Olympia Cremina SL and dialing in - Page 2

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#11: Post by LObin »

Someone need to send Cerini a few Niche Zero reviews :lol:
The NZ is still somewhat under the radar since it doesn't have a shiny Mazzer or Rocket badge.
No worries though, it's definitely not the grinder. For medium and dark roasts, you're in the zen zone.

Not sure what your pstat setting is but I had my Olympia club set to cycle between 0.7-0.9 bars. Not a true indicator by any means though.

I'm also thinking the basket is the issue here. A Strietman 18g or Elektra MCAL double basket should help.

One question:
Do you have a 49mm funnel?
On my Europiccola with the MCAL basket, in order to dose 14g to 15g, I need to stop my Niche midway, tamp lighlty and grind the remaining of the dose.
With a funnel, I can grind a 16g dose of the same roast that all falls neatly and evenly inside the basket. It's truly a must have with these smaller portafilters.

Also, a bottomless portafilter is quite useful for any machine but even more so when you have some control on preinfusion. I'd add it to my Santa list if was you!

Gorgeous machine btw! Congratulations!

LMWDP #592


#12: Post by walterP »

Did a slightly less dark roast this eve (Yes I know it should sit a few days for best cup) but I did indeed get 14 grams to fit well.
Yes I do have a 49mm funnel that I use. I shake the grinds in the NZ cup a bit and then dump into the funneled PF. Tap the PF a bit to settle and then tamp.

Thanks again!


#13: Post by jmotzi »

I don't have the SL but rather the manual lever (ML). I don't do cut shots but rather let the shot go all the way to completion. When working that way, I have the following experience:

All other things being equal (dose, grind) increasing the ambient pre-infusion time (pre-infusion with no added pressure) will increase the shot volume. That's because when performing pre-infusion at ambient boiler pressure only, any water that goes into the puck will be replaced by additional water from the boiler during the pre-infusion phase, thus meaning more water available for the shot.

All other things being equal (dose, grind), performing pre-infusion at a slight pressure (maybe 1.5 - 2 bar) produces shorter shots than ambient pre-infusion. That's because any water entering the puck is not replaced by additional water from the boiler.

All other things being equal (pre-infusion method/time, grind), higher doses produce shorter shots. That's because water is lost to adsorption in the puck. So my shots using 18g coffee in an 18g Strietman basket are shorter than those at 15g in a 15g Strietman basket. Ambient pre-infusion may partially mask the effect.

I would imagine that the same experience would hold for the SL.

LMWDP #662

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#14: Post by pizzaman383 »

I was surprised to see that the SL is only $200 more than the manual lever.
LMWDP #551
“Taste every shot before adding milk!”


#15: Post by walterP »

After thinking about it last night I guess I need to realize the Cremina should not be as forgiving as the Apartmento and I should try to be a bit more focused.


1. Stick with some local "pro" roasted beans that I know are fresh (I do have a good roaster a few blocks away) This might reveal if my roasting is not so on point.

2. Stick with a locked dose of 14g

3. If I understand the SL correctly I should be getting the same water onto the puck on every shot? But I can and will weigh my results in the cup

4. Tamp / prep as consistent as I can

I guess that should get me to the point of changing the grind based on the time right? I guess I will need to keep my preinfusion time consistent as well.
example: total time from lever down to lever back up and keep the preinfusion part of that time the same

With most rough info based on 58mm doubles, 2oz out, 25-30 sec ect I need to figure out what a good baseline might be for the smaller 14g baskets. I will post some results Wed but if any of you fellow Cremina guys have some thoughts on this let me know!

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#16: Post by jwCrema »

Unless you Fellini, #3 is spot on. You get the same water each shot.

If the grind has been working previously, I vary dose, rather than changing the grind. Examples of know thing the grind was "working" include, I was using the MCAL yesterday, and I'm using the Club today. Or I haven't changed the roast.

Tamping isn't a critical factor in my experience. I had the calibrated 30 lb torque wrench tamper and found it doesn't make a difference. You need to do the same pressure.

I feel your two main variables are pre-infusion time and dose. Most start with holding the lever down until you see drips in the cup. I do a longer pre-infusion for very ripe beans. I count to 5 Mississippi and see my first drips then or a few seconds later. If you don't see drips by 15 Mississippi then your grind might be a taste tight.


#17: Post by walterP »

I am for sure not getting drips at 15 Mississippi at my current setting ranges. I have had them in the 5 sec or under range but the complete shot was way too quick. like gusher quick. Again I think I was being lazy and not focused on small changes. Got 1.5lbs of known good beans from up the road so I plan to collect some info and make smaller changes to grind only at first. On the bright side, My roasts are almost a perfect match in color to the "pro" beans!


#18: Post by jmotzi »

walterP wrote:...I should be getting the same water onto the puck on every shot?...
jwCrema wrote:Unless you Fellini, #3 is spot on. You get the same water each shot.
This is very easy to investigate - you can do a mass balance for each shot - I do this every time - do not assume.

Place your cup on a shallow catch tray that will catch the drips after you remove the cup. I use a plastic lid from a peanut butter jar.

1. Weigh your coffee dose. Example is 15g

2. Run the shot and remove the cup.

3. After any drips have stopped, tare the catch tray containing the drips. Remove the catch tray and wash out out & dry. Re-weigh the empty catch tray (do NOT tare before weighing). The scale will show the amount of drips it contained as a negative number. For example, 1.3 grams. This 1.3 grams contains both water and coffee.

4. Determine the weight of coffee in the cup. If you use a logging app then you have this already. Otherwise weigh the empty cup and weigh the cup with your shot and the difference is the amount in the cup. For example 30 grams. This 30 grams contains both water and coffee.

5. Remove the portafilter, place it on the scale and tare the scale. Knock out the puck, wipe any stray grinds and reweigh the portafilter without taring. The amount shown on the scale will be the weight of your puck expressed as a negative number. Example is 26 grams. This 26 grams contains both water and coffee. Even a "dry" puck is not dry.

The amount of water used in the shot is (Weight of the shot) + (Weight of drips) + (Weight of the puck) - (Starting dose)
For example 30g + 1.3g + 26g - 15g = 42.3g

Make note of your grind, pre-infusion time, etc. so you can fully understand the shot with regards to the amount of water used. As I mentioned before, when you are performing ambient pre-infusion (lever up with regular Cremina or lever down with Cremina SL), water is flowing from the boiler, into the chamber, then into the puck and then even through the puck when drips form. As long as no piston pressure is applied, any water in the chamber that goes into the puck will be replaced by more water from the boiler. This continues until piston pressure is applied and no further water from the boiler can enter the chamber. Doing the mass balance for each shot will show you how this works.

Have fun!

LMWDP #662


#19: Post by walterP »

Yep you pointed out what I was seeing this am.
Preinfusion / Lever down will keep that gate open and you are letting in X amount of water based on time, grind dose ect... I did not account for that one. I had it in my head that with a spring lever I only had 2 big variables. (dose and grind)

I think I made better progress on my grind but looking at it now I think I need to figure out a bunch more. Got "better" tasting shots. Crema not so fantastic. the two big things I noticed that look off are my time and yield.

- I moved to 13 grams for the dose to try and simplify.
- I was pulling my cup out when the piston arbor returned to home position. (thinking that was my fixed yield)
- did a 5 sec preinfusion on all shots (forgot to note what ones dripped at or before 5 sec but some did not drip)

shot 1: 37g out 40 sec
shot 2: finer grind 37.5 out 40 sec
shot 3: Finer grind 32.5 out 45 sec
Shot 4: Went more coarse than #1 33.7 out 32 sec (best tasting of all of these)

Using these smaller portafilters makes gathering baseline info tough as not as much Youtube wind is blowing around on them... Everything is typically based on the 58mm stuff and they all talk about ~30 sec for shot time so I am guessing my times are a bit high? also thinking I should try and get the full 14 grams in the basket to work on the ratio.

This long weekend should allow time for me to dig in further and look at the mass balance process above. (Thank you!)

Fun indeed!

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#20: Post by jwCrema »

Great progress!

Jim Schulman's is a terrific resource: Espresso 101: How to Adjust Dose and Grind Setting by Taste

When I registered to this website I was struggling with a Rancilio Rocky and a La Pavoni. I couldn't get crema, and I thought crema was a goal. Shortly after digging through content here I learned that crema is bitter and not the goal. Then I wanted to change my user name - I am not a bitter person.

When you get a chance look at the idea of "cupping" . For now, just go for taste. If you really want crema, new beans and a coarser grind will look cool, but I find it to be swill from a taste perspective.

Looking at no drips in 15 Mississippi, I'm not surprised shot 4 tasted the best. You might try one number toward coarse on your Niche. (I have one too).
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