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Thread: Bean vs grinder vs machine vs method when producing crema

  1. #1
    Senior Member 3rutu5's Avatar
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    Bean vs grinder vs machine vs method when producing crema

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hey snobs, had a small query for the masses. I have a nice little Ponte Vecchio export lever machine, breville grinder and fresh roasted beans from my local guy. I have been fiddling with the grind and methodology (preinfusion, amount of pulls etc) and can get a constant crema of around 3-4mm, which comes with a good drinkable shot. My question is prior to buying the lever I watched every YouTube clip I could to see people getting inch think crema, which made me wonder if it was due to my entry level grinder...

    So how do folks get such a large crema?

    Oh I shouldsay I drink milk coffees and this is purely out of curiosity

  2. #2
    Senior Member SniffCoffee's Avatar
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    Hi there

    are you using a naked portafilter? What about the folks in the video?

    That's an easy way to get a large amount of crema initially, but it will probably settle to the same amount you're getting.

    And are they using an Export as well? The spring in the Export will not be as strong as others (about 6 bar), and if you're watching vibe or rotary pumped machines they generate more pressure (about 9 bar on properly set up machine)

    A better grinder will always help to make a better coffee, but I suspect the difference here is whether or not the portafilter is naked.

    Also depending on how fresh your beans are, they will tend to make less crema as they go stale.

    Cheers

    Sniff

  3. #3
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Thicker crema doesn't necessarily equate to better espresso. 3-4mm sounds pretty good to me, and as Sniff says you might be comparing apples with oranges.

  4. #4
    Senior Member 3rutu5's Avatar
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    Yeah same machine, just don't know about grinder and the beans they are using. My beans are around a week or two since ground so I would say they are relatively fresh.

    Like I said, more curiosity than anything else. Current it is a tasty drop and the crema doesn't disappear, which Im stoked with, its just when somebody produces an inch, I just went hmmmmmm

  5. #5
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3rutu5 View Post
    Yeah same machine, just don't know about grinder and the beans they are using. My beans are around a week or two since ground so I would say they are relatively fresh.

    Like I said, more curiosity than anything else. Current it is a tasty drop and the crema doesn't disappear, which Im stoked with, its just when somebody produces an inch, I just went hmmmmmm
    A week or two since ground? Or do you mean a week or two since roasted? A week or two since roasted is very much the sweet spot for most beans, but if you're not grinding for each use then that will be a problem. I try to have the smallest amount of time between grinding and using the coffee - around 20 to 30secs usually. Most people say ground coffee is ok to use for 20min or so, but not much longer than that.
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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3rutu5 View Post
    My beans are around a week or two since ground so I would say they are relatively fresh.
    I think we've just discovered your problem. I'm amazed you're getting any crema at all and that the pour is even drinkable!


    Java "Grind immediately before brewing!" phile
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  7. #7
    Senior Member 3rutu5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    A week or two since ground? Or do you mean a week or two since roasted? A week or two since roasted is very much the sweet spot for most beans, but if you're not grinding for each use then that will be a problem. I try to have the smallest amount of time between grinding and using the coffee - around 20 to 30secs usually. Most people say ground coffee is ok to use for 20min or so, but not much longer than that.
    Yeah sorry, thinking one thing typing another......

    1-2 weeks since Roasted.....not ground. I grind when I need a coffee

  8. #8
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    In that case I'd say your probably doing as well as your equipment allows. A better grinder would help, but as long as you are happy with the taste of your results then I wouldn't worry.

  9. #9
    Senior Member 3rutu5's Avatar
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    Yeah regretted getting the grinder, should have shelled out more,. The machine is great so can't fault it

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    Take a photo of your shot if you're worried about it. And if it tastes great then don't try and compare it to a YouTube extraction which could be different variables to what you're doing.

    A pretty crema can still taste gross
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  11. #11
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    Another way those people in video land might be getting thick crema is blending in robusta beans. Many companies do it including local roasters I personally know, just to improve the crema.

    Maybe get someone else you trust to brew up the beans you're using and see how they go.

  12. #12
    Senior Member 3rutu5's Avatar
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    cheers guys, the most pressing issue i have at the moment is getting silky milk and not the thicker crema my wife is a barista and keeps telling me i need to go back to the drawing board and have another go at it. Tastes great but looks average

  13. #13
    Rbn
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    I wonder how you are getting on with your silky milk.

    It makes all the difference to a good Flat white/latte.

    Just get the cutting paper technique right and you will be laughing.
    And never buy another cup at a cafe because yours are just the way you like them.

    Rbn

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    Can someone explain the "cutting paper" technique ? I usually have the tip of the steam wand in middle of the jug ,just below the surface for about half the time then put it deeper for the rest of time till it's 65c . Reasonable texture , but room for improvement .

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    I think that's just a saying. As it refers to the chhh chhh noise at the start when stretching the milk
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    Ahhhh . Its the chhh chhh noise . I guess I'm doing the right technique but just need to practice more.

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    Speaking of 1 inch of crema . Do I have to put my video on youtube to add a link for this forum? As I do get almost all crema from the start of the pour to the end. Then it does settle to about 1 cm after a minute. Using a naked portafilter.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member 3rutu5's Avatar
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    Got the silky milk going well....but had to make a small sacrificial milk first, which I use to make my daughter a milo.

    Made about 8 coffees back to back on Xmas from the lever and each time it was getting better...was trying to do some art but they all look average I had a laugh....but didn't care as it was tasty

  19. #19
    Senior Member 3rutu5's Avatar
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    I'm always learning.... I did some research and had no idea I should be adjusting the grind based on coffee age, different beans etc.
    I got a newly roasted bag of beans, but it was roasted on the 30th, so a bit grean and not really up to adjusting the grind to compensate... Hoping I get a great crema due to the age and quality etc

  20. #20
    Senior Member askthecoffeeguy's Avatar
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    what size baskets are you using and what's the extraction time?

    different folks use different methods but I use 21g baskets dosed to 20g then extracted for 30sec to produce 40ml of coffee - which is how I enjoy my coffee. Im sure others would beg to differ based upon personal tastes but i do get gushing crema which initially fills about 1/2 the latte glass before settling down to a more modest 40ml

    Cheers,

    Pat

  21. #21
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    Instead of wasting good milk you can practice steaming using water with a tiny drop of detergent. It even looks like milk when you've finished!

  22. #22
    Senior Member 3rutu5's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    i figured out the error in what i was doing. I wasnt expelling the steam arm on the first use so there was about a teaspoon of water that comes out. Got rid of that first run and milk is perfect.



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