Complete Guide to Brewing Exceptional Coffee
The Breville Barista Express is a beloved espresso machine that brings the café experience right to your kitchen.
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make the most of this impressive machine.
Whether you’re a coffee enthusiast or a beginner, get ready to brew barista-quality coffee with the Breville Barista Express.
We’ll walk you through the essential steps of using the Barista Express, from setting it up to pulling your first shot. Get ready to embark on a journey to become a home barista.
1. Getting Familiar with Your Breville Barista Express
Explore the features and components of the Breville Barista Express, including the grinder, portafilter, steam wand, and control panel. Understand how each element plays a role in brewing your perfect cup of coffee. Familiarize yourself with the various components and accessories that come with the machine.
2. Preparing the Machine for Brewing
Learn the essential steps to prepare your Breville Barista Express for brewing, from priming the machine to set the grind size and dosage. Discover the optimal settings for different coffee beans and personal preferences. It’s important to prime the machine to ensure optimal performance. Follow the instructions to fill the water tank, purge the system, and prepare the machine for brewing. I recommend letting the Breville Barista Express warm up for 10 to 20 minutes before the first brew.
3. The Art of Grinding: Adjusting the Grind Size
Master the art of grinding coffee beans with the built-in grinder of the Barista Express. Understand how different grind sizes affect the flavor and extraction of your coffee, and learn to make precise adjustments. Discover how to use the built-in grinder of the Barista Express to grind fresh coffee beans. Adjust the grind size according to your desired brewing method, whether it’s espresso, pour-over, or French press.
A good way to identify if a coarse grind is an issue is if you notice that the espresso brews at lightning speed but results in a thin, watery cup of coffee while your puck is a soggy mess.
If you use pre-ground coffee, check that it’s the right grind for espresso machines. Much pre-ground coffee is marketed for espresso machines but is too coarse for an upscale espresso machine.
Espresso is sensitive to what kind of grind quality is used. When coffee particles are too coarse or are uneven in size, this results in a soggy puck. Finely and evenly ground espresso is crucial to getting a good brew result.
Grinding your own espresso is the best way to ensure that you get the grind right. To do this, you’ll need a good espresso grinder that has a fine grind capacity, offers fine settings, and creates a tight grind distribution.
While this type of precision technology is more expensive than basic grinders, you’ll find that a proper espresso grinder makes a big difference for the puck and brew quality.
4. Dialing in the Perfect Shot: Tamping and Extraction
Learning the proper techniques for tamping the coffee grounds and pulling the perfect shot of espresso. Discover the optimal extraction time and pressure to achieve a balanced and flavorful espresso shot. Learn the proper technique for tamping the coffee grounds into the portafilter. Achieving a consistent and level tamp is essential for even extraction and delicious espresso.
Are you trying to figure out how hard you should tamp your espresso for a smooth, rich cup every morning?
Espresso should be tamped with up to 30 pounds of pressure. While some people prefer tamping their espresso with 15 to 20 pounds of pressure, this method doesn’t always remove all of the air between the grinds. Use a calibrated tamp to get an accurate 30-pound compression every time.
Throughout this article, I’ll show you how to know when you’ve tamped your espresso hard enough, what happens if you don’t tamp with enough pressure and the perfect firm tamping technique.
5. Steaming Milk like a Pro: Using the Steam Wand
Unlock the potential of the steam wand on your Barista Express to create velvety microfoam for lattes, cappuccinos, and more. Master the art of texturing milk and creating latte art to elevate your coffee presentation.
First, fill your jug with cold milk (just below the spout) and purge your steam wand.
Within 8 seconds, lift the wand 1-2 cm into your milk jug. Turn the dial to ‘Steam’ and wait for your milk to form a whirlpool.
Bring your wand tip to the surface of the milk by lowering the jug—this aerates your milk. Continue the whirlpool until the jug is hot to touch—that means it’s 140-150 degrees F. Flick the dial to ‘Standby’ and remove the wand from the jug. Wipe it clean with a damp cloth, then return it to a position above the drip tray.
Turn the dial back to ‘Steam’ to remove any leftover milk from the wand. Give your milk jug a tap to remove any bubbles. Done!
6. Customizing Your Coffee: Programming Shot Volumes
Explore the programmable shot volume feature of the Barista Express. Discover how to adjust and customize the amount of espresso extracted to suit your preferred coffee strength and taste.
To adjust your shot volume, press ‘Program,’ then insert a tamped and dosed portafilter into the group head. To program, press the ‘Volume’ button, and use either the ‘1-Cup’ or ‘2-Cup’ button to extract your beans. When you’ve reached the desired volume, press again to stop extraction. When you hear two beeps from your machine, your adjustment is confirmed.
To adjust your shot temperature to suit varying beans, enter Advanced Temperature mode. To do this, power the machine OFF. Then, press the ‘Program’ button, hold, and press ‘Power.’ You will hear a beep before the machine shows your current temperature. From here, you can reset to default temp by pressing ‘Program’ again. To increase by 2 degrees F, press ‘1-Cup.’ Press ‘2-Cup’ to increase by 4 degrees F. To decrease temperature, press ‘Filter’ for -2 degrees F, and ‘Power’ for -4 degrees F.
7. Maintenance and Cleaning Tips
Ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your Barista Express by following proper maintenance and cleaning practices. From backflushing to descaling, learn how to keep your machine in pristine condition.
8. Troubleshooting Common Issues
Address common challenges that may arise during your coffee brewing journey with the Barista Express. From uneven extraction to steam wand issues, find solutions to ensure consistent and delicious coffee every time.
With the Breville Barista Express, you have the power to brew barista-quality coffee right in your own home. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this article, you’ll be able to unlock the full potential of your machine and enjoy exceptional coffee that rivals your favorite café. Get ready to savor every sip and impress your friends and family with your newfound brewing skills.