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Hi, folks. Been lusting after an Elektra Microcase a Leva for years and finally got one; it arrived yesterday, along with an Elektra MS grinder. Things haven't been entirely successful so far. For a start, the grinder came without the locking pin. However, it still grinds (you have to use the micro-adjustment) and I've been able to make coffee – but no crema, and a beautiful crema is a big the reason why I got this pricey ensemble in the first place.

 

Anyone have any idea where I might be going wrong? A double espresso is taking 20-30 seconds to percolate, from first drop to last, but I'm really getting zero crema. I know you're supposed to experiment, but there are so many variables you could be experimenting forever, so any guidance appreciated.

 

S

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crema is a bit of a myth - it has no flavour as I understand it and is no indicator of quality, some beans seem to produce it others don't.

 

When customers of pavoni came across it in his first coffee shop they used to complain about the scum on their coffee, so he invented the concept cremina being the cream of the coffee - so I am told

 

Others may have a different opinion,

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crema is a bit of a myth - it has no flavour as I understand it and is no indicator of quality, some beans seem to produce it others don't.

 

When customers of pavoni came across it in his first coffee shop they used to complain about the scum on their coffee, so he invented the concept cremina being the cream of the coffee - so I am told

 

Others may have a different opinion,

Crema definitely does have a flavour in my experience, but it's not good, it's bitter.

 

How old are the beans you're using? I've always managed to get a crema even on under extracted "fast" shots.

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What coffee are you using

If you want a big crema ( although it taste like pants ) get a Robusta blend or a dark roasted coffee Brazillian etc.

 

Thanks, folks. It's a strong espresso blend from the Algerian Coffee Stores, in London. Roasted a few months ago but been sealed.

 

The coffee's damn strong, there's that at least. Don't think I'll sleep until about 2021.

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Thanks, folks. It's a strong espresso blend from the Algerian Coffee Stores, in London. Roasted a few months ago but been sealed.

 

The coffee's damn strong, there's that at least. Don't think I'll sleep until about 2021.

There's your issue, stale coffee. Unless the bag is vacuum sealed it'll have oxidised.
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Thanks, folks. It's a strong espresso blend from the Algerian Coffee Stores, in London. Roasted a few months ago but been sealed.

 

The coffee's damn strong, there's that at least. Don't think I'll sleep until about 2021.

 

It's stale coffee , so there is the crema issue.

Probably got robusta in it too.

Buy better beans :)

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I'm really glad the Algerian Coffee Stores is still going, it's a Soho institution. I used to buy coffee from them in the 80s. The thing is, if the roasting is still the same, they are literary in the dark ages. The beans I used to buy were very dark, with some oil evident. I loved them back then, but nowadays they would be far too dark, even for me. I roast my own beans so can't recommend a good roaster, but I'm sure someone else on this site can. Be aware though, the trend now is for much lighter roasts, you my find them some of them equally unpalatable.

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I regularly drink my own roasted coffee and sometimes a bag 3 months after roasting. It still has crema. Of course I do know the roasted date and I pack it within an hour or so after roasting. If the coffee has Robusta in it, RTobusta is actually a heavy crema producer. There was some thinking that the crema helped lock in the volatiles within the espresso.

Nothing here...

 

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Hm, this morning I tried fresh coffee from Ferrari Espresso, which sold me the machine. Still no crema. And I'd ground the coffee so fine it came out more like a ristretto – but still no crema.

 

What else could be going wrong? What about temperature of the various elements?

 

For me, crema is essential to a good espresso so need to crack this one.

 

I wonder if many people in the UK have an Elektra, including this model.

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Hm, this morning I tried fresh coffee from Ferrari Espresso, which sold me the machine. Still no crema. And I'd ground the coffee so fine it came out more like a ristretto – but still no crema.

 

What else could be going wrong? What about temperature of the various elements?

 

For me, crema is essential to a good espresso so need to crack this one.

 

I wonder if many people in the UK have an Elektra, including this model.

How fresh is the coffee, it can be too fresh .

What origin is the coffee, again some roast styles and orgins are not crema bombs.

Yes it could be a function of temp , but lets look at the two questions above long with the fact you you may be grinding to fine also.

Lastly why is crema so important , you like the mouthfeel or the taste of it, or purely how it looks.

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Really appreciate all this input, folks, thanks.

 

Unfortunately can't answer in detail about the origin of the coffee – the supplier sent it as compensation for the lateness of the machine and grinder. I'll try some more combos and grind settings but can anyone here recommend a good blend for crema?

 

I guess I want crema partly because otherwise I'm not sure how much an espresso from this very expensive machine would differ much from what my stovetop produces!

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Really appreciate all this input, folks, thanks.

 

Unfortunately can't answer in detail about the origin of the coffee – the supplier sent it as compensation for the lateness of the machine and grinder. I'll try some more combos and grind settings but can anyone here recommend a good blend for crema?

 

I guess I want crema partly because otherwise I'm not sure how much an espresso from this very expensive machine would differ much from what my stovetop produces!

 

It should differ by taste.....a stove top isnt making espresso, it cant deliver the pressure .

If you want something with crema but a blend that has robusta in it .

Try Rave Roasters Italian job .

How do you know the new coffee is fresh roasted ? Does it have a roast date on it ?Does it say anything on the packet?

Grind a bit coarser and try again.

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Are you following the makers instructions re temperature/pressure, pre infusion time and length of time you pull to achieve a given weight?

I always find the makers instructions a good starting point or a 'fall back to' when it all goes wrong!

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  • 7 months later...

Hi - I've had my Elektra a leva about three years.  I like it very much but the machine simply does not produce much crema at all.  I've done my own roasting, bought very recent premium boutique roasted, played with the grind, have a very good grinder (rocky). I've also done some temperature surfing.  Bottom line is essentially no crema.  That said, I love the coffee, the steam it produces and of course the look.  Really, you can get plenty of crema from an inexpensive pump machine, I had many of them over the years - Breville, Cuisinart, Delonghi, all around $200-300.  Each of them produced a rich and thick crema (steam, not so much) and did so with pre-ground Lavazza or grocery store ground bulk coffee.  All told, I hope your enjoy the a leva as I do but for whatever reason, it really does not produce much crema at all. 

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On 15/12/2019 at 21:04, Amocaffe1 said:

Hi - I've had my Elektra a leva about three years.  I like it very much but the machine simply does not produce much crema at all.  I've done my own roasting, bought very recent premium boutique roasted, played with the grind, have a very good grinder (rocky). I've also done some temperature surfing.  Bottom line is essentially no crema.  That said, I love the coffee, the steam it produces and of course the look.  Really, you can get plenty of crema from an inexpensive pump machine, I had many of them over the years - Breville, Cuisinart, Delonghi, all around $200-300.  Each of them produced a rich and thick crema (steam, not so much) and did so with pre-ground Lavazza or grocery store ground bulk coffee.  All told, I hope your enjoy the a leva as I do but for whatever reason, it really does not produce much crema at all. 

Those other machines you mention machines produced  fake crema because of the crema enhancing portafilters (pinhole), like the sparkler on a beer tap produces a head on the beer. That fake crema is no indication of anything except the action of coffee/pinhole/air.

If a machine that doesn't use a crema enhancer like the Elektra isn't producing crema, then something is wrong.. It could be coffee, grinder, pressure, technique....any number of things. Rather than accept it, you really should look for the cause, find it and the coffee will be better.

Nothing here...

 

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  • 1 year later...

I have had an Electra micro casa leva for about 3 years now and only ever seen crema twice. I buy freshly roasted beans and grind myself - but the beans have to be fine and tamped really well - otherwise the pressure is too much.

I tend not to worry about the crema anymore but I still find it frustrating a little because the same beans in a different machine produce crema!

go figure!

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On 13/02/2021 at 19:39, dya said:

I have had an Electra micro casa leva for about 3 years now and only ever seen crema twice. I buy freshly roasted beans and grind myself - but the beans have to be fine and tamped really well - otherwise the pressure is too much.

I tend not to worry about the crema anymore but I still find it frustrating a little because the same beans in a different machine produce crema!

go figure!

Try to remember that the spring in the microcasa is only rated to 4-5 bar, which will impact on the crema

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Just wanted to say thanks to this post, I realised that I'd been brewing espresso on my La Pavoni with too little pressure.

I was only using my little finger with my weak hand to apply enough pressure for a constant stream to flow. Was still getting good taste, but very little to no crema and watery output.

Now, after applying a lot more pressure, I'm now grinding finer, getting crema and a syrupy texture. Massive difference!

Thanks everyone!

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1 hour ago, mit_hirani said:

Just wanted to say thanks to this post, I realised that I'd been brewing espresso on my La Pavoni with too little pressure.

I was only using my little finger with my weak hand to apply enough pressure for a constant stream to flow. Was still getting good taste, but very little to no crema and watery output.

Now, after applying a lot more pressure, I'm now grinding finer, getting crema and a syrupy texture. Massive difference!

Thanks everyone!

Little tweaks can sometimes make a huge difference

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