Olympia Cremina bitter espresso

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#1: Post by drH »

Hi everyone!

I'm relatively new to my cremina and I've read almost everything in these forums about pulling shots on the lever. When I get it right it's brilliant but I frequently get bitter or muddy shots and I'm having trouble diagnosing it.

I'm using a Bplus Apollo and Morettino beans (so it's a blend possibly roasted many weeks (months?) ago. The beans smell wonderful and I've made some great espresso with them.

When shots come out dull/bitter I've tried shortening my preinfusion (to 6 seconds), grinding coarser (dosing higher), and this is an improvement but the lever pressure I apply is relatively light and I can tell this is still not the best result from these beans, which are heavenly hazelnut when done right.

Is it possible I need to manage temperature better? Is there a better process to follow to bring out a bit more freshness/acidity? Or maybe I'd be better off starting new with very fresh beans to get my technique on track?

Any thoughts would be helpful.


#2: Post by Beezer »

If the beans you're using are more than a few weeks past their roast date, then it's going to be very hard for you to get good results from them under any circumstances. I'd suggest getting some fresh roasted beans from a good roaster and going from there. Otherwise, you'll just be chasing your tail trying to get any consistent results.
Lock and load!

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Randy G.

#3: Post by Randy G. »

^ What beezer said.
Espresso! My Espresso! - http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
LMWDP #644

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#4: Post by RockyIII »

drH wrote:Is it possible I need to manage temperature better?
Not to sound condescending, but if you are asking then the answer is probably yes. It is certainly possible to keep the Cremina at a temperature of your liking, but for me it takes a fairly strict routine to maintain temperature repeatability when making several shots in a row. If you haven't already done so, I would read the Cremina temperature study posts from a while back. I can tell you what I do, but I suspect for every five Cremina users there are 10 routines. Honestly, I think it is best to develop your own routine that will give you the greatest success.

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#5: Post by spressomon »

^ Same experience here with my Cremina.

I can set the pstat lower so the first shot is cool but subsequent shots are super tasty (and steam-ability suffers more so with lower boiler pressure). Set the pstat higher so first shot is great, steam ability is on point but then need to use the 'cold wet towel' over the group to get subsequent tasty shots.

But, with '...weeks old, possibly months old...' beans, all bets are off :wink:
No Espresso = Depresso


#6: Post by drH »

My results here have improved by leaps and bounds in the last month.
What has helped?
Keeping track of dose weights has played a role so I recommend it (stick with 14g as a start). I also noticed that my first shots(~2) are usually good but if the machine idles for awhile I can "reset" by locking in a cold portafilter and pulling my shot at the low end of the pressure cycle.

Rereading the cremina temperature management study on these forums was also a good help.

I also started experimenting with light roasts, running on the hotter side with long (20sec) preinfusion. The long preinfusions turn undrinkable swill into Devine mixtures of pecan and baking spice (klatch - Ethiopian SO).


#7: Post by Stanford55 » replying to drH »

I completely agree with the long preinfusion on this machine with lighter roasts. It allows you to grind fine without having to decrease the dose (like you I started out with 14g, tried 16g and got better results with the beans I was using). Depending on your basket, if you grind fine enough, there should be plenty of headspace. One of the fun things about levers is the variable 'pump' pressure-if you feel too much resistance after the long preinfusion, do a slow ramp up by gently engaging the lever until the puck gives a little and allows full pressure; it can be an amazingly intuitive, forgiving experience.

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#8: Post by RockyIII »

drH wrote:My results here have improved by leaps and bounds in the last month.
Well done!