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Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
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wizardofvoid
Senior Member
wizardofvoid
Joined: 18 May 2011
Posts: 7
Location: Boston,MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue May 24, 2011, 8:49pm
Subject: Re: Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
 

I'm getting about an 18-20 second pull for a double shot (3oz) using the pressurized basket.
Just as it turns blond I turn off and pull the shot glasses out of the way.

I'm getting about 25-27 with the non-pressurized but I am still experimenting. I have failed at about 4 shots due to over tamping with the Non-Pressurized baskets. But, I went into the Non-Pressurized knowing that there is a bigger learning curve and really my espresso pulling has gone from a hobby to the start of a small obsession.. haha so.. I will say this.. non pressurized is not for everyone. But, for anyone who didn't read my last post.. The Breville unpressurized baskets fit fine and I put a link up there earlier ($40 with shipping but... they do make a difference)

I'm pulling EXCELLENT shots with both the pressurized and the non-pressurized at this point.
Grind is key! Seriously!

If you found this machine for $80 (in a transaction that didn't involve a gun) you are a lucky lucky person. I think I paid $350 for mine and I am very happy with my purchase still.

I think for $80 this machine is fantastic and seriously.. I will check newegg and see if I can't score a 2nd one...

With right grind and the pressurized baskets you'll be making pretty damn good espresso right out of the box.
I know I sound like a broken record about the grinder but... it has STUNNED me how well this machine performs now since getting my new grinder (Gaggia MDF) I payed $250 for the grinder online (shipped).. It made me appreciate this machine a whole lot more.

Thanks for the tip about the water. I will try it and see how it goes.
You guys (n gals) rock!
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wizardofvoid
Senior Member
wizardofvoid
Joined: 18 May 2011
Posts: 7
Location: Boston,MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue May 24, 2011, 9:08pm
Subject: Re: Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
 

psychobrew Said:

Are any pressurized porta filters capable of a 25 second shot?  I have yet to see one that is.  From what I understand, pressurized porta filters alows you to get better quality from non ideal sources and bad technique (stale coffee, poor tamping, wrong grind, etc.)

Posted May 24, 2011 link

Who I am no expert I read that the pressurized portafilters produce a "false crema" which is produced from those mesh holes at the bottom (that liquid just can't flow through so it kind of froffs up the espresso). The pressurized filters do exactly as you said though... they basically are a fail safe method for making espresso.

I'm sure everyone here is somewhat experienced in pulling espresso but if this is your first venture into it the entry level is quite simple.

Stupid tips: (and again please I'm no expert just someone who's screwed around enough to make shots that "I" like. Most of you folks will already know this but.. it might help someone)

> Get yourself 2 measured shot glasses or one wide 3oz measuring cup. Make sure they are heated.

> let the machine warm up... about 15 minutes or so.. with the portafilter in the group head so that the portafilter is warm

> For a single shot use one heaping scoop for a double use 2... level off with a butter knife and clean the edge of the filter/basket

> Tamp down about 30-40lbs of pressure (You can get your bathroom scale and put a hand towel down on it to start if you'd like to gauge your tamping weight after a couple of times you'll just know). Then hit the portafilter on the counter two or three times to jar and losen the grinds.

> tamp again about half the pressure. clean off the basket and filter. Blow off excess coffee.

> use the manual setting. Put the shot glasses under... DON'T WORRY ABOUT TIME. that 25 second stuff is not LAW especially with the pressurized filter. Watch the stream. It will probably start almost black.. then it will get brown (that is the crema)... once you see that color start to fade. Stop... I don't care if you only get 2oz for a double. I usually pull 3oz for a double but you'd rather have a syrupy 2oz then a watered down 3oz. Thing is this.. that crema is the sweet stuff... everything after that is bitter, caffeine filled funk.

If the bean is right, the grind is right, the pull is right and the stars have aligned you will have a strong, syrupy, almost dark chocolatey espresso shot.

If you find your shot too bitter you might be pulling too long.
If you are just dripping and there is no stream. You could have ground too fine or overtamped.

Again, this is all basic stuff but... when I hear someone comparing this machine's shots to "only enough to keep them away from starbucks" I worry that they are not getting the most out of their machine.
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psychobrew
Senior Member


Joined: 19 May 2011
Posts: 93
Location: Maryland
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed May 25, 2011, 5:17pm
Subject: Re: Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
 

All this stuff is good to know.  Yes, I'm a complete novice (though I think I've got some of the theory down) and I think I've learned more than I ever wanted to know because I got my machine today and I couldn't bring myself to buy pre-grounded coffee.  A week or two ago, that's the first thing I would have done.

In any case, the water thing -- the idea is to bring enough fresh water to kick the boiler on after steaming.  This indicates the super heated water for the steam has cooled enough that the machine needs to bring it back up to brewing temp.  You should be fine when that happens.  Without bringing the cool water in, it will take a while for it to cool down on its own and you will scorch the coffee if you don't wait long enough.

The machine itself is really nice.  I haven't had the chance to use it yet, but the fit and finish is good and everything feels solid.  The portafilter is better than I was expecting and it attaches to the main machine nice and smooth.  I like the way it locks.  I do have another machine which was a really cheap one and it never seems to have a definitive lock -- you can keep cranking it tighter and tighter.

I'm still trying to decide on the grinder.  You got me thinking about the Gaggia MDF, and there's also the Baratsas (sp?) and the Breeville Smart Grinder.  Unfortunately it will be a while yet...

It's also funny that one of the features that attracted me to this machine you pretty much said is pointless (the programable shot buttons).  You give a great explanation though.
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wizardofvoid
Senior Member
wizardofvoid
Joined: 18 May 2011
Posts: 7
Location: Boston,MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed May 25, 2011, 6:21pm
Subject: Re: Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
 

I have no experience with the other grinders so I can't really say for sure. But, I can tell you that the Gaggia MDF is a fantastic grinder. I just found it online for $199 SHIPPED from http://www.essentialespresso.com/. I just ordered a 2nd grinder for my recording studio. I ordered it Saturday and it just came in the mail today. I paid about $70 less for this one. The other was $350+shipping... The machine arrived in great shape (looks new.. but miiight be a floor model.. not sure). I also went ahead and ordered another machine from newegg for my studio as well.. so I'm all hooked up now.. hehe

As far as a grinder goes... the thing that made me lean toward going with the Gaggia is that you hear testament of people who have had this grinder for 20 years!... and it's still going strong. Also, I'm currently using the setting #10 for the pressurized baskets... which is the thickest "espresso" grind the machine is supposed to make.. setting 1 will basically make powder... it's crazy powerful and consistent. The portafilter needs to be held in place because the em200 has a smaller portafilter.. but.. I put a saucer under the machine and there is no mess. It also doses out 7gm doses.. so one for a single and two for a double.. the guess work has been done for you. Again, do research on all of them and find the right one for you. This one was right for me. I'm very happy with it.

Then... Once you get your grinder...Go to the best coffee shop in town (preferably somewhere that roasts their own beans) and get a quarter pound of "espresso grind" as well as a pound of their espresso beans whole... Test their grind in your machine and see what results it yields. Usually it's going to be a pretty decent starting point. From there, use their espresso grind from the coffee shop as a guide... start at their highest espresso setting and work your way down until you find the grind that matches the coffee shops.  I know buying ground coffee is sacrilege but... Put it in an airtight container (one of those gladware thingies) and it'll be okay for your first venture.

Once you get an idea where your grinders "Sweet spot" is... you'll basically always be within 1 or 2 settings from the perfect grind. Different beans will yield different results. More dark oily roasts will grind different than medium roasts and so on. But, as long as you're sticking with the pressurized filters you'll be fine.

As far as the single shot and double shot setting. There is no shame in using them! They can be programmed once you know how long your shot usually takes to go blond. I tend to watch my shots like a hawk but... that's just me.. I also pull into measured glasses and a lot of people don't do that.

Last point of advice... Too fine of a grind will cause the machine to just say "NO!" so.. start course and work down. Take the machine to the "NO!" limit and pull back one setting. You should do fine.

Hope all of this helps and sorry to write a book.
Goodluck and welcome to the world of coffee obsession lol
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takeshi
Senior Member
takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 935
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Super Jolly
Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Thu May 26, 2011, 11:43am
Subject: Re: Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
 

psychobrew Said:

The portafilter is better than I was expecting and it attaches to the main machine nice and smooth.  I like the way it locks.  I do have another machine which was a really cheap one and it never seems to have a definitive lock -- you can keep cranking it tighter and tighter.

Posted May 25, 2011 link

My Silvia doesn't.  Don't assume that this one thing is indicative of a machine's quality on its own.
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psychobrew
Senior Member


Joined: 19 May 2011
Posts: 93
Location: Maryland
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu May 26, 2011, 6:47pm
Subject: Re: Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
 

takeshi Said:

My Silvia doesn't.  Don't assume that this one thing is indicative of a machine's quality on its own.

Posted May 26, 2011 link

Sure, but it's a nice touch.

From everything I've heard, the Silvia is a wild beast that needs some taming but is very rewarding once you master it.

In any case, I broke down and used regular ground coffee in my new machine.  It was much better than I was expecting, though I freely admit I'm not used to drinking good coffee.  I'm very happy with the machine so far and would be shocked if you can do better for less than $100 (or even $200, possibly even $300).  It's also much quieter than I was expecting.
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psychobrew
Senior Member


Joined: 19 May 2011
Posts: 93
Location: Maryland
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Fri May 27, 2011, 8:30pm
Subject: Re: Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
 

I must say I am thrilled with this machine so far.  It's easy to use and it seems very consistent (with temps and taste).  The frothing is simple with the attachment (though I'm sure experienced users would want to remove it) -- all you do is insert the nozzle in to the pitcher and set in on the drip tray (and it doesn't take nearly as long to froth the milk as I was expecting).  It's also well built.

I don't think anything can touch it for the price I paid, though this is probably not the right review for a site full of much more experienced users (great for noobs and it seems like you can grow up quite a bit with it by buying the Breville baskets).  If you are on a tight budget then this is definitely the machine to get.  It's so much better than my old one (a cheap Delonghi Treviso).
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hopittome
Senior Member


Joined: 25 May 2011
Posts: 4
Location: Madison, WI
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Jun 9, 2011, 3:23pm
Subject: Re: Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
 

wizardofvoid Said:

Who I am no expert I read that the pressurized portafilters produce a "false crema" which is produced from those mesh holes at the bottom (that liquid just can't flow through so it kind of froffs up the espresso). The pressurized filters do exactly as you said though... they basically are a fail safe method for making espresso.

I'm sure everyone here is somewhat experienced in pulling espresso but if this is your first venture into it the entry level is quite simple.

Stupid tips: (and again please I'm no expert just someone who's screwed around enough to make shots that "I" like. Most of you folks will already know this but.. it might help someone)

> Get yourself 2 measured shot glasses or one wide 3oz measuring cup. Make sure they are heated.

> let the machine warm up... about 15 minutes or so.. with the portafilter in the group head so that the portafilter is warm

> For a single shot use one heaping scoop for a double use 2... level off with a butter knife and clean the edge of the filter/basket

> Tamp down about 30-40lbs of pressure (You can get your bathroom scale and put a hand towel down on it to start if you'd like to gauge your tamping weight after a couple of times you'll just know). Then hit the portafilter on the counter two or three times to jar and losen the grinds.

> tamp again about half the pressure. clean off the basket and filter. Blow off excess coffee.

> use the manual setting. Put the shot glasses under... DON'T WORRY ABOUT TIME. that 25 second stuff is not LAW especially with the pressurized filter. Watch the stream. It will probably start almost black.. then it will get brown (that is the crema)... once you see that color start to fade. Stop... I don't care if you only get 2oz for a double. I usually pull 3oz for a double but you'd rather have a syrupy 2oz then a watered down 3oz. Thing is this.. that crema is the sweet stuff... everything after that is bitter, caffeine filled funk.

If the bean is right, the grind is right, the pull is right and the stars have aligned you will have a strong, syrupy, almost dark chocolatey espresso shot.

If you find your shot too bitter you might be pulling too long.
If you are just dripping and there is no stream. You could have ground too fine or overtamped.

Again, this is all basic stuff but... when I hear someone comparing this machine's shots to "only enough to keep them away from starbucks" I worry that they are not getting the most out of their machine.

Posted May 24, 2011 link

So...I just got got this from Newegg the other day and had been using the ESE pods to no effect. I haven't bought the Hario yet, but I tried running through some Cafe Bustelo (absurdly find grind). I followed your instructions to a T. Um...WOW, just WOW. I had been thinking about returning this, but clearly, the pods are the issue. The shot I pulled was superb (even for pre-ground coffee) and I think I now have no choice but to go ahead and get the grinder. Needless to say, I'm thrilled!
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cafediva
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Nov 2006
Posts: 66
Location: Half Moon Bay, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Nuovo Simonelli Oscar
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos
Drip: none--want a Technivorm
Roaster: nope--sounds fun, though
Posted Thu Jun 9, 2011, 3:29pm
Subject: Re: Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
 

hopittome Said:

So...I just got got this from Newegg the other day and had been using the ESE pods to no effect. I haven't bought the Hario yet, but I tried running through some Cafe Bustelo (absurdly find grind). I followed your instructions to a T. Um...WOW, just WOW. I had been thinking about returning this, but clearly, the pods are the issue. The shot I pulled was superb (even for pre-ground coffee) and I think I now have no choice but to go ahead and get the grinder. Needless to say, I'm thrilled!

Posted June 9, 2011 link

The pods are for desperate measures only, IMO. And desperate with a capital D.
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hopittome
Senior Member


Joined: 25 May 2011
Posts: 4
Location: Madison, WI
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Jun 9, 2011, 3:35pm
Subject: Re: Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
 

cafediva Said:

The pods are for desperate measures only, IMO. And desperate with a capital D.

Posted June 9, 2011 link

Oh, I agree. Of course, the downside is now that I have all these pods I've wasted my money on!

Edit: Wait! Looks like I'm still in the Amazon return window. Time to upgrade.

Lesson learned? In the words of Sarah "Blockhead" Palin: You betcha.
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