I have a few suggestions/questions for you. I've had the Innova(Ascaso) Dream for several years now and use it at least twice daily. I would trust your own senses before sweating the gauges too much. If you're really worried about it being a temperature problem, my first question is whether or not the espresso is actually hot when it comes out.
But my best guess is honestly your beans and grinder (or lack thereof). The problem with using pre-ground beans is that even on the day you open the can, they won't be nearly as fresh as truly fresh ground beans you grind yourself. And the problem gets dramatically worse every day after they are opened.
The key to a thick, crema-laden espresso is very fresh beans that you grind right before making your espresso. You can certainly confirm that the machine is working with any old coffee grinder and a bag of *really* fresh beans from a local roaster.
You really need all the oils that come with really fresh-roasted and fresh-ground beans. And the beans really need to be ground very fine for espresso.
I keep a can of pre-ground Illy decaf beans around for the rare occasions I need to make a decaf, and it's like night a day between that and what I drink daily.
If you try the fresh beans and grind them yourself and can see the obvious difference, then you may want to invest in a good-quality burr grinder (as opposed to the spinning blade kind that most folks use for drip coffee). The reason is that with a burr grinder you can get consistently-sized particles every time. So once you get the setting right on your grinder you can keep pumping out the shots time after time. With a rotary blade grinder you get some big pieces, some little pieces and the water flows through too easily -- or you grind it longer and (1) burn the beans from the heat, and (2) end up with some particles that are just too small -- essentially dust, that will actually clog the process.
So, my best suggestion would be to find a local cafe/roaster and buy a half a pound of beans from them and grind yourself. If you don't have a grinder or want to eliminate a variable, ask them to grind it for you for an espresso machine.
Again, if you can see the difference (and I think you will), then you can consider getting yourself a good grinder.
Jan 03, 2009 |
Ascaso Dream Espresso Machine