Trouble Making Espressos and Lattes


New member
Apr 6, 2010
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Hi All,

I am new to this so please be kind!

I have some knowledge of making real coffee, having an Alex Mk II at work together with all the lovely barista bits one ever needs!

At home, my other half has recently bought us a Delonghi EC710 together with a Delonghi KG40 blade grinder. We use Costa beans which are also used by our favourite restaurant in town. The baskets are pressurised, which I have never known before but after researching on the net, I think I got the idea and started making coffee last week.

Basically, for the first few days, I had it down to a tee... the milk frother was not great compared to the one on the Alex but I managed to get a fairly good silky end result. The coffee seemed OK too for the first few days and overall, we had nice lattes.

Then the grinder broke!

So we replaced it with a Cuisinart Burr Mill which enables you to select the level of grind. We set it to the lowest and it looked really too coarse to me. After tamping it, it was still not flat or smooth and so, as you would imagine, the coffee blonded really fast and tasted so weak it wasn't drinkable.

I have now not been able to get a strong espresso with any decent level of crema on for about four days and so in desperation this morning I bought ready ground beans from Costa. This time I have got a great crema but the coffee now tastes weak and smokey.


I personally think we are trying to achieve professional results from a machine not really capable of it - the pressurised baskets leaving me to think that it was made for folk who need coffee in a hurry, not the BEST coffee and will take their time over it.

Has anyone gone through the same trial and error with coffee machines and got anywhere with this type of machine?

Thanks for any input... I need a decent coffee soon!!

LL x


Well-known member
Aug 15, 2005
Central North Carolina
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Yeah to compare your home machine to the one at work is like night-day as you already know. The home machine simply won't come close as these types of machines usually use thermoblock heating systems that simply aren't capable of proper temperature or pressure. Pressurized baskets or portafilters are simply crutches that enable the machine to make something barely drinkable with minimum skill.

Never use a blade "grinder" (chopper) with any form of coffee as they simply destory anything good coffee has to offer.

To be honest I doubt most restaurants use high quality, fresh beans unless they really take alot of pride in espresso or drip, which is unlikely for most places. AND just because you buy beans from the same place the restaurant gets theirs from doesn't mean you have the same bean type/roast level as they use. Just saying...

Let me tell you a short story about one of our favorite pizza parlors... first time we walk in 3-4 years ago I'm blown away by the 2 group La Cimbali espresso machine with a Cimbali grinder next to it, the Cadet model I think. But then I see the beans in the hopper that looked like dried up chunks of tar, which permanently darkened the hopper to the point of barely even being able to see what was in it. Needless to say I didn't care for anything from that machine. Then time goes on and on, we go back and that setup looks exactly the same. Then I asked one of the Italian guys working the counter about their coffee and he says "wait... I have the best coffee I've ever tasted in the back"... He steps in the back and grabs a bag of preground Egyptian coffee from their deep freezer and proceeds to make a double shot. That extraction must've been 3-4 oz. and looked horrific to say the least. They have a great grinder sitting there that simply needs a good cleaning and fresh beans and wonderful shots can be had. I was about ready to ask if they wanted to sell the grinder because obviously they will never use it again, but it would take a pressure washing to even come close to being clean. I've yet to see anybody order coffee from them and now I know why. Sorry for the rant, lol. Later!