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Espresso Coarseness Setting may save your day!

Published by Weisser Zwerg Blog on

Avoid the common bitterish taste of espresso and coffee.

An experiment with espresso / coffee

I love espresso, but most coffee that I get out of my own house does taste bad – too bitter. Many years ago, I guess somewhen around 2008 or so, I identified that the Saeco Incanto de Luxe, while cheap[1], made the best coffee for my taste. We even bought the identical one after the first one broke down to ensure our coffee quality.

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Two weeks ago this newer machine also started to break down and to my dismay I noticed that the Saeco Incanto de Luxe is no longer produced 😔 I had to face the reality that I had to search for a new one.

I thought I’d stick as close as possible to the original choice, but because Philips acquired Saeco this was not possible any longer. All newer Saeco machines are in fact Philips machines. Nevertheless, I decided to buy the closest Saeco machine to our beloved Saeco Incanto de Luxe, which after some research turned out to be the Saeco GranAroma de Luxe.

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As soon as it arrived I already expected the worst, that the coffee does not taste like I love it. And my expectation turned out to be true 😔 The coffee tasted bitter and not like I want it. But this situation offered a unique opportunity, because the old machine still works to some degree. So I could start experimenting around in an environment where I know that the water and the coffee beans are exactly the same.

Originally, I thought that the temperature might be the culprit, because I often noticed that espresso that does not taste good is much hotter than I prepare espresso at home. So my first experiments circled around adjusting the temperature. That did not turn out to change anything. This was a typical case of correlation does not imply causation.

The other factors that came to mind were:

  • duration of brewing process
  • coarseness setting of grinding the coffee beans

In the end it turned out to be the coarseness setting! More coarseness (less fine) is better 😊 The factory default was 2 out of 12. After setting it to 8 out of 12 the coffee tastes like I want it to taste!! I cannot tell you how happy I am to have solved this puzzle. That would have been a major loss of life quality if I were unable to get my coffee like I love it 🤗

I also checked the coarseness setting of our old Saeco Incanto de Luxe machine and it is at 2 out of 7. I guess due to the fact that it was on the cheaper end (and Italian engineering “quality” might have helped, too 😉) the crushing gear was never that good and it just produced by default coarser grained coffee. That seems to have been the secret behind our beloved Saeco Incanto de Luxe!

I thought I’d share this discovery with the world just in case it helps someone else to save their day.

Additional tip: D-Ribose (sugar)

For a long time I drank my espresso pure without sugar. Some time ago I read about Ribose, a type of sugar, that (is said to) helps to push through strenuous mental activity. Some call it the healthiest sugar in the world (Ribose - der gesündeste Zucker der Welt)[2].

Anyway, I started to drink my espresso with a tiny bit of Ribose and at least I imagine it to positively reinforces the caffeine effect. In the past I bought it from Deluxe Nutrition, but since Brexit they don’t deliver to Germany any longer:

Now I buy it from Vit4ever via Amazon:


  1. It did cost less than 500€ at the time. ↩︎

  2. I even read that Ribose does not harm the teeth, because the bacteria that cause tooth decay cannot process it. ↩︎


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