Is the 9Barista just a fancy moka pot?
No, it’s actually much more accurate to think of the 9Barista as a great value espresso machine. Although it’s a stove top machine and the coffee is produced upwards through the basket, that’s where the similarity ends. To make real espresso you need 9 bar of pressure and about 93°C – the 9Barista has both of these, whereas a moka pot only reaches around 0.5 bar of pressure and uses water above 100°C. The real difference is in the intense flavour and texture of the espresso it can produce, topped with thick crema.
Does it take a long time to learn how to use the 9Barista?
No, if you follow the user guide it’s quite simple to make delicious coffee from the day you receive your machine. It may take a few attempts to dial in the right grind size and find the correct heat setting on your stove, but once you’ve done that it’s a very easy, repeatable process.
How much espresso does the 9Barista make?
The machine produces a shot which weighs between 35 and 40g.
Are the materials used in the 9Barista safe?
Yes, all materials in the 9Barista are safe for food contact. There is no aluminium in the machine. It is made from brass, which is then nickel plated. The nickel plating we use is a food grade high phosphorus electroless nickel plating. It’s commonly used in the food processing industry, as it has excellent resistance to attack from acids.
Other materials used are silicone rubber, which is used for the thermal break and basket cap, PTFE, which is used for the valve pin, and PEI which is used for the group insulator. All of which are safe for food contact. It’s also worth noting that the walnut handles are FSC certified.
Why is my machine difficult to unscrew, and why are my lower boiler o-rings coming out of place?
After brewing, there will be a vacuum in the boiler. If this vacuum isn’t neutralised it will be difficult to unscrew the machine and you may dislodge your boiler o-ring in the process. To neutralise the vacuum simply lift / pull the pressure release tab on the safety valve, but only do this when it’s cool enough to touch. Running your machine under cold water will cool it down within 10-20 seconds. When you lift the pressure release tab you’ll hear a hiss, at which point the boiler will be easy to unscrew.
Why is my extraction too fast?
The extraction time is dictated by the grind size of the coffee, and to a lesser extent the tamping technique. We recommend an extraction time of 25 – 30 seconds. If it’s faster than this, you’ll need to grind more finely, and if it’s slower, you’ll need to grind more coarsely.
A good quality burr grinder that has been designed for espresso will enable you to do this. Blade grinders do not provide the necessary degree of control, so avoid using these. We recommend some grinders here.
For more help brewing delicious coffee, this article may help.
How can I keep my 9Barista clean?
Cleaning your machine only takes a few seconds and is best done in the kitchen sink. Give it a quick rinse after every time you make an espresso and be sure not to use any abrasive cleaning products. Water alone is sufficient. The wooden handles of the machine are not suitable for the dishwasher.
If your 9Barista is still hot, run it under the tap until it’s cool enough to grip. Then, unscrew the portafilter from the grouphead, remove the basket cap and knock out the spent grounds (a knockbox is a great addition for this part of the process). Then, press the pressure release tab on the safety valve and unscrew the boiler. Give everything a rinse and leave the parts to dry, or dry them with a towel. The handles are made from wood and should not be left wet, so we recommend giving them a quick dry with a towel.
If you plan to store your machine without using it, we recommend removing all the water from the machine and cleaning it prior to storage. After prolonged storage, rinse the boiler with water and run the 9Barista once without coffee in the basket.
How can I make two shots in a row more quickly?
When you’ve finished making your first coffee you can quickly cool your machine down by running it under the cold tap (don’t worry, it won’t warp!). When it’s cool enough to grip, lift or pull the pressure release tab (see image below), and refill the boiler with cold water. Since the boiler still has some residual warmth, you’ll find it takes less time to get up to temperature on the next shot.
The next trick you can use is to put your 9Barista on the stove to heat up while you grind and tamp the coffee in the portafilter. Be careful though, you’ll need to get the portafilter back on before the machine starts to deliver hot water. Only attempt this once you know you’ll be fast enough.
With this technique you should find that you can make a double shot every 5 minutes or so.
Is it possible to make a ristretto?
Yes, you can do this, but it’s a little bit of a hack! Fill the boiler with 60ml of water, then screw the machine together as usual. Next, pour 40ml of water into the chimney. This will produce a shot of ristretto with a volume of approximately 25ml.
Will the 9Barista spit water?
No, the 9Barista should not spit water. Some very early machines did do this, but it was easily fixed and our new machines don’t have this issue. If your machine is spitting water, it’s very like that the boiler o-ring (see below) has popped out of its groove and simply needs to be put back into place. This article explains further.
How do I know when my extraction is finished?
There are two ways to be able to tell when your machine has finished extracting; the first is that the espresso will stop rising in the portafilter. You should also be able to see and hear a final, stronger flow of steam coming from the chimney, for one to two seconds, which signals that there’s no more water in the boiler and the extraction has finished. You should turn off the heat at this point and pour your espresso straight away.
Can I preheat the heat transfer or induction plate?
No, we don’t recommend preheating either the heat transfer plate, or the induction plate.
Note: if you’re using one of the original heat exchanger plates, it should only ever be heated when the 9Barista is sitting on it. If it’s pre-heated or left on the heat once the 9Barista has brewed it’s likely to separate into layers or deform. If this happens it won’t be able to transfer heat effectively and your machine won’t be able to produce espresso. It’s also important that you never cool your heat exchanger plate with water. Further guidance is available here. We recommend upgrading to our new heat transfer plate if that has happened to yours, or our induction plate if you’re using an induction stove.
My heat transfer plate has warped or become damaged
The heat transfer plate is designed to be used on traditional domestic stoves. For this reason we recommend that you do not use a wok burner-style gas stove or industrial stove, as these produce excess heat and can damage the plate. The heat transfer plate can be used on a medium-sized gas ring of between 2-3 inches in diameter, or a medium-sized electric ring. We mention this in our getting started guide. If using a camping gas stove, the heat transfer plate is not required.
My machine seems to have some casting marks and surface imperfections, is this normal?
Our machines are cast and then CNC machined to final form. Some of the surfaces are left in the as-cast condition, and so it’s normal to expect some slight variations in the surface finish. They won’t affect the performance of the machine – we like to think they make each machine unique, and reveal a bit about how they are made! If you’re concerned that your machine has marks or imperfections above what you’d expect, please send us a photo to [email protected] and we will take a look.
It’s possible you may also notice some slight watermarks on the inside on the boiler. Although perfectly safe, these can be a side effect of the plating process. We use a high phosphorus electroless nickel plating, which is a high-spec engineering grading plate not typically selected for its aesthetics. The plating will however give you far superior corrosion resistance to the chrome plating which is normally used on espresso machines. The marks should disappear if you clean them with warm soapy water or a light abrasive pad.
Do I need a grinder?
The 9Barista will work with pre-ground coffee, but it might not provide a great experience. A small change in grind size can make a big difference to the results, and a grinder like one of those recommended here will enable you to make those small changes quickly and easily. This is important as you’ll likely need to try a few grind settings before finding the right one for the beans you’re using. A grinder makes this very simple, and in turn makes it much easier to hit the recommended 25-30 second extraction time, which is what gives the best results with plenty of crema. Pre-ground coffee may be too coarse, which would result in watery coffee with no crema, or too fine, which would result in bitter coffee, or even no coffee at all.
Do you make a dosing funnel/dosing cup/distributor for use with the 9Barista basket?
We don’t currently make any additional accessories for the 9Barista, other than the tamper, although we do plan to add these in the future. The machine uses a 53mm basket, so any accessories you buy should be designed to work with a basket of that size (they’ll usually be labelled with dimensions to fit the relevant basket e.g. a 53mm dosing funnel is designed to work with a 53mm basket). If you’d like a precision basket, we sell an IMS one here.
Can I use a pressurised basket or espresso profiler?
We don’t recommend the use of a pressurised basket with the 9Barista. Pressurised baskets commonly have a hole in the centre rather than off-centre or closer to the side. With a standard espresso machine that’s not a problem as the coffee is directed downwards into a cup, but the basket in a 9Barista faces upwards, which would not make for a pleasant experience! More to the point however, we want to help you to make tasty espresso with your machine, and the best way of doing that it to pair it with a good burr grinder, which would remove the need for a pressurised basket.
It’s not currently possible to attach an espresso profiler to the machine, although we’d love to introduce that option at some point in the future.
Can I put my machine in the dishwasher?
No, the wooden handles on the 9Barista are not dishwasher safe. The machine is easy to clean though, it just needs a quick rinse under the tap after each use.
How can I warm my coffee cup while I’m waiting for coffee to brew?
A good trick is to hold your empty coffee cup upside down over the steam coming from the chimney while your 9Barista is brewing. This method can quickly pre-heat your cup to a high temperature. Be careful when you do this not to put your fingers directly in the steam, as it will be hot.
My portafilter appears to have changed colour, is this normal?
Yes, this can happen. You may find that your portafilter develops a slightly blue-ish colour over time. The electroless nickel plating we use has some interesting optical properties, which we believe is due to a diffraction effect. You should notice that if you put a small amount of cooking oil on your finger tip and apply it to the dark patch, it will disappear! Over time the patterns of dark blue colours will disappear. We have done plenty of analysis on the chemical safety of the machine so there’s no cause for concern.
How often should I descale my machine?
If you live in a hard water area, you may find that limescale deposits build up inside the 9Barista boiler and around the heat exchanger coil. Small deposits of limescale are not a problem, but if too much is allowed to form it can begin to interfere with the function of the machine. If this is the case, we’d recommend running a descaling cycle to clear it. We have instructions on how to do that here.
It’s important that these instructions are followed closely to avoid using too high a concentration of citric acid. Doing this every few weeks should ensure that your machine remains in good working order. If you notice large limescale deposits forming, or if there appears to be a restriction in the flow path through the machine, running a descaling cycle will help clear them.
Does the 9Barista work at high altitude?
Yes, it does.
The machine will work at any altitude but you may find that above around 3,000 metres the coffee it produces becomes a little sour. We have successfully brewed delicious espresso using a 9Barista at 3,000 metres (10,000ft), and some of our customers have used their machine at 4,400 metres (14,400ft), as you can see in this Instagram post.
The reason for this change above 3,000 metres is that the boiling point of water drops by around 3.5°C for every 1,000 meters above sea level. This means that as you climb, the water in the upper chamber is boiling at a lower temperature, creating an increased cooling effect on the water from the lower boiler before it reaches the coffee. For this reason we recommend that the machine works best in locations where the boiling point of water is no lower than 90°C.
If you are finding that your shots are coming out a little sour, then quite often grinding your coffee finer and aiming for a longer extraction of 30-35s can fix the issue. By giving the water more contact time with the coffee you can offset the effects of the reduced brew temperature.
My machine made a loud ‘pop’ sound, what happened?
This is the sound of the safety valve opening. This happens when the machine is heated too quickly (if it’s producing coffee in less than 3 minutes, it’s too quick), or if the water is unable to pass through the coffee. This is most commonly because the coffee has been ground too finely. See this page for further help.
Water is trapped under the orange plastic part at the top of my machine, is this normal?
Yes, this is normal. There is a narrow space, about 0.5mm wide where water will get trapped. If you want to remove this, you can follow the disassembly instructions here, then clean and dry the parts individually. This can be a good idea if you plan to leave the machine unused for an extended period of time.
42 responses to FAQs – 9Barista machine
Can I heat water in a kettle and pour that into the bottom chamber to get the shot quicker?
That does work, yes. But it’s not what we recommend, as there’s the possibility of burning yourself if the hot water splashes out when you place the heat exchanger into the boiler.
I assume that there would be water left in the machine after brewing. What would be the recommended method of removing all the water from the machine?
Thank you very much.
Hi, this is quite normal and doesn’t indicate any kind of problem. You will always see water in the lower boiler when disassembling your machine after brewing. Because water from the lower boiler is displaced into the upper boiler when screwing the machine together, the reverse happens when you unscrew it. When unscrewed, the seal provided by the lower boiler o-ring is broken, which allows water to fall from the upper boiler back into the lower boiler. This water wasn’t in the lower boiler when the machine was screwed together. I hope that helps!
Hi there！Genius design! And I want to know when to close the heater, sometimes the steam starts to get louder and faster when the coffee has not started to brew.Should I close the heater now(always it is going to be fine,sometimes the coffee will be less than common)? or wait for the process to finish 🙁 my english is not very good sry
Hi there, thanks for your kind words! You can leave the heat on until the coffee stops rising, which will coincide with a second burst of steam from the chimney. As soon as this second burst begins, remove the machine from the heat.
Hello! Is it normal that some water would come out from the top of the orange Group insulator when screwing the boiler filled with water? It looked as if some water was “pushed out”, some times with bits of coffee.
Thanks for your help!
Hi there, no, this shouldn’t happen and it means that your 9bar valve isn’t sealing correctly. If you visit this page and follow the guidance in step 2 it should resolve the problem
Hi! What’s the weight?
Hi Didi, the machine weighs approximately 1.7kg, or 3.75 lbs
I am heating the 9Barista while grinding my coffee, so the portafilter is not mounted at the beginning. I can see an amount of water rising into the mould of the the orange plastic part while the water is still far from boiling. Does this mean I have to exchange the spring/valve?
Hi Peter, no, the machine actually has a pre-infusion stage where some water will appear at the grouphead. This is before the valve fully opens for the extraction. This technique is a good time saver, but it’s important that the portafilter is attached to the machine before this stage begins.
Why there is no creama ? I tried a few times with different grind size .
Hi there, this is most likely related to the grind size that you’re using, or the beans themselves. This link provides further information about how to get a delicious shot rich with crema.
The last few shots I’ve pulled I’ve started to hear a squeak-like spring sound just as the group heard releases the water for the shot. Seems like the resulting shots have been a bit less textured and a bit more sour. Any maintenance recommendations?
Hi Tom, that’s the sound of the valve pin oscillating during the pre-infusion stage. It’s nothing to worry about, but if you’d like to get rid of the sound then you can lubricate the valve pin seal with a bit of cooking oil (or better sill, food-grade silicone grease). Instructions on how to access the valve pin seal can be found here.
Just had my first use of the machine today, very well impressed with it, easy to use. Shot took about 45 seconds to extract so might need to grind one step coarser. having said that, can this machine do a single shot? Say if I put half the amount of water and 8-9g of coffee? I assume the difference would be in the puck depth, which would end up being shallower, I assume the extraction times will differ.
Just wondering, is it possible, as anyone tried?
There is a hack to make a ristretto – we explain how to do that on this FAQs page
One question. Is there a trick to get rid of the puck quickly. Shall I immediately hammer it when it’s still wet or let it dry? It doesn’t come out easily and I look like maniac hammering away. Most of the times the 53mm basket lands in the basket first.
Any tips and tricks here?
One thing you can do if you’re struggling is to remove the basket from the portafilter, and hold it firmly and then knock it. You should find you can get a better grip this way, and that with one or two firm taps the puck falls out. A knockbox really helps here too.
Do you have any plans to make a larger size of the same thing?
It will be nice to be able to make larger portion of coffee in one go.
Hi there – we’re always looking at new product ideas so this is something we have considered. Currently the best option is to follow the guidance in this article, which explains how to make two shots in a row more quickly.
I own a 9Barista serial no. 01-049-061, mark 1.
Generaly the machine works fine. It appears that the Maschine spits a lot of hot water out of the chimney, precisely at the moment when the extraction should start. No coffee comes out, but my stove is wet. The red O-Ring is in place correctly.
Thanks in advance for your advice.
Hi Lorenzo, I’m sorry you’re having some trouble. This is caused by a leak past the boiler o-ring. I would recommend replacing the o-ring first, even if it looks OK, as it’s possible that it has stretched or been damaged which will prevent it sealing. Next, run a descaling cycle. It’s important to follow these guidelines closely.
Thank you for the reply.
Given the basket will not fit, is there another solution for single dose with the 9barista?
The best solution would probably be to follow the guidance further up the page for making a ristretto. It’s a little bit of a hack, but it works well and may give you the result you’re looking for.
Can a single dose basket be used? While dialling the grind, it’s a quite wasteful to pull double shots.
I see that IMS sells a single dose of the basket you offer (I believe B651TH25E) but would it work with the boiler?
Hi Benoit, I think it’s unlikely that this basket would fit in the 9Barista portafilter unfortunately.
Design question – why coil heat exchanger doesn’t cool down from 179 degree C to 93 degree C directly? Why need finned heat sink to cool down one more step?
Hi Boonchai – the coil heat exchanger is surrounded by boiling water, so when the water from the boiler passes through the coil it drops to boiling temperate from 179C. The fins are needed as they then cool the water by another 7C, which means it’s at 9bar of pressure and 93C just before it reaches the ground coffee.
Hello, I have some questions regarding the shot time while brewing with my 9Barista. I am using a Comandante C40 with a grind setting of 7. When I time the shot it takes around 50 seconds to finish. I am not sure if I am grinding too fine or over tamping. Can I have some suggestions?
Hi Michael, a 50 second extraction time means that the coffee is too fine so you’ll just need to go to a slightly coarser setting on your grinder. The aim is a 25-30 second extraction time. If it’s too fast, grind more finely and if it’s too slow, grind more coarsely. I hope that helps!
Ah, I see that answer at the top of this thread now. Okay, so don’t put the boiler in the freezer.
And put that tub of cold vodka on my counter; And let the boiler cool down in it, is it also not advisable?
I thought I had come up with a nice solution…
… one more note: Advantage of cooling with vodka; No sugars remain in the boiler. Because vodka has no sugars.
“ After brewing, there will be a vacuum in the boiler. If this vacuum isn’t neutralised it will be difficult to unscrew the machine and you may dislodge your boiler o-ring in the process. To neutralise the vacuum simply lift / pull the pressure release tab on the safety valve, but only do this when it’s cool enough to touch. You’ll hear a hiss, at which point the boiler will be easy to unscrew. “
But with oven gloves, the pressure release tab can of course be pulled open, without danger?
Then I could put the separate boiler -in my freezer- in a cup with almost frozen water, to let it cool down faster?
Or maybe just put it in my freezer?
Hi Marco, the simplest method is simply to run the machine under the tap straight after brewing. If the machine has been put on the heat correctly then the handles will be cool, and running water over the machine will cool it down within 10-20 seconds. This will enable you to pull the pressure release tab. Oven gloves should not be required, and I wouldn’t recommend putting the machine in the freezer while still hot.
Water is spraying out of the hole in the pressure release valve. I did pull the release lever a couple of times to release pressure so I could make a second espresso sooner. Water shoots out of the hole when I place it on the stove and start heating. The gas stove is set to 6/10 max. This only the 3rd time I’ve used it.
Hi Roddy, apologies for the delayed response, and I’m sorry you’re having some trouble.It sounds like your safety ring has activated. It’s designed to do this if the machine is overheated. This help article will explain why it’s happened, how to fix it, and how to stop it happening again.
Hello! After I pour out the espresso, there are some coffee left between the grouphead and the portafilter, dose it mean the extraction is not over, or it’s normal?
Hi Rosso, yes that’s perfectly normal. If you rinse that water away during disassembly you can keep the cleaning process nice and simple.
Can you let me know what the dimensions of the 9Barista are? I want to take this backpacking and need to know the total length and width when it is all assembled.
Hi Casey – of course, it’s approximately 19cm tall, and 13-14cm wide when the handles have been unscrewed.