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The art of tamping for the Rancilio Silvia

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  • The art of tamping for the Rancilio Silvia

    Hi everyone

    Just how much pressure is one supposed to tamp? I've routinely read 30 pounds of pressure, then other forums recommending 7-15 pounds. Obviously the Silvia requires a finer grind than most, but I find that 30 pounds makes extraction near impossible (i might as well replace the puck with an actual ice hockey puck), but 7 pounds just seems ridiculous.

    What have been your experiences? Cheers!

  • #2
    Are you using the single or double basket..?
    Singles need to go in the bin.

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    • #3
      Silvia was my Ex before i moved onto an isomac. Double basket, bottomless PF, i found there was no need to flex muscles, just a short firm downward twist did the job nicely.

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      • #4
        I'm using a double basket.

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        • #5
          I've never measured how heavy I push,
          but just now i've pushed down on a set of scales with the weight I normally would and it's exactly 15.5kg

          from a full, levelled 18g VST Basket and that weight, the coffee would compress down about 4mm in the basket.
          SO if it's choking the machine, you're too fine, or trying to get too much in the basket.

          I've been experimenting with an under-dosed basket (15g in the 18g basket), finer grind and slightly lighter tamp.
          It's been producing some beautiful, tasty shots.

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          • #6
            You need to tamp hard enough to prevent channelling. Firmness of tamp is unlikely to be the reason your pours are choking, you probably need a courser grind.

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            • #7
              Welcome Bgoo...

              The correct Tamping Force to use, is that which is comfortable for you to use with reliability and consistency.

              Aim for something between seven and fifteen Kilos, and practice applying a force until you can do this reliably and consistently. If you own a set of bathroom scales, place it on the bench/table or where-ever your espresso machine lives, then tamp away on top of the scales to establish the most comfortable technique that suits you, and is both reliable and consistent in the force developed.

              Alternatively, you can just tamp as hard (and level) as you possibly can each and every time, with the same dose in the filter basket, only adjusting the setting on the grinder so as to get an acceptable pour in the requisite time frame. This is by far the easiest way to start off, until you become more confident in the processes involved. Once you're happy with the quality of the pours being produced, you can then start to refine your tamping technique using the method described in the paragraph above, if you want to.

              What ever works for you is good...

              Mal.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Robbks View Post
                I've never measured how heavy I push,
                but just now i've pushed down on a set of scales with the weight I normally would and it's exactly 15.5kg

                from a full, levelled 18g VST Basket and that weight, the coffee would compress down about 4mm in the basket.
                SO if it's choking the machine, you're too fine, or trying to get too much in the basket.

                I've been experimenting with an under-dosed basket (15g in the 18g basket), finer grind and slightly lighter tamp.
                It's been producing some beautiful, tasty shots.

                Thanks everyone! I agree with Robbks - slightly less pressure is yielding tastier and more beautiful shots

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