Showing posts with label Appliance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Appliance. Show all posts

Shimming the Breville Smart Grinder BCG800XL for a finer Espresso Grind

I've been tuning up my coffee system for the past several months, coffee is a passion and daily espresso shots has been a routine of mine for many years. Check out my other posts on upgrades made to my Rancilio Silvia machine. Once I got my PID kit installed, I was able to manage temperature and shot time very easily. The next variable which I started working on was grind, and I found that I wasn't quite able to grind fine enough with my Breville BCG800XL grinder. Close, just not close enough.

Breville BCG800XL with Bean Hopper and Cone Removed
Off to the Internet! I found that Breville offered a free shim kit upgrade for this grinder. I called Breville customer service in North America, and found that my BCG800XL was discontinued. I owned this grinder for only five years. I initially thought about purchasing a replacement grinder, but I'm not keen about replacing things when they are still serviceable, and supporting the throw-away society. I decided to see what I could do to shim the grinder myself.

Use the handle of a wooden spoon to hold the burr from turning while removing and reinstalling the nut
Removing the burr is simple and takes approximately 10 minutes with one tool, a 10 mm wrench or socket. I removed the Burr and measured for washer shaped shims, and ordered some shims. 

Shims in place with Burr removed
When the shims arrived, I started by adding the 0.5mm shim. I could choke the machine a full 6 clicks from the finest setting, this shim was too thick. Then, with the 0.3mm shim, I found I could choke the machine at about 2 clicks from the finest setting. Perfect. My optimum grind is now 4 clicks from the finest setting, and I have several clicks finer to fine tune the grind if necessary.

Use the tip of a knife to ensure the shims are centered under the burr, before tightening the nut
Hint when removing and installing the burr - the nut holding the burr is REVERSE THREADED, turn right to loosen (not left). Also - I used the handle of a wooden spoon to jam the burr and keep it from turning while removing and reinstalling the nut.

0.3mm shim on left, 0.5mm shim on right
This fix will work for the following grinders (and possible others):

Breville Smart Grinder BCG800 
Breville Smart Grinder BCG800XL 
Breville The Smart Grinder Pro BCG820BSS 

The Breville kit part number used to be BCG800/116.1. 

I have spare shims available for sale on eBay at this link.

Insteon On/Off Module Application - Preheating Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine

The PID temperature controller operating instructions recommend a 45 minute warmup period prior to pulling the first coffee shot. This allows the temperature of the group head below the boiler to stabilize, which reduces water heating during the shot, and allows for quicker intervals between shots for the water temperature to restabalize.

I run an Insteon based home automation network, so I decided to install an Insteon plug in on/off module that I had available.

Insteon On/Off Module

The completed installation

These timer modules look quite contemporary
You could also install a mechanical or standalone digital timer. In my case, I wrote a very simple program in my Universal Devices ISY-994i home automation controller to switch on the pre-heat function at 5am, and shut it off at 9am. This will also help prevent the machine from being left on all day, and potentially triggering the 165C overheat trip sensor.

In use - works great - I make sure the machine is filled with water and the front panel power switch left in the on position at night, with a couple of coffee cups left on the warming tray. In the morning, I come downstairs, and the boiler temperature has stabalized and the group head is hot and ready for making coffee.