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Thread: Newbie question: Can't get the portafilter in? :)

  1. #1
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    Newbie question: Can't get the portafilter in? :)

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

    so I'm sure this is a very stupid question, I'm hoping someone will take pity on me. I just bought a new Rancilio Silvia. However, I am having trouble getting the portafilter in. Without coffee I have no problems, but once I fill it with ground coffee, scrape off the excess and tamp, no luck. I'm not a totally idiot, so if I take some and re-tamp, I do arrive at a point where I can sort of get it in. The thing is all the videos on the internet showing people filling the portfilter with an excess of coffee, scrapping it level and then press it, so I'm fairly sure I'm following what the videos show.

    Can anyone please advise, many thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barneybear View Post
    Hi,

    so I'm sure this is a very stupid question, I'm hoping someone will take pity on me. I just bought a new Rancilio Silvia. However, I am having trouble getting the portafilter in. Without coffee I have no problems, but once I fill it with ground coffee, scrape off the excess and tamp, no luck. I'm not a totally idiot, so if I take some and re-tamp, I do arrive at a point where I can sort of get it in. The thing is all the videos on the internet showing people filling the portfilter with an excess of coffee, scrapping it level and then press it, so I'm fairly sure I'm following what the videos show.

    Can anyone please advise, many thanks!
    Are you using the double or single shot basket? And if you lock the portafilter in place then take it out again while the coffee is still dry does the shower screen leave an imprint in the top of the puck?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    Are you using the double or single shot basket? And if you lock the portafilter in place then take it out again while the coffee is still dry does the shower screen leave an imprint in the top of the puck?
    I tried both to be honest. But I've been trying the single. As for your second question. When I'm trying to get it in the middle bit does leave an indentation and a bit of the coffee stays on the machine head.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Use less coffee. When the grounds are tamped down into the basket they should just barely not touch the grouphead screen when the portafilter is locked into place. A 5 cent piece (Australian) placed on top of the tamped grounds should leave a light impression in them after being locked into the grouphead.


    Java "Lock 'n Load!" phile
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  5. #5
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    What Java said and also stick to the double shot basket until you get the hang of it, they're much more forgiving.

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    Thanks...OK I will try the double shot. I think why I'm asking is that when I watch the videos they grind an excess, scrape it level and then tamp. I swear I'm doing the same thing so don't see why I have "too much" coffee. I realise I clearly do...but I don't see where I'm going wrong.

  7. #7
    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    Hi Barney
    +1 to the above points, but also remember that how coarse your grind is will also greatly impact how far your coffee will compress.

    If you're used to a different machine that only handles coarse grinds (many consumer machines choke with the grind a commercial machine uses - what machine have you come from?) and you're still grinding on those settings for the new Silvia, you will likely be overfilling the basket with non-compressible grounds. From my (minimal) Silvia experience, it should handle a traditional espresso grind no worries which are quite 'soft' and compressible (hence the overfill/scrape success of the videos).
    Maybe try grinding finer - you'll be surprised what a Silvia can handle

    Enjoy the journey!
    Cheers Matt

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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Thanks again for all the help. So I had a crack at the double holder and trying to put a bit less in. That seems to have worked as now the head is fitting easily enough and I managed to get something that tastes not bad. Frankly, from this morning when I couldn't even get the head in this is progress!

    @DesigningByCoffee this is my first proper machine, so no real experience, can you tell :P. I have the rocky grinder...so I guess I'm trying to find the right setting. I think I was somewhere around the 10 mark. The last shot that tasted OK was a little fast so may need a finer grind I guess.
    DesigningByCoffee likes this.



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