jaykramer wrote:OK. I'll try a new grinder. I had no idea it was that important. Given the expense of the machine, I may have to return it for a cheaper one to pay for such a pricey grinder. Any suggestions on machine/grinder combo in the $600 area? Also, the beans were just starbucks french roast and they've been refrigerated for a week at least.
OK, bad grinder, AND bad coffee (most likely).
While I haven't used it, the lowest cost acceptable espresso grinder (besides a used grinder or hand grinder) is probably the Baratza Virtuoso and then the Cunill Tranquillo. See Best Inexpensive Grinder?
for some discussion and other suggestions. The Baratza can be purchased a bit cheaper refurbished direct from the manufacturer (http://www.baratza.com
), and I have read of some improvements and stepless modifications on CoffeeCrew (link