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Thread: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

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    Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi everyone,

    Ive been using a Bodum Granos for the last 2 years for espresso and have generally had fairly good success. Ive always used the same coffee, Genovese beans ground at home and find the result great. A few months ago I started to experience a problem regarding pressure in the Bodum and decided it was time to upgrade. I purchased a new Rancilio Silvia and Rocky, headed out to pickup a fresh bag of Genovese and get dialed in. Well after much trial, error and stress I an just about to give up. No matter what I do I can not seem to get a decent coffee out of this combination.

    Ive ensured the Rocky setting are correct and that zero is actually zero. Ive tried grind setting from as low as 3 and up to 14, Ive tried Tamping from 5Kgs of pressure up to as hard as I can press, Ive tried setting the filled portafilter up hard to the screen and way below the screen and Ive also tried using more and less coffee than prescribed in the manual. NOTHING!! Seriously, I am really starting to stress that Ive paid over $1200 for a pair of machines that I can not get to work properly. Ive just tried my 5th shot in the last hour, fresh Genovese beans ground at a setting of 8, one scoop of coffee in the single shot filter, tamped to around 15Kgs. Throw this in the Silvia, hit the switch and Ive got around 45ml in 8 seconds!!!!!! For the love of god what am I doing wrong!!!!

    Im quite willing to pay anyone who has a Silvia and is in the SE Melbourne area to come around and give me a hand, *I just dont know what else to try! Could there be a fault with the unit outputting too much pressure? I highly doubt it but Im clutching at straws here. Any suggestion, help or counseling are extremely welcome.

    Thanks for reading all the way through this whinge, I feel better knowing Ive now put my problem out to a knowledgeable community.

    Cheers,

    Greg.

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    TC
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Hi Greg,

    Silvia and Rocky are not easy taskmasters. Nevertheless, youll get a great result out of them with some good training.

    We run a variety of courses and are happy to assist.

    regards

    Chris

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    Senior Member redzone121's Avatar
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Hi Greg,

    Many of these have been taken back to the shop well before the first 6 coffees have been attempted. But rest assured you will get the info you need here to get some awesome shots out of your set up. I had a Silvia/Macap set up for 6 months and had it pretty well sorted after alot of help from these guys at CS.

    I will get the ball rolling with: Roast date of beans ? and are you using only the single basket so far?
    For me best results were beans 3 - 10 days old and I never used the single basket it just looked a bit tricky.

    The rest of the crew will blind you with their brilliance.

    Dont give up it will be well worth it !!!!
    CB 8-)

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    A course is a great idea. I took one after I bought Silvia where I could take in my machine and it is quite humbling to see somebody walk up to it and pull a great shot after my many weeks of poor results.

    A second suggestion is to ditch the single basket. They arent easy to master and frankly I never did. I use the double only (actually I use a LM double basket which is bigger again). The extra coffee in the basket makes a big difference.

    I have found that getting the amount of coffee in the filter basket right has a big influence on pour speed. I try to fill such that the tamped coffee is just above the line in the basket and it takes a little more effort to lock in. Also when filling I fill and tap on the bench to settle a few times or I grind into a cup and break up the clumps with a small hand wisk and then pour the grinds into the filter basket. Using the wisk makes a noticeable difference.

    Good luck!

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Chris, believe it or not I stumbled across talkcoffee.com.au about 30 seconds after writing this post, Id love to organise something so Ill probably give you a buzz tomorrow.

    CB, Ive actually tossed the pack the beans came in as I store them in an airtight container. Im assuming the date would have been one of the numbers stamped on the top of the bag? Ill get another bag on Tuesday Im guessing as the amount of practice Im going through at the moment is seeing an enormour amount of coffee going down the drain!

    Mr Macchiato, a course where you use your own machine is a great idea. I was considering heading off to William Anglais in the city but getting it right one their machines and getting it right on my machine is a VERY different thing :)

    I think Ill toss the small basket. Does that mean that going for a 30ml shot I should aim for an extraction time of around 15 seconds then???

    I cant believe how active this forum is. I really appreciate the help guys, keep it coming :)

    Cheers,

    Greg.

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Its difficult to help you unless you can describe exactly what the problem is. So calm down, dont panic, and just tell us what you have done and what has gone wrong.

    From the sounds of it, you are getting way too much coffee too quickly. Regardless of what number your grinder is set on, the solution to this particular problem is always the same: dose more and/or grind finer.

    Dosing is probably the single hardest thing in making espresso - a fact that is seldom acknowledged online. Its actually a lot harder than it looks, as differences of less than a gram make significant differences to your pour times. Dosing for the silvia will be harder than for the Granos because the Silvia has a proper portafilter and basket, whereas I think that the Granos has a pressurised portafilter. The purpose of a pressurised portafilter is to create the resistance that you should be creating by using the right grind and dose. I think that they are used in mass-market machines so that your typical consumer, who will probably be using preground coffee and will return the machine before they learn how to dose consistently, can get a result that looks good - thats sufficient not to get the machines returned, seeing as people are, by and large, accustomed to drinking pretty crappy tasting coffee. The downside of this system is that it removes your ability to really observe the changes in taste that result from changing the grind and dose - this is critical to achieving the best espresso that you can.

    It sounds like you might be using scoops. Throw them away; they really dont help. Instead, grind more coffee than you need, dose it out so that you have a little mound above the portafilter, rap your portafilter a few times on the bench to collapse it, then strike it off level with a straight edged object, going back and forward so as to fill in the edges. As has been suggested, its best to try the double basket. If they hold twice as much and you have a constant margin of error when dosing, your error will have half as much impact on the resultant shots when using the double as compared with the single.

    As you say, though, by far the fastest way to get going is to have someone show you. Its pretty poor service from the vendor, IMHO, not to offer you a lesson. Chris (talk coffee) excels at getting beginners making coffee that they are happy with very quickly, so it would be worthwhile giving him a call.

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Hi Luca,

    Im calming down now :)

    OK, Im going to toss the single shot basket and give it a run without the scoops. Here is the primary problem at the moment.

    Ive been using exact scoops in both the single and double filters. Extraction takes around 5 to 8 seconds and towards the end its not coffee, just light brown water. When I remove the puck from the portafilter it is loose and has a sloppy consistency.

    Am I placing too much emphasis on the 30ml/60ml in approx 30 seconds rule? Is this a general rule of thumb or a pretty hard and fast rule?

    I cant blame the vendor for lack of service. The setup was a birthday present, I chose what I wanted and my parents ordered and collected it. Unfortunately my folks live in Byron Bay and they purchased it there and brought it down with them. Im sure they vendor would give lessons but a trip to Byron is out of the question, Ive already checked with the wife :)

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    Senior Member speleomike's Avatar
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Hi gkws
    Take Lucas 2nd last para and follow it precisely:
    > It sounds like you might be using scoops .....
    > .....as compared with the single.
    He summarised the procedure pretty well.

    The 30ml/60ml in approx 30 seconds is a general rule to put you in the right flow region for good coffee.

    A course at William Anglais should not be needed. You would be best visiting one of the sponsors here to give you a short showing. It would take just 30 minutes instruction on a Silvia to get you making good coffee. A Silvia is a great machine.

    Mike

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Hi Greg,

    Welcome to Coffee Snobs.

    Too bad the missus wont agree to a trip to Byron.

    The 30ml/60ml in approx 30 seconds is a guide.
    The taste is the rule.

    As luca has already said, to slow down those fast pours you either need more coffee in the basket or a finer grind.

    I agree with him to get rid of the scoops.
    They are tying you to an exact measurement that doesnt necessarily (and in this case probably proven) suit your needs.

    The thing to remember is to only change one variable at a time.
    Then you know what has made a noticable change.

    If you change more than one variable at a time you dont know which one, if not all, caused the change.

    Start with filling the double basket as luca has explained.
    After seeing how that goes you can proceed from there.

    If that method means you are putting more coffee in than the previous two scoops, there is your first change; amount of coffee.

    If you see the pour has slowed, see if you can fit a bit more coffee in on the next shot.

    Once youve exhausted the "add more coffee" variable, the next one to change is the grind size.

    Assuming the pours are still too fast you need to go finer.
    Explore this variable until you hit the pour time you want.

    Once you get a coffee/grind combo that works theres the option of changing those variables again to see how the taste changes.

    You could put lin ess coffee and grind finer to get the same pour time and see if you can taste a difference.
    You can try that experiment after you get this first little problem sorted.



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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Hi Mike.

    Thanks, Ill give the suggested procedure a run in the morning. Im rapidly running out of coffee again however :)

    I understand this is a very difficult question to answer but does a setting of 8 sound too high on the Rocky? Ive done so much reading and it appears that beans, age, temp, humidity and celestial alignment all play a crucial part in required grind, and even this seems to require regular changing. Surely there is a general rule of thumb that can be used??? Or maybe not!

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Hi Thundergod.

    Thanks for the extensive reply. OK, here is the plan:

    1. Im going to try packing the filter as outlined by Luca using my current grind setting of 8.
    As Im now using twice the coffee should I be aiming for an extraction time of 15 seconds for 30ml?

    2. If I dont achieve the desired result I will then start winding down the grind setting.

    3. If that doesnt work Ill put the whole lot on eBay ;)

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    Senior Member speleomike's Avatar
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Hi

    8 is not high. All grinders will be a bit different but as an example for some beans I use 8 and others about 12. For your grinder the range might be different by a few notches. The important thing is to start from one grind setting (say 10 or 8) and follow Lucas procedure. If the coffee gushes, grind finer - it it clogs or dribbles out in drops like an old guy with a swollen prostrate then grind coarser.

    Mike

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Thanks Mike.

    I just wanted to know 8 wasnt an insane starting point.

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    " ... should I be aiming for an extraction time of 15 seconds for 30ml?"

    With a double basket, aim for 60ml in 30 seconds (thats 30ml from each
    of the two spouts). Dont worry too much if its a bit out -- get somewhere
    in the vicinity at first. As TG said, its a guideline. The time is usually
    measured from when you switch on the pump to start the pour.

    The pour should start reasonably dark. Its best to stop the pour when the
    colour changes to a very light colour (this is called blonding).

    BTW you certainly arent the first to be in this situation -- I went through
    a few kg of coffee before getting all the variables straight! Its worth it
    when you get there.

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Thanks hazbean.

    I only have a single shot for my macchiato so does it matter if I stop the dual filter shot at 30ml? Will I miss some of the coffee "goodness" stopping so short?

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    The flavour profile is adversely affected by pulling the shot so much short.

    Best to run the shot into two cups and throw the other one away. At least
    for now, until you get the technique sorted and then have another try at the
    single basket.

    Or have a double macc to celebrate getting it right?




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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Heres hoping there will soon be celebratory double shots soon.

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Hi gjws,

    Good to hear that the problem is only that the shots have run too fast. That clearly indicates that the problem is grind or dose; probably dose, if you have been using the scoops. I think that you will be surprised how much of a difference dosing properly will make.

    Dont worry too much about the numbers on the grinder. Most people starting out want to be told that theres some number to start with, but different coffees and different rockys can lead to very different numbers. 8 above burrs touching sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

    When adjusting the grind, its a good idea to grind for few seconds to purge any coffee at the previous grind setting from the throat of the grinder, otherwise if it mixes in, you will wonder why your subsequent shots werent flowing at the same rate as your first.

    It always takes some sacrificial coffee to get a new setup right; stick with it; youll get there. Once you dose up, it might be worthwhile trying to make some relatively big movements on either side (3 steps) just to make sure that you are somewhere inbetween gush and choke.

    30mL/30 seconds is a rough, but useful, guide. As you progress, you will work out what you like. If I were you, I would start off aiming for about 20mL (40mL from a double) in 20-24 seconds. This is an espresso extraction, but cut off two thirds of the way in. The last third often doesnt contribute much to the shot, but things are probably more likely to go wrong there. Cutting the shot at 2/3 volume will allow you to clock up some easy wins.

    Let us know how you go,

    Luca

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Thanks Luca for your help, I really appreciate it. Im looking forward to breakfast now :)

    Ive been looking at a few videos on youtube of the silvia in action and not one of them uses a scoop. This did surprise me at first but now I understand why!

    Ill be sure to follow your advice and go for the slightly shorter 2/3 extraction tomorrow. From reading some other posts it seems that last 1/3 is where you can start to introduce bitterness into the shot. Im also going to purchase a Pullman tamper tomorrow. The one that comes with the Silvia leaves a 1/2 inch gap around the edge when you place it in the centre of the portafilter so it is necessary to move it around in order to reach all the coffee in the filter. Im sure this would be leading to an uneven pressure being applied to the coffee and possibly (probably?) leading to irregular water flow as well.

    Thanks again, Ill report back tomorrow.....

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Quote Originally Posted by gjws link=1213524418/0#14 date=1213535518
    Thanks hazbean.

    I only have a single shot for my macchiato so does it matter if I stop the dual filter shot at 30ml? Will I miss some of the coffee "goodness" stopping so short?
    Hi GJ,

    You can use my e-61 dosing tips: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1167622442 as a starting point. Also, chuck the standard Silvia baskets out and get some that are not thimbles ;)

    The Silvia shower screen is lower though so I would not bench tap at all. Just bring the coffee to a mound, brush off, collapse, top up and then tamp. Hopefully this wont give too high a dose. Adjust your grind accordingly.

    I am happy for you to bring your kit in for a short training session, or alternately as mentioned, I can train you in your home with my Talk Coffee hat on.

    Its a shame that whoever sold you your machine let you walk without running you through the basics (and selling you a decent tamper) *:(. Poor service is remembered long after a rock bottom price is forgotten.....

    regards

    Chris

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    aaah...your tamper. You can do everything else right....fresh beans/grind/dose and then completely fall off the tracks with the tamp. You cant get a well fitted tamper quick enough. It will make a HUGE difference and I imagine is the cause of much of your frustration. The Pullman will be great.

    Having an uneven tamp (which is inevitable with the one youre using) means there are areas of less resistance in the puck for the water to exploit. This means that much of the water will flow through a smaller amount of your grinds (and do so quickly!) resulting in over an overextracted (bitter) and weak shot.

    dont give up...itll taste that much sweeter when you nail it!

    sd

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    GJWS

    Get the dose right and consistant, then you adjust the grinder.

    When the dose for a silvia is right, you will feel a little resistance when you twist the PF into the group. If you dont feel this, you have underdosed, and if you put too much coffee in you simply wont be able to get the PF into place.

    You can check by removing the PF after you insert it, if it has been correctly dosed you will see an impression of the showerscreen screw in the puck.

    Also, from memory, the tamped dose will be about 3-4mm from the top of the basket.


    Dosing is hard to do: the window between underdose and overdose is pretty small, so it takes a lot of practise.

    As Luca says, the most important and most difficult thing in espresso making is getting the dose right. Basically everything else you do is requires correct dose so once this is right the rest falls into place.

    Buy a Kg of cheap supermarket coffee and put an hour aside and perservere.

    Chris dosing tips [above] are very useful and well described, just bear in ming that every machine/grinder/barista will be a little different.

    I have a Silvia too.
    When I had a sunbeam grinder, my dosing technique was to 3/4 fill the PF so there was a "mountain" of coffee just above the top of the basket.
    Then Id tap the PF on the bench [chopping board] a couple of times to settle the grinds down, then Id grind more so that the edges of the "mountain" were level with the top of the basket.
    Then, using the tip of my finger Id rearrange the stack to make it more even, then Id wipe off the excess, by sweeping the side of my finger across the top of the basket.
    Then Id rest the tamper on top, just to make sure it was level, and then I would do the tamp.

    When I changed to my Compak [which is stepless and has a doser], I found it better to grind and thwack into the PF until I got a huge mountain.
    Then I tap 10 times lightly on the bench, then level with the side of my finger, then tamp.

    It doesnt really matter how you achieve the end result as long as it is repeatable, Treat my suggestions above as guidelines, find something that works for you and stick with it.

    BTW you will struggle if you use that plastic scoop/tamper that comes with silvia.
    Im not going to cover tamping in this post except to say that the tamping pressure should be in the ballpark of 13-14Kg.
    If you check this using bathroom scales you will realise how much force is require and that a flimsy palstic tamper is never going to cut it.


    Doing a course will also fasttrack your skills plus you get to practise using someone elses coffee!

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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Personally I would be looking at the beans as the source of the problem.

    The Bodum Granos uses pressurized baskets. As such any beans will work pretty much equally well with it as its all fake crema.

    Now that youve moved up into the world of real espresso machines with unpressurized baskets, fresh beans are all important. If you dont have fresh beans no matter what you do you will never get good espresso out of Silvia. If youre buying your beans at a supermarket theyre not fresh.

    To get good results from Silvia you will need to source fresh beans. Either from a local roaster, a site sponsor, or from our very own CS Brown Bean store (see links on the left for sponsors and CS Brown Beans). With-out fresh beans youre doomed to never-ending frustration in your attempts to produce a good cuppa.

    Before you kick Silvia out, first toss the beans and get some known freshly roasted ones. Then see how it goes. :)


    Java "Gotta be fresh!" phile

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Quote Originally Posted by gjws link=1213524418/0#9 date=1213531790
    Hi Mike.

    I understand this is a very difficult question to answer but does a setting of 8 sound too high on the Rocky? Ive done so much reading and it appears that beans, age, temp, humidity and celestial alignment all play a crucial part in required grind, and even this seems to require regular changing. Surely there is a general rule of thumb that can be used??? Or maybe not!
    Hi There,

    We run courses in sydney on the silvia/rocky combo and in our experience the rocky is set between usually around 12 (but always between 10 and 15). This is also the case with our home set-up. We dose so that after tamping the coffee is level with the line inside the double filter basket. We 3/4 fill, give one tap, fill with small mound and remove excess coffee with a flat knife (or something similar), then tamp.

    Good luck!! Its a great combination when you get the hang of it!

    Debbie

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks again for all the assistance, this community is awesome! Well I have a small update. this morning I headed out and got myself a Pullman tamper to further help with the problem, here is the scenario as of 5 minutes ago:

    Used the double shot filter, filled to a small mound above the top of the basket then evened off with a knife to leave the basket completely full.
    Using the Pullman I tamped to as close to 15Kgs as I can guess after practicing on the bathroom scales!
    Place the portafilter into Silvia and it was quite a snug fit, the handle can around to face directly forward and was quite tight.
    Ran the shot through and it took around 10 seconds to produce 60ml.

    So the extraction time is still a problem, but the puck came out very firm and dry, unlike all previous attempts. I purchase the Genovese beans through a local cafe and Im starting to suspect they may not be all that fresh. On top of that I was actually out of beans so I had to use some coffee I had ground around 36 hours ago that were stored in a semi-airtight container. To make matters worse I think there were a number of different grind setting all in that same container left over for earlier experimentation, not the perfect choice I know.

    Im about to head out again and grab some fresh beans from "The Coffee Company" in Carlisle Street Balaclava to try again. Ive never used them before but apparently they roast their own beans and the are semi-close to home, plus I pass them on the way to the office :) Does anyone have any other places they could suggest the either Melbourne CBD or SE suburbs?

    Chris, Ill see if I can get some larger baskets when I purchase the coffee this arvo, thimbles you say eh ;) I will definitely take you up on the training, and with 2 small kids in the house it may indeed be easier if I come to you! Ill PM you tonight to get something sorted out.

    smokeydeck, it took me 2 tries to get an even tamp even with the Pullman, the first one was at a terrible angle when I had finished!

    reubster, Ive now tossed the plastic tamper altogether, it felt good. Using the supermarket coffee sounds like a good idea, Ive already tipped around $30 of coffee down the sink!

    Javaphile, I read your post and that is what got me thinking about the current Genovese beans I have been using. The Cafe I purchase from does go through quite a bit of coffee so I assumed they would have fresh beans. On second though however I figured that since I purchase the 250g bag it could well have been sitting there for quite some time.

    Debbie, thank you for your post. I havent tried the fill, tamp, fill, tamp method so Ill also try that tonight. Its nice to have some figures on the rocky also as its still a black art to me!

    Ill update again once I have tried with the new beans, stay tuned!!

    Cheers,

    Greg.

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Hi Greg,

    It may be a typo (you say fill, tamp, fill and tamp again..) but make sure you fill then TAP ONCE on the side of the bench, then fill then TAMP - dont tamp twice!!

    Good luck
    Debbie

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Yes, definitely dont tamp twice, it breaks the edge seal you so carefully
    made with your first tamp.

    Im from Adelaide, so not a Melb expert, but I do know one CBD place that
    sells excellent fresh coffee because I bought some there last week.
    That is Brother Baba Budan in Lt Bourke St. The coffee is from St Ali
    in S Melb.

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Sorry, my mistake, there will be no double tamping :)

    hazbean thanks for the tip, Ill drop in and have a look at Brother Baba Budan tomorrow. Interesting name!

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    ive got beans from coffee company before, and never had any problems. I think if you got some from there you could be confident the coffee is ok. I just sold my old coffee machine to a friend who couldnt get a good coffee out of it for about a week, and he picked up some coffee from there yesterday and got his first good shot.

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    OK, the kids are asleep so Ive had a bit of time to play. Let me just say......WOW!

    Firstly, once again a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed tips and encouragement. In all honesty 24 hours ago I thought Id made a huge mistake getting this machine combo. Tonight Ive still got a huge way to go to start making consistently great coffee but I actually believe I can get there with practice, the change in 24 hours is nothing short of amazing thanks entirely to your help.

    Now, here is what happened tonight......

    So I got 250g of a Java/Mocha blend from Coffee Company, threw a handful into the Rocky and ground at a setting of 8. Next I dosed into the basket until it had a heap in the middle then used a knife to spread the coffee until the basket was full. Next came the pullman....Im hoping tamping is something that comes with practice because I had to remove the coffee, loosen it up again an re-dose 3 times before I got it sitting level in the basket!

    Next I threw the portafilter into the silvia, hit the switch and waited with baited breath.......and out poured a shot around the consistency of warm honey, I was absolutely wrapped!!! I got 60ml in around 20 seconds, its quite a way from the suggested 30, but over twice the 8 seconds I was getting previously. I also couldnt believe the layer of crema it generated, Id guess around 5 to 7mm of a nice golden brown.

    Now, I have changed so many things over the last 24 hours I need to start getting myself into some sort of order. Here are my thoughts:

    Im happy with the pullman but clearly need heaps more practice to tamp the coffee level. I actually tried putting my second attempt into the silvia slightly sloping back to front and couldnt even get the portafilter into the machine, I guess Im pretty near the maximum coffee then! So the tamping is a work in progress.

    The dose Im fairly happy with as I dont think I could get any more coffee in and still get the portafilter on to the silvia. Ill come back to the dose if (when!) required but its my secondary thought.

    The grind I am still not sure about, and Im thinking of giving that my number 1 focus. I ground the coffee company beans at a setting of 8, but still get the full 60ml extraction in around 20 seconds. I plan on trying a grind of 6 tomorrow morning to see if the extraction time increases. I also have to ask, do you time the extraction from the time you hit the switch or the time coffee begins to flow out of the portafilter?

    So, what does everyone think of my plan? 1. Play with grind. 2. Play with dose. Does that sound like the right approach or should I swap those around? Or am I way off the mark completely?

    Yours very relieved,

    Greg.

  31. #31
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Count from hitting the switch.
    You might get 5 - 8 seconds of nothing before the first drop.

    Now that you are fairly happy with the dose amount go with changing the grind.

    I dont know how large the steps are on a Rocky but Id advise you to go to 7 next not 6.
    That way youll learn how much difference one step makes.
    If the steps are large, one may be enough.

  32. #32
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Great news Greg,

    As youre finding out pretty quickly, theres a bit more to pulling a great espresso shot than is immediately obvious ;).

    As someone above suggested though, it would improve things even further if you grabbed a couple of better PF Baskets, Synesso for example, which I think Greg Pullman also sells. Theyre just a better design all around, no ridge to muck up the tamping procedure or the force distribution under the Tamper. An extra bonus is that they hold a bit more coffee too so the shots produced are quite a bit richer.

    Anyway mate, youre making terrific progress and so long as you stick with high quality, freshly roasted beans only ground immediately before brewing, your shots will just keep getting better and better..... 8-)

    Happy brewing Greg [smiley=thumbsup.gif],
    Mal.

  33. #33
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Thanks Thundergod, Ill give it a try on 7 as you suggested. Im amazed it actually goes all the way up to 55, Im guessing that would probably just cut the beans in half!

    Mal if you had told me there was this much to know I wouldnt have believed you ;) I grabbed my pullman tamper from Espresso Elements in Hampton today as its very close to home. Callum were very helpful, Ill give them a ring tomorrow and see if they also stock the Synesso baskets. I had to laugh when my wife saw I had purchased the tamper today, she didnt say a word but the look was priceless :) Thanks mate.

    Cheers,

    Greg.

  34. #34
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Wait until you start roasting.

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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    I cant see roasting happening, I could burn water :)

    Ill tell you what, this whole process has made me appreciate why it is so difficult to get a really great coffee in the city, its bloody hard to make one!!

  36. #36
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Quote Originally Posted by gjws link=1213524418/20#34 date=1213623242
    Ill tell you what, this whole process has made me appreciate why it is so difficult to get a really great coffee in the city, its bloody hard to make one!!
    Thats where passion and determination come in Greg..... Great baristi have these traits in bucket-loads and know how to extract the best from the bean. At least at home, youve got plenty of time to learn how to perfect your technique without the shop-owner hanging over your shoulder while youre trying to make coffees for queued up patrons...... :o

    Cheers mate :),
    Mal.

  37. #37
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Quote Originally Posted by gjws link=1213524418/20#34 date=1213623242
    I cant see roasting happening, I could burn water
    My mother can too.

    But the other day she offered me coffee *::) because she wanted to show off her milk foaming ability.
    The interesting thing was her mentioning that she runs water through the group to heat up the PF (she has a little Breville).
    I dont remember teaching her that.

    Roasting is surely next.
    Remember when you thought you couldnt make coffee?


  38. #38
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    If youd tried one of my current creations you would probaly say I still cant make coffee :)

    A workmate of mine, the person who put me on to this site infact, once regaled me with tails of coffee roasting. I think I could possibly handle the popcorn popper method, but the making of custom roasters is way out of my league!

  39. #39
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    I cant see roasting happening
    and
    I think I could possibly handle the popcorn popper method, but the making of custom roasters is way out of my league!
    Well see.... :o 8-) ;D

  40. #40
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    You are definitely on the right track with 60 ml in 20 seconds.

    Try your next shot with the grinder 1 click finer and you should be even closer. If its not close enough then go to 6--all with same amount of grounds in the basket. If you have an accurate scale for small quantities this will help keep your doses consistent.

    The fresh beans will make all the difference.

    Its not really that hard--just fussy until you get the parameters in the right ballpark. Once you are OK then you can start experimenting by putting in a bit fewer grounds, and grinding a bit finer. There really is a sweet spot where your shots start to taste great.

    I recommend ristrettos--this is where you stop the standard pull at 30-40 ml in 20 seconds or so. This is usually sweeter in taste as the bitter caffeine is concentrated in the latter part of the shot.
    Keep up the good work!

    Greg

  41. #41
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Quote Originally Posted by gjws link=1213524418/20#29 date=1213614392
    So, what does everyone think of my plan? 1. Play with grind. 2. Play with dose. Does that sound like the right approach or should I swap those around? Or am I way off the mark completely?
    Based on my experience with my Silvia so far (all of 4 days I had a laugh, so fee free to ignore this!), tweak the dose so that you can feel a slight resistence when twisting in the portafilter. It shouldnt be too hard, you should just feel more friction than when twisting in an empty portafilter and basket. This is the dose level that Ive had best results with, for both double and single (which isnt the standard Silvia one) baskets.

    Once you can get this dose consistant, adjust the grind to get the flow rate you want. Try and keep your tamp the same as well, a nice solid one will minimise variation (since the grounds dont compress much after a certain level of pressure).

    So in summary I would (and did):
    1) Make sure the machine, portafilter and cups are nice and hot;
    2) Get the dose consistently getting some friction on the shower head screw;
    3) Do the same nice solid tamp every time (I dont have scales to test on, so cant give you a figure. I dont think I can do much harder though!);
    4) Then vary the grind to get the 60 ml in 30 seconds flow rate (if using the double basket). From where it sounds like youre at now, keep going 1 step finer until you get that rate.

    This worked for me, and now Im getting beautiful shots from my Silvia / Rocky.

    And yes, Ive found the beans are critical. With the fresh ones I have at the moment from CosmoreX, a grind setting of 15 on my Rocky gives perfect shots for both doubles and singles. This does seem a fair bit higher than yours, maybe I am a closet monster tamper I had a laugh.

    But when I was using a pack of Grinders decaf beans (only bought in the hope of winning the Silvia / Rocky combo), I had to take the Rocky it down to a setting of 8 to get the flow rate right and still ended up with horrible taste, no body and no crema. Haha, I cant believe I paid $15 for 500 grams of beans that I threw out to win something that I then bought!

  42. #42
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Sorry to butt in here with my question, but its along the lines of the topic discussed. I have had my rocky/silvia for about 6 weeks and getting satisfactory results. But I have a problem setting rocky right. with current coffee beans im using if i set rocky at 8 i get 60ml in about 20 sec (with a bit of blonding for the last few seconds) but if i set it at 7 i only get drips or if i tamp lighter then I get 60ml in 35 sec. and thats with a pretty light tamp. at 8 im tamping as hard as I can. there are no steps between 7 and 8 on the rocky! what do you suggest??

  43. #43
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Check out the thread on Rocky mods!

  44. #44
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Quote Originally Posted by divine link=1213524418/40#41 date=1213750691
    Sorry to butt in here with my question, but its along the lines of the topic discussed. I have had my rocky/silvia for about 6 weeks and getting satisfactory results. But I have a problem setting rocky right. with current coffee beans im using if i set rocky at 8 i get 60ml in about 20 sec (with a bit of blonding for the last few seconds) but if i set it at 7 i only get drips or if i tamp lighter then I get 60ml in 35 sec. and thats with a pretty light tamp. at 8 im tamping as hard as I can. there are no steps between 7 and 8 on the rocky! what do you suggest??
    Upgrade to a stepless grinder ;D

  45. #45
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Hi porschemad911. Thanks for the post. Im finding it is a VERY fine line between getting the correct resistance against the shower head, and getting the portafilter to attach at all! If I dont get the tamp 100% level then it is near to impossible getting the porterfilter to go on. I was away yesterday so Im hoping to do some further testing tonight.

    So divine, 6 weeks and the upgrade work has been thrown at you already :)

  46. #46
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    divine, you can control the time to some extent by varying the dose slightly.
    That can be done either by weighing the beans (tedious), or by the changing the
    number of bench taps. Each tap of the portafilter settles the grinds a bit more, so a
    few bench taps will make a significant difference. Worth an experiment.
    When I had a stepped MDF grinder, I would sometimes grind partly at one
    setting and then at another. Rockys settings are pretty close, should be
    possible to do reasonably well I think.

    Might defer the upgrade urge a month or two :)

  47. #47
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    thanks for that, I have since spoke to my local coffee roaster and he said he would be happy to look at the grinder for me if I keep having problems. but i will try the taps in the meantime. thanks for everyones assitance but maybe not ready for any upgrades just yet (also not a very handy person anyway!)

  48. #48
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    As Yeeza said, there is a thread on making Rocky stepless by placing plastic tubing at base of hopper.
    I have been planning to do this mod but so far havent gotten around to it, this could solve your fine adjustment problem.

  49. #49
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    i have been tapping the portafilter while filling it and its amazing the difference it makes. i was obviously underdosing before. i have been able to vary the pour times a lot while using the same grind. the only problem is the quality of my pucks has suffered. they are now more prone to having uneven edges when they come out. they are smooth and sealed when they go in it seems.

  50. #50
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    Re: Purchased Rancilio Silvia and Rocky but......

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Hello All
    Ive got oto this thread quite late but i too have just recieved a Silvia and Rocky for my birthday. I was sufering the same issues as Greg and was getting a little grumpy and loosing hope. After reading everyones advise, my next shot was close to being good. Not great, not brilliant but getting there.
    Thanks to everyone for helping Greg and subsequently, helping me out.
    Scott.



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