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Discussions > Espresso > Lever Espresso > Feelings About...  
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tonini
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Joined: 22 Jan 2013
Posts: 33
Location: GTA, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia V3
Grinder: HG One
Posted Wed Dec 11, 2013, 4:32pm
Subject: Feelings About Cremina?
 

Hello Everybody!

I find myself feeling so lost. I have read people talking about the Cremina 67 with such great respect. What makes this machine so great? What do people love about it? I want to learn more from you guys!
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,022
Location: PNW
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Espresso: N S Oscar
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Posted Thu Dec 12, 2013, 7:46am
Subject: Re: Feelings About Cremina?
 

Maybe this should be moved to levers. They don't read this one as much.

 
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dana_leighton
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dana_leighton
Joined: 11 Jan 2002
Posts: 1,938
Location: Little Rock, AR
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Relax; Caferina...
Grinder: Macap MXK; Baratza Vario-W;...
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Drip: Technivorm; CCD; Melitta
Roaster: Poppery I w/PID controller
Posted Thu Dec 12, 2013, 7:52am
Subject: Re: Feelings About Cremina?
 

Mod note: moved to lever machines forum.

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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russel
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russel
Joined: 12 Mar 2010
Posts: 445
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Conti Princess 2grp, GS/3...
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Posted Fri Dec 13, 2013, 12:11am
Subject: Re: Feelings About Cremina?
 

Oh, I'll bite.

The Cremina is a direct/manual lever machine.  There a things that make it a great espresso machines that all manual lever share, and there are things specific to it's design and construction that make it a better espresso machine than most others.

General Manual Lever Benefits:
  • Stable and gently declining temperature profile
  • Limitless (if not precisely repeatable) pressure "profiling"
  • Direct tactile feedback as a shot is pulled

The last one is a big one for me.  I really like that I can feel what's going on in the group.  You can feel an over and an under dosed basket.  You can feel a high pressure or low pressure shot.  You can feel it when the pull is just right.  There are things that you can feel on a manual lever machine that you can only attempt to infer from your observation of the shot's flow, timing, and yeild on a pump machine or even a spring lever.

Cremina Specific Benefits:
The Cremina is built in a simple but extremely durable way.  The frame is very solid and heavy, which provides stability during the pull without having a big foot print.   The group is a bit larger than La Pavoni groups and I feel that it does a better job holding a consistent temperature. The drip tray design and build is better than most other vintage dometstic levers.  All of the internal components are very solid and durable.  Everything is very precisely constructed with little or no "slop" and an absolute minimum of parts (the new ones are shockingly streamlined inside and out).

The primary alternative to a Cremina is a La Pavoni Professional and some Europiccolas.  Europiccolas without pressurestats are a different ball game.  Solid technique and a lot of experience can yield equally excellent espresso using either machines.  I find that the Cremina just produces good results more easily.  I would say that it's better than a La Pavoni Professional in almost every objective measure save for the lack of a pressure gauge and the availability/cost of parts and servicing.  La Pavoni's do have a serious edge in the easy availability of parts at fairly reasonable prices compared to the scarcity and expense of Olympia parts.  There are only a few vintage LP parts that can't be replaced with new ones, and those new parts are not cheap but not prohibitively expensive.  New Cremina parts are very costly (you're talking about parts for a $4000 machine vs parts for a <$1000) when they are in fact usable in your particular vintage model.  With Orphan Espresso closing up their reclaimed parts offerings, vintage bits are going to be harder to come by should you need them.
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strfish7
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Joined: 7 Aug 2009
Posts: 178
Location: San Antonio
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Cremina, Europiccola,...
Grinder: HGOne, Pharos, Vario
Vac Pot: none
Drip: none
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Sat Dec 14, 2013, 9:11am
Subject: Re: Feelings About Cremina?
 

I think Russel pretty much nailed it. The differences between the Cremina and the La Pavoni (it's nearest "competitor") are, in essence, the Cremina is better engineered and perhaps as a consequence, is much more forgiving than the finicky LP.  Also, there's no "Cremina sneeze" to beware of.  It's built like a tank, and it's easy to tear down and restore. You can leave it on for quite awhile. A new one is completely unjustifiable in price, but a used one for less than $1000 is a different story.
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tonini
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Joined: 22 Jan 2013
Posts: 33
Location: GTA, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia V3
Grinder: HG One
Posted Sat Dec 14, 2013, 10:28am
Subject: Re: Feelings About Cremina?
 

Thank you all for your help and replies. I want to move on from my silvia and I was on debate of a lever machine. What haunts me about this is 2 simple things. With the possible expensive parts costs for the cremina and can i actually pull a good shot with a lever machine? I realize  that the cremina is not my only option in lever machines but it seems so silly not to consider it. I want a more intimate experience with my coffee and I would love a better machine than a silvia. If I do not go cremina, I am considering 2 semi auto's which are the electra semautomatica or perhaps wait for a rocket r58.
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z0mbie
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z0mbie
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 346
Location: Online
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat Dec 14, 2013, 8:04pm
Subject: Re: Feelings About Cremina?
 

How do I feel about the Cremina?

I love it so much I bought a second one for my wife :)  

These are the best machines ever.  They are fun to play with and make awesome espresso. With a little practice I'm making espresso every bit as delicious as my favorite coffee houses.

In addition to the great technical advantages to brewing that Russel pointed out, I find some of the more obvious attributes of the Cremina be equally appealing... Those being:
+ They're super quiet and perfectly complemented with a manual grinder.
+ They have a minimalist design, timeless aesthetic.
+ They have a very small foot print without appearing dainty or toy-like.
+ They're very robust, using simple solid state electronics and have sturdy construction, making them greatly reliable and easy to service.  
+ Plus, the Cremina's diminutive size is quite adorable, without appearing toy-like.

Oh and I'd like to elaborate on one point regarding brewing advantages.  Despite lever machines being commonly spoken of difficult to master (albeit highly rewarding), after owning one for a while now, I can say without doubt that the ability to make adjustments on the fly makes them far more forgiving than pump machines.. Well, at least when it comes to the actual extraction.  

On a virtually all but the most insanely expensive pump machines, once you hit that button or pull that lever, the extraction is constrained entirely by how well you've prepared the shot. With manual levers, as you pull the shot, you watch the extraction and are able to make corrections on the fly.  Keep in mind the room for error isn't unlimited, but it's something you will leverage with every shot.  Your shots can still end up in the sink if you're too far off or start off with poor quality beans. But as long as your prep gets you within a certain range, you're given the opportunity to perfect the shot, or at least save it :)
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RAS
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RAS
Joined: 15 Oct 2003
Posts: 403
Location: Southern California
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: PV Lusso, Cremina, Oly...
Grinder: OE Pharos
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos
Drip: Manual (funnel)
Roaster: Heat gun
Posted Sat Dec 14, 2013, 9:26pm
Subject: Re: Feelings About Cremina?
 

I've got a vintage Cremina (exact vintage not quite known - it appears to be a Franken-machine, though it is most likely from around 1988), a somewhat vintage La Pavoni pre-Millenium Europiccola (vintage 1996, and a gift from my wife on our wedding day), and a Ponte Vecchio Lusso. The Cremina is my go-to machine when I want an easily-made, no-special-attention shot. It's thermally stable (though not quite as much as the Lusso), and very just "gets it right".

I pulled a shot today on the Europiccola (Ethiopian Koratie DP) that was pretty amazing. But I've had that machine since 1996 and, though I don't use it that often, time and many shots has helped me learn how to get a good shot... most of the time. In contrast, the Cremina gets it right eight times out of ten and the other two are still quite enjoyable.

The Lusso is a spring-assisted lever, and with a thermo-syphen design, it's just rock solid thermally. My one gripe is that its shots are more to the ristretto-side of things (shorter volume), and that's just not my style. But, it's a great steamer, and for that reason, it's my primary machine on weekend mornings when I make cappuccinos and Americanos for my wife and me. For the Christmas season, my wife just loves egg nog lattes, and the Lusso makes beautiful micro foam, even with egg nog.

I restored the Cremina I have, and feel pretty lucky to have gotten it for $500. I put maybe $200 or so into it, and I expect to have it for quite some time. Though the new ones are $3500, and that's a bit stiff, if I didn't have one, and really wanted a lever, I may look for stuff i could offload on eBay to fund the purchase. The new ones will outlast all of us - it would be the last machine you would EVER need. And during your time with it, be prepared for thousands of incredible shots (with the right coffee!).

My only regret is that my body can't handle more caffeine. If I could, I'd have 10 Cremina shots a day.

 
Bob
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russel
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russel
Joined: 12 Mar 2010
Posts: 445
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Conti Princess 2grp, GS/3...
Grinder: Super Caimanos x2, Forte BG,...
Drip: V60, Kalita Wave, Clever,...
Posted Sun Dec 15, 2013, 1:07am
Subject: Re: Feelings About Cremina?
 

tonini Said:

I want a more intimate experience with my coffee and I would love a better machine than a silvia. If I do not go cremina, I am considering 2 semi auto's which are the electra semautomatica or perhaps wait for a rocket r58.

Posted December 14, 2013 link

If you're comfortable with buying used and maybe replacing a worn part or two I would pick up a La Pavoni Millenium Europiccola or Professional (made after 2000) if you can find one from a trusted seller.   Generally speaking the Millenium group is easier to use than the older bolt on groups (there where some issues with the switch to some plastic parts, some of which got resolved, so in this instance newer is often better, although upgrades are easy to do and not particularly costly).  I have no interest in an R58, as a former GS/3 owner I'm not interested in taking a step back.  A Semiautomatica is on my short list of pump machines to own/have owned.  Nevertheless,  the price of a used La Pavoni is a fraction of the cost of a new Semiautomatica or an R58, yet they're physically capable of matching the shot quality of either.  Drop $500 on an good used LP and see where it takes you, sell it off if you don't find it to your taste.
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strfish7
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Aug 2009
Posts: 178
Location: San Antonio
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Cremina, Europiccola,...
Grinder: HGOne, Pharos, Vario
Vac Pot: none
Drip: none
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Sun Dec 15, 2013, 9:23am
Subject: Re: Feelings About Cremina?
 

As I've stated, the first real espresso machine I acquired was a craigslist special pre-mil La Pavoni Europiccola in great shape for the amazing price of $175.00. (I'm still wondering how I got that lucky...).  For the Cremina, I went the ebay route and for $750, got one that functioned okay, but it needed at the least new seals and other maintenance work.  I elected to tear the whole thing down to the frame, removed asbestos from boiler, descaled and cleaned up everything, and had the frame and covering powder-coated.  Probably spent about $250 on that. Just to give you an idea of the costs of this stuff...
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