Starbucks blonde espresso vs Breville Barista Pro

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.

#1: Post by Coffefe_man »

I am a newbie trying to get more into the world of espresso. I recently purchased a breville barista pro and am having trouble dialing in that specific bean. Ive used grind settings 5-9. 5 choked the machine, 8 came out really bitter/muddy. I have increased the temperature but got the same result. Can anyone give me any tips for how to dial in the bean? Or have settings that work for my set up? Thank you! Btw i am using the stock tamper and am shooting for a 1:2 ratio 15-18g for 30-36g.

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#2: Post by Jeff »

What espresso have you had that you enjoy?

There are a few things about coffee for espresso that are worth thinking about. One is freshness. For classic espresso, over a couple weeks from roast is already on the down side. "Best by" is best left on the shelf. Look for a roast date instead.

Roast level is another. In many cases, the darker the roast, the more chocolate and nuts flavors. They're often from the roasting, not the beans. Like roasting nuts, they're good to a point, but go to far and you get into bitter, charred, burnt, ashy, ...

Starbucks "Blonde" is actually a medium-dark to dark roast. You might find a flavor balance you enjoy more in some freshly roasted beans, either local or from one of the great roasters that ships. There are many suggestions in threads in the Coffee section under "comfort", or "easy" espresso. Good Italian espresso is very classic, which some people enjoy very much, especially in milk drinks. For others it can be more bitter than they prefer. Like chocolate, there's a range from milk though baker's and people who enjoy their spot in the bitter/sweet balance. I'd suggest something in the middle to start with, then exploring.


#3: Post by klee11mtl »

As already mentioned, Starbucks Blonde is on the darker side of medium. In fact, most of the Starbucks coffees tend to be on the darker side.

I have a Barista Pro but have never tried Starbucks Blonde. Making some assumptions from what you've said, it sounds like you are:
. using non-pressurized double basket
. weighing input and output
. pulling manual shots and not using the programmed volumetrics
If not, I'd start there.

If I had a medium dark bean, my starting point on the machine would be:
. 17g (less if your basket is overfilling) in
. 34g out
. default water temp
. minimal pre-infusion, 3-5 secs
. total extraction per machine timer 25 secs

I would tweak from there based on how it tastes. Generally speaking, higher water temp extracts more so that is meant for lighter roasts. If anything, lower water temp is what I would try but I would play with input/output and extraction times first. If you still can't get to what you're looking for, consider going to Starbucks and ordering a shot of blonde espresso for a taste comparison just to be sure your expectations for the coffee are correct.

At some point you'll probably want to search here or YouTube for puck prep but this doesn't sound like your immediate issue. Perhaps you can start with simply stirring the grounds with a toothpick before tamping just in case.

Good luck and keep trying. Know the learning curve to get to decent isn't that long and from there you can decide how far you want to go.