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Thread: Cafe Roma Problems

  1. #1
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    Cafe Roma Problems

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    After having a good run with my Roma, it is now giving me grief :( brews are now undrinkable. I have tried different beans(fresh), tried different variations of temp surfing, soaked the depressurised basket in cleaning vinegar to clean up any old oils, straight hot water tastes fine, tried everything I can think but still get a undrinkable sour/bitter brew. Any suggestions are welcome.

  2. #2
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    Re: Cafe Roma Problems

    My experience of the Cafe Roma is that it has a quite limited lifespan - have you de-scaled the boiler?

    I know the cost of upgrading always hurts, but the Cafe Roma was never going to be where you finished your journey as a coffeesnob - just a place to start.

  3. #3
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    Re: Cafe Roma Problems

    damn thats a shame, how long have you had it? Ive had my roma for about 3 years I think and its still fine.

  4. #4
    ozz
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    Re: Cafe Roma Problems

    Greetings all.
    Yep, another bumbling newbie here...I had a laugh
    I just got a bargain buy off ebay of a Breville Cafe Roma ESP8B but im buggered if I can work out how to make a great cuppa from it. Ive been lurking around here reading everything I can about grinding/brewing etc & have tried a lot of different combinations(but not all yet). Can someone who has had/has one of these machines suggest a recipe for success please?
    Id love to have a nice cup soon & dont see much point in battling on by my self. It seems the sensible thing to do to ask for help. So thanks in advance for any help you could lend.
    Oz

    PS, I just timed the mrs making her coffee & it was 46 secs to pour 240mls for the way she likes her coffee done.

  5. #5
    DIG
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    Re: Cafe Roma Problems

    Hi ozz
    I had a cafe roma working beautifully until it died two days ago. I think the first problem is that you are pouring a 240 ml shot. The second problem is that it takes you 46 seconds to pour that much. You really should only pour a small espresso (30ml) size shot (or double espresso (60ml) for the double basket). If you are pouring more than that, the coffee will taste increasingly bad. If you want to add volume, you should just top it up with hot water or hot milk. If it takes only 46 seconds to pour that much, then your grind is too course. I think this is likely to be a major problem, but other things you can do are (and forgive me if this is obvious from what you have already read):
    1. Get fresh roasted beans. 2. grind them just before use with a decent grinder (or get fresh ground coffee from a good coffee supplier if you dont have a decent grinder but it wont be as good). 3. Modify your filter basket to make it non-pressurised. The last step is a bit tricky and you should read up about it on the relevant threads here before attempting it.

    I hope this is helpful.
    DIG

  6. #6
    ozz
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    Re: Cafe Roma Problems

    Hi Dig
    Thanks for the post mate.
    I do have good coffee here both pre ground & fresh beans from very good sellers, not supermarket crud.
    I have only this week got a new sunbeam em0450 conical burr grinder & am very much still in the experimental stage of getting to know it & what grind will work best. The first one I did was on the finest setting & came out like talc powder & ended up doing another grind on about 15 to mix in with the powdery one. The grind on 15 seems to be pretty good(from a novices point of view) its about the consistency of castor sugar...ish. Was judging it on a pre ground batch of coffee that was sent to me from a place in sydney.
    One thing ive noticed though is that when I take out the filter basket there is a pool of water sitting on top of the coffee. Would this mean its ground too fine & the water is not getting through? Have done a water only run without the handle in & it stops straight away so I dont think its an overflow sort of thing.
    Have just gone from an even cheaper 4bar maker to this new one thinking I would get really good results & have been really dissapointed so far.

    Ill give onlythe 30 & 60ml a wizz in the morning but I guess this is the area where im going to struggle the most as I love a big fat mug of coffee & am thinking itll end up too weak if I top it off with more water or milk...but its worth having a go at as I believe just about anyone here would have more experience with this stuff than I do right now.
    Mate, thanks again for the help.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Lizzie's Avatar
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    Re: Cafe Roma Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by ozz link=1185310916/0#5 date=1188640784
    The first one I did was on the finest setting & came out like talc powder & ended up doing another grind on about 15 to mix in with the powdery one. The grind on 15 seems to be pretty good(from a novices point of view) its about the consistency of castor sugar...ish. Was judging it on a pre ground batch of coffee that was sent to me from a place in sydney.
    One thing ive noticed though is that when I take out the filter basket there is a pool of water sitting on top of the coffee. Would this mean its ground too fine & the water is not getting through? Have done a water only run without the handle in & it stops straight away so I dont think its an overflow sort of thing.
    .
    Hi Ozz...
    Welcome!!
    coupla things of the top of my head...don;t mix different "fines" of grinds...
    there are plenty of posts on the forum which can tell you why it is so very important that all the grinds in your portafilter are the same size.. only if the grinds are uniform will you have the chance to tamp them in a puck which will let the water through evenly, thereby extracting the aromatic and volatile components (the yummy bits!!) from the coffee without bitterness..
    if you have such a puck of evenly ground coffee, you should get about 25-40 ml in about 35 sec, before the shot starts blonding... as soon as the espresso starts showing a paler colour you would be best to stop the shot, cause it will start to taste bitter.
    if you want a big mug of coffee ( the Aus version of a lunga ????), just put hot water in your mug first, then extract a shot of espresso on top of it.
    if you have a very big mug ( your coffee mug, that is... :P) up-dose your basket, *so you can get about 60ml of espresso from the same shot (edit: about 60 sec before it starts blonding)... there is plenty of info on the forum about *up-dosing and shot times, as well as tamping and grinding.. just use the search engine.

    good luck!! ;)


    L

  8. #8
    Senior Member Lizzie's Avatar
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    Re: Cafe Roma Problems

    oops, :-[ forgot about the water on the puck...
    yes, generally that means the grinds were too fine...although, having said that, sometimes you will get some water in the puck even though the shot was pretty good.

    maybe you would be best to get a kilo of freshly roasted beans (rested about 5-7 days)and start grinding and pulling shots, changing the setting only a little bit every time.
    do keep notes :) ... eventually you will find the right setting for a nice 30ml shot in about 30 sec and end up with a relatively dry puck...
    the fun is in the trying!! ;D

    cheers,
    L

  9. #9
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Cafe Roma Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by ozz link=1185310916/0#5 date=1188640784
    Ill give onlythe 30 & 60ml a wizz in the morning but I guess this is the area where im going to struggle the most as I love a big fat mug of coffee & am thinking itll end up too weak if I top it off with more water or milk...but its worth having a go at as I believe just about anyone here would have more experience with this stuff than I do right now.
    ozz if you get a good pour of espresso in 30 seconds, that will be the taste of good coffee.
    Its also the basic ingrediant to all coffee drinks be they short or long blacks or any of the milk based ones.

    When the coffee pour lightens what you get is bitterness and if you look closely its running thin and watery.
    The beginning of a shot is thick and slow. Thats where all the good taste is.

    Wouldnt you rather top up your mug with water or milk instaed of thin, watery bitterness?

    Ive made a few coffees at work of late and each person has drunk it without their usual 1 sugar.
    This shows how sweet and thick a good coffee can taste.

    Trust us, give it a go.

  10. #10
    ozz
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    Re: Cafe Roma Problems

    Thanks everyone for your help, I cant wait until the morning rolls around now to try out all your suggestions.
    Much appreciated, thank you all.

  11. #11
    DIG
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    Re: Cafe Roma Problems

    Hi again ozz
    The water on the puck thing is probably a result of the pressurised basket that come standard with the cafe roma - I used to get this too before I cut a hole in the bottom wall to make it a non-pressurised basket. I dont think you can really get a nice dry puck with a pressurised basket. That said, I reckon you will get a big improvement simply by working out where your grinder should be set to give you the right (caster sugar like) consistency and limiting your pour to about 60ml which (as others have said) should take roughly 30 seconds if the grind is right (with the double basket). If you really like a big mug of (strong) coffee, you may have to pour two doubles into the mug. The baskets on the roma are quite small, and you can only stretch the coffee so far, but with overdosing etc you may get enough out of one basket to keep you happy.
    Hope it is a big improvement in the morning for you.
    DIG

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    Re: Cafe Roma Problems

    Gday ozz and welcome to CoffeeSnobs [smiley=thumbsup.gif],

    An excellent site that is often referenced here at CS is the Home Barista website and a page that is really worth reading with respect to getting the best from your espresso machine is this one. The entire How To section is worth studying over time but this is a good place to start,

    Cheers,
    Mal.

  13. #13
    ozz
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    Re: Cafe Roma Problems

    Well thanks all on the tips, the morning coffee has been much much better :) now that I know I was being greedy & trying to re-invent the laws of coffee physics ::)
    I forgot to time it but it seems like only about 10 seconds to pour 60ml so im guessing it could maybe not be ground fine enough or tamped down enough... would this be right?

    I used to get this too before I cut a hole in the bottom wall to make it a non-pressurised basket. I dont think you can really get a nice dry puck with a pressurised basket.
    Interesting... DIG it looks to me like these baskets have a top & bottom to them with lots of holes on the top & only 1 hole on the bottom.
    By this do you mean that you put more holes in the bottom?

  14. #14
    DIG
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    Re: Cafe Roma Problems

    Yes, thats right Ozz. Have a read of this thread for some more detail. http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1168768543/0
    I cut a hole in my basket with a dremel and a tiny cutting wheel. It looks like this

    Note the hole is square and roughly 5mmx5mm. It made a significant difference in the flavour in my opinion. It also prevented the annoying blockages I occasionally had. It basically means that the basket itself doesnt provide the resistance, the coffee does instead, hence the extraction works in more or less the same way as in a commercial machine. You can also get away with a finer grind and harder tamping with a modified basket, whereas the pressurised baskets block too easily if the grind is fine.
    An alternative is to order the krups non-pressurised basket, which is mentioned many times in the thread I listed here.

  15. #15
    ozz
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    Re: Cafe Roma Problems

    Thanks for the pic & hints Dig.
    I had a go at modding my single basket...
    [img]
    http://www.makeithappen.biz/images/oz/coffee/Picture 031 (WinCE).jpg[/img]
    Im not sure if I did it properly or not(too big/small) but the results from this experiment are not very good.
    Now I get no crema

    This one is done with a campos coffee that I know if top class & get a mad crema(although its a fake) with the bigger basket. This particular one was ground on 10 using my sunbeam conical burr em0450, I tamped the crapper out of it using the plastic jobbie that came with the machine(havent got a good one yet) & the pour time was 13 sec for 60ml & it still didnt taste like I know it should...damn its frustrating.
    Im really considering selling this thing already & trying to get something a bit better which I dont think will really work anyhow as I would only be able to spend about $200 on another machine & from doing alot of reading here seems like that will only get me something similar to this one I already have anyhow. Maybe a BREVILLE 800ES could be do-able but I dont know that it will be any sort of an upgrade, only a bit more expensive for similar results. ARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH, if I had any hair id be pulling it out. I never knew it was so hard to get a great cuppa at home.

  16. #16
    DIG
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    Re: Cafe Roma Problems

    Hi Ozz. Your mod looks good. From the description, I dont think the problem is with your cafe roma, so I dont think you should rush into selling it just yet. If you are getting a pour time of 13 seconds for 60ml from your single basket, that is the most likely reason for your problem. I think you should be aiming roughly for a pour time of 30 seconds for 30ml from your single basket. You should not try to extract more than 30 ml from a single basket - it will just taste bad. With your current set up, the water is moving through your coffee 4 times too fast. This suggests that your grind is not fine enough (if you are tamping hard) and is probably also connected to the lack of crema. The sunbeam grinder can be tricky to get right and I think if it isnt clean, then compacted coffee grounds can keep the upper burr from getting closer to the lower burr even when you dial it down. So, firstly, try to clean the burrs if they are covered in old grounds. Then, try grinding at a the same or even a finer setting. If you cant get a setting that slows the pour rate, then the problem is with your grinder, not the cafe roma. I used to be able to choke my cafe roma so it wouldnt pour at all, if I dropped the grinder setting to about 10 and tamped hard with the plastic tamper. From there, 1 or 2 clicks higher, same amount of coffee and same tamp pressure, had it working about right, producing nice coffee with decent crema through my modified basket. I dont know Campos coffee, but if it isnt fresh roasted (ie. within a few weeks at most), then that may also be why you arent getting much crema.

  17. #17
    ozz
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    Re: Cafe Roma Problems

    Hi Ozz. Your mod looks good. From the description
    Thanks for the encouragement & your posts & help mate.
    I thought I stuffed it to begin with as I thought that just a few extra drill holes in the bottom might work but I could hear little bits of metal shaking around so ended up at a mates place (who has more tools than I do) & drilled out the hole than punched the top part of the basket out, got the dremel in to grind away any sharp bits & punched the top part back in, so was reasonably happy being able to get it done without buggering it up completly.

    I dont think the problem is with your cafe roma, so I dont think you should rush into selling it just yet.
    I might subconsciously be looking for a reason to upgrade... *;)

    If you are getting a pour time of 13 seconds for 60ml from your single basket, that is the most likely reason for your problem. I think you should be aiming roughly for a pour time of 30 seconds for 30ml from your single basket. You should not try to extract more than 30 ml from a single basket - it will just taste bad. With your current set up, the water is moving through your coffee 4 times too fast.
    So far I havent been able to get a 30 sec pour from the single or double basket, modded or not modded no matter what the grind and/or tamping. Mostly I use the double basket as I like a bigger coffee & tried the mod on the single because i thought if I stuff it up its no loss as I probably wouldnt use it anyhow, but still cant achieve that elusive 30 sec pour.

    This suggests that your grind is not fine enough (if you are tamping hard) and is probably also connected to the lack of crema. The sunbeam grinder can be tricky to get right and I think if it isnt clean, then compacted coffee grounds can keep the upper burr from getting closer to the lower burr even when you dial it down. So, firstly, try to clean the burrs if they are covered in old grounds. Then, try grinding at a the same or even a finer setting. If you cant get a setting that slows the pour rate, then the problem is with your grinder, not the cafe roma. I used to be able to choke my cafe roma so it wouldnt pour at all, if I dropped the grinder setting to about 10 and tamped hard with the plastic tamper. From there, 1 or 2 clicks higher, same amount of coffee and same tamp pressure, had it working about right,
    This grinder gets cleaned as best I can after every grind so I dont cross contaminate the different coffees we are trying out(got about 10 diff ones...do I qualify as a coffee addict yet...I had a laugh) Its a mongrel thing to clean too. I had a choice of this one, sunbeam EM0450(ours is a 0450 but they have 0480 on the site, dont know what the diff is.)
    Code:
    http://www.sunbeam.com.au/products/product_details.cfm?rec_id=587&sec_id=79&home_id=2
    or a delonghi KG100 for $5 dearer
    Code:
    http://www.delonghi.com.au/products/product_details.asp?Model=KG100
    (Id be curious which one you or anyone would consider the better grinder & easiest to clean)


    I dont know Campos coffee, but if it isnt fresh roasted (ie. within a few weeks at most), then that may also be why you arent getting much crema.
    Man this is the best coffee ive EVER had. They are in Newtown & well worth a try. My fav is the superior blend, have loved & craved it for years & this batch is really fresh. This is the batch I benchmark all other coffee to, if it dont stand up to the campos coffee...out it goes or the mrs gets it...lolI still havent gotten to the part of the forum yet thats about all the diff coffees there is to try but ill get there eventually. Whats your favs?

    Thanks heaps for all your & everyones help. Im not used to being a useless noob at many things & am finding this whole learning curve really really frustrating so all your help, suggestions & encouragement is very much appreciated.
    Thanks
    Oz

  18. #18
    DIG
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    Re: Cafe Roma Problems

    No worries Oz, I was in your boat not long ago and got heaps of help from folks here so if I can pass some on then great (and I am happy to be corrected by any of the more experience CSers). I reckon your grinder is the problem, but only in that you might need to set it to grind much finer. Also, try tamping on top of a set of bathroom scales, to see if you are getting near 15kg (which you should aim for). If you can do a bit of experimenting, why not try a few steps finer on the grinder. If you cant get the pour to take 30seconds or more, even on the finest setting your grinder will allow, then you may need to fix or replace your grinder. I have the 0480. I am not sure how much different they are, but I am pretty sure the 0450 is capable of producing a fine enough grind for espresso. There are lots of posts in the grinder section about problems with the 0480 gradually getting courser and requiring a lower setting, and more importantly, tips to fix the problem (adjusting the position of the burrs). These may also prove useful for your 0450 grinder if you cant get it to grind fine enough. The cafe roma can certainly do the job (mine did it very well), so if you buy another machine and you use the same grinder, you will probably be just as disappointed. That isnt to say that you can improve on a cafe roma - you can for sure, but at this stage I dont think it is your weakest link.

    I get my coffee from Coffea in Melbourne (Fidels blend). Typically roasted within 2-4 days of purchase. It is my favourite.



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