(Just to be clear, I am aware of millions of questions on the internet about consistently bad flow but my question is about a situation where, most of the time, with ESE, it works very well... And ALL of the time, with loose coffee, it works very well)
I've been using the machine with loose coffee for years without problem. While chasing the perfect cup, I started experimenting with different ESE pod brands available.
So far, I've tried 4 different pods. One just sucked (very famous brand), the other three: When they work well, they make an absolutely perfect coffee: Resinous, almost like oil, beautiful aroma and crema, clear but very dark color and an amazing taste - just bitter enough and none of that weird sourness!
However, about 1 out of 3 pods flows really slow and makes no crema. Flavor is sour (you'd think if it flows that slow, it shouldn't be under-developed, right?) and generally not worth it.
1/10 pods, on the other hand, flows way too fast, result is a lot of crema but the stuff under it is basically water...
I reverted to loose coffee - the machine works the same way it did for years.
Is it possible ESE pods have such a high defect rate? You'd think that with the excellent coffee they make when they do work, it must not be a quality issue...
Perhaps the machine is not good (or old) and responds very badly to slight deviations from the ESE specification?
Would appreciate any thought on this matter.
Saeco Poemia HD-8423-71 (AKA: Gaggia Viva)
We have a water softener. So, very little limescale in our appliances. Anyway, appliance inside looks fine
I also tried loosening the coffee inside the ESE pod - doesn't appear to do much