I've had a Cubika machine now for a number of months and it does seem to
make pretty good coffee.
However, I still don't seem to be able to get a really rich crema head.
I've tried all sorts of grind (I have a proper burr grinder), amounts of
coffee and type of grind, but I just can't seem to get it right.
In fact if I buy "Esspresso" ground coffee it is too fine and either the
brew will not flow or is very slow.
I notice that Gaggia used to do some sort of disc which was intended to
improve the crema, this is not now supplied with the machine, so I wonder
whether this has always been a problem.
Anyone got any advice or suggestions.
"Charles Turner" ha scritto nel messaggio
I don't know your machine, but if you go to
went to Illy's university of caffé and did a terrific article about the
science of coffee and why things do or do not happen. Just go to his site
and search on Illy or espresso and you'll learn a lot. As I recall, it had
to do with pressure and the time that the steam spent on the coffee.
It's not the coffee. I freshly grind it and I've tried lots of different
If I try the pre-ground espresso it is too fine.
I've even tried Gaggia's own ground coffee and still hardly any crema!
You obviously don't understand the concept of fresh coffee. The mass
coffee sellers would have you believe that coffee is "fresh" for a year
or more. Coffee is much like baked goods, freshly baked is the best,
they flavor and aroma goes and eventually the product is rancid and no
longer fresh for health department purposes. Freshly roasted coffee
give off gas (CO2) and volatile oils and aromatics. It is the volatile
oils that emulsify with water and other compounds in the coffee to make
crema. Once the coffee has lost these volatile oils it is stale for for
brewing purposes. Depending on a number of factors including the type
of beans, the degree of roast and storage conditions coffee is "fresh"
for 1 to 3 weeks. I'm using the term "fresh" for espresso purposes. It
will make crema and a decent tasting shot.
Canned coffee is usually staled before putting in the can or the can
would explode from the de-gassing coffee. Once the coffee is ground the
volatile oils dissipate rapidly -- 10 minutes can make a noticeable
difference in your espresso shot.
Your best bet is to find a local roaster and buy beans that were roasted
on the day of purchase.
R "do you know when your beans were roasted" TF
On Nov 21, 8:59 am, "Charles Turner"
there are really only 4 factors, as the ltalians would say:
coffee (see above)
technique (loading / tamping)
so if this very same coffee w/ the very same grind can do well on
another machine that leaves us with your
[assuming it is scrupulously clean]
and / or
(I have machines with very stable, controllable temperatures, and
I missed the point? Where did you mention that you used the same coffee
in other machines? You won't get much crema from stale coffee. If the
other machines had crema enhancer disks in the portafilter the aerated
bubbles you see are not real crema, just aerated bubbles. Crema is
created by the emulsification of oils and other compounds in the coffee.
This is done with fresh coffee, freshly ground under the heat and
pressure in a properly adjusted espresso machine. You don't get that
from a crema enhancer that just sprays the coffee through a small hole,
aerating it and creating bubbles.
R "surely I'm still missing the point." TF
just an amateur here, but I noticed a distinct difference between even
machines of the same make and model.
I've noticed that the temperature that the water is heated to, influences
I can't say what effect either the coffee, or the machine timing would have
on it, though.
Coffee is a complex drink, with many variables going into a recipe.
Unless you can isolate everything, you'll always have differences.
- kinda like wine, that way.
No, you did miss the point.
As I said I have used the same coffee in different machines producing a good
crema (I don't now have these machines), I have NEVER used a "crema enhancer
disk" so I assume there is a problem with the Cubika machine, just not sure
how, or whether it can be resolved.
PS Might buy a different machine for Christmas! Any recomendations?
It depends on your expectations & restrictions;
* what's your budget
* do you want consistent "God Shots" or do you primarily have milked drinks
* do you prefer the S/S industrial look that's currently in vogue
* are you willing/capable of buying a machine & upgrading it yourself
There is no *perfect* machine. They're all about compromises; size for
features, convenience for shot quality, price for machine quality, etc. For
my money it's impossible to find another brand of machine in Gaggia's price
range that produces the same quality coffee.
On Nov 20, 5:51 pm, "Charles Turner"
I don't know why you are not getting the same results as with the
machines DO NOT GET THE CREMA ENCHANER DISK, the crema it makes is
real it will only mask progress or failures in your technique as crema
one of the byproducts of good preparation.
You also may want to try temperature surfing by throwing the
switch and then hitting the brew switch at some point before the
gets to steaming temperature after some trial and error you will know
how many seconds to throw the brew switch after activating the
Sour taste and very light crema is usually brewed at too low a
temperature and too high will produce bitterness and burnt taste with
thin dark crema or even good looking crema sometimes but bad taste.
Crema is just one of the factors.
Do the other machines have crema enhancing portafilters? if so maybe
they are just making so and so coffee look asthetically pleasing
(interpretation a big head of phoney crema) and your machine is
a more honest representation of outcome due to coffee quality,
grind, and/or tamp. Maybe not ???
How does the coffee taste ?? You did say you used whole beans (what
kind and their roasting date I know nothing about) and ground them
what kind of grinding device ?), BUT you also mentioned PREGROUND
is a NO NO (that is one I can answer)
Since most US espresso shops produce swill even the so so espresso
or without milk may be a much better tasting alternative so if you
the taste (is it better or as good as what the other machines make?)
I wouldn't worry about it.
There are a few reviews on this machine at this site
I re-read your original post. Where did you say you used the same
coffee in different machines? If you did not know what a crema enhancer
was how do you know those machines didn't have them?
LaMarzocco makes a nice espresso machine.
R "aw what's the point" TF
Oops oops oops sorry about that I FAILED TO NOTE that you have NEVER
used a crema enchancer disk well that takes one equation out.
Hmmm I am now thinking different size portafilter maybe ?? Deeper
portafilters with a smaller diameter are more forgiving than
portafilters with a wider diameter and less deph also these machines
may produce different pump pressures they usually say 15 bars which is
too much anyway but still capable of making a good brew (~ 8.5 to 9
bars is the standard) but some boast 18 bars these are maximum
pressures and not the actual pressure when brewing as this is also
controlled by size of grind and dose (brewing pressure).
What this all boils down to is that you probably need to change your
grind size, dose, and/or tamping pressure. Hint grind size and dose
are much more significant factors.
Would I be correct to say that your gaggia has a wider 58mm
portafilter and your other machines may have had a deeper
When I say deeper portafilters are more forgiving I mean in regards
to tamping tecnique not just dose and how hard you tamp. I find the
wider portafilters are more prone to channeling if you don't perfectly
spread out the coffee evenly which can be complicated when it clumps
together which happens often with doser grinders like my super jolly
rather than sprinkle evenly throughout the portafilter.
So I would in addition to adjusting for different size portafilter,
also do whatever you can to ensure as even a dispersal as possible and
tamp with manic perfection. I have been doing this for years and you
may have too ? But I still am not a perfect tamper myself.
| I've had a Cubika machine now for a number of months and it does seem to
| make pretty good coffee.
The Cubika is not an especially good machine; it is essentually a Saeco with
the Gaggia name.
- David R.
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