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Thread: Taming Ms Silvia

  1. #1
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    Taming Ms Silvia

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Okay, Im a newbie to the Rancilio Ms Silvia but not new to making a decent shot of espresso.

    My problem is I cant seem to get a good shot from my new Silvia. Yep, strange as that might sound. The shot lacks crema, aroma and a decent taste, and the puck is watery too. Ive tried all different grinder settings, but that elusive thick luster crema, aroma and taste just arent there. :-[

    Now, just to put things in perspective my old Sunbeam Cafe Crema EM4800 (2002 model) just canes the Silvia in both taste, aroma and crema on pulling the same coffee grinds.

    Obviously Im doing something wrong as the Silvia is supposed to be one of the better manual domestic machine out there. Any suggestions on what to try are most welcome.
    Oh, and before you ask - yes I have read the instructions - several times.

  2. #2
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Taming Ms Silvia

    Welcome to Coffee Snobs.

    What coffee are you using and are you sure its fresh?
    Which grinder do you have?

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    Re: Taming Ms Silvia

    Yes, the coffee is fresh - always is *;D. *Same bag Ive just been using with the EM4800.
    The grind has a nice fresh aroma and I only grind just minutes before the pour. *I only put enough beans in the hopper to last the day. *The beans are in a resealable bag and stored in the refridgerator

    The grinder is a Gaggia MDF/B.

    Just put the old EM4800 machine back on the kitchen bench and pulled an espresso from it. *No problems. *;) *So it puts the problem back onto the Silvia or quite possibly the monkey driving it doesnt it? * :(

    Its most likely Im doing something wrong, but I just cant figure what. *:-[

    Does anyone know of a good site with useful tips on the Silvia?


  4. #4
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: Taming Ms Silvia

    Are you using the single or double basket. Every Silvia owner I know including me have discarded the single basket, it is almost impossible to get consistently decent shots with it. Ive purchased a Synesso double ridgeless basket with a Pullman tamper made to fit the baslet and that made a huge difference to my shots.
    She likes to be dosed up, if you have wet pucks it suggests there is some space between the grinds and the shower screen, try updosing and see what happens.
    Before I got my Rocky the Sunbeam EM450 did a good job grinder for Silvia, I dont know about the Gaggia.
    Good luck a bit a practice and adjusting routine and you should be pulling good shots soon............gm

  5. #5
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    Re: Taming Ms Silvia

    Quote Originally Posted by monkeyboi link=1228366042/0#2 date=1228368436
    Does anyone know of a good site with useful tips on the Silvia?
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/



    Quote Originally Posted by greenman link=1228366042/0#3 date=1228368852
    Before I got my Rocky the Sunbeam EM450 did a good job grinder for Silvia, I dont know about the Gaggia.
    The Gaggia is a better grinder than the EM0450 (I have both).

  6. #6
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    Re: Taming Ms Silvia

    Im not a Silvia operator, but it sounds like you should look into:

    More coffee in basket.
    Finer grind.
    Firmer tamp.

    As for refrigerating your beans - Id suggest that you dont. If you really must do so, when you go to use the beans, remove a portion well in advance and let it come up to room temperature before putting the beans in the grinder.

  7. #7
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    Re: Taming Ms Silvia


    Thanks for your responses so far guys. :)

    I did try greenmans suggestion of using the double basket instead the single. *Uses more coffee but seems so far to be a little more consistant on the pour. *:)

    Eventually Im sure Ill find the right combination and technique with Ms Silvia. *But I guess you guys know what its like - impatience and that must have coffee fix. *::)

  8. #8
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    Re: Taming Ms Silvia

    monkeyboi,

    Welcome to CS

    The Silvia single basket is one of the worst single baskets I have seen (and believe me, making Pullman tampers, I have seen LOTS!!!)...

    If you really must use a single basket, do yourself a favour and get an LM, Synesso or some other 58mm single basket with a decent profile.

    Getting a great shot from a well shaped single basket is hard..... getting one from a Silvia single will really tax anyones ability!

  9. #9
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    Re: Taming Ms Silvia

    Quote Originally Posted by monkeyboi link=1228366042/0#2 date=1228368436

    Does anyone know of a good site with useful tips on the Silvia?
    Sorry but I laughed out loud when I read your question. Not because its a silly question, but because there is soooooo much information on the internet about the Silvia. Ive literally spent days reading various stuff about Silvia.

    I had problems with the single basket too for the first cuppla days. Very similar problems to yours

    I had to take the single back to the shop because it was slightly egg shaped and my Pullman tamper wouldnt fit
    The nice lady exchanged the basket for a larger single. (She told me it was a 9 gram although I dont think it holds that much)
    Anyway I was instantly able to get decent shots with this new bigger basket.

    I dont use a single anymore though. Ive been using a Synesso double for a while and its great.

    Hang in there and dont get frustrated with Silvia. It can take a little while to get to know the quirks *:)

  10. #10
    TC
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    Re: Taming Ms Silvia

    The Silvias not really that hard:
    [*]Ditch the single basket[*]Ditch the double basket and buy a good deep basket[*]Get a blind filter and backwash detegent and ignore Rancilios recommendation that backflushing is not required[*]Learn how to adjust grind correctly and dose consistently[*]Invest in a quality training course.

    Rule #1 - If you hear steam in the water, let it go to waste

    Hope that helps ;)

    Chris

  11. #11
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    Re: Taming Ms Silvia

    Silvia does take practice when shes new, and it could take a while. The MDF should be up to the job, though later on you may find that upgrading your grinder is worth it.

    I agree with the single basket comments - find another use for it. Apart from that, forget that youve ever used another machine and start again with the grind, the dosing and the pour. Silvia and the EM4800 are vastly different beasts and the grind and technique will be very different.

    Hang in there - as long as you get the occasional great shot you know the problem is with you, not your machine. :)

  12. #12
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    Re: Taming Ms Silvia

    One thing that hasnt been mentioned in relation to the elusive crema is that your 4800 probably has pressurised baskets (a tiny pin-hole in the bottom of the basket if you look from underneath). If so, this creates artificial crema from poorly ground or stale beans, but put the same raw material in the Silvia and youll see it like it is! In this respect Silvia may not appear to give as good results but its giving you honest results - the Sunbeams just making bad look good!

    You say fresh beans; do you know when they were roasted? They should have been roasted no more than about a week ago. If theyre fresh from the supermarket I would respectfully suggest theyre at least six to twelve months old and therefore stale. Even with some coffee shops / markets and other supposedly reliable places - if you cant identify the roast date you can fairly safely assume theyre stale, or at the very least past their best. If this is the case this would explain the presence of crema on the 4800 and its absence on the Silvia. If you want fresh beans and cant roast your own, right here on CS is the best place to start - http://beanbay.coffeesnobs.com.au/Default.aspx?CategoryId=51. Grab a bag and compare with your current product - you may be pleasantly surprised!

    Fresh beans correctly ground just prior to use will be an excellent starting point.

    Hope this helps,
    Greg



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