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Thread: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

  1. #1
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    Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I have had my Rancilio/Rocky combo for almost 2 years now. I have been very pleased with the performance of the machine and reasonably satisfied with my ability.

    Just recently, my shot has turned poor. It has a white crema and looks thin and whispy when it pours.

    Here is my technique.
    1, Measure beans in old 12g basket (slightly heaped), put in grinder etc. to get consistent dose
    2, Adjust the grind to suit, tap, tamp etc in the 14g basket, the same every time.
    3, temp surf the boiler and once the light comes on, lock in the portafilter, 20 secs after, hit brew switch.
    then it turns to custard.

    I get a 60ml shot in 26-30 seconds but it just looks bad (and tastes nasty)
    The coffee will initially gome out a little quick but slow up after only 1 sec. it pours at a good pace, but is white and thin looking.

    Increasing the grind (making it coarser) only speeds it up more, Reducing the grind (finer) slows it down too much and you just get a very slow but still thin, white brew.

    I buy fresh beans every week from roasters that roast fresh every week. The beans are fresh.

    I tried to calibrate the pressure/flow restrictor spring to ensure 9lbs at the head and think that I have done this successfuly. It was at about 10lbs from factory.

    Machine serviced 6 months ago and descaled last week.

    The above mentioned process has worked every time but the month has been a tough and frustraiting time. I didnt even bother turnin the machine on this morning but opted to go to my local for a fix.

    Any clues folks?


  2. #2
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    You say the Silvia has had a service

    Have you pulled the Rocky apart to give it an inspection and a clean ?

    Generally sour pours are a result of water temperature that is on the cool side

    Back to the Silvia & I am just fishing for clarification

    Are you sure the boiler is getting the water hot enough ??
    When you do a cooling flush does the water hiss ??

    KK

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    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    In addition to what is posted above under-dosing can also cause sour coffee

    KK

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    Quote Originally Posted by 280C050506063C280C100E0C630 link=1284036491/1#1 date=1284037126
    Are you sure the boiler is getting the water hot enough ??
    Or the group head cool enough, as I just mentioned in another thread if you fail to cool the machine after steaming the shots will be similar to what epic describes. :-/

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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    The thermostat goes off at the 35-40 second mark. If you hit the brew switch at this point, it will hiss etc so the water has boiled.

    Dose is Ok. There is the nut impression on the puck. I always pull the shot first, then steam the milk with the temperature surf thing again.

    I havent checked the grinder but saw a cleaning vid on youtube. This may be it.

    I also thought about putting the pressure up again as it was from factory.

    Will let you know how i go.

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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    Just cleaned it. It was pretty grubby in there.
    Maybe i will need to descale the machine again. Watching youtube, i think i have been doing it wrong with this type of machine.
    I was doing it with a blind filter and doing the whole backflush thing. I think that i should have put the cleaning stuff in the water tank? Will try again tomorrow.
    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4087/4976231287_18fe0aefdf_m.jpg

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    Quote Originally Posted by 524F48645A55645E4B52583B0 link=1284036491/5#5 date=1284123958
    Just cleaned it. It was pretty grubby in there.
    Maybe i will need to descale the machine again. Watching youtube, i think i have been doing it wrong with this type of machine.
    I was doing it with a blind filter and doing the whole backflush thing. I think that i should have put the cleaning stuff in the water tank? Will try again tomorrow.
    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4087/4976231287_18fe0aefdf_m.jpg
    Back flushing and descaling are two separate operations requiring different chemicals.
    I strongly suggest you consult someone who knows what they are doing, describe exactly what you have done up to now and take their advice as to what you should do next. :)
    PS what was the pic of the seriously gummed up Rocky for? or was it a mis post?

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    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    OK. Before you go throwing stuff in the water tank, lets try to be a bit more specific.
    What stuff are you using for the cleaning?

    Please be specific and mention the product name as this is important.
    No-one wants you to be putting the wrong product in the wrong place with your machine.

    Personally, I use Cafetto espresso clean for backflushing and Cafetto restore for descaling.

    If you have never descaled (correct type of descaling solution in water tank and cycling into boiler and out) then you will most likely benefit from the exercise, but please be certain you are using the correct products.

    Ask more questions if you need to.

    Brett.

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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    The cleaner i used is called cino cleano, it says Espresso machine backflush cleaner on the label. I got it from a shop who said use it to back flush the machine. I have not a lot of faith in this mob but they are Adelaides larger machine suppliers.
    I have put this in the tank before too as that was another places advice. I flushed it with 3 full tanks after I did this.

    The guncky grinder pic was intended as that was my next step in correcting the sour shot.

  10. #10
    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    Right.
    DONT put the espresso cleaner in the tank again.

    Either get to a store that sells the correct stuff or might I suggest going to coffeeparts online (see sponsors) and ordering some fit for purpose materials from the cleaning products section.

    They are pretty speedy sending things out and you will probably find 3 or 4 other things you want whilst browsing. I know I always do.

    FYI - The cafetto products I have, both give very clear instructions for use.

    Brett.

  11. #11
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    Cino Cleano should NOT go in the water tank.

    How long has it been since you did this?

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    A_M
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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    Quote Originally Posted by 362B2C003E31003A2F363C5F0 link=1284036491/8#8 date=1284126708
    The cleaner i used is called cino cleano, it says Espresso machine backflush cleaner on the label. I got it from a shop who said use it to back flush the machine. I have not a lot of faith in this mob but they are Adelaides larger machine suppliers.
    I have put this in the tank before too as that was another places advice. I flushed it with 3 full tanks after I did this.


    The guncky grinder pic was intended as that was my next step in correcting the sour shot.
    Assumptions and not understand teh product will get you every time.

    As teh others have said - NO back-flush chemicals in teh water tank..

    The issue here is misunderstanding and assumptions and terms.

    If you go to many coffee places and ask for a cleaner. They will assume you know what your talking about. In some cases, when they do try to confirm they get met with less than desirable response, as people think they are treating them as silly. However there are any number of products that can and or should not be used. Depending on your machine.

    Backflush is for your group, De scaler is for your tank, Windex for teh exterior and then there are variations depending on exactly what machine you have.

    I would suggest that it is a temp / grind / beans that is having a change on your shot and your off looking at other issues rather than coming back to teh basics.

    Timing etc as mention below is not every thing and not a true indicator of teh actual temp.

    Quote Originally Posted by 362B2C003E31003A2F363C5F0 link=1284036491/4#4 date=1284117902
    The thermostat goes off at the 35-40 second mark. If you hit the brew switch at this point, it will hiss etc so the water has boiled.
    Brew switch and steam / hissing / spitting etc suggest a bit hot to me... But I could be wrong, depending on how much you flush etc and how you pre heat the group..

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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    I have always gone on the advice of the coffee machine shops. The first one told me to use the cleaner with a blind filter. This seemed to be ok (no noticable difference but made me think i was doing the right thing). I told the other shop what I was doing and they said that the silvia did not have a 3 way valve and therefore the product was no good - just run it through the tank. I was using this stuff ages ago as a part of my cleaning routine not to correct the current issue. Now I realise that it is not actually a descaler. It has been some months since I ran it through the tank. I guess I will go somewhere today and get a propper descaler and have a crack.

    Thanks for the advice so far.

    As for the temperature issue, the water will only hiss and spit when the thermostat is at its highest and only for a brief moment so i dont believe that the machine is too hot. It has done it since new and have not had a problem till now.

    The machine is great but after using my parents new Giotto Rocket, I am after so much more.

  14. #14
    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    Quote Originally Posted by 332E29053B34053F2A33395A0 link=1284036491/12#12 date=1284154794
    I have always gone on the advice of the coffee machine shops. The first one told me to use the cleaner with a blind filter. This seemed to be ok (no noticable difference but made me think i was doing the right thing). I told the other shop what I was doing and they said that the silvia did not have a 3 way valve and therefore the product was no good - just run it through the tank.
    Well I would never pay any heed to advice from that person again.
    The Silvia DOES have a 3 way valve and hence backflushing is a valid thing to do.

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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    [QUOTE=6E73745866695862776E64070 link=1284036491/12#12 date=1284154794] I told the other shop what I was doing and they said that the silvia did not have a 3 way valve and therefore the product was no good - just run it through the tank.


    its an epic,

    I would certainly not rush back to that shop for any coffee related advice any time soon. *Hopefully you worked out that the Silvia certainly does have a 3 way valve and that chemical backflushing is certainly an important part of keeping it in good working order.
    And ditto to what the others have said re running backflush chemical through the tank.

    If that was a picture of your Rocky (and not just some pic you got off the net) that youve attached, then I would certainly recommend giving it a major clean out. *I would imagine that this either hasnt been done for a long time (if ever?) :(. *Also a good idea to clean the old coffee grounds from your grinder on a regular basis.

    Good luck with getting some better shots soon! :)
    Paul

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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    Sorry fatboy, you must have got your comment in as I was writing up mine.

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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    Also I could check your dose, the screw head is massive on silvia. You might need to put a bit more coffee in the basket. A good way to check is to dose, lock it in, and if the outer rim of the showerscreen makes a faint impression then thats a good place to start. Its about the same as the 5 cent piece test.

    Also up your location in your profile, a local CSer might be able to help you with the descale and machine set up.

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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    Thanks folks.
    Yes the rocky has never been pulled apart. Again, the poor advice was to get a vaccumn cleaner onto it once in a while. It was in poor shape.
    I am happy with the dose. The dose I have borders on too much as sometimes it is difficult to lock it in.
    I think that once i get onto a propper descaler, I have at least eliminated issues with the machine (I think).
    Thanks again.

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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    Quote Originally Posted by 213C3B172926172D38212B480 link=1284036491/17#17 date=1284165135
    I am happy with the dose. The dose I have borders on too much as sometimes it is difficult to lock it in.
    Up dosing could also be a problem, it can cause fractures in the puck when the shower screen disturbs the top of the puck that youve just spend time getting level and polishing. :) I had the same problem on Lucy and Ive just adjusted my dose down a bit too.

    As mentioned above, revisit the basics. It took me ages to get a decent brew out of my Lucy (Silvia & Rocky in one) and 2 hours getting training was worth its weight in gold. Im still learning, but at least it gives you a better start than just trying to work it out yourself. There should be plenty of training places in Adelaide, make sure you pick a sponsor.

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    A_M
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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    Quote Originally Posted by 406D6F696465610C0 link=1284036491/18#18 date=1284166391
    Up dosing could also be a problem, it can cause fractures in the puck when the shower screen disturbs the top of the puck that youve just spend time getting level and polishing.*I had the same problem on Lucy and Ive just adjusted my dose down a bit too.
    Spot on... So many forget that as the screw head is forced in and then you lock... You in effect rip and put in fractures into that puck you spent ages trying to get right..

    I still think that overdosing causes many more problems on most machines that people care to think about.. *A finer grind and a change to tamp pressure is a better way to go.. *

    As once you overdose and the screen hits the puck and when you lock in: you fracture the surface of the puck.. *So why bother to tamp and polish.. Overdosing and Tamp/polish are an oxymoron, so to speak *::)

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    Quote Originally Posted by 302D2A063837063C29303A590 link=1284036491/8#8 date=1284126708
    The cleaner i used is called cino cleano, it says Espresso machine backflush cleaner on the label. I got it from a shop who said use it to back flush the machine. I have not a lot of faith in this mob but they are Adelaides larger machine suppliers.
    I have put this in the tank before too as that was another places advice. I flushed it with 3 full tanks after I did this.

    The guncky grinder pic was intended as that was my next step in correcting the sour shot.
    Morning Epic, if this is the mob at Nelson St Stepney forget about em, the counter staff are not very knowledgeable and certainly less than helpful.
    Pay Coffee Craft a visit down on South Road, they stock Cafetto products and can certainly advise you on how to use them in a Silvia. :)

  22. #22
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    Quote Originally Posted by 4C636A687F406C636C6A68606863790D0 link=1284036491/19#19 date=1284168192
    I still think that overdosing causes many more problems on most machines that people care to think about..A finer grind and a change to tamp pressure is a better way to go..
    In my experience Silvia responds poorly to over dosing.

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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    Yes - Im pretty sure I have the overdosing thing under control. I have learnt this. Chanelling was a problem with me back in the day.

    The Mob on nelson st sold me the blind filter and the cleaner. They are not guilty in this instance but have the worst beans and the slowest customer service.

    Im thinking that it is me and something i am doing wrong. Ill try to get some descaler (im working this weekend) sometime and have a go.

    Cheers again

  24. #24
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    Quote Originally Posted by 726F68447A75447E6B72781B0 link=1284036491/22#22 date=1284181642
    They are not guilty in this instance but have the worst beans and the slowest customer service.
    Getting quite a reputation arent they, I suspect 98% of their roasted bean business is wholesale and they really dont give a rats about the retail side of things. >:(

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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    Just finished cleaning descaling the machine - properly.

    I pulled just the one shot and it looks alot better. I didnt taste it as I suffer from that condition where caffine keeps me awake all night. :(
    Ill be drinking my usual in the morning so will let you know how I go.

  26. #26
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    Quote Originally Posted by 6875725E606F5E64716862010 link=1284036491/24#24 date=1284201313
    Just finished cleaning descaling the machine - properly.

    I pulled just the one shot and it looks alot better. I didnt taste it as I suffer from that condition where caffine keeps me awake all night. :(
    Ill be drinking my usual in the morning so will let you know how I go.
    Good stuff, hope it solves your problems. :)
    PS Did you remove the shower screen and give it and the area under it a thorough clean?

  27. #27
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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    I have reread the original post
    It still sounds very much like a form of channelling. *Maybe the brew water is moving down the sides and not extracting properly. *"Thin and watery and sour"
    May be the water pressure has changed - I dont see how - and pushing the brew water through the grinds too fast. I dont think Silvia can be adjusted. *Pullman espresso has a pressure gauge that can be hired. You may need to stir the grinds *bit before the final tamp to see if this makes any difference. *It may be the beans you are using grind differently.
    Certainly dont overdose my old silvia does not work with it very well at all.

    I will be very interested to hear when you solve it. *I occasionally have this trouble with my new set up. *For me it can happen when I get a new lot of beans and have not adjusted for them. Sometime I have to stir the grind to get it right. *I think it may be pressure (currently 10 bars) so I may try less pressure (9 bars).
    However experimenting with the grind, dose and tamp are usually the solution
    I am rambling a bit now

    dumiya

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    Re: Rancilio/Rocky gone sour.

    Well it seems that the descaling has fixed it.
    I am very aware of chanelling and i will fluff the grind to ensure even distribution pre tamp it needed.
    I have also adjusted the pressure to 9bar. I may go back to 10 now the machine s squeaky clean.
    However, this mornings shot was a winner.

    So - simple cleaning is the solution.



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