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Strange (bitter/ sour) tasting coffee HELP

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  • Strange (bitter/ sour) tasting coffee HELP

    Dear fellow CSers

    Hoping someone can help. Ive had Sylvia and Rocky now for about 8 months
    Have recently had some problems with the coffee tasting a bit bitter/ sour as if the machine needs a clean

    I use GOOD, fresh local beans and get my 30 ml coffee in 25 seconds
    I pull about 2 - 3 doubles per day
    I back flush daily but I must admit that I do that before making the coffee rather than straight after and dont tip puck out immediately all the time (ahem)
    I back flush with clean machine detergent powder about fortnightly - I can usually tell when the machine needs a clean from the taste of the coffee. ALso when I do this I soak portafiller and baskets (but I rinse these with water every day as well)
    I use filtered water
    I do not have a PIDd silvia

    What Ive found lately is that within only a few days of a detergent back flush, the coffee is starting to taste bad again.
    Most recently I did 3 things - used grindz tablets in my grinder then vaccumed out the chute, descaled the machine then did another detergent backflush.
    This lasted about 5 days

    I have also noted that my grind size on rocky is about 2-3 notches finer than normal also

    What do you reckon????

    Im thinking that I need to take apart the group head/ shower screen to clean and also grinder to clean properly but am a bit scared to do so prior to warantee running out. And I am extremely unhandy so some instructions would be good (my husbands pretty handy but real men dont read instructions it would seem..)

    I generally leave machine on for about 20- 30 mins to warm up prior to use - maybe I need to warm it up more - ive read here somewhere that temperature of the water can affect the taste ???

  • #2
    Re: Strange (bitter/ sour) tasting coffee HELP

    Hi Nikki,

    Sounds like pulling the group head apart and giving it all a good scrub should fix it.

    I dont have a Silvia, but I assume that they would be pretty similar to mine. There should be a little screw or nut in the middle of the shower screen. Undo that and the screen will come right off (might need a bit of prompting if its the first time youve done it). Chances are you will see a discusting layer of black sludge. Give it a good scrub and a soak in Caffetto.

    Behind the shower screen is the dispersion block. Depending on how far you want to go, you can take this out too (I normaly do). On Gaggias you need an allan key to take out the two screws, not sure what the Silvia needs. Once this is out, give it a good scrub and a soak along with the shower screen.

    Then grab an old toothbrush and scrub the group head until its clean to your liking.

    Give everything a GOOD rinse, and put it all back together.

    With any luck, this should have your coffee tasting great again.




    • #3
      Re: Strange (bitter/ sour) tasting coffee HELP

      I pull the shower screen off my Silvia every few days and give the whole area a bit of a scrub. Theres usually a bit of crud to scrub off the shower screen and associated parts as well.

      Only takes 10 - 15 mins depending how long I soak the bits in cleaning solution


      • #4
        Re: Strange (bitter/ sour) tasting coffee HELP

        Hi Nikki, Silvia takes at least half an hour to reach brewing temperature, however there is a method called "Cheating Miss Silvia" where you run hot water through the group and steam wand, this helps to heat up the components and allow you to brew earlier.
        I hot water flush my group regularly to keep it clean and detergent flush once a week.
        Temperature surfing helps reach the required brew temp do a google and read up on this method, it works.


        • #5
          Re: Strange (bitter/ sour) tasting coffee HELP

          I favor a 50 minute warmup. See this thread for a more thorough discussion:



          • #6
            Re: Strange (bitter/ sour) tasting coffee HELP

            Just to let you all know that I was a big brave girl and took apart the shower screen and it was pretty dirty - cleaned it - made a huge difference - and all is well about 5 days later.
            Thanks for the tips on warming up the machine - am considering investing in a PID kit for Xmas