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Thread: Steaming with the Rancilio Ms Silvia

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Steaming with the Rancilio Ms Silvia

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    How long can you continuously run the steamer without risking running the boiler dry?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Re: Steaming with the Rancilio Ms Silvia

    It is not so much a problem with the boiler running dry as it is with the amount of steam power available. There is some steam stored above the level of the water, but the "super-heated" water is actually over the boiling point because it is under pressure. As steam is released, the stored heat energy in the water is released in the form of steam. Eventually the heating element cannot keep up and the power of the steam decreases. There will still be a bit of steam, but the force of the stream will be only marginal for stretching milk.

    I suppose, beyond that, the question is, how much do you need? There is sufficient steam to stretch milk for three, or maybe four cappuccino. if you need t stretch more than that the problem becomes how long it would take to make that many espresso shots and how long they would sit before the milk is ready.

    OK- the answer is that I dont know because I dont remember anyone actually testing it... For the reasons mentioned above I would have to guess.

    So that you would not have to deal with it or worry about it, the solution is to stretch the first 8 to 10 ounces of milk, then refill the boiler using the hot water function, and allow the boiler to come back up to temperature before steaming again.

    If you need continuous steam power for extended periods of time, pick up a second-hand machine with a thermoblock steam function or get a dedicated steamer,,,? Just spitballing..

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Newcastle NSW Australia

    Re: Steaming with the Rancilio Ms Silvia

    Good question u raise gmmdka. On other posts others say u must refill boiler after each steam, I am not so sure? *maybe i am just lucky, stupid or smart! I am not certain but here is how I steam my milk with silvia
    1. Pour double shot into 2 cups
    2. Flick steam switch on, light now on,
    3. pour milk into 600ml jug ready to steam for 1 cup
    4. Light now off. Purge wand of water,
    5. Now continue to release steam till light comes back on. close valve and wait for 30 sec.
    Steam milk now and light should continue to stay on. There is always plenty of steam.
    6. Pour milk into cup 1
    7. By this stage light has gone off again so i release steam again till light comes on again , wait my 30 sec and then begin heating milk for my second cup. Still plenty of steam and light comntinues to stay on while steaming ensuring max steam temp while heating milk.

    So i guess i am releasing steam on 4 consecutive occassions without a refill of the boiler.
    I have never run out of steam, steam is always strong enough for excellent whirlpool action and my foam is consistently good. IMO

    After final steaming i flick water switch on, open steam valve and allow water to start to fill a cup.
    Boiler should now be filled with water *and temp surfing starts to begin another shot If more coffees are needed.

    So i will leave it up to others to comment if i am lucky, stupid or smart.
    ( i am leaving myself wide open here!!! :D I know)
    but I am keen to learn from others *and i want to do the right thing to silvia.

    PS if i wait too long ie > 30 sec and the light goes off before i start to steam. I always lose steam pressure half way through and results are never as good!

  4. #4
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Re: Steaming with the Rancilio Ms Silvia

    A few years ago, I did a latte art workshop at Di Bartoli, using my own Silvia. As there were the known issues of being unable to pour shots and steam milk, Renzo worked on a machine next to me making my shots, so I could just steam milk.

    It wasnt until the steam slowed down that I had a "doh" moment and remembered that I had to refresh the boiler. Not a few minutes later, the other Silvia user on the course had the same problem and I reminded the fellow that he also needed to refresh the boiler.

    So, I guess, after all that, I had really done a few jugs of milk before I had noticed the steam going a bit slow. Couldnt remember the exact amount of time that took however.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Re: Steaming with the Rancilio Ms Silvia

    My steaming experiences on the Silvia are also mixed. I typically dont turn the steam wand fully on; probably about 75% of its full capacity. Make sure that the milk is really swirling and you keep the bubbles to a minimum for latte art.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Australia

    Re: Steaming with the Rancilio Ms Silvia

    do a search on this topic as it has been time and time again, there is a metric tonne of info on the capabilities of the silvia for streaching milk here.

    The way i did it was to pull the shot, about 5 secs from the end of the shot, hit the steam switch, wait for the boiler to hit 125C, purge water out of the system with a little twist of the steam knob, wait......till it hit 135C purge out a bit more.......140C, purge and steam milk, i found 400ml a comfortable max with the silvia, i would then re-charge the boiler and do it all again after a decent cooling flush.

    400ml of textured milk would be good for 2 lattes.......but not 4 caps.....your asking too much of the silvia, you could pour 2 shots.....pour the other 2 shots then go throught the above process twice......your shots would be room temp though..... :(

    Its the limitation of the silvia unfortunately, great machine that produces some amazing shots, just not for parties ;)

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Re: Steaming with the Rancilio Ms Silvia

    Really good info! Thanks.

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