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Thread: Cafe Roma - the journey

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Cafe Roma - the journey

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Cafe Roma - the journey

    I thought I would share my experiences so far, as I expect they are very similar to others experience and it just might help other newbies.

    so far ...

    I got the Breville ESP6 Cafe Roma (CR) around 02 hoping to get something approaching that cafe experience at home. At the time I was using a Breville Coffee n Spice grinder (chopper) for my drip filter and so used it also for the CR. The result was terrible - so the CR sat unused and unloved on the bench. Every once in a while I would have another go - with the same bitterly disappointing results.

    I read somewhere (probably here) that I needed a better grinder - so I got a Sunbeam EM0430, an affordable burr grinder to suit the budget espresso machine. OK - so its not a real conical burr grinder and the results were still bitterly disappointing. The grind is too uneven. At least it worked really well for the drip filter (and french press) and thats what its used for now, and the old spice grinder is now doing time as (surprise-surprise), a spice grinder. Again the CR again sat ignored on the bench as-if taunting me. Again I try it once in a while - adjust my tamp etc - the problem must surely be me.

    Last-year I decided to bite the bullet - Im going to get a decent coffee out of this thing if it kills me. I first bought a proper grinder - the Sunbeam EM0480. I also buy an unpressurised basket - the ESP4/51 and a new seal, the 800ES/192. I previously had real problems with the original seal with leakage and blowouts. The new seal has much larger ridges and even holds a full-on choke without blowing. I checked in the shop and current CRs seem to already have the updated seal.

    From then on we were really getting somewhere. Out of the box - I tried the grinder on 12 - choke. After further experimenting I found I had to set way off the marked scale to not choke the machine. Obviously way too fine. I had to remove one of the washers below the lower burr to remedy the situation. It now sits on 8-10 with cheap supermarket beans. A potential trap I discovered when dialling in the grinder - after a setting change, remember to run off a short grind to clear the grinder or youll get weird up-and-down results. My grinder also came without the new silicon nozzle extension - but I rang Sunbeam customer care and they said they would send me out one with the next shipment.

    I also removed the black plastic bit in the portafiller - YUCK - its scary in there. Glad thats out of there.With this filter Im getting a consistent 14g @ 15kg. The coffees getting better but the crema is still not so good - fresh roasted beans should fix that. It even does pretty decent microfoam with the included 400ml jug (with practice). I also bought an incasa 52mm tamper which seems a pretty good match for this filter basket.

    In use I used to find that there was so much pump vibration the cups/glasses would skate around the tray - but now with a properly dosed/tamped filter - the pressure settles the machine down. It also produces nice dry solid pucks after the shot - unless youve gone too fine on the grind.

    I really hate the filter holder slide catch. The new ones have the spring holder - much better. I (think) I hate the fixed steam wand. The new ones swivel - much more convenient. Its funny how much work there is in cleaning up after making a coffee - I really think barista means cleaner in Italian. ;-)

    where now ...

    • of course the next step is get some nice fresh roasted coffee - then maybe get into home roasting ...

    • Im thinking of taking out the base of the portafiller and going naked - the flimsy aluminium portafiller will be easy to work.

    • maybe learn to ride the temperature - I wonder how much temp variation there is with this machine ?

    dream of getting a better machine?

    the journey continues ...

    If you made it this far - thanks for reading.

  2. #2
    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Millthorpe NSW

    Re: Cafe Roma - the journey

    Welcome HJ!
    I had a Roma too for a number of years - great little machine - with fresh beans and good technique, you could still get a great pour, and good microfoam. When it eventually died, what prevented me from picking up another was 12 months working at places with commercial machines - I couldnt return to the extended time for frothing (especially in cold climate - the shot was cold before the milk was hot!).
    But a perfectly good setup - but PLEASE avoid supermarket beans like the plague! Then youll start getting some sweeeeet brews....



  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Australia

    Re: Cafe Roma - the journey

    Quote Originally Posted by 2F28332D263126470 link=1251529389/0#0 date=1251529389
    then maybe get into home roasting *
    Ha Ha, heard that a few times on these forums!, including myself not too long ago!, you will not regret the change to home roasting, the improvments are amazing, not to mention the cost!, $9ish a kilo!, great value, and a great little cheap hobby to get into.......hmmm rethinking the cheap comment ::)

    welcome to CS mate, enjoy your journey!, its fun ;D, sounds like your doing everything right, and producing some great coffee.

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