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Silvia shots way too fast - help!
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KatieR
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Joined: 13 Aug 2013
Posts: 8
Location: Madison, WI
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Aug 13, 2013, 12:13pm
Subject: Silvia shots way too fast - help!
 

Hi all,

I'm hoping someone out there can help me. I'm using the Rancilio Silvia with a Baratza Virtuoso Preciso grinder. My shots were fine until recently, but now they're coming out in less than 10 seconds no matter what I do.

I've tried everything I can think of. I overloaded the portafilter with >15 grams of coffee (freshly roasted, espresso blend). I moved down to Preciso's finest grind (it looks like powder). I waited 50 seconds after the "ready" light goes off on the Silvia (that should put me at a very cool point in the boiler's cycle). I've tried all of these things in isolation and in combination, and nothing seems to work.

I also followed some online instructions to check the OPV for the ulka pump. Measuring the back flow through the OPV line I calculated a pressure of 9 barr at the group head - just what it should be.

This happened after I did some maintenance on both machines - I ran some grindz through the grinder and put it back together, I ran some clean caf through the Silvia, and I used some Joe Glow to clean the group head. I was thinking maybe the Preciso wasn't grinding finely enough - but the coffee looks like absolute powder at the lowest setting. Did I do something wrong? Am I missing something?

Please help - and many thanks!

Katie R
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,947
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Aug 13, 2013, 12:39pm
Subject: Re: Silvia shots way too fast - help!
 

Katie, welcome.
You ran a big circle but you do not mention the, perhaps most important part of the process. How old are your beans? For espresso, beans much older than two weeks FROM THE DAY THEY WERE ROASTED when stored at room temp are pretty much past their prime and rapid shots are very often a result.

Your equipment should be up to the task of good to great espresso with no doubt, but it is fresh beans, then grinder then the machine with your skill being always key, in the importance of the variables in making espresso.

You have looked at all the machine parts, lets look at your beans. How old? How do you store them? How long before brewing do you grind them?

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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frcn
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frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,437
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 Aug 13, 2013, 1:59pm
Subject: Re: Silvia shots way too fast - help!
 

As Wayne stated, the beans are always a likely culprit generally speaking. I believe that there is a calibration you can do to that grinder. I would check that first. Also look for cracked plastic parts. Have you tried a different basket? Examine your closely for cracks.

On my website www.EspressoMyEspresso.com, check out this article: 12 - EASY GUIDE TO BETTER ESPRESSO AT HOME. That article may help you eliminate other factors and narrow down the cause.

The Preciso should be able to choke Silvia even with stale beans, and even if the pressure relief valve is allowing higher than normal pressure, so that is where I would look first if you are on the finest setting.

 
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CarloM
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Joined: 1 Apr 2013
Posts: 332
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Vetrano V2B
Grinder: Mazzer Mini-E Type A, SJ...
Drip: Toddy
Posted Tue Aug 13, 2013, 3:34pm
Subject: Re: Silvia shots way too fast - help!
 

I'll offer another alternative as a culprit: the Preciso grinder.

First, do get a new fresh pound of beans if you're using old ones, just to eliminate that possibility. If it fixes it, then it was the beans. If not, read on.

I owned the exact same setup. For the first few months my Preciso kept needing to be adjusted finer until I ran out of adjustment room. I contacted Baratza. They cross-shipped a new grinder, saying they changed the way they did calibration.

The exact same thing happened with the second grinder. Baratza cross-shipped a third grinder. This time they said they "glued down the adjustment ring" as the latest fix.

The exact same thing happened with the third grinder. Rather than get a fourth one, I contacted my reseller who offered to take back the grinder, give me my purchase price towards a new model grinder. I paid a bit more for a Mazzer Mini-E but have never looked back since. I had nine months of heartache with three different Precisos (though Baratza's customer service was good). I've had nine months of nirvana with the Mazzer. I'm not shilling for the Mazzer, but there's a pretty big performance gap between the Preciso (even when it was dialed in properly and not drifting) and what I get from the Mazzer. I think most grinders in the $500-$1000 range will give you a similar increase in grind consistency and quality.
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Sigma
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Joined: 2 Apr 2013
Posts: 33
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Aug 13, 2013, 4:00pm
Subject: Re: Silvia shots way too fast - help!
 

This time they said they "glued down the adjustment ring" as the latest fix.

I'm almost certain this is the culprit here. Exact same issue with this grinder -- one day my grinds, no matter what, would not stall the machine. Gluing down the adjustment ring solved the problem. It's easy enough to do, as well as quickly check if it is the culprit here. It may also be a cracked top burr holder


https://www.baratza.com/wp-content/uploads/How-to-Troubleshoot-A-Grind-Quality-Issue.pdf
https://www.baratza.com/wp-content/uploads/Preciso-Adjustment-Ring-Replacement1.pdf
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frcn
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frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,437
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 Aug 13, 2013, 4:09pm
Subject: Re: Silvia shots way too fast - help!
 

Very possible that it is the grinder. While the various Baratza grinders are one of the most recommended pieces of equipment here, and certainly one of the three most popular brands, there have been a lot of complaints about them in this same regard. It's a shame, but there is no doubt that Baratza will take care of you if you find that the grinder is the problem. And while I do not think I could ever recommend that you buy a Kony (although I did), there are some high-end grinders that will serve you well, likely for the rest of your life regardless as to how long you intend to live.    ;-)

 
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pmaru77
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Joined: 21 Nov 2008
Posts: 60
Location: San Diego
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Maestro Plus
Vac Pot: Yama
Drip: KRUPS 4 cup (Melitta #2)
Roaster: Behmor Roaster
Posted Tue Aug 13, 2013, 4:22pm
Subject: Re: Silvia shots way too fast - help!
 

Well, I'm in the same boat here!  Same setup, Lady Silvia (1 yr old) and a new refurb Preciso.  Best beans money can buy, and my shots start pouring in 4 seconds.  I've tried several grinds and they are all the same results.  The only shot that waited till 10 seconds to come out was one I super packed.  

SO average shot I run for about 20-25 seconds, and that is pushing it.

But, the shots are ok.  Good flavor and decent crema.  I make Caps and Lates.....

Been leaning towards Caps because I cannot get a decent steamed milk body to get anything other than coffee with milk taste.  So I steam the milk and end it with a heavy dose of foam at the end.

Good news is that I replaced my old roaster with a new one, and can make infinate amounts of fresh roast.  Cannot wait to try my new roast but have to wait.

Damn, I need sleep.  These drinks are stealing away my nighttime hours.  Like the other guy said......;haven';t slept for 5 days since I got my espersso machine!   Slighty exaggerated but you get the idea.
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KatieR
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Joined: 13 Aug 2013
Posts: 8
Location: Madison, WI
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Aug 13, 2013, 5:47pm
Subject: Re: Silvia shots way too fast - help!
 

Thanks so much for all the replies - very helpful!

I'm pretty sure it's not the beans - I'm home roasting green beans from Sweet Maria's and I roasted the beans in the grinder less than a week ago. But I'll give a different batch of beans a shot (he he bad pun) tomorrow morning just to check it out.  

My problem is sounding more like the grinder issue. I've been dialing down the grind for a while now but I thought maybe the summer heat was making the shots run faster so didn't put too much thought into it. I contacted the website I purchased from, but I'll get directly in touch with Baratza if I don't hear back. Glad to hear they treat their customers well - sounds like I might need a replacement grinder :(

Katie
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Sigma
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Apr 2013
Posts: 33
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Aug 13, 2013, 6:03pm
Subject: Re: Silvia shots way too fast - help!
 

sounds like I might need a replacement grinder :(

Check my 2nd link above. You may be able to fix it within 30min.
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KatieR
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Aug 2013
Posts: 8
Location: Madison, WI
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Aug 16, 2013, 4:05am
Subject: Re: Silvia shots way too fast - help!
 

Thanks Sigma,
Somehow I missed it the first time around!

Just thought I'd post an update. I opened up the Baratza and, indeed, the grinder adjustment ring base wasn't attached and the whole setup was resting at a strange angle on the gear box. I put the adjustment ring base back in place, but without super glue (I was kinda nervous about using it in such an expensive grinder). I also calibrated the machine to a finer grind while the case was off.

The shots are better, but still too fast and requiring too fine a grind. Even at the finest grind setting, waiting until the Silvia is a bit cooler than it should be, my shots are still about 15 seconds. I'm going to go back in and glue down the base, and calibrate the Baratza to its finest setting. I shoulda done it the first time, but like I said, the super glue made me nervous... I'll post another (hopefully final) update later.

Thanks for all the help - without this forum I would have been very confused and frustrated!

KatieR
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