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Thread: Any tips for preheating cups on Rancilio Silvia ?

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    Any tips for preheating cups on Rancilio Silvia ?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I am happy with the results (taste/crema/froth) I am getting with my new Rancilio Silvia - even given that my current coffee was bought pre-roasted and pre-ground over 4 weeks ago (I guess my snobiness will have to develop somewhat if I am to remain in this forum).

    Anyway, the one thing I am not satisfied with is the pre-heating ability of the machines cup tray. Are there any tricks to use or do I have to go to the trouble of hot water and drying cups before use every time ?

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    Re: Any tips for preheating cups on Rancilio Silvi

    Vin,

    I use the brew switch to pour hot water into the cup beforehand. I dont even think about it as it is part of the ritual now. Doing this, I think anyway, helps to bring the group head to the right temp plus it will activate the element. I fill unjtil the element light comes on, swirl the hot water a few times then tip it out. A quick dry and by that time Im nearly ready to pour the shot. The tray isnt that great for cups, but does take the chill out of them. I have noticed that my tamp will get flamin hot if left on top for a while.

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    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Any tips for preheating cups on Rancilio Silvi

    I find that the tray does OK for my Maxwell and Williams ceramic cups (standard size) as long as the machine has been on for at least 30 minutes.

    However, if Im using my glass mugs:
    • Fill with hot water using the hot water switch and steam wand.
      Do my grind/tamp/load
      Dump the water out of the mug (into next mug if doing multiples)
      Pour the shot into the heated mug.


    I dont usually worry about drying the mug before doing the shot.

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    Re: Any tips for preheating cups on Rancilio Silvi

    i essentially do the same processas fatboy.... through the steam wand until the brew light flicks on.. (then swirl water and tip it)
    But, i always dry the glass (usually a 90ml piccolo). :-D

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    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Any tips for preheating cups on Rancilio Silvi

    Quote Originally Posted by vinessence link=1161233414/0#0 date=1161233414
    (I guess my snobiness will have to develop somewhat if I am to remain in this forum).
    ;D....no, not really. It takes all kinds here!


    But, seriously...you would do well to purchase a suitable grinder or even if you live close to a roaster and can get them to freshly grind you small batches of coffee when needed if your budget cant stretch to a grinder at this stage. Fresh is definitely great but dont forget that having the right grind is even better! ::waits to see how many argue point:: ;)

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    Re: Any tips for preheating cups on Rancilio Silvi

    Thanks for the replies ... I will go on preheating the cups with hot water as suggested above, however I have found that I am constantly checking the water level to make sure I dont run out - wouldnt it be nice if the machine had some sort of visual or auditory alarm when you ran low ...

    Also, I was half expecting someone out there to know of a clever way of covering both the cups and the top of the heating tray to keep the heat in ... I guess its a silly idea.

    Cheers.

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Any tips for preheating cups on Rancilio Silvi

    Quote Originally Posted by vinessence link=1161233414/0#5 date=1161441550
    Also, I was half expecting someone out there to know of a clever way of covering both the cups and the top of the heating tray to keep the heat in ... I guess its a silly idea.
    In fact vinessence,

    Youve got to be a bit careful about doing that. Espresso machines are very carefully designed from a thermal input/output equation point of view. Any attempt at trying to retain the "waste" heat from the cup warming tray to improve cup warming efficiency will almost certainly lead to the excessive build-up of heat inside the machine and cause a more rapid onset of heat associated deterioration of certain components.

    Better to just keep on doing what youre currently doing and preheating the cups with hot water. Just have to get into the habit of always checking the water level after the last brewing session and filling her up if necessary.... thats what I used to do and Im sure a lot of other CSers do too. All the best,

    Mal.

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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Any tips for preheating cups on Rancilio Silvi

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal link=1161233414/0#6 date=1161443722
    Better to just keep on doing what youre currently doing and preheating the cups with hot water. Just have to get into the habit of always checking the water level after the last brewing session and filling her up if necessary.... thats what I used to do and Im sure a lot of other CSers do too.
    Indeed Mal! Even with My Cimbali M28 that is what I do.

    I have set the auto-refill sensor/switch so that it doesnt kick on until the boiler is only a quarter full (technically not a quarter full, but rather a quarter of the way up the sight glass) and I manually maintain the level at 3/4s of the way up the sight glass. At the end of each brewing session I use the manual fill lever to replace any water used from the boiler. I would have to forget to do this several times before the water level fell to the point where the auto-fill would kick in.

    Ive found that doing it this way means I can use the exact same flushing regimen each time. The water level in the boiler directly effects the rate of heat transfer in the HX. By maintaining the boiler at the same exact level one more variable is removed from the brewing equation. :)


    Java "Its all about consistancy!" phile

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    Re: Any tips for preheating cups on Rancilio Silvi

    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile link=1161233414/0#7 date=1161473940
    I have set the auto-refill sensor/switch so that it doesnt kick on until the boiler is only a quarter full (technically not a quarter full, but rather a quarter of the way up the sight glass) and I manually maintain the level at 3/4s of the way up the sight glass. At the end of each brewing session I use the manual fill lever to replace any water used from the boiler. I would have to forget to do this several times before the water level fell to the point where the auto-fill would kick in.
    Java "Its all about consistancy!" phile
    Java,

    No thats what I call being a perfectionist ::)

    I allow my M20 to autofill..... but being a fully auto :( it has a float and a microswitch to determine boiler water level.

    The maximum drop in level is about 0.5 cm before the autofill kicks in and takes it back to "full"..... so I figure the variation caused by the different percentage of the HX in steam and water will have little effect...

    I think the consistancy of the machine is far greater than the nut behind the handle (in my case at least) :D ;D

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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Any tips for preheating cups on Rancilio Silvi

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1161233414/0#8 date=1161475880
    Java,

    No thats what I call being a perfectionist ::)
    Guilty as charged! ::) :D

    I allow my M20 to autofill..... but being a fully auto :( it has a float and a microswitch to determine boiler water level.
    The M28 also has a float/switch for the auto-fill detection system, probably the identical one the M20 has as Cimbali has been using the same system for decades. The difference between a semi-auto and a full-auto is only in the dosing control and has nothing to do with the boiler auto-fill system which is completely independent of the dosing control system.

    The maximum drop in level is about 0.5 cm before the autofill kicks in and takes it back to "full"..... so I figure the variation caused by the different percentage of the HX in steam and water will have little effect...
    As long as the auto-fill doesnt kick in whle youre brewing youre right, it has little effect on the pull. However, if it kicks on while youre pulling a shot (which I found to be common while brewing and steaming at the same time) it has a definate effect on the temp of the brew water due to the lag time of the heating element.

    I think the consistancy of the machine is far greater than the nut behind the handle (in my case at least) :D ;D
    I had a laugh Indeed! :)


    Java "Is all about consistancy!" phile

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    Re: Any tips for preheating cups on Rancilio Silvi

    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile link=1161233414/0#9 date=1161477413
    The M28 also has a float/switch for the auto-fill detection system, probably the identical one the M20 has as Cimbali has been using the same system for decades. The difference between a semi-auto and a full-auto is only in the dosing control and has nothing to do with the boiler auto-fill system which is completely independent of the dosing control system
    Java "Is all about consistancy!" phile
    Interesting...

    I assumed (and we all know to assume makes an ASS out of U and ME ::)) that all semi autos had a level probe and relay due to lack of electronics. Certainly the circuits of semi autos Ive seen do.

    The float/microswitch method IMHO is much better.... no problem of boiler scale insulating the probe = less chance of overfilling (and water coming out of the OPV on the boiler :()

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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Any tips for preheating cups on Rancilio Silvi

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1161233414/0#10 date=1161478726
    The float/microswitch method IMHO is much better.... no problem of boiler scale insulating the probe = less chance of overfilling (and water coming out of the OPV on the boiler :()
    Scale build-up can also be a problem with the float type systems as scale can build up on the float itself, and its hinge, and weigh it down so that it is no longer detecting the true water level and in cases of extreme scale build up the pump never gets turned on/off. Leading to the boiler running dry or over-filling.

    When I bought my M28 and tore it completely apart for a rebuild I discovered that other than the inside of the HX tubes the worst area of scale build up was on the float of the water level detector.

    Ive attached a pic of the end of the boiler in my M28 showing the external portions of the water level control. I was taking the pics mainly to have them to reference if I forgot how something went back together and as the interior parts were so simple no pic was needed.


    Java "Trys to float" phile


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    Re: Any tips for preheating cups on Rancilio Silvi

    In caravan shops, they sell a water level monitor for abour $60.

    It is designed to go into any plastic/steel tank and consists of an "L" shaped rod with sensors every few centimetres, and a gauge connected via cable to the sensor.

    The idea is to cut a hole approx 18 mls diameter into the side of the tank, near the top... feed the rod through it so it points down towards the bottom. Its held in place with a tightly fitting grommet.

    Whatever sensors are underwater will illuminate a corresponding number of LEDs on the gauge. Simple.

    Perhaps the unit can be popped into Silvias water tank to give the same result ---- for anyone who finds lifting the lid and looking is too tedious a task.

    --Robusto


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    Re: Any tips for preheating cups on Rancilio Silvi

    30 seconds in the mirowave on high. Works a treat, I also use the timer on the microwave to time shots. At least until my new baby arrives with volumetric controls.

    Bart.

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    Re: Any tips for preheating cups on Rancilio Silvi

    What is the advantage of drying the cups before pouring the shot/after pre heating?

    I currently just preheat using the hot water switch and steamwand but dont dry the cup.

    Should i be drying the cup?

    mattm

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    Re: Any tips for preheating cups on Rancilio Silvi

    Quote Originally Posted by Bart link=1161233414/0#13 date=1161494263
    30 seconds in the microwave on high. Works a treat
    Me too Bart ;D..... And, it keeps the cups dry ::)

    Mal.

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    Re: Any tips for preheating cups on Rancilio Silvi

    Quote Originally Posted by mattm link=1161233414/0#14 date=1161517957
    What is the advantage of drying the cups before pouring the shot/after pre heating?

    I currently just preheat using the hot water switch and steamwand but dont dry the cup.

    Should i be drying the cup?

    mattm
    I cant see why you would need to.
    On the odd occasion that Ive had to make more coffee than Ive had cups on the machine, I just use the hot water spout, empty the water then pour.

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    Re: Any tips for preheating cups on Rancilio Silvi

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm link=1161233414/0#14 date=1161517957
    What is the advantage of drying the cups before pouring the shot/after pre heating?

    I currently just preheat using the hot water switch and steamwand but dont dry the cup.

    Should i be drying the cup?

    mattm
    Heres another 5c worth..

    There is a good reason for drying the cup, I just cant remember the full explanation, however Im sure competition judges would mark down any barista who used wet cups for a short black.
    As always for individuals, it comes back to your taste preferences.
    For myself I have got into the habit of using hot water from the jug or Silvia to preheat my latte/shot glass and then wiping it dry,
    now why use water from Silvia to preheat? Well you should be flushing some water through the grouphead before you start pulling shots to get rid of the slightly stale water that has been sitting in there while she was warming up....something I havent always done in the past, (thanks for that tip 2mcm) So why not use the grouphead flush to preheat your cup?
    OTOH my wife llikes her latte hot and I wont steam milk over 65C for anyone so I heat her mug up by filling it with hot water from the freshly boiled jug before I pour her drink.

    Now back to the dry or not debate.

    What are you making? A long black would typically be made with some hot water in the cup first, obviously its wet, but some might prefer to pour the shot and add the hot water 2nd.

    A latte or cappa will probably have enough milk added to cover the small difference in taste between a dry or wet cup.

    A short black/espresso or ristretto/doppio is different. Apparently even the shape of the container can make a difference, with curved rather than flat base inside the cup being preferred so that the extraction can roll around inside as it pours and hopefully give better crema, similarly I think the dry surface can have an effect also on creama and taste.
    However I dont know if I can taste the difference, I havent tried a back to back test, but the gurus do recommend a dry cup for best results.

    Regards
    Bullitt



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