No crema with La Pavoni - Literally tried everything. Expert advice needed please

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hollywood87

#1: Post by hollywood87 »

Hi. I know there are several posts about this but nothing seems to be working. If there is a coffee expert out there that could help I would hugely appreciate it.
Below are all the variables I have tried (at different times) to see if it helps but still nothing.
The espresso seems to come out fast and I get little or no crema.
  • Freshest coffee beans
  • Espresso fine grind with Burr grinder
  • Strong tamper vs. light tamper
  • Different amounts of coffee (ranges from 12g to 17g)
  • Heating up short time vs long time
  • Realeasing steam after heating
  • Pouring a cup of water before extraction
  • Lifting lever slowly up and lifting faster
Anything else as I cannot see what I am doing wrong. As I pull down on the level, there is very little resistance.

Thank you in advance.

ojt

#2: Post by ojt »

hollywood87 wrote:Freshest coffee beans
Espresso fine grind with Burr grinder
Strong tamper vs. light tamper
Different amounts of coffee (ranges from 12g to 17g)
Heating up short time vs long time
Realeasing steam after heating
Pouring a cup of water before extraction
Lifting lever slowly up and lifting faster
What kind of beans? All arabica? Light roast, dark roast, medium perhaps? To start out, my recommendation is to use fresh medium roast. Just easier to work with.

Again, to start, just choose a dose that just about fills your basket and keep it until you get success. Change grind size to get the flow you want.

Heating up is important. You should get some type of grouphead thermometer such as temp strips (Flair strips are good I hear). Brew when at around 85 celsius if millennium model.

Releasing steam after heatup is good. Keep that.

IMHO, with millennium machines, flushing water out is not that good but you can do a quick flush.

Lever is lifted very slowly. Infact you could lift it without the portafilter in until some steam/water is released, stop the flow, and then lock-in and lift. Search "late lock-in".

Lastly, and most importantly, which burr grinder? Grind is the most important part here and a badly aligned or otherwise misbehaving grinder will make all other efforts futile.

When grinder is sorted work on your preparation, including WDT and possibly RDT.

And only change one parameter at the time.
Osku

ojt

#3: Post by ojt »

Addition: if you get the beans ground in shop, that is not going to work. At the minimum have them ground much finer than "espresso". Like 3-4 notches finer.

Much easier: get your own grinder.
Osku

hollywood87

#4: Post by hollywood87 »

Thank you for your advice.

Grinder wise, I use the porlex manual burr grinder.
Whilst I am doing a fine grind if the water is coming through quickly, should I be using a slightly coarser grind?

Will take a look at some temperature strips as you suggested.

User avatar
sweaner
Supporter ♡

#5: Post by sweaner »

Are the beans truly fresh? Roasted within 2 weeks?

If the grinder is adequate, grind finer until you get the appropriate brew-time. That should help.
Scott
LMWDP #248

ojt

#6: Post by ojt »

hollywood87 wrote:Grinder wise, I use the porlex manual burr grinder.
Whilst I am doing a fine grind if the water is coming through quickly, should I be using a slightly coarser grind?
Hmm, either your distribution is not OK, or the Porlex is misaligned. To the latter there isn't much you can do. But to answer the question: no, you should grind finer.

I would consider getting a better grinder such as an OE Lido or Kinu M47 Phoenix. I myself used a Hario Skerton for a while, but had to realign the burrs completely for it to perform adequately.
Osku

hollywood87

#7: Post by hollywood87 »

sweaner wrote:Are the beans truly fresh? Roasted within 2 weeks?

If the grinder is adequate, grind finer until you get the appropriate brew-time. That should help.
Yes, they are truly fresh. I went to the one of the best coffee shops in London. I will try going even finer with the grind.

Thank you

pcrussell50

#8: Post by pcrussell50 »

hollywood87 wrote: Grinder wise, I use the porlex manual burr grinder.
If your beans are for sure fresh, this ^^^ is suspect number one. (To me)

Sooner or later, you might want to get a pressure gauge for your Pavoni just so you know where you are. Lower pressures tend to reduce crema production.

-Peter
LMWDP #553

hollywood87

#9: Post by hollywood87 »

ojt wrote:Hmm, either your distribution is not OK, or the Porlex is misaligned. To the latter there isn't much you can do. But to answer the question: no, you should grind finer.

I would consider getting a better grinder such as an OE Lido or Kinu M47 Phoenix. I myself used a Hario Skerton for a while, but had to realign the burrs completely for it to perform adequately.
Tried a much finer grind and pre extraction and speed of extraction was much better. Still no crema though

ojt

#10: Post by ojt »

hollywood87 wrote:Tried a much finer grind and pre extraction and speed of extraction was much better. Still no crema though
pcrussell50 wrote:Sooner or later, you might want to get a pressure gauge
As suggested by Peter you might be pulling with too little pressure. This is something you'll get a feel of with experience but the feel of the pull should be very firm, almost a small workout :)

Also as Peter, I suspect the porlex unfortunately is not up to the task.
Osku