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Help to get crema on a well used Saeco Incanto S-class Sirius :)
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NOTORIOUSVR
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Joined: 23 Jan 2014
Posts: 4
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Thu Jan 23, 2014, 5:56pm
Subject: Help to get crema on a well used Saeco Incanto S-class Sirius :)
 

From what I can see here is that there aren't many that have fully automatic machines, but I'm having a hard time finding a place to ask for help with it.

A little run down, I got the machine used (for free) from a friend.

It's gone through a lot of coffee (approx 6500 coffees have been made with it and the largest counter is for the large size).

When I got the machine it was in pretty rough shape but it was free and I was confident in my ability to bring it back to life.

I started with a complete tear down and cleaning of the unit, the only thing I didn't take apart was the grinder (maybe that was my mistake?).  

I disassembled the main pressure/brewing part and cleaned everything (cleaned under the metal plates, all the tubes, made sure the regulator didn't stick), descaled the machine, etc.

The first few runs of coffee were quite watery, so instinctively I started to adjust the grind to go finer and finer (to get any sort of acceptable crema I needed to lift the plastic hopper and adjust the grinder far past what the hopper adjustment knob would let me normally.  I started to get a decent crema, but nothing like the machine we have at my office (which is the exact same machine fwiw just without the large LCD display it has the smaller 2 line display).

Unfortunately, so I kept making the coffee grindings finer and finer until I started to get a decently thick crema, but it still wouldn't match the light/plentiful/and dark/light combination crema of the work machine.  I also noticed that the coffee being so fine had a much harder time to come out of the machine and was quite bitter.  I backed it off again until the coffee wasn't as bitter but lost a decent amount of crema in the process in my opinion.

So my question is, what's next and what could it be?

The machine has great pressure and temperature.  The coffee's are hot and like I said even going so fine that the machine struggled to push coffee through (and the waste coffee pucks were very fine and compact) so the pump must be ok.

Coffee I've tried so far is Lavazza Cafe Crema (light coloured bag).  We've had this at work so I knew it was a decent one.  My next bag will be Denesi Gold to try, yet I'm sure this is not a bean/coffee issue.

I was going to try to bring the brewing part of my machine to work and see if the lack of crema follows, but beyond that I'm a little stuck so any help would be much appreciated!

Thanks!
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SStones
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SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 477
Location: Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Giga 5, ECM Giotto, Rocket...
Grinder: Anfim Milano-Best
Vac Pot: No  :(
Drip: Some $30 thing from Walmart
Roaster: I buy pre-roasted.
Posted Thu Jan 23, 2014, 7:49pm
Subject: Re: Help to get crema on a well used Saeco Incanto S-class Sirius :)
 

If you've adjusted the grinder finer and finer, you've reduced the amount of coffee grounds it's feeding to the brew unit.  If you really like playing with the thing, you could replace the grinder or at least the outer burr to increase the volume of grounds supplied.

In the greater scheme of things, though. It's just a super-automatic. Use it when you're in a hurry or making espresso for a client you want to get away from. Use an espresso machine for espressos you want to drink, enjoy or care about.
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NOTORIOUSVR
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Joined: 23 Jan 2014
Posts: 4
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Fri Jan 24, 2014, 7:02am
Subject: Re: Help to get crema on a well used Saeco Incanto S-class Sirius :)
 

I don't see how making it finer reduces the amount of coffee grinds as the grinder runs for the same amount of time.

To you it might "just be a super-automatic" but normally the machine should be able to make a better coffee then it is now considering the machine at my work is doing it and it's exactly the same.

Thanks for your reply, but that wasn't what I was looking for.
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man114
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Joined: 23 Aug 2013
Posts: 21
Location: NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Saeco Classico,...
Drip: Norelco Dial A Brew
Posted Fri Jan 24, 2014, 9:31am
Subject: Re: Help to get crema on a well used Saeco Incanto S-class Sirius :)
 

I don't know how much variability Saeco has on their super automatic, but I was explaining on another topic that I have a Jura Capresso Impressa S8 and figured out how to get pretty respectable coffee out. Like any other machine it is a learning curve, but you are doing it through programming. Not too many fans or owners of superautos on here but they come in handy and you can do pretty decent with them maybe not so good as individual machines but you should not have swill.

What Jura does in factory settings is has all the settings straight down the middle, and the brew chamber is too small for the amount of coffee it tries to extract, almost two shots from about what you should use for one. If you plug it in and turn it on even if the grinder is at the middle setting you get something akin to an Americano with a not so hot amount of over extracted coffee.

I found it to work best with not so oily beans, ground at the finer side but not necessarily the finest, and it varies depending on roast but had no issues using the internal grinder.

Basically I had to set the brew temp to high. Then I had to max out the amount of powder (coffee) used per each cup size because they are all independent and set in the middle. After this you do the same with the amount of water used. Which of course was set straight down the middle. In the water step you hold a button down and release when you achieve the desired amount of water. What I did here was carefully observe the creama using a clear glass until I was achieving the right amount then cut off the brew right there.

Instead of getting over extracted swill like Americano type drinks you get a pretty darn nice cup of coffee extracted quite a bit slower with pretty decent creama and it is consistent at that. The only drawback is if you are having a larger cup you might have to press the button twice to get the desired cup size. No big deal, it is plenty easy.

I didn't get mine new either, I bought it hardly used from a Goodwill for $16, complete with everything except the box (even had the automatic milk frother, instructions, descaling tablets), with 94 cups run through it. I have run 1000 cups through it since August, so got pretty familiar with it, and like using a manual machine you just have to play around with it. Make sure it is well descaled too for proper brew temps. I used filtered water and the water filter in mine so it is filtered twice and had no issues.
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NOTORIOUSVR
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Joined: 23 Jan 2014
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Location: Toronto
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Fri Jan 24, 2014, 10:00am
Subject: Re: Help to get crema on a well used Saeco Incanto S-class Sirius :)
 

Thanks for your reply.

As far as I can tell this must be an issue hardware wise with my machine.  That would be my opinion anyway, since I have an identical machine to compare it with at work which makes completely different style and tasting coffee using the same exact beans.

I'm just trying to get some guidance in terms of what could potentially be the issue here... grind, temps, pressure?

I do understand that trying to diagnose something like this is difficult and to be honest I was hoping to find a Saeco expert on here maybe, but who knows.

I think I'll just stick to my plan and swap the brew units (mine into the machine at work and vice versa) and see if the brew quality changes in any way.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,734
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
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Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
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Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Sat Jan 25, 2014, 4:53pm
Subject: Re: Help to get crema on a well used Saeco Incanto S-class Sirius :)
 

I have several automatic machines but no SUPERAUTOS. By grinding finer, less coffee moves through the grinder so the same grind time will result in less ground coffee. Good luck in your quest.

 
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!

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z0mbie
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z0mbie
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 349
Location: Online
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Posted Sat Jan 25, 2014, 11:16pm
Subject: Re: Help to get crema on a well used Saeco Incanto S-class Sirius :)
 

must be the beans!
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NOTORIOUSVR
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Jan 2014
Posts: 4
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Fri Jan 31, 2014, 9:45am
Subject: Re: Help to get crema on a well used Saeco Incanto S-class Sirius :)
 

Well even though I'm sure not many here will care, I'd like to update the post hoping it would be helpful to someone else at a later time/date.

Today I swapped the brew unit from my home machine into the work machine.  Lo and behold the coffee that came out of the work machine was just as it always was.  Great taste and exceptional crema.

So at this point, I suppose that leaves the actual machine @ home that has the issue somewhere.

I suppose things that stand out the most are heat/pressure/grinder

Heat seems to be there just fine as the coffee/hot water/steam is very hot.

So I'm going to assume it's either pressure related or something to do with the grinder.  Going to look for a set of replacement ceramic discs, remove/clean/replace them and then setup the grinder properly.  If that fails I suppose the only logical thing left would be weak pressure (failing pump?).
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
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Espresso: N S Oscar
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Posted Fri Jan 31, 2014, 3:27pm
Subject: Re: Help to get crema on a well used Saeco Incanto S-class Sirius :)
 

NOTORIOUSVR Said:

Well even though I'm sure not many here will care, I'd like to update the post hoping it would be helpful to someone else at a later time/date.
.

Posted January 31, 2014 link

I'm very glad that you're making progress and please do keep us posted.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

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