Help me make good coffee
September 14, 2006 5:49 AM   Subscribe

I was gonna ask how to make good coffee with this expresso maker, but now I have to ask how to make it come back to life at all!

My recently-deceased uncle left me his expresso machine. As the picture above shows, it's a Bella Coffee s510. I can't seem to find any info on that particular machine. I had planned on asking MeFi how to use the little steam/milk foamer dealie. but last night, as AskMe lie dormant and I (juiced up on my first attempts with the machine) stood there experimenting with the grinder strenghth setting, it just. stopped. working. On the third cup in a series, I got no more than a couple drops, and the machine make a low hum for a minute. I unplugged it, and upon replugging-in, the steamer works, but the start/stop button for the actual coffee-pressing unit does absolutely nothing.
posted by notsnot to Technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Try asking over at There is a LOT of knowledge there.
Grrr... Just checked, and they're down for maintenance...
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 6:45 AM on September 14, 2006

You say you were experimenting with the grind setting: is it possible that you set the grind too fine? I see it's a superauto (which severely limits the possibility of getting good espresso out of it ;) ), so it grinds the coffee, dumps it in the filter and then runs water through it. If you grind too fine, you can make it impossible for the machine to force the water through. Try grinding coarser.

There should be a reservoir for coffee pucks (used coffee): is it by any chance full? Maybe your machine has a safety preventing it from overloading its "garbage can". Empty it and try again.

If that doesn't help, you'll find a link to a European coffee forum in my profile, you can post a question there in the "Open house" - there's a lot of professionals there too who may be able to help you out.
posted by NekulturnY at 8:07 AM on September 14, 2006

Second coffeegeek, although you might want to try the archives of newsgroup, too.

My first reflex would be to clean it really well, since you inhereted it. How, exactly, to clean and backflush that particular model, I'm not sure. I'm more of a roaster than an espresso-head.
posted by QIbHom at 9:05 AM on September 14, 2006

I'm guessing that your grind was too fine when you only got a few drops. There is a fine line between just enough pressure on the tamp and/or grinding fineness and too much of either so that the puck chokes the pump. Since your superautomatic does the tamping, it's probably the grind.

Also, coffeegeek has an excellent tutorial on milk steaming, though from your picture I couldn't tell what kind of wand it has.
posted by turbodog at 11:08 AM on September 14, 2006

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