file Novice seeks help with diagnosis

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11 years 11 months ago #2721 by Rob Rothman
Novice seeks help with diagnosis was created by Rob Rothman
I wonder if I could get some help diagnosing a problem.

First, a bit of background: although new to the home brewing of caffe espresso, I have a good deal of experience in preparing high-quality drip-style coffee. I also have consumed enough caffe espresso to know what it should taste like.

I recently purchased a Gaggia Carezza. In the interest of minimizing the number of variables that I'm dealing with at once (and because I don't like waste), for my first experiments I've used the pre-ground coffee (a Lavazza canned product) that the seller included with the machine. My thinking was that once I got the technique down right, I would switch to better-quality coffee, ground immediately before use.

For my first experiments, I've brewed a couple of single shots. I dosed out the grounds by volume, using the measure provided by Gaggia. First, the good news: a 25-second pull produced about 1-1/2 fl. ounces of beverage. It had some crema (although not a really thick head). The bad news is that it tasted weak and didn't have much body. I also detected the flavor that one sometimes gets from unsweetened (and not terribly well-prepared) Turkish coffee.

If the problem is simply in the coffee that I'm using, I'd be happy to switch now to someting better. However, if my technique is at fault, I'd like to get that nailed down first.

One other point: the brew didn't seem as hot as it should be. Is it possible that the machine's thermostat is miscallibrated, resulting in coffee that is both underextracted and not hot enough?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Rob Rothman

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11 years 11 months ago #2722 by colin
Replied by colin on topic Novice seeks help with diagnosis
Do not make any decisions or determinations until you have tried at least 2 espresso blends...

and for the LOVE or PEET, get away from canned coffee as soon as possible.

Only illy qualifies as worthy coffee out of a tin -- and only because it has been packed with nitrogen.

Get some fresh roast espresso into that Carezza asap.

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11 years 11 months ago #2723 by colin
Replied by colin on topic Novice seeks help with diagnosis
Rob Rothman wrote:


One other point: the brew didn't seem as hot as it should be. Is it possible that the machine's thermostat is miscallibrated, resulting in coffee that is both underextracted and not hot enough?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Rob Rothman


The espresso shot should be over 160 degrees in your cup. If not, there is an issue -- the Brew T-Stat could be switching on the low side - there is no calibrating it... it is either right or it isn't.
Return it for another sample if necessary.

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