I had originally posted this question under "Coffee Recipes" but later thought that that was maybe not the best place, so I have reposted it here:
I have been trying to to make this swiss-style coffee but have been having some trouble. I have a HX E61 machine and a Rancilio Rocky grinder. I think my issue is grind and tamp pressure, and have been experimenting with this. What have others found to produce excellent cafe creme (super-autos are also very good for this purpose). In particular what grind setting on the Rocky have others found to be good (my zero is zero - ie. where the burrs begin to touch)?
if your machine is all up to temperature and theres no problem and if your beans are freshly roasted...
you should be grinding, smooth, tamp hard evenly packing the grind so the surface is smooth and level. when locked in the grounds fill the filter but not mush into the roof of the group.
time the shot, two ounces should take 24-28 seconds-no more- no less This is provided your filter can hold grounds for a double shot.
if it pours too fast then grind finer [ smaller numbers on rocky] if it pours too slow grind a little courser [ larger number]
if it pours too fast try tamping a lot harder before changing the grind and see what that does.
freshly roasted beans could well be the problem, grind settings vary from region to region and are based on beans-freshness-humidity-temperature-elevation-the weather. By the way super autos are no better at producing crema than semi autos or fully manual machines. Most cafes prefer the semi-autos.
I guess that maybe my original question was not enirely clear. I wasn't asking about pulling an espresso or getting good crema, but thank you for the advice nonetheless.
"Cafe creme" or "cafe crema" is more like an Americano, but is simply a larger volume pull (5-6oz)rather than an espresso shot with hot water added. In doing the larger volume pull, a coarser grind is needed (or a lighter tamp) to get a smooth rich coffee (i.e. not bitter or sour). I am having some trouble with the variables involved in pulling an excellent cafe creme, and any experiences would be greatly appreciated.
Well I can't promise this will help any, but here are a few suggestions.
Use a light roasted coffee. 14 grams in the double basket. Flush more water from the group than you would for an espresso (so your starting with a cooler water temp, that way you'll be less likely to overextract) Keep tweaking the grind until your getting 5oz in under 20 seconds, maybe even faster. You might even start with a grind coarse enough for drip coffee.
I've tried making these a few times in the past, not sure I ever got it right.
The above are hints and tips taken from alt.coffee
ethorson Senior Member Joined: 4 May 2009 Posts: 50 Location: Port Townsend Expertise: Just starting
Espresso: Bunn ES-1A, Bezzera BZ35 Grinder: Mazzer Mini Roaster: Homemade
Posted Sun May 10, 2009, 10:35am Subject: Re: cafe creme / cafe crema
I thought I would resurrect this thread as I am also trying to brew cafe creme using my Rancilio Silvia. I recently started home roasting and would like to brew some lighter roasted single origin coffees that may not be appropriate for espresso. The results from my original attempts were pretty horrible - over extracted and bitter. I then added a PID and 500 watt band heater to the Silvia boiler and a drop-in flow restriction orifice to the portafilter outlet (I have metal lathe). This allows me to use a coarser grind in an attempt to prevent over extraction. The resulting coffee is much better now, but I still have not determined the optimum grind, temperature, and extraction time.
Has anybody else tried to cafe creme brewing on the Silvia? I think super-automatic espresso machines can make cafe creme. What is the grind used, temperature, and extraction time on these machines? Do super-automatic machines have pressurized portafilters?
Here is a composite photo of the modifications made to my Rancilio Silvia and one of the better cups I have brewed.
Welcome to CoffeeGeek Eric. I'm sorry I can't give you much info on your Cafe Crema quest, but I did want to mention that I have stumbled on this when dialing in espresso. (...and I always try to taste and learn from my mistakes!) It was a bit coarse grind gusher of close to 4 oz, but I was astonished at what a great cup of coffee it was! I'm guessing not too many are working their espresso machines in this direction. (This 'gusher' is not from channeling which does not produce a good result. Even percolation though the coffee puck is required for it to work well, or it will be overextracted)
I have never had much interest in Americano, but this 'Cafe Crema' was really an interesting impression of the coffee. I have since worked just a bit with this as I have occasion when visitors don't like espresso. I use an Aeropress, french press, or a small Melita drip for such situations. But this 'Cafe Crema', I thought it delivered the coffee flavors to the cup really well. I could slip one of these into my routine and not have to drag out another 'coffee making device'.
Again I have done very little with this but so far here's what I've got: I use a standard double dose (16-17gr. for my baskets) and grind just a little too coarse for espresso. Gentle tamp, and same brew temps as espresso. My draw times are around 30-35 seconds and about 5 oz cup.
I think temp stability for the large volume may be an issue. I use an Isomac Venus, (I run temp control using a probe on the boiler) I have the heater on during a pull, but I'm sure there is a temp drop during this much volume. (I have not measured it) The droping temp does not seem to be too much of a problem for the cup quality though.
I don't think you need to use a 'pressurized portafilter' as your flow restrictor does. It may be some relation though to flow/pressure and tuning the vibe pump to deliver the right volume at pressure. Sorry I don't remember exactly right now, but I think my pressure gauge was running around 5-6 bar during the pulls. (EDIT: went and checked this. 5 oz in 25 sec is around 7 bar on my machine. I open my Le'lit stepless grinder almost 2 full turns from 'espresso grind' to get in this range)
Good luck on this, I would be interested as well to hear from those who have dialed in a Cafe Crema.
I agree that temperature stability for a large volume shot from Miss Silvia may be the limiting factor in my quest for cafe crema. I made a flow restricted thermocouple sensor that attached just above the dispersion screen to check the temperature profile. After a few adjustments to the PID setpoint I measured the following temperatures for a 44 second, 8 oz shot into a measuring cup:
I am not sure what effect the temperature drop after 4 oz has on taste. When I brew with this setup I get an 8 oz cup of coffee (14 grams ground beans) that is about the right strength and tastes better than the same coffee extracted with my Melita drip maker. This cafe crema produces a very nice, long lasting, and pleasant aftertaste that I don't experience with the drip processed coffee. It probably has something to do with the oils in the crema floating at the top of the cup coating the tongue and roof of the mouth.
I think that the flow restriction is useful because it allows me to use a coarser grind to prevent over extraction during the 44 second shot. It also extends the extraction time so the heater can help maintain the temperature and seems to result in much more crema in the cup. Some of the automatic coffee makers, like the Senseo, use a flow restriction to control the extraction time. At any rate I am going to do more experiments both with and without flow restriction.
Can anybody comment on the importance of temperature stability? Is it a good thing that the temperature drops towards the end of the shot to limit the extraction of bitterness?
Cafe crema/creme, AFAIK, is a long espresso extraction. You get it by grinding coarse to get an extraction volume beyond 1.5-2oz. I'd say keep grinding coarser until you get the volume you want in 20 - 30 sec. If you don't like the taste it's either your brew temp (bitter=too high, sour=too low) or you might need fresher beans.
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