How to get the Perfect Coffee Extraction with Breville Barista Express

In this guide we'll show you how to get the best coffee extraction with your Breville Barista Express and pull the perfect shot every time.

To dial in your espresso machine and get the best extraction, this will take some trial and error and so be prepared to go through a few beans. The below process will also need to be repeated if you change coffee brands, as different bean varieties and roast styles will extract differently and need to be re-dialed in. For example, our Four Paws Blend will extract differently to our Choc Lab Blend.

When dialling in new coffee beans for your Breville Barista Express there are three main variables that need to be adjusted in order to achieve the best coffee extraction. These are the grind size, grind rate and tamping your coffee.

1. Adjusting the Grind Size:

On the left-hand side of your Breville Barista Express is a wheel with numbers that is used to adjust the grind size of your coffee beans. Adjusting the grind size either up (higher number, courser grind) or down (lower number, finer grind) will change how fast water flows through the coffee grinds when pulling a shot. Start by grinding at the number 10 position on the wheel and adjust either higher or lower depending if the coffee shot is under extracted or over extracted.

2. Grind Rate:

The grind rate is the amount of coffee grinds being discharged into the portafilter basket after activating the grind function on your machine. This can be adjusted by turning the 'Grind Amount' button to change the quantity of coffee being discharged. Adjusting this produces either more or less coffee and will affect the rate of coffee extraction.

3. Tamping 

Tamping coffee is the process of increasing the coffee's density in the portatfilter basket by using the tamp supplied with your machine to press down onto the coffee grinds, compacting the coffee. This then affects the flow of water through the coffee when being extracted. The harder you press down, the more compact and dense the coffee will become making it harder for water to pass though. When tamping your coffee you want to achieve a nice even distribution of weight when pressing down so the coffee is evenly compacted. Try and remember the pressure being applied so you can replicate the same pressure or make adjustments next time.

To achieve the perfect coffee extraction with your Breville Barista Express, you will need to play around with the above three variables until the needle on your machine's pressure gauge sits somewhere in the middle of the dark grey area on the dial during extraction. Again, expect to go through a bit of coffee while changing each variable and testing. We find the best coffee shots are achieved when the needle on the pressure gauge sits three quarters high in the grey area as shown in the below photo. 

Need some more coffee beans? Try our Four Paws Blend for a medium intensity roast or our Choc Lab Blend if you prefer a stronger coffee.