I'm an espresso newbie, having recently purchased an Ascaso Duo Prof alongside the Ascaso i-mini grinder. The grinds seem great, but I haven't been able to get proper crema and oils developing.
Water quality and water temperature (94-96 degrees Celsius, achieved through temp. surfing) all seem fine, same thing with my tamping and my beans, which has left me wondering whether the grinder might be the problem.
Yes, I realise that the more expensive Mazzer mini will probably produce better espressos overall, but upon looking at some rather favourable reviews of the i-mini saying how great the crema is, I am wondering whether I've missed something.
I have realised that the i-mini requires a bit of tweaking as regards the fineness of the grind, but it seems I have tried every variation there is for about two weeks now. My general approach is trying to keep all the other variables the same, while only changing the fineness of the grind and how hard I tamp. The astonishing result is that after nearly two weeks of using about 7 different kinds of espresso, the tiny amount of crema produced is more or less the same. I understand that some beans are more prone to crema development than others, but I remain astonished at its almost uniform absence.
The typical problem is that the espresso only comes with a tiny 3mm layer of crema on top (which develops in the first 6-7 seconds only), and with missing tripartite layer structure. I can get some decent taste, but both crema and oils are completely absent. I don't have the crema rising about 1/3 in in the brewing process. Other issues I have noticed include that:
(a) it takes about 8 secs before any liquid leaves the portafilter; (b) the colour changes from medium-light caramel (a too light colour, in my opinion) to light caramel ca. 5 sec after liquid has started pouring, adding substantially less to the brew; (c) at 94-96 degrees the espresso is too cold; (d) after 14 sec I need to stop brewing to avoid too much water diluting the thing (independent of the fineness of the grind); (e) as expected, steamed milk does not mix very well with the finished brew.
I don't think myself anywhere near a proficient barista (and hence that I need to develop my own skills) but I am beginning to think that something's amiss technically (a common beginner's sentiment, I suppose).
Anyone with similar experiences or tips as to what I may do to improve? Thanks in advance!
Hi and welcome to CG forum. It looks to me more like a stale coffee related problem.
a) Do you have any access to 100% freshly roasted beans (7 days from roast date)? Use these. b) Do you have control on the extraction flow rate? Go for double espresso at 50ml/30s by filling the basket at the max of its capacity.
Off-topic: How come you bought a machine with two groups?
Symbols: = New Posts since your last visit = No New Posts since last visit = Newest post
Forum Rules: No profanity, illegal acts or personal attacks will be tolerated in these discussion boards. No commercial posting of any nature will be tolerated; only private sales by private individuals, in the "Buy and Sell" forum. No SEO style postings will be tolerated. SEO related posts will result in immediate ban from CoffeeGeek. No cross posting allowed - do not post your topic to more than one forum, nor repost a topic to the same forum. Who Can Read The Forum? Anyone can read posts in these discussion boards. Who Can Post New Topics? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post new topics. Who Can Post Replies? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post replies. Can Photos be posted? Anyone can post photos in their new topics or replies. Who can change or delete posts? Any CoffeeGeek member can edit their own posts. Only moderators can delete posts. Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.