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Thread: Dosing Silvia

  1. #1
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    Dosing Silvia

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Im a new Sylvia owner and really enjoying the machine and even the coffee...

    However still figuring out the whole grind/dose/tamp art.

    The Sylvia manual says to put in 2 scoops and tamp lightly. *That amounts to hardly any coffee and the few times I tried it produced what could only charitably described as brown water.

    I followed one of the instructional videos that was recommended at this site and dosed the portafiller accordingly. *From memory it was fill loosely, tap on the benchtop, repeat, and then fill to the of the portafiller, level off and tamp.

    This gave much better results. *Its a huge difference in amount *of coffee however. *How could Rancilio have it so wrong?

    I am also unsure of the difference between a fine grind, tamped hard and a coarser grind tamped less.

    I was using a grind of about 5 on my Sunbeam EM0480 but after very slow extraction have bumped it up (coarser) to about a 10.

    I know it is dependent on a whole bunch of factors but what sort of grinds are people using on this grinder with their Sylvia.

    Cheers


    Steven

  2. #2
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    Re: Dosing Silvia

    Hi Steven,

    Rancilio build machines. Sadly it seems they have little idea about the coffee process- or at least the boffin who signed off the videos didnt ::)

    Assuming you have good, freshly roasted coffee rather than supermarket compost, http://www.espressocompany.com.au/how-to.htm will help.

    Make sure that you know how to prime your boiler also. This will save you expensive bills down the track. There is a guide for the Vibiemme Piccolo which can be applied to your machine: http://www.espressocompany.com.au/downloads/DomobarUserGuideSteaming.pdf

    Good luck ;)

    2mcm



  3. #3
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    Re: Dosing Silvia

    priming the boiler and fresh beans are a must! the silvia can produce some awesome coffee, but you need to have everything just right (youll start to think you need the planets in alignment too!). on my EM0480 I used to have it at 9, so Id say youre in the ballpark. Best thing is to run the shot through and see how long it takes to get 30ml. If youre somewhere around 25-30 seconds, you should be around the mark for grind/tamp/dose. Try to be as accurate and consistent with your dose & tamp when testing so you can narrow down the correct grind level. It sounds like youve got the right idea with the dosing level. get the bathroom scales an aim for around 15kg for the tamp.

    Oh, and its obvious that silvia makers dont know about the coffee, as otherwise theyd never supply such terrible single and double baskets with the machine itself! Good luck with the machine, youve got some fun coming up!

  4. #4
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    Re: Dosing Silvia

    2mcm, that is a fantastic set of vids. Cheers for that.

  5. #5
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    Re: Dosing Silvia

    Doug

    When you say priming the boiler, do you mean refilling the boiler after using the steam wand. Of course I made sure the boiler was well and truly primed the first time I used the machine. And I always flush the group head after steaming to refill the boiler. Or is there yet another arcane ritual I am missing...

    Do we subscribe to the view that if the puck just shows the indentation of the screw fixing the shower screen to the group head that doing is about right?

    Thanks

    Steven

  6. #6
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    Re: Dosing Silvia

    priming the boiler is just filling it after using the steam. if you save the cleaning of the grouphead til after youve steamed, then youre OK.

    as far as the indentation of the screw, Im of the opinion that it should be a fairly decent indentation, as I thought that in other machines without the jutting out screw you wanted a slight impression of the showerscreen? To get this in the silvia, youd need the full impression of the screw (or replace the screw with a flatter one...)

  7. #7
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    Re: Dosing Silvia

    Hi Steven and welcome to Coffee Snobs.
    Silvia is a great little machine and can produce great coffee once you have mastered her.
    Refilling the boiler is probably done more reliably by using the steam wand rather than the group head. Just bleed off the steam into a cup or mug, till you have a solid stream of water coming out of the wand and there can be no doubt that the boiler is full.
    All the best with it.

    Alan

  8. #8
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    Re: Dosing Silvia

    Still struggling with the right dose...

    When I use 14g of coffee (fresh roasted Oomph beans) I struggle to get 30 ml of coffee at all, never mind in 30 seconds, with really early blonding.

    When Ive bumped that up to 18g I can only just get the portafiller onto the group head and the coffee barely comes out at all.

    I have already moved up to a coarser grind, about a 10 on a EM0480, and I cant believe I need a lighter tamp. *Im really not using much force at all.

    I am still using the original Rancilio baskets. *Should I be giving the Synesso double basket a go as many have done before me...

    Steven





  9. #9
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    Re: Dosing Silvia

    I used to weigh the beans before they were ground (14g) and never had a problem with extraction, but dont do this anymore.
    I now use a scoop measure (old Harris measure provided in their tins of preground coffee) for the beans. 2 rounded scoops is about right.
    Grind beans into filter basket to end up with the basket roughly filled and mounded in the middle. I work my finger across the top of the filter basket to fill any voids and scrape off any excess. Tap a few times on bench then tamp with a generic metal tamper at about 15kg.
    Works for me.
    Im still using the double basket supplied with Silvia and dont have a problem using it to produce excellent espresso.
    Grind is critical though as is a level tamp.
    All the best with it.

    Alan

  10. #10
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    Re: Dosing Silvia

    Steven

    Hang in there, the fact you are fussy/anal/diligent will ensure you will get there.
    Work on consistancy: always use the same tamp force.
    Stick with a dose 14g or 18 g, whatever....just keep it the same.

    If you keep changing these two things you will end up chasing your tail.

    The mantra is: Tamp and dose are constant....adjust flow with grinder.......Ommm.......repeat x 10
    So,
    Using a set dose and a set tamp, then adjust your grinder until you get the right flow.
    Buy 1kg of cheap coffee and practise practise practise.

    As a test, run three or four shots in a row using same dose, tamp and grind setting and see if you get the same volume and time for each shot........as you technique improves so will your consistancy.

    As an experienced Silvia user and more importantly Im very familiar with my grinder, it may still take up to 3 shots to properly dial in my settings for the morning, so expect that as a minimum.

    You havent mentioned your tamper...please tell me you are not using that horrid plastic thing that comes with the machine.

    Many of us CSers have bought Pullman tampers <------ which are custom ground to match your baskets. You get big improvements in consistancy and pour with good well fitted tampers.
    The Silvia double basket is ok, but is a 12g, whereas most double baskets are 14g.
    I do think a 14g basket is more forgiving, and also I find straight walled baskets [not ridged like Silvia] easier to tamp and certainly easier to knockout.

    Keep at it and keep us posted.

    Reuben

  11. #11
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    Re: Dosing Silvia

    something Ive been experimenting with a bit lately is a sort of preinfusion. I flick the switch on for 2 seconds, leave it off for 5, flick it for aniother second, off for five, then extract. has helped my consistency and seems a bit more forgiving, so might get you a good result a bit sooner?

    oh, and get the synesso baskets and a pullman tamper already! *;D

    if you want something to try, set the grinder to 9 and grind into the container that came with it. get a needle and flick it through the grinds to break up clumps. using the double basket in the portafilter, pour the grinds into the basket over the sink to the point its over-full. tap the portafilter head 5 times with the tamper. run a knife over the surface to level off the grinds. place the tamper onto the grinds and make sure its level. push down on the tamper until it feels compressed and then quickly back off the pressure. twist the tamper a half turn and take it out. lock the portafilter into the group head and do the preinfusion thing above. after the preinfusion bits, time how long it takes to extract 60ml coffee. use a measuring cup or use two shots of water into a glass and mark where it comes up to with a line or masking tape. if you do this, it might point you in the right direction based on the results.

    edit: Im by no means an expert, but this process helped me figure out what to do with my silvia.

  12. #12
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    Re: Dosing Silvia

    Quote Originally Posted by 56514053404B46250 link=1236506305/7#7 date=1236767557
    Still struggling with the right dose...

    When I use 14g of coffee (fresh roasted Oomph beans) I struggle to get 30 ml of coffee at all, never mind in 30 seconds, with really early blonding.

    When Ive bumped that up to 18g I can only just get the portafiller onto the group head and the coffee barely comes out at all.

    Im not that fussy as to measure or anything (please dont shun me but I still use the silvia tamper and basket though that will be fixed this year... sometime) but i learned quick that if you have to really force the handle you wont get good results and if the handle closes freely super blonde super quick. Go to the supermarket and get the cheapest coffee you can get and experiment with the dose and pay attention to the forse required to lock in the PF. When you have to be firm but not agressive thats the correct dose, for me anyway.

  13. #13
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    Re: Dosing Silvia

    finally got around to uploading some video of my shots and the pre-infusion method I use. Results look pretty decent, and tasted good too. First is a single basket (notoriously hard to get a good shot from) and then a double. Pretty happy with it, works for me *;D

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waeeuR3mGLM



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