How to get better crema with non-pressurized portafilter

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
Viewer

#1: Post by Viewer »

I just picked up a non-pressurized portafilter to go along with my Estro Profi.

I seem to have the grind and tamp to where I'm pulling a 2 oz double shot in about 25 seconds.

But the crema is not nearly as thick or long lasting as I was getting it with the pressurized portafilter.

Suggestions?

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JonR10

#2: Post by JonR10 »

Viewer wrote:I seem to have the grind and tamp to where I'm pulling a 2 oz double shot in about 25 seconds.

But the crema is not nearly as thick or long lasting as I was getting it with the pressurized portafilter.

Suggestions?
What grinder are you using?
Did you get fresh-roasted beans?

If you use a HQ burr grinder and beans roasted within 2 weeks you will get "oodles" of crema.

Viewer

#3: Post by Viewer »

Grinder is a Macap stepless

Right now I'm using beans from Espresso Royale, which were in a sealed bag opened this past Monday or Tuesday.

I don't think the beans are the issue, since I just began using the new portafilter yesterday. I suppose I should do a side by side comparison.

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HB
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#4: Post by HB »

Viewer wrote:I suppose I should do a side by side comparison.
We were recently discussing pressurized portafilters in Help with Gaggia Espresso perfect crema device and machine:
HB wrote:Below is a photo of a "perfect crema device", or what is more commonly called a pressurized portafilter basket by non-marketing types:



That teenie tiny hole introduces air, producing a "fake" crema. The marketing people probably figure it's better to have something visible they can call crema than nothing, since it takes fresh coffee, a good grinder, and good technique to produce "real" crema. Like learning to cook a fine meal, many consumers don't have the patience, funds, or interest in such ventures, they just want a fast cuppa joe.
Back to your question, if there's less real crema and it's less persistent, I would look first to the coffee (some "best used by" sealed bags spend up to three months on the shelf) and then the brew pressure. The pressurized portafilter essentially injects air into the mix while a non-pressurized basket relies on the proper balance of resistance from the coffee and it containing enough oils. BTW, it would be a great diagnosis aid to see a video of one of these espresso extractions (see Posting videos on HB and Videos of espresso extractions for examples).
Dan Kehn

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#5: Post by cannonfodder »

When the bag was opened or what the 'use by' date on the bag indicates, freshness it does not guarantee. Keep in mind that the accepted 'norm' for fresh coffee is between 4 and 14 days from the time it was roasted. Most coffee from the local mega-mart is months old.

I would recommend that you order a truly fresh bag of coffee. Just look at the banner ads at the top of the page, there are several artisan roasters that support this site. I did take some photos once of some 'fresh' store bought coffee versus a truly fresh batch that I roasted. If I can find the photos, I will attach them.

Found them, this is a proper extraction from a bag of freshly opened store coffee
Image

Here is a shot of blend #10 around 5 days after it was roasted
Image

It makes that big of a difference.
Dave Stephens

Viewer

#6: Post by Viewer »

Yeah, I know,

Your photos pretty much tell the story.

I do stop by Intelligentsia and pick up a pound of Black Cat pretty much weekly. But I was in another town and I enjoy the coffee at Espresso Royale, so I picked up a pound.

I'll see if it makes any difference when I go to Intelligentsia this week.

Thanks

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JonR10

#7: Post by JonR10 »

Viewer wrote:I'll see if it makes any difference when I go to Intelligentsia this week.
Dollars to donuts says it will make a large difference.


I'm running some Yemen Sanani from Intelligentsia, and it makes a very sweet ristretto
(Roasted on 7/10, pulled shots today the 16th - yummy).

Image
Yemen Sunani from Intelligentsia, pulled as ristretto this morning.


After you get the good FRESH beans (and you already have an excellent grinder), then it becomes a matter of technique.
There are some good articles in the HOW TO area of this site with different methods for improving extractions if you'd like to see them...

/howtos.html

Good luck!

Viewer

#8: Post by Viewer »

Fresher beans seemed to make the difference.

Tastes better than fresh beans did with a pressurized portafilter too. On the other hand, the pressurized portafilter does make a nice looking shot.

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#9: Post by cannonfodder »

You can put a Ferrari emblem on a Pinto and paint it nice and red, but it is still a Pinto. A pretty shot of espresso is not necessarily a good shot of espresso.
Dave Stephens