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Thread: Problems moving to Rancilio Silvia from Gaggia Classic (& Breville Smart Grinder Pro)

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    Problems moving to Rancilio Silvia from Gaggia Classic (& Breville Smart Grinder Pro)

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi,


    We drink almost exclusively espresso and wed been using a Gaggia Classic for MANY years (paired with a Breville Smart Grinder Pro). Recently the Gaggia started to play up with the temperature fluctuating from lukewarm to very hot. As far as I could tell (with a multimeter) the thermostat seemed OK and we decided that rather than attempt repairs we would go ahead and get a Rancilio Silvia (2019 M V5) from Jetblack Espresso due to better build quality, superior steaming capability and aesthetics.


    It arrived VERY quickly and weve been using it for a week. Weve gone through 1kg of coffee (Full Throttle blend from Cleanskin Coffee Co in North Brisbane). We have not been able to get anything resembling a reasonable espresso. We heat up the machine as recommended, we use an Espro calibrated tamper to help maintain tamping consistency and weve tried many combinations of grind and quantity (including taking the grind all the way down to 1) but there is never any creama and the results are watery, not much better than from a percolator. The puck is always dry after an extraction so I dont really know what to try.


    Its so bad that were considering going back to the malfunctioning Gaggia Classic as we could at least get good espresso out of it. Very disappointing experience so far and dropping another $400+ on a grinder is not really an option (at this stage).


    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I find it hard to believe that its impossible to get good espresso out of the Silvia (even with a Breville Smart Grinder Pro).


    Regards,
    Michal

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    Assuming the beans are fresh - what dose are you using? Whats the volume & extraction time?

    Otherwise give Jetblack a call, in case the unit is faulty

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    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Have you spoken to JetBlack? They're pretty good over the phone.

    That being said, how many grams are you dosing into the basket? Have you tried adjusting the internal burr setting on the grinder? It makes the displayed numbers grind about 10 finer or coarser.

    Edit: jinx

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    If you have the grind on the finest setting and it is not blocking any water flow coming through the basket then the grinder is not grinding fine enough.

    I had the exact same combo Gaggia and BCG450 for 3-4 years, I also found when I upgraded (to a Rocket Giotto) the grinder couldn't do the job for that machine.

    As suggested above if you can shim or adjust the grind range you might get the BCG450 going, I think the Gaggia is much more forgiving on grind and the Rancilio Silvia is quite fussy and requires a finer and more consistent grind.

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    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    I pulled apart the Smart Grinder and changed it from 6 to 1.

    Still flowing too freely but I suspect I now have to massively increase the grind time. I have no way of measuring the weight of the coffee accurately as this was never a problem with the Gaggia. The duration of the grind was always in a pretty tight range to get good espresso and it didn't take much experimentation to adjust it.

    I'll see how I go tomorrow morning.

    P.S. I'm keeping the extraction time a consistent 25 seconds to avoid any additional variables.
    P.P.S. My grinder is the BCG820 if that makes a difference.
    Last edited by mihalski; 2 Weeks Ago at 12:27 PM.

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    I have a 2018 Silvia V5 E and a Compak K3. I find 16.5-17 grams of coffee in the silvia double basket to give the best result. Once you have the grind and dose sorted out I would suggest you put a PID control on it, if it doesn't have one already.

    I recently built an MT7100 PID for the Silvia with components mainly from ebay for $45 or thereabouts and the improvement is very noticeable and far more consistent.
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    Oops sorry, BCG820 (didn't read your post properly), well that should grind fine enough for a Silvia so it probably just needs that calibration.

    In terms of the machine being fully operational, you could probably do a few of the below;

    1. Once at full heat, run water from the group for 30 seconds and measure the volume output should be about 180mls plus
    2. Using a blind filter do a couple of 10 second on/10 second off cycles and see if the pressure seems strong and once you turn of water switch it flushes water into the drip tray via the 3 way valve
    3. Once to full temp run some water and carefully check the temperature as a sanity check and make sure it is bloody hot, should be too hot to touch, not very scientific but still good to know it is heating to a decent temperature

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    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    On the surface I'd say there is a mismatch of grinder and coffee machine. My experience with the Silvia is you really need a commercial-type grinder to grind fine enough for it.

    A pid is well worth it and pretty easy to fit to stop the temperature overshoot you will otherwise get.

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    I'm concerned that maybe the Lelit PL41TEMD might have been a better choice given the built in PID and pressure gauge to make dealing things in easier :/

    This is the main problem with buying these sorts of machines (especially in Brisbane where we're not tripping over showrooms like people in Melbourne/Sydney).
    Once you choose a machine you're stuck with it.

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    It definitely sounds like the grinder isnt doing what it needs to for the Silvia. Do you clean the grinder regularly? If not Id suggest you start there. No need to buy Grindz or similar, just take out the top burr and give everything a good brush out. If possible give it a good blow out with compressed air, otherwise just turn it upside down and shake it out. Get as much of the old grounds out as possible. And recalibrating the upper burr adjuster is a good idea too.
    After that I highly recommend spending $10-20 on some digital scales on eBay. Get some that measure to 0.1g and have at least a 1kg limit so that you can weigh an empty portafilter. Keep aiming for a 25sec extraction, but you need to measure input and output otherwise that consistent 25 seconds is meaningless. If youre using stock Rancilio baskets start with 16g dose in the double basket and aim for a 30-35g yield in the cup (the weight of the liquid in the cup at that 25-30sec mark). If you cant get within these parameters then theres something wrong with either your grinder or Silvia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mihalski View Post
    I'm concerned that maybe the Lelit PL41TEMD might have been a better choice given the built in PID and pressure gauge to make dealing things in easier :/

    This is the main problem with buying these sorts of machines (especially in Brisbane where we're not tripping over showrooms like people in Melbourne/Sydney).
    Once you choose a machine you're stuck with it.
    Agreed. The Silvia is fine and FWIW, will function perfectly without a PID. 30 min warm up, let it come to top of temp cycle and then cooling flush until you don't hear steam. Then shoot...

    You have a petrol engined Alfa and you're trying to run it on diesel. Breville are yet to make anything better than a fair grinder and you haven't shopped in that price range. Buy a real grinder.

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    A "real" grinder is not currently realistic for pensioners who just spent $1000 so that's not going to happen. Once it eventually fails it will get replaced. The Silvia will likely last longer than they do.

    I've been following the 30 second wait after the top of the temp cycle, then a cooling flush, then shoot. Is the wait not required?

    I actually had to grind coarser but with higher volume to get a better shot. Looks like I will need more trial and error but it's a considerable improvement. Still little to no cream though.

    Something that bothers me is that I'm not sure the basket I got with the Silvia is the one that's supposed to come with it. According to The Rancilio portafilter double basket, 40-100-102 for Silvia espresso machine by pidsilvia.com the 102 (14 grams) basket comes with all Rancilio machines made after 2010 and yet the one we got is the older 40-100-010 that's rated at 12g and has inferior construction?

    Last edited by mihalski; 2 Weeks Ago at 04:04 PM.

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    Absolute best basket I've used with mine is the Rancilio 40-100-103 18 gram and it will fit the stock spouted portafilter. Likely your grinder is just barely able to grind properly, but if it must be used for awhile another thing you can look into is reducing pump pressure as the Silvia has an adjustable OPV. Might sound intimidating, but far from it and doesn't take long either. The Silvia is a well built/highly capable machine that can crank out espresso on par with anything made once it's dialed in with a good grind, fresh coffee and balanced water.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shadow745 View Post
    Absolute best basket I've used with mine is the Rancilio 40-100-103 18 gram and it will fit the stock spouted portafilter. Likely your grinder is just barely able to grind properly, but if it must be used for awhile another thing you can look into is reducing pump pressure as the Silvia has an adjustable OPV. Might sound intimidating, but far from it and doesn't take long either. The Silvia is a well built/highly capable machine that can crank out espresso on par with anything made once it's dialed in with a good grind, fresh coffee and balanced water.
    How old is your machine and which basket did it come with? I Feel like it would be easier to get a good shot out of a bigger basket so am disappointed that I'm having to deal with what appears to be an almost 10 year old basket on a new machine. Is Rancilio trying to get rid of OLD stock or something? Or was the better basket never included in Australia?

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    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Have you spoken to Jetblack about the basket?

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    Not yet, but I don't know if I have any basis to question it unless others have been getting the improved basket with their machines.
    That's why I'm asking here first.

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    If you ask it from a curiosity point of view rather than an accusation I'm sure they won't mind you asking the question
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    338
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    Mihalski, agree with Ninja. Worth noting the site you are referencing is US based, when they say 'all' they usually mean 'all in the known world' ie the USA.
    Dimal, level3ninja and Lyrebird like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mihalski View Post
    How old is your machine and which basket did it come with? I Feel like it would be easier to get a good shot out of a bigger basket so am disappointed that I'm having to deal with what appears to be an almost 10 year old basket on a new machine. Is Rancilio trying to get rid of OLD stock or something? Or was the better basket never included in Australia?
    V1 from late 2005. Came with the 40-100-010 and getting 14-15 grams (depending on coffee/grind fineness) was pushing it, so I went with the 40-100-103 and it made a lot of difference. The 103 is much better quality, has much less sidewall taper and just works well. Average dose now is 18.8-19.0 grams. I also got rid of the lame stock hex head group screw/shower screen and bought the flush mount setup. I like to updose, always have, and the hex head screw and stock basket really limited what this machine can do. Tiniest bit of updosing led to a fractured puck, which led to channeling. After swapping both items the espresso instantly improved drastically. I get it that it's Rancilio's way of keeping things 'Italian' in function, but that doesn't work for me.



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