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Silvia - Fast Brew Cycle

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  • Silvia - Fast Brew Cycle

    Hi All,

    Hoping for some thoughts, advice or opinions!

    I've learnt how use my Silvia through common sense, trial & error and watching videos and reading on line. So if the answer to my question is, "that's just the way it is", or "user error", I'm open to that.

    I have a two year old Silvia and to me, the brew cycle seems to be very fast. Using a double basket, when you start the cycle, coffee will start coming out of the portafilter after about 3 to 4 seconds. And the actual cycle itself only takes about 14 seconds.

    It does generate crema, however not a huge amount, even with fresh beans. I've been breaking the coffee puck in half after extractions and examining it. The surface is quite wet and you can see where the water has been moving around. About the top third is wet through but as you progress down the water is obviously flowing down through the centre. As once you reach the bottom third, the out perimeter is only slightly damp while you can see most of the water has passed through the centre.

    At the time of purchase, the store owner had set up my machine and ran a couple of brews through it to show that A) the machine was in good working order and B) to show me how to use it. At the time the store owner seemed a bit surprised and made an off the cuff remark about how quickly it ran. Unfortunately I didn't know any better to potentially pursue the issue at the time.

    I've tried varying grinds and tamping weights but nothing seems to make a difference. I now have my grinder set to as fine as possible and generally do a fairly heavy tamp.

    From what I've learnt online you would generally expect on a Silvia, the coffee to appear after about 6 to 7 seconds and the whole cycle to take 24 to 26 seconds.

    So I guess its kind of a two part question:
    1. Could it be mechanical? Is it possible that the pump is generating too much pressure? And if so is there a way of dropping this back?
    2. Could it be my technique? I'm open to any tips or tricks people might have?

    My Silvia doesn't make a bad cup of coffee, but my suspicion is that it is (our I am) capable of doing better.

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    I have a Sylvia and find that my technique can lead to the description that you describe. My solution to the problem similar to yours was three fold (I had the reverse problem - with a VST). I'm open to feedback about me doing it wrong, but the results in cup are something I'm usually pretty happy with.

    1) Set the grind a little coarser.
    2) Played around with the dose - usually upped it a little.
    3) Distributed the grinds before tamping. (My dry bits were in the middle, so I made a well shape and tamped from there).


    • #3
      First thing to look at would be your grinder.
      Do you know anyone with a different grinder that you could run with your machine?

      Edit: what is your grinder?


      • #4
        Originally posted by dnolsen77 View Post
        1. Could it be mechanical? Is it possible that the pump is generating too much pressure? And if so is there a way of dropping this back?
        2. Could it be my technique? I'm open to any tips or tricks people might have?
        1. Usually not. These vibratory pumps usually have an inverse pressure-flow relationship - so they generate less flow at high pressure. You can check your OPV, but I don't imagine this to be the cause of your problems.

        2. Updose.


        • #5
          I'm just in the honeymoon period with a Silvia...V2 model. I find the single dose basket just doesn't cut it, very little crema and the taste seems weak to me. However, there is an in between basket....12g? that came with it, which works a lot better. I must add the steam pressure is fab and produces perfect creamy milk. I've gone from one cup a day to


          • #6
            Dnolsen, Silvia is capable of making excellent coffee....with the right ingredients and technique, of course.

            A sloshy wet puck on top usually indicates underdosing. Try adding more. Are you tamping hard around 14 kilos pressure?

            Are the beans under a fortnight old---from roasting --and has the dose been ground in a good grinder immediately before brewing.


            • #7
              Well I've had an interesting night reading up on the ol OPV threads and I managed to work out what was involved in getting approx 9 bar pressure from the machine. I took a hands on approach from this ...


              My initial reaction when I looked into the guts of my machine was that someone has been at the OPV valve because I could see wear marks of slipped spanners, and comparing pics it looked like my valve was sticking far further away from the lock nut. So I did a measure as instructed and got 200ml in 30secs....400ml/min!!! Where 260ml/min seems to be the target, so I screwed the valve in, not quite half a turn and re-calibrated. This time it was 150ml/30secs...I did a single shot pour and it looked to be producing a better result. As it's too late for me for drinking coffee, I'm leaving it at that for tonight to see what happens in the morn.


              • #8
                Thanks everyone for the replies!

                I realised later that I should have included the details of the grinder in my first post. It is a Compak K3 Touch. Unfortunately I don't know anyone else with an espresso machine and grinder, as getting the coffee ground in another machine is a good test.

                So common suggestion is larger dose and heavier tamping. I will give that a go. I remember when I first was studying online that a suggestion was to tamp on top of the bathroom scales to get a feel for the correct pressure. I didn't have scales at the time but do now, I might revisit that idea.

                Thanks Hildy for the suggestion of the OPV and Gingercat for the research. I'll try my dosage first then give the OPV a crack if I don't get improvement.



                • #9
                  You are using a K3 touch and you say you have it on its finest setting, well you should be choking your machine grinding that fine,

                  generally a k3 should be about a quarter to half a turn off from where the burrs rub

                  From memory a good starting point would be to have the little silver screw cap on the top alligned over the grounds exit shute,

                  could be worth pulling your top burr off and giving the grinder a vacum out get all the old grinds out

                  when adjusting the grinder in the espresso range make sure you have it running with beans in it when adjusting finer

                  sounds like a grinder issue if your beans are fresh and your dose is near enough ( about 4mm from the tamped coffee to the top of the basket)


                  • #10
                    Had 2 singles this morn....very nice. So the OPV adjustment seems to have improved the extraction.


                    • #11
                      Cadan, yes your correct its not literally at its finest setting. I did make that mistake once though after cleaning and put the stopper in the wrong spot and wound it down too far. Got it jammed up good and proper! It made some extremely unhealthy buzzing noises.

                      The little silver screw cap is currently pushed a little beyond the exit shute. Will dial it back and see how it goes.


                      • #12
                        Gingercat, when you did your test, did you have the group head attached, if so was it empty? I ran my machine this morning with the group head attached but no coffee and in 30 seconds it pumped out 300mL of water. 600mL/min.

                        Could well be taking the spanners to it over the long weekend....


                        • #13
                          As per instructions.....Insert a blind filter into your handle and lock her into the group head.

                          I adjusted the OPV a wee bit more and now I'm getting crema with the single dose, when I wasn't before.