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Stumped with my Rancilio Silvia
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Stumped with my...  
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emosbaugh
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Mar 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Tue Mar 1, 2011, 9:24am
Subject: Stumped with my Rancilio Silvia
 

I recently purchased a Rancilio Silvia used off of Craigslist and I am having a lot of trouble pulling a shot. I am finding that I pull a shot in about 8 - 10 seconds (waaaaaay too quick), which is really weak. I watched the videos linked to on youtube and read a lot and am using good quality espresso ground day of with a high end machine. I've tried adjusting the pressure with which I am tamping but this seems way to far off.

Is there something wrong I could be doing? Is the something that may be wrong with my machine that I could fix myself? If not, are there people around that can service these machines? I live in Los Angeles in case anyone knows of any repair shops.

Thanks!
Ethan
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charlano
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Dec 2010
Posts: 48
Location: Sherbrooke
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia V3
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso
Posted Tue Mar 1, 2011, 10:06am
Subject: Re: Stumped with my Rancilio Silvia
 

There is only one solution for that and it is 4words: Buy a QUALITY grinder. Just read on thé forum there is a LOT of information about it.
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frcn
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frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,287
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Tue Mar 1, 2011, 10:08am
Subject: Re: Stumped with my Rancilio Silvia
 

"What is your grinder?" he first asked, then quickly he ducked for cover to await the outcome.

 
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emosbaugh
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Mar 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Tue Mar 1, 2011, 10:21am
Subject: Re: Stumped with my Rancilio Silvia
 

Intelligentsia is just down the street from me. I had them grind with the huuuuge grinder they have just before i tried pulling multiple shots. i know i need a grinder and need to tune to my machine but i just wanna make sure my espresso machine is in good working order.

thanks
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emosbaugh
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Mar 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Tue Mar 1, 2011, 10:25am
Subject: Re: Stumped with my Rancilio Silvia
 

also, do you really think it could affect the outcome THAT much. to the tune of one third the time to pull the shot??? i'm sure their grinder is much better than the one i will end up purchasing.
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Oscar2
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Joined: 1 Mar 2011
Posts: 8
Location: SAN DIEGO
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Krups XP4030 w/unpressured...
Grinder: Rancillio Rocky Doserless
Vac Pot: Yama SY5
Drip: Cuisinart DGB-900
Roaster: iRoast2
Posted Tue Mar 1, 2011, 10:35am
Subject: Re: Stumped with my Rancilio Silvia
 

emosbaugh Said:

also, do you really think it could affect the outcome THAT much. to the tune of one third the time to pull the shot??? i'm sure their grinder is much better than the one i will end up purchasing.

Posted March 1, 2011 link

Since the shot is only taking 8-10 sec that means you need to grind (or have them grind) finer and you need to tamp harder. Shoot for a 20-30 sec.
Also, your machine is just fine, there is no failure mode for "too fast 'a shot".
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jbb
Senior Member
jbb
Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 134
Location: Riverside, CA
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: silvia v2, la spaziale s1v1
Grinder: rocky, b. vario
Posted Tue Mar 1, 2011, 10:40am
Subject: Re: Stumped with my Rancilio Silvia
 

Hi Ethan

Welcome to CG.  As you've heard, you need a quality grinder.  Can't stress it enough.  

From my knowledge of them, if you got your coffee from Intelligentsia your coffee should be of good quality and fresh. Does it have a roast date on the bag?  use within 2 weeks post-roast is a rule of thumb around here.  And if you specifically told them to grind for espresso it is possible that you are in a grind range where you can produce a good shot from your Silvia, although, as you can see, without a grinder you have no control over this variable at all.  

But having a sense of how much coffee you are using to build your shot is also a linked variable you need to consider.  Do you have a way to weigh the coffee you are placing in the basket?  Even a cheap kitchen scale will do.  14-16 g for a 2 oz shot is a rough ballpark for the Silvia.  With the coffee that you currently have, if you increase the amount of coffee that you place in the basket, do you see any slowing of the flow rate through the machine at all?  If not, you need a finer grind, fresher beans, or both.  Increasing your tamping force gives you some control but matters surprisingly little.  And if you are using the little plastic tamper that may have come with your Silvia, forget about it.  

Good luck.
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emosbaugh
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Mar 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Tue Mar 1, 2011, 11:25am
Subject: Re: Stumped with my Rancilio Silvia
 

Hi jbb,

Thanks for the reply!

I am not at home right now so I cannot check if there is a roast date but I would assume that the beans are fresh as the turnover at that place is crazy. I do not currently have an accurate way to weight the coffee. I have just been leveling off the single and double basket as an estimate. I am using a heavy metal tamper that I purchased separately.

So as i understand it, if I increase the coffee i should see a slower flow rate? I've also heard that it should be easier to get the desired results from the double basket so I have been experimenting mostly with that. Is this correct?

I'm just soooo far off from the mid 20 seconds where I would like to be at... I will play around tonight with increasing and decreasing the amounts of coffee I use.

Thanks again,
Ethan
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gime2much
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Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 1,965
Location: Sunny S Fl
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni, Astoria comm, 2...
Grinder: La Pavoni Zip, Bunn...
Drip: Bunn comm
Roaster: Popcorn popper (air),co/ufo
Posted Tue Mar 1, 2011, 11:49am
Subject: Re: Stumped with my Rancilio Silvia
 

Ethan,

Several times a week someone new to espresso comes here to ask how to make good coffee without a grinder. The answer is always going to be same: it ain't gonna happen.

You can change dose, you can tamp from 5# to 100# and you can fly home from the roaster with the beans so fresh they are still warm but it won't make good espresso happen.

I know it's not easy for someone just starting out to hear, along with the machine that just set them back a hand full of hundreds, they also have to fork over a few more hundred for a grinder.....but it's the truth.

 
Dan Brewer
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jbb
Senior Member
jbb
Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 134
Location: Riverside, CA
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: silvia v2, la spaziale s1v1
Grinder: rocky, b. vario
Posted Tue Mar 1, 2011, 1:03pm
Subject: Re: Stumped with my Rancilio Silvia
 

hey ethan

none of this changes that you need a grinder, but i get the sense that you'd feel better if you could at least slow the flow through your machine.  the pre-ground beans you bought are no good to you.  as an imperfect thing, stop by Intelly on your way home.  get a coffee and if there is a still minute see if the barista will grind you up 30 g or so from the hopper and tell them why.  They may look at you funny, but when i've been to the Intelly in Silver Lake i know the baristas have seemed pretty friendly if that is the one you live by.  

Go home and do your experiment.  The chemical goodness in the beans that produces great espresso will have mostly deteriorated by the time you do so.  Do not expect a good shot.  But if you act quickly you may at least be able to convince yourself that if you pack enough coffee in the basket you can provide increased resistance to flow or even clog your machine.  no matter what the outcome, however, if you are to move on you'll need to pony up and get a grinder.  

As others have said there lots of info on here to help your choose, plus the BST section of the site may help you find some deals.  

It can be frustrating at first, but, once you get a grinder you'll have taken a big step towards having things come together in a rewarding way.  Plus it sounds like you may well be within walking distance of good coffee while you are on the steep end of the learning curve.  out here in riverside (or most other places for that matter) its not so easy.
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