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Thread: Silvia descaling issue

  1. #1
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    Silvia descaling issue

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi, this is my first post, so if its in the wrong section please let me know!

    Im the proud owner of a 2010 Rancilio Silvia.

    Unfortunately a month ago I decided to descale the machine for the first time. Jumping into it without much thought I used a commercial Delonghi descaler - no doubt my first mistake.

    In the middle of running the descaler through the group head, then steam wand via the hot water button, then group head, the machine tripped - and tripped my house power supply as well.

    I sent it back to the internet retailer (non CS) for a warranty repair. After weeks of chasing (4 weeks to be exact - which was not an enjoyable experience) I received the Silvia back with a new boiler and $200 less in my bank account.

    The problem is every shot I now pull is bitter. I ran several full water tanks through to flush out the machine to no avail.

    I use a petra M20 grinder and fresh beans.

    My concern is the descaler sat in the machine and piping for several weeks until they could be bothered looking at it and now I worried that Ive stuffed the internals. Is there anything I can do to flush it? i.e. use a different descaler, lemon etc?

    Thanks for any responses. I love my silvia, but Im worried that Ive lost her and my wife is not happy!


  2. #2
    TC
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    Re: Silvia descaling issue

    Hello Philius and welcome.

    I have moved your post to the correct forum for you.

    Its a shame you found us now as you probably would have obtained a better price through a sponsor and you definitely would have received better service ::)

    Two issues as I see it:

    First the taste-
    Taste the water out of the machine to be certain its boiler taint you are tasting and not something else which has changed.

    Secondly, the replacement boiler-
    I hear that there has been a batch of dud boilers in 2010 Silvias. A tech I know suggested up to 20% of machines have suffered from element failure pretty much out of the box.

    A competent tech can tell the difference between a cooked element (your fault due to failure to prime the boiler) v faulty element.

    I suspect your no bricks and mortar, no service we just shift boxes establishment has assumed the former and hit you in the hip pocket accordingly ::)

    Let us know how you go....

    2mcm

  3. #3
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    Re: Silvia descaling issue

    Thanks 2mcm.

    Yep, totally agree with your second point. There is no way I would purchase through them again - it was painful. Im also tempted to contact Rancilios Australian distibutor directly to outline the boiler / service issue - as I dont trust the explanation that I received from the repairer (it changed each time I called them - well, when they could be bothered to respond. My next purchase will be through a site sponsor!

    As for tasting the water out of the machine - do you mean by running it through the group head? I forgot to mention that I use only filtered water in the silvia.

    Thanks again,

  4. #4
    TC
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    Re: Silvia descaling issue

    Yes- try it through the group head :)

    I doubt that you will have much success with Rancilio as its a dogs dinner in Australia with many businesses importing direct.

  5. #5
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    Re: Silvia descaling issue

    Okay, Ive ran some filtered water through both the group head and the steam wand.

    Wand: Water didnt have any distinct taste
    Group head: Water did taste quite bitter. Ran a full tank through and tasted a second time and the taste was nowhere as bad.

    Also, since owning the machine I have not removed and cleaned the screen. Would this be a possible contributor?

    Thanks again,
    Phil

  6. #6
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia descaling issue

    Quote Originally Posted by 7A4243465F591A192A0 link=1299025918/4#4 date=1299105763
    Also, since owning the machine I have not removed and cleaned the screen. Would this be a possible contributor?
    Yeah definitely, you will have rancid coffee oils on it and that will affect the taste. Its really easy to take it off and clean it.

    Just undo the screw, take careful note of how the bits go back in and clean it in espresso cleaner. Rinse it good in clean water and put it back together and run a sink shot through it.

    Good to go 8-)

  7. #7
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    Re: Silvia descaling issue

    Hello Philius and welcome to CS.
    In my experience "bitterness" is part of the learning curve.
    1. Beans: we at last found a Five Senses Elixir (WA) house blend that suits our espresso machines. Likewise the Epic (WA) house blend also, but no others. It has taken quite a while.* Silvia is particularly fussy!* So you will need to look around. Great coffee in a shop will not necessarily repeat in the home.

    2. Bitterness is often a sign that the grinds are channeling - over extracted crema is finding it way through under extracted grinds. So you are getting what you dont want in the cup.* To over come this can be difficult.* Currently I make sure the grinds at the edge of my PF basket are higher then press then down with my finger* then tamp so the edges are firm.* Annoying but it works.* I watch the extraction until I see the third colour change (blonding) I stop at this point.* Sometimes the colour change comes early - then I know the water has channelled..

    3. I dont know why Blonding happens to me - it does not happen at Elixir but then their Synesso Hydra allows more control over the volume and pressure of the brew water.*

    4. Silvia is a great machine, accept that there is a learning curve if you want good coffee

    dumiya



  8. #8
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    Re: Silvia descaling issue

    Thanks for taking the time to respond - I really appreciate it.

    Im just about to order some Clean Machine Powder and will take my time so I dont end up damaging Miss Silvia!

    And Ill try and keep an eye on the channeling dumiya.

    After using her for the last 6 months I know she is capable of producing a fantastic drop. But I guess like anything, there is always more to learn!!!

    Cheers,
    Phil

  9. #9
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    Re: Silvia descaling issue

    A bottomless PF will help you resolve channeling, as you can clearly see how the extraction happens and then see how your technique affects each shot.
    Quote Originally Posted by 4150484C5C44250 link=1299025918/6#6 date=1299155593
    I dont know why Blonding happens to me
    I think water temp and grind would be main issues. Not hot enough and to coarse




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