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Thread: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

  1. #1
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    In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Greetings, Im still a relatively new user to the Silvia *having come from a Via Venezia which has the crema enhancing group handle. Ive read up what I can on the Silvia but here are a couple of questions Im throwing out there. I have been following the Mark Prince temp surf method and Im reasonably happy with the outcome. That is, I am having a fairly good strike rate in producing a nice golden crema with a sweet taste from the ethiopian roast which I roast myself. However when I let the machine heat up to the 30 mins or more which is suggested. The outcome is a mottled light crema with a bitter tasting brew. Any comments on that. Secondly when I allow the machine the recommended 30 mins or more. There is a great deal of steam ( in comparison to temp surf *method ) when I purge the brew head before I place the group handle on. Is this the ideal temperature for the proper use of the Silvia a great deal of steam as opposed to minimal from the temperature surf method.

    Cheers
    Carloz * *

    *

  2. #2
    A_M
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    Re: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by 282A392724314B0 link=1259100626/0#0 date=1259100626
    Greetings, Im still a relatively new user to the Silvia *having come from a Via Venezia which has the crema enhancing group handle. Ive read up what I can on the Silvia but here are a couple of questions Im throwing out there. I have been following the Mark Prince temp surf method and Im reasonably happy with the outcome. That is, I am having a fairly good strike rate in producing a nice golden crema with a sweet taste from the ethiopian roast which I roast myself. However when I let the machine heat up to the 30 mins or more which is suggested. The outcome is a mottled light crema with a bitter tasting brew. Any comments on that. Secondly when I allow the machine the recommended 30 mins or more. There is a great deal of steam ( in comparison to temp surf *method ) when I purge the brew head before I place the group handle on. Is this the ideal temperature for the proper use of the Silvia a great deal of steam as opposed to minimal from the temperature surf method.

    Cheers
    Carloz * *

    *
    May or may not be of assistance..

    Randy G has plenty of hints and his main system was a Silvia for a long time... Lots of reading and tips.

    http://home.surewest.net/frcn/Coffee/Coffee.html

    Also a handy page for those new to coffee and some great technical/service tips, machine reviews and how toos. *

    Search for - Coffee for Connoisseurs (Sorry link may be not 100% OK)

    AND of course
    http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.rancilio.php



  3. #3
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Re: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by 686A796764710B0 link=1259100626/0#0 date=1259100626
    Greetings, Im still a relatively new user to the Silvia *having come from a Via Venezia which has the crema enhancing group handle. Ive read up what I can on the Silvia but here are a couple of questions Im throwing out there. I have been following the Mark Prince temp surf method and Im reasonably happy with the outcome. That is, I am having a fairly good strike rate in producing a nice golden crema with a sweet taste from the ethiopian roast which I roast myself. However when I let the machine heat up to the 30 mins or more which is suggested. The outcome is a mottled light crema with a bitter tasting brew. Any comments on that. Secondly when I allow the machine the recommended 30 mins or more. There is a great deal of steam ( in comparison to temp surf *method ) when I purge the brew head before I place the group handle on. Is this the ideal temperature for the proper use of the Silvia a great deal of steam as opposed to minimal from the temperature surf method.

    Cheers
    Carloz * *

    *
    Gday Carloz,
    I used a Silvia for 8 years, great machine, only upgraded a few weeks ago.
    I agree with your observation, she can get too hot at times, I particularly noticed it when going back to pulling shots after the steam cycle, when you turn off the steam switch you need to run water through the group head at least until the thermostat light comes on, even then it is still too hot.
    And of course it can get pretty hot if you just leave it turned on for extended periods, Marks temp surfing method does work well.
    You will get to know the machine pretty well as you use it and work out your own preferences.
    A lot of people have fitted PID temp controllers, and are very happy with the results, never went in that direction myself, only changes I made were to buy a commercial PF and LaMarzocco double basket, I believe the standard PF being supplied now is a vast improvement on the older models, forget about using the single basket, useless.
    Oh and if you dont already have one buy a good tamper, (the plastic fantastic as supplied is crap) lots of threads on this site offering excellent advice re selection.
    Good luck with your new machine. :)

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    Re: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    Greetings Jon,
    Thanks very much for your sharing your knowledge of the Silvia . Your information
    confirms that Im on the right track with some of Silvias idosyncracies particularly with steam. I have noted the popularity of the PID but shall wait till I get cashed up. In the meantime its great to get feedback from users that have hands on experience on this unit. The LM basket was suggested but I opted for the Synesso ridgeless because it was available at the time. Quite frankly Im pulling better shots just with the Silvias double basket and ditched the single basket. So at this stage Im going to stick this till I become more familiar with the Silvia.

    Thanks again
    Carlos

  5. #5
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Re: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by 2220332D2E3B410 link=1259100626/3#3 date=1259119963
    Greetings Jon,
    Thanks very much for your sharing your knowledge of the Silvia . Your information
    confirms that Im on the right track with some of Silvias idosyncracies particularly with steam. I have noted the popularity of the PID but shall wait till I get cashed up. In the meantime its great to get feedback from users that have hands on experience on this unit. The LM basket was suggested but I opted for the Synesso ridgeless because it was available at the time. Quite frankly Im pulling better shots just with the Silvias double basket and ditched the single basket. So at this stage Im going to stick this till I become more familiar with the Silvia.

    Thanks again
    Carlos
    Sounds like your well and truly on the right track Carloz, Im told the Synesso baskets are equally as good as the LM, as I said I think nearly everyone gets rid of the single basket pretty early on.

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    Re: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    Carloz,
    Im a PID guy these days, but I went down the temp surfing path for a few years. Ill stick my neck out against the general internet crowd and say I had very little success with temp surfing, I tried all methods with a very meticulous /anal approach.

    I rarely achieved a consistant tasting shot, but I was certainly able to get a consistant "window" where the shot was very nice.
    Having played with a PID for some time now, this doesnt surprise me as a 0.5C difference in the setpoint will make the kind of difference Im refering to.

    Pre PID, I ended up getting similar results to temp surfing by following this much easier routine:
    Hit the hot water switch and open the steam valve, run a bit of water into the jug: Stop the flow at the point where the spluttering steam starts to become more of a water stream [but still with a hint of steam]
    The shot will be good at this point.

    But of course YMMV

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    Re: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    Many Thanks for your comments. I think a very high consensus of Silvia users go by way of the PID. Like I said when Im cashed up I will probably go that way as well. In the meantime will try your suggestion about the steam quite an interesting idea. Theres only so much coffee one can drink though in the name of getting it right. Or is there?

    Thanks
    Carloz

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    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    I bought a Lucy 6 years ago and never temp surfed it. The Lucy doesnt have a light that comes on like the Silvia does for some reason.

    Im not convinced that the temp surfing you read about on the American sites is as necessary with the 240volt models we have here.

    I think a bitter shot is due to being too hot or over extracted (please correct me if I am wrong and I will edit the misinformation).

    I always ran water through the group and group handle into a cup to warm everything up, grind tamp and then pour. Worked for me :)

    I follow the same routine with the new GPP 8-)

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    Re: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by 6D6B7C776D6A7270190 link=1259100626/7#7 date=1259147205
    Im not convinced that the temp surfing you read about on the American sites is as necessary with the 240volt models we have here.
    It is if you want the correct brew temp, massive dead band, my silvia was from 86C low to 109C high!
    Quote Originally Posted by 6D6B7C776D6A7270190 link=1259100626/7#7 date=1259147205
    I think a bitter shot is due to being too hot
    correct, and sour too cold......
    Quote Originally Posted by 6D6B7C776D6A7270190 link=1259100626/7#7 date=1259147205
    GPP Cool
    How good are they! ;)

  10. #10
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    Re: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    Carloz
    Two weeks into a PID (after 2 years of standard use), and I must say that being able to see the vast fluctuations in boiler temp that comes from a bit of flushing, it is no surprise that some people struggle to find the right timing/temperature.

    On the other hand, with the PID, Silvia is so much more relaxing to use. Knowing the machine is at the right temp, you can just get on with the grind/dose/tamp, lock it in and pour the shot - no need to think about where in the boiler cycle the machine is at. And seeing the brew light come back on during the pour, shows that it was probably getting too cool previously.
    Now with the PID set at 108, I wouldnt be surprised if most of my previous pours were in the high 90s as a rule. No measure of consistency, something we all know as being so important.

    So whether you PID or Gronk - being able to see the temp is a great benefit if you want to know what is going on, and improve the level of control you have.

    That leads on to a plug for Jim - great kit. As an electrician, I was most impressed with the standard and finish of his cabling and the ease of installation of the SD3C. It just all went together and was up and working in no time.

    I bet the next two years of enjoyment go just as quick.
    Thats probably why Ive got so few posts, too busy just enjoying the brew !

    Good luck on your journey, just enjoy...
    Fraser

  11. #11
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by 7F7B5D4444415E4946280 link=1259100626/8#8 date=1259148741
    Quote Originally Posted by 6D6B7C776D6A7270190 link=1259100626/7#7 date=1259147205
    Im not convinced that the temp surfing you read about on the American sites is as necessary with the 240volt models we have here. *
    It is if you want the correct brew temp, massive dead band, my silvia was from 86C low to 109C high!
    Crikey :o

    Is that at the group or the boiler temp?

    If at the boiler does the brass around the group moderate the temp at all?

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    Re: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    Is that at the group or the boiler temp?
    That would be the thermostat on/off cycle, residual heat pushes the boiler temp up to 120 or more(t/c on top of boiler)
    Suggest the OP has a read of the Gronk thread at start of section, lots of info in there ;)
    Im not convinced that the temp surfing you read about on the American sites is as necessary with the 240volt models we have here.
    I think our 240v machines run hotter, or get hotter quicker, my lovely MLG pidkit needed recalibrating to suit the 240V supply.

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    Re: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    In regards to trenskis comments

    I think a bitter shot is due to being too hot or over extracted (please correct me if I am wrong and I will edit the misinformation)

    I think your quite right and in my case the bitterness it seems is when that boiler gets to hot and I get a very mottled consistency with the pour. I think even with the so called temp surf what Im trying to achieve is to heat all the brass components of the Silvia rather than the long wait.

    Cheers
    Carloz

  14. #14
    brett230873
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    Re: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    I actually found that with Silvia if I pulled 60ml into a cup to warm it while I ground the beans, then that would produce a great shot just as consistently as when I went to the trouble of Temp Surfing (which I became lazy about and gave up). I just wasnt seeing a huge difference in the shot (which I thought was fabulous) irrespective of the technique. So the mantra keep it simple became the solution. Just ensure that 30 minutes warm up. I loved my Silvia and only traded up to a HX to live the dream!

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    Re: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    Greetings, First a very good point about Keeping it Simple. Thats the general direction Im trying to with by heating all the brass components and ensuring that the Silvia is up to temp before the 30 mins. Congrats on the HX and living the dream. It is all good fun at the end of the day if you dont take it all to seriously.

    Cheers
    Carloz :)

  16. #16
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    Re: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by 5D4D5A4B4B0D0C0F07080C3F0 link=1259100626/13#13 date=1259187337
    I actually found that with Silvia if I pulled 60ml into a cup to warm it while I ground the beans, then that would produce a great shot just as consistently as when I went to the trouble of Temp Surfing (which I became lazy about and gave up). *I just wasnt seeing a huge difference in the shot (which I thought was fabulous) irrespective of the technique. *So the mantra keep it simple became the solution. *Just ensure that 30 minutes warm up. *I loved my Silvia and only traded up to a HX to live the dream!
    I tend to agree with you Brett, after using a Silvia for a few years it all becomes pretty easy, good shots were the norm, like you say let it warm up, and as far as being too hot, you pick it instinctively after a while and run some water through the group too cool things down a little.
    Its a simple well made machine that produces consistently good results.
    Ive seen these same questions and answers doing the rounds for the past 8 years, guess we all like to feel weve discovered something new, in point of fact I think the operation of the Silvia has been dissected and mulled over that many time there is very little left to discover.
    A Google search for Silvia http://www.google.com.au/#hl=en&sour...23657aecaa0d97 will return almost 41000 hits, reckon its a legend in its own time. *::)

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    Re: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    Thanks for you tip Jon, I think you could very well be right. I might have over complicated what should be a reasonably simple in essence. I will see how I go having that in mind over the next few pours.

    Cheers
    Carloz

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    Re: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    Hi Carloz,

    I found initially that the easiest method was to attach a thermocouple to the top of the boiler and monitor boiler temp with a digital multimeter, this technique is covered in some detail under the Gronk thread as noted above. The cost is a lot less than a PID, but it does work, cos that is how a PID controller gets its temperature, and is relatively simple.

    If boiler was a bit hot, flush it briefly (soon get a feel for it with some practice), if boiler was a bit cool, hit the steam switch briefly to heat it.

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    Re: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    Bullitt,
    I would have to agree with you. That is what I currently do. Its another use for the Coffesnobs Temperature data logger/multimeter *;D Using the old foam cup/thermocouple technique I found out the approx. temp that the meter needs to be reading in order to get the right brew temp. By no means exact of course, but I still find it much better than watching the light go on and off. If the light is off, just switch on the steam switch for a while, let the temp rise above the optimum level then let it cool down to the right temp and pull the shot. Works well for me. The meter also is very good for judging the best time for the steam. Note at what temp the light goes off when the steam switch is on. Mines around 140. So bleed the wand around 120, then when it reaches about 135, I start steaming. This keeps the steam going without the thermostat cutting out and the steam supply dwindling until it cuts back in. Nothing new I know, but it really does work well.

  20. #20
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    Re: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    Thanks All, My printer certainly got a work out today copying all the info so I can read them again .Just when I thought PID was the way to go the gronk appears to complicate matters. Its all good fun.

    Cheers
    Carloz


  21. #21
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    Re: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    PID is the way to go but one can only do what one can afford at the time, monitoring boiler temp with a t/c will give good enough consistency to allow you to focus on other aspects. If a PID is fitted at a later date the t/c can be stuck on the group to monitor the warm up and cool down cycle so it wont go to waste.
    Enjoy your Silvia :)

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    Re: In need of some Rancilio Silvia Tips

    I will add yet another voice in support of Gronks thermometer system. *It is simple, accurate, and inexpensive.

    A PID adds another dimension, that is the ability to control the temperature, rather than only observe it.

    But compared to temperature surfing with a stopwatch, the thermometer wins hands down.

    Jim



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