Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Solis 166 usable at all for espresso?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Solis 166 usable at all for espresso?

    Hi All,

    My Krups died on me and looking around on the net, I saw that the Silvia Rancilio was head and shoulders above the rest of the home machines (well most anyhow, dont want to offend anyone in my ignorance) so I took a deep breath and shelled out the cash for one of these beauties and it has just arrived.

    The thing is, my grinder is a Starbucks Barista (Solis 166), and I am hesitant to have to sheel out more clams for a new grinder as well. AAny chance of getting it to work half-way decently - I know it wont be ideal. Would the tweak to make it grind finer help? Maybe if I tamp extra hard? Any other tricks that might help?

    Thanks,
    Julio

  • #2
    Re: Solis 166 usable at all for espresso?

    Hi robodoc and welcome to CS

    Solis 166 AKA Delonghi KG100 AKA Starbucks Barista....

    In a word No!

    You can tweak the grind settings to make it finer.... but there is little or no point in trying that.

    The problem is the location of the two burrs is not very stable.... doesnt cause a problem with plunger coffee etc... but when you go fine enough for expresso.... you get grinds and lots of dust!!!

    The dust will block up the spaces between grinds in the basket so when you try to tamp it will choke your machine....

    less tamp pressure as a solution or coarser grinds - fast flow resulting in bitter coffee! (and even some of the dust will find its way into the cup)...

    Mine is relegated to a plunger grinder - which it does excellently...

    But espresso.... build quality just isnt good enough.


    And a Silvia needs - and deserves- a FAR better grinder than the 166

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Solis 166 usable at all for espresso?

      Julio,

      I basically agree with JavaB.

      However, if you want to read about the tweak
      http://www.kwilson.fsnet.co.uk/grinder_tweaks.htm
      3rd on the list. Standard warnings apply: This will void your warrantee, dont kill yourself doing it, dont eat Mexican food and stand near a naked flame etc.

      I owned the Delonghi badged version of this grinder when I got my Silvia and Rocky.
      Out of interest, I did a few shots using the old grinder and couldnt really get close to good results. I never tried the tweak (as I had the Rocky right there) so I cannot speak for or against it.

      Youve jumped in with the Silvia. I thoroughly recommend jumping in with a good grinder too. Perhaps contact site sponsors Di Bartoli to discuss.

      By all means, try things with the Solis, but youll be struggling to get consistantly good results.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Solis 166 usable at all for espresso?

        Originally posted by fatboy link=1161753481/0#2 date=1161755316
        However, if you want to read about the tweak
        http://www.kwilson.fsnet.co.uk/grinder_tweaks.htm
        3rd on the list. Standard warnings apply: This will void your warrantee, dont kill yourself doing it, dont eat Mexican food and stand near a naked flame etc.
        Yep, did that and the mod works quite well..... you get about 3 steps finer....

        So instead of grounds varying a bit at the smallest "normal" setting.... and only causing slight problems....

        When you set it finer the little bit becomes variation from dust to the size grinds you need!

        You can test it (without subjecting your Silvia to abuse ) by rubbing some of the grounds in the palm of your hand and looking at the size of the pieces..... a good grinder you will have what appears to be grains of salt.... all the same size bits.

        The 166 you will have everything from fine powder (the size of talc...) bits like pepper grains all the way through to the grain of salt size you are looking for..... And that combination will choke poor Miss Silvia!

        You have yourself a very good machine. The order of importance for good coffee is

        barista skills (you can develop these)
        Beans - fresh quality beans
        Grinder - able to produce consistent size grounds and easily adjustable by small amounts to get the grind right.
        machine !

        yep.... the machine is the least important.... and you have a very good unit - so you really need to "bite the bullet" and get a matching quality grinder.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Solis 166 usable at all for espresso?

          Thanks for the replies. Thats what I was afraid of. So is a Rocky the way to go, or is there a less expensive option that also works well? I realise that this is something I will be using every day for many a year, so I am willing to bite the bullet, but would rather it be a .32 than a .44  [smiley=undecided.gif]

          What about this new Sunbeam that is being discussed? Any point in waiting for the reviews on that one?

          Cheers,
          Julio

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Solis 166 usable at all for espresso?

            http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1110157172
            Id get an Iberital Challenge.
            It costs more than what you are willing to pay (~$250) but offers stepless grind adjustment. Long term goodness.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Solis 166 usable at all for espresso?

              Originally posted by robodoc link=1161753481/0#4 date=1161756717
              so I am willing to bite the bullet, but would rather it be a .32 than a .44 [smiley=undecided.gif]
              Julio,

              A .22 cal bullet is even better ;D

              What about this new Sunbeam that is being discussed? Any point in waiting for the reviews on that one?
              Well it sounds like it would be quite good... people have been having some reliability issues with the Sunbeam grinders (many have had to be replaced - but except for the pain of sending it back their customer service is very good)...

              So that ia a possibility.

              There is also a Nemox Lux or the existing Sunbeam EM0480 (both about the same quality and similar cost.... ) but of the lower priced units Id probably go for the iberital challenge.....

              A really good grinder will cost a bit more but will last you a lifetime (and give zero problems in that time - other than replacing the burrs from time to time). It will also make a huge difference in espresso quality

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Solis 166 usable at all for espresso?

                Julio,

                The EM0480 will do you fine... I use this grinder and for the money its untouchable.. having said that, the steps are quite dramatic however adjusting your dosing can counteract this....

                If I had a budget of max $300, then the iberital challenge would be my choice...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Solis 166 usable at all for espresso?

                  Yes the 166 is quite usable for the cheaper end espresso machines but is not really suitable for use with silvia....not for any other reason but that silvia requires a much finer grind and the 166 doesnt really allow proper adjustment to that extent.

                  Re EMO480, there are other topics here and elsewhere that  discuss this grinder and its apparent shortfalls so my advice would be to weigh up the pros and cons between what at first look seems to be a very "good" price, to what you eventually get for your money.

                  If you go down that road (emo480) and end up replacing it, then what started out as a low price may turn out to be a very False Economy? Spose it depends on the individual.

                  Regardz,
                  FC.  

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Solis 166 usable at all for espresso?

                    Hi All,

                    Thanks a lot for all the excellent advice. Great to have found this community of coffee aficionados here in Oz! Youve saved me many a frustrated day of trying to pull a good shot with a Solis grinder thats not up to the task.

                    It does sound like the Iberital is the way to go for me, and .250 or so is definitely a smaller bullet to bite than .400. I never heard of the Iberital before, but then a few weeks ago I had never heard of Rancilio, so Im definitely on a steeplearning curve here!

                    I was surprised at how readily my Chief Financial Officer at home agreed to buying the Silvia, and once she tastes the finished product with a proper grinder Im sure shell agree both items are a wise investment. I like a quote in the Iberital review thread, "Quality still remains long after the price is forgotten".

                    So Ill start price hunting now. Any suggestions of where to buy in Sydney or on the net would be most welcome.

                    Cheers,
                    Julio

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Solis 166 usable at all for espresso?

                      Julio...

                      Good choice!

                      I know Fresh Coffee (in Canberra) sell them... not sure about the others.

                      Why not send them a PM and see what they will do for you!

                      If you go with a site sponsor you know you will get great service.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Solis 166 usable at all for espresso?

                        I ordered my Challenge from Chris at Talk Coffee (2muchcoffeeman). He is out of town until the 31st. So there are a few sponsors that have them. In Sydney Di Bartoli are a sponsor but I am unsure if they have the Challenge, but worth a phone call or a visit to find out all the same. I dont have my grinder yet, will get it at the end of next week. So if you cant find one in Sydney but you want to check mine out let me know.

                        Brett

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Solis 166 usable at all for espresso?

                          Originally posted by robodoc link=1161753481/0#9 date=1161914740
                          Hi All,
                          I was surprised at how readily my Chief Financial Officer at home agreed to buying the Silvia, and once she tastes the finished product with a proper grinder Im sure shell agree both items are a wise investment. I like a quote in the Iberital review thread, "Quality still remains long after the price is forgotten".
                          Once youve got a perfectly matched grinder, youll never look back! We originally started with pre ground coffee (years ago!) and then once we bought ourselves the Delonghi grinder to match our little Sunbeam, we were staggered at just how much difference using freshly ground coffee made! Now we have the Silvia and Rocky combo and my friends are hard pressed to pick the difference between what I make at home and what I make at work. Sometimes I think I actually do better at home but a lot of that has to do with the beans I purchase for there.

                          Also, have a look up in our Coffee Hardware for Sale threads, Julio, you never know you might find a very good one there for a reasonable price and yes, check out Di Bartoli and Cosmorex Coffee. I mean really, I cant be biased between any of our sponsors here as they are all worth dealing with and distance is no problem in this modern world of freight transport! I have certainly put Aussie Post to good use over the years and even having lived out in the bush the longest it has taken for domestic mail to reach us is four days from a major centre! Which is not too shabby.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Solis 166 usable at all for espresso?

                            if youre in Sydney, go to di Bartoli at Bondi Junction
                            They have Iberital Challenge on stock, and they are very friendly.
                            I just picked up one on the weekend, but I havent give it a go yet.
                            If you mention youre from Coffeesnobs, you get a discount too ;-)

                            PS: I had/have exactly the same setup as you, Sylvia and delonghi grinder
                            Ill let you know how I go with the new Iberital.
                            Next on the list - a new tamper

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Solis 166 usable at all for espresso?

                              Originally posted by st33p link=1161753481/0#13 date=1162161792
                              if youre in Sydney, go to di Bartoli at Bondi Junction
                              They have Iberital Challenge on stock, and they are very friendly.
                              I just picked up one on the weekend, but I havent give it a go yet.
                              If you mention youre from Coffeesnobs, you get a discount too ;-)
                              Ive seen Bartoli mentioned in these fora and thought I might head over there one of these days to check it out. I might enroll in one of their training courses as well, if its worth it...

                              So what price did they give you for the Iberital? (PM me if you dont want to say publicly.)

                              PS: I had/have exactly the same setup as you, Sylvia and delonghi grinder
                              Ill let you know how I go with the new Iberital.
                              Next on the list - a new tamper
                              Great, we can compare notes as we try to tame the beast! ;D
                              I just got some Lavazza pre-ground (horror! ) coffee, just to have something to experiment with for now. No luck so far - I got a little bit of crema, but the shot ran through in just a few seconds, so I suppose its still not fine enough.
                              Also, as you know, the tamper that comes with the Silvia is crap, not only is it too small, but it has pretty significant curvature so that theres a big concavity in the middle of the coffee in the filter. Ive been trying to get a 58mm SS tamper for a decent price on eBay without success, so I think Ill just go ahead and buy one from my local roaster (Caffe Bianchi), and see if that makes the difference. I may also ask them to grind some coffee for me on their finest setting and see what that does (or would that choke Signorina Silvia?)

                              Cheers,
                              Julio

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X