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Thread: Silvia Water Pressure Problem??

  1. #1
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    Silvia Water Pressure Problem??

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

    I recently purchased a Silvia after four years of "playing around" with a Sunbeam machine only to discover that my wife and I are running into some early teething problems with the unit. When the unit arrived I used the coffee from my cheapish grinder only to discover that I had a pool of black fluid in my cup.

    We assumed the grind was too course and not up to the requirements of a "rea"l machine, to extract crema. I quickly obtained an amount of feshly ground beans from the Di Bella factory in Brisbane set at the commercial grind that they use on their Wegas. I put through a number of shots on the machine single and double, heavy tamp light tamp, over filled/ under filled etc and I could not squeeze out more than a tea spoon of crema. I estimate that I was getting about 40-55 mils of "fluid" in about 15 seconds, as we all know is weigh too much for that time span.

    I have since ran through a number of other beans at even smaller grinds, starting at two settings from Turkish coffee!!! with again different tamps and amounts and I am still strugling to obtain a good amount of crema. The amount of coffee I am ending up with leads us to beleive that there is a problem with the water flow of the machine, as have used fine to very fine grinds with light and hard tamps and still seam to obtain the same amount of coffee with about say 10% variation.

    I am at a loss to think what the problem is to be honest. I am no barista but my wife was and she thinks I should take the unit back and suggets it has a pressure problem of some sort and may need an adjustment of something??. I have also ensured that the machine is as "heated" as possible too assist in etxraction, but again still too much liquid being propelled into the cup.

    This is my first message on this site and I know it is a doozy but does any one have any ideas or has heard of silvias having some issues? at times that may explain this. Is there a "standard" amount of water that should flow through the group head in a given amount of time to check pressure etc?.

    Any how...awaiting any replies I can get

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Re: Silvia Water Pressure Problem??

    Hi, GEGE -

    Congratulations on the new Silvia! I have read similar posts on a number of message boards in the past. The universal thread seems to be buying pre-ground coffee.

    I think most folks will advise that you are going to need to buy a good burr grinder and grind for yourself, preferably immediately before load/tamp/brew.

    I have a Rancilio Rocky (doserless) that I am pleased with. This is probably the "least" grinder you will be happy with. I understand there are comparable (maybe better) similar models in other brands - but I would not suggest dropping down below the level of these machines in grind uniformity and adjustability.

    -- JGG


  3. #3
    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia Water Pressure Problem??

    GEGE,

    There might be an issue with the Silvia, and if it is under warranty, take it back and get the supplier to make you coffee there and then with the unit to prove it works or does not.

    If they can produce decent coffee, then you have other issues.

    If they are not willing to do this, get your money back and talk to one of the site sponsors about getting a Silvia or comparable machine from them - WITH after sales service and years of experience behind them.

    If the supplier can get it to make a decent coffee, then highest on the suspect list - a grinder.

    You need to have a good grinder to go with the Silvia. You need to be in control of the grind yourself, not relying on other peoples ideas of what the grind should be. The grind setting required can change from day to day for the same bean depending on humidity and the change in the beans as they age.

    Second suspect - Are you using the single basket from the Silvia?
    If so, take it out and try the double basket. I find the single basket problematic and more than one person has suggested putting it away and never using it again. I kind of agree.

    IMO, youll hardly ever be able to get a 30ml/30 second shot (60ml/30 second for the double basket) with pre-ground coffee. Pretty much the only way is if it is within a notch or 2 of correct and then you updose/downdose/tamp etc. to compensate.

    There are enough variables involved already, you dont need these extra ones.

    Also, freshly ground does not always = fresh beans. Never be afraid to ask When were these roasted?. A lot of places (non-specialty especially) usually dont know or simply make it up.

    Anything over 10 days old AND being ground for you, then you are fighting a losing battle on a Silvia.

    But mainly - look into getting a good grinder.

    Hope that helps.

    Brett.

  4. #4
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    Re: Silvia Water Pressure Problem??

    Thanks.

    Yes a decent grinder would be nice and should help this situation no doubt.

    The single basket has been set aside as yes basically useless.

    The machine is still under warranty so can go back , but i am just trying to avoid that and fix the machine or me!!.

    I just ran a couple of shots and I really think there is a pressure issue as

    1. Ran water through brew head for 25 seconds and retrieved 300 mls of water.
    2. Made 2 doubles with a fine grind for 25 seconds one of light tamp and the other with a heavy tamp and on each brew obtained about 145 mls of fluid in the cup. Whats doing I say!!!!

    Think it going back

  5. #5
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    Re: Silvia Water Pressure Problem??

    A decent grinder is more than nice, its mandatory. I really dont know why anyone would sell you a silvia without a grinder ... its not like people make huge margins off these machines. If you cant afford a grinder, there is no point buying the machine - you will be much, much, much, much better off with a decent grinder and the best machine that you can afford with whatever is left over.

    The water debit is maybe a bit much, but its in the ballpark. It should be around 100mL in 10 seconds and commercial machines do more like 150mL in 10 seconds, so a large water debit is not necessarily indicative of too high a pressure.

    When dosing, are you jamming as much coffee as is humanly possible in the portafilter? Thats your starting point.

  6. #6
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    Re: Silvia Water Pressure Problem??

    Quote Originally Posted by GEGE link=1150725352/0#0 date=1150725351
    . . . I quickly obtained an amount of feshly ground beans from the Di Bella factory in Brisbane set at the commercial grind that they use on their Wegas. I put through a number of shots on the machine single and double, heavy tamp light tamp, over filled/ under filled etc and I could not squeeze out more than a tea spoon of crema. I estimate that I was getting about 40-55 mils of "fluid" in about 15 seconds . . .
    Hi GEGE,

    Before I got my grinder I used to get beans ground for my Silvia by a place also dealing in Wegas. It turned out the Silvia needed a good few notches finer grind than their Wega machines. 40-55ml in 15 seconds is not that far off: just get them to go finer. In my experience if the grind is too coarse (and more than a couple of hours post-grinding) theres no amount of tamping that will compensate.

    The other thing is that I very early on swapped from the supplied Rancilio single and double baskets to slightly deeper ones. This also made a huge difference. Even these days, if I accidentally use the smaller original baskets I quickly disccover the mistake because of the too-fast pour (for an otherwise ok grind setting).

    Of course, the biggest difference to getting great shots and crema came with buying an adequate grinder and having freshly (home) roasted beans!

    Youre almost there, GEGE - just a few more tweaks . . . The persistence will pay off.

    Cheers,

    Rob

  7. #7
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    Re: Silvia Water Pressure Problem??

    Thanks guys.

    Yes the training continues, but its all fun and worth it.

    I have been sticking to the recomended amounts for the double basket, basically 14 grams two scoops of the provided "spoon". I have been slightly under filling the basket rather than jamming more into the basket. I was not sure if it was a good idea to have the coffee right up hard against the screen or a slight gap to allow for expansion etc??. The pucks that I get are firm most of the time but have noticed a small amount of water left on top which I suspect may be a result of not enough coffee in the basket??

    I have read some reviews on the Sunbeam grinder, and I am suprised to see good reviews and about on a par as as more expensive grinders..however a Rancilio Grinder would take the cake.


  8. #8
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    Re: Silvia Water Pressure Problem??

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    On my silvia, with no portafilter (group handle) attached, I get 125mls of water every 10 secs. If you get somewhere around the same amount then I suspect your machine is probably fine. I think previous posters are correct in that you need your own decent burr grinder and you need to grind finer.

    Separately from that, older model silvias had their pressure set too high (about 11-12 bar rather than about 9). New models may be set better - not sure. If you can obtain a blind filter (coffee filter with no holes that stops flow out of the group. Coffee Parts site sponser sells them) then you can calculate what pressure your machine is set at by following the posts here: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1143622054
    Use the E5 performance curve on the ulka site http://www.ulka.it/eng/E.htm# for your calculations.

    When reading through the posts at that URL, please note that apparently new silvias have an adjustable OPV valve whereas old ones do not so that should make the job of adjusting pressure much easier if required.

    If you want more details on calculating the pressure on your silvia, do a google search for something like "ulka flow rate silvia".

    Note that if you intend to open up your silvia (very easy to do), make sure it is unplugged from the power as there is 240v running around in there when plugged in.



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