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Expensive bean-to-cup vs cheapo machine - help!
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Expensive...  
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rose_uk
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Joined: 16 Feb 2014
Posts: 7
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Feb 16, 2014, 3:39am
Subject: Expensive bean-to-cup vs cheapo machine - help!
 

A few years ago I was given a cheapish (around fifty quid?) espresso machine, the Kenwood Silver Espresso Cappucchino Maker (Model ES416), now discontinued, which happens to make excellent espresso (I've tried other machines in a similar price bracket and none have compared. In fact I'm on my 3rd or 4th incarnation of the Kenwood now, and have an ongoing EBay alert for when my current one collapses.)

Because I am an espresso addict, family and friends clubbed together for a special birthday last summer to get me a super-duper all-bells-and-whistles bean-to-cup machine, the Krups Espresseria Auto Bean to Cup EA8258 Coffee Machine (I think it's that model: I keep it at the office so can't check at the moment).

I've tried umpteen different kinds of beans, notably a different selection a month from http://www.origincoffee.co.uk/ (another very considerate birthday present!), but I just can't get the coffee to taste as good as it does from my cheap old Kenwood, which I keep at home and use at weekends. I've tried getting water filters for the Krups, using mineral water, varying the bean-grind ...  but it's just not the same.

If anyone's able to suggest any way I might replicate with the Krups machine the wonderfully creamy dark espresso I get from the Kenwood, I would be eternally grateful!
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,781
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 Sun Feb 16, 2014, 9:27am
Subject: Re: Expensive bean-to-cup vs cheapo machine - help!
 

Superautos are easy to use and the operator does not need to know anything about coffee or its preparation but while making it easy to use, the small adjustments needed to get great espresso are not available to the operator. You are used to them from your use of the semiautomatic machines you have used.

I don't have any hands on with any superautos as I do not prefer them but about all you can do is use fresh coffee and study your operators manual to gain access to the limited adjustments you have at hand to get the best you can from the machine.

There are situations where they are the best choice such as an office where no one is trained to brew espresso but they tend to be less sturdy than semi auto choices.

 
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!
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fnacer
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Joined: 25 Feb 2007
Posts: 465
Location: Denver
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Salvatore E61, Vivaldi Mini...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini, Gaggia MDF,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sun Feb 16, 2014, 9:06pm
Subject: Re: Expensive bean-to-cup vs cheapo machine - help!
 

The most likely cause is the grinder. On some superautos, you can supply your own ground coffee which helps you control how fine the grind is. See if that's available on this model. And if the machine has a "strength" knob or button, try the darkest/strongest setting.

If all else fails, consider getting that used Kenwood that's for sale on Amazon UK for use in the office.
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rose_uk
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Joined: 16 Feb 2014
Posts: 7
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Feb 17, 2014, 9:17am
Subject: Re: Expensive bean-to-cup vs cheapo machine - help!
 

calblacksmith Said:

Superautos are easy to use and the operator does not need to know anything about coffee or its preparation but while making it easy to use, the small adjustments needed to get great espresso are not available to the operator. You are used to them from your use of the semiautomatic machines you have used.

I don't have any hands on with any superautos as I do not prefer them but about all you can do is use fresh coffee and study your operators manual to gain access to the limited adjustments you have at hand to get the best you can from the machine.

There are situations where they are the best choice such as an office where no one is trained to brew espresso but they tend to be less sturdy than semi auto choices.

Posted February 16, 2014 link

Many thanks for replying - it's as I feared! It was a wonderfully generous present and at least the machine is very easy to use.
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rose_uk
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Joined: 16 Feb 2014
Posts: 7
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Feb 17, 2014, 9:19am
Subject: Re: Expensive bean-to-cup vs cheapo machine - help!
 

fnacer Said:

The most likely cause is the grinder. On some superautos, you can supply your own ground coffee which helps you control how fine the grind is. See if that's available on this model. And if the machine has a "strength" knob or button, try the darkest/strongest setting.

If all else fails, consider getting that used Kenwood that's for sale on Amazon UK for use in the office.

Posted February 16, 2014 link

Many thanks for the suggestions. I've tried altering the grind of the coffee - and using the 'strongest' setting - and as many variations of the two as I can think of! I'll keep trying, just in case I happen to land on some miraculous combination of grind/strength/coffee bean which really works!
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man114
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Joined: 23 Aug 2013
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Location: NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Saeco Classico,...
Drip: Norelco Dial A Brew
Posted Mon Feb 17, 2014, 3:08pm
Subject: Re: Expensive bean-to-cup vs cheapo machine - help!
 

On my Jura Impressa S8 there are some things I learned, I don't think this machine has all the same setting adjustments. But this is the stuff I found.

-First make sure the water temp is on the highest setting.

- max out grounds used per cup and dial back water used per shot until desired extraction is achieved. The internal filter basket on a lot of the superautos is smaller than an actual double shot, so if you use a normal shot size and extract a double shot the shot over extracts leaving watery shots with lack of creama. If the machine does not have the individual adjustments for that brew the smallest shot size possible and hope that the machine doesn't compensate the grounds used (it may). I've seen a different model of this unit, I think it has strong/extra strong, I don't know if yours does, I would brew extra strong into the smallest cup size and see what happens. If it lets you adjust individual cup sizes and grounds used you probably can get good results out of it.

-I'm pretty sure this has a burr grinder, make sure the grind is fine enough but not too fine and don't use super oily beans. Super oily beans don't seem to feed through the hopper as smoothly and lead to inconsitency, the shots also take too long to extract and you get a lack of creama, if you must use oily beans you have to coarsen the grind out a tad and make sure they feed well.

Hopefully the machine has access to these settings, on the Jura they are all hidden in menus and it took a lot of experimenting to get familiar with it. When I started you got watery coffee like a cheap steam espresso, and now I can get it to take a decent amount of time to extract a shot and get good creama. Once you get to that setting it might not be as perfect as more manual machines but I got 4 shots out this morning in less time than it takes my Keurig to warm up, and they were pretty decent. You have to basically figure out a way to make the machine work like you were doing it yourself.
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rose_uk
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Feb 2014
Posts: 7
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Feb 18, 2014, 5:59am
Subject: Re: Expensive bean-to-cup vs cheapo machine - help!
 

man114 Said:

On my Jura Impressa S8 there are some things I learned, I don't think this machine has all the same setting adjustments. But this is the stuff I found.

-First make sure the water temp is on the highest setting.

- max out grounds used per cup and dial back water used per shot until desired extraction is achieved. The internal filter basket on a lot of the superautos is smaller than an actual double shot, so if you use a normal shot size and extract a double shot the shot over extracts leaving watery shots with lack of creama. If the machine does not have the individual adjustments for that brew the smallest shot size possible and hope that the machine doesn't compensate the grounds used (it may). I've seen a different model of this unit, I think it has strong/extra strong, I don't know if yours does, I would brew extra strong into the smallest cup size and see what happens. If it lets you adjust individual cup sizes and grounds used you probably can get good results out of it.

-I'm pretty sure this has a burr grinder, make sure the grind is fine enough but not too fine and don't use super oily beans. Super oily beans don't seem to feed through the hopper as smoothly and lead to inconsitency, the shots also take too long to extract and you get a lack of creama, if you must use oily beans you have to coarsen the grind out a tad and make sure they feed well.

Hopefully the machine has access to these settings, on the Jura they are all hidden in menus and it took a lot of experimenting to get familiar with it. When I started you got watery coffee like a cheap steam espresso, and now I can get it to take a decent amount of time to extract a shot and get good creama. Once you get to that setting it might not be as perfect as more manual machines but I got 4 shots out this morning in less time than it takes my Keurig to warm up, and they were pretty decent. You have to basically figure out a way to make the machine work like you were doing it yourself.

Posted February 17, 2014 link

Thank you very much indeed, man114, for a useful post - in fact, an extremely useful post! I was aware of the temperature settings (and have always had set to hottest - plus always set to the highest of the two 'strength' settings) and also, of course, of the cup size settings. But it hadn't occurred to me that the strength of the espresso could vary depending on the cup size chosen.

So now I'm experimenting with making a 30ml + a 20ml cup, instead of a single 50ml (or 40ml or 60ml), and so far things are looking good!

My need to sleep prevents me from having much more espresso than this per day, so I'll try again tomorrow and report back.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,781
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 Feb 18, 2014, 6:50am
Subject: Re: Expensive bean-to-cup vs cheapo machine - help!
 

Just a FYI, espresso has less caf than regular drip coffee.

 
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!
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rose_uk
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Feb 2014
Posts: 7
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Feb 19, 2014, 2:57am
Subject: Re: Expensive bean-to-cup vs cheapo machine - help!
 

calblacksmith Said:

Just a FYI, espresso has less caf than regular drip coffee.

Posted February 18, 2014 link

Thanks for that - useful to know!
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rose_uk
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Feb 2014
Posts: 7
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Feb 19, 2014, 3:00am
Subject: Re: Expensive bean-to-cup vs cheapo machine - help!
 

rose_uk Said:

Thank you very much indeed, man114, for a useful post - in fact, an extremely useful post! I was aware of the temperature settings (and have always had set to hottest - plus always set to the highest of the two 'strength' settings) and also, of course, of the cup size settings. But it hadn't occurred to me that the strength of the espresso could vary depending on the cup size chosen.

So now I'm experimenting with making a 30ml + a 20ml cup, instead of a single 50ml (or 40ml or 60ml), and so far things are looking good!

My need to sleep prevents me from having much more espresso than this per day, so I'll try again tomorrow and report back.

Posted February 18, 2014 link

Wish I'd discovered this forum months ago - now once again, the prospect of a decent espresso can lure me into the office monday-friday! Many thanks to everyone, but particularly man114 - I am forever in your debt!
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