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Thread: Silvia Owners - Backflush or not?

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    Silvia Owners - Backflush or not?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    To backflush or not, that is the question.

    I have read about an equal amount of articles either way.

    Im interested in how many people are doing it.

  2. #2
    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia Owners - Backflush or not?

    Im not certain I would break it if I backflushed, Im just worried I might.
    I would also need to buy a blind filter.

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia Owners - Backflush or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by fatboy link=1120531498/0#1 date=1120532888
    Im not certain I would break it if I backflushed, Im just worried I might.
    I would also need to buy a blind filter.
    Hi All,

    I regularly backflush my little Mokita with water ONLY (every couple of days) and this has proven to keep the innards sparkling clean. A Silvia is a much more robust machine than the Mokita so I would be really surprised if you broke anything. Besides, both the Mokita and the Silvia have Pressure Limiting Valves fitted so once this pressure is reached, the valve opens up and bleeds off some of the water in the pressurised water circuit.

    This happens regularly anyway, when ever you grind a little too fine or tamp a little firmer than usual, the pump will begin to choke as the pressure rises and the flow decreases, and most likely the PLV will operate thus limiting the pressure. You wont blow a gasket so long as this valve is working. You can verify that it is working by observing whether there is any water exiting the tube from the PLV into the drip tray when the pump starts to choke.

    If you would like to do this but dont have a Blind Basket for the Silvia, Coffee Parts usually have them for very reasonable cost. Short of buying one, you could make one by cutting a circle of thin rubber or silicone sheet so that it fits neatly into the bottom of your Double Basket. Once the pressure starts to build up the rubber "seal" blocks the basket and the pressure builds up to the setting of the PLV. Thats all I use and it has worked fine now for quite some time.

    If youre still not sure about whether to have a go at backflushing or not, try to find someone in your vicinity who knows how to do it and performs it regularly with their own machine, and ask them to give you a demo of how its done and what actually happens. Probably the easiest way to help you to make the decision to flush or not to flush, that is the question....
    Oh boy, I better go to bed, :-X

    Cheers,
    Mal.

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    Re: Silvia Owners - Backflush or not?

    Over the past 12 months I sold a number of Silvias. The back flush question came up regularly. I checked with the importer and was advised not to backflush. I had a laugh
    John

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia Owners - Backflush or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by pinot link=1120531498/0#3 date=1120733693
    Over the past 12 months I sold a number of Silvias. The back flush question came up regularly. I checked with the importer and was advised not to backflush. I had a laugh
    John
    Yeah Pinot,

    I know about the manufacturers "official" position on backflushing too. Doesnt make a lot of sense in the real world though as you have so succinctly intimated ;).

    They dont offer an equivalently effective alternative though, thats the problem. I suppose if owners were concerned about potential for warranty issues, then they could hang off on backflushing until the warranty has expired then go for it.

    I imagine though, with machines that dont have a Pressure Limiting Valve fitted, backflushing could become quite an exciting occasion :o. So far though, with my Mokita, there have been no signs of ill effects and talking to other Mokita owners with machines several years older than mine and backflushed all through that time, none have reported signs of problems either.

    Guess it all comes down to ones personal understanding of what is actually going on in your machine and deciding from there.

    Cheers Pinot,
    Mal.

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    Re: Silvia Owners - Backflush or not?

    Thanks for the comments and advice!

    My blind filter arrived today and I tried a backflush.

    Loads of old grinds in the PF and the drip tray, a worthwhile exercise.

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    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia Owners - Backflush or not?

    I was also inspired to do a coffeeparts order because of this thread.
    I got a blind filter, a 14g basket and 500g espresso cleaner.

    Ive already done the soak of the portafilter in the water with some cleaner and been very impressed with the way it came up.

    Im just about out of warranty with the Silvia now, so Im guessing a backflush will happen soon. Probably water only to start with.

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia Owners - Backflush or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by fatboy link=1120531498/0#6 date=1121170189
    I was also inspired to do a coffeeparts order because of this thread.
    I got a blind filter, a 17g basket and 500g espresso cleaner.

    Ive already done the soak of the portafilter in the water with some cleaner and been very impressed with the way it came up.

    Im just about out of warranty with the Silvia now, so Im guessing a backflush will happen soon. Probably water only to start with.
    Hi fatboy,

    Given that you havent backflushed at all during your ownership of the Silvia, I would launch straight into backflushing with the detergent as youve more than likely got quite a build-up of grunge behind the showerscreen and into the 3-Way Valve too. A good place to learn how to do this can be found here... http://tinyurl.com/d9qaz. All the best,

    Mal.

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    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia Owners - Backflush or not?

    Well.. there you go.
    Ive done my backflush. Thanks Mal for the link, very useful.
    Nothing exploded. Went very much as per the instructions. A reasonable amount of crud was flushed out, but not as bad as I thought it might be (I do take off the shower screen and clean it and the group each week).
    Pulled a shot and put it down the sink (as per instructions) and then made a couple of lattes for myself and the lovely wife.
    Pretty happy. Also managed a pretty good rosetta with the latte art when pouring mine. Yay!
    Enjoying the coffee very much whilst writing this.
    Any Silvia owners who are thinking about doing this, it is not really daunting. As long as you do very short bursts on the brew, I think all will be fine.
    I thoroughly recommend the link above from Mal. Really spells it out well.

    Thanks again.

    Back to the Tiger Mountain. ;D

    Brett.

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia Owners - Backflush or not?

    Good to hear Brett,

    I guess it is like all things when you havent done it before, always imagine the worst is going to happen. Theres a saying about this somewhere.... "Always plan for the worst but confidently expect the best"... or something like that.

    Yep, Randy Glass website is a literal wealth of information for would be baristas and even for the more experienced too. Randy never recommends anything that he hasnt tried out on his own equipment first, so you know he is speaking from personal experience and a dedication to getting the best from the bean.

    Better let you get back to that terrific Tiger Mountain... happy brewing :),

    Cheers,
    Mal.

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    Re: Silvia Owners - Backflush or not?

    Hey Everyone,
    Been awhile since i was last on here..i can say that thanks to the fine people on this site i have been the proud owner of a Silvia and D/L Rocky for a good six months now and am very happy with the whole set up. ;D

    i am interested to read here about the question of the back flush for the Silvia, while i have not done it yet on my machine. i often back flash the commercial machine at the wine bar in which i work and have found a marked difference in the quality of shots pulled once a back flushed has been preformed. Does anyone know thou from where i can look at getting a blind group head? Also am I best to wait until my warranty on my machine has run out before I attempt it? (Just to be safe). And has anyone at all on any domestic machine run into problems with back flushing? …for my mind there has to be a reason it is advised not to preform this procedure on the Silvia.

    Cheers,
    DD :)

  12. #12
    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia Owners - Backflush or not?

    DD,

    Ive only done it the once (see above) and it seemed to work fine.
    Im a bit dubious about some of the advice given out when buying the Silvia. I was told not to use the hot water button because it can cause mumble mumble and .... thingy.
    Sorry? Why cant I use the supplied feature?
    Oh.. you can use it but the mumble mumble....
    Why?
    Oh, well you can use it.

    Im not making that up! Thats what I was told, but to be fair, the girl selling it was not a sales person. They had all buggered off for the day. My own fault, it was after midday on a Friday after all.

    I was always under the impression (perhaps wrongly) that the Silvia has the same basic guts as their commercial machines. It has the 3 way valve. It backflushes exactly as a machine with a 3 way valve is meant to. I think the concern is that a home user will leave the brew switch on for too long and cause damage.
    Maybe it is simply that they did not want to add the procedure to the doco. Or they are worried about service calls increasing ? Who knows.

    Having done one and tasted the coffee afterwards, Im thinking I will be doing one on a regular basis now. Perhaps monthly or 2 monthly, but well see.

    As for the blind filter, I just ordered mine from coffeeparts.com.au
    The blind filter was only $5.75
    Because of postage, I added a couple more items to make it worthwhile.

    Hope that helps.

    Brett.

  13. #13
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia Owners - Backflush or not?

    Hi DD,

    I think it (Silvias instruction NOT to backflush) is probably directed at the complete newbies of the espresso world and since they (Rancilio) dont know the extent of experience of would be Silvia owners, they have to take the position that users may leave the Brew Switch on for extended periods with the excess pressure contingencies being controlled by the Pressure Limiting Valve with the Pump working its guts out against it.

    Done properly though, the risk is minimal and the benefits significant. Whether you want to do it with your machine while the warranty is still current is a decision that only you can make so perhaps some research into the whys and wherefores of backflushing are in order. To this end, I would suggest clicking on the link above to Randy Glass website and have a bit of a read there and then decide for yourself.

    The Silvia is literally built like a tank and equivalent to the quality one would expect of a fully fledged Commercial Machine and it is definitely worth the effort to clean the gunk out of the Group and 3-Way Valve on a regular basis. In my situation, I only make, on average, 4-6 espressos/Lattes per day and backflush my Mokita with ONLY water every couple of days and restrict the use of detergent in the backflush process to a couple of times per year. This works extremely well and keeps the Mokitas innards beautiful and clean and the coffee pours rich, flavourful. bright and fresh each time.

    Check out Randy Gs site and see how you go from there.... All the best,

    Mal.

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    Re: Silvia Owners - Backflush or not?

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by Mal link=1120531498/0#12 date=1121357850
    Done properly though, the risk is minimal and the benefits significant. Whether you want to do it with your machine while the warranty is still current is a decision that only you can make so perhaps some research into the whys and wherefores of backflushing are in order.
    I would most deffintelly do it while it is under warranty. Might as well put the machine under some pressure while youve got warranty. What is the point in waiting till it runs out?

    Id go for it, and use it as it was intended. Backflushing is essential, IMO.



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