Quick flow start and poor Crema - Help!


New member
Feb 3, 2007
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Newbie here.

Love coffee and bought an Nuova Simonelli Oscar Espresso machine which I''m told is a £6-700 machine although I was lucky to get it new for a good deal less than that. All the reviews seem good.

I have tried various espresso pre-ground coffees and even ground some beans myself. The results are always pretty much the same.

a) The ''flow'' starts after around 5-6 seconds not the 22-25 I would expect.
b) The crema is poor. i.e. Not enough and weak.

I have been religiously measuring the right ''double'' shots and also ensuring the machine has thoroughly warmed up. The coffee is lightly tamped down.

All ideas welcomed as it has been a disappointing experience so far.




Well-known member
Aug 15, 2005
Central North Carolina
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Well, you do have a fantastic machine, especially for home use. I see 2 problems with your post. First, preground coffee isn't going to get you great results because brewing for espresso requires that coffee be ground right before using it and you'll need a decent grinder to make very small changes in grind size to match weather, bean aging, etc. The other thing I'd say to work on is tamping harder and shoot for consistency as well. I don't follow a "golden rule" with the 25 seconds or so involved. Every shot is different and I've had some that dripped out to produce 1 oz. in 1 minute and it was outstanding. The pour should start off very dark in color, then will lighten a bit and if you let it go further it will lighten alot( blonding). Right before it starts blonding (very, very light in color) is when you want to stop the pull. It might be 15 seconds, 22 seconds, etc. It's very hard to grind, dose, distribute, tamp the same exact way every single day. Experiment with a slightly finer grind and a harder tamp, but most important is taste. If it's thin and weak it's underextracted and needs to pull longer. On the other hand if it's really strong and excessively bitter, then it is overextracted and was pulled too long. There's alot of trial and error. Later!
I would say that the problem is probably in either the grind or the tamping (or a combination of both). During extaction, with a machine without a pre-infusion grouphead- espresso should startcoming from the group about 3 seconds after the pump engages. The spead of delivery- ie the factor that givesd you the 1oz in 20-25 seconds- is pretty much wholly controlled by the grind and strength of the tamping. It is sometimes a little difficult to tamp at home, as most machine manufacturers give you a cheap plastic lightweight tamper with your $700 machine. You may need to buy a heavier tamp. I agree withshadow, it is defintely best to also but a small grinder- maybe a Rancilo Rocky or similar. That way you control the grind and get to play around with tamping until you get it right.