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New Silvia owner - Any tips or advice?

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  • New Silvia owner - Any tips or advice?

    I have made a major upgrade from an original cafe series from Sunbeam with a Silvia on its way

    I will be using a timer for early mornings to heat up the machine and I drink piccolos and macchiatos.

    Do I need to buy a Rocky grinder to get the most out of the machine? I currently have a Sunbeam grinder.

    Any advice or tips for a novice on the Silvia would be much appreciated as I want to set good habits from the get go!

  • #2
    A better grinder will give better results. I would get a K3T instead of the Rocky though.

    Having the machine warmed up properly is a good idea, but just be careful with your timer. Make sure your boiler is always primed and your steam valve is closed. I use one with mine and never had an issue, but just keep it in mind.


    • #3
      Thanks for the suggestions, will check out the K3T and I will keep in mind your point about the steam valve.

      May also add a boiler temperature gauge or a PID after reading posts here.


      • #4
        Without having used the K3T, it does seem to be the way to go if you've got the budget to go that next step in price. Another viable option could be the Breville Smart grinder. I posted it in your other thread, but I find it to be clearly superior to the Sunbeam. I'd imagine you'd get one for $200 or not much more, so it's a good value alternative. If you've got the money though, I'm sure you wouldn't regret going the K3.

        I also use a timer on my Silvia so that it's nice and warmed up by the time I'm up and ready to make that first coffee. As others have said, be careful to ensure it's not going to be firing up on an empty boiler, and all will be fine.

        P.S. I started this thread not too long ago re: Silvia upgrades, trying to get a feel from others' experiences, which are worth the $. The thread is aimed at the earlier Silvia (I bought second hand), and it takes a bit of a detour, but there are a few good suggestions in amongst it that will be relevant! One that I can highly recommend is upgrading on the Silvia's standard double basket. There are a few options in this regard, and it's a relatively inexpensive "mod" ($20-$25 odd outlay):


        • #5
          I had a Silvia V3 up until a month ago. Great machine to learn on as it can produce great shots, but is quite unforgiving if your technique is poor.

          I installed an Auber PID on mine and found it improved the consistency of the machine. A cheap mod that I found made a noticable difference was the installation of a flat shower screen. (<$10). I had a sunbeam grinder originally and didn't have any problems, but later changed to the Rocky. You will get great results with either the K3T or Rocky.

          I also ran mine on a timer so it was hot in the mornings. I alway got better results giving a cooling flush if it had been static for an extended period.


          • #6
            I'm about 6 months into my relationship with a Silvia. I started on a sunbeam cheapie. Then bought a EM0480 grinder. About a year later I moved up to the Silvia. About a month later I ditched the EM0480 and bought a Rocky with a doser.

            I have bought and installed a flatscreen and screw and an in tank fridge filter. Flatscreen is sooo worth it as I hated having my puck messed up by that stupid bolt. Highly recommend also getting a decent 18g basket. The ones that come with Silvia aren't the best. Also drop some coin on a nice heavy stainless tamper. Other must haves for me are a milk temp thermometer, a couple metal mil jugs and a nice knock box.

            I don't have a timer for switch on. Weekday mornings, the machine gets turned on and probably has 15 mins to warm up. I just run some hotwater through the Porta Filter while begining my temp surf and that seems to get everything up to an acceptable temperature to pull a good coffee. On weekends, the machine stays on most of the day. To be honest I don't see much of a difference in in-cup taste between the short and long warm ups.

            The Rocky was a good upgrade from the EM0480. Grind consistency is much better. I like the doser. I only grind enough for the coffee I am about to pour, but I find that the doser helps de-clump the coffee grinds nicely so I don't have to work too hard on my tamping. From all reports the K3T is a great grinder, but it is significantly more expensive. I picked my Rocky up for around 300.

            I haven't PIDed my Silvia yet, however I am thinking about it. Not so much as I think I need it, but more that I am a bit of a tech nerd, and installing a PID would feel like overclocking my coffee machine which sounds cool to me. To be honest, I think basically the same results can be achieved by just getting to know the machine and always following a simple temp surf when pulling your shot.

            Silvia is great for steaming. I've been finding my consistency and quality of milk has really been helping my latte art efforts.

            Speaking of latte art, one of the best things I've done since I got my Silvia/Rocky combo was attend a Barista course that my partner gifted to me at Christmas. Did it with a place called Coffee Craft here in Adelaide. It was a one-on-one session where the let me bring in my machine and grinder. We ran through grind, dose and tamp techiniques (got some great tips here), pulled a heap of shots and looked at work flow. Once we had that sorted we began on milk frothing and then moved on to pouring latte art. As I had my coffee pouring and work flow pretty well under control we spent close on an hour practicing pouring milk. Was a great learning experience. We finished off talking about home roasting and experimentation with roast, grind and pour to extract different flavor profiles. So worth the money and so glad I did it.

            Hope you are enjoying your Silvia.


            • #7
              Search the forum for "Temperature surfing". Do a cooling flush i.e. as soon as the light goes out indicating it has come up to temperature do a cooling flush. Give the brew button a couple of 1-2 sec short bursts. You'll see some steam come out with the water initially after which you'll be right to go. You can then experiment with temp surfing if you choose to.

              Site Sponsor Talk Coffee still has the Compak K3P for $399 for CS members which is a killer price. Not many left according to a recent post.

              A fitted tamper is probably a good idea down the track. I am using a budget version of a "precision" tamper that came with my used machine and after getting a bottomless filter discovered that I was getting pinhole channeling at the edge of the filter basket. I need to do a N-S and E-W tamp to get rid of it. I think the basket is a Synesso double and the budget precision tamper is supposed to be a 58.7mm according to the box. Something like a Pullman tamper matched to the filter basket is the optimum if you can afford it.


              • #8
                Hi all,

                I'm looking at a Silvia + K3P combo at the moment.

                I'd just like to say thanks for all the advice and helpful suggestions.


                • #9
                  Thanks Damienh7, will check out your Silvia upgrades thread.

                  Ordered an 18 gm basket and was happy for the validation via mentasm

                  Will also get the flat shower screen, $10 can't go wrong?!

                  Thor Tampers have caught my eye, so maybe a grinder after that.....and a Barista course for myself and Silvia sounds awesome.

                  Have not even heard of an in tank fridge filter, so I will look into that one as well as 'Temperature Surfing'.

                  So many possible Silvia accoutrements.....better start clocking up more hours at work.

                  Thanks for all the fantastic replies!


                  • #10
                    I made the same move from the Sunbeam EM6910 to the Silvia, and have not looked back.

                    Feels more like a proper espresso machine than an appliance.

                    Breville smart grinder is great bang for your buck, but the same motto is the same with everything else in life. Get the best you can afford!

                    The K3 is a very good match for the Silvia, same for the Mazzer and Macap range of grinders.

                    If you can afford to get any of them, you should be a happy person.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Borgling View Post
                      Have not even heard of an in tank fridge filter, so I will look into that one as well as 'Temperature Surfing'.
                      I think this is the filter people are referring to - Fridge Filters Australia


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Borgling View Post

                        Will also get the flat shower screen, $10 can't go wrong?! Ordered an 18 gm basket and was happy for the validation via mentasm
                        Good idea, it really shines with double espresso
                        Originally posted by Borgling View Post

                        Will also get the flat shower screen, $10 can't go wrong?!
                        I would not get it. Sounds like a snake oil for me.
                        Having the stock screen with extruding screw head has it's advantages. When cleaning you do not want to be in situation when screw stuck and you cannot unscrew it.
                        The standard screw has a hex head which gives you an option to use wrench if the screwdriver does not work.
                        Having a small dent in the pressed coffee pack.... so what. Could you taste the difference?


                        • #13
                          the indentation in the puck can cause channeling which means you are not getting an even extraction from your puck. means some of the coffee in your filter will be over extracted and some will still hold its oils.