Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
Espresso: Espresso Machines
Getting BITTER metal tasting espresso from my Krups
Learn @seattlecoffeegear
Learn all about coffee, watch videos, read how-to articles.
www.seattlecoffeegear.com
 
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered  
Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Getting BITTER...  
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Author Messages
FowlerFive
Senior Member
FowlerFive
Joined: 25 Aug 2009
Posts: 3
Location: West Cobb, GA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Aug 25, 2009, 5:25am
Subject: Getting BITTER metal tasting espresso from my Krups
 

Since I go to Starbucks every day, a friend recently gave me their Krups Il Primo espresso machine, and I bought all the Starbucks syrups and coffee's I like, in hopes of saving myself the daily trips there :o)  So far I've been very unsuccessful... my espresso tastes like metal and is VERY bitter.  Even extra syrup and whole milk won't cut the bite!  I have watched some videos on how to make the perfect cup of espresso, but when I do it at home - yuck!!  Help!!  It is a very basic model where you first move the lever forward til it begins steaming, then you move the lever to the back and it brews the espresso.  No manual came with the machine so I found a video on youtube where some starbucks guy is making his home coffee on the same machine.  
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9v0-zASyTtM

I've noticed some white specks in my espresso also.  When I remove the cup of coffeegrinds, I can also see the white specks there with the coffeegrinds as well.  Is this normal?  I'm wondering if these white specks are the cause.  Perhaps my friend closed up the canister while there was still water in it and stored it for a while, so it messed the machine up or something?  I don't know.  All I know is that this is the most bitter metal-tasting stuff I have ever tasted.  I can't even drink it.  Every time, I take a sip, add various things in hopes of helping, and then wind up pouring it out.  I've flushed it out several times, essentially "brewing" water, probably 15 times or so but it has not helped at all, and my brewed water also has those white specks in it.  What do you think?  Is the interior of the machine shot?  Or is this normal?  Again, I've never done this before this machine so I don't know what is normal...
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,775
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Aug 25, 2009, 6:48am
Subject: Re: Getting BITTER metal tasting espresso from my Krups
 

Welcome to the board!

It is hard to say what is exactly your problem but I would guess that the inside of the machine is scaled up and that is part of what you are tasting.

With Starbucks as the bench mark, you have set the bar pretty low so getting better than them should be easy. They are the McDonnalds of the coffee world, they are everywhere but they are only the quality of fast food..... if that.

Another thing is you need FRESH coffee, if you are buying it from Starbucks, you are getting stale coffee. Next you need a GOOD grinder, a whirley blade spice grinder will not do, it will make a hodge poge of grinds from boulders to dust and the dust will over extract and be bitter while the boulders will never release their goodness.

In this order, you need these things to get good espresso at home (or anywhere for that matter)

1 FRESH COFFEE, not more than 2 weeks from the date it was roasted, if the bag does not have a roasted date and only has the "best by" date, it is stale before you even buy it, so just leave it on the shelf. Starbucks coffee falls into this catagory. The general rule of coffee is that green unroasted beans will keep for about 15 months, roasted coffee is good for at most 15 days unless advanced measures are taken in preservation (such as vacuum packing in small lots and deep freezing then thawing in the sealed bag) and ground coffee is only good for about 15 minutes, from the time it was ground, not when you open the package!

2 GOOD GRINDER if you need to watch the pennies, buy a used espresso grade hand grinder from http://www.orphanespresso.com/ for under $100, there are several entry level powered grinders near the $300 price point but there is not much in the under $200 price range for a powered grinder new that is able to grind espresso,  but this is the starting point for used grinders that may need to be freshened up. Do not under value the quality of the grinder for good coffee and esp. espresso!

3 YOUR SKILL the more you practice, the better you will get regardless of the brew method and other gear. This is not to say that you don't need good gear, but even with professional level gear, if you have no clue what you are doing, the results likely won't be very good

4 ESPRESSO MACHINE yes this is at the bottom of the list. Providing that the water can be heated to and provided to the coffee at the proper temp and pressure (195 to 205 F and 9 bar pressure) you can get a good shot, better espresso machines will make it easier to do and more consistent but these are the base minimums for a machine.

It sounds like the machine you have is heavily scaled up and needs to be descaled with any of the commercial products made for this purpose. I did watch the video you linked to and about the only correct information he gave was that you don't need an espresso roast to make good espresso ( in fact, most of us here prefer a lighter roast than "espresso" as at that roast level all you taste is the burnt flavor of over roasted coffee, like Starbucks makes. The rest of the video was pure ......... well it was not accurate of the process.

Your machine is a "steam toy" as we refer to them here. They get the water too hot, have poor temp control and are just hard to get a good shot with. The Video was wrong when he said that you make espresso with steam WRONG WRONG WRONG! you need water at 195 to 205 F, this is well below the temp that water boils at, the water needs to be delivered to the coffee under about 9 bars of pressure or about 9 times the pressure that the air is pushing down on you at sea level. This pressure is 14psi and 9 x 14 is 126 psi. Steam toys use boiling water to produce this pressure but better espresso machines use a water pump to brew with.

You may like a moka pot better http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.brewers.mokapot.php they make a better espresso like coffee in my opinion much better than the steam toy will. However, all is not lost, you can use the steam toy to froth your milk, they do work OK for that purpose.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
JonR10
Senior Member
JonR10
Joined: 26 Apr 2004
Posts: 10,376
Location: Houston, Texas
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: E61 Legend, Livietta,...
Grinder: Robur, B-Vario-W
Vac Pot: Hario Tabletop, Yama...
Drip: Technivorm
Roaster: 1-lb US Roaster, Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Aug 25, 2009, 7:05am
Subject: Re: Getting BITTER metal tasting espresso from my Krups
 

Hi Jennifer,
Welcome to coffeegeek.   :-)  

FowlerFive Said:

So far I've been very unsuccessful... my espresso tastes like metal and is VERY bitter.

Posted August 25, 2009 link

There are a couple of issues that may be stacking up against you here...  

The first issue is your machine: The steam-operated type "espresso machine" is not capable of making a palatable shot by specialty coffee standards.  By nature, it brews at too high a temperatrure and that makes the coffee bitter.  Also the steam pressure is only about 1/2 what is required to make a true espresso, so what you end up with is thin and bitter strong coffee.  

It's not espresso at all, even if the video guy in the Starbucks apron thinks it is.  

The second issue is the white specs you see.  This is most likely a result of scale deposits from boiling hard water in the machine.  You can check this by shining a flashlight into the boiler and looking for white-gray powdery deposits inside.  An even more simple test is to "brew" some clear water into a cup, let it cool, and then taste it to see if the machine is adding a off taste to the water.  


To make great (or even decent) espresso you need a machine with a pump to produce at least 8 bar of pressure (the steamtoy can only produce about 4 bar).  The espresso should be brewed at around 195-205 F (the steamtoy boils the water for brewing so it's around 212 F).  

Also, using freshly roasted coffee ground just minutes before brewing (with a good burr grinder) makes a HUGE difference in the taste of the brew.  If espresso is made from ground coffee and water then how important would you think the coffee is?  


Good "starter" espresso machines start at around $200 new (maybe 1/2 that for a decent used one) and good grinders also start at around $200 new (maybe less for a used one).  The Gaggia brand is a good example of a starter espresso machine and the Nemox Lux (or Mini Pro II) is an example of a decent starter grinder.  

Sorry to be a downer, but I hope my post has been helpful.
Again, welcome to coffeegeek  :-)

 
Jon Rosenthal
Houston, TX
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
FowlerFive
Senior Member
FowlerFive
Joined: 25 Aug 2009
Posts: 3
Location: West Cobb, GA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Aug 25, 2009, 8:25am
Subject: Re: Getting BITTER metal tasting espresso from my Krups
 

Oh my goodness!  I figured, take it home, read instructions online and ah-ha, I have espresso! :o)  So basically, even if I used the special cleaner to clean my machine, it's a complete crapper anyway, so why bother, right?  Or should I try cleaning it with one of those cleaners, considering, as you said, I'm a Starbucks girl so OK in my head may be quite awful in yours... but if I'd be ok producing Starbucks-like espresso (at least for now while I am in the learning stages), do you think my machine will allow me to do so?  

OK so next step sounds like I need a good coffee grinder & fresh beans.  

Next question:  I have to use soymilk (milk intolerance) so do I need to froth it?  Also, in an iced latte, is it frothed?  Or just poured right in?  

Where would I get one of those cleaners?  Can I get it at a local supermarket/Target/Walmart or do i have to find a specialty store or get it online?
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
JonR10
Senior Member
JonR10
Joined: 26 Apr 2004
Posts: 10,376
Location: Houston, Texas
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: E61 Legend, Livietta,...
Grinder: Robur, B-Vario-W
Vac Pot: Hario Tabletop, Yama...
Drip: Technivorm
Roaster: 1-lb US Roaster, Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Aug 25, 2009, 10:21am
Subject: Re: Getting BITTER metal tasting espresso from my Krups
 

FowlerFive Said:

OK so next step sounds like I need a good coffee grinder & fresh beans.  

Posted August 25, 2009 link

This is a very good step to take  :-)
Good grinder + Fresh beans = better coffee (no matter how you brew it)

FowlerFive Said:

Next question:  I have to use soymilk (milk intolerance) so do I need to froth it?  Also, in an iced latte, is it frothed?  Or just poured right in?  

Posted August 25, 2009 link

I'm not intolerant but I prefer to use lactose free milk for the taste (it seems a little sweeter to me).  is that a possibility for you?  Also, I am under the impression that for iced drinks you can just pour trhe milk in without frothing (I would combine the milk with the coffee first, and then add the ice).  

FowlerFive Said:

Where would I get one of those cleaners?  Can I get it at a local supermarket/Target/Walmart or do i have to find a specialty store or get it online?

Posted August 25, 2009 link

I would check your local restaurant supply for a citric acid type cleaner, or maybe buy it online


And as for the EspressoPointe machine from LaVazza, it does not use fresh ground coffee (it's a pod or capsule machine, like Nespresso).  It may be good for your needs but if you're going that route and you don't steam milk then the Nesrpesso may be more cost effective for you.  

I'm primarily a straight espresso drinker who enjoys a good cappucino, so steampower is important to me especially when I entertain and I cannot tolerate the espresso made from pods and capsules...but for someone who's making iced latte drinks most of the time the nespresso system may be a good match.  

You can try it out at your local Williams & Sanoma (maybe even bring some iced soymilk premixed with syrup so you can make yourself an iced latte in the store to taste)

 
Jon Rosenthal
Houston, TX
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,775
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Aug 25, 2009, 11:50am
Subject: Re: Getting BITTER metal tasting espresso from my Krups
 

FowlerFive Said:

Oh my goodness!  I figured, take it home, read instructions online and ah-ha, I have espresso! :o)

Posted August 25, 2009 link

LOL, yes lots of people think along the same lines. I did also. I started with a steam toy, moved to a cheep pump machine (krups) and then to a starter HX machine an Oscar and now to the  commercial ECM machine that is on my bench!

FowlerFive Said:

So basically, even if I used the special cleaner to clean my machine, it's a complete crapper anyway, so why bother, right?  Or should I try cleaning it with one of those cleaners, considering, as you said, I'm a Starbucks girl so OK in my head may be quite awful in yours... but if I'd be ok producing Starbucks-like espresso (at least for now while I am in the learning stages), do you think my machine will allow me to do so?

Posted August 25, 2009 link



There is no shame in being a "Starbucks girl" :) a large number of us started in the same place, then, as in my case, I found this board and that was the start of a new journey! For milk based drinks you will likely get something that will be as good or slightly better than *$  With some practice on your part with that steam toy. At least your feet are wet anyway, where you choose to go later will, of course, be entirely up to you!

FowlerFive Said:

OK so next step sounds like I need a good coffee grinder & fresh beans.  

Posted August 25, 2009 link



OUTSTANDING CONCLUSION ! this will help with ANY coffee you brew!

FowlerFive Said:

Next question:  I have to use soymilk (milk intolerance) so do I need to froth it?  Also, in an iced latte, is it frothed?  Or just poured right in?  

Posted August 25, 2009 link



I don't use it but many here do, again, it is part of the learning process. You will read a lot about microfoam. This is entirely different than anything you will get from a *$, we refer to their foamed milk as soap suds. Microfoam is smooth, creamy and looks like wet paint, not a tub full of dish suds. It has a much better mouth feel and I find it to be sweeter.

FowlerFive Said:

Where would I get one of those cleaners?  Can I get it at a local supermarket/Target/Walmart or do i have to find a specialty store or get it online?

Posted August 25, 2009 link

An online source for the cleaner is http://www.1st-line.com/parts/urnex/index.htm#descaling if you don't see any in a local store.


Again, welcome to the board, we are eager to help people who are seeking great coffee no matter the brew method! :)

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
JonR10
Senior Member
JonR10
Joined: 26 Apr 2004
Posts: 10,376
Location: Houston, Texas
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: E61 Legend, Livietta,...
Grinder: Robur, B-Vario-W
Vac Pot: Hario Tabletop, Yama...
Drip: Technivorm
Roaster: 1-lb US Roaster, Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Aug 25, 2009, 12:17pm
Subject: Re: Getting BITTER metal tasting espresso from my Krups
 

calblacksmith Said:

An online source for the cleaner is http://www.1st-line.com/parts/urnex/index.htm#descaling if you don't see any in a local store.

Posted August 25, 2009 link

Hmmm....I prefer citric acid crystals:  I get it at Orphan (CLICK THIS)

 
Jon Rosenthal
Houston, TX
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
Jmanespresso
Senior Member
Jmanespresso
Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 2,109
Location: Westchester NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Compak K10 - Vario
Vac Pot: Yama-SY5/SY8/TCA5
Drip: V60, Beehouse, CCD
Roaster: Hottop B
Posted Tue Aug 25, 2009, 3:14pm
Subject: Re: Getting BITTER metal tasting espresso from my Krups
 

Yes, the Citric Acid crystals that Jon Suggested are definatly the cheapest route.  And, you can mix to whatever strength you need, depending on the amount of scale buildup you have.

Ive also used a product called "Dezcal", Made by Urnex.. Its on of the products on the 1st Line Equip. Page.  It does do a good job of descaling, but the bag of CA Crystals will last longer, and is cheaper.

Some people in the world suggest using vinegar.  Personally, thats not my thing, so i dont suggest it.. BUT, I suppose in a pinch it would work.  Still, I suggest using a product designed for what you are doing.

I, like others, also started out with a Steam Toy.  An oldschool machine from the 70s.  A Benjamin & Medwin.  I also, like you and others, used starbucks coffee.  Then I found coffeegeek.  Even though it is a steam toy, using fresh roasted coffee improved the resulting brew by leaps and bounds.  And, since the steam toy, by nature doesn't need a "perfect" grind, you can see some improvements just by using fresh coffee, granted you at least have some type of grinder.

My Three Favorite roasters are:
The Coffee Klatch
Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea
Counter Culture Coffee
..In no particular order.  These, and MANY other roasters will, Roast, Pack and Ship your coffee the day your order it.  You coffee IS NOT roasted until you order it.  Though many us of also home roast our own beans to supplement our online order, the majority of us here on this board order coffee from online roasters on a regular/semi-regular basis.  The three roasters i listed are very popular, and their popular blends are big crowd pleasers.  Belle Espresso from Klatch, Black Cat Classic from Intelligentsia and Toscano from Counter Culture are very popular.  But dont be afriad to order other blends.  Ive tried all the espresso blends from Counter Culture, and most from Klatch.  While different, they are all very good.

Best thing about a steam toy, is they have great ability to steam milk.  I highly suggest reading this Article, on How to Froth Milk, Properly.  When you order a cappucino at a random starbucks, the "frothed milk" they put on that drink is nowhere near how great it can be.  Ive visited MANY Starbucks locations, and to this day, NEVER have I got microfoamed milk on a drink.  Parmalat is my milk of choice from frothing.  To me, its a touch sweeter then other, traditional milks.  As an Aside, Id stay away from the Big Brand milks your local grocery store has, such as Crowley(which just cant be frothed well).  See if they sell a local farms milk.  Whole milk, for me, and many others, is the easiest to froth, nonfat being the toughest.  Well.. Soy milk is the toughest actually.  A fellow CG'er, who has his own website FULL of facts and tips about everything coffee, uses soy milk only, and in the past, has suggest Kirkland, Costcos house brand of milk.

I Do very highly suggest you take the time to read this Entire site.  Published by Randy Glass, he documents his entire journey into the world of home espresso, from the day he thought about getting a machine, until the present, about 8yrs later. There is also many product reviews, tips, and how-tos on various tasks related to coffee preparation.  Truly a wonderful site to make one of your homepages.  Ive got four, his site being one of them.

Lastly, and most importantly, Read, Learn and HAVE FUN.  It doesnt matter if you have the top of the line La Marzocco 3group Mistral with paddles and a Mazzer Robur grinder, or if you have a moka pot and a whirly blade.  If coffee isn't fun, there is no point in doing it.

 
Follow Your Bliss

Coffee makes your constantly overcome your prejudices and re-evaluate your own "received wisdoms" when it comes to judging cup flavors. -Tom Owen, SweetMarias
back to top
 View Profile Contact via AOL Instant Messenger Link to this post
cappuccinoboy
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Jun 2009
Posts: 798
Location: MILANO
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Milano pod, Milano fully...
Grinder: grind on demand
Posted Thu Aug 27, 2009, 9:13am
Subject: Re: Getting BITTER metal tasting espresso from my Krups
 

Jmanespresso Said:

Yes, the Citric Acid crystals that Jon Suggested are definatly the cheapest route.  And, you can mix to whatever strength you need, depending on the amount of scale buildup you have.

Ive also used a product called "Dezcal", Made by Urnex.. Its on of the products on the 1st Line Equip. Page.  It does do a good job of descaling, but the bag of CA Crystals will last longer, and is cheaper.

Some people in the world suggest using vinegar.  Personally, thats not my thing, so i dont suggest it.. BUT, I suppose in a pinch it would work.  Still, I suggest using a product designed for what you are doing.

.................................
Lastly, and most importantly, Read, Learn and HAVE FUN.  It doesnt matter if you have the top of the line La Marzocco 3group Mistral with paddles and a Mazzer Robur grinder, or if you have a moka pot and a whirly blade.  If coffee isn't fun, there is no point in doing it.

Posted August 25, 2009 link

vinegar is a great descaler but it has the bad habit of melting away O rings and seals so it is better if you avoid it, so much more if you have pearl necklace or rings.....(they too get melted away......)
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
grayreynolds
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Aug 2009
Posts: 6
Location: Seattle, WA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Aug 27, 2009, 1:28pm
Subject: Re: Getting BITTER metal tasting espresso from my Krups
 

Well, it IS a krups....hehh
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Getting BITTER...  
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered     Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
Discussions Quick Jump:
Symbols: New Posts= New Posts since your last visit      No New Posts= No New Posts since last visit     Go to most recent post= Newest post
Forum Rules:
No profanity, illegal acts or personal attacks will be tolerated in these discussion boards.
No commercial posting of any nature will be tolerated; only private sales by private individuals, in the "Buy and Sell" forum.
No SEO style postings will be tolerated. SEO related posts will result in immediate ban from CoffeeGeek.
No cross posting allowed - do not post your topic to more than one forum, nor repost a topic to the same forum.
Who Can Read The Forum? Anyone can read posts in these discussion boards.
Who Can Post New Topics? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post new topics.
Who Can Post Replies? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post replies.
Can Photos be posted? Anyone can post photos in their new topics or replies.
Who can change or delete posts? Any CoffeeGeek member can edit their own posts. Only moderators can delete posts.
Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.
Cafe Espresso Machines
Video reviews, nationwide installation, leasing options... Nuova Simonelli, Rancilio, La Marzocco.
www.seattlecoffeegear.com
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2014 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.538415908813)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+