Congratulations on your new 9Barista purchase!
Using the machine is quite straightforward, but to make it even easier we’ve put this guide together to walk you through every step in the brewing process. We’ve included a few useful ‘tips and tricks’ at the end of the article.
Before you begin, be sure to set aside the spare boiler o-ring and safety ring, which you’ll find in a small brown envelope. Next, give your heat transfer plate or induction plate a quick rinse with soapy water and dry it with a towel or cloth, making sure it’s completely dry.
Although it’s not completely necessary, we recommend that you run a cycle without any coffee the very first time you use your machine. To do this, follow steps 1, 3 and 4 below. When that’s complete, you’re ready to get brewing, this time following all the steps below:
Step 1: Adding water
Fill the boiler with 120g of water, or just below the ‘fill to here’ line. We recommend using filtered water to prevent the build up of limescale, which can affect the functioning of your machine. It’s important that you don’t fill beyond this amount or you may find that water spits out of the chimney. Next, screw the grouphead onto the boiler, taking care to do this gently so as not to spill any of the water. Tighten until you can see that there is contact between the top of the boiler and the bottom of the grouphead, creating a seal.
Step 2: Preparing the coffee
- Freshly ground coffee: We strongly recommend using freshly roast coffee beans and grinding them just before you use them, although you can also use pre-ground coffee if you must. We’ve written a blog post detailing our favourite grinders to provide some guidance if you don’t have one yet.
- Choosing your dose: One of the parameters you can adjust with 9Barista is the weight of ground coffee you use in the basket. We recommend starting with 18g. It’s a good idea to weigh out the exact quantity of beans each time, and only grind that much.
- Grinding the beans: The fineness of the grind is possibly the most important parameter when making espresso – it makes a big difference to the flavour. The grind size will determine how long the extraction takes; that is, how long the water is in contact with the beans for. We measure this by timing how many seconds it takes for the espresso to fill the portafilter, from when it first appears to when it stops rising. The aim is 25-30 seconds. Use the setting on your grinder recommended for espresso for the first attempt, and then adjust as necessary. If in doubt, grind coarser and gradually go finer until you hit 25-30 seconds.
- Put the ground coffee in the basket: Put the ground beans into the basket (you may wish to use a funnel to help keep things neat and tidy).
- Tamping the beans: Evenly distribute the ground coffee in the basket before you tamp, by giving the portafilter a shake side to side, or by sliding your palm over the top of the basket. Then when you tamp, carefully keep the tamper horizontal, while you apply a firm push downwards – around 5kg of force is enough. After tamping, simply put the basket cap into the basket, being careful not to disturb the coffee. We’ve written further advice on how to best prepare your coffee beans here.
- Attaching the portafilter: You can now turn the portafilter back over and attach it to the grouphead. The portafilter will be sealed when the two handles are at 90 degrees to one another. When you first receive your machine it might be slightly stiff when closing the portafilter, but this is get much easier after a few uses. You’re now ready to put your machine on the heat.
Step 3: Heating the machine
- Heat transfer plate: if you’re using a domestic gas stove, be sure to use the heat transfer plate that came with your machine. If using induction, you’ll need to use the induction plate. Take care to only start the heat when the 9Barista is sitting on the plate. You may also need to use it if you’re using another type of cooker (such as electric, coil or ceramic) and it’s taking more than 6 minutes for 9Barista to reach temperature and produce a coffee. Note: when using any stove other than induction, take care to keep the handles and chimney out of the direct heat wherever possible. You may need to place the machine with the handles slightly over the edge of the ring or the heat transfer plate to be sure of this. The heat transfer plate is not designed to be used on wok burner-style gas stoves, camping stoves (no plate is required on a camping gas stove) or industrial stoves as these produce excess heat and can damage the plate.
- Heat level: It can take a couple of cycles to determine the best heat setting. We recommend starting with a medium to high heat on gas, electric and induction stoves. If using a gas stove, use the ring which is closest to 3 inches in diameter. If using a wok burner or camping gas stove you’ll need to start with a low to medium heat. Don’t use the heat transfer plate with a camping gas stove. Instead, ensure the handles and chimney are out of direct line of the heat. This article provides further advice on how to choose the best initial setting for your stove type.
- Brew time: We recommend timing your first few attempts so that you can be sure your machine is taking between 3 and 6 minutes to get up to temperature. If the machine is taking less than 3 minutes to start producing a coffee, you’ll need to turn the heat down on your next cycle, and if it’s taking longer than 6 minutes you’ll need to turn the heat up. NOTE: it’s important that the machine is not left on the heat for more than 8 minutes, so if it hasn’t produced an espresso by then you’ll need to take it off the heat and increase the heat next time.
- Extraction time: Once your machine has got up to temperature, steam will come from the chimney and then a short time after that espresso should start appearing in the portafilter. When espresso appears, it should take between 25 and 30 seconds to fill the portafilter. If it’s faster than that, you’ll need to grind your coffee more finely and if it’s slower you’ll need to grind more coarsely. You should notice an increased volume of steam for one to two seconds once the espresso has stopped rising. This is a good sign that all the water has left the boiler, the extraction is finished and you should take your machine off the heat.
- Pouring your espresso: As soon as the extraction has finished, take your machine off the heat and pour (don’t be tempted to take the portafilter off as it may still be under pressure). Your espresso should weigh between 35 and 40g. NOTE: It’s important that you don’t leave the machine on the heat once the extraction is finished. If the machine is left on the heat after brewing the safety ring will activate and if the heat exchanger plate is left on the heat it may be damaged. We suggest turning off the heat as soon as the 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.
Step 4: Cleaning and storing the machine
- Cool down: Your machine will be very hot after brewing, although the handles will be cool as they are insulated. You can either leave it to cool naturaly or you can run it under the cold tap.There’s no risk of damaging your machine.
- Vacuum release: When the machine is cold enough to grip, lift or pull the pressure release tab on the safety valve – it won’t move much, but you’ll hear a hiss as the pressure neutralises. Doing this makes unscrewing your machine much easier and also protects the boiler o-ring.
- Disassembly: Next, simply disconnect the portafilter, taking care to do so carefully as there’s likely to be some watery coffee at the grouphead. Unscrew the boiler, knock the coffee grounds into a knock box or the bin, give everything a rinse and leave to dry. It’s now ready to be used again. Disassembling the parts over a kitchen sink can be a good way of keeping things easy to clear up.
Tips and Tricks
Grind while you heat: You can speed the process up quite a bit by putting your 9Barista on the stove to heat up while you grind and tamp the coffee. 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. Be careful, the machine will be burning hot, and the wooden handles might be as well.
Making a second shot: If you want to make another shot immediately after the first, you can speed things up by cooling it down under the tap. You should be able to get a double shot every 5 minutes or so with this technique.
Pre-heat your cup: If you’re drinking straight espresso, you may find it helpful to pre-heat your espresso cup on the plume of steam that comes from the chimney as the espresso is brewed. Just be very careful not to put your hands directly into the burning hot steam.
We’ve written an article about useful coffee accessories, which you can find here.
Grinders: One of the keys to achieving a delicious espresso is a good quality grinder. If your coffee is taking under 25 seconds to fill the portafilter and you’re grinding your coffee as finely as your grinder allows, you may wish to upgrade to a grinder specifically designed for espresso. We have some recommendations here – you won’t regret it!
Dosing Funnel: Dosing funnels helps you get your ground coffee into the basket without any mess. The 9Barista uses a standard 53mm espresso basket, so any funnel labelled as 53mm (or sometimes 53.3mm) should work absolutely fine with your machine.
If you’re having trouble with your machine, we’ve written a number of support documents which should help you – you can find those here.
When using your 9Barista espresso machine, please remember to follow basic, sensible safety precautions. 9Barista operates at high temperature and high pressure, and it’s important the user reads and follows all instructions before using the machine. Key points to be aware of are as follows:
- Do not touch any metal part of the machine once it has been heated; it’s going to be hot! Only touch the wooden handles.
- Do not leave your 9Barista on a heat source after it has made an espresso. If it is left for too long, it will overheat and the safety ring might need to be replaced.
- Never leave your 9Barista unattended on a heat source.
- If you hear or see steam appearing from the safety valve remove the 9Barista from the heat source, and either use a lower cooker power setting or less finely ground coffee with the next use of the machine. Under correct operation, the safety valve will not open.
- Never attempt to unscrew the boiler or the portafilter from the grouphead when the machine is hot, as it may be under pressure.
- While 9Barista is producing an espresso, steam will appear from the chimney. Keep your hands away, to avoid being scalded.
- When disassembling the 9Barista machine, be aware that it might still contain very hot water. Always cool the machine down under a tap and exercise caution when separating the portafilter and boiler from the grouphead.
31 responses to Getting started with your 9Barista
After a couple of tries to find the right setting, I still have the issue – and maybe I missed this somewhere in the FAQ – that there is always water left in the boiler (filled it with 120 ml) after the espresso stopped coming out of the portafilter. You say that a second flow of steam indicates the end of extraction because there is no more water in the boiler. I needed a couple of tries to get the heat right for my stove and first I thought that might be the problem. But even under 6 minutes when espresso stops flowing (still bubbling in the portafilter), steam continues to come out of the chimney and water is left in the boiler. I have a Comandante grinder and tried between 7-11 Klicks so far, with and without the heat transfer plate. Is that a problem and if so, what could be the reason and how can I fix it. Thank you in advance. Best regards, Paul.
Hi Paul, there’s actually no issue here and when you unscrew the lower boiler while cleaning your machine you will notice water in the lower boiler, which is quite misleading. 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. So you’re not doing anything wrong and this is perfectly normal.
How are you doing?
I just purchased a 9Barista from you. Overall I am very impressed with the solid construction!
As for the coffee it is quite bitter. I am not sure if that is due to the beans or the preparation. (I am not in Europe and have no access to other beans.) In the brewing process, I noticed that the espresso is very hot and it needs some time to cool down. Could that be the problem? My portafilter machine does not produce such a hot espresso. I would be happy for any advice.
On another note, I think there would be need for some sort of travel case for customers that travel a lot. I would certainly buy one.
Hi Fred, thanks for your order and for your comment.
Are you using dark roasted beans? That’s a possibility. Equally, if it’s taking longer than 6 minutes to make a coffee that’s another possible reason. If that’s the case I’d recommend increasing the heat setting so that espresso appears 3-6 minutes after the machine is put on the heat. This ensures the water in the upper chamber is at the correct temperature to cool the water prior to reaching the coffee in the basket.
I hope that helps but you can always email us at [email protected] if you need more guidance.
Great info, thank you I just have one question. I was led to believe this is an espresso maker, and now I see it used 120ml of water making it a lungo.
Can I just put less water in there? I guess not because the pressure would not be the same…
Hi Marina, 120ml is the amount of water that goes into the boiler, but some of this water is displaced into the upper boiler during assembly. The machine produces a double shot of espresso of around 35g.
This machine looks like it’ll suit my needs perfectly. However, I’m looking for an “Everything In One Document” instruction manual that includes maintenance instructions. For instance, how often should I plan to descale; how long should I expect replaceable parts to last (i.e. seals, what about the valve?); and basic troubleshooting. Have always preferred instruction “manuals” over FAQs where you have to click on each page to see if it has the information you want, vs. skimming over a comprehensive document where you don’t have to know the exact word to search for. Then i just have to save one .pdf, which I can annotate with my own notes.
Also, during the shopping phase I can understand better how using and maintaining this item will fit into my daily routine, and which replacement parts I should order up front.
Hi Connie, thanks for the suggestion! The machine does come with a physical troubleshooting sheet, as well as a user guide. However, our knowledge base is more comprehensive. A good article to read would be our ‘getting started‘ guide which includes a lot of this information.
To answer your questions, you only need to descale if you notice limescale deposits building on the machine, and the sales and valve should last very well (over a year) when looked after. You’ll need to press the pressure release tab prior to unscrewing the machine after brewing as that helps to prevent stretching of the boiler o-ring. I hope that helps, but if you have any more questions just email the team at [email protected] and they’ll be able to help.
1zpresso 3.5 (16g), slightly pressed powder, and finally the fluid is discontinuous and stuck, ask the seniors what is wrong? I also put the two rubber washers connected to the water cup back in. After careful locking, it is still the same, but it is useless. There are even a few times that a small amount of oil slick can be seen on the surface of the coffee liquid!
Hi there – I’m sorry to hear that you’re having some trouble. Please could you email [email protected] and one of the team will reply with some advice about how to resolve the issue you’re experiencing?
Hi, I have a question, making coffee in 9barista with extraction 25-30 seconds it comes out very strong. What is the minimum amount of coffee in the strainer to keep it less strong but still essential and delicious. I also noticed that coffee with milk after some time (15-30 minutes) becomes stronger even though I do not add new coffee to my milk. Coffee seems to strengthen itself over time. Is it normal? Usually I add milk and it is just right then as at the beginning
Hi Adam, the machine makes a real espresso so it will by definition be quite a strong flavour. We usually recommend using 18-20g of coffee in the basket. If you’d like to make it a little less strong then you could make an Americano by adding boiled water to the espresso. It is also quite normal that the flavour of the coffee changes as it cools.
I absolutely love my little espresso machine… you guys have really created something special here.
The instructions here are clear and concise and everything is working perfectly.
Fantastic! Thanks for letting us know
After I give everything a rinse and leave to dry, I find there is still some water staying under the orange part, which is the “Group insulator”. The water here can not be air dried, and the water can not leak from the “Boiler pipe”. What should I do to release water under the “Group insulator”？
Thanks a lot.
Hi Dorea. This is quite 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.
Is it normal for the heat plate to discolour after being heated by gas?
Hi there, yes this is quite normal. You can see how the colour may change on the product page, here.
I am using the 9Barista but I can not receive the proper extraction (sweet-spot). I am grinding the 19 gramm coffee beans with my Comandante C40 at 5 clicks (way below the recommandations with 7 clicks). The coffee is still pouring too fast (10-15 sec) and tasting too acid. After I am hearing the boiling water I reduce the temperature from 9 to 0 (9 is the highest level of my induction stove).
Do you have any tips how I can get the sweet spot?
Hi Viktor – the grind settings we mention are purely a starting guide, so if the extraction is still too fast you’ll need to use a finer setting.
For reference, the heat setting won’t affect the extraction time so I’d recommend leaving the heat setting as it is, and turning it off as soon as the extraction is finished (you’ll notice a reduction in steam from the chimney, and the espresso will stop rising at the same time, and that’s when to remove the machine and pour).
Hello after the coffee has extracted i tend to get some water after unscrewing the part of the machine. Is that normal or am I doing something wrong?
Hi Jad, that’s perfectly normal and nothing to worry about – you simply need to rinse the water away after brewing.
I am very happy with my 9Barista. I just have the feeling that the coffee sometimes doesn’t get really hot, even though I always make it the same way. What could be the reason?
Hi Ana, this could be caused by a couple of things. Firstly, it’s important that the machine produces espresso after 3-6 minutes from being put on the heat. If it’s faster than this the water will be overcooled before reaching the coffee. Secondly, it could be a leaking 9bar valve causing water to appear in the portafilter too early. Point 2 on this article explains how to resolve this.
I really appreciate the further clarification, thank you. This entire knowledge base is great by the way, thanks for putting it together!
I just ordered a 9barista and I’m curious to explore the requirements for the heat exchanger plate. I noticed the documentation above says ” if you’re using a gas or induction stove, be sure to use the heat exchanger plate. ” I also noticed on the “Is my stove compatible?” page that a gas camping stove does not require the heat exchanger.
Is the heat exchanger requirement on a gas stove more about having a stable surface on which to put the burner, or is there a technical reason why a gas flame (from a gas stove) should not be applied directly to the bottom of the 9Barista?
Hi Cody, a camping gas flame tends to be extremely focussed underneath the machine, whereas on a domestic stove the flame is less concentrated and is more likely to lick around the side of the machine. When using a domestic gas stove the heat exchanger plate ensures the machine gets the heat it needs and also helps to offer some protection from the flame.
What position is the pressure release tab supposed to be in during brewing?
Hi there – the orientation of the tab doesn’t matter. The tab is used to release the pressure at the end of a brewing cycle, once the machine has cooled down.
A lot of steam comes out of chimney, pls advice. I used to brew it with no excess steam coming out, but this started to happen twice in a roll now.
Hi Anutra, it’s perfectly normal for steam to come out of the chimney. Water shouldn’t come out of the chimney, so if that’s what’s happening, this article will help you resolve the problem.