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Thread: Rancillio Silvia bitter extraction.....HELP

  1. #1
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    Rancillio Silvia bitter extraction.....HELP

    got an old Silvia and replaced shower screen and deals.
    Continually bitter extraction...fast...and frothy...disgusting.
    The closest thing to a decent extraction I get is by using finest of fine grinds packing to the brim....tamping the hell out of it... So much so that it's a real struggle to get group handle to lock in. NOW I KNOW THIS IS NOT NORMAL... it's just the only way I can get half decent extraction.
    It's not the beans as have tried a few.
    WHAT'S GOING ON.
    Am thinking it needs some serious maintainence
    Anyone had these symptoms... Any suggestions or tips??

    Really appreciate any advice
    Jo

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    When were the beans you used roasted and what grinder are you using?


    Java "More info please!" phile
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    G'Day Jo,

    Not trying to be difficult, however this is probably the most frequently asked question by newcomers to Coffee Snobs. (yep, note join date 2007) a little personal research is needed.

    As Javaphile asked, how fresh are the beans, where did you buy them, what size basket, what grinder, is the water palatable when run through the group head or tainted?

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    I have tried a few different beans types ... Sorry I don't have roast dates. All bought from reputable cafes being them and producing great coffee. Also the same beans giving great extraction on my Breville double boiler machine.
    I am using a Breville grinder set to the extra fine grind. Left the Rocky AT HOME.
    I was just hoping someone may have encountered the same issue.
    Seems weird that I have to go to such extreme lengths to slow the extraction down.
    Purchased a special deep basket for this set up years ago and bought a Tamper machined to fit basket...as per advice given many years ago
    Jo

  5. #5
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    When did you buy the beans, how are you storing them?

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    Bought the beans on a Tuesday... Brewed Wednesday. Storing in the bags they came in... Thought we were being semi organised bringing the Silvia but no joy so far.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Bit of a mystery Jo, I owned a Silvia for 10 years, never experienced your problem, is the water coming from the group clean of does it seem tainted?

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    Yalta..... thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I will suss out the water coming from group handle and get back to you
    Jo

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    Probably the Breville grinder isn't able to grind fine enough, assuming the beans are not stale. Check the package...If the roast date isn't mentioned I wouldn't care how reputable the cafe is and would assume stale and dead beans.
    It could be the distribution in the basket allowing channelling to occur, but by the sound of it you have changed grinders, so that's my culprit of choice. Some Breville and Sunbeam grinders need shims installed to get a good espresso grind.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Timmy may well be correct, no experience with Breville grinders so cant comment, have seen shimming problem discussed frequently.

  11. #11
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    This is the Breville scenario I am working with...
    It could very well be the problem
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
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    Oh golly!
    I mean...Yes, this may be the issue!

  13. #13
    Senior Member ArtW's Avatar
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    though based on description, sounds like under extraction which would be sour rather than bitter.

  14. #14
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Might be a couple of things at play here.
    There's a question mark over the beans, but if you have good results with them on another machine they are probably ok.
    The grinder is a bit iffy and if not grinding fine enough would lead to a fast pour.
    Look into temperature surfing the Silvia. Too hot would give you bitter flavour even though you are under extracting due to grind fineness not being fine enough.

    Silvia can be temperamental and you need good technique, good beans and a good grinder to get the best out of her. However, if you master Silvia then all other machines are easy.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trentski View Post

    Silvia can be temperamental and you need good technique,
    Never found this to be the case Trentski, though I have certainly heard others make the claim, pretty much the same as any machine, get your ducks in a row and then just knock em down.

    Given of course the machine is in good working order.

  16. #16
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    For now forget about temperature surfing. First things first. Until you can achieve a proper extraction nothing else matters. Using a double basket you should be extracting 60ml in 30 seconds. Once you can do that then you can start fiddling with other things like temperature surfing and adjusting the extraction to your personal tastes.

    You say you've used 'these beans' in other machines with good results. Does this mean you've used the beans from the same bag(s) as you're having problems with or just other beans from the same source(s)? What day you bought the beans doesn't matter diddley until we know what day they were roasted. So, what day were the beans you are using roasted?

    I can't tell what model grinder you have but it looks like it is likely not suited for espresso. What is the model number?


    Java "Specifics/details matter" phile
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  17. #17
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    Hi Jo,
    You say that you were getting good results from the beans using your Breville twin boiler machine. Were you using Rocky to grind for this machine or the Breville grinder you show.
    I suspect that the Breville grinder is not grinding fine enough for Silvia and is the cause of your woes. From your description of having to force the group handle to lock in, it sounds like you are severly overdosing and forcing the grounds up into the shower screen which can contribute to channelling.
    Alan
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  18. #18
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Never found this to be the case Trentski, though I have certainly heard others make the claim, pretty much the same as any machine, get your ducks in a row and then just knock em down.

    Given of course the machine is in good working order.
    I found you needed to have your ducks in a more orderly line than what an e61 machine requires. You can certainly make excellent espresso on one and I appreciate that the quality of coffee I make can be attributed to learning on a rancilio Lucy and the help from coffeesnobs.

    I also agree with the direction javaphile is suggesting.

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