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Thread: Assistance with Krups Grinder

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Assistance with Krups Grinder

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Well after numerous trials to maintain a consistent crema with the Via Venezia see (Inconsistency with Crema posted under Brewing Equipment Entry Level (Sub $500) Iím still at a standoff. As I write I am currently enjoying a hands down knock out cup of coffee from this machine which initiated my original inquiry. How I produced it I still donít know? Donít get me wrong I still manage to pour great shots with the VV but Iím looking for more consistency. I have read numerous accounts from members of this forum and others have certainly learnt a great deal. Returning to my original post I have tried to reverse engineer my steps to see what I might be either doing wrong and sometimes right. Excluding the operator off course this is where I am up today.

    No(1) I cannot blame the beans as they are freshly made with a popcorn maker or purchased direct from a local roaster

    (No 2) The equipment is kept clean with water replaced for each operation.

    (No3) The grinder is of concern as it is a Krups conical which is frowned by some users.

    The dilemma with that and to its defense is that some members mention that the VV is very forgiving with poor grinding methods because of its false crema capacity. So to some degree that excuses me from blaming the grinder entirely or does it ? I hope someone out there can clarify this a bit more. I read up on the pressurized portafilter which comes with the VV and removed the spring as suggested by some. That part of the exercise was a failure as I tried the Krups to grind at various settings and it did not produce a satisfactory outcome. After nearly 400g of coffee I gave that a miss. So on that level that seems to point to the grinder one would think and yet as it is mentioned by other postings that the VV is very forgiving because of the false crema capability. Perhaps there may be others out there that have used a Krups with another type of coffee machine that could give some comments either way. That way I can weigh up whether an upgrade is needed

    Many Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Re: Assistance with Krups Grinder


    I read your other post as well.
    Getting back to basics.

    Espresso requires a 25-30ml extraction of coffee from 7g of coffee [60ml & 14g for a double] at 95C and 9 bar of pressure.

    In a true espresso machine the 9bar pressure is generated by the puck and is a combination of dose, grind and tamp pressure.

    Pressurised/creama enhancing baskets have a squirty hole and essentially this creates most of the pressure [rather than the coffee],

    So in that sense they are forgiving of inconsistant dose, grind and tamp.
    But this is relative, in other words the "window" to get this right in a non pressurised machine is much much smaller than for a pressurised machine. You will still get some variations in a pressurised machine though.

    You do not really say what your inconsistancies are other than maintaining "consistant crema".
    What do you mean by this?
    Are you getting the right volume in right time?
    How are you managing the brew temperature?
    Are we talking back to back shot inconsistancies or AM vs PM differences?

    There are many factors to consider:

    Really fresh coffee [less than 4 days post roast] can produce a very "enthusiastic" crema due to the excess of gas.
    So you can get a very foamy gushing creama that doesnt settle neatly into a shot.
    Old coffee [say > 20 days] will produce weak crema.

    For consistant repeatable shots, you need a consistant dose, grind and tamp.
    Dose is the least talked about, but is the hardest to achieve and probably the most important as it forms your starting base.
    It involves getting a consistant ammount of coffee into your PF and how/how well this is achieved is totally in your hands.

    The focus of tamping is usually about consistant tamp pressure [eg 13Kg] but I believe the "quality" of the tamp [ie creating a perfect puck without cracks channelling etc] is more important.
    So, All of the above is your responsibility.

    Next comes grind, a good grinder will simply produce a consistant and even grind and it will have repeatable adjustability to allow the grind to be changed as necessary [this will change throughout the day]
    If it cant do all of this it will contribute to inconsistant results.

    Then comes the machine, if all the above is right then [assuming a basic boiler machine] your only challenge is to develope a process to pull the shot at the exactly the right part of the cycle.
    Once this is down, you should get consistant coffee.

    It all sounds easy, but its a long chain of dotting "Is" and crossing "Ts" requiring a confidence or trust that each step of the way is right.
    Sloppyness at any point will ruin the outcome.

    So in line with your original questions,
    If you want more consistant coffee you need to always be mindful and self critical of your technique, when you feel confident that its right, you can you can then look at the grinder.
    Based on "the vibe" of your posts you are probably never going be 100% confident/trustworthy with the Krupps grinder so I suspect you are already looking to upgrade it.

    If you also want better coffee and are prepared to put in the efforts,
    I would recommend purchasing a non pressurised PF/Handle for the V V.

    FWIW, I believe a shot produced by a pressurised machine will only approximate a true espresso shot and in comparison will have no body, a thin watery mouth feel and weak flavour. Call it 10% as good
    Therefore, the quality gain with a new grinder and pressurised filter will be large.

    Best of luck with the coffee journey, keep us posted.


  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Re: Assistance with Krups Grinder

    Thank for a very( extremely) informative response to my question. Youíve given me some greater options to explorer particular with the operator variable that I did not know how to pursue. I was not conversant with the VV when I purchased it hence did not know anything about pressurized portafilters. Could you clarify something for me? It seems that to really proceed with this correctly the pressurized portafilter should be replaced in order to be able to utilize dose, grind, and tamp procedure. Would that be a fair comment ? I know you have already answered this to a point but I was told that it was just a matter removing a spring mechanism from the portafilter but that it was not that effective. The greater part of the mechanism still remains inside the PF but minus the spring.

    Secondly I imagine to resolve the temperature issues I would need a thermometer of sorts attached to the machine however I am not too sure about how I measure a 9 bar of pressure.

    (1) I have not really too sure about how to get the right volume at the right time
    (2) Managing the brew temperature

    In reference to my defining a consistent crema its when I pour the steamed milk into the cup the crema maintains volume consistency rather than just a thin layer over what looks like filtered coffee. Hope that makes sense.

    During my test I was using 2day old coffee I roasted and some that were about a week old without significant changes in the outcome.

    From what you have covered it appears that I would need to proceed firstly with
    a) New non-pressurized portafilter ( emailed Saeco 10days ago with no response)
    b) Greater focus then on dose, grind and tamp which is currently moot with the pressurized PF I would imagine.

    In respect to the Krups I cannot see myself replacing it unless I proceed with the steps you first recommend as it would be impractical.

    Anyway Thanks for your assistance and I return to the Coffee Grail.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Re: Assistance with Krups Grinder


    Basic barista skills [dose tamp grinding etc] are always required irrespective of a pressurised or non-pressurised filter.

    They are not as critical with a pressurised machine, but if you want consistant repeatable shots you still need to work on them, and will be rewarded with better coffee.
    So practise practise practise.

    I know nothing about any V V portafilter mod, but it may be possible.
    I cant really see how removing a spring would achieve anything, what you are wanting do do is take the squirty hole out of the system.
    Otherwise, I recall Saeco sold a pressurized version of the PF for about $50.

    Bear in mind, your grinder would almost certainly need to be replaced in order to work with a non pressureised machine.

    You can still practice temperature management with the pressurised baskets.
    Get to know the machine and its temperature cycle: watch for when the brew light comes on and goes off.
    Run water through the group [blank shot] at both times to get a "visual" feel for the temp. [you will see steam & spluttering at high temps]

    I dont know your machine, but would expect when the heater/light goes off the boiler temp is at or near maximum and you will should see steam spluttering with the water.

    At lowest boiler temp [heater kicks in again & light comes on] its likely the temp will be too low, but there will be a steady water stream there.

    Somewhere in between you need to pull the shot.

    I found the simplest method is to wait for the higest point of the cycle, flush a little water via the steam wand, until the splutter turns into a stream and then pull the temp surfing if you really want to open a can of worms.

    You make this part of your routine: eg: fill cup with water until the boiler kicks in [low temp] and this will also warm your cup...very important.
    Grind dose and tamp.
    By this stage, the machine has probably climbed to [or near enough] to the high point of the temp cycle.
    Run some water via the wand until it just stops spluttering.
    Pull the shot

    An attached thermometer could also be a good option.

    The correct volume & time is achieved by dose, grind [too fine/too coarse] & tamp. It will create the 9 bar of pressure in a non pressurised system.

    It takes lots of practise so buy some really cheap crappy supermarket beans and go for it.

    Good luck

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Re: Assistance with Krups Grinder

    Many Thanks for all your help. Youve certainly given something to work with I will keep you posted.

    Thanks again

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Re: Assistance with Krups Grinder

    I have just purchased a Isomac Professionale to replace the Krups grinder in question. I ran the two grinders today for a comparison and noticed that with the Krups the granules were inconsistent and producing powdery the mix. This was on various settings. I have read a number of postings suggesting the importance of a good grinder and now I can see why. The Prorfessionale altough at the lower end of the market has definitely rescued me from the incosistent pours I caused by a pour grind. Im on the third shot today and quite frankly its a new coffee experience for me. I cant thank enough the assistance I have received from members of this forum.

  7. #7
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Re: Assistance with Krups Grinder


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