Olympia Cremina - First Shots- Frustrated

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#1: Post by petcmc »

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!!!


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#2: Post by beer&mathematics »

I'm going to guess it's the beans
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#3: Post by IamOiman »

Few things I can think of:

Increasing the dose can be done with a bigger basket. Elektra's double 49mm basket can stuff 15g+ and fits the Cremina's pf.

The other thing is likely your beans. Not sure where you sourced them but often the beans are months past roast date if not further from large companies like Lavazza. Getting them fresh makes the coffee much better. I'd recommend sourcing something fresher if possible
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#4: Post by LObin »

All good recommendations so far.

Another thing to consider is shot temperature could be too high.

You mention getting a dialed-in shot after the 3rd try. Depending on a few factors like rebound time, warmup time, open ports flushes, etc. It's quite possible your group was then too hot to pull a good shot. Even more so with darker roasted beans.

Maybe share your pstat setting so other members with the latest model can help out.

I would strongly recommend adding something to monitor your group temperature. Doesn't have to be anything permanent but it's a good thing to understand how your group behaves thermally and helps put associate real numbers with what your palate is telling you. Especially with a new machine.

Temperature strips are an easy addition and somewhat useful although a bit slow.

I've used both and much prefer small group thermometers like this one:

Don't worry too much, amazing shots are coming your way!


*btw I don't know how much they charge for grinder maintenance but unless something is broken and you don't feel comfortable changing a mechanical or electronic part, you can perform any maintenance quite easily on your own. No special skills or tools required. Lot's of help available on HB.
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#5: Post by Jasper_8137 »

I agree with the above posts. I would try fresh beans, PSAT set at about 1.1-1.2, and try a different basket (I like the double Strietman 18g baskets). In addition, don't get frustrated. I've had many different espresso machines over the years and it always takes a few weeks to really learn the machine and get it dialed in correctly.

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#6: Post by drH »

I can echo, beans like Lavazza are challenging unless you are careful with group temperature. As beans age you need to grind finer and if temperature of the group is high, you'll be in a spiral of over extraction.

I recommend that you let the machine come to a stable temperature (try 30min - don't flush), then grind a bit coarser. For darker roasts I don't worry as much about hitting high pressure. After you lock in the portafilter, raise the lever for just long enough to wet the coffee (2-3 seconds) and slowly pull down, controlling the flow to get a stable stream without worrying about building too much resistance (imagine hitting 4-6 bar).

If you are pulling multiple shots, wash the portafilter in cold water, lock it in and wait 5-7 minutes before trying again.
Lavazza is super easy to extract. On a pump machine you can use higher pressure and lower temp... here you use coarser grind, lower pressure, and a bit less water contact time.

If you were measuring group temperature with a thermometer, you could do this faster. You could even cool the group a bit with a wet cloth and pull it at a lower temperature (eg 72-75C). Freshly roasted beans will make it easier to get the hang of things- you may find that settings have to change every day with Lavazza.

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#7: Post by mdmvrockford »

petcmc wrote:I had a post on purchasing an Olympia Cremina - It arrived today and set up for few shots.
................and in coffee depression mode with my $3,800 boat anchor.?
A lot gets lost in non-verbal communication so I cannot tell your level of frustration. I know when I first got my Cremina I was very frustrated that I was not getting great espresso like its prior owner and from Creminas at home-barista.com local meetings.

Yes, you just spent $3800 for new Cremina and probably want excellent espresso now. You mention in other thread that you were not getting great espresso from the LaPavoni. How long did you use the LaPavoni: few weeks, months? For me despite brewing excellent espresso for at least six years with my semiautomatic E61 machine, it took me about a week to get great espresso from the Cremina. Now after almost six years with the Cremina, if I had to do it all over again here's what would I recommend for others like you (besides what's already mentioned above):

* External group head thermometer as mentioned in my post and by others in your other thread (and here too). To further beat a dead horse :) besides better consistency, it will make espresso workflow faster. If making consecutive shots then will know what temperature to cool group head down to. If group head is not hot enough then will know exactly when to stop with half pumps that bring up temperature. For example, I brew >10 consecutive double espressos for inlaws on major holiday ( I steam using a SBDU semiautomatic). The group head thermometer lets me know when to stop the group head cooling (sponge wetted with cold water and/or cold water in ceramic mug to submerge lower end of piston & screen). When I bought the Cremina, the prior owner already had installed the grouphead digital thermometer.

* Brew espresso in the Cremina using the same beans that gave espresso you liked from your prior Expobar machine. Then you have baseline for comparison. I would not recommend trying to brew multiple different roasts initially.

* Elektra Microcasa a Leva (MCAL) portafilter baskets will allow you to get easily >15 grams ground beans : it is pictured in this post
49 mm basket comparison

* Pressure gauge is highly recommended for manual lever novices. This was also mentioned in my post in your other thread. I feel this would have greatly sped up my making great espresso with the Cremina. Certainly I find it invaluable when starting with new bean I have not use before. But please realize many manual lever users do not recommend this pressure gauge. My zinger rebuttal is: they are more experienced than I was.

* I time my shots so that I can ensure consistency E.g. (a) So my preinfusion time is consistent, (b) blonding point should be reached within same few seconds time if my technique and preparation is consistent. I don't use time as variable when to stop the shot.
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#8: Post by Phip »

I can only get about 12-13 grams of coffee ( per my scale) in the double porta filter.
I'm also a new 2020 Cremina owner going on three months now using the stock OEM portafilters. I'm having my most consistently excellent results with the single shot basket using 7.5 grams in and about 15-16 grams out. I'm using Vivace's Dolce beans and find them sublime. Definitely watch the temperature. I have a temp strip on the group and get it to about 167-170 degrees before pulling a shot. Pull is 10 seconds preinfusion and then pull to 15 grams in the cup, which takes another 25-30 seconds. My double shot basket is nicely full at 14 grams and tastes grate at same 2:1 or even 2.2:1 ratio.
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#9: Post by Chert »

Hey! You promised pictures. I want to see that beauty Cerini sent you.

Was Lavazza the bean for pretty good shots from the Brewtus? You can get in the ball park similar with the lever but in my experience a lever often makes a more intensely tasty shot than a more mellow extraction of an average pump machine.
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#10: Post by ojt »

Echoing all the previous and what I said in the other thread, I really recommend getting a grouphead thermometer. With that out of the way, in my experience these machines (Cremina, Pavoni) are more easily suited for medium/light roasted beans. For darker roasts you need to be extra carefull with the temperature.

As for the dose with those beans it's normal. With a super light / dense bean you might be able to fit 16g in, perhaps 14g being a normal ish dose for most medium to light roasts.