How come there’s no crema on my espresso?

by Don
(Vulcan, AB)

Portafilter packed with coffee grinds of the correct size.

Portafilter packed with coffee grinds of the correct size.


QUESTION:

Dear Coffee Detective. I watched your video review of the Breville Duo Temp Pro and bought one. I’m not saying you steered me wrong or anything, but when I use it to make espresso I don’t get any crema on the espresso. Also, the machine feels like it’s struggling, like the pump isn’t strong enough.

Is this a breville problem or a me problem?

Please help as I REALLY want this to work.

Don


ANSWER:

Don, hi

I’m guessing that it’s neither a Breville problem or a “you” problem.

From the sound of it, it’s a coffee particle size problem. It sounds like your coffee is too finely ground. When that happens, the puck of coffee creates a near-solid block, the machine has a problem pushing water through it, and you get a trickle of espresso with no crema.

You didn’t say whether you bought pre-ground coffee for your espresso, or whether you grind it yourself.

If you grind the beans yourself, change the setting so the grinds are a little coarser.

If you bought coffee pre-ground for espresso, try switching brands. This may sound a little weird. You’d think a company would know what size was just right. But years ago I had the same problem. Exactly the same as you describe.

These days I mostly grind my own beans when I make espresso. But when I’m feeling a little lazy, I have been known to buy one of those “bricks” of espresso from a store.

And I make sure to avoid the brand that caused me trouble before.

The thing is, the particle size is really important when making espresso. Too small and you get the problem I described above. Too big, and water goes through too fast, under too little pressure, and you get a very weak and watery espresso.

I hope this helps!

Best wishes,

Nick

More on espresso and espresso machines.

Video review of the Breville Duo Temp Pro

Choosing an espresso machine for your home.

What is espresso?

Making stovetop espresso with a Bialetti.

Comments for How come there’s no crema on my espresso?

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Mar 01, 2021
Dual Wall Filter: little to no crema
by: Anonymous

Doug, have always used the dual wall filter: very little to no crema. Will try the single shot filter next.

Sep 14, 2020
The truth
by: Anonymous

You should ground fresh coffee beans, the fresher roasted the better. If there is 20% at least robusta in the bean it would be better crema. So a brand that sells is good trick for freshness. Then super fine grind, add step by step and tamp with teaspoon till its full. Take espressocup fill with water and ad to brikka. I use bottled because it's more tasty and better quality. I don't know the result of plain water.

Sep 02, 2020
Think its the beans
by: Ray

Hello,

Beginning my coffee journey and i see there's sooo much to learn, but hey, practice and effort right?

Here is my problem:
I recently bought 3 different types of beans. Im using the same grind on all of them (and same espresso machine), I get 3 different results: uno very creamy (but the shot is done in like 13 secs, other kind of creamy (done n about 20 secs) and the last one no crema at all (and it takes like 40+ secs)?

I believe the problem to be the beans I'm using but I'm not sure what to do: should i grind finer? coarser? Put all my strenght into compacting the coffee? Do it more gently?... shoud I throw away the beans from the third batch?

Thanks

Apr 10, 2020
Freshness
by: Anonymous

I know this is a late comment but maybe it will help someone else too. I could not get a good crema on my Breville with the single wall filter basket with any coffee from the grocery store. Bought some freshly roasted coffee from a local roaster and it made a world of difference. Fresh beans will give you a far better crema than something that has floated around through distributors and stock storage rooms for months and months before it gets to you.

May 15, 2019
No crema in my espresso
by: Oubrik

Hello every body I have a Krups machine XP524030 I bought it ten years ago. In February it was in break down. I gave it To repare and I bought a new one Delonghi EC685.m
With the Delonghi machine Ihave no crema but with the old Krups I gave a good one with the same coffee and the same quantity. Delonghi has programmable temperature I triés the très levels with no results. Please help and excuse my bad english

Jan 06, 2018
Duo Temp.
by: Doug

Hi all.
If you are having a Crema problem with your Duo Temp, try using the Dual wall basket. With no other changes, it produced a huge amount of Crema from the beans. It seems to need that extra pressure.

Good luck.

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