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Thread: Temperature surfing.

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Augustine Heights QLD

    Temperature surfing.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Temperature surfing.

    I’ve heard of this before, where shots are pulled from Silvias about 40 seconds after the light goes out. I reckon as long as the light doesn’t come on during the pour, all should be good.

    In my process, after I have prepared the velvety smooth milk (using a thermometer), I then bleed off the steam (refill the boiler) by turning on the brew switch. I switch off when I get a steady stream of water. I grind and fill and fit the PF, then hit the brew switch, and the annoying “heating in progress’ lamp comes on, mid extraction.

    What am I doing wrong, or is there a better way to perform the process so I can avoid the heater coming on mid pour?



  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    Re: Temperature surfing.

    there are lots of different approaches to temp surfing but the most common one seems to be to begin your shot about 30 seconds after the light comes on. The light should stay on for the whole shot and this has been tested to provide the least variation in temp over the duration of the shot. If you google temp surfing silvia all the gory details will be exposed. ;)

    Generally I do get fewer nasty surprises if I stick to this although its certainly possible to get a great shot using other techniques but maybe not as repeatably.

    A lot of people, myself included, also prepare milk after the coffee as you dont have to cool silvia down before brewing. (Steaming temp is far too high for brewing)

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Re: Temperature surfing.

    Im only new at all this but I do believe that you have it a little backwards.
    Your way of doing this takes the shot when the water is too hot. Remember, the light comes on when the broiler is cool and needs heating. You need to take your shot WHILE the lite is On and things are heating and BEFORE the light goes back off indicating that the water is fully (over) heated again.
    Procedure: When the light is off, indicating a fully heated broiler put a container under the steam wand and turn on the water switch. This will drain the overheated water from the broiler replacing it with cold water. As soon as the light comes ON you know that the water has cooled sufficently for Silvia to want to hot up again. Shut off the water tap and pump and start you timer at this time (Just as the light comes ON). After your time (I use 45 seconds) is up the light is STILL on indicating that the water is not over heated and you start your shot.
    The purpose of waiting for 40 seconds after the light come on is to allow Silvia to partially heat and not get to the fully heated stage where the light goes off. If you feel the temperture should be hotter wait longer than the forty seconds. If you were to wait over around 60 seconds the light would go off and youd have to start over with draining hot water again.
    Did you get the photos?
    Hope this helps, YT

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Re: Temperature surfing.

    I wonder if you blokes might be reading a little too much into the temp surfing thing. *

    Assuming the machine is on and has already reached operating temperature for the first time, and has then had some water flowed through the group & group handle to heat them up properly, and then been allowed to sit for another say couple of minutes so as to achieve a proper "working equililbrium" (!)...

    Realistically then, all anyone need do before applying the group handle to brew the coffee, is activate the pump switch and watch the flow of clean water from the group.

    If this water is NOT steaming / gushing, stop the pump, apply the group handle and brew your coffee. If the water IS steaming / gushing, simply allow it to flow until it stops steaming / gushing and flows in a nice quiet gentle way, then stop the pump, apply the group handle and brew.

    I take notice of the behaviour of the brewing water, and little to no notice of what the thermostatic light is doing.

    Surely, it need not be any more complex than that.


  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004

    Re: Temperature surfing.

    There has been extensive research on the the water temperature of the Silva, hence all the PID mods for this machine.

    From memory the water temperature can vary by as much as 10 degrees C depending on where you are in the heating cycle. This is related to the relatively small boiler compared to HX machines.

    This is okay for Joe Blow who is looking for something better than Nescafe but for a coffee snob this will create a lot of undesirable variation in the result.

    The temperature surfing method provides a predictable method for removing another variable in the pursuit of the perfect cup.

    Here are a couple of good links:

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    Re: Temperature surfing.

    Thoroughly agree with you on this. It makes sense to me because I know there may be a myriad of differences in the finished cup yet we invariably try to believe we have done exactly the same thing as we always do. Anything that can eliminate variation has to be positive. This means always fresh just-ground coffee, same volume of coffee, same tamp pressure, same water, same volume poured etc. I have read a lot of threads about temperature surfing and PIDs to remove variation. I can accept there is a case and some people really can pick the differences between coffees made with small variations in temperature, but it is something I have not put any work into. I just try to ensure I always work in the same part of the brew cycle.

    The Randy Glass reference on the subject is interesting, particularly the one where he compares coffees made with a PIDed Silvia over a range of temperatures. His conclusions are unconvincing and in his summary he concedes he would not be able to repeat the results in a blind comparison.

    This reminds me of comparisons performed in another life (this time using inter-connect cables) where many claims were made when test identities were known but in a real double-blind test, nobody ("Golden Ears" included) could pick any difference consistently let alone identify their favourite magic cables. The differences we are talking about here are between the freebie inter-connects that come with your equipment and 1 meter cables that might cost several thousand dollars per set!

    That said, I still think consistent temperature is a variable worth nailing. Be the solution PID or temp surfing probably does not matter for most people but if it does, thats an individual decision.



  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004

    Re: Temperature surfing.

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Yeah I posted the links just to show the lengths people have gone to with this machine.

    The most obvious visual difference when I had a Silvia was the amount of crema produced depending on the temperature.

    There was a noticable difference in flavour between too hot (bitter) and too cold (sour).

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