Need help with making espresso!

xyrik

New member
Dec 17, 2006
6
0
Hi everyone,

I purchased a Krups XP4020 espresso machine together with a Krups burr grinder. After more than 10 different attempts at making espresso using complimentary Krups Arabica beans, I met with no success. Here are the few things that I noticed while brewing the espresso:

* When pre-heating the machine (ie. letting hot water pass through the filter sans grounds), a lot of steam is produced and it even leaks from the sides of the filter. Is it normal for the sides to leak water when carrying out the pre-heat? The filter unit is locked in tight for sure.
* When brewing the espresso with coffee ground using the 4th notch from the left, the coffee spurts out into the cup at very high pressure, spilling all over the place. This occurs about 2seconds after the brew was started. No crema's produced.
* When brewing the espresso with coffee ground using the 3rd notch from the left, the coffee grounds pass through the filter and the coffee again spurts out at high pressure. Again, no crema's produced.

Before each brew, I fill the filter to the brim with coffee grounds before tamping with approx 18kg of force. Also, there's no leakage from the sides when I brew with the grounds. I don't believe it's due to the grain size nor it is due to the tamping because I've tried so many times with different settings. May I know what else I can do to determine the cause of the problem? Thank you.
 

mrgnomer

New member
Jan 22, 2006
149
0
Canada
xyrik said:
Hi everyone,

I purchased a Krups XP4020 espresso machine together with a Krups burr grinder. After more than 10 different attempts at making espresso using complimentary Krups Arabica beans, I met with no success. Here are the few things that I noticed while brewing the espresso:

* When pre-heating the machine (ie. letting hot water pass through the filter sans grounds), a lot of steam is produced and it even leaks from the sides of the filter. Is it normal for the sides to leak water when carrying out the pre-heat? The filter unit is locked in tight for sure.
* When brewing the espresso with coffee ground using the 4th notch from the left, the coffee spurts out into the cup at very high pressure, spilling all over the place. This occurs about 2seconds after the brew was started. No crema's produced.
* When brewing the espresso with coffee ground using the 3rd notch from the left, the coffee grounds pass through the filter and the coffee again spurts out at high pressure. Again, no crema's produced.

Before each brew, I fill the filter to the brim with coffee grounds before tamping with approx 18kg of force. Also, there's no leakage from the sides when I brew with the grounds. I don't believe it's due to the grain size nor it is due to the tamping because I've tried so many times with different settings. May I know what else I can do to determine the cause of the problem? Thank you.
 

mrgnomer

New member
Jan 22, 2006
149
0
Canada
xyrik said:
Hi everyone,

I purchased a Krups XP4020 espresso machine together with a Krups burr grinder. After more than 10 different attempts at making espresso using complimentary Krups Arabica beans, I met with no success. Here are the few things that I noticed while brewing the espresso:

* When pre-heating the machine (ie. letting hot water pass through the filter sans grounds), a lot of steam is produced and it even leaks from the sides of the filter. Is it normal for the sides to leak water when carrying out the pre-heat? The filter unit is locked in tight for sure.
* When brewing the espresso with coffee ground using the 4th notch from the left, the coffee spurts out into the cup at very high pressure, spilling all over the place. This occurs about 2seconds after the brew was started. No crema's produced.
* When brewing the espresso with coffee ground using the 3rd notch from the left, the coffee grounds pass through the filter and the coffee again spurts out at high pressure. Again, no crema's produced.

Before each brew, I fill the filter to the brim with coffee grounds before tamping with approx 18kg of force. Also, there's no leakage from the sides when I brew with the grounds. I don't believe it's due to the grain size nor it is due to the tamping because I've tried so many times with different settings. May I know what else I can do to determine the cause of the problem? Thank you.

It looks like your Krups machine is a thermoblock with crema enhancing filter baskets. I don't know about the quality of the Krups burr grinder or the beans that came with the machine. My guess is it's all those factors that might be the cause of your problems.

The thermoblock flash heats the water as it passes over it. There's no boiler, as far as I know. Could be the flash heating of the water is increasing it's pressure and causing it to spurt out of an empty locked in portafilter.

I've read a few reviews about the machine and one common problem seems to be the filter basket gets easily clogged and causes water to spurt. Failing grouphead O-ring seems to be another problem. More than one reviewer had water coming out of the grouphead either from regularly failing O-rings or clogged baskets.

The beans you got are probably stale. Stale coffee will not produce good crema. True crema is the CO2 and other elements of still fresh roasted coffee forced out under pressure to produce a colloidal dispersion.

Grind is also important to good espresso. Too fine and too coarse in the same grind challenges smooth extraction. The Krups grinder may not be adequate to grind for espresso.

Crema enhancers on pressurized portafileters, as far as I've read, might be better used without tamping. Still, as far as I know, they compromise espresso quality by forcing crema production. Crema is good but it's best produced by a good grind, fresh roast and with non pressurized portafilter.

Your machine as well could be contributing to the problem. It's not true that the higher the pressure, the better the espresso. Actually, an accepted pump pressure for good normal extraction is between 8.5-9.5 bars. 15 bars is really too high, if that's what your machine is brewing at. Too high of a pressure increases extraction temperatures, contributes to channelling which compromises crema and flavour. The fast, forceful pours you're getting could be due to channelling that's due to stale grounds, uneven grind and a machine with a high pump pressure.

I
 
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X

xyrik

New member
Dec 17, 2006
6
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Hi mrgnomer,

Thanks for your prompt reply. I figured that the lack of crema may be due to the stale beans, considering that they were complimentary. The main problem I'm facing now is the spurting of the coffee when brewing. I can't seem to get the machine to produce a smooth flow of liquid. Within 10 seconds, clear water starts to spurt out.

Anyway, I'll give a call to Krups to see if they can do anything about it. Another other feedback is welcome. Thanks!
 

mrgnomer

New member
Jan 22, 2006
149
0
Canada
xyrik said:
Hi mrgnomer,

Thanks for your prompt reply. I figured that the lack of crema may be due to the stale beans, considering that they were complimentary. The main problem I'm facing now is the spurting of the coffee when brewing. I can't seem to get the machine to produce a smooth flow of liquid. Within 10 seconds, clear water starts to spurt out.

Anyway, I'll give a call to Krups to see if they can do anything about it. Another other feedback is welcome. Thanks!

No problem. Sorry about quoting you then saying nothing before quoting you again. My connection was acting up.

The spurting and fast watery flow definitely sounds like channelling. Good luck with Krups. A few reviewers found their service department hard to deal with and very non commital about the machine's problems.
 
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xyrik

New member
Dec 17, 2006
6
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
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Figured it out...

Figured out what was wrong - Nothing. I brought the unit back to the departmental store following the advice of the support staff. I was given a demo over there and I realised that I misread the step in the manual. I'll try it again tomorrow and see if I'm successful. Krups' manual was unclear and filled with numbers which confused me. Their support staff, which is outsourced to another company, was somewhere between terrible and abysmal. They didn't even attempt to help me troubleshoot. I guess that's what you get when support is outsourced. Anyway, thanks for your help once again. Appreciate it. :grin:
 
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