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Thread: Rancilio Silvia V4 - what is the verdict?

  1. #1
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    Rancilio Silvia V4 - what is the verdict?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Greetings

    I have a Silvia V3, since 2010.
    Is it worth buying a V4, how is V4 better than V3 for making double-espresso shots ? (I do NOT steam milk).

    Perhaps Silvia V5 is due out soon?????

    THANKS!

  2. #2
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    Is your Sylvia V3 modified with PID and OPV adjustments? If not, perhaps it will be better to spend the money on that. What grinder is Sylvia V3 paired with?

  3. #3
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    Hi, thanks.

    I dont have any modifications and I use Rocky doser grinder.
    I dont like to modify my equipment, I keep it standard.
    Assuming I will not modify it - it is worth buying V4 over V3 after 4-5 years ?

    thanks

  4. #4
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    Nah!!! Upgrade your grinder first. Then move to an espresso machine with better brew temperature stability.

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    There is really only a difference with the boiler/element assembly with the v4 compared to the v3 which makes it a more streight forward job to replace the element if it were to fail.
    As for leaving it standard. The opv is adjustable for a reason. And at least adding a temp readout allows you to gronk it.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acid_rider View Post
    Hi, thanks.

    I dont have any modifications and I use Rocky doser grinder.
    I dont like to modify my equipment, I keep it standard.
    Assuming I will not modify it - it is worth buying V4 over V3 after 4-5 years ?

    thanks
    Not sure about differences on V3 compared to V4, however learning to operate either machine in its unmodified form is a smart move, if its just a boiler upgrade I would stay with the machine you own, assuming its running well.

    You can PID, gronk, honk or bonk em, all your doing is spending money and adding complexity.

    The Silvia runs just fine in standard form and produces very good coffee.
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  7. #7
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    Is "very good coffee" a euphemism for "not bad espresso"?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Not a euphemism for any thing, it means exactly what I intended it to mean.

    If I were a 20 something hipster I probably would have used one of the currently hackneyed words (amazing, incredible and awesome) but I ain't so I won't.
    Last edited by Yelta; 6th February 2015 at 08:19 PM.

  9. #9
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    Very good coffee it is!

  10. #10
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    thanks everyone.

    FYI - my V3 boiler failed and was replaced this week with a new V4 boiler (installed into the same V3 machine, guessing its compatible?).
    So I guess I "upgraded" to V4, assuming this is the only change from V3 to V4 ?

    re coffee making, yes, I do temperature surf my double espresso (I dont ever steam), and I have the Synesso double basket too, plus I do weigh the beans prior to grinding and I use high end heavy tamper and the Rocky grinder (dozer) seems like a very good choice for Silvia.
    Overall I am happy with my Silvia double espresso, its at least as good as 95% of commercial choices, IME.
    Therefore I dont feel that I need a PID or other modifications but I do admit that having a water temperature display would help me to achieve better results on espresso at home.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by acid_rider View Post
    thanks everyone.
    I dont feel that I need a PID or other modifications but I do admit that having a water temperature display would help me to achieve better results on espresso at home.
    Fact is that you can get a Pid controller these days for marginally more than a readout. Add a thermocouple that you need for the readout anyway and an SSD relay and enclosure and your done.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koshari View Post
    Fact is that you can get a Pid controller these days for marginally more than a readout. Add a thermocouple that you need for the readout anyway and an SSD relay and enclosure and your done.
    Exactly; you can get a whole kit (sans wiring, housing and cable management) for forty bucks on eBay.

    Temperature surfing is only a useful skill while you have a machine that requires you to temp-surf, so unless you enjoy doing that, there's definitely value in using a PID.
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  13. #13
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    Dragunov21, Im interested in the PID kit for 40 bucks. Searched ebay but couldn't see it.
    Any chance you could provide a link please?

  14. #14
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    while we are on subject of temperature surfing.

    Let me share something from my Silvia V3 (with V4 element installed, repair).

    I preheat my Silvia for about ~20 min and then I flush water until the light comes on, then i wait for light to turn off.


    Then I tried purging water for about 3-4 seconds as recommended in this thread.

    Then I extracted a double shot for about 30 seconds, about 45 ml.
    NOT HAPPY.
    Not hot enough.
    Perhaps water purge of 3-4 seconds is too long and I should try it for just 1-2 seconds???? I dont know.

    I then tried to wait 120 seconds after the light goes off, instead of purging any water.
    NOT HAPPY, similar deal, not hot enough.

    This morning I waited for just 60 seconds after light goes off before extraction.
    Better result but still NOT HAPPY. Ordinary brew.

    I will next try waiting just 30 seconds and also perhaps try 15 seconds but I now wonder if on a Silvia any waiting or any water purging will help??
    I may be better off extracting (almost) immediately after the light comes off (i.e. wait just ~5-10 seconds only).

    YMMV, I go by my own personal taste.

  15. #15
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    I usually pull shots about 5 to 10 seconds after the light turns off. At least until after the boiler stops making noise.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by taco View Post
    I usually pull shots about 5 to 10 seconds after the light turns off. At least until after the boiler stops making noise.
    yes, i am with you on this one,
    i just tried 30 seconds wait (after light goes off) and also tried 15 seconds wait - just this morning.
    The 30 seconds double shot was still ordinary, and 15 seconds was border-line but not special.

    So, in my experience with Silvia V3, the optimal (or as-good-as-it-gets?) wait time before is probably about 5 or may be 10 seconds, and perhaps even less, like 3 seconds, after the heating light goes off. It just loses temperature too quickly when extracting.....

    For last 5 years I have been extracting double shots from Silvia immediately (1-2 seconds?) after the light goes off and was reasonably happy with results

    YMMV but i dont think Silvia (without a PID) benefits from any purging or waiting more than a handful of seconds after the light goes off.....

  17. #17
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    Actually....

    What you guys are doing seems to be at odds with what all the long-time Silvia owners (and other Dual Purpose Single Boiler Machines) were doing regarding Temp.Surfing, from years ago, and makes a lot more sense to me. Rather than repeat what my procedure used to be at the time, here's an excerpt from a Sweet Maria's "How-To" which explains it all pretty clearly...

    From Sweet Maria's Website...

    1. Turn on the machine and let it get to full temperature. (Make sure water tank is full! always leave it full from the previous session) Put the coffeehandle in the brew head to heat it up during this time. My machine takes about 20 minutes to get really hot, so that touching the bottom of the coffee handle (the spouts where the coffee comes out) is uncomfortable!
    2. Now, grind your espresso, dose it, tamp it, and load the coffee handle in the group head.
    3. With a receptable under the steam wand, open the steam wand valve and flip the Hot Water switch. I have a 1 quart Mason Jar I leave under the wand permenantly.
    4. When the orange light on the front comes on (meaning the boiler is starting its heat cycle), Do the following: start your timer, turn off the Hot Water switch, close the steam valve.
    5. After 1 minute has elapsed*, start your shot. Watch your timer for proper extraction time (I shoot for 20-25 seconds). Folks have experimented with varying times; 20, 30, 50, 50 seconds. I like 1 minute after the boiler light has come on, but almost everyone else seems to prefer 40+ seconds.The boiler light should go on for 1 minute to 1:30, so you can also do this without a timer by simply starting the shot as soon as the boiler goes off. *Note - I used to use a shorter interval, but after a lot of testing I like a longer 1 minute +, which according to my thermocouple allows the water to get up to true espresso extraction temperature.

    Pretty sure that if you try this method as described, things will work out a lot better...

    Mal.

  18. #18
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    "2. Now, grind your espresso, dose it, tamp it, and load the coffee handle in the group head."

    Shouldn't the time between doing No. 2 and pulling the shot be kept to a minimum? No. 3 to 5 appears to be quite a long time.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Actually....

    What you guys are doing seems to be at odds with what all the long-time Silvia owners (and other Dual Purpose Single Boiler Machines) were doing regarding Temp.Surfing, from years ago, and makes a lot more sense to me. Rather than repeat what my procedure used to be at the time, here's an excerpt from a Sweet Maria's "How-To" which explains it all pretty clearly...

    From Sweet Maria's Website...

    1. Turn on the machine and let it get to full temperature. (Make sure water tank is full! always leave it full from the previous session) Put the coffeehandle in the brew head to heat it up during this time. My machine takes about 20 minutes to get really hot, so that touching the bottom of the coffee handle (the spouts where the coffee comes out) is uncomfortable!
    2. Now, grind your espresso, dose it, tamp it, and load the coffee handle in the group head.
    3. With a receptable under the steam wand, open the steam wand valve and flip the Hot Water switch. I have a 1 quart Mason Jar I leave under the wand permenantly.
    4. When the orange light on the front comes on (meaning the boiler is starting its heat cycle), Do the following: start your timer, turn off the Hot Water switch, close the steam valve.
    5. After 1 minute has elapsed*, start your shot. Watch your timer for proper extraction time (I shoot for 20-25 seconds). Folks have experimented with varying times; 20, 30, 50, 50 seconds. I like 1 minute after the boiler light has come on, but almost everyone else seems to prefer 40+ seconds.The boiler light should go on for 1 minute to 1:30, so you can also do this without a timer by simply starting the shot as soon as the boiler goes off. *Note - I used to use a shorter interval, but after a lot of testing I like a longer 1 minute +, which according to my thermocouple allows the water to get up to true espresso extraction temperature.

    Pretty sure that if you try this method as described, things will work out a lot better...

    Mal.
    This is virtually identical to my practice - i just dont use the steam wand at all - it seem pointless in a single boiler machine like Silvia to use wand in espresso making process
    (I dont ever steam milk).

    i just open the main brew switch to let the water out to bring the heating light on, after the initial 15-20 min warm up period.
    Once the heating light is on i wait for it to go off - then I tried the waiting periods of: 120 sec, 90 sec, 60 sec, 30 sec and 15 sec.
    In all of these cases I was not satisfied with my Silvia double shot - the best was 15 seconds wait and even this was only just good enough, not great.
    Now with 5 seconds wait I get much better results and to be honest i cant see much difference in espresso quality between 5 seconds wait and 1 second wait.
    I still think that Silvia (without PID) loses the water temp too quickly during espresso extraction so any wait time prior wont get you anything.
    H0lly likes this.

  20. #20
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    You're missing the point mate, I'm afraid....

    You don't wait for the light to go Off at all. You start timing the moment the light comes On, and then pull your shot somewhere between 40-60 seconds after that, ie while the heating element is still On so that fresh incoming water is being heated immediately, rather than when the whole heating cycle starts up again. The whole idea is to avoid the thermostat hysteresis part way through pulling a shot. This method maintains a more stable shot temperature throughout the entire pour, it's just a matter of when you start pulling the shot after the Boiler Light comes On...

    That is what the procedure from Sweet Maria's (above) is attempting to explain...

    Mal.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darren_Cook View Post
    Dragunov21, Im interested in the PID kit for 40 bucks. Searched ebay but couldn't see it.
    Any chance you could provide a link please?
    I can't, as per site rules. The model you want is D1S-VR-220 (Sestos). Input that model number (or item number 221390899076) and you should find a PID + SSR + K-Type thermocouple kit for 40-50 bucks.

    Be aware that there's a bit of DIY involved (for instance, you need to remove the threaded stainless steel housing from the tip of the thermocouple, drill a hole through the center of a brass M4 standoff and mount the bare TC bead in thermal grease in the standoff). Read the write-up here to see what you might be getting yourself into.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    You're missing the point mate, I'm afraid....

    You don't wait for the light to go Off at all. You start timing the moment the light comes On, and then pull your shot somewhere between 40-60 seconds after that, ie while the heating element is still On so that fresh incoming water is being heated immediately, rather than when the whole heating cycle starts up again. The whole idea is to avoid the thermostat hysteresis part way through pulling a shot. This method maintains a more stable shot temperature throughout the entire pour, it's just a matter of when you start pulling the shot after the Boiler Light comes On...

    That is what the procedure from Sweet Maria's (above) is attempting to explain...

    Mal.
    I think there is misunderstanding here.

    Let me quote your Point 5.

    "After 1 minute has elapsed*, start your shot. Watch your timer for proper extraction time (I shoot for 20-25 seconds). Folks have experimented with varying times; 20, 30, 40, 50 seconds. I like 1 minute after the boiler light has come on, but almost everyone else seems to prefer 40+ seconds.The boiler light should go on for 1 minute to 1:30, so you can also do this without a timer by simply starting the shot as soon as the boiler goes off. *Note - I used to use a shorter interval, but after a lot of testing I like a longer 1 minute +, which according to my thermocouple allows the water to get up to true espresso extraction temperature.""

    In above statement - note the following line:

    "...so you can also do this without a timer by simply starting the shot as soon as the boiler goes off...."

    This is what I do, I start the extraction either immediately or perhaps ~5 seconds after the boiler goes off.

    It seems that you are suggesting that I could start the extraction a little earlier, while the orange light is still on and hence still heating up the water.

    Interesting thought, I have not tried it, it seems to run against my logic, i.e. the ideal temperature has not been reached yet....
    hmmm, interesting.

  23. #23
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Ah well, forget it mate....

    Like I said, you don't start timing after the light goes out, but when it comes on...

    Mal.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Ah well, forget it mate....

    Like I said, you don't start timing after the light goes out, but when it comes on...

    Mal.
    Hi Dimal (and others)

    I tried the timing trick you recommended over the last 3-4 days on my Silvia V3 (with V4 boiler element).
    In my case after a ~20 min warm up, after I purge the water so the heating light comes on, it takes about ~40-45 seconds until the light goes off i.e. "heated and ready".

    So waiting 60 seconds (as in a point 5 in your post) from the time the light comes ON means same as waiting ~15 seconds after the light goes OFF (60s-45s=15s).

    Have I understood you correctly?

    thanks

  25. #25
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    Rancilio Silvia V4 - what is the verdict?

    What he is saying is that if you pull a shot on the up the boiler is in the on state and will stay on until the cutout temp is reached as opposed to pulling on the off state which means the temp will decay faster on the shot.

    I think you may be overcomplicating the concept a little. Me I just PID instead.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by koshari View Post
    What he is saying is that if you pull a shot on the up the boiler is in the on state and will stay on until the cutout temp is reached as opposed to pulling on the off state which means the temp will decay faster on the shot.

    I think you may be overcomplicating the concept a little. Me I just PID instead.
    Thanks, i think i understand it now,
    Given it takes ~45 seconds for the light to go from ON (i.e. heating) to OFF (finished heating), if I start the extraction/shot while the light is still just ON but getting *close* to OFF, i.e. perhaps at 40 seconds mark from the ON state, then the heating process will likely to continue throughout the extraction (which will take about 30 seconds).

    Have I understood the method correctly?
    Dimal likes this.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by acid_rider View Post

    Have I understood the method correctly?
    i think you have just had whats commonly referred to as a "Eureka Moment".
    acid_rider and Dimal like this.

  28. #28
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    Here i am looking to buy my first espresso, a Sylvia or a Gaggia Classic, as as per usual, the Sylvia threads are killing me.. all seems pretty damn hard to use.

  29. #29
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Don't let the temp surfing ritual scare put you off. Think of it as stage two in your journey. I have a nemox (similar to lelit) single boiler and have never bothered to surf the temps, and it makes a ripper brew. Sure the temp surfing probably takes the shots up another notch but it's not mandatory.

    Have a look at the lelit machines also.

    Cheers
    Dimal likes this.

  30. #30
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    I learned on a Silvia. It's not. All the stuff people go on about you won't care about for weeks. By the time you need to worry the machine will feel natural enough to you. Mal (Dimal) often suggests people look at the Lelit - if you don't go Silvia, go Lelit.
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  31. #31
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    Haha Snap Artman

  32. #32
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    The Silvia is a great little machine. They aren't that hard to use and all the little quirks like temp surfing become part of your morning ritual. The only time it becomes a bit annoying is when you have people over and are making multiple coffees.

    I'd still be using my Silvia if I hadn't started getting rust problems (due to user neglect). I was getting ready to fix it up when a great deal came up another machine I couldn't pass up.

    The Silvia is still in the house... just unused waiting for the day it gets called into action as a back up if the other machine fails

    I really should fix her up though and sell her off to a good home. Seems wrong having it sitting there unused...



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