Have I been dealing death to my espresso machine by bad grinding? I love my Solis Crema 70 which has been doing a fine job for the past 5 or so years, but a while bad I noticed the flow was slow. I cleaned the machine. That improved things, but occassionally it still slowed. I ground more and more using my Krup blade grinder and that caused things to be worse instead of better. Next the Krup started gasping (not related to the Solis I think). The fine powered coffee had sifted into the power switch. I shook that loose a few times and it kept acting like it would work just a little more.
Today I decided to replace the Krup. There was a nice selection at Southern Season that included a new Krup model. I got a new Krup. When I opened the instructions, I learned that blade grinders are deemed not acceptable for pump espresso machines. Fine for drips and plungers, but no no espresso. Why? The fine powder clogs the wonderful crema pin point holes. Damn, that’s it I thought.
I went back and looked at burr grinders. They are much more expensive and giant. I’m not opening my own cafe with my lovely little two shots at a time Solis. I don’t need a 14 inch high, giant binned, industrial grinder — do I? I’m looking at alternatives now. Solis has a Maestro Plus that looks tempting but a bit steep. What’s a cheapskate coffee snob to do?
UPDATE: I went ahead and picked up a Bodum Antigua (as Badi suggested) tonight. My first cup of espresso out of the Solis Crema is the best I’ve had from that machine. Putting in store-ground espresso was good but this is better.