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  • bitter crema

    Hi! All,
    Ive been  trawling the ccs site but havent found an answer to my query and hope this post is not covering old ground.  My crema is bitter. The coffee, once you get through the crema is fine, sometimes really great but this darn crema, of which there is plenty, is a problem. I roast my own beans so the coffee is fresh, Ive experiemented with long roasts, short roasts, dark roasts and light roasts and feel reasonably confident my beans are OK. The colour of the crema is OK (caramel fudge)  but when I found my son apologising to one of his mates about the taste of the crema :-[ I thought it was time to do something about it.  Also, I had a coffee at a local coffee shop this morning, usually the coffee is just OK but this morning, I have to say it was better than mine   just because of the crema.  Any suggestions??
    Thanks

  • #2
    Re: bitter crema

    Originally posted by 7268776A6C7D6A180 link=1262069848/0#0 date=1262069848
    Any suggestions??
    Stir it.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: bitter crema

      Originally posted by 14353E3E3923500 link=1262069848/1#1 date=1262069966
      Addicted wrote on Today at 17:57:
      Any suggestions??


      Stir it.
      Hahahahahaha but yeah...hes right :

      Ive found most crema to be quite ashey in taste on most coffees. I prefer to either stir or swirl it into the espresso before tasting it.

      The crema houses most of the aroma inside the oils that make up the crema. Does the espresso smell ok after the extraction?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: bitter crema

        Originally posted by 7D5C5757504A390 link=1262069848/1#1 date=1262069966
        Stir it. Wink
        Not funny! This is a serious question and Im seeking help not flippancy, besides, weve tried stirring (to dissolve the 3 heaped teaspoons of sugar) and it doesnt help.  As long as the foam from the milk and crema sit on top of the coffee the bitterness  dominates. Now, can I have some suggestions, please.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: bitter crema

          Originally posted by 50697779435B1C0 link=1262069848/2#2 date=1262074824
          Does the espresso smell ok after the extraction?
          Yes, the expresso has a lovely aroma and once the crema and milky foam from the top of the coffee has gone, usually by being consumed, the coffee is fine, I could even say, its great.  My son is the suger consumer so I dont really know how he can taste the bitterness, but it is there.  I wasnt too worried about it until this morning when the coffee I bought from a local coffee shop was just lovely, no bitternes and a really nice coffee.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: bitter crema

            Originally posted by 49534C51574651230 link=1262069848/4#4 date=1262075530
            the coffee I bought from a local coffee shop was just lovely, no bitterness and a really nice coffee.
            A few suggestions and a question:

            Try some of their beans and see how you go.

            Has it always been like this?

            Crema is very strong and bitter and there have been suggestions that if you dont like it, then spoon it off.

            Bitterness is usually high heat or over-extraction or old oils--so: clean, adjust, re-calibrate; the grinder, the machine, you.

            Greg

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: bitter crema

              Originally posted by 4A504F52544552200 link=1262069848/3#3 date=1262075126
              Originally posted by 7D5C5757504A390 link=1262069848/1#1 date=1262069966
              Stir it. Wink
              Not funny! This is a serious question and Im seeking help not flippancy, besides, weve tried stirring (to dissolve the 3 heaped teaspoons of sugar) and it doesnt help.  As long as the foam from the milk and crema sit on top of the coffee the bitterness  dominates. Now, can I have some suggestions, please.
              I was being serious and simply trying to be helpful. As stated by others since my intitial post crema can be strong and bitter. Many find stirring it with the coffee makes it more palatable.

              You asked for a suggestion. I gave one that is simple, practical, works, and far from flippant.

              Of course, there are several other possible causes, one of which is that your roasting is just not up to par. But you dont want to hear that now do you. :P

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: bitter crema

                Originally posted by 634249494E54270 link=1262069848/6#6 date=1262079147
                other possible causes, one of which is that your roasting is just not up to par.
                OK, now we are getting somewhere  .  Ive started roasting the beans just a bit darker (taking the roast well into 2nd crack) and I have considered this may be the cause of the bitterness. This mornings crema was particularly bitter but I had left the beans in the hopper overnight, which is not what I would normally do, obviously stale beans are also a problem. As to my roasting "not being up to par" I am more than happy to accept and act on helpful comment/suggestion and in fact I have made posts in the roasting section  looking for assistance as I travel on what at times is a frustrating path of discovery with hopfully good coffee at the end.
                Originally posted by 605542407048554A464B43270 link=1262069848/5#5 date=1262077253
                Try some of their beans and see how you go.
                The beans the coffee shop uses are a supermarket available proprietory brand so trying some would not be hard and a helpful suggestion, thanks.
                Originally posted by 605542407048554A464B43270 link=1262069848/5#5 date=1262077253
                Bitterness is usually high heat or over-extraction or old oils--so: clean, adjust, re-calibrate; the grinder, the machine, you.
                If the bitterness is a result of high heat/over-extraction/old oils would the coffee also be bitter and not just the crema - not sure about this? Im quite confident in playing around with the grinder and I do try to clean it regularly (usually each morning after the coffee making session) and I think I am doing a proper job of it - follow the manuals instructions to a T but without anyone close by to compare such matters with I have to rely on information gained from this site. However,  Im not so sure about adjustments with the expresso machine - thats a world I really am a bit scared about.  The machine is relatively new but there is no way Ill say there is nothing wrong with it because, quite frankly, I wouldnt have a clue - have nothing to compare it with and the nearest coffee machine maintenance person is approx 164 klms away. "You", yeah, happy to accept its me, thats why the post in the first place.
                Originally posted by 634249494E54270 link=1262069848/6#6 date=1262079147
                crema can be strong and bitter
                That comment alone is also reassuring.  At least Im not alone with what I thought was a problem that possibly only I was experiencing.
                Thank you to you all for the constructive comment, all is appreciated.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: bitter crema

                  I would suggest a trip down to bills (you should know where I mean) and put some of his beans through your machine (after trying their coffee) and see how you go. He also does training which I would suggest would be a great idea (not sure if you have done any yet).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: bitter crema

                    Originally posted by 79637C61677661130 link=1262069848/7#7 date=1262127039
                    Ive started roasting the beans just a bit darker (taking the roast well into 2nd crack) and I have considered this may be the cause of the bitterness.
                    A very likely suspect! Im sure youre not roasting to the charcoal phase, though to my tastes, roasts that go well into 2nd crack will produce a more pronounced caramelisation, which in itself is bitter sweet. Interestingly, you can easily achieve a nice caramel flavour without the need to go to 2nd crack at all. I prefer most single origins to be roasted prior to or on the cusp of 2nd crack, not into it.

                    So, my suggestion is to move away from the darker side. Still allow the beans to develop through the roasting phases, and try not going past 2nd crack but keep your overall roasting times the same. Then see if you enjoy the coffee (and crema) roasted this way.

                    And thankyou for not being defensive about my earlier remarks!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: bitter crema

                      Grinder clean--check.
                      Machine clean--check.
                      Roast maybe too dark--still to go.
                      Dosing and tamping--still to go.

                      Originally posted by 273D223F39283F4D0 link=1262069848/7#7 date=1262127039
                      If the bitterness is a result of high heat/over-extraction/old oils would the coffee also be bitter and not just the crema - not sure about this?
                      Both would be bitter. Usually I find espresso without the crema rather bland so if your crema-less coffee is OK, then that is a difference Im trying to understand.

                      Temp. surf on HX--cooling flushes--how long do you flush, how do you know when to stop? Inadequate cooling flush can leave the initial part of the extraction (or all of it) too hot and hence too bitter.

                      Greg

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: bitter crema

                        Originally posted by 5F6A7D7F4F776A7579747C180 link=1262069848/10#10 date=1262150990
                        Temp. surf on HX--cooling flushes--how long do you flush, how do you know when to stop? Inadequate cooling flush can leave the initial part of the extraction (or all of it) too hot and hence too bitter.
                        Greg, the Bezzera group head on my model does run hot but I was told of this when I was investigating the purchase of the machine so its not an issue for me.  I run the water until it stops steaming and I have a nice steady hot water flow. This is done before every shot is pulled. As for dosing and tamping, well I guess Id have to do the video and post it for comment but I do have the tools ie Espro tamper and, thanks to Santa, a set of Scottie Callaghan dosing tools (the set of four tools - Santa didnt want to spoile me), which quite frankly, are just great.
                        Originally posted by 5C7D7676716B180 link=1262069848/9#9 date=1262145003
                        So, my suggestion is to move away from the darker side.Still allow the beans to develop through the roasting phases, and try not going past 2nd crack but keep your overall roasting times the same.Then see if you enjoy the coffee (and crema) roasted this way.

                        And thankyou for not being defensive about my earlier remarks! Smiley
                        Dennis, With the leadup to Christmas I roasted several kilos of green beans taking all roasts to the dark side - doing as has been suggested - experiement, experiment, experiment! Just before Christmas I did a few roasts just into SC but Ive given most of those away so Ill have to do some more roasting, taking it on the lighter side to see if that has been the problem.
                        As to my not being defensive (or not taking offence!), well, I did, but hey! were grown ups here and I am very aware how one person can interpret the written word differently from another but most importantly the outcome is a good one. Im learning and the comment from you all has been constructive. Win-win I think.  I wish you all the very best for the coming New Year, keep well and most importantly keep safe!
                        Regards
                        Jo
























                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: bitter crema

                          Originally posted by 564C534E48594E3C0 link=1262069848/11#11 date=1262155983
                          I run the water until it stops steaming and I have a nice steady hot water flow. This is done before every shot is pulled.
                          one thing to be aware of, if youre not already, is that at the point the steaming stops and a steady flow starts, the water might still be up around 97 deg (ie too hot). Have you tried flushing for an extra few seconds to see if it makes a difference?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: bitter crema

                            Try the beans at different ages post roast.
                            Might taste better at 5 days rather than 2 days or even 14 days.
                            Not all beans are at their best at 3 days old, you may like the flavour at 7 days . As the beans age , they take on different characteristics.
                            Too many variables here.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: bitter crema

                              Im going to suggest its a combination of the darker roast actually decreasing the fruit flavour, marginally too hot extraction, and too much coffee extracted from the grounds.

                              So try something like: lighter roast--no more than 20 seconds into second crack, age for 7 days to let degas, grind a double and extract 25 ml total in 15 to 25 seconds.

                              Let us know how you go.

                              Greg

                              Comment

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