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Dear espresso friends,
It seems that I have been cursed by the espresso witch - either that or Murphy came shipped with my machine. So last August, as my wedding gift, my brother bought us the Rancilio Silvia and Rocky combination (what an awesome brother, wouldn't you say?) Since then, however, I have been struggling with creating a good shot and had little luck. I am taking as many of the steps as possible:
* preheating the machine for half an hour or more
* preheating the cups
* grinding the coffee based on instructions provided here
* use fairly fresh beans (a month or so old)
* add about 15 grams of coffee grind into the portafliter
* tamp it using a 58MM Reg Barber tamper or equivalent
* grind my coffee right before I use it
However, it seems that no matter what I try, I get a shot with very little crema that disappears in a few seconds and the taste (and smell) are almost always bitter.
I have even thought of having a barista come over to my house to show me how it's properly done but was not able to locate on in Toronto. Any suggestions are really appreciated.
P.S. Could the water have anything to do with it? The water in our house seems to be a bit on the heavy side, but we only use Britta filtered water when we make espresso.