|Pull, Steam, Froth Video|
the Wet Puck
|the Pre-Brew Function|
the Coffee and its Grind
|the Right Temperature
Froth vs. Foam
“Pull, Steam, Froth” Video
An Introduction: Pulling a Shot & Steaming/Frothing Milk
After steaming, water comes out of my Steam Wand.
Several Breville espresso machines feature an Auto-Purge function so that you can extract espresso immediately after using the steam function. This ensures that the ground espresso coffee will not be burnt by the initial water flow from the thermocoil being too hot.
Instead, the hot water is automatically released into the Drip Tray, ensuring that the internal thermostat is at the optimal temperature for extracting espresso. Your espresso will always be extracted at this optimal temperature, ensuring that only the best-flavored espresso is achieved.
Always clean the Steam Wand and Froth Enhancer directly after every use.
My machine doesn’t generate steam.
Ensure the machine is plugged in, switched on at the power outlet and the POWER button is illuminated.
If the Water Tank is empty, fill it.
Make sure the Steam Dial is in ‘Steam’ position, and the STEAM button has been selected.
The Steam Wand may need to be cleaned.
The Pre-Brew Function
The Pre-Brew function is the initial pump/pause/pump sound that is heard when the machine is turned to the ‘Espresso’ position. It is the pump moistening the ground coffee in the Portafilter with a small amount of water before full extraction. This expands the coffee grinds, resulting in greater pressure buildup to extract all the oils and full flavor from the ground beans.
When brewing espresso, make sure the water flows through the Portafilter at the correct rate.
- If the water flow is too slow, the espresso will be very dark and bitter, with a mottled and uneven crema on top.
- If the water flow is too fast, the espresso will be under-extracted — the optimal flavor will not develop, and the espresso will be watery and lack the thick crema on the top.
The water flow can be adjusted by changing the grind of the coffee, varying the tamping pressure (how firmly the ground coffee is pressed down in the Filter), and altering the precise amount of coffee placed in the Filter.
The Right Temperature
The temperature of your espresso should be from 158°F to 187°F (70°C to 86°C). To achieve this, you should get into the habit of pre-heating the machine, Portafilter, Filter, and cups. Following the pre-heating steps will prevent the heat of the espresso from being absorbed by the cold cup and will bring out the best flavor of your espresso.
The Wet Puck
This user-generated question came from the customer service discussion going on at Get Satisfaction.
Every time I use my Breville espresso machine, there is water left in the portafilter. Why is that?
This is actually normal* for Breville espresso machines when using dual wall filters. They will often leave a ‘soupy puck’ when immediately removed after brewing an espresso. [*An exception is The Barista Express BES860XL, which creates a dry puck even with the dual wall filters due to an internal valve. The 800ESXL is pictured here.]
The water does not not have time to pass through the one exit hole as it would when using a single wall filter. However, the benefit of a dual wall filter is that it creates more pressure inside the brew head and there is less technical concern for the grind size or tamp pressure, as the pressure will create luscious crema on the shot of espresso.
The best way to reduce the soupy puck after brewing is to leave the portafilter some time to drain through the one exit hole, or try mastering your skill using a single wall filter.
Breville single wall filters will eliminate the soupy puck. They’re available in parts & accessories at BrevilleUSA.com.
The Coffee and its Grind
For espresso with the best flavor and body, we recommend using freshly roasted, freshly ground beans. Stale beans and pre-ground coffee adversely affect the taste and crema of your finished espresso.
What is crema and why do I want it?
The crema is the caramel-colored ‘creamy’ layer that is the mark of a good espresso. During extraction, the crema comes out first and is the foam made up of sugars, vegetable oils, and proteins. The extreme pressure created by our machine squeezes and extracts more crema, which in turn gives the espresso a more extravagant flavor.
A Lesson on Coffee Grinds
The grind will affect the rate at which the water flows through the coffee in the Filter and therefore the taste of the espresso. Water Flow
Coffee beans or pre-ground coffee should be stored in an air-tight container, in a cool, dry area. Because their flavor will diminish, coffee beans should be kept no longer than 1 month and pre-ground coffee no longer than 1 week. Buy in small batches to reduce storage time. Do not store in the fridge or freezer, as the moisture from condensation may ruin the beans.
- If using a pre-ground coffee, ensure you purchase espresso grind suitable for espresso/cappuccino machines. Don’t confuse espresso blend (flavor) with espresso grind (grinder setting).
- If grinding coffee beans, the grind should be fine but not too fine or powdery:
- Just right — feels like table salt
- Too fine — feels like flour
- Too coarse — feels like sugar
Tamping the Coffee
Distribute the ground coffee evenly in the Filter, then use the Measuring/Tamping Spoon to evenly tamp the ground coffee about ⅛” (3mm) below the Filter rim. The ground coffee should be tamped quite firmly.
- If the coffee is not tamped firmly enough, the water will flow through the ground coffee too quickly and the espresso will be under-extracted.
- If the coffee is tamped too firmly, however, the water will flow through the coffee too slowly or not at all, and the espresso will be over-extracted. Water Flow
When you’re using a Double Shot Filter, it is important to tamp only after you’ve put in the second scoop of ground coffee. Tamping between scoops can create a layer of air in the espresso and impede full extraction.
NOTE: Tamping pressure varies depending on the fineness of your grinds and the volume of ground coffee in the Filter. Experiment with pressure and volume, as your grind size may have changed since the last time you purchased your beans.
Froth vs. Foam
Most places that serve cappuccinos in the United States have not trained their baristas in the art of properly frothing milk. The foam that they create is usually a dry, large-celled collection of bubbles that sits on top of the espresso like a bad meringue.
With a little care, you can create steamed milk that is velvety smooth like the texture of wet shaving cream. The bubbles will be so small that you can barely see them. This is how it’s supposed to be — this way it will blend with the espresso, creating a harmony of flavors instead of a tasteless cap floating on top.
Once you’ve mastered the perfect texture for your cappuccinos and lattes, you may want to make them look pretty. Breville has put together a number of latte art videos that will help you do just that. You can have a lot of fun shaping your milk topping into a heart, or a tulip, or using stencils to create patterns.