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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > No crema  
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Driftless
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Joined: 25 May 2013
Posts: 8
Location: Driftless. Wisconsin
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat May 25, 2013, 8:18am
Subject: No crema
 

Hello fellow java-ites,

After years of using a steam activated espresso machine I finally bought a DeLonghi BAR32 from a coworker. She didn't have the manual but I found it online and pulled my first few espressos and a beautiful latte for my wife. The first cups I pulled had OK crema and now I can get none. I have tried tighter packing, looser packing, less coffee, more coffee... no avail.

I am using a home roasted (Hottop roaster) Sumatra that is roasted to a nice oily full French roast. I have read that a fresh coffee will prevent crema, this batch has been sitting for about a week.

I have watched videos, read the online instructions, done searches... all without results. Did I get a bad machine? (She said she has *gasp* stopped drinking coffee and that is why she sold me the DeLonghi) What else can I be doing wrong? Only think I can think of is that we have really hard water but she said she used only filtered water in the DeLonghi.

I love a good espresso and I was soooo looking forward to this. I still have my Chemex, press pots, vacuum pot (fun to watch - horrid to clean), and even a percolator pot so I am not without means to make my morning brew, but I really would like to sit down and have a really nice homemade espresso!

Thanks!

Tad
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 2,972
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat May 25, 2013, 9:01am
Subject: Re: No crema
 

A few thoughts:

  1. One week old beans should be fresh enough. Try roasting a bit lighter.  I feel the oil should be released on grinding and emulsified in the crema not on the outside of the bean getting rancid.
  2. Get a better grinder. If the beans are not stale it is probably the grinder not being able to grind fine enough.
  3. Used a depressurized portafilter after you get a good grinder.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

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Driftless
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Joined: 25 May 2013
Posts: 8
Location: Driftless. Wisconsin
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat May 25, 2013, 12:08pm
Subject: Re: No crema
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

A few thoughts:

One week old beans should be fresh enough. Try roasting a bit lighter.  I feel the oil should be released on grinding and emulsified in the crema not on the outside of the bean getting rancid.
Get a better grinder. If the beans are not stale it is probably the grinder not being able to grind fine enough.
Used a depressurized portafilter after you get a good grinder.

Posted May 25, 2013 link

I know my grinder isn't the best (Mr. Coffee burr mill - don't yell, it was a present from my wife.) I will use my good ol' stand by Krups and try a finer grind.

Interesting thought about the beans. My beans don't stay around long enough to get rancid; a week to ten days at the most. I only roast in small batches - 250 grams of green beans at a time. I like the smoky flavor of a full roasted bean - in fact I like smoky flavors (Bourbon, BBQ, Chipotle peppers). I will do a full city + roast this weekend however, just to try.

Portafilter like a Berkley (sp)? Our water is extremely good, I refuse to use a water softener and dump salt into our trout streams, so unless the filter you are talking about can filter out hardness there is no reason for it.

Thanks for the reply... If I didn't have three double espressos trying to get one right this morning I would try again now. I will have to try tomorrow morning.
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,744
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, 2 Macap M4s, OE...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Sat May 25, 2013, 12:58pm
Subject: Re: No crema
 

I don't think Krups makes any grinder that can cut the mustard for espresso. In fact, I can't think of a single Krups product I'd recommend for anything espresso related.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Driftless
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Joined: 25 May 2013
Posts: 8
Location: Driftless. Wisconsin
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat May 25, 2013, 1:24pm
Subject: Re: No crema
 

The grinder my wife gave me is falling apart after a couple of years. I have an old (25+ years old) Krups blade grinder that has never failed me. I and grind to a pretty fine powder if I want.

I haven't read any good reviews on any of the Krups burr grinders.
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dana_leighton
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dana_leighton
Joined: 11 Jan 2002
Posts: 1,908
Location: Little Rock, AR
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Relax; Caferina...
Grinder: Macap MXK; Baratza Vario-W;...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: Technivorm; CCD; Melitta
Roaster: Poppery I w/PID controller
Posted Sat May 25, 2013, 1:26pm
Subject: Re: No crema
 

Driftless Said:

I will use my good ol' stand by Krups and try a finer grind.

Posted May 25, 2013 link

Good luck with that. The issue is not that the coffee needs to be ground finer. You need a bimodal distribution of particles with tight, uniform peaks, one at a relatively coarser grind, and one at a relatively fine grind. The consistently sized larger particles provide for optimal extraction, the finer particles provide resistance. Grinding finer simply increases the resistance, and risks over extraction and the bitter espresso that will result.

But who knows - you might get lucky! :) Powerball is 50 million jackpot tonight. :)

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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Driftless
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Joined: 25 May 2013
Posts: 8
Location: Driftless. Wisconsin
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat May 25, 2013, 2:58pm
Subject: Re: No crema
 

Hey, I am learning.

But back to the no crema issue... any ideas?
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,744
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, 2 Macap M4s, OE...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Sat May 25, 2013, 3:17pm
Subject: Re: No crema
 

Believe it or not...we ALL recommended a better grinder for a reason...hmmmm.  Are you using pressurized or non-pressurized pf/baskets? What's the brew pressure on your machine? What is the brew temp at the group?  It's clear from your comments that you don't know what a portafilter is - so I guess we need to back up a bit. It's that thing that holds the basket of coffe bean grinds up on the group head (that's where the water comes out of the shower screen). You should read a little about pressurized and non-pressurized ones.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,744
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, 2 Macap M4s, OE...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Sat May 25, 2013, 3:31pm
Subject: Re: No crema
 

After you understand that, figure out how to change your pf to the non-pressurized type.

Then...navigate your browser to www.espressomyespresso.com and read article 12 under the "how to" section. It's called Easy Guide to Better Espresso at Home. It's perhaps one of the best guides out there and will surely help you.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Driftless
Senior Member


Joined: 25 May 2013
Posts: 8
Location: Driftless. Wisconsin
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat May 25, 2013, 3:32pm
Subject: Re: No crema
 

emradguy Said:

Believe it or not...we ALL recommended a better grinder for a reason...hmmmm.  Are you using pressurized or non-pressurized pf/baskets? What's the brew pressure on your machine? What is the brew temp at the group?  I can't see where your comment about filter, salt and streams comes from - unless you don't know what a portafilter is. If that's the case, google images will help you understand.

Posted May 25, 2013 link

Ahhhhh portafilter! Now I understand! Because the woman who sold it to me was very insistent on filtered water that is where my mind was going.

From the website pump pressure is 15 bars. (218 psi? Really?)

I see nothing about temperature but I have tried preheating and not preheating. To be honest the temperature of the coffee (I can't call it espresso) doesn't seem that hot.

I believe that they are pressurized baskets.
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