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Thread: Frustrated as hell!  EM6910 crema

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    Frustrated as hell!  EM6910 crema

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Ive owned a Sunbeam EM6910 and matching EM0480 grinder for about 3 months now. Im still yet to get a decent cup of coffee out of them. Now before I go any further I accept this could (more than likely) be me doing the wrong thing. Ive read a million things on the net with anything to do with brewing the perfect shot, etc. Ive watched the DVD from Paul Bassett that came with it, Ive done everything short of going on a baristas course. Im yet to attend the free course that comes with the 6910. I accept this could be my downfall but I want to check one thing first.

    Ive seen a great shot on youtube from cremaman http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=88-Lk4I7jbI

    In that video, the extraction is like a syrup and that beautiful crema I would just die for. He gets like 90% crema after the pour, too much most would say, thats fine but I would just like to be able to mimmick something like those results. The best crema Ive ever had is maybe 2%. Ive tried different beans from Segafredo, Gloria Jeans, Coffee Club, etc. (all fresh). Ive gone through a ton of beans experimenting with different grind settings. Nothing.

    I know you all have better things to do then listen to another noob trying to perfect the pour. I am just at my wits end with what soon maybe an expensive bookend. Can someone give me their details with the coffee beans, the grind setting (EM0480), everything to do with the pour, just so I can get a decent crema and at least I can eliminate the machine as the problem. Im beginning to think it doesnt producee the pressure its suppose to have.
    If I can at least eliminate the machine then I can work on me with getting that course done. I need to have confidence in the machine which I am lacking at the moment.

    Thanks,
    Dave
    Narrabeen - NSW.

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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Hi Dave, a couple of questions first. *You will notice from the link that you pointed to above, that the extraction pour took approx 20secs from first drop.

    From previous research into this matter, I believe that general consensus is the pour should be somewhere between 20-30 secs (some may indicate a smaller window than that ?). *How long is yours taking ?

    From your description of 2% crema, Im guessing that you are taking less than 20 secs ? (Yes / No).

    If so, your grind may be too coarse, or your tamp too soft.

    But then again, I could be full of crap :-)

    P.S. My EM0480 is set to 14 (but that doesnt mean that yours should be the same).

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    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Dave,

    Welcome to CS.

    The first thing that jumps out at me from your post is the list of fresh beans you have used.

    I seriously doubt that Segafredo or Gloria Jeans are going to be fresh. I would hazard a guess that the same could be true of Coffee Club.

    When you say fresh, do you KNOW that they were roasted no more than 2 weeks before you purchased them? If you cannot be sure of the roasted date (NOT the best before), then this will likely be 95% of your problem.

    If you dont know when they were roasted, then I strongly suggest getting some roasted beans from either here or one of the sponsors that sells them. See links on the left.

    If they are indeed fresh beans youre using, then we will commence the barrage of questions to see if we can help out!

    Brett.

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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Welcome to Coffee Snobs Dave.

    What makes you so sure all those beans were fresh?

    EDIT: snap Brett.

    P.S. Dave where are you?

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    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Welcome Dave..hmm...doubt those beans you mentioned are really fresh. Definitely get yourself to the free course - Im sure it will be invaluable to you.

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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Dave,

    Out of curiosity...how long does it take to extract a single shot (25~30mL)?

    There are probably a lot more experienced CSers than me, but if you can try to nail one thing at a time; a consistent and flat tamp (forget the right weight...18kg?), a grind that gives you 25~30mL in about 20~25 seconds. Try and stick the the same beans before you change. Find something you like and stick with them until you get it sorted out.

    There are so many variables! Consistency is the key.

    Ive had my EM6910 for about the same time. Did a course prior to buying...worth every cent. Will do the Sunbeam course when I get around to arranging it.

    Cant help wih the EM0480 as I went the slightly more $$$ route and bought a Mini Mazzer. Very happy with it. Lots use the EM0480 so advice shouldnt be far away.

    Your hard work will pay off!

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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Hi dhepburn,

    As a fellow noob perhaps I can offer some advise. Im also having problems but have had some degree of success. I realise this is the blind leading the blind.

    Firstly, you know, from the video that the kind of shots youre wanting are attainable, and I can tell you from experience they are. Mostly mine tend to be disappointments, but I have made some shots that were just wonderful. 80% crema, guinness effect, good body etc.

    Secondly, attend the course, its well worth it and the instructors will stand there and watch your technique. The instant feedback is really what you need.

    On the home barista website (google home barista) under the howtos there is an article diagnosing espresso extraction problems. Have a read of it if youve not already.

    After Ive pulled a shot, and watched it like an eagle, I always pull the PF out and have a look at the puck. It should be dry with no holes in it and have a slight indentation of the showerhead screw right in the centre. Thats my aim each time. If I dont get that (often I have wormholes which indicate channeling, or a wet mushy puck) then I know that somethings gone wrong.

    Ive also, just today, tried to rule out all variables in the process. So, Ive pulled the bathroom scales out and I tamp on that so I can consistently get 15kg. Im also grinding into the canister that came with the grinder. I then pour it into the PF and level off with a small plastic ruler so I can fill in any holes. This hopefully is preventing the channeling I mentioned. I also make sure I tamp and polish the same each time. Ill be able to tell in a few days if this has fixed my issues.

    Lastly, I know you said your beans are fresh, but I would suggest choosing a small local roaster, and for now, only buy the one blend. Using a different blend, even the age of that blend will change your variables, as Ive just found out. Make sure your beans come with a roast date on the pack.

    Pulling a good shot is like balancing a plate on a stick. Im sure its easy once you get the hang of it. Good luck, let us know how you go.

    -ACog

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    A_M
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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    1: *FRESH beans... *Not from a supermarket or local Coffee shop, until you know what to expect..
    2: *Single or double PF basket. * Ignore the single spout on the Video... Bet *ya any thing it was the double basket.
    3: *Do not use the double floor baskets... Single floor... Have a look and you should see lots of daylight almost lake a gause.
    4: Grinder... *Ummmm *The setting will be different for every one and is also related to the BEANS and which day the grinder was made...... *Somewhere between 10 and 20, but should be about 15... Should be.

    5: Do the SB course

    6: Do not over tamp - 20 - 30 lb or about *10 - 15 kg is not that heavy... *Put the PF on a bathroom scale and try it... You will be enlightened....

    7: Count the time, watch the gauge, watch the flow (thick, oily or runny) and the colour (also at what stage the consistency and colour changes)... *They all mean something when looked at together. *Separately, they mean little.

    8: *So where are you ? *

    Sometimes a 15min guidance by an experienced person is all you need. *Remember most CSs people have done teh hard yards and have travelled the same roads... *Sit back and enjoy the ride.. *NO air bags needed. *Frustration is always a problem, but it will not kill you like a lamp post.

    Let us know how you go.

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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Well thanks for your help guys - wasnt expecting responses so soon!

    ok, let me answer these...

    Im getting the 30ml in 30 seconds pour happening. The pour is a liquidy stream rather than a syruppy stream I see on the video mentioned (and others). Its basically dirty water rather than liquid gold!

    Ive tried many different grinds, lately have found midway point on the range available on the EM0480 that being setting 16 (of the 30 available). Dont have a measure of the tamp Im giving but Im putting a decent weight into it with a 180 degree twist at the end. This has produced the most constant pour stream.

    Realise the beans wont be as fresh as the local roasters. I actually bought the Segafredo from my local cafe that jsut produces the best cappa Ive ever had. Im trying to emulate that coffee at home - now I realise I only have a $600 machine whereas they have probably a $7,000 machine, but I should get reasonably close - right? Im not even close. Ive taken measurements of their pour, etc still didnt help.

    Like you say, there are so many variables. Right now I just want to be confident the machine is preducing the 15 bar of pressure that its suppose to be.

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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    AM
    I dont use the double-floor baskets
    Started with double basket at first but was getting no where with those so switched to the single basket of late
    Will look into the bathroom scales idea - sounds sensible!
    FRESH beans - I hear you. Id expect my cafe to have fresh beans, I bought an unopened pack off his stock which he uses day to day so I know theyd be at least as fresh as the ones he uses. Again, I know the $7,000 machine is going to do more than my pocket rocket.


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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Im an EM 6910/EM0450 owner, and let me preface my remarks by saying:

    a) Im stunned by the quality of the output, as is anyone whos tried my efforts. Even "she who must be obeyed" *who is a lifelong tea drinker/coffee hater now actually requests 3 or 4 lattes a day.

    b) Im a pedantic SOB, with half a lifetime experience in training and machinery usage, so please excuse me if I waffle on.

    In answer to the OP:

    To get a "perfect" outcome (i.e. 30mls in 30 seconds, good crema and excellent, sweet, no bitterness *taste) using Mocha beans roasted locally within 7 days, my settings are:

    20 (measured)grams in the basket using a fill/3 taps on the bumper box/light tamp - times 3 then a final fill/scrape/15kg tamp with an Espro tamper.

    The EM0450 is set on "5" or "6" depending on time of day/humidity etc, the espresso thermoblock temp altered from standard to +4C and the plastic portafilter insert removed.

    Similarly, with fresh locally roasted "Voodoo Sax" blend the process is the same, but using only a measured ground 18gms and the grinder set on 6.

    Previously, a locally roasted "Ethiopian" blend required the same procedure with a measured 19gms ground weight to produce a similar outcome.

    Being the pedant I am, I must admit it took me around 1250 grams of beans practise before I came close to being satisfied I was even "in the ballpark"


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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    dont stress too much until you know you have fresh beans. you will get very little crema from stale beans. I would say most of the coffee shops near me use stale beans. You can order beans online from the "buy brown" link up the top left of the screen.

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    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Welcome friend. I have an Italian mate who raved about Segafredo...until he tasted my home roasted beans. The fact is that Segafredo is imported and is usually stale. As such when you get your home set up right you wont be buying coffee again at your fav coffee shop. Having said that, using a commercial grinder and commercial machine, you can tweak things so that the coffee comes out somewhat better than your set up, assuming you are using identical beans, but really most of it is the beans, then the grinder with person on the machine/grinder at the same level, and machine after that in my opinion.

    You need fresh beans. By that I mean local roaster/Andys roast bought online here/ roast your own green beans which is not hard and inexpensive to do (cheaper than roasted by quite a margin - get your greens here, because they never fail to be excellent quality).

    Tell us where you live and we can all then give you input into a good local roaster if you dont yet wish to purchase on line.

    I can tell you that I get syrupy pours from my EM6910 every day using fresh beans. My commercial machine is more forgiving to grind/tamp/dose variances than my EM and but the EM is capable of consistent excellent looking pours with fresh beans. DONT GIVE UP!!

    Cheers

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    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Hi Dave, freshly roasted beans from a reliable outlet should set you on the right path.
    My son has a 6910 and he is not very pedantic about his coffee technique, but he produces a respectable cup consistently using my home roasted beans.

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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Fresh beans indeed are a must.

    Cremaman seems to use mostly the single basket from what I can tell in his videos (and I think that one you linked to is with an old "solis" grinder that he had modded, not the EM0480 as per some of his newer vids). I also studied his videos lots when I got my machine as we dont get offered the sunbeam course in NZ, nor was there a DVD in the box with my machine.

    I find the syrupy pours are more easily achieved with an overdosed basket and slightly coarser grind.

    If you are using the sunbeam tamper, aim to have about 1/2 of the steel piece above the rim of the PF when your PF is ready to go into the machine.

    My current dosing method is to grind directly into the PF. I grind for a bit, then tap twice on the base of the grinder, grind some more until it looks full, then tap again on the base, then grind again until there is a small mound above the PF. Using a NSEW movment with the tamper, compact this down, then tamp once with what ever weight it is I use (have no idea how much pressure). This leaves about 1/2 the steel part of the tamper exposed. Its not a particularly scientific (or measured) way of dosing, but I can get it reasonably consistent. Lock / load the PF and press fire.

    Needle on the gauge gets into mid brown, almost red and it works well for a 50ml from 25 - 30 sec double for me.

    Good luck, but make sure your beans are fresh first and foremost

    Sen

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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Thanks one and all. No doubt the next move is to get the absolute freshest beans based on all replies above. If that produces the crema Im starving for then I will believe in the machine again, the very thing Ive lost confidence in at the moment.

    Many tips above with tamping etc. which was all greatly appreciated.

    I would love to do a side by side comparison of my machine against another 6910 so if any of you live near Sydneys Northern Beaches (Narrabeen) and are willing to do the same then let me know.

    Any further info/comments will be read so if youve got something to say then keep on a writing...

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    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Tamping is very important. Get a Pullman tamper...probably the single best thing I ever did for crema and consistency since getting onto fresh beans...see left of screen for Pullman tampers - Australian made and excellent value.

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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Dave if you are using the Sunbeam tamper dont do the polishing twist after tamping.
    That tamper has a rough finish and can break the puck surface.

    Like ozscott said, the 6910 is capable of syrupy pours.

    Here at work (where a 6910 resides) I can make a better coffee than all the cafes nearby...except one.
    And even then it was only one espresso, once, that has been better than any of mine on the 6910.

    On that occasion the barista made a shot no better than mine so his boss elbowed him out of the way, vowing to do better.

    Well when he passed the espresso across the bench I could already see it was better than the first.
    It was the best espresso Ive tasted to date.
    Mind you, he was using a La Marzocco FB80 and was gracious enough to say the machine would make a difference (obviously, compared to the Sunbeam).

    Oh, one more point, he was using my home roasted beans.

    His day to day coffee is the best around here but I still make my own at work on the Sunbeam because its still better.
    Hes not about to try that hard every time I want a coffee.

    So to sum up, theres no reason you cant make better coffee with your machine than most cafes.

    You need fresh beans and some one on one instruction followed by some practise.

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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Quote Originally Posted by ozscott link=1225710268/0#16 date=1225751073
    Tamping is very important.....
    Sometimes... But not always.

    The importance of tamp is inversely proportionate to the accuracy of the dose, the quality of the grind, and how clump-free the grind is. With a quality grind (good particle size distribution and free from clumps), even distribution with no voids, and the correct dose (not too little and not to excessive), the tamp loses a lot of importance. Just a good, even, leveling tamp is plenty.

    It also is related to the water distribution of the espresso machine and how gentle it delivers the water, particularly at the beginning of the extraction.

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    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    The Sunbeam tamper does not get to the edge like a heavy custom jobby and as TG says its not good for polishing. Randy I have found that even with consistent grinding and dosing tamping consistently makes a difference - and getting the coffee level to the best place for the particular shower screen makes a difference. I know that there have been some discussions in the US in particular pouring some scorn on the importance of tamping, but thats just my take on things.

    Cheers

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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    my experience has been with fresh coffee you will be able to get a good pour even with a dodgy plactic tamper like come with most machines. But long term id be looking to get a good tamper as it will help.

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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    I dont like to weigh into debates like this as my views may be perceived as biased unless I speak against tampers. But I do have a degree of personal and relayed experience in this.

    The whole reason I made my first tamper was because the existing one was too small and the NSEW tamping method I had to employ after grinding 4 day old coffee introduced so much inconsistency. Some would gush, others would choke, even when I thought I was doing the same thing. There was an immediate and noticeable effect from using the correctly sized tamper. Ive now become accustomed to this consistency and it would be easy to forget how different it used to be if it werent for the customer feedback over the last six years which has regularly reminded me of this. The Testimonials pages on our site has literally dozens of comments on this; this is one of the clearest:

    "When I first received my tamper, the improvement in the shots I was pulling was immediate, no way could I refute the benefit I was seeing - this was not a change in anything I was doing, but purely the result of the Gregs tamper over the plastic one that came with my Silvia."

    I wont further regurgitate here whats on our site for all to read. Now you could argue that I and 150 people throughout the world have colluded to invent a benefit thats not there; or you could take the comments as the impartial genuine feedback they represent. There are others here on CS, including ozscott in this thread, who concur. On the other hand there are others who have reported, as Damien suggests, that the tamper isnt important, and some of Lucas recent research collaborates this.

    I dont believe either view is fabricated, so why do report on both sides continue to emerge? I suspect this is due to other variables in the process which affect the homogeneity of the pre-tamped puck (be that uneven grind size, machine with poor water distribution, poor dose / distribution method and a heap of others), and these factors will vary how much of an improvement is seen by a good tamper and tamping process. That is to say, the evidence doesnt suggest a good tamper and tamping process will take you backwards - its just a matter of whether it takes you forward an inch or a mile.

    Greg

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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Hi Greg, I dont think I quite said a tamper isnt important! I think it is very important, but I think the greatest improbvements could be made by frfesh coffee first.

    As an example, I had a friend who got a new machine. He couldnt get anything good at all from it. He was using bad coffee - and also a plastic tamp. Once I added good coffee - still using the plastic tamp - the results were very good. He could further improve the coffee with a good tamper, but he was not that interested or inclined to spend the money. the coffee with a plastic tamp was far better than most you get served, and good enough for him. So I suppose what Iam saying is that I think a good tamper will for sure improve your coffee (quality and consistency), but you can still get very good coffee without.

    Damian.

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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Thanks for clarifying Damien. Ive always maintained the tamper isnt the be all and end all, in fact I wrote something pretty similar about five years ago at http://www.coffeetamper.com.au/information/faq.html#other-factors and the article above it. Stale or incorrectly ground coffee is still stale or incorrectly ground coffee, and the best machine or best tamper in the world wont fix flawed raw materials! In my view, the tamper comes in as one of those items that can make a big difference once youve got the other factors right, but its important to get those other factors right or the improvement will be minimal.

    Greg

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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    This trend when a new machine owner has a problem is that everyone puts on their thinking caps and drums up a bunch of variables that could make a difference, but no one dares to take a firm point of view on what the problem is likely to be. That in mind, its quite refreshing to see that most posters in this thread seem to agree that the coffee is the likely culprit and as yet no-one has decided to bring up unlikely bogeymen like temperature stability. To work out whether or not your coffee is OK, you might like to simply brew it in a plunger or drip filter. If it has a relatively heavy body, not much more than a touch of acidity and a bit of sweetness, but manages not to leave an ashy finish and doesnt have any off flavours, then things are looking good.

    As for the other factors, its probably a good idea to try to work out the relative importance of each. In that respect, its also nice to see that this thread has been relatively good. Dose is usually an overlooked variable and its nice to see that people are starting to concentrate on it when they start off now. I would say that it is probably the most important thing to focus on after getting good coffee. If you arent concentrating, its pretty easy to dose +/- 2 grams each time. 2g might not sound like a lot, but its about 15% of a 14g double, 30% of a 7g single and 10% of a 20g double. Double those figures if you want the percentages for a 4g variation. I havent measured the corresponding difference in pour times, but you can probably see that its going to be significant. Moral of the story: focus on getting a consistent dose and start off making double shots rather than singles. Much of the value in introductory courses, whether the participants appreciate it or not, is in establishing good dosing technique.

    When you come to tampers, Randy has it right - the impact of the tamper depends on everything else. As Greg says, its a question of degree. This quote implies that the difference was large:

    "When I first received my tamper, the improvement in the shots I was pulling was immediate, no way could I refute the benefit I was seeing - this was not a change in anything I was doing, but purely the result of the Gregs tamper over the plastic one that came with my Silvia."
    If you scratch the surface, the comparison is totally different to a comparison of the sunbeam tamper and the pullman tamper. The plastic tamper that comes with the silvia is grossly under-sized, whereas the sunbeam tamper is at least in the ballpark.

    I must own nine or ten tampers and Im sure that if I sold them all at their RRP Id be able to buy a sunbeam EM6910. Id love to believe that the particular tamper makes a massive difference, but I have to say that Im cant pick a massive difference in the cup between most of them. Greg alludes to the experimentation that I have done recently - I basically took a 57mm plastic La Marzocco tamper and used it for several weeks at home. I cant say that I felt that my shot quality declined noticeably. YMMV.

    The sunbeam tamper looks like it has a less comfortable handle than the LM tamper that I used, but possibly a better base. If anyone has one lying around spare, Id be more than happy to use it for a few weeks and report back.

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1225710268/20#24 date=1225778415

    When you come to tampers, Randy has it right - the impact of the tamper depends on everything else. *As Greg says, its a question of degree. *This quote implies that the difference was large:

    "When I first received my tamper, the improvement in the shots I was pulling was immediate, no way could I refute the benefit I was seeing - this was not a change in anything I was doing, but purely the result of the Gregs tamper over the plastic one that came with my Silvia."
    If you scratch the surface, the comparison is totally different to a comparison of the sunbeam tamper and the pullman tamper. *The plastic tamper that comes with the silvia is grossly under-sized, whereas the sunbeam tamper is at least in the ballpark. *
    I presume that person had a standard Silvia tamper which is definitely smaller than the Sunbeam one. Ozscotts comment however appears to relate specifically to the 6910...

    Quote Originally Posted by ozscott link=1225710268/0#19 date=1225762798
    The Sunbeam tamper does not get to the edge like a heavy custom jobby and as TG says its not good for polishing. * Randy I have found that even with consistent grinding and dosing tamping consistently makes a difference - and getting the coffee level to the best place for the particular shower screen makes a difference. *I know that there have been some discussions in the US in particular pouring some scorn on the importance of tamping, but thats just my take on things.
    Its then a matter of determining which factor(s) that differentiate the two products is/are causing the difference in results. Noting that I dont have access to such a machine to test this, my gut feeling would concur with OS and tend towards fit and surface finish.

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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Keep in mind Luca (and I havent met you or had you serve me a cup of coffee), but from reading the forums/your blog, I take it youre quite an accomplished barista. A skilled barista can probably produce a decent result with slightly inferior tools because they know how to compensate for its inadequacies. Noobs dont have that ability so something like a dud tamper could make all the difference for them.

    -ACog

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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1225710268/20#24 date=1225778415

    As for the other factors, its probably a good idea to try to work out the relative importance of each. *In that respect, its also nice to see that this thread has been relatively good. *Dose is usually an overlooked variable and its nice to see that people are starting to concentrate on it when they start off now. *I would say that it is probably the most important thing to focus on after getting good coffee. *If you arent concentrating, its pretty easy to dose +/- 2 grams each time. *2g might not sound like a lot, but its about 15% of a 14g double, 30% of a 7g single and 10% of a 20g double. *Double those figures if you want the percentages for a 4g variation. *I havent measured the corresponding difference in pour times, but you can probably see that its going to be significant. *Moral of the story: focus on getting a consistent dose and start off making double shots rather than singles. *Much of the value in introductory courses, whether the participants appreciate it or not, is in establishing good dosing technique.

    Cheers,

    Luca
    Being an absolute beginner myself and coming from a background where precision measurements of quantity and time are paramount and technique is king, my first instinct was to standardise my technique as much as possible, as pedantic as it makes me look to observers.

    In my first week of using my machine, it became very clear that very minor variations of technique, when combined, make a HUGE difference.

    Take, for instance, Lucas 2gm/10% variation in estimating the weight of grounds in a 6910 triple basket. Add a mere 2 or 3 + or - second variation in pour time, a relatively minor + or - 2kg variation in a 15kg tamp, an ill fitting tamper and less than optimum bean quality to a "newbie" operator like me with no internalized reference points to work from, and you have a combination designed for pure frustration.



  29. #29
    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    eventually with practice its instincitve and gut feel plays a big role, so perhaps looking for exactness in this process may never please - and occasionally you get it not as good as the regular pours, but with the dose tap, dose tap, dose level and tamp method you will get small variations from shot to shot...I find it cannot be avoided (unless you weigh each baskets worth and then put that into the grinder by itself and do each shot the same which I know some people do but I dont like it and in a coffee shop it simply couldnt be viable). *But in reality most shots using the dose tap dose etc method, with practice, will produce really good consistent coffee. *Unless the doser is full, which is rare at home, this method with a doser grinder has to be more gut feel and experience than anything else because each sweep spits out a different amount when grinding for a baskets worth. *You get experienced with this over time and can generally get it very very close with the timer switch.


    Cheers

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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Quote Originally Posted by ozscott link=1225710268/20#28 date=1225785921
    eventually with practice its instincitve and gut feel plays a big role, so perhaps looking for exactness in this process may never please - and occasionally you get it not as good as the regular pours, but with the dose tap, dose tap, dose level and tamp method you will get small variations from shot to shot...I find it cannot be avoided (unless you weigh each baskets worth and then put that into the grinder by itself and do each shot the same which I know some people do but I dont like it and in a coffee shop it simply couldnt be viable). *But in reality most shots using the dose tap dose etc method, with practice, will produce really good consistent coffee. *Unless the doser is full, which is rare at home, this method with a doser grinder has to be more gut feel and experience than anything else because each sweep spits out a different amount when grinding for a baskets worth. *You get experienced with this over time and can generally get it very very close with the timer switch.


    Cheers
    The OP said he was a relative "newbie" owner of a 6910/0480 combo with only 3 months usage and hasnt done the free barista basics course.

    With the greatest respect and deference to your greater experience, your comments re the doser are irrelevant, the 0480 being a doserless grinder.

    Which is exactly the point.

    With no reference points as to whats "right" to begin with, a new user is relying on pure luck, and experimentation. Without any measurable outcomes as to weight, time, pressure, humidity, temperature etc an "newbie" may occasionally jag an acceptable pour, as long as all the variables remain constant and nothing "goes wrong"
    ESPECIALLY when so many of the variables have the same or similar outcome on the shot.

    For example, I defy any "newbie" to grind into an EM6910 with a EM0480 10 times in a row and get within Lucas 2gm/10% range then guesstimate exactly 15kg tamp pressure 10 times *then guesstimate 10 exact 30ml/30 second pours in a row THEN match all of them to happen at the same time WITHOUT some sort of mechanical aids OR endless time, patience and beans.

    IMHO finding out by experience what doesnt work and why is more important in the long term than buying the latest and greatest automatic.

    And, youd better enjoy the journey because the perfect destination doesnt exist.


  31. #31
    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    I realise that he isnt using a doser grinder. *

    My comments above are for illustration only - and re-iterate that experience allows good pours from the senses being used and having a store of experience (leading to a gut feeling about whether a little more/less is right) and with a doser grinder grinding fresh each time into the doser and then into the PF sees you relying on that gut experience more than grinding straight into the PF without a doser (or for that matter grinding into a receptacle and then using a scoop measure) *What I am pointing out is that in time precise measurements using weight etc are not required...and with time and experience he will get the feel for what is right. *

    He can and should aim for consistency and knowing what weight he needs is helpful (for example when I kicked off I used to grind dose and tamp and then weigh the PF (knowing its empty weight) to see if I was hitting the mark - *but in reality, and assuming he doesnt want to weigh each batch of beans for each shot for the remainder of his coffee making life, sheer volume of shots pulled is what will lead, intuitively, to good consistent pours - in my opinion at least.

    Cheers

  32. #32
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    I bought a Sunbeam 0450 to use with the 6910 at work and used my method of measuring the beans into the basket then grinding.
    Realising that a lot of grounds are left behind in the Sunbeams I got quite fussy about poking loose the coffee stuck in the chute.

    I dare say there would have been reasonable conistancy in dose even though I didnt weigh to verify.
    I did get good shots until I tired of the Sunbeam and replaced it with an MDF.

    As ozscott said, a store of experience can help, leading to a gut feel for what needs to be adjusted.
    When the 6900 was replaced by the 6910 it took 3 shots to dial myself back in.
    THose first 3 shots looked horrible but the 4th and subsequent were on the money.

  33. #33
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    Re: Frustrated as hell!  EM6910 crema

    There really are enough variables already with trying to pull consistently excellent espresso shots, without trying to look for more (IMHO)...

    Take it for granted that most decent machines will have baskets that allow for the containment of sufficient coffee so as to allow for terrific espresso pours, if the nut on the end of the PF does their bit. Far better (and easier) to gauge a coffee volume consistency than a weight and by learning to dose, distribute and tamp consistently it wont take long before you can judge (by eye) that you are dosing at a rate that is quite consistent. Doesnt matter what weight of ground coffee is being used, this is a redundant criterion given that the basket(s) (Single/Double) for a particular machine are fixed in size and designed by the manufacturer to compliment their machines overall design.

    Learn to dose by volume so that after distribution and tamping, the top of the compressed coffee puck just kisses the shower-screen (or slightly less) before pulling the shot. Once youve got this down pat, you can vary the shot time by grinding finer or coarser so that you are cutting the shot off at the first signs of blonding at around the 25-30 second mark and at around the ideal volume be it either a Single or a Double shot. I realise that a lot of very experienced CSers go to the trouble of weighing each and every dose before loading the PF but for 99% of Home Baristi, this just isnt necessary and is only creating extra difficulty for no realised benefit in the cup, where it counts......

    Cheers, :)
    Mal.

  34. #34
    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Mal makes a point that I didnt think too when I mentioned tamping to suit the height of the shower screen...the impression on the puck is guide to how you are dosing and tamping - that slight imprint of the screen and a bit more so for the screw holding it it.

    Cheers

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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Update...

    Have take on the advice of everyone here and gone to Belaroma Coffee Roasters and bought a bag of "less than a week old" beans. Fired up the old (I mean new) EM6910/EM0480 and tried my luck using as much of the advice found from everyone above (that my brain could handle in one session).

    Gold! Liquid Gold!
    I finally got the crema I was striving for! During the pour I could tell lthe difference immediately. It was definitely the syrupy look I had seen on videos. About 5 seconds after pour had finished, I had a 60% crema topping.
    The taste? Stupendous!

    I still have a long way to go with controlling the variables of measurement through to tamping, etc. to make sure I use the same procedure each time. Of all the advice given, obviously the fresh beans was no. 1 but something I picked up on in one of the threads which made a difference with my older beans and that was to make sure you let the machine, PF, and cup, warm up for at least 20 minutes before pouring. Maybe something I learnt there could be useful to other noobs reading this thread.

    Does the local cafe have something to fear? Not yet maybe, but keeping looking over your shoulders - Im coming!

    Thanks all.

  36. #36
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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    You must feel on top of the world right now. Feels good eh?

  37. #37
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Well done!

  38. #38
    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Fantastic news - viscous gold!

  39. #39
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Great to see the improvement in your shots, thats the beauty of this forum if you need help it is available from all the knowledgable CS coffee lovers and seekers of the perfect cup.................may your coffee knowledge and successes continue to grow!!

  40. #40
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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Ive tried different beans from Segafredo, Gloria Jeans, Coffee Club, etc. (all fresh)
    Just goes to show just how NOT fresh those beans were/are...

    From what I gather, the main factor that you have changed is the freshness of the beans and look at the huge difference! Hope your coffees will never go back to that again... (and it wont be as long as you stick to the fresh stuff!)

  41. #41
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Good news Dave. I suggested 2 things earlier...time to act on the 2nd. ;)


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    Re: Frustrated as hell! *EM6910 crema

    Quote Originally Posted by benandfaith link=1225710268/20#39 date=1225873122
    Ive tried different beans from Segafredo, Gloria Jeans, Coffee Club, etc. (all fresh)
    Just goes to show just how NOT fresh those beans were/are...
    yep, I noticed the difference with beans from Belaroma and Gloria Jeans, the GJs pour looks a bit thin, but not a bad as the supermarket beans I tried a while back just for the hell of it, never again :P

  43. #43
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated as hell!  EM6910 crema

    Good stuff dhepburn... 8-)

    Youre on your way now mate.... Just need to keep the consistency going and if possible, attend that Basic Barista course of Sunbeams....

    All the best, :)
    Mal.



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