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Solis SL-70 First Look
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MarkPrince
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Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,624
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Fri Apr 5, 2002, 1:07am
Subject: Solis SL-70 First Look
 

Solis SL-70 First Look

Another week, another First Look! This time we take a look at what possibly is a great "budget" machine in the espresso world - the Solis SL70!
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jim_schulman
Senior Member
jim_schulman
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,772
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Thu Apr 11, 2002, 11:16am
Subject: Casual vs Serious users
 

Good job!

A Sylvia review that went -- "I unpacked the machine, followed the manual instructions, and got an espresso that sucked" -- would be a joke. The Sylvia is the ultimate afficionado machine.

A superauto review that gave a three month course in brewing tricks would also be a joke -- a superauto is the ultimate casual user machine.

The Solis SL 70/90 are somewhere in between. So I like that you're doing a sort of double review, one for casual users, and one for serious ones. I think your earlier review of the SL90 suffered a little, because you didn't draw that distinction.

Jim Schulman
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jroche
Senior Member
jroche
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 24
Location: Piermont, New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia, Solis SL90
Grinder: Rocky, Solis 166
Drip: Cone, press pot
Roaster: dead dead dead
Posted Thu May 2, 2002, 7:24am
Subject: Comments
 

A few things i like about my SL90 over the Silvia (and these apply to the SL70) are the drip tray design. The vertical slats work much better than the cut out cirlces in the silvia drip tray- I find too much water splattering/ run off w/ the Silvia drip tray. Second is the see thru water tank! Big plus. One you can tell if its dirty, two when you have low over head cabinet space, you don't have to drag the machine out to check water level (or worse, stick you hand  in to see how far down the water level is).

The two big downsides vs Silvia are the lack of a 3-way and (as you mentioned) the portafilter/filter basket combo. I ended up having about 4 non-pressurized baskets and would simply dump the entire basket into the knock box (easy enough since there's no retaining clip!!!) for latter cleaning, a quick rinse of PF, place a new dry basket in, and off I go. Good if you only are doing 3 or 4 shots at a time.

Mark did you measure the brew temp on this unit?
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JOEMASTRO6
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Dec 2005
Posts: 8
Location: CHERRY HILL NJ
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: SOLIS SL70
Grinder: MELLITA BURR
Vac Pot: BRUAN
Drip: KRUPPS
Roaster: NEXT PURCHASE
Posted Mon Dec 5, 2005, 10:45am
Subject: Re: Solis SL-70 First Look
 

I have a few questions about my new SL70. Once I turn it to ON and it begins to heat up, how long can I just leave it on? I like to have a nice espresso in the am and sometimes have another in a little bit, but would rather not have to go back and turn it ON, do the start up procedure etc. I have noticed my 2nd cup is better, where as it seems a bit hotter or something. How exactly do you get this MICRO-FOAM I read about and can't duplicate. I do use 1% fresh milk. I really like CREMA and found on this machine it likes very finely ground coffee.
Question 3- How hard do I tamp the coffee using the attached tampener?
Question 4- How aggressive do I screw on the portafilter, it seems I can turn it almost to the wand and can feel I am compacting the grinds in the portafilter, there seems to be plenty of adjustment room....
Any help would be appreciated.
thanks
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Jasonian
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Jasonian
Joined: 8 Aug 2005
Posts: 3,856
Location: Lubbock, TX
Expertise: Professional

Posted Sun Dec 11, 2005, 1:03am
Subject: Re: Solis SL-70 First Look
 

JOEMASTRO6 Said:

I have a few questions about my new SL70. Once I turn it to ON and it begins to heat up, how long can I just leave it on? I like to have a nice espresso in the am and sometimes have another in a little bit, but would rather not have to go back and turn it ON, do the start up procedure etc. I have noticed my 2nd cup is better, where as it seems a bit hotter or something. How exactly do you get this MICRO-FOAM I read about and can't duplicate. I do use 1% fresh milk. I really like CREMA and found on this machine it likes very finely ground coffee.
Question 3- How hard do I tamp the coffee using the attached tampener?
Question 4- How aggressive do I screw on the portafilter, it seems I can turn it almost to the wand and can feel I am compacting the grinds in the portafilter, there seems to be plenty of adjustment room....
Any help would be appreciated.
thanks

Posted December 5, 2005 link

Whoa, now.. we've got to start from the beginning.

first of all, this is the wrong forum for this sort of a question.  You'd be better off in the "Questions and Answers" forum in the Espresso section.

On to the questions:

Once I turn it to ON and it begins to heat up, how long can I just leave it on? I like to have a nice espresso in the am and sometimes have another in a little bit
How long is "in a little bit"?  I leave my Gaggia on for a couple of hours at a time if I need to.  The important part is to NOT LET THE BOILER GO DRY.  If you keep water in the boiler, you'll be just fine. .. which is a challenge with a small boiler.
When heating up the machine, have the portafilter loosely locked in to the group-head.  Heat consistency AND stability is important.

How exactly do you get this MICRO-FOAM I read about and can't duplicate
Read the milk-frothing guide.. religiously.  Read the latte-art forum.. religiously.  It's a matter of skill, and knowing what to look for.  If you can see the bubbles being formed, they're too big.. raise the pitcher a bit so the wand is a bit deeper.  It's a balancing act.  Sink the wand deep into the milk at around 90-100*F to get a good swirl going.. this will help to homogenize the milk and foam, and it'll help to whip the mixture into velvety microfoam.  It's really a matter of practice.

I really like CREMA and found on this machine it likes very finely ground coffee.
It also has a pressurized filterbasket.  You really should ditch it for a non-pressurized portafilter basket from wholelattelove.com.  Your shots will significantly improve.  Remember that fresh-roasted, fresh-ground beans are a must.  When I say fresh-roasted, I mean less than 2 weeks old.  when I say freshly ground, I mean seconds before pulling the shot.  It makes all the difference in the world.  


How hard do I tamp the coffee using the attached tampener?
Don't use the attached tamper.  You'll want to get a good hand tamper that's made to fit your filterbasket.  Terry has a bunch of great designs at espressoparts.com.  Tamp at around 30lbs. of pressure.  (I practiced with a bathroom scale, as have many others, to achieve this).  Remember that tamping is only a single part of what it takes to make a perfect puck.  Make sure the grounds are EVENLY distributed in the filterbasket.  Level off the top with your finger, or a straight edge(recommended for awhile until you get the feel), then a 5lb. leveling tamp, then a 30lb. compression tamp, and then a 5lb. tamp with a twist of the tamper to polish the surface.  A double shot should be about 2oz. in about 25seconds.  The grind has a lot to do with this as well.  Consistency in the tamp is key.  Adjust the grind to dial-in the timing.. keep the tamp consistent.  


How aggressive do I screw on the portafilter, it seems I can turn it almost to the wand and can feel I am compacting the grinds in the portafilter, there seems to be plenty of adjustment room....
It sounds like your coffee isn't tamped properly.  The coffee puck should not make contact with the dispersion screen when the PF is locked in.  It doesn't need to be Incredible Hulk-tight.. you just don't want any leaking water during the bewing process.  Remember to clean the group-head and rubber gasket between shots with a brush or a towel/cloth.  Also remember to dry-wipe your portafilter basket before puting coffee grounds into it.  It helps to flush the grouphead a bit (by turning on the pump.. without the PF locked in) before locking the PF and pulling the shot.


I hope this helped some, and I hope you'll remember to post in the proper forum.. it's easier to help you out when we know where to find your post.  

welcome to coffeegeek.

-Jason

 
www.AJCoffeeCo.com - www.espressotrainer.com - www.TX-Coffee.com
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