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Thread: Cafe Roma - one is not like the other...

  1. #1
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    Cafe Roma - one is not like the other...

    Hi all

    I have a question re. the Breville cafe roma that I don't see anywhere after a search.

    I've had mine for years. It's fine for a small cheap home machine. But over the summer I was using someone else's. Exactly the same machine, similar vintage, same grinder, range of beans used. But the coffee coming from this machine is consistently stronger than from mine.

    Why is this and how can I get mine to behave like theirs? Any clues? TIA.

  2. #2
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    More than likely it is in the settings you are using ie the grind fine-ness, dose, tamp etc and possibly even the scale that has built up that leads to a slightly different brew pressure. Change some of your variables and see what that does to your cuppa.

  3. #3
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    Tried all that, with the exception of clearing scale, but the softness of our water makes that extremely unlikely (we are on rainwater). I was making the coffee at both ends. Fiddled with the fineness of the grind here and there, did everything else the same that I usually do both places. Only thing I haven't done yet is to use exactly the same coffee beans as they do, as I use a local brand that isn't available where they are. It's a disappointing and fairly significant difference and now that I know what I could be getting from this machine, it annoys me every cup...

  4. #4
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Beans will be a massive difference. More than likely that then.
    shortblackman likes this.

  5. #5
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    I'll give it a go, with reservations...! And let you know.
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  6. #6
    Rbn
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    Will be interested in your results.

    I am trying, without success to get my Sunbeam EM 5600 to perform as well as my EM7000.
    Same grinder. Can't get it to happen yet.
    Might not be possible.

  7. #7
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Are you using single or dual-wall baskets in the PF?

    Mal.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Are you using single or dual-wall baskets in the PF?

    Mal.
    Was that question for me?

    Tried the exact same beans over the weekend. No help. The espresso just isn't as strong, and the crema looks quite different - what comes from my machine is lighter than the other one.

    :-(

  9. #9
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    Maybe I could secretly swap the machines over - they look exactly the same ;-)
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  10. #10
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Hmmmm.... Mal does raise a good point, are you using a dual or single wall PF Lisa?

    Other than that, I don't know how consistent the pumps/heating elements would be in the lower end machines like the brevilles & sunbeams. If you truly want to get technical you would need to measure the pressure & temperature coming out of the group head. Again would make a massive difference.

    Are you sure you are using the same grinder/settings? How many grams in and out in how long?

    Otherwise you might have to live with knowing there is inconsistencies between machines and consider an upgrade?

  11. #11
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    If both machines pull same time and volume of shot, on the same grind fineness, then its not pressure.
    But that was going to be my suggestion. Low pressure on yours

  12. #12
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    ok. will need to do some timing and measuring etc.

    Mine are double walled. I assume his are too, as they are the standard ones that come with the machine and usually these type of machines do have double walled. But I will check.

    Yes, absolutely sure it is the same grinder and same settings. So if we are both using the same beans, and have it on finest grind (which he usually does) then most variables are accounted for.

    ETA: he is a science geek so will no doubt enjoy the challenge of doing some observation for me!
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  13. #13
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    If you are both using double wall baskets, you can time and measure without grinds in basket.

    My espresso improved amazingly when i got a single wall basket in my cheapo 800es breville. Although i did have to shim my grinder quite a bit finer.

  14. #14
    Rbn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Are you using single or dual-wall baskets in the PF?

    Mal.
    Single, Krups, Breville, and some Chinese one.
    Trying them all at 14gm.

    But to the above posters, grinders are not all the same.
    I have 2 EM 480s, and 1 EM 440. Basically they are the same, but of course they are not.
    So you have to "tune your grinder in" play with the settings to ensure you have the right fineness.

    Not sure if what I have done is correct,
    but I grind fine enough to almost "choke" the machine, then back off a bit at time, until I get a pour that starts slowly then flows a little more easily.

    And now you are on the fascinating "continuing improvement programme" to better coffee!
    Enjoy, it can be frustrating, but also fun.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisamnz View Post
    Hi all

    I have a question re. the Breville cafe roma that I don't see anywhere after a search.

    I've had mine for years. It's fine for a small cheap home machine. But over the summer I was using someone else's. Exactly the same machine, similar vintage, same grinder, range of beans used. But the coffee coming from this machine is consistently stronger than from mine.

    Why is this and how can I get mine to behave like theirs? Any clues? TIA.
    G'day Lisamnz

    There are five main possibilities
    1) The grinders are performing differently. Same model - meh. Some Breville Smartgrinders work pretty well, others cannot work falling down a cliff in a tailwind. One reason I picked was actually the shape of the grounds - more irregular = worse coffee. There are probably a whole bunch of other reasons.
    2) Way back I had access to 2 Cafe Romas in a holiday let for a few weeks. One (slightly older by one month if I recall correctly) was an all stainless body, the other was mostly plastic. The coffee out of the plastic one was not even close to the stainless one.
    3) Baskets vary enormously at the low end. Nuff said.
    4) Different coffee beans / roasts / age of coffee "post roasting" et. al. have vastly different characteristics. Perhaps your friend has better (or at least stronger flavoured) beans.
    5) Water - they are not equal either. My favourite coffee is probably a lightly roasted, high altitude Colombian. According to traditionalists it should not even to be possible to make a decent espresso out of it. When finally nailed in, it has a delicate "nowhere to hide" flavour with a brilliant lingering aftertaste (for hours). It is also a true PITA to set up and balance in any given site. On a few occasions I moved all my gear to a different site and used the local water - total fail. I now carry my own water for any serious event...

    Enjoy your journey in coffee. I sense a long future in your tinkering.

    TampIt

  16. #16
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    Tada, the results.

    Firstly, just to confirm that these machines are EXACTLY the same. Their model is possibly about a year older than mine.

    The grinders are both Solis, type '166'

    Firstly the coffee grinder; on around 3.5 dots for 25 seconds, using the SAME beans, they got 29g and I got 40g. I'd usually have mine on a finer setting than that.

    The machine: with around 14g of ground coffee in the basket (I'd usually use more actually) and lightly tamped, run for 16 seconds, they got 89g of liquid coffee and I got only 68g. Both machines were hot - ie hadn't just been switched on, but had been left till they were hot to the touch on the side.

    Amazing how much variation there is between exactly the same tools.

    So, your diagnosis???

  17. #17
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    AS TampIt said, there is huge variation in the machines and particularly with the grinders. A 3.5 on one grinder might be a 5.5 on the other. Unfortunately the lower end machines (in fact most grinders) aren't calibrated to the same set point so the same dial reading won't be equal to another.

    Did you do a blind shot with - ie pouring liquid without coffee for the same time?

    Did you also weigh the coffee pre grinding to make sure you are both doing exactly the same weight? Maybe try weighing exactly 16g with the same grinder and and doing a shot on both.

    Again you will probably have to live with knowing there are inconsistencies in both machines.

  18. #18
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    Ok, so assuming I just live with knowing the exact same machine is not going to perform the same... I guess I just play with mine to see if I can get it as strong as possible.

    It's a bit annoying knowing that you might base your decision to buy one machine based on how you've seen it perform, only to find that another one is quite different...

  19. #19
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    You may find that you need a new pump and that it then makes coffee as good as the other.

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