Olympia Cremina - First Shots- Frustrated - Page 2

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#11: Post by JJ420 »

If you have a Scace device or something similar, you can hold the portafilter underneath, lift the lever up, and take a your temperature measurement that way and adjust the pressurestat as needed while the cover panel is off. That's how I did mine. Set it to 197*f which translated to 199 out the grouphead under regular usage.

This was one of my best pulls from the Cremina using Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans:

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#12: Post by mdmvrockford »

JJ420 wrote:This was one of my best pulls from the Cremina using Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans:
A little thread drift here: that is great looking mottled crema. From my Cremina this AM I had similar looking mottled crema using George Howell Alchemy blend. But I was too impatient and drank entire ristretto double shot before I could take picture :).

For others who may be reading:
Taste is ultimate and most important determinant of quality of espresso. But visuals (like mottled crema and tiger-stripped flow from bottomless portafilter and perfectly-centered flow stream) certainly add a visual level enjoyment.
Is THIS "tiger striping"?
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#13: Post by drH »

I know what you mean. This was a recent one that was especially tasty.

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#14: Post by grog »

Even though (IMO) the Cremina is a bit easier to dial in than a Europiccola, there's still definitely a learning curve. I add to the refrain that you are working with challenging beans. Also, fastidious basket prep is underrated in terms of impact on shot quality. Best advice I can give you (beyond a bean upgrade to something freshly roasted) is to hang in there and keep trying. Once you get it dialed in, you will be making consistently delicious shots and the frustrating early days will be a distant memory.
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#15: Post by petcmc (original poster) »

Hi all - thanks for the posts back!

One item that is bothering me is "how hard should the pull be?"

Do I dial the grind so that it takes two hands with reasonable force on the leaver. Any thoughts / hints on this?

All the best - Peter

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#16: Post by spressomon »

No telling your physical strength, etc., but you should NEVER need to push the lever down with two hands, shoulders over the lever, etc. , if you have the grind dialed in. I echo what others have stated: Get better and fresher beans #1. Thermometer so you can baseline the group temp (I use a small thermocouple digital thermometer from Thermoworks). Breathe #3 :D.

I like to pre-infuse most of the beans I pull: Lightly press (bad thing to assume but I assume you have a manual Cremina?) down and let the water column soak into the grounds; 5-10 seconds or more depending upon the type of beans and roast level.

What grinder? What ratio in the cup?

No problem to get 14-15 grams of medium roast level grounds into a stock Cremina basket. Lastly, how about a video showing us...how to help you further? From grinding the beans, to basket prep to pulling the shot. Here to help but more information would potentially be fruitful (pun intended :lol: ).
No Espresso = Depresso

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#17: Post by drgary »

In your opening post you call your $3800 Cremina a boat anchor. My boat is loose at its moorings. Send it to me! :wink:

Using a lever has a learning curve but not a long one.

To answer one of your recent questions, people just starting to use a lever who find themselves not getting crema and pressing really hard are usually grinding too fine. If you put your Cremina on an analog bathroom scale, you should add no more than 30 lbs with the pull.

As posted in your other thread, measure external group temperature. Also the boiler pressure should not exceed 0.8 to 0.9 bar. Fill your double basket with about 14 - 17 gram and weigh the shot output so you get about 28 - 34 gm, or a 1:2 brew ratio as a starting point.

Starting to dial in a new method can be frustrating, but once you get things in the ballpark, you'll have a direct, analog feel for what works.

You have a very capable espresso machine. I wouldn't worry about that.

BTW if you wonder if the coffee is okay, try preparing it with another brew method, such as French press, pourover, AeroPress, or with an espresso machine you're used to. If it tastes good it should be fine. Coffee that's past its prime will taste dull or even rancid, and the puck will lose integrity, creating a fast running or channeling shot.

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

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#18: Post by pcrussell50 »

petcmc wrote:I had a post on purchasing an Olympia Cremina - It arrived today and set up for few shots.

I am using the bottomless porta filter / Lavazza Super Crema beans.

- First two shots extremely over extracted ( I think ) as they were bitter.

- I adjusted the grind and did third shot . I can only get about 12-13 grams of coffee ( per my scale) in the double porta filter. When I pulled the shot it came out of the portafilter like a champ, no channeling! Tasted bitter still although better than the first two shots.

- If I had the grind finer it was difficult to pull the leaver, loosening it up allows only 12 -13 grams of in the porta filter. I wonder if this is my issue. I just had my grinder serviced and wonder if its the issue

- So I have a burnt sour mouth and in coffee depression mode with my $3,800 boat anchor. Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance for your help!!!

Hah! Peter. That's my name too. So that can't be it :wink:

1) beans... Is Super Crema a known quantity to you? Something you know for sure that you like? Because... it has robusta beans in it to enhance crema. But robusta beans have a tendency to taste like burned tires. Also crema itself tastes awful as well... But if you know for sure that you like it and have had Super Crema shots before that that you know you like, especially with whatever your grinder is, your Cremina should be able to make them too with the right technique.

2) temperature... do you have a means of knowing where you are, temperature-wise? That type of machine will gradually get hotter and hotter until the group overheats. An overly hot group will drive taste towards bitter. A too cool group will drive taste towards sour. Are you quite sure you understand the difference? They are opposites when it comes to espresso taste. Getting back to temperature, there is a large thread on "adding thermometry" to the Pavoni machines which are for all intents and purposes the same as Cremina. The short of it is, from the time you turn on your machine to begin heating it, you have a certain amount of time for the machine to be not too cold and not too hot, but just right, and you want to be pulling your shot at that point.

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#19: Post by drgary »

I have my vintage Cremina tuned to 0.8 bar of pressure. I also installed a heat break gasket, which, I believe, is standard with new Creminas. My Cremina can be powered on for hours and not overheat because of my boiler temperature/pressure setting. It is cruising slightly below brew temperature that is passively transmitted to the group. I walk up and use half pumps that don't release water but heat the top of the group to bring the group up to brew temperature. Then I preinfuse with the lever fully raised until droplets are falling into the cup in dispersed fashion. At this point water has replaced air in the coffee cake and I pull my shot. I only pay attention to starting group temperature, because the reading will increase during preinfusion. My probe tip is held to the outside of the group at the crease where it starts to widen on the side, toward the rear. Temperature there at 195F indicates that brew temp in the coffee cake will taste like that coffee brewed at 202F. This measurement and method are consistent and reliable. I may start at a lower group temperature for dark roasts. My current grinder is either a Niche Zero or HG-1. BTW a quality Robusta will not have "off" tastes like burnt rubber.

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!
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petcmc (original poster)

#20: Post by petcmc (original poster) »

Hi all

Thanks again for all of the tips. Today I really got some good shots! I usually add a tad of sweetener to my espresso - the shots were so good today that I did not need it. My key's look to be:

1. I have been meticulous on 15 grams using a dosing funnel
2. Whisking the grind pre-tamp
3. 15 sec. pre-infusion

Thanks for all of your help and comments - today was very encouraging!!!!