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Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

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  • Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Hi everyone,

    Ive been using a Bodum Granos for the last 2 years for espresso and have generally had fairly good success. Ive always used the same coffee, Genovese beans ground at home and find the result great. A few months ago I started to experience a problem regarding pressure in the Bodum and decided it was time to upgrade. I purchased a new Rancilio Silvia and Rocky, headed out to pickup a fresh bag of Genovese and get dialed in. Well after much trial, error and stress I an just about to give up. No matter what I do I can not seem to get a decent coffee out of this combination.

    Ive ensured the Rocky setting are correct and that zero is actually zero. Ive tried grind setting from as low as 3 and up to 14, Ive tried Tamping from 5Kgs of pressure up to as hard as I can press, Ive tried setting the filled portafilter up hard to the screen and way below the screen and Ive also tried using more and less coffee than prescribed in the manual. NOTHING!! Seriously, I am really starting to stress that Ive paid over $1200 for a pair of machines that I can not get to work properly. Ive just tried my 5th shot in the last hour, fresh Genovese beans ground at a setting of 8, one scoop of coffee in the single shot filter, tamped to around 15Kgs. Throw this in the Silvia, hit the switch and Ive got around 45ml in 8 seconds!!!!!! For the love of god what am I doing wrong!!!!

    Im quite willing to pay anyone who has a Silvia and is in the SE Melbourne area to come around and give me a hand,  I just dont know what else to try! Could there be a fault with the unit outputting too much pressure? I highly doubt it but Im clutching at straws here. Any suggestion, help or counseling are extremely welcome.

    Thanks for reading all the way through this whinge, I feel better knowing Ive now put my problem out to a knowledgeable community.



  • #2
    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Hi Greg,

    Silvia and Rocky are not easy taskmasters. Nevertheless, youll get a great result out of them with some good training.

    We run a variety of courses and are happy to assist.




    • #3
      Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

      Hi Greg,

      Many of these have been taken back to the shop well before the first 6 coffees have been attempted. But rest assured you will get the info you need here to get some awesome shots out of your set up. I had a Silvia/Macap set up for 6 months and had it pretty well sorted after alot of help from these guys at CS.

      I will get the ball rolling with: Roast date of beans ? and are you using only the single basket so far?
      For me best results were beans 3 - 10 days old and I never used the single basket it just looked a bit tricky.

      The rest of the crew will blind you with their brilliance.

      Dont give up it will be well worth it !!!!
      CB 8-)


      • #4
        Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

        A course is a great idea. I took one after I bought Silvia where I could take in my machine and it is quite humbling to see somebody walk up to it and pull a great shot after my many weeks of poor results.

        A second suggestion is to ditch the single basket. They arent easy to master and frankly I never did. I use the double only (actually I use a LM double basket which is bigger again). The extra coffee in the basket makes a big difference.

        I have found that getting the amount of coffee in the filter basket right has a big influence on pour speed. I try to fill such that the tamped coffee is just above the line in the basket and it takes a little more effort to lock in. Also when filling I fill and tap on the bench to settle a few times or I grind into a cup and break up the clumps with a small hand wisk and then pour the grinds into the filter basket. Using the wisk makes a noticeable difference.

        Good luck!


        • #5
          Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

          Chris, believe it or not I stumbled across about 30 seconds after writing this post, Id love to organise something so Ill probably give you a buzz tomorrow.

          CB, Ive actually tossed the pack the beans came in as I store them in an airtight container. Im assuming the date would have been one of the numbers stamped on the top of the bag? Ill get another bag on Tuesday Im guessing as the amount of practice Im going through at the moment is seeing an enormour amount of coffee going down the drain!

          Mr Macchiato, a course where you use your own machine is a great idea. I was considering heading off to William Anglais in the city but getting it right one their machines and getting it right on my machine is a VERY different thing

          I think Ill toss the small basket. Does that mean that going for a 30ml shot I should aim for an extraction time of around 15 seconds then???

          I cant believe how active this forum is. I really appreciate the help guys, keep it coming




          • #6
            Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

            Its difficult to help you unless you can describe exactly what the problem is. So calm down, dont panic, and just tell us what you have done and what has gone wrong.

            From the sounds of it, you are getting way too much coffee too quickly. Regardless of what number your grinder is set on, the solution to this particular problem is always the same: dose more and/or grind finer.

            Dosing is probably the single hardest thing in making espresso - a fact that is seldom acknowledged online. Its actually a lot harder than it looks, as differences of less than a gram make significant differences to your pour times. Dosing for the silvia will be harder than for the Granos because the Silvia has a proper portafilter and basket, whereas I think that the Granos has a pressurised portafilter. The purpose of a pressurised portafilter is to create the resistance that you should be creating by using the right grind and dose. I think that they are used in mass-market machines so that your typical consumer, who will probably be using preground coffee and will return the machine before they learn how to dose consistently, can get a result that looks good - thats sufficient not to get the machines returned, seeing as people are, by and large, accustomed to drinking pretty crappy tasting coffee. The downside of this system is that it removes your ability to really observe the changes in taste that result from changing the grind and dose - this is critical to achieving the best espresso that you can.

            It sounds like you might be using scoops. Throw them away; they really dont help. Instead, grind more coffee than you need, dose it out so that you have a little mound above the portafilter, rap your portafilter a few times on the bench to collapse it, then strike it off level with a straight edged object, going back and forward so as to fill in the edges. As has been suggested, its best to try the double basket. If they hold twice as much and you have a constant margin of error when dosing, your error will have half as much impact on the resultant shots when using the double as compared with the single.

            As you say, though, by far the fastest way to get going is to have someone show you. Its pretty poor service from the vendor, IMHO, not to offer you a lesson. Chris (talk coffee) excels at getting beginners making coffee that they are happy with very quickly, so it would be worthwhile giving him a call.




            • #7
              Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

              Hi Luca,

              Im calming down now

              OK, Im going to toss the single shot basket and give it a run without the scoops. Here is the primary problem at the moment.

              Ive been using exact scoops in both the single and double filters. Extraction takes around 5 to 8 seconds and towards the end its not coffee, just light brown water. When I remove the puck from the portafilter it is loose and has a sloppy consistency.

              Am I placing too much emphasis on the 30ml/60ml in approx 30 seconds rule? Is this a general rule of thumb or a pretty hard and fast rule?

              I cant blame the vendor for lack of service. The setup was a birthday present, I chose what I wanted and my parents ordered and collected it. Unfortunately my folks live in Byron Bay and they purchased it there and brought it down with them. Im sure they vendor would give lessons but a trip to Byron is out of the question, Ive already checked with the wife


              • #8
                Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

                Hi gkws
                Take Lucas 2nd last para and follow it precisely:
                > It sounds like you might be using scoops .....
                > compared with the single.
                He summarised the procedure pretty well.

                The 30ml/60ml in approx 30 seconds is a general rule to put you in the right flow region for good coffee.

                A course at William Anglais should not be needed. You would be best visiting one of the sponsors here to give you a short showing. It would take just 30 minutes instruction on a Silvia to get you making good coffee. A Silvia is a great machine.



                • #9
                  Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

                  Hi Greg,

                  Welcome to Coffee Snobs.

                  Too bad the missus wont agree to a trip to Byron.

                  The 30ml/60ml in approx 30 seconds is a guide.
                  The taste is the rule.

                  As luca has already said, to slow down those fast pours you either need more coffee in the basket or a finer grind.

                  I agree with him to get rid of the scoops.
                  They are tying you to an exact measurement that doesnt necessarily (and in this case probably proven) suit your needs.

                  The thing to remember is to only change one variable at a time.
                  Then you know what has made a noticable change.

                  If you change more than one variable at a time you dont know which one, if not all, caused the change.

                  Start with filling the double basket as luca has explained.
                  After seeing how that goes you can proceed from there.

                  If that method means you are putting more coffee in than the previous two scoops, there is your first change; amount of coffee.

                  If you see the pour has slowed, see if you can fit a bit more coffee in on the next shot.

                  Once youve exhausted the "add more coffee" variable, the next one to change is the grind size.

                  Assuming the pours are still too fast you need to go finer.
                  Explore this variable until you hit the pour time you want.

                  Once you get a coffee/grind combo that works theres the option of changing those variables again to see how the taste changes.

                  You could put lin ess coffee and grind finer to get the same pour time and see if you can taste a difference.
                  You can try that experiment after you get this first little problem sorted.


                  • #10
                    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

                    Hi Mike.

                    Thanks, Ill give the suggested procedure a run in the morning. Im rapidly running out of coffee again however

                    I understand this is a very difficult question to answer but does a setting of 8 sound too high on the Rocky? Ive done so much reading and it appears that beans, age, temp, humidity and celestial alignment all play a crucial part in required grind, and even this seems to require regular changing. Surely there is a general rule of thumb that can be used??? Or maybe not!


                    • #11
                      Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

                      Hi Thundergod.

                      Thanks for the extensive reply. OK, here is the plan:

                      1. Im going to try packing the filter as outlined by Luca using my current grind setting of 8.
                      As Im now using twice the coffee should I be aiming for an extraction time of 15 seconds for 30ml?

                      2. If I dont achieve the desired result I will then start winding down the grind setting.

                      3. If that doesnt work Ill put the whole lot on eBay


                      • #12
                        Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......


                        8 is not high. All grinders will be a bit different but as an example for some beans I use 8 and others about 12. For your grinder the range might be different by a few notches. The important thing is to start from one grind setting (say 10 or 8) and follow Lucas procedure. If the coffee gushes, grind finer - it it clogs or dribbles out in drops like an old guy with a swollen prostrate then grind coarser.



                        • #13
                          Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

                          Thanks Mike.

                          I just wanted to know 8 wasnt an insane starting point.


                          • #14
                            Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

                            " ... should I be aiming for an extraction time of 15 seconds for 30ml?"

                            With a double basket, aim for 60ml in 30 seconds (thats 30ml from each
                            of the two spouts). Dont worry too much if its a bit out -- get somewhere
                            in the vicinity at first. As TG said, its a guideline. The time is usually
                            measured from when you switch on the pump to start the pour.

                            The pour should start reasonably dark. Its best to stop the pour when the
                            colour changes to a very light colour (this is called blonding).

                            BTW you certainly arent the first to be in this situation -- I went through
                            a few kg of coffee before getting all the variables straight! Its worth it
                            when you get there.


                            • #15
                              Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

                              Thanks hazbean.

                              I only have a single shot for my macchiato so does it matter if I stop the dual filter shot at 30ml? Will I miss some of the coffee "goodness" stopping so short?