You really should check your water temperature at the puck using a thermocouple or thermofilter, or styrofoam cup is poor man's method. Of course, sour or bitter taste trump. Not that the machines are the same, but I set the idle PID temperature on my Gaggia at 213 and others that said as high as 220F. I also use about 20 - 30 minutes of warm up. You will get a range of useful temperatures and some depends on how you use the machine.
MJJ Senior Member Joined: 2 Jan 2013 Posts: 37 Location: Montreal Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Rancilio Silvia PID Grinder: Baratza Vario Drip: Hario V60
Posted Mon Jan 21, 2013, 8:39pm Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia PID Temps
I tend to tweak it depending on how long the machine's been on. The study by Auber is an excellent resource, I think it's the one in the above link. In Celsius I usually have it set at 103-108. If the machine has only been on for 10 or 15 minutes I'll pull the shot at around 106 or 107C, and the result is normally good, closer to what I would get at 103 when the machine has been on for an hour. I have pre-infusion so I usually set the temp a little high and do a quick cooling flush to bring it down a degree or two to my desired temperature. This flush is to make sure there is no explosion of water or flash boil when I start the pre-infusion, I want a gentle water flow at the right temperature that won't disturb the puck. I use taste as a guide, also temperature mouth feel. I drink espresso at every good espresso bar I can so I have an idea of what is a desirable temperature in the cup, how hot they serve it. I've set my steam temperature at 145 C. The Rancilio thermostat was "140C" but I noticed that when I connected the PID wires to that thermostat it was rising to around 152 so I bumped my PID default setting from 140 to 145 for the moment. Sometimes it will reach 151-152 if I let it sit a bit.
yamhill Senior Member Joined: 1 Feb 2009 Posts: 37 Location: Portland, OR Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Silvia PIDed, Nuova... Grinder: Mazzer Major Vac Pot: yama Drip: hario and chemex Roaster: hot air & drum in the works
Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013, 2:29pm Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia PID Temps
I have my Silivia's PID set at 230 for shot extraction. I based this on a series of tests using a styrofoam cup fit into the group head. The cup also had a thermometer stuck into the side. I was surprised at the extent of the temperature drop. The 230 setting gets me to about 2oz of water at 198 to 200.
The extent of the temperature drop from the boiler PID setting to the actual water delivery at the group head depends on how warm the group head is (depending or warm-up time and recent brewing and steaming activity), the speed of the water flow ( depends on reservoir water temperature, pressure setting, grind and tamp) and other related factors. I'm guessing thermocouples and mounting methods will have a big impact when comparing the absolute measurement from machine to machine.
I move away from this 230 setting based on particular beans and roast levels, but most of the time I leave it.
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