Try different beans or a grind that you know is fresh. I'm sorry if this is a repeating theme but there is a HUGE GIGO (garbage in garbage out) factor with espresso. I'll save the "get a grinder" thread but the experience you are looking for is going to be highly dependent upon what you put in the machine and less the machine itself.
It is highly likely that with the same preground Illy coffee I'd get the same appearance and taste with my DB setup. As to others getting "good results" with the same setup, taste is very subjective so this is hard to compare.
I think that you are certainly learning how to better control the parameters of the machine re: temperature. I think you are reaching the limit with what you can do without changing the input significantly if you are going for thick crema without sourness or extreme bitterness.
I'm thinking of removing the spring gasket on my Bar32 and trying this. The only issue I can see is that there is a gap between the filter plate and the bottom of the porta filter basket. I'm not sure if this will cause more problems then its worth but I will try it.
In lieu of that, does anyone know where I can get a non-pressurized porta filter basket for the Delonghi Bar32? It fits a 51mm porta filter.
One more question - I wasn't able to find a definitive answer as to whether I can use a non pressurized porta filter with this machine (no rubber gasket on the inside of the basket). Does anyone know whether its possible and/or whether its worth it to try?
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