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Thread: Pls help a frustrated newby

  1. #1
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    Pls help a frustrated newby

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi All.. Thanks for the excellent forum. I have a very frustrating problem that Im sure someone can help with

    I took delivery last week of a Rancilio Silvia, Rocky doser grinder and a good solid 58mm tamp.

    Problems/questions:

    1. Afer about 5-6 mins the silvia temp light comes on and then seems to go our again (after about 10 secs). Does that mean its ready... The coffee brew that comes out is not very hot, but I have even waited 15 minutes before trying... not too much different

    2. When in Brisbane (I live in Perth) I bought some freshly roasted Expresso beans from Merlo. I have the Rocky set at 8 at the moment. *I have tried all settings one-by-one from 3 to 15, but cannot get a expresso with a good solid crema. What I get is a weak, see through one that disappears in about a minute before I can froth the milk. I have read that some readers get half an inch.... I would love to get some of that. At 3 I get strong black and no crema, after 10 I get watery ad inbetween I get something meodcre by no crema as such.... What am I doing wrong? My Saeco Magic Deluxe gave a better brew

    I have tried tamping with more and less pressure


    Don;t get me wrong the expresso tastes OK, but I want some crema

    Appreciate any assistance please * :(

  2. #2
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    Re: Pls help a frustrated newby

    Hey, Welcome to CS!:)

    Hmm...
    1. 15mins isnt enough for the silvia to get up to temp, it should take more like 30mins.
    2. Keep playing with the tamp pressure and dose and grind. Keep playing with those varibles. normally we would say 25ml in 30sec would be quite reasonable, so just try and aim for that to start with. if its black and dark with oil it is over extracted (comes out to slow), and a very light crema colour that dissapears very quickly is probably under extracted (comes out too fast)

    This probably aint the best answer but someone else will soon jump in and make it more clear :)

    Have fun

  3. #3
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    Re: Pls help a frustrated newby


    Yep should take about 30 min to come up to temp. Make sure you place the portafiller in while you are waiting so that it will be at the same temp as the group. You can tell when it is ready by placing your hand on the group and if its too hot to keep your hand there it is ready. If you keep feeling every 5 mins or so you can tell when it has stopped increasing in temp and at operating temperature.

    You can cheat the Silvia and reduce ewarm up time by running water through the group a few times. There is a good page around http://tinyurl.com/efd2d (same Coffekid as above?)that is a good read.

    Lack of crema can be due to the bean freshness and sometimes type of bean. I have found that the same bean that produces great crema at 1week old will produce very little after 3 weeks.

    Make sure you have the right amount of coffee in the basket - up to the line around the inside of the basket. I have found that underdosing and overdosing can have a big effect on my results. When I get a good cup I find that Silvia takes 4 or 5 seconds to pump the water through initially (you can hear it err..change down a gear) after which a nice crema follows.

    Matt


  4. #4
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    Re: Pls help a frustrated newby

    No not me, im just a real kid:P thats the coffee kid from coffeegeek moderator

  5. #5
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    Re: Pls help a frustrated newby

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee Kid link=1158318697/0#1 date=1158319503
    Hey, Welcome to CS!:)

    Hmm...
    1. 15mins isnt enough for the silvia to get up to temp, it should take more like 30mins.
    2. Keep playing with the tamp pressure and dose and grind. Keep playing with those varibles. normally we would say 25ml in 30sec would be quite reasonable, so just try and aim for that to start with. if its black and dark with oil it is over extracted (comes out to slow), and a very light crema colour that dissapears very quickly is probably under extracted (comes out too fast)

    This probably aint the best answer but someone else will soon jump in and make it more clear :)

    Have fun
    Apart from the art of silvia temp surfing, this will give you a way to heat up and go quickly with superior coffee:

    http://www.coffeekid.com/archived/rancilio/cheatsilvia

    and heres one on temp surfing- just remember its in fahrenheit:

    http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machines/18247

    All the best
    Brett











  6. #6
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    Re: Pls help a frustrated newby

    soferfam,
    Not really experienced enough only had silvia/rocky for a few weeks but heres what ive found
    1. buy a larger double filter basket from coffee parts
    2. allow silvia approx 30 mins to heat up then pull a blank shot into coffee cup until brew light comes on
    3. overdose basket by filling until level tamp lightly with just the weight of your tamper, fill again then level off with top of finger creating small hollow in centre of grounds, tamp to approx 15kg
    4. using the hot water dispensor bleed off hot water until the heater light comes on, close steam valve and turn off hot water switch.
    5. wait until the light goes out again then immediately turn the steam switch on wait 10 secs them turn on brew switch while leaving steam switch on.
    6. dont forget to turn steam switch off after you have finished the pour unless of course you are going to froth some milk.

    let us know if this helps

    ps. before i tried this method my shots were really bitter now i can drink them as long blacks

    mattm

  7. #7
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    Re: Pls help a frustrated newby

    If everything is more or less right, your silvia is probably brewing at too high a pressure. The new silvias come with an adjustable OPV - finally - so if you take the top off, you should be able to dial it to something less ridiculous. Unfortunately, however, you really need a portafilter-mouted brew pressure gauge to make sure that you have done it correctly, so you should probably talk to the people you bought it from.

    Cheers,

    Luca

  8. #8
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    Re: Pls help a frustrated newby

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee Kid link=1158318697/0#1 date=1158319503
    1. 15mins isnt enough for the silvia to get up to temp, it should take more like 30mins.
    Coffee Kid is right on the money. Take a look at the attached (I hope!) graph. Clearly shows the time required for the group to fully warm up (sorry about the Fahrenheit units).

    JGG



  9. #9
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    Re: Pls help a frustrated newby

    Quote Originally Posted by mattm link=1158318697/0#5 date=1158369927
    ...
    4. using the hot water dispensor bleed off hot water until the heater light comes on, close steam valve and turn off hot water switch.
    5. wait until the light goes out again then immediately turn the steam switch on wait 10 secs them turn on brew switch while leaving steam switch on.
    ...
    wow that does not sound right!!! it sounds like you are brewing way too hot - I personally wait nowadays for a couple of mins (2.00 - 2.30) AFTER the light goes off to brew. (Light goes off, I start grinding). Maybe your machine runs cooler than mine, the coffee would taste burnt if I brewed in the manner you suggest.

  10. #10
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    Re: Pls help a frustrated newby

    Quote Originally Posted by soferfam link=1158318697/0#0 date=1158318697
    2. When in Brisbane (I live in Perth) I bought some freshly roasted Expresso beans from Merlo. I have the Rocky set at 8 at the moment. I have tried all settings one-by-one from 3 to 15, but cannot get a expresso with a good solid crema. What I get is a weak, see through one that disappears in about a minute before I can froth the milk. I have read that some readers get half an inch.... I would love to get some of that. At 3 I get strong black and no crema, after 10 I get watery ad inbetween I get something meodcre by no crema as such.... What am I doing wrong? My Saeco Magic Deluxe gave a better brew

    I have tried tamping with more and less pressure


    Don;t get me wrong the expresso tastes OK, but I want some crema

    Appreciate any assistance please :(

    Welcome to the forum, soferfam...

    Could you please do us all a favour and note that the word espresso is spelt and said with an "S".... ;D :D In fact, I hate seeing that so much, that when we are out and we see a cafe that advertises "Expresso", we completely avoid it!! Okay, now that Ive got that little spelling lecture off my chest! ;)

    Youve kind of gone a long way to helping yourself fix your problems by joining up here, be sure to hang around and read more as this will certainly help you out with the operation of the Silvia and any machine for that matter!

    My suggestion to you would be to also find a place in Perth that can give you a "home barista" course. Especially find one that will let you bring your own machine along to. I personally cant recommend anyone in Perth for you but as there are some West Aussies here, they may be able to help.

    Dont give up on your Silvia, you will get great coffee out of her!! ;)


  11. #11
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    Re: Pls help a frustrated newby

    Quote Originally Posted by scoota gal link=1158318697/0#9 date=1158466093

    My suggestion to you would be to also find a place in Perth that can give you a "home barista" course. Especially find one that will let you bring your own machine along to. I personally cant recommend anyone in Perth for you but as there are some West Aussies here, they may be able to help.
    I would recommend the WA Barista Academy (In Northbridge).... and yes, you can take your own machine... :)

    Im doing the Commercial espresso training tomorrow..... cant take my machine to that one ;D

    Looking forward to the course!

  12. #12
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    Re: Pls help a frustrated newby

    re half inch crema
    Well when I pour into an espresso (I couldnt care less if you spelled that with a q and a silent j)
    into an espresso glass- 60ml glass, 30ml shot- I regularly get the super thick crema, but a couple of words on that:

    the crema often will evaporate and often the thickest crema is from too fresh coffee- just roasted. Just roasted coffee is super volatile and that 1/2 crema will often quickly reduce- however you can get this thickness with better aged coffee

    the surface area on an espresso glass is tiny compared to a cappa cup and so naturally the crema will be thicker (same amount less surface area)

    The point of this- 1/2 crema is achievable by all but not in a milk drink (except maybe macchiato)

    As others have said some of the variables are:
    fine grind to allow 30ml in approx 25 sec (do you get this, as a very thin slow extraction can mean little crema as can super thin quick extraction)
    tamp pressure- lean good and hard into it and polish with a twist
    level tamp with north south east west wriggle- is the coffee cake level? Gets less channeling
    fill your filter to the top, collapse on bench top- check- is it still level befor you tamp
    is there an impression of the screw in the (dry) coffee puck- indicates there is at least enough coffee in filter
    lots of other little things you will learn later!

    Can you visit someone with a domestic machine who can get it to work? This may be enough rather than the amazing serious training you could try.
    Here is alink which might help:

    http://fragment.nl/archive/2003/11/18/espresso_links/index.php these are about silvias!

    also look on
    www.homebarista.com
    Brett




  13. #13
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    Re: Pls help a frustrated newby

    ... so has any of this helped, soferfam?

  14. #14
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    Re: Pls help a frustrated newby

    All

    This has been the most fantastic help. Thank you so much .
    Since some of the advice, I think my problem has not really been the grind, as I have gone down to 4 and the graually built up to about 6 (after trying 8, 7 etc) on the Rocky using Merlo Espresso blend (spelt correctly) . The main problem seems to have been temp of the machine and tamping.

    I got some take-out cups and made 2 this evening.... This was getting better and better

    Once again, thanks for the help all. Keep it up
    Regards.. Rob

  15. #15
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    Re: Pls help a frustrated newby

    Quote Originally Posted by soferfam link=1158318697/0#13 date=1158502102
    ....Merlo Espresso blend (spelt correctly)
    [smiley=vrolijk_26.gif] :D :-*

  16. #16
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    Re: Pls help a frustrated newby

    soferfam- hi therXe and welcome.
    I wonder how you are able to make an eSpresso with a grind level of 3 or 4? :-?
    I have the rocky doserless and it is set on between 8 or 9 depenXding on the blend and the maturity of the beXans... I make small variations daily; but if I tried to press an eSpresso through a very fine grind less than 7 I reckon it would just labour so much nothing would come out. If I go to the 11-13 gind it literally pours out in 5- 12 seconds.
    timXing for me is THE way of determining correct grind.
    The machine I bought second hand came with a PID which means I dont have to temp surf- which is jsut as well cos I havent the patiXence for something as tech as that. There are some links to PIDing your machine and it is worth it. Coming from the incantoX- eSpresso at the push of a button- Coffee makXing is now an art and science and well worth it.
    And dont be afraid to eXpress yourself here on coffeesnobs; all advice is meant in good humour, but you may find that the nature of all such intensely passsionate discussion brings out oddly heated comments at times. Grains of salt may be available on beanbay before long. ;D
    RH

  17. #17
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    Re: Pls help a frustrated newby

    One mans 3 could be another mans 9. Rockys all have a different zero-point (point at which the burrs touch), so your zero-point could be at 0 whereas his could be at -6.

  18. #18
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    Re: Pls help a frustrated newby

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Rayzurhead, I am not going to be blowing you any kisses in the short term!! :P ;D



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