different beans have different density, so you might find a slightly darker bean, from around medium roast requires a coarser grind anyway

In a race between a donkey and a horse, to see who could reach the bottom first..........one side has a commanding lead

 

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35 minutes ago, CocoLoco said:

I had this problem when I got my BE, I could not grind fine enough no matter what bean I used, what weight or strength of tamp, it always came out too fast. So I adjusted the top burr. This involves removing the hopper and lifting out the top burr of the grinder. It has markings on it (1-6 I think), I put it down to 3 or 4, I can't remember which exactly). Whichever yours is on, put it down one, try that, if it's not fine enough, try the next one. There's a video in the main main Sage sticky thread of how to do it. This meant my outer dial (the one with 1-16 on it) was re-calibrated. Number 5 (well, all numbers of course) was now a much finer grind that it had been previously. All my coffees were ground in a small range from then on, I think it was 2-5. (I have a new grinder now).

It's been said on this forum you're not supposed to do this, I don't understand that point. The machine is designed to that, there's accessibility and markings on the machine itself (inside there the burr is, red markings) for that very reason. Make sure you hoover out the grinder so no beans/detritus are lodged in there when you turn it back on, like any adjustments of something mechanical if you don't put it back together properly, it won't work or could even damage the machine. If you are not entirely comfortable with the process *do not do it*.

As I said, others have said don't do this, so you have to choose for yourself. Call Sage, mention this, ask them what to do, see what they say. Watch the video and decide if it's something you want to try.

Hi @CocoLoco, thanks for the detailed reply, it makes for sound advise.  I'm hoping that just 6 weeks into being a home barista that i can make a number of changes that will all impact on my skills.  I think a call to Sage is great advise, will be good to hear what they advise, and i agree, if they provide the tools and if the machine can be manually altered, then why not indeed.  I'm guessing getting a finer grind will essentially provide me a longer extraction time, which at this stage i think is all i'm trying to achieve.

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18 minutes ago, dfk41 said:

@Mark80 When increasing the amount of coffee, just do it in small increments of 0.5 gm. All you are doing, is trying to increase the resistance for the water to pass through the puck. If you leave it on setting 2, you could try to ensure the grinds are level in the basket and tamp a bit harder. If you search on here I think others have found a work around for your grinder by shimming. Also, different beans have different density, so you might find a slightly darker bean, from around medium roast requires a coarser grind anyway

Thanks @dfk41, i wasn't too sure how much above my current 18.5g i could go, as the portafilter appears pretty full at 18.5g, but i'll try your advise and increase to 19g to see how the results differ.  Can just 0.5g increase the extraction time significantly?  i.e. from 13 seconds to 23 seconds?

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Stick to 18g and adjust the upper burr as has been suggested. Sage will advise you to do the same thing and it will allow you to grind finer. Not sure why anyone would suggest not to. It’s unfortunate you have to make such changes to be honest as they should come properly calibrated from factory. 

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@Mark80 You are not going to go from 13 seconds to 23 seconds with 0.5 gm! But, by altering the top burr setting (you are moving it closer to the bottom burr giving you access to a range of grind settings you did not have, so 2 on the original will be 7 or 8 on the new) and then remembering to time your shot from when you press the button, you will soon be there

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In a race between a donkey and a horse, to see who could reach the bottom first..........one side has a commanding lead

 

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