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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Silvia technique  
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dolcimelo
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Joined: 15 Jan 2005
Posts: 139
Location: Nagano, Japan
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Espresso: Elektra SXCD, Aero Press,...
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Posted Fri Apr 22, 2005, 4:45am
Subject: Re: Silvia technique
 

LiftOff Said:

I enjoy a latte myself now and again, can appreciate latte art, but the overall quality of the drink is most important and quality suffers greatly the longer that shot sits.

Posted April 20, 2005 link

Yes, but if you are putting the quality of the shot first, then don't add milk to it. If you are adding milk, then the main consideration is to the quality of the milk drink. Milk overwhelms all nuance in the coffee. This doesn't mean the shot doesn't matter, as the better the shot the better the drink. It just means that subtleties in the shot are covered by the milk. So, the first consideration must be the milk. If the shot cools while you are steaming the milk, this is unnoticeable when you add hot, sweet milk. If the milk cools while you are pulling the shot, this is unforgivable, as it will also affect the texture and flavour, while the benefit of the hot shot is unnoticeable. If you are trying to pour pretty patterns as well, then forget it.

Of course, down here in the 240v Antipodes, we don't wait long to steam, but the principle is just as sound.
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LiftOff
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LiftOff
Joined: 3 Nov 2004
Posts: 251
Location: Arizona
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Synesso Cyncra
Grinder: Mazzer Robur
Roaster: Hottop
Posted Fri Apr 22, 2005, 5:37am
Subject: Re: Silvia technique
 

Hold on a minute here Dolcimelo....

I'm going to start off by saying you are wrong on just about every point you tried to make.

Milk DOES NOT overwhelm all the nuance of espresso. If that was the case, just throw a scoop of F@lgers freeze dried cystals in the bottom of the cup, top it off with some of your beloved steamed milk and be done with it.

You then go on to say that the better the shot, the better the drink.  Yes, you are right on this point however the longer your shot sits, the more it degrades in quality. We are not just talking the heat/temp of the shot.

The first consideration is the shot, not the milk. If the shot has been left to sit for to long I don't care HOW good your milk is, your drink is going to suffer because your shot is old, bitter and acidric and believe me, you CAN taste that through the milk.

AS far as pretty patterns go, you can keep those to yourself. I'd rather have a great unadorned drink, then a crappy pretty drink!

Have a nice day!
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dolcimelo
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Jan 2005
Posts: 139
Location: Nagano, Japan
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Elektra SXCD, Aero Press,...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Vac Pot: Cona B
Drip: Not since getting the tap...
Roaster: iRoast2
Posted Fri Apr 22, 2005, 10:02am
Subject: Re: Silvia technique
 

LiftOff Said:

Milk DOES NOT overwhelm all the nuance of espresso. If that was the case, just throw a scoop of F@lgers freeze dried cystals in the bottom of the cup, top it off with some of your beloved steamed milk and be done with it.

Posted April 22, 2005 link

Well, although we don't get Folgers here (that's a good thing, right?), for me milk does overwhelm the nuance of espresso. I didn't say I didn't like it at all, but it is the reason so many cafes can serve acceptable (in relative terms) milk coffees while still being unable to produce a drinkable espresso. Milk covers a multitude of sins, as they say.

You then go on to say that the better the shot, the better the drink.  Yes, you are right on this point however the longer your shot sits, the more it degrades in quality. We are not just talking the heat/temp of the shot.The first consideration is the shot, not the milk. If the shot has been left to sit for to long I don't care HOW good your milk is, your drink is going to suffer because your shot is old, bitter and acidric and believe me, you CAN taste that through the milk.

Even milk can't hide a truly bad shot, and a good one will certainly shine through but, IMO, missing a huge part of its flavour and texture profile. If your shots are really turning bitter from sitting, then maybe there are other problems. I haven't had that happen, but then if I make a milk drink, I don't have to wait very long for the steam on my Silvia. So, assuming you can get your steam act together in a reasonable time, that would still be the principle I would follow.

AS far as pretty patterns go, you can keep those to yourself. I'd rather have a great unadorned drink, then a crappy pretty drink!

We agree totally on this point!

Cheers,
Matt
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ChicagoSandy
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ChicagoSandy
Joined: 29 Jan 2005
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Location: SW Coast of Lake Michigan
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Espresso: Quickmill "La Cora,"  Silvia
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Posted Fri Apr 22, 2005, 10:47am
Subject: Re: Silvia technique
 

I pull a blank shot, flip the steam switch and bleed the wand for a second or two and--keeping the steam switch on--close the steam knob.  30 sec. after that, I pull the shot.  I then put the cup up top to keep the shot hot, knock out the puck and run a brief burst through the empty group and wipe it and the pf clean, and replace the pf. I then bleed off all the wet steam; once I get a steady stream of dry steam (roughly 1-1.5 min. after finishing the pull) I steam--stretching to 80F for lattes and 100F for capps, stopping the whirlpool just before the needle hits 160F.  Lukewarm capps and lattes are pet peeves of mine--I don't mind knocking back a shot in a few gulps or sips, but with a long drink I want the experience to last. I find that if I steam first, the milk separates and cools too much, but if I pull first the crema on the shot barely dissipates and it doesn't get too cool.  If I want to put the shot quality first, I pull and drink straight shots.  I suppose I could do a latte macchiato, but it reminds me too much of the way I had to do it on my old "pump toy" machines:  froth the milk in the mug and then brew the shot (or pour it) into the milk. Tasted okay, the way most clueless restaurants and *$ think a cappuccino is supposed to be; but only with microfoam poured in at least an art-attempt do you get the perfect interplay of foam and crema in both taste and texture.  This is true even with a capp.

 
Sandy
www.sandyandina.com
-------------------
Life's too short to drink lousy coffee, play crummy guitars and write with ballpoint pens.
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LiftOff
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LiftOff
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Location: Arizona
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Posted Fri Apr 22, 2005, 5:10pm
Subject: Re: Silvia technique
 

My shots don't get bitter because I don't let them sit around.  I steam first.

I really don't make many milk drinks but I am pulling shots all day long, either at the roasterie for myself, employees and whomever stops by that day on my LM or at home in the morning on Sylvia and now my new Zaffiro.

I'm going to reverse my process, pull the shot first then steam as well as do it my usuall way this weekend for a few friends and we'll see what they have to say.

Thanks everyone for your input!
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boeingmyway
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boeingmyway
Joined: 23 Jan 2005
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Location: MN
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Espresso: SILVIA
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Posted Fri Apr 22, 2005, 5:21pm
Subject: Re: Silvia technique
 

Hello: Thanks for all the pros and cons of milk first or last. My last 7 or 8 double lattes were made milk last. I like that best because like someone else said, I like it to last longer and want the temp to stay up. The latte I made for myself and my wife this morning were very good. Gina said it was the best latte she has ever had! But then we went out later in the day and bought a new leather couch so I can't count that comment!

I'm new to my Silvia, but not new to drinking good espresso....1979 was my first intro. Back then you couldn't find an espresso in The USA except in Miami Airport! I use to grab a double shot every time I went thru the airport(I'm a pilot, so it was often).

Anyway, all the coffee shops make the milks last, so I guess I'm not the first.

Cheers,

Mike

 
www.outreachasia.org
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LiftOff
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LiftOff
Joined: 3 Nov 2004
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Location: Arizona
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Espresso: Synesso Cyncra
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Posted Fri Apr 22, 2005, 5:33pm
Subject: Re: Silvia technique
 

Just because a coffeeshop does it, that does not make it right. You would be amazed at how much training I have to do with new (to me) coffeeshops and cafe's.

I would walk out of any coffeeshop that prepared the milk last, but you guys probably new that allready.

To each his own, if it's good for you than great...!
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dolcimelo
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Jan 2005
Posts: 139
Location: Nagano, Japan
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Elektra SXCD, Aero Press,...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Vac Pot: Cona B
Drip: Not since getting the tap...
Roaster: iRoast2
Posted Fri Apr 22, 2005, 9:48pm
Subject: Re: Silvia technique
 

LiftOff Said:

My shots don't get bitter because I don't let them sit around.  I steam first.

Posted April 22, 2005 link

They really shouldn't get bitter after sitting for a few minutes.

I'm going to reverse my process, pull the shot first then steam as well as do it my usuall way this weekend for a few friends and we'll see what they have to say.

I think you have a very sensible attitude - experiment, don't take anybody's word for it. And I, too, shall try it your way when I next make a milk drink. Incidentally, it may also depend on how many you are making at a time. When I do make them, I am always making two drinks at once so, either way, one of the shots is going to get cooler.

I would walk out of any coffeeshop that prepared the milk last, but you guys probably new that allready.

So would I! They have no excuse, as they can do it all at once.

Matt
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Everman
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Everman
Joined: 25 Nov 2004
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Location: Coffee Land
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Posted Sat Apr 23, 2005, 9:20pm
Subject: Re: Silvia technique
 

My procedure:
Run a few ounces of hot water into a cup until the boiler turns on. (this can even heat up your cup)

I wait about 40-45 seconds and pull the shot. This has been very consistent for me in getting the right temp. ( I think this is called "reverse temp surfing" )

After the shot is done (usually in the 25-30 sec range) flip the steam switch, knock the puck.  

After 30 seconds run the steam until no water is spraying out. Close it and wait another 40 seconds.

My boiler light goes off at about the 50 second mark, so I start steaming before it does that so it stays on the entire duration of frothing my milk.

And that's it. Incredible steam power with the boiler constantly on, and my latte art is finally getting some real definition.
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earthena
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Joined: 27 Mar 2013
Posts: 13
Location: Spokane
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Rocky
Posted Wed Mar 27, 2013, 3:49pm
Subject: Re: Silvia technique
 

Ah - I needed this technique on my Silvia.  Thank you for solving this long-standing mental mystery.
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