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Thread: Trouble locking in Silvia Portafilter

  1. #1
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    Trouble locking in Silvia Portafilter

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all, sorry for asking a noob question, I have no prior experience with espresso machines. Recently bought a Silvia/Rocky combo from a sponsor, and Im having trouble locking in the portafilter :o !

    I find that after dosing and tamping, Im unable to easily lock in the PF. To stop the Silvia from sliding around on the bench while loading the PF, I have to really hold the machine down with my left hand and push the PF hard against the brew head. And sometimes still unable to lock it in at all! It seems so easy on those videos from youtube... Does this mean Im overdosing big time?!

    My dosing routine:
    Grind setting is at 7
    Grind & load the double basket until almost full.
    Tap on the tamping mat a few times to collapse.
    Grind more & slightly overfill.
    Level off with the back of a knife.
    Tamp. I try to keep 10~15kg pressure (checked on bathroom scale)

    If Im able to load the PF, I usually pull 60ml in 25~30 seconds. However, the shots are usually sour.
    The coffee is Chumpy from St. Ali, roasted 7 days ago, kept in airtight jar.
    Machine warmed up for at least 30 minutes. I temp surf by waiting 30 sec after the boiler light goes off, then hit the brew switch.
    The spent puck is slightly moist (but no pooling of water) with deep imprint of the hexagonal nut in the center and shallow imprint of the shower screen near the edge. Theres no fracture in the puck and it retains its shape.

    After searching the forum, I suspected the main reason for sour shots is me overdosing, forming cracks while I struggle to lock in the PF, hence channeling. But I dont see any cracks in the spent puck?

    I tried dosing a bit less (no collapsing, just over-fill, level, tamp), which resulted in 60ml in 15~20 seconds. Taste was more sour, puck is wetter with slight imprint of the hexagonal nut. And the PF was much easier to lock [smiley=wink.gif]

    So I guess Im really asking 2 questions.
    1. Is my inability to lock in the PF due to overdosing?
    2. And where to go from here? If I dose less, I get under extracted coffee. So do I bring the grind down to 6? I thought 7 was quite fine already. Plus, Ive not been able to produce consistent results at 6 (sometimes fast, sometimes slow extractions).

    Ive gone through 500g of coffee, and only produced one or two good shots... gosh this is such a steep learning curve!
    And of course, thanks in advance to everyone whos able to help! :)

  2. #2
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    Re: Trouble locking in Silvia Portafilter

    I dont own your equipment but from what youve said Id start by grinding finer and only load one round of coffee into the basket.

  3. #3
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    Re: Trouble locking in Silvia Portafilter

    1 - Go to my website
    2 - Look in the RIGHT hand column
    3 - Look in the "How Tos" section
    4 - Read #12 (it might take a couple of days!)

  4. #4
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    Re: Trouble locking in Silvia Portafilter

    Hello Danse,

    in addition to following the previous posters advice as well as *searching in this forum for the "how to" of good espresso making technique or use of Silvia, why not seek some after sales service / back up from your retailer? *:)

    Regardz,
    Attilio.
    very first CS site sponsor




  5. #5
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    Re: Trouble locking in Silvia Portafilter

    Thanks for all the advices.

    Randy, I have started reading the articles on your website, they are invaluable information! Ill work on the dose and distribution and hopefully things will improve.

  6. #6
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    Re: Trouble locking in Silvia Portafilter

    Hi danse,
    As a long time user of a Silvia I know all about the problem you are having. Reduce the amount of coffee you add to the basket so that the portafilter will lock easily. Then adjust your grind to get the extraction time you want. The standard Silvia basket holds about 14 g. I got better results when I changed to a basket that holds 18-20 g.


    Cheers

  7. #7
    A_M
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    Re: Trouble locking in Silvia Portafilter

    Quote Originally Posted by 40454A5741240 link=1293631175/0#0 date=1293631175
    My dosing routine:
    Grind setting is at 7
    Grind & load the double basket until almost full.
    Tap on the tamping mat a few times to collapse.
    Grind more & slightly overfill.
    Level off with the back of a knife.
    Tamp. I try to keep 10~15kg pressure (checked on bathroom scale)

    If Im able to load the PF, I usually pull 60ml in 25~30 seconds. However, the shots are usually sour.
    Over Dosing ::)

    Do not know why: but so many seem to think OVERLOAD the basket, Polish the puck till a mirror and use 30lb tamp = Great coffee...

    Follow Rand Cs and others and you will get there.

  8. #8
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    Re: Trouble locking in Silvia Portafilter

    Sitara
    Thanks for your input, it comforts me a great deal knowing Im not alone! And Im also using the 18g basket.

    AM
    Yeah, I read your post about tamping/polishing and overdosing being an oxymoron :P

  9. #9
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    Re: Trouble locking in Silvia Portafilter

    Been playing with the Silvia all evening, still not sure what Im doing wrong... Shots are coming out bitter AND sour :(

    I can dose & tamp more consistently now so that theres only a slight imprint of the Franken-bolt in the puck. The rest of the puck is undisturbed & theres no residue on the shower screen. This checking is done pre-brew of course. And needless to say, the PF is much easier to lock into the 6 oclock position.

    However, in order to achieve 60ml in 25~30 seconds, I have to bring the grind down to the finest setting. (Unless I tamp super hard!). The spent puck, although holding its shape, is quite wet with about 1ml of water on top. This is checked immediately after extraction. The wet puck doesnt really bother me as its probably due to the very fine grind.

    What does bother me, is that the shots are blonding quickly, and as said above, tastes bitter AND sour. Temp surfing method has not changed (boiler light goes out, wait 30 seconds, brew)

    What do I do now?!

  10. #10
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    Re: Trouble locking in Silvia Portafilter

    I second Attilios advice [smiley=thumbsup.gif]..... Why not talk to the vendor from whom you purchased the combo and ask for some basic tuition. Its worth a million words as opposed to a picture being worth a thousand.... ;)

    Mal.

  11. #11
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    Re: Trouble locking in Silvia Portafilter

    Yes I think thatll be a good place to start. Ill be back for some pointers once the holiday season is over and the shop opens up again.

  12. #12
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    Re: Trouble locking in Silvia Portafilter

    Hi danse, I think youre probably pulling your shot too soon after the boiler light goes out. Try running your brew switch from just the brew head without your portafilter locked in after only 30 sec and I know on my Silvia youll get a hissing, crackling sound (water is over boiling temp and too hot for espresso). Try running some water through the group after the light goes out and when the hissing stops, the temp should be about right. Dont think this will help your pour times, but should stop you burning the shot.

  13. #13
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    Re: Trouble locking in Silvia Portafilter

    whitewithone
    Thanks for your input. Im now waiting 30 seconds after light goes out > flush hot water for 2 seconds (yes theres steam and hissing!) > lock in PF and brew. Unfortunately shots still takes like crap*:P
    I think Im gonna order a PID from Jim (given the strong dollar and all), at least this will take one more variable out of the equation.

    Ive just done a thorough clean of the Rocky, found the true zero, marked it on the upper burr carrier as well as the scale sticker on the hopper so I will not kill the burrs. Removed the stopper screw, for no good reason apart from its annoying me.
    Made it stepless using the tube mod.
    Got a kitchen scale after watching this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMx4Nt6jD8w). Hopefully this way the dosing will be accurate.

    And Ill try, try and try again!

  14. #14
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    Group head not engaging

    Hi there. Forgive me if I am in the wrong section, but i have a problem with my Rancilio Silvia. The group head is not engaging into the gasket any more. If I remove the portafiler, it fits ok, but otherwise it just wont engage. I havent changed the gasket rubber since i have had it (a few years), so i am going to do that 1st.
    Would love any fed back from those in the know.......I hd to go out & buy a coffee today......not sure how much longer I can put up with tha :Dt!!!

  15. #15
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    Re: Trouble locking in Silvia Portafilter

    Quote Originally Posted by 404D454A4A41474B42424141484B5245240 link=1293631175/13#13 date=1294051048
    The group head is not engaging into the gasket any more. If I remove the portafiler, it fits ok, but otherwise it just wont engage.
    POSSIBLE TRANSLATION:
    The portafilter only will lock into the group if the filter basket is removed from the portafilter body....?

  16. #16
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    Re: Trouble locking in Silvia Portafilter

    Yes. The portafiler will no longer lock in place with the filter basket in. Any suggestions????

  17. #17
    TC
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    Re: Trouble locking in Silvia Portafilter

    Quote Originally Posted by 767B737C7C77717D747477777E7D6473120 link=1293631175/15#15 date=1294090671
    Yes. The portafiler will no longer lock in place with the filter basket in. Any suggestions????
    Either the group seal is damaged or incorrectly seated.

  18. #18
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    Re: Trouble locking in Silvia Portafilter

    ok....if it is the group seal......is this something I can replace myself??

  19. #19
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    Re: Trouble locking in Silvia Portafilter

    I am wondering also why this has happened all of a sudden.....and when most businesses are closed for the Chrissy break!!!!

  20. #20
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    Re: Trouble locking in Silvia Portafilter

    Quote Originally Posted by 68372F393239353C3C3F3F373B345A0 link=1293631175/16#16 date=1294090787
    Quote Originally Posted by 767B737C7C77717D747477777E7D6473120 link=1293631175/15#15 date=1294090671
    Yes. The portafiler will no longer lock in place with the filter basket in. Any suggestions????
    Either the group seal is damaged or incorrectly seated.

  21. #21
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    Re: Trouble locking in Silvia Portafilter

    OK...problem solved. I replaced the group head gasket & now all is good...off to enjoy a much deserved coffee. :) :)



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