My Olympia Cremina & ungrade-itis - Page 2

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.
RyanP

Postby RyanP » Feb 08, 2018, 2:28 pm

I guess I'm the oddman out. I enjoyed the espresso I made with the Cremina, but I never really came around to the workflow of using it, especially for more than one shot in a session. I appreciate the Cremina's small footprint and durability, but didn't love managing its quirks. If you need steaming in a small compact lever setup I can't really think of a better machine, but if there is a strong concern around workflow and speed, I think there are better options. I can't say that I've missed my Cremina since selling it.

samuellaw178
Team HB

Postby samuellaw178 » Feb 08, 2018, 2:33 pm

The best thing ever happened to me was/is the upgrade to a vintage commercial lever, Brugnetti Aurora. :D

The only downside really is the long warm up time but could be solved easily by placing it on a timer. If you can take that, you gain extreme shot-to-shot consistencies, minimal on-machine time (no temp manipulation, no daily emptying drip tray or filling up reservoir, steams effortless, full attention on watching the pour instead of focusing on the force applied on the lever etc), and yet doesn't take away from the lever charm that got me hooked. Just walk up and pull great shots, all day long (if you leave it on). When bench space isn't an issue, I may reacquire a Cremina down the line to revisit the nostalgic feeling (had one ages ago). The recently acquired 1974 La Pavoni was good and reminiscence of the Cremina, but it felt like a toy after getting used to the minimal effort and consistency of the Aurora - I am afraid that I might feel the same even with a Cremina.

Tastewise, I do agree you likely cannot do better than the Cremina, just consistency and shot volume. In that regards, the 58mm basket and VSTs are overrated IMO. I actually think I do get better/smoother taste from the smaller baskets with imperfect hole size, coarser grind and lower extraction yield. Therefore, if I ever upgrade, the only other lever I'd consider is a vintage La San Marco lever.

If I were in your shoes, I'd keep the Cremina and watch out for a vintage commercial lever, highly recommended as an once-and-for-all upgrade! You can always upgrade/be tempted by the latest newest, but a good oldie is extremely difficult to replace - I've tried! :D

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drgary
Team HB

Postby drgary » Feb 08, 2018, 3:55 pm

There's also the upcoming remake of the Aurora.

Building a lever machine.... from scratch
Gary
LMWDP#308

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

roadman

Postby roadman » Feb 08, 2018, 11:58 pm

grog wrote:I really think people sometimes confuse upgrade-itis with the desire for a new toy.

+1

Greg, thanks for putting into words something I've long suspected!

IMAWriter

Postby IMAWriter » Feb 09, 2018, 1:29 am

RyanP wrote: If you need steaming in a small compact lever setup I can't really think of a better machine....

I've owned both a 1981 (67) cremina, and an Elektra MCAL (micro casa a leva)...the MCAL is by far a better steamer...totally dry foam, whilst the Cremina was wet, even with a serious 10 second bleed.
I've owned Bezzera Strega as well. Not sure why, but I enjoyed the fully manual process, and that was without any sort of pressure gauge.

Randy, other than Gabor's handiwork, you've done a significant # of upgrades to make your Cremina top flight. I think Grog NAILED IT. We love toys.
That said, if the volume you're getting from the Cremina per shot is sufficient 90% of the time, and you're loving the taste, hang on to it. If however, you feel too often that you'd like those 40 gram shots, and still enjoy the lever process, I'd say look at a Bosco lever, or something you could plumb in, if that passes wifely inspection. Word here is plumbed in allows the absolute MOST flexibility. I believe the Londinium R, Bosco, and Gaggia Achille all utilize the same group? I may be wrong there.

The key is, are you OK with the SLOWER process...if you're getting the volume you'd wish for? If not, it's PUMP CITY, sir!!!
Rob
LMWDP #187
www.robertjason.com

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drgary
Team HB

Postby drgary » Feb 09, 2018, 1:47 am

There may be differences between Londinium, Bosco and Quick Mill Achille groups. Gaggia Achille was an entirely different machine, a manual lever HX prone to leaks.

The new lever group thoughts
Gary
LMWDP#308

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

RyanP

Postby RyanP » Feb 09, 2018, 1:54 am

IMAWriter wrote:I've owned both a 1981 (67) cremina, and an Elektra MCAL (micro casa a leva)...the MCAL is by far a better steamer...totally dry foam, whilst the Cremina was wet, even with a serious 10 second bleed.
I've owned Bezzera Strega as well. Not sure why, but I enjoyed the fully manual process, and that was without any sort of pressure gauge.


I didn't say the steaming is great, just that it is a compact lever unit with steaming capability, and it'd be my preference from the machines in its class.

mdmvrockford

Postby mdmvrockford » Feb 09, 2018, 8:47 am

grog wrote:What I've realized over time for myself, is that it's not so much that I want better espresso, but that I want new espresso toys.



grog wrote:I doubt you will get better coffee from a different machine here Cremina but can list variety of prosumer espresso machine generally regarded as excellent - but you may derive a tremendous amount of satisfaction and enjoyment from the process of discovering a new machine, acquiring the various possible accessories, etc. And if that's within your means, why not? Also it often seems that once one's mind starts moving in this direction, it's really just a matter of 'when' rather than 'if'


On quick scan of quotable quotes section, I did not see anything similarly. If this is correct, then I would request one of the TeamHB on this thread to add at least one of grog's two quotes. As others have stated, grog have expressed in words what many of us feel. Of course this applies to other hobbies/interests.
LMWDP #568

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drgary
Team HB

Postby drgary » Feb 09, 2018, 11:21 am

Good idea. Done!
Gary
LMWDP#308

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

IMAWriter

Postby IMAWriter » Feb 09, 2018, 2:17 pm

RyanP wrote:I didn't say the steaming is great, just that it is a compact lever unit with steaming capability, and it'd be my preference from the machines in its class.

Cool your jets, sir!! :lol:
I was responding to the steaming part. semantics, ya know.
Rob
LMWDP #187
www.robertjason.com