New espresso machine advice - maybe Olympia Cremina?

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
will100

#1: Post by will100 »

My Bezzera Mitica is about 9 years old, repairs and down time are getting more common, I may be ready for next machine. My Mitica is down now, smoke and burning smell (I'll diagnose, and likely fix regardless, but I think I want to look at new machines anyway).

I know everyone decides differently, I had always thought I would by a LM3 when I finally upgraded. But, I'm not in a position to make that spend right now.

The other side of the coin from LM3, would be the (hopefully) simplicity and long lasting of an Olympia Cremona.

Any thoughts on if I would regret the Cremina? I'm not a pro, but I'm well versed in dialing in grind, and managing temperature on my HX machine (Mitica), and I can taste correct (certainly not to the taste of many, but better than most folk I hang around).

Since I'm without espresso, I'm eager to get something going

Thanks for any thoughts....

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drgary
Team HB

#2: Post by drgary »

You could get something simple and high quality like a Cafelat Robot to use as a backup if any daily machine needs servicing. That could also buy you time to save for another machine and widen your choice. And if you can service machines already, why spend the premium for a new Cremina? Also there are other high quality levers. Why a Cremina in particular?
Gary
LMWDP#308

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

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danetrainer

#3: Post by danetrainer »

The Cremina is awesome and with all the machines on the market it's the one for sure I won't let go of. I now have a Decent and a Slayer too, the Decent has been moved on to a friend.

The Cremina packs a big punch in a small footprint, and steams well too you always have that option. Here is my shot this am with the Cremina and MonoCon (sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words!)



I also have a Londinium R and I wouldn't trade the commercial group for the 49mm group either.

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LBIespresso
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#4: Post by LBIespresso »

My first choice would be a CT2 if you are looking for a manual lever. I have that and a Cremina and the Cremina is rarely used but I will never sell it as I love that thing. So you can't go wrong with either. The CT2 is easier and more consistent for me but if one's looks wins over the other you should pick that way and don't look back.

Let us know what you decide!
LMWDP #580

drH
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#5: Post by drH »

If you are comfortable servicing a machine and won't mind lubricating the piston and changing seals about once a year, the Cremina is amazing. I have one from 2020 and no regrets.
But, if you are serving a large group you have to be aware of the water level and maybe pause to cool the machine and refill. Also, after a couple shots the temperature will be temporarily too high and you'll need to manage that (with a cool portafilter, a wet rag, or 5-7min rest). I'll never give the Cremina up, but it's not always my pick for making many drinks back to back.
And if I were interested in only espresso (no steam needed) I might give strong consideration to a streitman.

Ken5
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#6: Post by Ken5 »

danetrainer wrote:... Here is my shot this am with the Cremina and MonoCon (sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words!)

Nice looking shot! Some serious Crema there, what coffee did you use?

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mrgnomer

#7: Post by mrgnomer »

I've had an old Cremina 67 for some time. Got it used but well kept off ebay.

After my plumbed in e61 HX went down the morning lattes alternated between a La Pavoni Europiccola and the Cremina. I get better consistently good extractions and steaming from the Cremina. Great lever. If you're good at dialing in and puck prep it's not hard to pull a good shot. Boiler refilling/size is a drawback. You lose some steam power when boiler water levels drop. And no hot water wand for Americanos if that's what you like (you can use the steam to heat water if you need to though)

After a year of down the rebuild hole free falling the e61 HX is running again. Really missed the endless water supply, the consistent steaming power, grouphead flush temp control and flip a lever pump extraction convenience. Miss the lever infusion and extraction pressure control.

My Cremina 67 is a solid, reliable machine I'd have as my only machine if it had a fed boiler that could pull more double shots before worrying about water levels. For pulling great shots I don't have anything better for control and consistency. My wife, who is not obsessive about coffee and espresso extraction, for the time the e61 was down thought I should just get rid of it and use the back up levers as main machines. It was tempting.

Don't think you would regret a Cremina at all. It is a good choice for a simple, reliable dedicated daily machine that would hold its value well. If you want a bigger machine in the future you'd have a great backup.
Kirk
LMWDP #116

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spressomon

#8: Post by spressomon »

Counterpoint: I had a newer Cremina for about 6-years and although I could get a super tasty shot from it, it required more time to cool back down and/or deploy cooling tricks to get back-to-back shots of the same character than I wanted to deal with. And, for medium to dark roasts I had to set the p-stat low enough to get tasty results in the cup...so much so, steaming was a bit of a chore for slick micro-cell foam. But there probably isn't a bigger fan boy machine!

Personally, I can get better results, even back-to-back shots, with my EspressoForge on any medium and darker roast levels. And steam-ability is much more refined using my Bellman CXE-27 (using it for steam only). Both of these happen to be my primary set-up for mobile/camping use, etc. But occasionally when my wife wants darker and low acidity Brazil beans and I'm drinking lighter roasts...I'll use this set-up in the morning for her rather than changing settings on the Monolith & Slayer.

Just another point of view.
No Espresso = Depresso

drH
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#9: Post by drH »

There's a lot here that depends on how you will use it. For me, today was a good example of the Cremina's weakness- I had to pull about 9 shots with some cappuccinos: this would have been a real frustration on the Cremina trying to actively cool the group between shots and hoping not to run out of water. I used the Maximatic and it was no problem.
On the other hand, the best espresso I can make come from the Cremina. I love it when I'm just making shots for myself and I can take time to tune it perfectly. It's much less perfect when I just need a few drinks between meetings or have to serve guests.

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mrgnomer

#10: Post by mrgnomer »

Very true about back to back shots and control with the Cremina. As a small, simple machine limited to the water volume of the boiler size and the challenge of controlling the group head temp it is not a crowd pleaser at all. It is good, I find, for mornings or times during the day when you just want a latte or two and have a bit of time to let it heat up past the false pressure purge and don't mind the first shot being a bit cool. With my wife in the morning I have the first double shot latte so she can get the better tasting second double shot latte, which she prefers. One or two more lattes after that and there's enough water left for a pump or two flush clean and a portafilter wiggle. That's about as much as I'm comfortable with on my 67.

For testing out new roasts I find my e61 with it's unforgiving extraction is good for dialing in the grind but for pulling out what the roast has to offer the Cremina is better. Grind dialing in for me with the Cremina is hard, I think, because if you feel for the water draw into the chamber and lock in just when it fills, hold the pull for a pre infusion, do a Fellini move...it's really tough not have a good extraction. Yes, too coarse of a grind or a bad prep will extract before a pull but a bit too coarse of a grind can still pull ok. You know when the grind is too fine, though, when you have to do a full body weight pull up on the lever to get a dripping ristretto.

On a side note, one thing I really like about the Cremina vs the LaPavoni is the resistance feel from the Cremina. With everything but a choking fine grind the Europiccola pulls with little effort. The Cremina feels like it resists the pull proportionately with the grind adjustment. Really like that feed back for extraction control.

Oh yeah, my Cremina doesn't have a false pressure valve so putting it on a timer doesn't really work to have it ready for wake up. Still have to release false pressure and wait for at least good steam pressure and a decent heating flush.
Kirk
LMWDP #116