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New member and my first espresso setup (Silvia/Vario) is here! So much to learn.
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MTL_Pierre
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Jan 2014
Posts: 8
Location: Montreal, Qc, Canada
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014, 2:01pm
Subject: New member and my first espresso setup (Silvia/Vario) is here! So much to learn.
 

Hi all,

I've been an avid reader of the forums/consumer reviews for the last few years while drinking a not so good "espresso" provided by a Saeco Vienna... :)

I read everything I could about espresso machines, the importance of a good grinder and FRESH beans!!! I've also learn a lot about the pros and cons of different types of espresso machines (SBDU, HX, DB).

My budget was around 1k for an espresso machine/grinder combo... A couple of days ago, I've pulled the trigger and ordered my first "real" espresso setup. I went with a pretty standard combo of Rancilio Silvia and Baratza Vario + accessories. I'm based in Montreal and there's not a lot of retailers around here so I ordered online and I should get my setup in the next few days.

I know the Silvia is not the easiest machine around and I'm ready to learn to do "Temp Surfing" and also wait a bit to go from steam to brew. Basically my plan is to upgrade the Silvia within 12-18 months if I like my foray in home espresso.

I have also ordered a 5 lbs bag of Social Coffee People's Daily. I taste this blend a week ago in a cafe and really like it a lot! So I'll have plenty of beans to tune my grinder and practice my dosing, weighting, tamping and pulling shots skills.

So, I'll let you know in about 8-10 days how everything is going (from delivery to pulling shots).

Regards and thanks to all of you for providing so much information on these forums,

Pierre from Montreal
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canuckcoffeeguy
Senior Member
canuckcoffeeguy
Joined: 22 Aug 2013
Posts: 195
Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Magica, Mypressi...
Grinder: K10PB, Vario, Hario Slim
Vac Pot: I have a Dyson vacuum, but,...
Drip: Bialetti Brikka, Bodum...
Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014, 2:52pm
Subject: Re: New member and my first espresso setup (Silvia/Vario) on the way!
 

Hi there. I'm by no means an expert, but I'm in a similar situation --so I thought I'd tell you what has been working well for me.

I recently purchased a Vario and, coincidentally, dialed-in Peopleís Daily blend from Social Coffee and Tea.

While your Vario might not be calibrated exactly the same as mine, I can give you a ballpark idea of where to start. Of course, there are many other variables that will affect your pursuit of a great cup, but I can point you in the right direction for macro/micro settings on the Vario. This really helps when dialing-in for the first time.

Iím using macro #2(second finest from top) and micro settings(in the G to P range).
And if you keep your other variables consistent while dialing-in (e.g. dose weight, tamp pressure, distribution, brew temperature etc.), youíll have a much easier time getting it right without too much frustration.

Be sure to get a 0.1 gram sensitive scale to measure your dose and extraction output. This really helps, too!
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MTL_Pierre
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Jan 2014
Posts: 8
Location: Montreal, Qc, Canada
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Jan 8, 2014, 8:05am
Subject: Re: New member and my first espresso setup (Silvia/Vario) on the way!
 

Hi all,

Mr. UPS just delivered my stuff! The boxes are in good condition. But at minus 25 celsius this morning I will let the Silvia/Vario warm up to room temp in their box... Dear Saeco Vienna, maybe it's your last morning of work today... Ever!!!


Hi Canuckcoffeeguy, thanks for the info, I'll let you know how I calibrated my Vario in a couple of days...


A nice day to all of you,

Pierre
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,201
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Wed Jan 8, 2014, 8:09am
Subject: Re: New member and my first espresso setup (Silvia/Vario) on the way!
 

And a very nice day to you too.  Congratulations on your new setup!  Enjoy!

BDL
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MTL_Pierre
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Jan 2014
Posts: 8
Location: Montreal, Qc, Canada
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Jan 8, 2014, 7:24pm
Subject: Re: New member and my first espresso setup (Silvia/Vario) on the way!
 

Hi Guys,

Basically, I've install everything today after the Silvia/Vario had time to warm-up to room temp and everything is working! I waited 45 minutes for the Silvia to heat-up before pulling shots.

Am I making good espresso, not yet... Not even close... I've got so much to learn!!! :)

So my first question is, with the stock Silvia double basket, how many grams of coffee do you usually put in? (Bottomless portafiler was B/O and should be here next week)

I've put around 15g (i have a scale) with what I think is a medium tamp pressure. It's hard to evaluate pressure on the tamper without any reference... Constant tamping is a lot harder than I thought it would be.

It gives me about 50ml in 25 secs... My problem is I'm not sure about how fine I should grind because with more or less tamping I was able to kind of control the extraction flow...

Basically most of my shot we're on the sour/acidic side.

Regarding "temp surfing", my best shots (they were a little less sour), were like this:

01 - Trigger boiler by flushing the grouphead (a couple of seconds flush with a couple of seconds pause until it the light went on)
02 - 15 secs after the boiler lamp went off, I do a 3 sec flush ( basically very hot water with vapor)
03 - after that I put the portafilter on the grouphead (25 secs after lamp off)
04 - Start the extraction at the 30 seconds mark (after boiler lamp went off)

Thanks for any tips to steer me in the right direction!

Regards and sorry for the long post,

Pierre
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,722
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 Wed Jan 8, 2014, 9:44pm
Subject: Re: New member and my first espresso setup (Silvia/Vario) on the way!
 

Enjoy!
There will be some ups and downs, at first more downs than ups hbut as you do it, eventually the ups will get the upper hand!

 
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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JerDGold
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Dec 2013
Posts: 82
Location: Chicago, IL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Breville...
Drip: Chemex
Posted Wed Jan 8, 2014, 10:13pm
Subject: Re: New member and my first espresso setup (Silvia/Vario) on the way!
 

MTL_Pierre Said:

02 - 15 secs after the boiler lamp went off, I do a 3 sec flush ( basically very hot water with vapor)
03 - after that I put the portafilter on the grouphead (25 secs after lamp off)
04 - Start the extraction at the 30 seconds mark (after boiler lamp went off)

Thanks for any tips to steer me in the right direction!

Regards and sorry for the long post,

Pierre

Posted January 8, 2014 link

So I'm in the same situation as you, still working out my Silvia/Vario combo.  One thing I think is that once you flush your boiler to re-trigger the heating element, I don't think you should flush anymore.  Light goes on, boiler heats up, light goes and temp starts to lower.  At this point, I think you should set a timer and test different amounts of time after the heating element shuts off and extraction begins to find the optimal temperature.  If you're flushing after the light/heating element shuts off, you're adding another variable that will effect your temperature other than just time.  I could be wrong, but it just seems like an un-necessary variable.  I generally extrac about 35 sec. after my heating element shuts off, and if my technique, grind, weight etc... are all correct I get a fairly solid shot.  How often does that happen? Not very.  But my poor technique isn't the point here, is it?  
/defensiveness

Edit:  I also have so much to learn! I said once I wanted to go down the rabbit hole, and now my head is stuck.
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,201
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Wed Jan 8, 2014, 10:30pm
Subject: Re: New member and my first espresso setup (Silvia/Vario) on the way!
 

Deleted.

BDL
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,075
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Thu Jan 9, 2014, 6:10am
Subject: Re: New member and my first espresso setup (Silvia/Vario) on the way!
 

MTL_Pierre Said:

Hi Guys,

Basically, I've install everything today after the Silvia/Vario had time to warm-up to room temp and everything is working! I waited 45 minutes for the Silvia to heat-up before pulling shots.

Am I making good espresso, not yet... Not even close... I've got so much to learn!!! :)

So my first question is, with the stock Silvia double basket, how many grams of coffee do you usually put in? (Bottomless portafiler was B/O and should be here next week)

I've put around 15g (i have a scale) with what I think is a medium tamp pressure. It's hard to evaluate pressure on the tamper without any reference... Constant tamping is a lot harder than I thought it would be.

It gives me about 50ml in 25 secs... My problem is I'm not sure about how fine I should grind because with more or less tamping I was able to kind of control the extraction flow...

Basically most of my shot we're on the sour/acidic side.

Regarding "temp surfing", my best shots (they were a little less sour), were like this:

01 - Trigger boiler by flushing the grouphead (a couple of seconds flush with a couple of seconds pause until it the light went on)
02 - 15 secs after the boiler lamp went off, I do a 3 sec flush ( basically very hot water with vapor)
03 - after that I put the portafilter on the grouphead (25 secs after lamp off)
04 - Start the extraction at the 30 seconds mark (after boiler lamp went off)

Thanks for any tips to steer me in the right direction!

Regards and sorry for the long post,

Pierre

Posted January 8, 2014 link

What tamper are you using?  The Stock Silvia tamper is crap.  If you are using a good metal 58mm then tamping will be better.  If you have a bathroom scale you can practice your tamp on it. See how many consistent 30 lb tamps you can do.  From there dial your Vario down fine enough to choke your Silvia.  From there start to dial back until you get the proper flow. I'd forget about temp surfing until you get these two steps down pat. Ground espresso should look like regular white sugar in terms of partial size.  if you can pinch it with your fingers and be able to form the grounds your in espresso territory. Gram size in the double basket 15g is a good amount.
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MTL_Pierre
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Jan 2014
Posts: 8
Location: Montreal, Qc, Canada
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Jan 9, 2014, 8:22am
Subject: Re: My first espresso setup (Silvia/Vario) is here! So much to learn...
 

Hi Burner0000,

I'm using a real metal 58mm tamper. Big thanks for the bathroom scale idea, never thought of that!

And you're right, I won't care about temp surfing until I have succeed in the grinding, dosing, tamping part of the equation.

Regards and thanks for the help,

Pierre
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Rancilio Silvia - How to
Step by step guide for easy brewing and steaming with the Rancilio Silvia
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