Help with Gaggia Espresso perfect crema device and machine - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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Compass Coffee

#11: Post by Compass Coffee »

HB wrote:*Ahem* Sounds like some members need to revisit Hall of Shame: ''What I did when I was a newbie''.
Sure, answers to questions could be sugar coated. And not everyone EVER found *$ acceptable in their coffee journeys. Personally I don't care if someone likes *$, that's their choice and they have every right to it and said as much. Besides, if someone can't take the heat stay away from the portafilter. Yeah, I'm in an ornery mood. :twisted:
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)

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#12: Post by HB »

Compass Coffee wrote:Sure, answers to questions could be sugar coated.
Hmm-m. When you're feeling less ornery, please consider the site's Guidelines for productive online discussion. It may sound like "sugar coating" to you, but to me, it's about patience and respect. There are people who frequent this board who've forgotten more than I've yet to learn about coffee. Everyone's a newbie in some aspect of their learning, it just depends on one's point of reference.

(I think we understand each other's point of view; if you wish to continue this discussion, please do so offline... thanks).
Dan Kehn

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Compass Coffee

#13: Post by Compass Coffee »

HB wrote:Hmm-m. When you're feeling less ornery, please consider the site's Guidelines for productive online discussion.
Your response to my response to your post is why I'm not a moderator and you are! :shock: Point taken, and my apologies to jsweeney if I offended you. :oops:
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)


#14: Post by CafSuperCharged »

HB wrote:If I were to do it all again, I would start with the absolute best grinder I could afford and get an espresso machine later. I would prefer a couple years of fantastic French press made with fresh coffee than mediocre espressos.
So true. I have had the same reflection.
It's all about the coffee. Not to mention the coffees that aren't suitable for espresso yet excellent.
After many attempts in star restaurants, I still have to drink a Jamaica Blue Mountain from an espresso machine that really stands out (I tend to send them back). I do not believe it will ever work.

Jsweeney, the short answer is, I think, if your machine has been properly cleaned and prepared, then crema depends on several factors: blend (as in, which coffee you buy and this is not an innuendo of the sorts made above), and temperature. Pressure may play a role, as well as particle size and distribution (was the coffee ground at the proper size for your machine and did they use a quality grinder with even particle size distribution).
Be aware, these discussions in these fora are about not the kit, but the process (ritual) that gives the best divine shots most frequently in the easiest way.
Each of us is searching for the optimum in a multi-dimensional space that does not necessarily have one optimum, but can have none or more than one (depending on kit, tweaking and coffee), or in some case it may have a few local sub-optimums that temporarily seem satisfying, and then you discover another more optimal optimum with the same ingredients (kit, tweaking and coffee).

What does that mean in your case? Your preground coffee was optimized under a number of assumptions (kit specification, amount of coffee to be used, etc.) It is possible that your desired optimum is not available in your own environment or difficult to find because some parameter is so way out of what "we" consider normal we would never go there. For example, the majority of US home-baristas will overdose grounds a little, hence grind a bit coarser, tamp diligently. And the visual and taste clues can be totally different from a low-dosed, very finely ground, not tamped shot. Inclining to the US approach, I recently discovered I needed to adjust more to the Italian style when my coffee vendor introduced new blends (that are all sourced from Italy - Roman style). One of these blends, btw, contains more noble coffees and excels as breakfast (espresso) coffee, but after serious attempts I decided it was not my cup of tea. Back to the Roman style "bar" type espresso: beautiful red visual tones, lasting, strong and dense crema. And my taste. But it only reveals this at the right temperature (which is actually pretty low in this case).



#15: Post by FC+ »

mattwells wrote:One of the reasons you are missing the crema is that ...
... coffee, proper grind, and tamp thing. Yeah, those are essentials. I'm not new to coffee, been drinking press coffee and roasting my own for years now. Got a lot of nice moka pots and an ibrik around too. But I am new to pressurized espresso machines, I have a Gaggia, and I'm determined to produce the best roasts, grind properly, tamp properly, and get the best liquid from the machine that I can. I hope it takes me years and years of experimentation to get there.

newbie to newbie, go back to basics, forget the pressurized thingamabobbie; the crema is inherent in coffee if it's treated right.