Why does my Breville Barista Express use so much pressure, yet my espresso isn’t strong enough and tastes under extracted?

Why does my Breville Barista Express use so much pressure, yet my espresso isn’t strong enough and tastes under extracted?

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  1. Well how many seconds does it take. Average is around 17 seconds. If its longer try to see if you can shorten it. Try putting a little more espresso in the porta filter. Or change your espresso and check the grind of your espresso.

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  2. What kind of coffee are you using? Are you packing it correctly into the extraction cup? You need a good fresh dark roasted coffee and enough of it to make a strong brew. Using pregeound coffee is unlikely to give you good results because it’s usually stale and not ground to the proper grain for espresso. To do it right you need fresh whole beans and a burr grinder set to a fine grind. Not Turkish level fine but just a bit coarser. Espresso or French roasted coffee. If you run more than about 150 mL (3oz) through a charge you are using too much water. 1 Espresso is not an 8 oz cup of coffee. On my machine it takes 3 espresso cups to fill a coffee cup with new coffee charge each time.

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  3. There a a couple possibilities. Are you talking mouth feel or not bitter enough? Are you using the pressurised or unpressurized basket? Now using the UNPRESSURIZED basket, the rest applies. Standard brew pressure is 9 bars. Since your machine can use pressurised baskets, the pump is set in the 12–14 bars range.
    Which type of beans are you using? Some beans produce a lighter coffee. A fruity or sweetness vs a more bitter cup which many desire in a classic Italian espresso. In light roasts the bean talks. In dark roasts the roasting process talks. Your smokey, nutty, dark chocolate type flavor notes come from the process or a darker roast. Commercial coffees ie Grocery store like Maxwell House and even Starbucks are too old or stale to make espresso. They also roast dark to ensure a more consistent flavor profile. A blend containing Robusto beans will also push the darker flavors. A single origin, high altitude Arabica bean will produce more complex cup. A window 10 days to a month off roast is the sweet spot. If the coffee has a use by or best by date don’t bother to make espresso with it. They are hard to dial in and not as intense since the beans are stale.
    The next is quality of the grinder. The grinder built into your particular machine is almost identical to the Breville Smart Grinder Pro. Your’s is just more limited towards espresso grinds. The more uniform the grind, the better the extraction. Does the shot pull at the proper time and volume? Grind size effects shot time. Grind your coffee right before you pull your shot.
    As a rule of thumb a shot should pull at 25–30 seconds. Some coffees I have found taste better at 35+ seconds but 25 —30 seconds is a good starting point. Acidity is found in the short pull, bitter is found in longer shots. The balanced cup is better the two. Which ties into shot volume.
    Dosing is a ratio of beans to water. A ratio of 1:2 is a good start. So start around 18 grams of beans and extract 36 grams of extract coffee. A scale that can measure to the tenth of a gram is required. From there you can dose up or down for flavor. Some go for a 22.5 g dose but make sure your basket is the right size for your dose.
    Brew temperature; this should be in the 195°F to 205°F. Generally dark roasts towards the low end and lighter roasts towards the high end to help the extract better. Higher temp helps extraction.
    Your portafilter needs to be this temperature also. Since your machine uses a thermal block heater, you’ll need to flush some brew water through to heat it up. If you can hold the basket end (metal part) of the portafilter, it’s not hot enough.
    Last is puck prep. You’ll get a better puck if you use a Wiess Distribution Tool (WDT). The ground beans from your grinder will tend to clump. WDT breaks up those clumps for a more even puck. A good tamper is a must. You also might wish to invest in a bottomless portafilter to actually see how good your puck prep is. One fine stream is what you want. Coffee spraying, squirting, all over your kitchen counter is indication of poor puck prep.
    Since all these items will affect the extraction, hence taste of your coffee. They’re all important to getting you a great tasting cup that won’t be weak.

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