Burnt taste with Krups Gusto + Gaggia MDF


New member
Oct 18, 2006
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Hi all; I've been lurking here for a while, but I'm new to posting.

I have had a cheap steam machine and a blade grinder for a couple years and when a friend gave me his old Krups Gusto pump machine, I decided it was time for a better grinder. My hope was to learn with the Krups and then purchase a more expensive machine down the road. So, I bought a Gaggia MDF grinder to go with the Krups.

The Krups Gusto is an older low-end pump machine that can, by all accounts I have read, make passable espresso given a fresh bean and a good grinder. To make a long story short, I have tried almost everything I can think of and almost always come out with burnt-tasting espresso. I have tried a freshly-roasted blend from a local roaster as well as Illy's medium roast espresso coffee. I have tried grinds from 5-8 on the Gaggia, and tamps ranging from almost no pressure to over 30 pounds. I have even tried temp surfing by turning on the steam wand for a few seconds and then waiting for the boiler to heat slightly before brewing. In almost two months of trying, I have yet to produce more than a couple shots that didn't taste burnt.

I know I'm new at this, and I expected to get bad espresso for awhile. But I didn't expect to get burnt espresso nearly every time. Could it be that something is wrong with my grind, tamp, or coffee, or is the machine just making the water too hot? Additionally, the previous owner didn't seem to know about descaling, so the machine could be pretty dirty on the inside. I did clean the shower curtain and portafilter thoroughly before use, but I have yet to descale the machine. Is my machine toast, or am I doing something wrong?

Thanks for your help!


New member
Sep 11, 2004
Little Rock, AR
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Don't really have a clue, although I have owned your machine and ginder.

I would try almost no tamp--just a polish with the proper grind. I had found the Krups to be a bit sensitive to tamp--until I killed it.

Might suggest no Illy and find a new roaster, but whatever works for you.