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I receive several e-mails every day inquiring solutions to technical problems and malfunctions in espresso machines. I am also asked about "How to make the best espresso. Here are some of the inquiries that I answer:

1- I have purchase an expensive espresso machine. I am not able to make good espresso as I expected. The espresso is watery and not strong in taste. What am I doing wrong?

2- I am interested in purchasing a new espresso machine. What do you recommend?

3-  I have read that fully automatic machines have lot of problems and need lot of maintenance. What is your opinion? Which machine do you recommend?

4- On your web site you recommend non-oily espresso beans. What is a non oily espresso bean? How is it different from Starbucks espresso beans?

Answers to most of the coffee related questions are in the article "About espresso".

 What our customers are saying

 Messages are included as received. These are a few of the hundreds I receive every day. E-mail and name of sender has been altered for privacy.

Hello Edward,

THANK YOU, THANK YOU. Your suggestions worked!  My machine is back to functional levels (and quieter).You knew exactly what to do. I’m very impressed and pleased. It is obvious that you care enough to help by sharing your knowledge. I will be placing an order on your website today for some cleaning supplies and coffee. I plan to do a fresh cleaning and use the descaler you recommended next. My passion for a good cup of espresso is very high. I was fortunate to be exposed to a very nice Italian fellow who grew up with a family business in Italy of having coffee shops. I know what a “perfect cup” of espresso tastes like. (He would adjust the grinders when the weather changed and talk to me about how so many people don’t even know what a good cup of espresso tastes like.) I would order an espresso ristretto from him and he would present it to me with pride, as if he was presenting a work of art (which it was). It was always 100% perfect or he would pour it out.  I’ve learned a lot this weekend from you and your site. Perhaps, I will get one step closer to this high standard.   That would be the ‘icing on the cake’ as I feel very few can get that good. You, I am sure, would be part of this select few.

Thank you again,Barry

From: Joxatxxx Hill" <bexxybxxw@gmail.com>     

Subject : gaggia coffee part

To:granita@rcn.com 

There's this bolt with a spring and a rubber/plastic bit (group valve?) that is broken on my machine. All the Coffee geeks say you're the man with the parts...eat,drink and be merry,
Jon

 Date: Tue 20 Mar 07:47:01 EDT 2007
From: apx0cxxm@txxxabay.rr.com 
Subject: Pre-Infusion
To: granita@rcn.com

Hello Edward (I hope that I spelled your name correctly).
Your coffee is delicious. I'm enjoying it now. Its flavor is considerably different from my regular brew and very 
enjoyable. The Gaggia is working fine again after installing the new boiler valve assembly. Thank you for our
most interesting discussion, and for informing me about pre-infusion. There is considerable 
discussion about it on the net. Pre-infusion has been incorporated into my regular brewing procedure.
It contributes significant additional texture, depth & complexity to the flavor.

 

Date: Mon 3 Sep 15:46:27 EDT 2007
From: "Peter " <pxxxxx@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: Saeco Vienna Deluxe
To:
granita@rcn.com

Thank you so much for the links.  We were able to use the chart on bypassing to start the machine and the grooves on the machine moved back into a position where we could fit the Brew Group back into the machine. Thank you so very much - really appreciate the help!!
Peter

Date: Tue 4 Sep 15:26:21 EDT 2007
From: "William " <kxxxx@cableone.net>
Subject: Prebrewing
To: granita@rcn.com

I started to prebrew my old Saeco that has a non-pressurized portafilter for about 4 or 5 sec. then shut off for 5 sec. It makes a fantastic shot The creama is beautiful and the flavor is full and rich and not bitter. Thanks so much. I really like your site and talking to you on the phone is informative and always interesting.  Thanks again, Keith

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2007 10:59:15 -0700 (PDT)
From: AJ Pixxxxan <ajxxay@yahoo.com>
Subject: RE: Estro Profi Portafilter
To: Edward granita@rcn.com
After soaking and twisting the pressure regulator for a few hours the clog in the center ports finally were cleared. Thank you for your rapid response and solution to my problem. AJ

 Date:Sat 14 Jul 22:19:53 EDT 2007
From:
Shxxxo@aol.comSubject:Saeco Vienna Superautomatica Coffeemaker
To:granita@rcn.com

Hello from Sunny Cape Cod, Ed
I just wanted to thank you for all of your help.  The o-rings which you sold me solved the problem of leakage, and I've decided not to end it all for lack of a good coffeemaker.  Now I can continue on with my life (lol). Anyway, now I know that machine like the back of my hand, I think that I could replace anything without a problem.
Again, I appreciate it.  Have a great summer & hopefully we won't be speaking again anytime soon!.
Take care!
Rob Sxxxn
 Date:Sat 7 Jul 10:21:30 EDT 2007
From:Sxxxxo@aol.comSubject:Re: Saeco Coffeemaker
To:
granita@rcn.com
Thanks so much for your response.  I'm assuming that I can just pry the gaskets off of the end of the little hoses and replace them.  I'm also hoping that I can find new gaskets at my local hardware store.
I guess maybe I should have called you when I first had a problem, because I bet you would have recommended the small gaskets along with the boiler gasket.
Again, I really appreciate your getting back to me.  I have to tell you that I respect what you do for a living, because it's very difficult working on something with so many parts.
Have a great weekend, and hopefully I'll fix this thing within the next couple of days.
Rob
  Date:Fri 22 Jun 17:06:49 EDT 2007
From:Jxx Rxxe
xxx@taosnet.comSubject:Re: Question on Replacement Part
To:Edward
granita@rcn.com
Edward! You da man!!! A modest adjustment and it works perfectly!! Fantastic; it is SO REFRESHING to get someone like you who can actually HELP solve a problem.
Best regards and have a wonderful weekend.  j
Date:Sun 24 Jun 20:20:15 EDT 2007
From:"PJ Wxxxe"
pjshxxxxng@gmail.com
Subject:Re: Contact Us Requested
To:
granita@rcn.com Edward, You are awesome!  We actually call our machine a Worthog.  :) Thank you so much for all of your help!  I really appreciate it! Paula
 

Date: Mon 25 Jun 13:51:24 EDT 2007From: "Dudley Rxxxor" <drxxxor@socal.rr.com>
Subject: RE: SAECO MAGIC COMFORT PLUS
To: "Edward" granita@rcn.com
  Hello Edward, The water tank arrived this morning.  I can now report that it has solved the problem. Thank you for the very prompt service.  May I call upon you again if I have any questions are maintenance/use of this machine after I have re-read all of those instructions on that links you gave me? Frankly, I didn't find Saeco Customer Service too helpful. And that's too bad as I do agree that Saeco is a great product.  This is my second one, although my first automatic.Thanks again, Dudley

 First, you have a terrific and the most informative website on care of these products - and I've seen most everything on the web about espresso units. Thanks. Following your website, I cleaned everything in the grinder including the doser channel. I stlll get this error message to refill with beans. The machine is grinding ok. There is a "trap" door near the pre-ground exit inside the the front door that when pushed up releases the coffee grounds. Is there something that causes the trap door not to open? Is there any DIY step I can take to fix. this? Or, is this something I need to return the unit, this time likely to you, for repair? I just don;t have the money to replace this yet and would think a machine like this would operate a few years more before it is replaced. Any help would be appreciated.  Lee Makaxxson emakaxxxn@cox.net
Hampton, VA

Date: Tue 20 Mar 07:47:01 EDT 2007
From: apx0cxxm@txxxabay.rr.com 
Subject: Pre-Infusion
To: granita@rcn.com

Hello Edward (I hope that I spelled your name correctly).
Your coffee is delicious. I'm enjoying it now. Its flavor is considerably different from my regular brew and very 
enjoyable. The Gaggia is working fine again after installing the new boiler valve assembly. Thank you for our
most interesting discussion, and for informing me about pre-infusion. There is considerable 
discussion about it on the net. Pre-infusion has been incorporated into my regular brewing procedure.
It contributes significant additional texture, depth & complexity to the flavor.

From:Jean-Luc Axndxx jl.andxx@yahoo.fr
Subject:Re: Problem with Spidem Trevi - SOLVED ;)
To:Edward <granita@rcn.com>Ok Edward, the coffee machine works normally now... I've decalcified the system a few times with specific liquid mixed with water, taking again and again water and steam from the  pipe despite the red light alert and finally the pump did not stop working after those 10 seconds delay. I also prepared a few big bowls of coffee with this mix...Now, the machine works perfectly : coffee is creamy and warm but not too much...Thank you again for your precious indications and help...I'll not forget to decalcify the machine often now. I'm still surprised that there could have so much limestone in mineral water what i always used only...

Jean-Luc.

Monica - Johannesburg

Edward, Thank you so much for all your assistance.  We have a guy working here who installed the
heat exchanger for us and I had my first cup of coffee from it today.  It was wonderful and is working
wonderfully. Thank you so much for all your help.  We may be asking for more assistance, if we get stuck!
Thank you again. 
 

Date:Sat 16 Jun 01:59:03 EDT 2007
From:"mark figurski" Subject:RE: parts list for my Gaggia G105
To:
granita@rcn.com

I just got home, and the parts are here.  They fit perfect!!  Thank you so much! Let me know what I owe for postage and the gasket and I'll send it right away.  I cannot thank you enough for you're help and patience with me.  I will recommend you to everyone I know. mrfigurski

Date: Sat 15 Jul 22:20:45 EDT 2006
From: Cliff <cxxxxxson@fxxe.net> Subject: Re: No coffee today
To: granita@rcn.com
Edward--You are not gonna believe this, but after weeks of making no more than 3 successful cups in a row without a grinder overrun, I am now  up to perhaps 75 successful brews in a row over several days.  When I next encounter a fellow Saeco machine owner with a problem, I will suggest that he exchange a few e-mails with Edward on the problem, and it will fix itself!  I now sorta believe in miracles, but just to cover myself after I hit the button I count a-one, a-two, etc. just in case--a holdover habit from  the old days!
 

Date: Fri 30 Mar 05:54:35 EDT 2007
From: <exxxxxxxh0xxx58@yahoo.com>
Subject: RE: Saeco Magic De Luxe
To: Edward granita@rcn.com
Good Morning Edward,
Just wanted to let you know that I replaced the entire grinder and *poof* problem solved! You're wonderful for helping me! And, by the way, thanks for the suggestion of sending some people my way.  You know just what to say to a girl to boost her ego.  Sincerely, Elizabeth
  

Re: Saeco Brew group

Hi - I luckily found your web site using Google.  I have a Saeco (Starbucks Barista)Digital Italia that is slightly over 3 years old, and has made about 3,500 coffees, according to it's counter.  Over the weekend, after cleaning the brew unit, I noticed that the knob that tightens the filter screen would not tighten completely - apparently, the threads or knob are stripped or loose.  Although the machine still functions fine, I'd like to repair (or replace) the brew unit, so that the screen can be properly tightened. I found a number of parts & repair kits on your web site (listed below), and noticed that 2 different brew units were listed for my machine.  However, I'm actually leaning toward repairing the existing brew unit using the SBSMK-14 kit, as I'm fairly mechanically inclined.  Please let me know whether you feel this would be the best approach, given this machine's age and usage level, and would be do-able by someone who never disassembled a Saeco brew unit.  Can this repair kit be installed without disassembling the entire brew unit?Thanks!  Tim 

Date:Mon 7 May 11:27:55 EDT 2007
From:vixxxn@comcast.net|
Subject:Re: Order Shipping Notice
To:granita@rcn.com
Hi Granita, I received the shipment on my doorstep on Friday. Got everything working great. Thanks for the prompt shipment and excellent customer service. Regards, Vince
  

Date: Tue 16 Jan 05:54:42 EST 2007
From: "Adxxxn Rxxn" <adrianrxxn@exxxom.net>
Subject: RE: ULKA Pump EX-5 120V 41Watts
To: granita@rcn.com
Hi Edward,
Thank you for sending the pump. We received it yesterday, fitted it and we are brewing coffee again! We're very happy with the part and the service. I already alerted some other folks on where to get parts and good advice.  Thank you! Axxxxn.

Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2006 10:55:43 -0500
From: Hexxxrt Hxxxxr herb@herbhxxxxr.com | Subject: saeco & dal tio
To: granita@rcn.com
It was a pleasure talking to you. Below are the part numbers from the exploded diagram. Please call if there is anything unclear. I'm glad to have your service available! cheers, Herb 
  

E-mail Address: pixxxer@hvc.rr.com
First Name: Phil
Last Name: Ixxxxr
Phone Number: (xxx) 4x7-7x47

Just to let you know ... I've opened up the bag of coffee that I purchased... its really good ...aromatic, bold, nice crema...works really well in my Syncrony Compact.. everything you said it would be ...so I ordered another pound!  I also appreciate that the cost INCLUDES the shipping...too many companies charge exorbitant S/H rates which add another 50% to the cost of the coffee!  THANKS! Phil  

 

From: Ted Sitea tsixxa@xxx.net
Subject:Re: Saeco Aroma non-pressurized portafilter
To:granita@rcn.com

Hi, Edward: Thanks for the advise and your explanatory web site! It was an eye-opener. Unfortunately it came a day too late. I was so disappointed in the Saeco Aroma because of the way it behaved when I used a pod - pouring out over the top of the portafilter. The users manual never mentions that the pod filter needs a gasket. I know I ordered the gasket from you (it has yet to arrive), but someone at Saeco told that the gasket only works sometimes. So, since I needed another espresso maker for my summer home, I bought a Gaggia Baby - on the strong advise of a friend - only to find out from you yesterday that the Gaggia Baby is not that good in making espresso! I should have purchased a pricer Saeco. O, well.. But I guess I'll stay away from non-pressurized portafilters in the future. Again, thank you for all the help and patience you have given me.  I really appreciate it                                   

Ted

Subject:RE: Saeco Royal Exclusive not heating
To:"Edward"
granita@rcn.com

Yes! It's working great...and no leaks! I really appreciate your help in getting me fixed up. Life is so much with a Latte always available! I also want to commend you for the invaluable info on your web site, which has taught me so much about maintenance, and getting the best tasting coffee possible out of this machine. Thanks so much.  Bill Michel

 


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