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  • Newbie Silvia questions

    So . . . Ive come across a few questions about my Silvia.

    In my thread about the rocky grinder it was mentioned that I need to get the temp right to pull a consistant shot. Am I right in presuming thats talking about temperature surfing? Have been following a few clips on FB about how to do that. Also, it was recommended that I purge the machine after Ive run the steam to refill the pump. Is that right? Just read a few reviews about the boiler being broken and want to avoid that if I can

    Next question is how do I know if the grind is right? Am I correct in assuming that if Im pulling a single shot in 25-30 seconds then thats an indication of the correct grind? So, if its going too slow them I need a courser grind and if its too fast go finer?

    And, for the double basket . . . should that take 60 seconds to pull 60 mls (two shot glasses)? Seems too long.

    Ive bought the upgrade steam thing from the version 3. Will give that a go tonight . . . or rather rope my husband into giving it a go tonight

    Ummmm . . . Ive also back flushed it with some EVO that Steve from Chosen Bean recommended, and have some descaling liquid from Coffee-a-roma that I bought in anticipation for this machine.

    Ive pulled apart the shower screen (is that the right word?) as well before I did the back flush to clear out any grinds.

    So . . . what else am I missing to get myself on my way to making better coffee?


  • #2
    Re: Newbie Silvia questions

    Hi Pobie,

    Not a Silvia owner, so I cant answer your other questions... but the standard is, 25-30 seconds for 30ml using a single basket, or 25-30 seconds for 60ml using a double basket. Most people only ever use a double basket though... What you said about grind sounds about right (i.e., if too fast, grind finer; too slow, grind coarser). Remember to keep dose and tamp consistent though so you can fix the grind. Most Silvia owners say she doesnt tolerate overdosing.

    Enjoy!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Newbie Silvia questions

      By the way, dont forget that the 30ml/60ml thing is just a guide. For best results, cut the shot when it starts to blond (as with any machine).

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Newbie Silvia questions

        Welcome to the Silvia club!

        Yes, temperature surfing will give you a more consistent shot. A Temp probe (about $20 from Jaycar) will let you follow the temp as it rises and falls and will make temp surfing easier. A PID will make temp surfing unnecessary as the boiler will always be at ideal temp (allowing for recovery after pulling a shot).

        Yes, always refill the boiler after steaming milk. Just turn on the brew switch until water comes through the shower head. Youll hear the pump tone change as well as the boiler fills.

        Single basket: dont bother - its too hard to get a decent shot.
        Double basket: most people aim for 60ml in 20-30 seconds to get a nice result - a bit less for a ristretto. Adjust the grind to alter this. Finer grind gives less volume/longer shot, courser gives more volume/quicker shot.

        Sounds like youre well on your way. All you need now is good, freshly roasted coffee for caffeinated bliss.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Newbie Silvia questions

          Originally posted by 7C74696D60282B2A190 link=1338255338/1#1 date=1338259161
          25-30 seconds for 30ml using a single basket, or 25-30 seconds for 60ml using a double basket. 
          Arr yes, that makes more sense

          Originally posted by 7C74696D60282B2A190 link=1338255338/2#2 date=1338259328
          By the way, dont forget that the 30ml/60ml thing is just a guide.  For best results, cut the shot when it starts to blond (as with any machine).
          Thanks for the tip

          Originally posted by 747C716C6B757C60190 link=1338255338/3#3 date=1338259509
          All you need now is good, freshly roasted coffee for caffeinated bliss.
          CHECK! Got myself a new supply from Steve at Chosen Bean yesterday in Ferntree Gully.

          Sounds like I do NEED a PID Might just have to try and make do with the other thing for the moment. Will have a looksie into it.

          Ive already stashed the single somewhere in the draw where things go to retire

          So . . . baskets Do I get a new double basket with a matching tamp? Should I get the Synesso 58mm Double or the VST double basket? And if I got the VST, which one! There seems to be a wide variety of doubles.

          OR . . . do I get a cheap tamp to match my Silvia double and then save for a nice Pullman and new basket?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Newbie Silvia questions

            In regards to a Tamp, I ordered a Red GEC Premium Pack from Coffee-A-Roma as its currently on sale. I figured its a nice tamp for a good price that should suit the standard Silvia basket. As Im also just starting out and have already spent a bit, I didnt want to spend >$100 on a tamp just yet!

            http://www.coffee-a-roma.com.au/shop/en/specials-55/red-premium-pack-tamper-84.html

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Newbie Silvia questions

              Synesso double ridgeless baskets + spring sounds perfect to me (now lets just wait for the naysayers).

              As for the tamp, I have used about 4-5 tampers, and Id have to say my current Pullman tamper with matched baskets makes it very easy to get consistent shots...

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Newbie Silvia questions

                Hi Pobie,

                I just typed up a response and noticed that velozulu had already posted much the same. 

                So the only thing Ill add is to give Silvia plenty of time to warm up. A PID (or temp-surfing) will get you close to a desirable starting temperature but a "cold" machine will show a greater temperature drop during the shot than after its well warmed up.

                Dont forget to cool the group if you want to pull another shot immediately after steaming milk. velozulus technique for refilling the boiler will do this. (I refill the boiler by flushing through the steam wand so I have to do both flushes).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Newbie Silvia questions

                  Originally posted by 1302160F575A630 link=1338255338/7#7 date=1338262729

                  So the only thing Ill add is to give Silvia plenty of time to warm up. A PID (or temp-surfing) will get you close to a desirable starting temperature but a "cold" machine will show a greater temperature drop during the shot than after its well warmed up.

                  Dont forget to cool the group if you want to pull another shot immediately after steaming milk. velozulus technique for refilling the boiler will do this. (I refill the boiler by flushing through the steam wand so I have to do both flushes).
                  Eeeek . . . I have no idea what your talking about. Sorry Would you mind breaking it down a little more for me.

                  I just made two double shots right after the other (temp surfing between) and they were . . . ummm :-/ The sink enjoyed them. The first one, which tasted the worst, extracted too quickly, so I ground the beans finer for the next shot. The next was extracted in about 20 seconds but was still pretty bleh. I think I really need to get a new tamp.

                  Originally posted by 050C140F061107505350630 link=1338255338/5#5 date=1338261751
                  In regards to a Tamp, I ordered a Red GEC Premium Pack from Coffee-A-Roma as its currently on sale. I figured its a nice tamp for a good price that should suit the standard Silvia basket. As Im also just starting out and have already spent a bit, I didnt want to spend >$100 on a tamp just yet!

                  http://www.coffee-a-roma.com.au/shop/en/specials-55/red-premium-pack-tamper-84.html
                  I think I might just get that tamp and then save up for a new basket and pullman to match.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Newbie Silvia questions

                    Hello Pobie,

                    Its more likely your issues are related to inconsistency in your dose.

                    If you have a satisfactory 58mm tamper, it will do the job.

                    Best bet to get some training on dose technique to get the ball rolling.

                    Cheers

                    Chris

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Newbie Silvia questions

                      Originally posted by 1D222F24284D0 link=1338255338/8#8 date=1338265819
                      I think I really need to get a new tamp.
                      Are you using the crap plastic tamp that came with the Silvia? If so you definitely need to ditch it for a better tamp, first accessory I bought was this tamper; http://www.coffee-a-roma.com.au/shop/en/tampers-14/rancilio-logo-tamper-22.html (also a naked PF, barista cloths and some cleaning supplies), that improved my consistency HUGELY.

                      That said, upgradeitis has hit already and I am currently eagerly awaiting a pair of shiny new VST baskets (double and triple) a new PF spring and a matched Nexus Tamper from Pullman

                      Also, let me re-iterate, you MUST refill the boiler after steaming, if you dont you are likely to burn out the element in the boiler or at least severely limit its lifespan.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Newbie Silvia questions

                        +1 to training -- I still think thats the best $$ Ive spent so far...

                        With regard to cooling the group in between shots, I think paul49 meant to make sure that if you do several coffees in a row (i.e., pull shot 1 -> steam 1 -> pull shot 2 ->...), make sure that you run water through the group head (flick the brew switch on after steam 1, so that the temperature drops back to coffee temp.  In single boiler machines like the Silvia, there are two thermostats, flick the brew switch and the "coffee thermostat" is "enabled" so that you get a temp of max 93c (?? or something) to get the best extraction.  Flicking the steam switch will "enable" the steam thermostat, meaning, boiling water/steam temp.  If you make a coffee at this temp it will obviously be too bitter/burnt, hence you need to run water through the group first to make sure the temp drops back down.

                        Of course, it always helps to start with a properly warmed up machine like paul49 said, because if the machine is not warmed up sufficiently then shot 1 may be okay, but shot 2 may be cold, especially if you pull 2 shots in a row with no steaming in between.

                        Hope I got that right.

                        Also, when Im fixing the grind I find it helps me if I weigh the dose to make sure its consistent.  Then when I get a shot I can live with, I keep the grind fixed and dose a little more/a little less, then tamp a little more/a little less to fine tune my shot.  In other words, its grind-dose-tamp alterations, keeping 2 of the trifecta fixed at any time until Im happy.  hth.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Newbie Silvia questions

                          Whilst many enjoy the challenge of "Temperature surfing"  for the best brew temp, the reality is that its just guessing !
                          Most CSs agree that brew temp is important +- a degree or two, so to rely on some random time/ feel/wind direction... type of guess seems crazy on a $700 machine when a $20 temp gauge can eliminate the mystery. There are digital temp gauges available on the web  , or you could go to Jcar and follow the "gronk" route.  ( actually a $10 digi probe can be used !)
                          there is no point in struggling with a basic function like temp when it can be eliminated as a variable for $20
                          ( i think the manufacturers & importers / retailers should fit a temp gauge on these before they sell them.)
                          Actually , for <$50 the manufacturers could fit a proper ( accurate)  temperature control ,...if they wanted to !

                          For what its worth, i would suggest you should consider a PID upgrade ahead of new tampers ,baskets  or steam wand,   ( to late !)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Newbie Silvia questions

                            Nope 52- I disagree.

                            With respect, the "geek market" for sales of the Silvia probably represents about a poofteenth of a percent of worldwide Silvia sales.

                            Most who own them put brown stuff in, black stuff comes out and theyre happy with that. To expect a gauge/PID/konfabulator as standard merely increases the price in a market which is so price sensitive that importers are selling them at landed cost + $40 is unrealistic. What happens to profit when one goes bang I dont know... :  Id reckon the manufacturers are looking for cost savings as are importers and sales outlets. The majority of owners couldnt give a toss about extras. They have a machine and they are happy.

                            As for PIDs etc, fact is that you cant make coffee with steam. Let the machine come to top of temp cycle, flush and then when you dont hear steam, shoot. Its no harder than that.

                            Potential purchasers and new owners: You dont need a PID, curvy plakky thingies, a $200 tamper, a Very Special Tool basket or anything else to get good results. What you need is a good grinder, satisfactory tamper, good beans and good, consistent technique. Put the extra $$$ into training rather than bragging rights. Most newbs are not struggling with temperature, theyre struggling with technique.

                            The other stuff is merely "things you want" because some "experts" make you think you need to have them.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Newbie Silvia questions

                              Originally posted by 4C424B404A1B1C2E0 link=1338255338/12#12 date=1338274298
                              Whilst many enjoy the challenge of "Temperature surfing"  for the best brew temp, the reality is that its just guessing !
                              Silvia right out of the box presents few challenges other than learning to use it, a process any person of average intellect should be able to manage within a week or so.
                              As far as PIDs are concerned, fit one if you feel you must, I owned a Silvia/Rocky combo for 10 years and never saw the need for one, the only change I made was to replace the Rancilio double basket with a LM double and the plastic tamper with a Reg Barber.
                              As others have said, make sure you cool the group head by flushing it well after steaming milk and all will be well.
                              As a matter of interest I have 2 other family members both successfully using Silvias, neither have seen the need to go down the PID path.

                              Comment

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