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Thread: Silvia group head water taste

  1. #1
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    Silvia group head water taste

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Over the past few months I've noticed a decline in the taste of the lattes produced by my 8 or 9 year old Silvia V3. After a descale a couple of months ago, the taste improved a little bit, but then quickly declined again to a muddy/dirty taste. Actually there's almost no taste of coffee in my lattes at the moment. It's like drinking hot milk with a hint of some sort of flavour.

    This morning I thought to taste the hot water coming from the group head. Not surprisingly it tastes horrible. I'm not sure how to describe it, but even before it gets to my mouth, I can smell it in the cup. By contrast, the water from the steam wand tastes fine. I'm hopeful that fixing this water taste issue will fix my poor coffee taste problem.

    The machine is backflushed every 1-2 weeks, descaled 2-3 times per year, and makes 1-2 coffees per day. Of note, when descaling, the waste water coming from the group head and steam wand appear clean with little indications of any build up. Brisbane tap water has been used for the last few years, however a filtration kit is now on my radar as I suspect it's a water issue.

    I'm currently doing another descale on the machine today, but should this again look clean (and taste rubbish), I will need to get the machine looked at by a professional. I'm wondering if someone could recommend a technician in Brisbane who will take a deep look at my machine? I'm not after a descale and seal replacement kind of service; that I can do myself. I'm after a tech who can look at the internals of the machine, and hopefully nut out what's going on in there.

    Cheers,

  2. #2
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    G'day mate...

    Sounds like you may have inadvertently sucked some milk back into the boiler after texturing some milk. When this happens, it can take a hell of a long time to remove the flavour taint from the water.

    If it was my machine, I'd strip it down to the component parts from boiler to steam wand tip and then thoroughly clean out with one of the Cafetto specialist milk cleaning products. Would be an opportunity to give your machine a thorough service at the same time...

    Mal.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Have you removed the shower screen to check it's crystal clean behind there?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    G'day mate...

    Sounds like you may have inadvertently sucked some milk back into the boiler after texturing some milk. When this happens, it can take a hell of a long time to remove the flavour taint from the water.

    If it was my machine, I'd strip it down to the component parts from boiler to steam wand tip and then thoroughly clean out with one of the Cafetto specialist milk cleaning products. Would be an opportunity to give your machine a thorough service at the same time...

    Mal.
    Ok, thanks Mal, I'll look into those products. I'm out of Cafetto de-scaler anyway, so will need to place an order.

    Would it be possible that this could affect the group head output and not the steam/water output?
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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    Have you removed the shower screen to check it's crystal clean behind there?
    Hey Ninja, yes I removed the shower screen a few days ago when I last backflushed. It was pretty clean anyway.

  6. #6
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darrend View Post
    Would it be possible that this could affect the group head output and not the steam/water output?
    I wouldn't have thought so but if something is lodged within the brew circuit as opposed to the steam circuit, then yes, you would definitely notice the taint.

    Mal.

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    Well after another descale it seems some taste has returned. If the tainted water returns in a few weeks, then I'll open the boiler/send for repair. After this length of time it might be due for a freshen up anyway.
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  8. #8
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Good that things are on the improve...
    When we owned an Imat Mokita (similar to current SBDP Lelit machines), I got into the habit of stripping down the boiler and associated pipework annually, then give everything a thorough clean, followed up with a check on the setup of the OPV, brew water temperature accuracy, etc. Never got any nasty surprises that way...

    Mal.
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    Sounds like a good idea.
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  10. #10
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    It's a few weeks from the last post, and the taste of my coffee is again fading. I decided to overhaul the boiler as it's never been opened. Attached is a photo of the internals. All in all, it doesn't look too bad after 8-9 years' use in my opinion. There are certainly some pretty horrific looking Silvia boiler pics if you google them. The only thing is the little black spots, like at the bottom left of the first photo. I'm not sure whether these are small deteriorations in the copper surface perhaps? They are slightly rough to run your finger over. As for the base of the boiler, this should clean up fairly well with a little scouring and elbow grease.

    I was hoping for a definite 'euraka' discovery, but I'm still scratching my head.
    Attached Images Attached Images
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    Quote Originally Posted by darrend View Post
    All in all, it doesn't look too bad after 8-9 years' use in my opinion. There are certainly some pretty horrific looking Silvia boiler pics if you google them.
    Yes your pics don't look too bad at all compared to the 'shock horror' Silvia scale buildup boiler pics around the place.
    I hope a quick internal clean up solves your taste issue. Best of luck.

  12. #12
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darrend View Post
    The only thing is the little black spots, like at the bottom left of the first photo. I'm not sure whether these are small deteriorations in the copper surface perhaps?
    Most likely will be small scale deposits that haven't been completely removed by the descaler you're using.
    Out of interest, which Cafetto descaler are you using?

    Mal.

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    Thanks folks. I've given the boiler a wash internally in a citric acid/water solution. The boiler and element came up quite clean in a short space of time, though still with those black bits of pitting. There was also quite a bit of muck inside the OPV, so hopefully with a clean and adjustment it will be working better. Unfortunately I found a small copper washer (10x6x1mm) in the sink after rinsing some bits and pieces, and I didn't see where it came from. From a quick google, it appears this would sit under the spring in the OPV acting as a spacer. It seems the right diameter for it. It's not the crush washer from where the OPV connects to the boiler, as I left the OPV body attached to the boiler, just removed the OPV internals.

    Mal, my regular cleaning product is Cafetto Restore. I buy them in the 4 sachet packs.

    Edited with the pics. The upper boiler/element unit looks cleaner in real life than in the photo and is smoother to touch.
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    Last edited by darrend; 2 Days Ago at 08:38 AM.
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  14. #14
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    The Restore descaler is pretty effective so no worries there....
    If you were ever looking for something that does a little better job, then I would recommend the Triple Action Descaler from Clean Machine. It's the best stuff I've ever used...

    Mal.

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    Great, thanks for that. Looks like I'll have time to research it while I wait for my new water pump...

    I seem to have lost the 5mm plastic bearing inside the pump (yes I completely tore the machine down).
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