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Rancilio S27 weak shots with decent crema
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thepilgrimsdream
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Joined: 16 Dec 2013
Posts: 50
Location: Philly
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Jan 23, 2014, 8:55pm
Subject: Rancilio S27 weak shots with decent crema
 

I bought this as my first espresso machine a few weeks ago. I use a rancilio at work everyday, so I know the rancilio machine pretty well. I don't have a great grinder at work, or even good beans, but I feel like I have found the sweet spot technique wise to produce consistent shots.

My grinder at home is a hario skerton which is slightly less than efficient, but I feel like I've dialed it in we'll enough to produce some fairly decent shots(tested at work). But my machine at home brews weak shots with hardly any water coming thru. I have experimented with different grinds, amounts, tamping technique and I'm pretty sure it's my machine.

The grouphead passes water fine, the steam wand works great. The boiler pressure is 1.7-1.8 out of 2.5

I do notice it might need a new gasket, cause some water leaks down the side of the portafilter while brewing. Could a breach in the gasket seal throw the pressure off?

I plan on getting a scale, thermometer and tools to read the machine more, and I plan on getting it serviced when I can afford to as well as a super jolly grinder.

Any advice? Help?
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fnacer
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Joined: 25 Feb 2007
Posts: 466
Location: Denver
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Salvatore E61, Vivaldi Mini...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini, Gaggia MDF,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Jan 23, 2014, 9:13pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio S27 weak shots with decent crema
 

If the same beans and the same grinder produce espresso of different quality on two different machines, it is reasonable to suspect the machine (we'll assume the issue is not the barista or the environmental conditions around the two machines).

Have you compared the flow and the temperature of the water through the grouphead?
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skydragondave
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Joined: 18 Feb 2013
Posts: 167
Location: Ontario, Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Commercial Only
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Roaster: Has Garanti HG5
Posted Fri Jan 24, 2014, 4:57am
Subject: Re: Rancilio S27 weak shots with decent crema
 

Boiler pressure should be 1.2/1.3BAR assuming the gauge is not damaged. Does it rest right at zero with the machine off?
Replace the group gasket at once and the shower screen while you are at it. about $10
What is the extraction pressure? With a new group gasket that doesn't leak, remove the portafilter spout and install a gauge to measure it. Should be 8.5-9BAR.
Are you backflushing the group to keep it clean?
What is the grouphead temperature? If a plugged orifice restrictor in the thermosyphon is preventing water from circulating at idle, it could be cold. With your steam pressure that high it could easily be scorching hot. Do you cooling-flush the group before pulling a shot?
Have you looked inside the boiler yet? It could be full of scale. Are you using softened and filtered water or raw untreated tapwater to feed your machine?
You'll have to answer these questions one by one and resolve any problems before you can expect the machine to perform as it should. Good luck
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thepilgrimsdream
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Joined: 16 Dec 2013
Posts: 50
Location: Philly
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Jan 24, 2014, 7:11am
Subject: Re: Rancilio S27 weak shots with decent crema
 

Woah, I accidentally read the 1.3 as 1.8. My bad. The boiler is at 1.2-1.3. It goes slowly back to 0 when I turn it off.

I replaced the shower screen, but not the gasket. I'll order one this weekend

I do need a pressure gauge and a blind filter(I borrow the blind one from my store.)

I have not opened the boiler, but plan on taking it to get serviced next month when I can afford it

I use distilled water
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boar_d_laze
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Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,389
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 Fri Jan 24, 2014, 8:15am
Subject: Re: Rancilio S27 weak shots with decent crema
 

Could be scale, could be a clogged shower head, could be a seal, could be the pump, could be the OPV, could be a lot of things.  Probably not the gasket; if it were, you'd see water leaking around the pf while you were trying to pull a shot.  

For no particular reason, I'm betting "pump."  

If you want to go to the trouble of replacing the gasket yourself even though it's probably not the problem -- go ahead.  They cost about $5, and should be replaced annually anyway.  On the other hand, if it's going to the shop you might as well let them have the joy of removing the (undoubtedly fossilized) gasket.  

Remove the shower head and soak it in an espresso machine specific detergent like Cafiza, First Circle, or Joe Glo, or use TSP.  Use a pin to make sure the holes in the head are completely clear.  

While you're at it, remove the spout from your pf, soak it and the pf in detergent, scour the pf's interior until it gleams, and use some sort of small brush to clean the spout and the pf's hole. Clean tastes better.  

Heat up the machine, put some detergent in your blind basket, and lock it into the group with the shower head out.  Do a few blind flushes -- how's your OPV working?  Remove the pf, brush off the inside of the group to remove any gunk which formed under the shower head, and do the whole thing again.  Do it three or four times.  

Don't operate the machine without either the shower head in or a pf in the group.  Unless, that is, you like wet surprises.  

If by "distilled" you mean "filtered, bottled" water, okay.  If you're actually using distilled water, you shouldn't -- it makes crap espresso.  

BDL
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