Too much crema on ECM

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.
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sbenyo

#1: Post by sbenyo »

I have an ECM Synchronika for about a year. It was great for me so far. I was able to make great tasting coffee drinks with it.

In the past weeks I noticed that brewing started to act strange. Brewing became fast, thick and full of crema. I also see that the puck tend to stick to the bottom. I used to get moister pucks. Not sure change with puck is relevant. I also use NZ and did not change my grinding habits.

Until now I thought this was due to beans being too fresh, but it happens to me with 3 different brands, all Arabica which should not have too much of crema.

If I remember correctly, crema is related to temperature but I may be completely wrong. I still use the same PID settings I always used, 93c for brewing and max, 133c for frothing. Since day 1, I only used water from RO system. I know scale can affect temperature but I hope this is not the issue.

It is very frustrating. I used to make best cappuccinos and now I am struggling to make a good cup because of this. I did not try to use brewing option only (turn off steam boiler). If this is recommended for testing, I may try it.

Hope someone can help find what's wrong and hope it's easy to resolve.

Adding mushroom pictures. Not as clean as I expected but does not seem to have scale (not sure what are the marks):



PIXIllate
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#2: Post by PIXIllate »

Very fresh from roast coffees can produce much more crema.

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sbenyo (original poster)

#3: Post by sbenyo (original poster) » replying to PIXIllate »

As I mentioned I also thought this is the case but after seeing it in the last 3 batches all different, I tend to believe there is a real problem.
It did not happen to me before. I used to be able to get good shots with the same beans.

Marmot

#4: Post by Marmot »

This really sounds like you would be using robusta or monsooned malabar beans. Since this is not the case the problem must lie elsewhere.
What water are you using and did you change it or a water filter before this problem appeared?
Another thing which I could imagine would lead to more "crema" is when there is air getting into the system and out of your group foaming your extraction.

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Randy G.

#5: Post by Randy G. »

You mean like this:


Outside of a few grinder tests or prep mistakes I do not remember an extraction that did not look like this in 20 years of making espresso at home. I would be more concerned with addressing your previous lack of crema.
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guiny

#6: Post by guiny »

Did you check your brew pressure? That would explain the fast brew and the increased crema.

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sbenyo (original poster)

#7: Post by sbenyo (original poster) »

Tried again today. Looks better. Not having "bad" crema but it was way too fast (~17s), I will have to try again with thinner grind.



Also did a video:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uboOh ... p=sharing

BTW, anyone knows what are the stains on the mushroom? Should I be worried about it?

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sbenyo (original poster)

#8: Post by sbenyo (original poster) »

A couple more times. Still not good. Almost a week after I purchased the beans. Very hard to dial-in grind. If I grind a bit finer it's taking 35s+ and still lots of crema.

I did get it to almost 1:2 ratio (27s) and still too much crema (see below). I am sure something is not right. This is happening in the past weeks and I did not have any issues like this before :(



PIXIllate
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#9: Post by PIXIllate »

Lower your brew pressure to 8.5 bar, set your flow control to a position that gives you roughly 7-8ml/sec (140-160g of water in 20 seconds) and grind finer.

Nothing wrong with a 35 second shot if it tastes good.

Marmot

#10: Post by Marmot »

Another thing I could think of is your basket being clogged up and less holes allowing coffee to flow through. This could possibly cause an effect similar to pressurized baskets.
When you hold your basket against a light do see blocked holes?