Results 1 to 24 of 24

Thread: Welcome to my house Silvia!

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    22

    Welcome to my house Silvia!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Well, the story thus far, I started getting into coffee a few months ago and started trying to make latte art with my sunbeam bar espresso... I got some semblance of a rosetta but the bottom line was that supermarket bricks didnt produce very nice crema. The remedy was that I had to buy a grinder - a lux as it turned out.

    Well... I think I choked the machine a bit too much trying to get the 25 second pull from the sunbeam and i totally killed it. (yay?)

    Well, I researched and shopped and used my girlfriends breville for a month. I finally decided to impart with $695 and ordered myself a Silvia. Coffee Philosophy in Sydney (Mocopan) didnt have any in stock when I tried to get one last week. I picked it up at lunch today and they gave me my lunch for free ;D . They said they got shipment of 10 units yesterday afternoon, and today at lunchtime when I got mine they said they only had two left.

    I ordered myself a Pullman tamper a few days ago, but it still hasnt arrive yet. I now regret refusing Gregs offer of express delivery since now I have to put up with the crappy plastic one that doesnt fit, until at least Monday (SHOCK! HORROR!)

    Well, regardless, I tried making some coffees for myself and my four flatmates.

    They were crap.

    All of a sudden, theres so many more variables that Im not used to. The biggest two variables that I have no idea about is the dosing and what level of the basket I need to tamp to.

    I think Ive got the grind about right, but I cant tell because I dont know what the dosing is supposed to be :-/

    Most of my pulls have been overextracted - very dark at first, with a small amount of very stiff crema, which breaks up very easily (in a cappa cup - in the shot glass it looks fine). The espresso doesnt start to pour until about 10 seconds after flicking the switch - is this normal? or is it another telltale sign of overdosing/overtamping?

    The pulls take about 20 seconds from the first flow of espresso before it goes whitish. Also, it yields only about 30mls in this time, from a double basket.

    I tried tamping/dosing less but I just got a 10 second gusher.

    Well, I settled on some crap crema, and mediocre espresso to for my own drink.

    The milk is a different story - Im not used to the huge steam pressure compared to the thermoblock machines I have been using. My first and second attempt was worthy of pouring straight down the drain. Im getting better at it though - I distributed 5 coffees to my flatmates and myself - three lovehearts and two apples.
    Theres still some medium sized bubbles, but Im pretty sure Ill get the handle of it soon enough.

    I started cleaning up and suddenly got the urge to try out the LM basket I bought yesterday in anticipation. This one was a 30 second pull into about 30mls. Once again, since it was a double basket, it should really have come out as 60mls. Regardless, it was the first drinkable shot that I ever pulled, which made me quite excited. Sadly, I had to tip it since it was already 8pm and I already had too much for the night already :(. I can still taste it even though I only had two of the tiniest sips.

    I cant wait till tomorrow... There will be much more time to experiment and also, Ill have some helpful feedback from all you lovely people!

    Cheers,

    victor.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Augustine Heights QLD
    Posts
    302

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    Welcome Victor!
    "The espresso doesnt start to pour until about 10 seconds after flicking the switch - is this normal? or is it another telltale sign of overdosing/overtamping? " Umm yes it is, overdosing. I imaging it wouldnt have been much more than a tricle when it did flow.

    With a firm tamp, and it can be done with the rediculous plastic thing youve got, you want the packed puck to be up around the groove in the basket. If youve got beans to spare, do a couple of trial fits.

    Fill until the basket is full, tap to settle grinds and level off, tamp and ideally you should be at the groove. Pat the shower screen dry. Fit it to the group head, then take it off, without pulling a shot. Have a look at the top of the puck. You should be able to see the imprint of the shower screen screw in the centre. If the Shower screen is wet, some of the top layer of the puck will stick, hence the requirement to pat it dry for this practice.

    There shouldnt be anymore than one hand required to set the PF in place. If you need to force it, youve over filled the basket. ;)

    Then the rest of the variable come in to place. Fresh beans, grind, humidity etc..

    Good luck :)

    Boris

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    22

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    Thanks for the respons Boris,

    Yes, it is only a trickle when it does finally come out. I have indeed dome some trial fits already, but I was still unsure what was right/wrong. What should i be seeing? just the nut? a light imprint of the showerscreen? a distinct imprint?

    Further, I forgot to mention that my pucks always come out wet, although most of them stay together after I knock them out. One of them stuck to the showerscreen, and the final pull that I did tonight (the first from the LM basket) was the wettest, although it tasted the best...

  4. #4
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Warwick, QLD
    Posts
    16,768

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    Hi Victor,

    If the dosing and tamping are more or less under control, then the next possibility for slightly soggy pucks is that the brew water temperature is a bit low.

    Youve probably heard or read about the need to Temp Surf with the Silvia and similar machines. If you do a search of the CS site with Temp Surfing as the keywords, Im sure youll be able to extract a lot of useful info on the timings necessary.

    An alternative could be to visit Randy Glasss site here....http://home.surewest.net/frcn/Coffee/Coffee.html. Randy has a wealth of experience and knowledge where the Silivia is concerned and a fairly detailed How to on Temp Surfing. All the best,

    Mal.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    22

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    Thanks Mal,

    I was unaware that temperature could cause soggy pucks. I have read much about temp surfing, and I am about half-way through reading Randy Glass website - Im reading it almost every second spare moment I have. Im finding it a little boring right now though, since I am up to a whole bunch of chapters about roasting. Dont get me wrong - Im all for roasting and I intend to begin my own soon enough, but just not now. One thing at a time!

    I thought that temp surfing only created better tasting coffee - i thought the dry/wetness of the puck was only determined by the grind/dose/tamp (still too many variables!). As such, I figured Id go one step at a time, but I guess I was wrong =(

    Anyway... after reading the last helpful post, I tried another pull. I changed my grind setting one click coarser on the lux and things seem to be flowing much more smoothly now. The downside with that is that now I cant sleep >_<

    victor

  6. #6
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Warwick, QLD
    Posts
    16,768

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    Hi again Victor,

    Glad to hear that youve discovered RGs Silvia Site. He has a list of several How Tos on the right hand side of the front page, one of them being about Temp Surfing here.....http://tinyurl.com/aqshb. You may have already come across it but if not, its worth printing out and practising.

    Hope you get some sleep tonight, by the way ;)

    Cheers,
    Mal.

    P.S.
    About Brew Water Temperature affecting the solidity of pucks.... I discovered this by accident as a matter of fact after I fitted PID to my Mokita. After several experimentation sessions in trying to determine the correct setpoint for the controller while measuring the water temperature in the PF, I couldnt help but notice that the cooler the temp of the brew water in the PF, the wetter and less solid the pucks became... with all else being equal.

    As I increased the setpoint to achieve 93deg C temp on top of the puck it was impossible to ignore that the pucks were becoming more cohesive as the temperature increased. I have never had a wet or soggy puck since.... and that is with using a fairly light tamping force too, less than 10 Kgs on average. Certainly an interesting observation given that it was just a side issue to what I originally set out to do :).

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    22

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    Thanks Mal,

    I have tried it this morning with the temperature up and the pucks come out quite dry and in one piece.

    However, I found that the espresso starts flowing in a thin dark stream about 5 seconds after i flick the switch. The thin stream (1mm) lasts for a few seconds, then goes a bit thicker (2mm) until about 10 seconds from the first drips at which time it starts to really gush out.

    I tried dosing more and tamping harder, but this only helps a little bit. Sometimes I am getting bubbles in the flow of espresso. The coffee tasted nice, although not as good as I know it can be, and at the bottom of the shot it was really acidic - totally undrinkable.

  8. #8
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Warwick, QLD
    Posts
    16,768

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    Hmmm,

    Sounds like you might need to practise some more with dosing consistency and tamping consistency. Once you have this side of things down pat, most of the other variables become a lot simpler to deal with, like the temperature surfing ;).

    I havent ever used a Silvia but the Mokita isnt too far removed from one that the principles one needs to get sorted for one will also apply to the other with perhaps a small amount of variation. Being able to dose, distribute and tamp consistently are probably the most important group of skills that you need to get right, before you can tackle much else and if you follow the general guide I posted in this thread, here.... http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1137034177/0, then things should start to improve pretty quickly.

    All the best for now Victor,
    Mal.

  9. #9
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,648

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    Congratulations on your purchase, Victor. Theres comfort in knowing that when YOU are finally ready to do do your part, Silvia will be more than able to do its to your satisfaction.

    From what you describe of your initial pulls, the problem does appear to be the machine being choked. The grind is too fine, or you are over-dosing. Was the portafilter too difficult to screw on? Was there resistance to it turning about right-angles to the machine? That is always an indicator or over-dosing.

    With a proper dose resistance should be unfelt or very slight. If your are feeling much resistance, remove the portafilter and note the level of grounds below the top of the basket. That should give you an idication of what in future is too high.

    I have measured the dose on my standard Rancilio double basket (bought February 2005) and it is 17 -18 grams. Anything under that tends to produce mediocre coffee. Acceptable, but not as good.

    A hint: when you first switch the machine on--i.e., when it is cold-- run water through it to fill the boiler. Leave the brew switch on a few seconds until water runs consistently from the shower screen. Turn the brew switch off, and then do likewise with the middle hot water switch, until water emerges from the steam wand.

    This will ensure youre not just heating up what little water is in the boiler, left over from your previous session.



    Good luck,
    Robusto

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    22

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    Thanks guys

    Ive tipped so many coffees down the drain now.

    I have tamped hard, tamped less, ground finer, ground coarser, dosed more, dosed less, and every permutation of those variables. The best I managed to get was from a slightly coarse grind and tamping really hard.
    From these pulls, they start out thin and black, then start coming out a lot faster, but certainly not gushing. What worries me is that theres bubbles coming out with the espresso. What is causing this? I have searched on the net, on these forums and also on coffeegeek forums but cant find anything about this. Hopefully my new tamper will arrive tomorrow, and hopefully it will help.

    Also, I find that my steamed milk (by itself) has a Miss Silvia taste to it. I confirmed this by drinking some of the hot water that came out of the machine and it also tasted a bit. Will this disappear over time?

    victor.

  11. #11
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    22

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    Admittedly, I wasnt being very systematic with my doses - I was going by sight and thinking "Yeah, this one looks like it is mounded higher than my last one..."

    I did some more, using the scoop provided with the machine. I used 3 and a half scoops, levelled off exactly with a knife, into the LM basket, after the exact 3 came out a little too quickly. I photographed the whole sequence of events to get a) a photos of the bubbles which I am concerned about, and b) some nice photos ;D

    The photo attached to this post shows a bubble in the flow on the right-hand stream. The shot tasted pretty damn good compared to the swill of yesterday! I cant wait to get some new beans - the ones I have at the moment are about two weeks old.


  12. #12
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,648

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    Nothing wrong with the colour of that brew -- it looks excellent. Nice and dark, indicative of a good extraction.

    I wouldnt worry about the bubbles, either. Beans which havent been rested long enough after roasting can produce them.

    Its when the coffee comes out pale you have to worry -- beans too stale, water too cold, grind too coarse the typical causes.

    Try on eliminating your variable problems one at a time, otherwise its difficult to tell what youre doing right or wrong. Work on the grind first. Coarser, finer. Then the dosing. Then tamping. Then make adjustments ad necessary.


    The Silvia taste: Is that from the steam wand water or the group?

    Old grounds attached to the shower screen will affect the taste of coffees, though not the milk, of course. Place a clean basket on the portafilter, lock the assembly in place, and pull a blank shot.

    Grounds in the coffee glass? A clean is in order.

    Especially because you may have been overdosing, your screen by now is probably saturated with grounds. Remove it, give it a good wipe and also wipe the group and the groove where the seal sits.

    Good idea to do this regularly. When the water in the boiler is still hot, flush the shower screen after each shot.

    Robusto

  13. #13
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    22

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    Thanks Robusto,

    The colour of the pull is darker at the start of the pull. It gets somewhat lighter in the second half, most probably because the beans are a bit old. Im going to get some new beans from Allpress on tuesday (best ive found in sydney... not counting all the home roasted of course!)

    The silvia flavoured water is from the steam wand. Also why the milk tastes a bit like silvia too...

    I have been cleaning and flushing after every pull. Not game enough to take the shower screen off yet though.

    victor.

  14. #14
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,648

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    I cant explain the water taste issue if its coming from the steam wand --- although, sometimes milk crud can accumulate on the inside of the wand. Again, I flush the wand with steam immediately after wiping the outside before the milk bakes on.

    If youre doing things right, the pour will start dark and progressively lighten up. The first drops of water will naturally extract the virgin oils from the basket. As more water comes through, there is less oil, and the very last drops will be pale as a result. Its at this pale or blonding stage the pour should be stopped. The closer that coincides with the 25 to 30 seconds mark the better.

    My recollection is that each scoop contains 7 grams. I am not exactly sure, but will measure it tonight. So 3.5 scoops is too much if all those beans are dispensed into the basket as grounds.

    Your reluctance to take tools to a new machine is understandable, but cleaning the shower screen is a must. The build up of coffee oils and grounds will clog it in time, but even before that happens, youll be getting stale grounds in your freshly-brewed coffee.

    Backflushing will help, but theres nothing like a good wipe with a sponge or cloth.

    Depending on what sort of bolt you have, use a stubby screwdriver or preferably a hexagonal socket wrench to remove it.

    Its very very easy to clean, and when replacing the bolt, tighten only slightly, enough to hold firmly. Undue pressure is not necessary and makes it extremely difficult to remove next time.

    Hope this helps
    Robusto


  15. #15
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    22

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    Thanks again Robusta, very helpful indeed!

    I clean and flush the steam wand after every time I use it, and also, bear in mind that the machine is brand new - would that have any effect?

    I know that I will get over my reluctance to unscrew stuff... I always do. I have managed to take apart most of my new toys =)

    The amount of coffee the scoop contains depends on the amount of air in the ground coffee i guess... a finer grind would probably have less air in it (i assume), and would also depend on what grinder was used, etc. After I put the 3 and a half scoops into the basket, I hit the pf on the table a number of times to settle them and get rid of as much air as possible without compressing anything. It turned out to be less grinds than the top level of the basket, if thats any indication... I might have to buy cooking scales...

    victor.

  16. #16
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,648

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    Good to see your cleaning routine is already established, Victor.

    I used the electronic scales to weigh a scoopful of BEANS, and it is indeed 7 grams. However, when theyve been ground, the volume would obviously be much less. So you can appreciate that the 3.5 scoops of ground coffee you began with would have been way in excess of what the Siilvia should handle.

    Robusto

  17. #17
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    22

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    Ha! I figured out what I was doing wrong...

    I wasnt refilling the boiler to capacity again after steaming milk... Everything seems to be falling into place now! RTFM....

    I just made two double lattes - one for my flatmate, and one for me. I managed to get good enough foam for art (albeit a little wobbly), but the milk still tastes like silvia. Did anyone else experience this with theirs? Will some sort of cleaning solution fix something like this?

    cheers,

    victor.

  18. #18
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Warwick, QLD
    Posts
    16,768

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    Hi Victor,

    Re the unwanted taint from your steam wand....

    Its most likely due to remnants of the various machining and assembly processes at the Rancilio factory. All you most likely need to do, is to flush sufficient water through the steaming circuit until all tainting compounds have been removed.

    You could probably add some Citric Acid (2 teaspoons well mixed through) to a full reservoir of water and then run this through your Steam Wand using the Hot Water switch, not the Steam switch. Run a 100ml through at a time then let sit for 20 minutes or half-an-hour and repeat until the reservoir is empty.

    After that, refill the reservoir with clean fresh water and flush this through both the brew head and the steam wand and then refill and do again. This should have cleaned out any contaminants contributing to the flavour taint and then you just need to refill the reservoir a final time and start brewing. Hopefully, all will now be well :)

    Cheers,
    Mal.

  19. #19
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    164

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    Quote Originally Posted by victor link=1138960778/15#16 date=1139212322
    but the milk still tastes like silvia. Did anyone else experience this with theirs? Will some sort of cleaning solution fix something like this?

    cheers,

    victor.
    Just to answer your question Victor, i noted NO... off or tainted tastes from silvia when new.
    i hope you find the reason, because it definately should not be occuring.
    Good Luck

  20. #20
    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    2,124

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    One other thing that *might* be worth a try:
    On the Silvia steam wand, the tip at the very end unscrews (or it does on mine anyway). It may be worth unscrewing it and then doing the flush. On the remote chance there is a miniscule piece of something in there to flush out, removing the tip will give it a bit more room to get out.

    *DSMD - (Dont Sue Me Disclaimer)*
    Be careful removing the tip as you could scratch or pinch it if you are too forceful.
    If you are in any doubt about doing it, then you probably shouldnt.

  21. #21
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    22

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    Thanks for the tips guys, I have put quite a lot of water through that wand by now and it doesnt seem to have changed much. Ill try your suggestions after I go down the shops and get me some citric acid. I guess I could wrap a towel around the tip when I unscrew it so I dont scratch it ^_^

  22. #22
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    24

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    re: the Taint

    I note from your post that you say you werent refilling the boiler after steaming. If the heating element has overheated on an insufficiently filled boiler, this may account for the off flavour.

    FJ

  23. #23
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,648

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    Best to make it a habit of refilling the boiler when cold immediately after frst switching on. Run water through group until a steady stream emerges, and bleed a little from steam wand too.

    Robusto

  24. #24
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    22

    Re: Welcome to my house Silvia!

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    That may be true FJ - I have not really experienced the taint for a while now. I think it went away about a week after i figured out that I needed to refill the boiler.

    Regardless, I have also tried the cleanout with citric acid, but Im not sure exactly how well that has worked.

    At least the taint has gone.

    victor.



Similar Threads

  1. IS there a doctor in the house??? Silvia malfunctioning- PID errors- super high temps
    By rayzurhed in forum Brewing Equipment - Midrange ($500-$1500)
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 13th January 2013, 10:14 PM
  2. Another Bezerra in the house
    By Sparky in forum Brewing Equipment - Extreme Machines ($3000+)
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 25th May 2011, 12:09 PM
  3. House blend
    By kobe in forum Blending Room
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 16th December 2010, 10:18 PM
  4. blowing the house
    By roknee in forum Brewing Equipment (non-machine specific)
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 2nd July 2008, 11:08 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •