...Crema? (help!!!)


New member
Nov 8, 2008
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So I''m a bit of a n00b to this, but have perceived myself as having become better at the whole Espresso thing, having been forced to as my budget isn''t in line with anything other than making them myself anymore :mrgreen:

I''ve got a Mr. Coffee espresso machine and grinder, and had been using relatively cheap, dry, counterfeit adulterated \"Kona\" whole bean blends... I was getting decent enough results after playing with grinding, tamping etc.

I got something akin to crema on the top of my shots, but a lot lighter than say, this picture from Wikipedia; nowhere NEAR as dark and red, more like light brown foam.


I''d read that oilier beans could produce more quality crema, so I found an Espresso bean that is much darker and much oilier... I could tell it was much oilier, it tended to clump more easily and stick to the inside of my grinder, less like sand than the cheap(er) stuff.

My technique for getting the drier coffees to come out well was a combination of very fine grinding and extreme tamping...

But it seems like that degree of tamping just blocks the machine with these new, heavier beans, and even if I tamp more loosely, often the shot comes out with NO crema, and tastes much like coffee from a conventional machine, as brewed by a clueless secretary.

I''ve managed to make a few decent shots, but none of them have the degree of crema I''ve been told to expect when making espresso in general... And can''t make these better shots consistently, so...

Sorry for being long winded, but what am I doing wrong? :lol:


Well-known member
Aug 15, 2005
Central North Carolina
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There are many variables involved with espresso and the much sought after crema, the crowning achievement that we all strive for...... Super fresh beans are the most important. I mean something that was roasted days ago. I have gotten great results from beans that were as old as 4 weeks out from roast, but the fresher the better. You won't get that reddish, syrupy pour with supermarket beans regardless of what machine you use. Another thing is proper grind. Grind fine enough to choke your machine and then back off a little at a time until you get the desired flow, color, texture you like. Try to stay consistent with the tamping, dosing (amount of grounds used), how the grounds are distributed in the basket before tamping, etc. Then there's water pressure, temperature, humidity, etc...... I can go on if you'd like....

I don't buy the oily bean crap either. Usually oily means they've been sitting too long or were overroasted. Do yourself a favor and order a pound of Black Cat, Redline or whatever and see what properly roasted/blended beans are all about. Then you'll achieve the results you only see in pictures. This isn't meant to dog you home roasters either. I'd like to home roast, but in the past I liked using pro roasted beans to be sure everything was dialed in properly. Later!