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Thread: Dosing for Silvia

  1. #1
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    Dosing for Silvia

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi!

    Im just a newbie - so apologies in advance if this may seem obvious to some. * :-[

    I just acquired a Rancilio Silvia and matched it with a Sunbeam EMO480 (thanks to tips and advice on this site).

    However after extensive research, Ive come accross diffrences of opinion about the dosing levels in the filter basket for the Silvia - which has a dosing line.

    Can anyone provide advice on whether the coffee (after tamping) should be just below the dosing line, on the line, or just above it???

    Im experimenting with the many different variables to get the perfect pull to 25 seconds - I beleive this is one of many variables that could be holding me back from perfecting a shot. BTW - I also assume based on all the reading that 25 seconds is the goal.

    Im usually getting a dosing level just under the dosing line, even after a hard tamp and very fine grind, Im only getting an approx 12 second pull.

    Thanks in advance - Tony

  2. #2
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    Re: Dosing for Silvia

    What grind setting are you using?

  3. #3
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    Re: Dosing for Silvia

    I started at the recommended 10-12 setting and worked backwards from there. Ive tried it at its lowest at 1. The finer grind has helped, but its still not a 25 second shot. :(

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    Re: Dosing for Silvia

    You might want to have a look at :- http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1139479925.
    The problem seems to be the same one.
    Bruce

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    Re: Dosing for Silvia

    Are you using the plastic tamper that came with her...?
    i found it really really hard to get anywhere with that...
    Greg Pullman helped alot..! (as would other decent 58mm tampers)

    i probably dose a little higher than that aswell. (middle to top of circlip)
    grind loosely to fill the basket then tap and level off with finger/knife etc.
    then tamp to approx 15kg.
    same as everyone seems to promote and it works.

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    Re: Dosing for Silvia

    KoNG - You hit the nail on the head. The only thing is I wish I had read your response before wasting numerous coffees whilst experimenting to the wee hours of last night. :(

    In short, all you other new Silvia owners take note: Two Scoops of coffee are just not enough to get the right dose and a 25-30 second pull. I found that two HEAPED scoops plus approx a 3rd more are required. (Or over fill your basket and gently level it with with the back of your finger)

    I followed the Rancilio instructions suggesting two levelled scoops is enough for a double. However what I found was that after a good tamp (with My New Pullman!! :) Tamper) this would bring the coffee level a couple of milimetres under the fill line on the basket. Hence why I was getting 10 - 15 second pulls.

    For best results (as KoNG suggests) dose middle to top of circlip. Or in aother words, a few milimetres from the top, but just above the dosing line.
    Then a good hard tamp is required.
    Ensure that locking in the handle in the group head in very firm, but not too tight. If it is too tight (ie almost requiring two hands) youve added too much coffee to the basket and youll get a very long shot (under extract - i think under extract is the right term in this context??).

    This will take some time to perfect and get consistent results. But it is a releif knowing that the problem was not caused by the quality of the grind on my new Sunbean EM0480.

    Happy coffee drinking and thanks for your help!!!

    :) :) :) :) :) ;D ;D ;D

  7. #7
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    Re: Dosing for Silvia

    A typical grind to order is to dose and tap the side of the pf - a few times during the dosing proceedure - firmly- to settle ground coffee; brush off with the side of your finger to create a full, level basket then tamp. If you can see the dosing line (groove) you have underdosed. If the shot runs too quickly or slowly, adjust grind to obtain approx. 25-30ml during a 25sec pour.

    Alternately, dose and collapse (updosing):

    Fill and tap the basket as per the above; allow the weight of your heavy, pullman tamp to collapse the grounds, fill again and then tamp. Adjust grind as required.

    Chris

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    Re: Dosing for Silvia

    This would be opposed to a bean monkey who uses one hand to show the PF to the plastic tamp fitted to a commercial grinder and then extracts a 15 second shot. Why do they do that? Does it actually mean the machine pump will wear better?

    Boris

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    Re: Dosing for Silvia

    The allegedly standard 14 gram double shot will not produce satisfactory shots. The Silvia basket will take about 18 grams, which is achieved by over-filling, knocking the PF on the bench to settle the ground coffee, and then filling a little over the top again, then levelling off.

    If you cant screw it onto the group, theres too much coffee in there.

    Ive said before, the level of coffee BEFORE tamping is not all that good a visual reference. The degree of roast, humidity and fineness of grind will conspire to give varying densities for the same volume. It might look heaped, but inside it is fluffy coffee and air and little density. It might look heaped, and this time it could be the opposite --dense coffee which is already pretty packed before tamping.

    Robusto

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    Re: Dosing for Silvia

    Quote Originally Posted by robusto link=1140401244/0#8 date=1140524834
    <snip>

    Ive said before, the level of coffee BEFORE tamping is not all that good a visual reference. *The degree of roast, humidity and fineness of grind will conspire to give varying densities for the same volume. *It might look heaped, but inside it is *fluffy coffee and air and little density. *It might look heaped, and this time it could be the opposite --dense coffee which is already pretty packed before tamping.

    Robusto
    ....which is why so many top baristii use dose and collapse....even in competition. It removes density issues is extremely accurate and it works.... ;)

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    Re: Dosing for Silvia

    Quote Originally Posted by Boris link=1140401244/0#7 date=1140514788
    This would be opposed to a bean monkey who uses one hand to show the PF to the plastic tamp fitted to a commercial grinder and then extracts a 15 second shot. Why do they do that? Does it actually mean the machine pump will wear better?

    Boris
    Two reasons spring to mind: economy, and ignorance. In a cappuccino/latte, the shortcomings of the shot will be disguised by the more voluminous milk, so if you can extract 50 mls from a few beans, most punters wont be the wiser. *

    Ive had *the barista pass over the cardboard cup and Ive marked the coffee level on it, then passed it back for the milk. *Ive taken the disposable cup home and measure the volume of espresso, and even timed the pour in the cafe.

    Some amazing results, folks, quite amazing.

    Robusto





    Robusto

  12. #12
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    Re: Dosing for Silvia

    Yes- the stuff you see in cafes is absolutely AMAZING *:o

    Pre-Xmas I had the pleasure of doing some site audits for a coffee company..

    Stuff we all take for granted is the exception rather than the rule. I saw:

    • Filthy machinery and portafilters (one was so putrid underneath the basket that the hole was not visible. I later chipped out 15mm of garbage with a hammer and screwdriver.

      Rarely are group heads flushed or baskets wiped out or at least rinsed
      Grinders rarely emptied, cleaned or brushed out

      THE MAJORITY of operators are either not allowed or simply dont know how to adjust a grinder

      A 6 second pour (including pre-extraction) to completely fill a capp cup (supposedly a long black)

      1.5L jugs filled with putrid many times reaheated milk

      Milk left on benches so long as to be at room temperature

      1 month old pre-ground decaf in a canister




    and I could go on....

    The typical objections were along the lines of:

    • But were soooooo busy

      It has to be done fast

      But thats a waste of coffee?? (BTW How many cups from 1 kilo??)

      The customers like it that way...


    Its not surprising- because the majority of these people have never had any training- they picked it up on the way....and- most of them are in it for the money, not the customer, nor the coffee....And most Aussies (85%) drink instant coffee at home anyway...So dont be surprised that shopkeepers get away with it.....

    People say that Melbourne coffee is great....Its a joke and I hate to admit it, but we are falling well behind Sydney...

    So send back the coffee and tell the PBTM whats wrong. If they cant get it right, refuse to pay- and then politely suggest that they come to the academy to learn how to do what they do ;)...

    Maybe then Ill be able to walk into a cafe and not be scared to order a coffee *;)



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    Re: Dosing for Silvia

    This is why I would like to see a recommended list of cafes that other snobs can suggest as being worth a visit for each city and even suburb. I dont necessarily need a stamp of approval but would like to know that if Im in the city then XXXX is a good choice for a cuppa because they at least attempt to concentrate on the end result and have other redeeming features.

    BTW does latte art mean a good cuppa? If a barista can be bothered to add some art does it mean that they will be concentrating on the other aspects of coffee making such as extraction and looking after their hardware.

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    Re: Dosing for Silvia

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt G link=1140401244/0#12 date=1140566444
    BTW does latte art mean a good cuppa? If a barista can be bothered to add some art does it mean that they will be concentrating on the other aspects of coffee making such as extraction and looking after their hardware.
    Good question.
    Good latte art means good milk texturing.
    If they are paying attention to something like this, it probably follows that they have concentrated on the grind and shot too.
    As for whether it makes a good coffee.... hmmm.
    It will still depend on the coffee they use and the total skills of the person making it.

    I must say that I have had coffees from about 5 places that did latte art and none of them have been horrible.

    Given the choice of 2 unknowns to try, Id try the one who can pour a heart or rosetta ahead of the other one.

    Brett.

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    Re: Dosing for Silvia

    Quote Originally Posted by 2muchcoffeeman link=1140401244/0#6 date=1140500521
    Alternately, dose and collapse (updosing):

    Fill and tap the basket as per the above; allow the weight of your heavy, pullman tamp to collapse the grounds, fill again and then tamp. Adjust grind as required.

    Hi Chris,
    I treid the dose and collapse (updosing) option as you described. *It works a treat!! * :) *Got a longer shot immediately.

    Just a tip - dont throw away the plastic tmper that comes with the Silvia though, it is useful for the updosing method. *This is because the filter basket is tapered (smaller at the bottem than the top). My Pullmam tamper didnt work efectively for the 1st tamp on the 1 scoop as it is designed to fit perfectly at the top end of the basket taht is filled with 2+ scoops. *

    So, in short; for a 25-30 second pull with a Silvia double basket;
    1. *Dose and light tamp with approx 1 scoop using original plastic Silvia tamper, then,
    2. *Fill again with another approx 1.5 scoops and hard tamp with Pullman or equiv 58mm tamper.
    This will almost guarantee a long pull!

    Thanks for all the advice and help!!

    Tony

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    Re: Dosing for Silvia

    PS...And a thanks to all the others who provided tips on this topic - Robusto, KoNG, Billi etc..!! The combined hints and tips really helped refine my technique!!

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    Re: Dosing for Silvia

    Perfectly-fitting tampers in my opinion are a hinderance. Some grounds are bound to wedge themselves between the basket wall and the tamper, so excessive force is then needed to tamp. Also, when you go to do the final twist/polish, you cannnot because of that tight fit.

    Those humble plastic Silvia tampers arent so bad after all once you get the hang of it.

    Robusto

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    Re: Dosing for Silvia

    Quote Originally Posted by robusto link=1140401244/15#16 date=1140774653
    ....Those humble plastic Silvia tampers arent so bad after all once you get the hang of it....
    Robusto
    Bad for what? ;) ;D

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    Re: Dosing for Silvia

    Hmmm,

    Ive got a custom Pullman Tamper and its never caused the problems youve highlighted. I would say that it is about 0.5mm smaller than the I.D. of my baskets and works just perfectly..... :)

    Mal.

  20. #20
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    Re: Dosing for Silvia

    Just a tip - dont throw away the plastic tmper that comes with the Silvia though, it is useful for the updosing method. *This is because the filter basket is tapered (smaller at the bottem than the top). My Pullmam tamper didnt work efectively for the 1st tamp on the 1 scoop as it is designed to fit perfectly at the top end of the basket taht is filled with 2+ scoops. *

    So, in short; for a 25-30 second pull with a Silvia double basket;
    1. *Dose and light tamp with approx 1 scoop using original plastic Silvia tamper, then, *
    2. *Fill again with another approx 1.5 scoops and hard tamp with Pullman or equiv 58mm tamper. *
    This will almost guarantee a long pull!

    Thanks for all the advice and help!!

    Tony
    Gday Tony,
    You might like to try slightly different ratios to the above if youre going to use that method. Start off with 1.5 - 2 scoops, then tamp, then add 0.5 - 1 scoop to make up the difference, then do your final 15kg tamp and then polish. Youll probably find that you can get by using only the 1 tamper then, and get rid of the plastic one.
    Just a thought.
    Steve.

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    Re: Dosing for Silvia

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by 2muchcoffeeman link=1140401244/0#11 date=1140564766
    Yes- the stuff you see in cafes is absolutely AMAZING :o

    The customers like it that way...
    Well, not necessarily! :D I have been known to turn on my heels and walk out without ordering, if the whole place smells of rancid coffee.

    And, most of the time, when I hate the coffee, I dont bother saying anything, just never return. You are right, I probably should say something, and may do so in future, but they do have a point that most people wouldnt know good coffee if the fell over it. I have a friend who always complains that my coffee isnt hot enough. (he used to shove it in the microwave, but now I simply burn the milk for him ;D) When were out, he sends the coffee back when it isnt "hot enough". He never complains about yuck coffee as long as it is boiling hot.



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