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Silvia - Cleaning & Black Bits in water

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  • Silvia - Cleaning & Black Bits in water

    Hi all,

    Was just given a used Silvia (v3) as a gift. I have no idea of its history, except that it can with a small screwdriver (presumably to take off shower screen) and a blank basket (backwashing). So, they may have looked after it. It is in reasonable nick.

    A few years ago a barista gave us some cleaner they use for their machine. I have no idea what it is, just gave us a small amount of a white powder (!)in a takeaway cup, saying it is what they use on their machine & we should only use a small amount. Wife wants me to use it but I have no idea what it is. Would it be best to chuck it & buy some Cafetto Espresson Clean?

    I just can't seem to get a good pour. New beans, Saeco burr grinder on finest setting. Pro tamper.

    I have descaled using "Clean Machine Triple Action" liquid. Soaked portafilter/baskets and it hasn't been able to them bring back to a good shine. There are small (very fine) black particles in water that is run through the grouphead (I also noticed them in the steam wand today). I am hoping a good descale/backflush will fix these. The V3 doesn't have Teflon in their boilers anymore, do they?

    Should I also replace the grouphead seal, just in case?

    Reading back my questions sound silly but I'd appreciate any advice. Thanks kindly!

  • #2
    I don't know any espresso machine that has ever had teflon coated internals. The mystery powder is very likely an espresso backflushing powder, you can add a small amount to hot water and see if it froths up like a concentrated detergent. It's fine to use on your machine, just search the site for silvia backflush technique.

    Descaler is certainly the wrong thing to use on portafilters and baskets if you want to make them shiny (it's acidic after all and in strong enough concentration will eat into chrome). The espresso detergent is a much better idea. Mix it up with really hot water, let everything soak for a few hours and then rinse and dry - and don't drink the next coffee, tip it out. As to the black particles, if they're coming out of the steam wand as well they'll be fragments of copper oxide that have flaked off the outside of the heating element. Nothing to worry about in the short term, but this is usually a sign that the machine has been run dry at some stage.


    • #3
      The grouphead seal should be replaced every year or so, it may not be leaking yet but the longer its left in the harder it will become to remove.

      For a brief period the silvia had teflon inside the boiler, I didn't believe it either but theres pics out there reportedly of machines built ~2000

      Regarding your pour, whats wrong with it?


      • #4
        If you want peace of mind, you could take it to a reputable Silvia service center and let them service it so that you start with a fresh sheet. It's cheap insurance.
        It will be expertly cleaned, checked, and anything that requires adjusting or replacement will be undertaken.

        The white powder that the barista has given you would most likely be the espresso cleaner.

        After each use, it's good idea to do a water flush.
        After each week it's a good idea to chemically flush with the powder.
        Powder in, lock her in, turn on brew cycle for 5 seconds then turn off. Wait 5 seconds, repeat the cycle, then wait another 5 seconds. Do this about 5 times. You should see liquid filling into the drip tray at the back
        Rinse out the portafilter. Repeat the cycles with water only, no powder. You should see liquid filling into the drip tray at the back.
        Now, brew again but wiggle the portafilter so that the group seals and surrounds get a flushing to clean out any residues. Switch off brew cycle, empty liquid and repeat process. Do this a number of times.

        When you say new beans, are they from supermarket or specialty roaster?

        I don't know anything about the Saeco. The Silvia gives great results with the matching Rocky grinder, Breville BCG800, Mazzers, Compaks etc.
        A good grinder in tip top condition is very important for good coffee.
        Last edited by sidewayss; 10 October 2012, 12:42 AM.


        • #5
          Throw away the old mystery white powder and buy some recognized cleaner. It not worth risking an unknown product.
          Ditto your Saeco grinder !!! ( if its already on its finest setting,..then its not good enough )


          • #6
            Thank you all for the tips.

            I have backflushed & descaled BUT I still see occasional black particles (very fine, look like soot/ash or really fine black coffee grounds. I see them from the grouphead & occasionally, steam wand (if the steam button has been left on for a little longer than usual.)


            • #7
              As mentioned in my post, it's cheap insurance for your sake to take it to a reputable service center especially when it's concerning the particles coming thru the steam wand.
              Then it's a matter thereafter to maintain it and you got many moments of happiness with Miss Silvia.

              Good quality fresh beans, good grinder in the right settings and a proper functioning Silvia together with right technique. You won't regret it.

              Where are you?


              • #8
                Thanks Sidewayss...

                You are right, it is probably best to get it professionally done. I just thought it may be a common/obvious problem that I could rectify (hopefully) affordably.

                I'm in Melbourne (Brunswick).

                Thank you for taking the time to respond. It is much appreciated.


                • #9
                  In Melbourne, Coffee A Roma can be of service, so can the PM i sent you.

                  I bought my V3 Silvia from Coffee A Roma, and i'm confident they can be of help.

                  The cost of repairs and servicing is worth it. The coffee made at home compared to frequenting cafes for your caffeine fix will repay the investment more than once.

                  All the best.

                  It's a solid machine and should last you quite a few years at least. Mine is over 2 years old and has not missed a beat.