Second Expensive Coffee Machine and Can’T Make a Coffee

First I purchased Barista express and even used expensive coffee beans and couldn’t make a decent coffee.

Now I purchased Delongi magnifica S as recommended from oz bargains and again same rubbish water coffee.

I just want to cry! I want a damn coffee.

What settings should the bean grinder be on?

(Thread closed: OP Banned as Ghost account)

closed Comments

  • +6

    Suggest you go and get some barista training..

    Different beans need different grind and extraction times. It's not hard to make good espresso but you need to learn the basics either through Youtube/forums or doing a short course.

    • +1

      I don't recommend a barista course. They don't teach you how to make good coffee. All they do is how to use a commercial machine and latte art. Anyway that's my experience. Do recommend YouTube though.

      OP, I have the barista express. Free tips:
      1. Get beans from a local cafe you like.
      2. Buy a digital small scale.
      3. Weigh and grind exactly how much you need only, don't leave the beans in the hopper.
      4. Double shot is easier than single
      5. Aim for 18g beans to 40g water in 30sec, pressure gauge at 1pm position.

  • +1

    Download and read every word then let someone make a first coffee.

  • +8

    Maybe the coffee machine isn’t the problem. :)

  • For barista express, I set the internal burr at 4 and external at 2-4. YMMV.

  • +1

    What are you using to grind the beans? A proper grinder is more important than the machine, especially for dialling espresso.

    • Built in grinder

      • +6

        Would recommend you watch James Hoffman's Understanding Espresso series on youtube to better understand what you're missing. Also may help to taste the coffee and map it out with this to see where your grind should be.

  • +1

    Are the expensive beans fresh? I have gifted something quite fancy $25 for 250g but forgot about it last Xmas and ended up having very average coffee in about June-July :(

    Also, my Delonghi seems to need double shots instead of single for anything. Not sure why but I've come to accept that particularly if I use the built-in grinder, I need to press the double shot twice (4 shots) to get a decent strong double shot coffee. If I grind the beans separately in my other grinder (I have 2 types of beans this way) I don't need to double the shots.

    • Is your grind function on number 4?

  • +2

    When you bang the puck out of the portafilter is it watery? If so you need to tamp it harder. It should be a puck.

    • His machine is an automatic - no portafilter, I don't know if you can see the puck or it's even tamped.

      Also a watery pucks are standard on cheaper machines without 3-way valves to release the pressure after extraction.

  • +1

    When it comes to coffee the two main musts are:
    - freshly roasted beans (upto 2-4 weeks from roasting); and
    - the grind/grinder.

    Everything else is just a bonus, many out there make brilliant coffees with a moka pot and the above. I have a Jura S8 and love it.
    Don’t get me wrong, the Coffee machine can contribute to taste, however only slightly.

    In general, avoid your supermarket brand beans and go to your local roasters. The good ones will always publish the roasting date.
    Try a few different ones or go to your favourite cafe and ask which beans they use.
    Play around with grind size and other setting on your machine. It’s a bit of trail and error and personal taste, but remember you need to try 2-3 pulls before moving up/down.

    Good luck.

    • I got coffee beans from local cafes and wasted 1kg tonight just trying and no luck! But yes they were 3-4 months old do you think that’s why?

      • +1

        If you aren't freezing your beans, 3-4 month old coffee beans regardless of how expensive will be stale and taste unpleasant. However I reckon the watery coffee is because you aren't grinding fine enough.

      • That's really really old. Not being a snob but anything I've gotten from supermarkets that isn't nitrogen packed has produced a watery mess, because they're old.

      • How many mls is your espresso shot?
        They say generally it’s a 1:2 ratio beans to liquid. So 18-20g of preground beans with about 40-45mls out. It can me be harder to tweak if you have an automatic machine.

        The pros even time their shots to 20-30sec and use a weighing scale, YouTube has plenty of plenty of videos.

        On beans, 3/4months isn’t usually ‘fresh’ but just try changing the brand. I tried a few different ones before I settled with beans from Inglewood roasters, go the 250g packs until you find your brand & even type.
        A lot of people swear by St Ali or 7 Seeds, personally they were ok but not my favourite. Others have settled with the Aldi brand…so comes down to taste.

  • +1

    Them delonghi machines are rubbish, but the barista express should’ve given you a decent coffee.

    I’d recommend going through some videos about the breville.

  • Maccas would like to hire you as a barista

  • +2

    Are you sure you want to go down this path? :o)

    I had a Barista Express, and pulled some great shots with it. The machine was made with preground coffee in mind though, and the included double walled baskets are useless for anything but relatively coarse grinds (mine simple choked when I tried an espresso grind in those baskets). The little Sunbeam also wanted to pull shots with way too much output - eventually I just started cutting it off manually (though it can be programmed). With a bit of experimentation and single walled baskets it was awesome though.

    I'm not familiar with the Delonghi, but it appears to be fully automatic? That's no fun at all! If you want to continue with it, just get some freshly roasted beans and try again. Maybe get a sample pack of various roasts to see what works best.

    Heaps of good advice here, and the various James Hoffman videos are excellent (he is a world barista championship winner after all).

    If you really want to take things seriously, use a manual/semi auto machine like the Sunbeam, and get scales. Weigh your input (ground coffee), weigh your output, and time your shot. The machine may try to do some of this for you, but it would probably pay to check on what it's doing - they can often be programmed to customise the shot volume/time. Make sure the correct weight is going into the basket. A basic place to start is 25-30 sec extraction time, for about 2:1 ratio of output vs beans - that's espresso for dummies (like me). For example, with 14g of beans, you want 28g of output. You can adjust the other parameters from there.

    You can also judge the shot by the colour - it should start very dark, and then lighten up with streaks before turning completely blond - you need to cut the shot at this time, or just before.

    This sort of thing takes some fiddling to perfect, and it's not as fast as a machine that grinds, doses, tamps, and pulls automagically. I like the manual process though - my wife calls it my meditation. I'm still pulling some terrible shots, but I've also pulled some really lovely espressos that my wife tells me taste like nectar of the gods!

    And yes…everybody says beans are important, and I tend to agree. Your 3-4 month old beans may be useful to experiment with grind and shot timing though…just remember that they may require a finer grind than freshly roasted beans. Some say the beans 'peak' in flavour a few days after roasting, and then it's downhill from there. So far I've still been satisfied with my brews with 4 week old beans though.

    Get your beans from somebody who freshly roasts them. Better products will give you a roast date on the packet, rather than a 'best by' date. A 'best by' date is worthless. I think Manna Beans do it on the day they ship (it is not marked on the packet though). I've also enjoyed Airjo, and will be trying other roasters.

    • Edit: Getting confused - I had the Sunbeam Mini Barista…not the Barista Express, which is a Breville as others have pointed out. The Express is a better machine, and comes with the single and double walled baskets anyway (I trust you used the singles).

  • Agree with the idea of barista training. When I see those YouTube videos they don’t really show how much pressure you need to apply to tamp properly. The course I did said you damp twice, once 18kg and another time 9kg. Try it on scales, 18 kg is a fair bit of pressure.

    If you are doing that and it still comes out watery, then its either the grind is not fine enough or the beans are unevenly distributed in the puck or there is a hole the water can flow through.

  • -1

    I just want to cry! I want a damn coffee.

    Not what you asked but why not get a pod machine?

    • +1

      I need a decent strong coffee ..pods don’t do the job but I do regret not getting one now

  • +1

    The Delonghi magnifica S seems to be an automatic machine? If that is the case, talk to the manufacturer.

    As for the Barista Express (I am guessing Breville?), assuming you still have it, you will need to experiment with the grind level and amount.

    if your shots are too watery, it is probably either 1. the grind is too coarse 2. there ain't enough grind in your basket, or both, you will need to play around with it.

    Not sure how big the basket is for the Express, but probably start off with 16g and gradually move up to 20g of grind (use a digital scale), when you put the group handle (with grinds in the basket) onto your machine and lock it into position, it should require a little bit of force, but if you have to bang it in with a hammer, then you have too much grind, if it goes on without any effort, you are not using enough grind.

    your grinder should have a suggested range of grinds for espresso, start from the middle and move to either side as needed (see below).

    Ideally, to extract a double shot should take around 25 to 30 seconds, adjust the grinds if you are not within that range (more coarse if coffee is flowing too slowly, and finer if too quick).

    is the tamper on the Express removable? if not, get a seperate metal one, just make sure to get the right size.

    Also, you will need to constantly adjust your grinder's settings, it will need to be changed with each new bag of beans, as the beans gets older, and the weathere etc etc, it won't be set-and-forget unfortunately.

    get an espresso glass to measure your extract (or use a measuring cup), 1 shot - 30 ml, 2 shots - 60 ml.

    check out, otherwise, plenty of vids on youtube as well.

    • also, looks like the Express has a pressure gauage as well, so another thing to watch out for (not doubt you are experiencing information overload right now :))

      usually, the "good" pressure should be between 8 to 12 bars, at least that is the case for my machine, but consult Breville's menu/website to be sure.

      if pressure is too low - make the grind finer, if it is too higher - more coarse, it will directly tie in with the time it takes to pull your shot as well.

  • Just get a Clever Coffee Dripper.

    I went through the machine nonsense myself until one day, I said to myself, "Hey you. Why don't you get something that's easy to make, easy to clean and makes great coffee?" I told myself to get stuffed, but secretly bought the Clever anyway. So easy to make, so easy to clean and makes a great coffee.

  • OP - what type of coffee are you making?
    with milk or without?

    If you're having trouble with all these machines just get a percolator.

  • Maybe record and upload a video of yourself making a coffee? Way too many variables that could be affecting your coffees.

    I have a fairly entry level Sunbeam and a Smart Grinder Pro and make decent shots so expensive setup doesn’t always mean good coffee if something along the way is amiss