Ok, the Krups Espresso Bravo 871 is my favourite coffee maker. They have not been produced in a long time now, but I am sure some of the other cheap 'steam pressure' coffee makers like Breville, Sunbeam and others can make as nice a coffee too. I believe Krups still make this type of coffee machine too.
Somebody emailed me to tell me that the Krups is not capable of making 'crema' on its espresso, as I claimed on a coffee enthusiast site. So this post is to show that, while the crema produced is not as fine as some commercial machines make, and there is not as much, it is there, it is not produced with a pressurised basket, and it is there using supermarket bought beans.
Then, although the Krups instructions say not to tamp it. I do. The risk with tamping is that at some point the pressure will blow a fitting, especially on one of these old machines. Mine, if I remember correctly, dates back to the 1980s.
I tamp it enough to compress the coffee to about 5mm or so below the rim of the basket, using a tamping tool I made myself. It is possible with the original tool, just easier with something built for the task.
These few pictures show the crema from a morning espresso. There is about 35ml of espresso in the cup and a few mm of reasonable crema on top. The beans were Harris brand.
If you are lucky enough to combine the Espresso Bravo with freshly roasted beans you will get about half a cup of crema!
This type of coffee maker does quite a nice job on the milk tool Fluffy and thick, but reasonably fine bubbles. Using milk thermometer and foaming until it is about 50-60 degrees Celsius will create a thick, hot milk that has just turned sweet. Doing that means it is possible to have a nice strong coffee without having to add sugar.