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New Silvia, very fast extraction
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > New Silvia, very...  
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Breckenridge_Realtor
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Joined: 15 Oct 2005
Posts: 40
Location: Breckernidge Colorado
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Dec 3, 2005, 5:44pm
Subject: New Silvia, very fast extraction
 

My new Silvia arrived yesterday.  But my grinder is on backorder so I had some beans, which were roasted 3 days ago, ground for me yesterday at a local coffee shop.

Tonight I pulled my first three shots.

For my first shot, I was impatient and did not even worry about temp surfing.  I also followed the instructions that came with the machine and only used about 2 Tablespoons of coffee in a double basket.  The shot was terrible.

The second and third shots I reverse temp surfed 1 and 2 minutes respectively.  In each case I filled the basket to the rim and wiped it level before tamping.  The third shot was better than Starbucks but not quite as good as the shop where I bought the coffee.

In all three cases, the shot was done in 5 to 7 seconds which I know is very fast.

The grind is the same as the shop uses and they generally pull shots in about 20 to 25 seconds.  I am also using the ESPRO tamper so I know I am tamping to 30 lbs.  The pucks are fairly dry when I am done.

Is my very fast extraction time a result of using coffee that is somewhat dried as a result of being ground over 24 hours ago and should I expect better results once my grinder gets here?
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poison
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poison
Joined: 11 Aug 2004
Posts: 1,163
Location: LA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Astra Pro
Grinder: Maestro Plus, Super J deal
Drip: Cone filter
Roaster: RK drum
Posted Sat Dec 3, 2005, 6:32pm
Subject: Re: New Silvia, very fast extraction
 

Welcome to the exciting, frustrating world of espresso.

You will need the grinder (what kind is it, exactly?). Ground coffee goes stale in minutes, to be anal, or hours. You'll also need the adjustability of your own grinder: what works for another machine will most likely not work for yours.

Most of your problem is from the grind, I would say. However, Silvia does tend to extract quicker than we all would like, I think. Much of the time my extractions are around 17-22 seconds; that is to say generally short of the 25 sec benchmark. Grinding finer lends bitterness to the shot. The pressure is too high, as well as the temp, obviously. So Silvia is a handful to use, but you'll get the hang of it.

Just plan on burning through a lb or three of coffee when you get your grinder.

Good luck!
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Breckenridge_Realtor
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Joined: 15 Oct 2005
Posts: 40
Location: Breckernidge Colorado
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Dec 3, 2005, 6:52pm
Subject: Re: New Silvia, very fast extraction
 

poison Said:

You will need the grinder (what kind is it, exactly?). Ground coffee goes stale in minutes, to be anal, or hours.

Posted December 3, 2005 link

That is what I figured.  I have the Mazzer Mini on the way.  It has been on backorder for about 6 weeks from 1st-line.  But given the results that I achieved tonight with coffee that had been ground 30 hours earlier, I expect to be happy with the Slivia/Mini combo.
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mrgnomer
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mrgnomer
Joined: 16 Oct 2005
Posts: 2,286
Location: NA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Vetrano, Silvia, Olympia...
Grinder: Zass., Macap M4 stepless,...
Vac Pot: Yama, Bodum E Santos
Drip: French Press, ibrik, Moka...
Roaster: Hottop programmable, IRoast2
Posted Sat Dec 3, 2005, 8:01pm
Subject: Re: New Silvia, very fast extraction
 

Welcome to the incredible world of espresso!

Sounds like your grind needs to be finer, cleaner or you need to work on the dosing, distributing and/or tamping harder.  How did your pucks look like?  Were they even or did you see evidence of channeling?  Was the shot mostly blond and thin ?  Was it bitter or sour tasting?

I've just found that grind adjustment can make a big deal to the extraction.  One step too coarse on the Rocky was the difference between a too fast, bitter shot and a sweeter, thicker, slower shot.  Burr sharpness can make a difference too, from what I understand.  Dull burrs don't shave the bean cleanly so the grinds tend to make big clumps.  It's hard to get an even density on the distribution with big clumps.  Maybe the shop where you had the beans ground is grinding with dull burrs.

It's probably the dry grinds.  From what I understand dry grinds need to be tamped hard.  Water will channel through them way easier than freshly ground beans.  On dry days when surrounding air steals moisture from fresh grinds quicker it's advisable to adjust to a finer grind.  Grinds drying out over 24 hours could be the problem.

The advice that keeps coming up when working on your shots is be consistent and work on one variable at a time.  That is if your searching for the grind keep the dose, distribution and tamp unchanged and consistent.

One thing with the Silvia that keeps coming up is that she definitely heats up and pressures up fast.  I used to have some problem with what I think was water first hitting the puck at too high of a pressure, maybe too high of a temp even when temp surfing.  I think my not so competently dosed, distributed and tamped puck got slammed with more pressure than it could stand up to so channeling/over extraction happened more often than not.

I've taken to bleeding off some pressure by opening the steam wand (leaving the steam and hot water switches off) a few seconds before drawing the shot and leaving it slightly cracked open a second or two into pulling the shot.  I close it slowly and the shot starts pouring and stays darker and thicker longer.  It's an attempt to step down the initial pressure to the shot and pre infuse the puck with water just before the pull.  The only thing I'm not sure about is the affect on temp and pressure consistency through the shot.  If either are inconsistent I don't think an ideal shot is possible.  The shots are good, though, so it's working for me.
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rcs914
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rcs914
Joined: 30 Jul 2002
Posts: 530
Location: Tucson
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar OC, PID'd Silvia
Grinder: Lux & Cimbali Jr
Vac Pot: E-santos,Santos, Hario
Drip: Krups Moka Brew
Roaster: Turbo Crazy
Posted Sat Dec 3, 2005, 10:32pm
Subject: Re: New Silvia, very fast extraction
 

Honestly it would likely be worth it to you to spend the extra $20 and order it from www.chriscoffee.com or any of the other reputable internet vendors instead, so you can have it now.  This will alleviate your frustration, as you will experience nothing but annoyance until you have an excellent grinder paired with Silvia.

It's impossible to purchase ground coffee at one place, and expect it to work with your machine.  There are a number of variables, chief among them being the grinds going stale, and the differences in pump pressure between your machines.  Silvia, out of the box, is likely putting out 12 bar of pressure, rather than the preffered 9 bar.  Changing this isn't super easy, but it can be done (search for "Silvia Pressure Mod").  

With a correct grinder, and fresh beans, a 25-27 second shot is no problem at all.

Chris

 
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terryz
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terryz
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
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Location: Olympia, WA.
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Posted Sun Dec 4, 2005, 10:09am
Subject: Re: New Silvia, very fast extraction
 

rcs914 Said:

Honestly it would likely be worth it to you to spend the extra $20 and order it from www.chriscoffee.com instead.
Chris

Posted December 3, 2005 link


Really? Why?

 
Terry Z
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Breckenridge_Realtor
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Joined: 15 Oct 2005
Posts: 40
Location: Breckernidge Colorado
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Dec 4, 2005, 10:19am
Subject: Re: New Silvia, very fast extraction
 

mrgnomer Said:

How did your pucks look like?  Were they even or did you see evidence of channeling?  Was the shot mostly blond and thin ?  Was it bitter or sour tasting?

Posted December 3, 2005 link

I'm not sure what I am looking for but the pucks seem even.  I do not see anything that intuitively suggests channeling to me.  The shot would start very dark (.5 sec), then change to light brown, then go light blond at the end, with about 2.5 oz pulled in 5-7 seconds.  I would say the shot is slightly bitter.
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Breckenridge_Realtor
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Joined: 15 Oct 2005
Posts: 40
Location: Breckernidge Colorado
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Dec 4, 2005, 10:22am
Subject: Re: New Silvia, very fast extraction
 

terryz Said:

Really? Why?

Posted December 4, 2005 link

I think RCS means rather than continuing to wait.  But at this point, 1st-line says the grinder should go out in about a week.
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poison
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poison
Joined: 11 Aug 2004
Posts: 1,163
Location: LA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Astra Pro
Grinder: Maestro Plus, Super J deal
Drip: Cone filter
Roaster: RK drum
Posted Sun Dec 4, 2005, 10:56am
Subject: Re: New Silvia, very fast extraction
 

Double trouble, oops
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poison
Senior Member
poison
Joined: 11 Aug 2004
Posts: 1,163
Location: LA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Astra Pro
Grinder: Maestro Plus, Super J deal
Drip: Cone filter
Roaster: RK drum
Posted Sun Dec 4, 2005, 10:57am
Subject: Re: New Silvia, very fast extraction
 

mrgnomer Said:

One thing with the Silvia that keeps coming up is that she definitely heats up and pressures up fast.  I used to have some problem with what I think was water first hitting the puck at too high of a pressure, maybe too high of a temp even when temp surfing.  I think my not so competently dosed, distributed and tamped puck got slammed with more pressure than it could stand up to so channeling/over extraction happened more often than not.

I've taken to bleeding off some pressure by opening the steam wand (leaving the steam and hot water switches off) a few seconds before drawing the shot and leaving it slightly cracked open a second or two into pulling the shot.  I close it slowly and the shot starts pouring and stays darker and thicker longer.  It's an attempt to step down the initial pressure to the shot and pre infuse the puck with water just before the pull.  The only thing I'm not sure about is the affect on temp and pressure consistency through the shot.  If either are inconsistent I don't think an ideal shot is possible.  The shots are good, though, so it's working for me.

Posted December 3, 2005 link

Nice, I bleed the steam too, and it makes an obvious difference: the initial stream coming out of the PF is smooth, instead of squirting out under pressure.

I don't leave the steam open, however, but I'll definately try it.




**WARNING, plot spoilage ahead!!!** I hesitate to do this, but I gotta be honest:

@#$%ing Silvia. I don't know if my palate is just more sophisticated, or what, but she's killing me. The fussiness, aarrgghh! I need temperature stability and lower pressure. I need $1200.

Seriously, I would have a hard time recommending Silvia to someone. She IS awesome...if you brew 1 drink in 20 minutes, if you don't use lots of different blends, if you are satisfied with 'good', if...

IF you think you may really get into espresso, I'd run, fast. If you want to have more than a 1:1000 chance of reproducing the odd fluke god-shot, run. If you want to have great espresso all the time, run.

If silvia is the max your budget allows, you got the best you can get, no doubt. But if you can swing a couple hundred more, save yourself the headache and do it.



<<<zips up Nomex, pulls on Kevlar, inserts trauma plates, flexes
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