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La Nuova Era Cuadra - can't pull drinkable shot
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,021
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Thu Feb 27, 2014, 2:13pm
Subject: Re: La Nuova Era Cuadra - can't pull drinkable shot
 

. All I have to say after tasting coffee with the same beans and machine and 3 different  grinders is Grinder Grinder Grinder.

 
Coffeenoobie

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

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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Lonneker
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Feb 2014
Posts: 6
Location: New York, NY
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Mar 1, 2014, 9:43pm
Subject: Re: La Nuova Era Cuadra - can't pull drinkable shot
 

Many thanks to all that have responded here.

@SStones: many thanks - I have indeed not adjusted my relief valve.  I did, however, manipulate the control lever as you suggested. However, nothing seemed to happen (I tried it twice). Does that make sense?

And yes, I have tried their ECM espresso; pretty drinkable...

@Canuck, CMIN, Coffeenoobie: many thanks for your responses - I may just jump on the grinder bandwagon..
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,372
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sun Mar 2, 2014, 8:50am
Subject: Re: La Nuova Era Cuadra - can't pull drinkable shot
 

Hans, first of all, welcome to CG.

I have NO personal experience with the La Nuova Era Cuadra, but I do have nearly 40 years of experience in making espresso at home with all sorts of difference machines.  Indeed, for the first five years, I struggled with what must be one of the most difficult setups imaginable¹, and -- believe me! -- with no CoffeeGeek to help me, it was indeed a struggle!  

Lonneker Said:

. . . I fail to understand how you cannot even get a drinkable shot without your own grinder.

Posted February 26, 2014 link

I have no desire to beat you into submission, Hans, but there is a reason why every café and coffee house has two -- and usually three -- grinders sitting on the counter next to their espresso machine(s), with another one set to grind beans for pourover brewing.  Five people have told you so far that you need a grinder.  I am the sixth.  Why?  Because -- while there is more than one way to skin the proverbial cat (or in this case, more than one way to pull a shot of espresso), it is all dependent upon using fresh beans.

Hans, clichés exist for a reason:  they contain at least a grain of truth, if not being completely true -- having merely evolved into "cliché status" through overusage and becoming trite.  The following are all truisms, even if they sound a bit "cliché-ish."
  •  "GRINDER, GRINDER, GRINDER."
  •  "The espresso machine is merely a hot water delivery device; the grinder makes espresso."
  •  "The grinder is more important than the machine."
  •  "It's impossible to make decent espresso without a grinder; you can't make great espresso without a great grinder."

The list goes on and on and on . . . again, because it's true.

You asked why you need a grinder.  No one phrased it more succinctly than this:

Babbie's Rule of Fifteens²:
-- Green (unroasted) coffee beans should be roasted within 15 months, or they go stale.
-- Roasted coffee beans should be ground within 15 days, or they go stale.
-- Ground coffee should be used within 15 minutes, or it goes stale.

And finally, there is this:

The Four M's of Espresso:
1) the Macinazione is the grinder, and with it, the correct grinding of the coffee beans;
2) the Miscela is the coffee beans/blend itself;
3) the Macchina is the espresso machine; and
4) the Mano is the skilled hand of the barista.  

All four are important.  Nothing is more important than the grinder.

Lonneker Said:

Ok, here it goes: anyone any good recommendations for a (good) grinder?

Posted February 26, 2014 link

What we -- as a group -- usually tell people is to "overbuy" the grinder.  That is, assuming the budget will allow, buy a better grinder than you think you need.  Another way of putting it is to spend more, as a percentage of your overall budget, on the grinder than you think you should.  ;^)  The reason is simple:  most people think the machine is more important than the grinder when in fact it's the other way 'round.

Here are some suggestions, listed in alphabetical order:

In the $300-500 category:
-- Baratza Vario
-- Compak K3 Touch Doserless

In the <$300 category:
-- Ascaso I-2
-- Ascaso I-Mini
-- Le'Lit PL58

Finally, don't forget to look for "used" grinders on the BST forum here, as well as elsewhere -- you can often find a great deal on a commercial grinder like Mazzer Super Jolly for approx. $300-400; add a new set of burrs, and you'll never need to upgrade again -- AND check out manufacturer's websites for deals on "refurbished" grinders, as well as retailer's websites for "returns" ("Buyer's Remorse") -- another good way to get a deal!
__________
¹ A temperamental manual lever machine and a whirly-blade grinder.
² Note:  "15" is a convenient rule-of-thumb/guideline; it is not ironclad.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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Lonneker
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Feb 2014
Posts: 6
Location: New York, NY
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Mar 3, 2014, 1:59pm
Subject: Re: La Nuova Era Cuadra - can't pull drinkable shot
 

Many thanks for the elaborate response JasonBrandtLewis – much appreciated!

One thing I forgot to mention: when steaming milk, the device also seems to add an unpleasant flavor to the milk.  Again, pretty undrinkable. I have already descaled it a few times, so assume that can’t be the issue. Will this go away with more use or could this be a real issue?
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,362
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Mon Mar 3, 2014, 2:57pm
Subject: Re: La Nuova Era Cuadra - can't pull drinkable shot
 

Lonneker Said:

Many thanks for the elaborate response JasonBrandtLewis – much appreciated!

One thing I forgot to mention: when steaming milk, the device also seems to add an unpleasant flavor to the milk.  Again, pretty undrinkable. I have already descaled it a few times, so assume that can’t be the issue. Will this go away with more use or could this be a real issue?

Posted March 3, 2014 link

More than likely not the machine, but the way your steaming. Your pry over steaming the milk causing it to burn adding a nasty flavor. A lot of people just stick the wand in full blast and go and go and go till they stop at whatever point, not realizing they far exceed temp of milk giving it a nasty burnt flavor. You have to know how to steam and work the milk, tons of videos on youtube about this. You can buy a thermometer to use and clip to your pitcher to see where temps are at. Generally you want the milk around 145-150 or so, I stop early too as the thermometer will keep rising, if you shut off at like 150 it will continue to rise to above 160 more than likely and now the milk has entered scalded/burnt stage.
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1stline
Senior Member
1stline
Joined: 24 Jan 2002
Posts: 495
Location: Freehold, NJ USA
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Undisclosed
Grinder: Indisclosed
Vac Pot: Bodum Electric
Drip: None
Roaster: None
Posted Mon Mar 3, 2014, 3:31pm
Subject: Re: La Nuova Era Cuadra - can't pull drinkable shot
 

Lonneker Said:

I bought a La Nuova Era Cuadra back in June '13, but have still not  been able to make a drinkable espresso.  Initially, I figured I give it some time, as 'experts' tell you that it may take significant time to get all the variables correct.  However, having now experimented with various coffees/grinds, waters and having descaled it a few times, I am nowhere near close to pulling a drinkable espresso.  Should I start thinking of returning it - which is a massive pain, as it's pretty
heavy and I don't even have the boxes it came in - or do people here have alternative suggestions I may try?

Many thanks!

Posted February 25, 2014 link

Hans,

I tried to look your name up in our system, but I did not see a purchase from us on this machine. If you did purchase from 1st-line, please contact us. If you purchased somewhere else, you should really contact your dealer for additional assistance.

There are a lot of factors that can affect taste - the machine, which is usually the first to be blamed, is only one of them. There is the water, the beans, the grinder, the user, the cup, the cleanliness of the machine, etc, etc.

 
Sincerely,
Jim Piccinich
Business Partner
1st-line Equipment, LLC
www.1st-line.com

Follow us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/1stline
Twitter: http://twitter.com/1stline
Blog: http://1st-line.blogspot.com/
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/1stlineespresso
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Lonneker
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Feb 2014
Posts: 6
Location: New York, NY
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Mar 4, 2014, 3:58pm
Subject: Re: La Nuova Era Cuadra - can't pull drinkable shot
 

@ CMIN: many thanks for your insights – will try that.

Quick update: I did actually buy the machine from 1stline and had a very helpful conversation with Jim at 1stline this afternoon.  He thinks that I may need some espresso making education, so I will have to make the trek out with the machine for that.  Once I’ve done that – may take some time – I will update this thread.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,021
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Mar 4, 2014, 4:13pm
Subject: Re: La Nuova Era Cuadra - can't pull drinkable shot
 

Good to hear he is taking care of you. Please keep us posted.

 
Coffeenoobie

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

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
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