BigStormGirl Senior Member Joined: 15 Jan 2011 Posts: 122 Location: Indiana Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Olympia Cremina Grinder: Baratza Vario/Peugeot Bresil Drip: CCD
Posted Sun Apr 28, 2013, 4:47am Subject: Re: Olympia Cremina potential problem
When I looked at your second video, it says you were using 15.7g. It looks like you may have been using a triple basket? I use around 16g in my MCAL double basket, and it almost fills it up. The amount of coffee seems too low for the basket. You shouldn't have that much head room. That's why I'm wondering if you are using a triple instead of a double basket for your shots.
When tamping, do it once, polish and pull your shot. Seems that you are tamping at least twice. It's not important the amount of pressure in your tamp, just that you do it the same way consistently. Also, make sure your puck is level. Also I agree that the amount of tapping of the puck maybe overdoing it and causing channeling.
When trying to analyze your shots, only change one variable at a time to see and taste the difference. If you change more than one variable at a time, you will become frustrated.
Try the whole scenario I am using. You are clearly over extracting with a 55 second pull.
Don't tap a bunch, this extra tapping you are doing will cause a longer extraction.
Do it like I am doing it, adjust dose and grind as needed till you get a 25 second pull (25 seconds of coffee dripping out).
You need to start over and try doing the whole process I am suggesting. Dunno what that thing you are tapping on is, I know you bought it and would like to use it - don't tap more than 2 or 3 times.
Plus, don't know what that thing is that you are taking out of the grouphead right before you put portafilter in, shouldn't be there at that point in time. Portafilter should be there and be heating up.
You should leave the portafilter in while the machine is heating, the portafilter should heat up. To pull your shot, take portafilter out, wipe it dry, put premeasured coffee in, light dressing tamp - my coffee is only down about 3/16 to slightly less than a 1/4 inch to top of basket when I pull tamper out, and then move to machine - raise lever a bit till right before water comes out - lock portafilter in, go slowly up so inrush will not disturb puck at the top count off a couple of seconds, come slowly down - once lever comes downs slightly below horizontal, raise to pull top (fellini move) and pull down one smooth stroke - will be more pressure on the down stroke. Shooting for 25 second extraction (most coffees)
Try the whole process as I am doing.
You are not there until
Portafilter is heated
Smooth lever action
25 second pull -
Keep adjusting grind and amount of coffee till you get a 25 second pull.
SwingT Senior Member Joined: 28 Jul 2009 Posts: 153 Location: GSP Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Sun Apr 28, 2013, 5:25am Subject: Re: Olympia Cremina potential problem
last but not least - that model Cremina may overheat if it sits too long. I have seen other posters make comment to the effect that it can overheat if shots are pulled too close together - not a problem I have had.
Take a small cotton towel - wet the end - wipe around where the grouphead attaches to tank. If it is overheated, you can hear the wet towel sizzle. Just wipe sides, top and bottom where it attaches and then quickly around the grouphead. Seems to tame it down the right amount.
Takes longer to type this out than it does to do it.
My 2003 model has a heavier grouphead and doesn't require this.
Posted Sun Apr 28, 2013, 11:05am Subject: Re: Olympia Cremina potential problem
WAY too much tapping. Watching Barb at OE do the slap-shot. I have the same stuff (not the heat sink thing though) Pour the grind in, maybe shift the PF side to side to settle the grind in evenly. Tap down ONCE ONLY. Make sure grind is level. If not, use your index finger to level the grind in the filter. The Penney tamper should be held with fingers on the piston, which assures a level tamp. You should have no more than 2-3 mm clearance.l If more, add a bit more grind. If less, vice versa. Tamp pressure should be NO MORE than enough to feel a little give of the grind.
Oh, did I mention, stop the TAPPING! LOL
BTW, you shouldn't need that heat sink in there till after the 2nd, maybe 3rd shot. If you do, dial your machine down to a reading of .8-.95 bar. If you don't already have one, get the $25 manometer from OE, the one that fits over the steam wand.
SwingT Senior Member Joined: 28 Jul 2009 Posts: 153 Location: GSP Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Mon Apr 29, 2013, 11:14am Subject: Re: Olympia Cremina potential problem
I just watched the second video.
Still, preinfusion seems to take a long time, probably due to too much tapping. That tapping is compacting and is doing something similar to tamping.
Also, looks to me like you are making too much of a deal on the tapping/tamping scenario - lot of time, effort there.
Since you are not weighing - I suggest trying
Pour the coffee down into your funnel - tap twice, pull funnel off, use straight edge to level coffee. Don't do anything else.
then simply level the tamper using your thumbs on the edges of the basket
all of this including pouring ground, tapping leveling and tamping - umm four or five seconds tops.
I can't see the full lever pull and don't know exactly when you are starting your pull - but, it looks to me like you are not getting a full double out - no markings and hard to tell the exact size of your shot, but I don't think you're getting two or 2.25 oz of coffee out.
You don't want to time the pull as you do it, do a good pull and if it goes too quick - do a a finer grind.
No way to get a full double out of a Cremina wihout doing a (fellini) double stroke). Took me a long time to figure out "fellini" is how someone was doing it in an older fellini movie.
All it is, pull smoothly down, get a bit past horizontal and pull back up to the top and come down again - you will notice more back pressure.
OK. I realize that I do a lot less tamp than many people - but, it works great for me, if you are smooth with the lever and have a fine grind I have no problem with channeling.
You are getting there -
Less effort means better coffee and easier to pull shots.
Get down to no more than two or three taps, level it with straight edge, then "dress" it on the top by leveling the tamper and spinning it a couple of times.
Get your double stroke move smooth and you will be there.
Note: and a Big Note: at that.
We are not talking much about grind here - as you try to get your pulled timed - you change the timing of your pull by changing the grind. tighter grind=longer pull, more coarse grind = faster pull.
If you have not already done so - keep tightening the grind up until your Cremina chokes - where you can't pull the lever down, or would have to exert excessive pressure to pull the lever down.
Then, start backing off - then, when your lever pull is about 25 to 27 seconds with a fellini move included, you have the grind correct.
"grind finer, tamp lighter" there is a reason you will see that many places.
You only need or want as much tamp as it takes to keep it from channeling. If you have a smooth lever motion on a cremina, that is not even five pounds. And don't forget, tapping is giving you a similar effect to tamping - do light taps. I don't mean to say that tapping is "uncontrolled" but, unless you tap exactly the same amount, the same way every time your are introducing variables to your procedure that will give you inconsistent shots.
which is another reason I do the really light tamp - easy to be consistent with it. I will note that I tamp so light the preinfusion is only for two full seconds or so at the lever top before I pull down.
You may not wind up doing it exactly as I do, I would be surprised if you did. Everybody seems to have their own little things.
Posted Sat May 4, 2013, 10:09pm Subject: Re: Olympia Cremina potential problem
Watched your 2nd video. Better attempt at distribution. A couple of things seem slightly "odd." First, your Vario-W setting is WAY off what mine was, and what I believe is a goodly % of Vario-W users with lever machines.
Have you done the calibration as posted in the manual? MOST folks (depending on the coffee to some extent) have the Macro set at one notch below the top (at "2"), and the Micro somewhere towards the middle. In a few instances, I've had my Macro at 2 under the top (#3), and the Micro around "D." I noticed your macro setting at 3, your Micro at "G." What struck me was the AMOUNT of coffee coming out of the grinds bin when you poured into the basket/with OE funnel. It looked like about 20 grams, though your setting was set to 18.3. IMO, even 18.3 grams is about 2 grams too much coffee for a Cremina shot. Is your basket an Elektra MCAL double, or the OEM Cremina? If the former, they are deeper and will take 16.5 grams MAX. You are forcing more than is IMO reasonable in there by resorting tp (please forgive my bluntness here) EXCESSIVE, BRUTAL TAPPING. By doing this, you are basically negating all that is special from a lever machine, and the Cremina specifically. This is not a HX pump brute where the norm seems to be to overdose a 17gram basket buy at least 3 grams.
Also, have you calibrated your Vario's SCALE? If you have a regular gram scale (.1 gram resolution) please grind your 18.3, then weigh it on our other scale. Even if it is 18.3, IMO it's too much coffee for a 49mm basket. Re-calibrate your Vario's grind fineness using the 2mm setting screw, and in any event, grind finer and dose less.
If you don't wish to do the calibration, perhaps move your Macro up one notch (have the grinder running if there are beans in the hopper. It looked like you manipulated the Macro before grinding in the video. Not a good thing to do unless going COARSER.
Note that not every shot will give you pre-infusion drips, but in any event, with lever up, count to 8, then lower the lever drips or not.
BTW, you're doing an excellent job raising the lever, and locking in the PF. The shot looked pretty good as it was, but I'd like to see you get the sweet, clean, berry filled shots that grinder/machine combo can deliver!!!
So, PLEASE grind finer, lower the weight to 16.5 (if it's an MCAL basket, 15.8 or so with the Cremina basket. Stop the tapping. If you're dosing the correct amount, 1 tap should get your coffee to basket rim level. A light level tamp should have your coffee about 3-4 mm from the top rim of the basket.
I owned a wonderful 1981 Cremina for over 4 years. I believe I know her about as well as most here, and welcome any PM's from you!
IMAwriter knows very well of what he speaks, I am sure he has pulled far more 80's Cremina shots than I have and I have previously eagerly read his posts of how he uses his Cremina.
I would suggest you not change one thing at a time, but try the various routines entirely, get what suits you best, and then change only one thing at a time.
For example, Very light tamp as I am doing ( with a smaller dose ) is only going to work suitably with a quite fine grind, and then changes daily - where instead of changing the Major settings I usually alter the dose - and to a large extent some things are only going to work well if you are doing a similar routine and are doomed to negative experience if you don't try the whole routine.
Further, while I prefer espresso, my stomach can't handle it - so, I usually do cappa's and do some testing with straight espresso and/or have it when others are over that enjoy it.
The average max day for me is five pulls - if I get two pulls just like I want them - damn, that's a great day! And you can easily taste it. The others aren't sink shots, they are just not as good.
I have never seen another poster using quite the combination that I am, and actually don't recall seeing any two posters using the exact same procedure on their Cremina.
Don't forget, we're usually using different beans, grinder, different ambient humidity, etc. not to mention different water.
Hope our suggestions have helped you make it further down the path!
The above is Spot on advice. BTW, thanks for the kind words. I admit to pulling WAY too many shots! :>D
A consistent tamp is always a great thought. I might reduce the amount of coffee, tap once, and keep all else as is for starters. I know that's more than one thing, but I gather the tamp has not been the problem. Just less of them would be a good thing. As was mentioned somewhere early on, less of EVERYTHING. Reduce the machinations of the coffee bed. Looking forward to another video.
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