Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
Regional: United Kingdom
Training using consumer equipment?
Learn @seattlecoffeegear
Learn all about coffee, watch videos, read how-to articles.
www.seattlecoffeegear.com
 
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered  
Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Discussions > Regional > UK > Training using...  
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Author Messages
santoli3
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Apr 2012
Posts: 4
Location: UK - East Midlands
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Apr 6, 2012, 2:17am
Subject: Training using consumer equipment?
 

Having enjoyed coffee for many years, and wanting to step up my game, I recently purchased a Rancillio Silvia and Rocky combination.
It’s been a disappointing journey so far. I am unable to pull a quality shot. In general my shots come out tasting quite tart.
I've read many discussions and watched several YouTube videos on various techniques associated with Silvia in particular as well as espresso in general.
The first couple weeks I worked on consistency of technique, weighing the load, using a scale to measure tamp pressure, etc. before worrying too much about quality of result.
Since then I’ve been tried beans from Hasbean, squaremile, and grumpymule. Always, even with a perfect 23s pull, the shot comes out tart tasting.
I even built a pressure gauge with bleed valve to ensure that Silvia was pumping at ~9bar.
I’ve decided I need professional help, so to speak.
Does anyone know where one can get training on consumer equipment similar to Silvia? I looked up Barista training. And while I suspect these courses would teach me a great deal, they are going to be taught using commercial equipment. I really want someone to walk me through my equipment, or something as close as practical to my equipment.
Any suggestions?
Cheers;
Steve
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
Joel_B
Senior Member
Joel_B
Joined: 9 Oct 2007
Posts: 1,823
Location: Pacific NW
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Astra Mega II
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, Virtuoso
Vac Pot: Yama 5 cup
Drip: nope, french press
Roaster: Behmor, WP, BBQ drum
Posted Fri Apr 6, 2012, 4:15am
Subject: Re: Training using consumer equipment?
 

Hey Steve, welcome to coffeegeek!

I'm not sure where you'd go for training on a Silvia in the uk.  I know in the states, most "training classes" wouldn't be in the single boiler dual use (sb/du) machine like a sylvia, but rather on double boiler and HX machines.  You're best bet would be to hook up with a fellow coffeegeek willing to give you some tips.

However, the most likely reason you're shots are tart is the temperature is likely too cool.  Typically too cool of brew temp yields tart (sour) shots and too hot will yield bitter shots (although there's other reasons that would cause this).  

With a stock Sylvia you'll need to do what's called temp surfing.  A sb/du machine's boiler operates on a thermostat with a deadband.  That is, it has a high and low temp limits that the machine operates in.  So the boiler kicks on and heats the water in the boiler until it reaches the hi limit (governed by the thermostat).  When it reaches the high limit, the heating element will turn off.  When the heating element turns off, the boiler and the water in the boiler begin to cool.  It will continue to cool until the temp reaches the low temp limit (again, governed by the thermostat).  When the thermostat senses the boiler has reached the low limit, the heating element will kick back on and begin heating the water and boiler until it reaches the high temp limit.  Heating element will shut off, temp will drop until it reaches the low limt, heating element will heat again, so on and so forth.  This heating and raising of the boiler temp is called the boiler cycle and the temperature range of that cycle is called the deadband.

So the trick is to know where the temperature is when you're pulling your shot.  And that what temp surfing is.  Heres a YouTube video made by Mark (site owner) and explains temp surfing on the Sylvia.  There's also a slew of info regarding temp surfing on this site, so do a search, ask questions and people with this machine can offer you lots of pointers.

You could also look into getting a PID kit which eliminates the boiler deadband and keeps the temperature stable at whichever temp you have selected (which is adjustable btw).  

One last thing, is make sure you give your machine time to come up to temp and become temp stable.  When you turn your machine on and the light says it's ready to go, it's not really ready to go.  Give any machine at least 30min to warm up and stablize.

Sorry this doesn't really answer your initial question, but I hope it provides you some help in the right direction.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
santoli3
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Apr 2012
Posts: 4
Location: UK - East Midlands
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Apr 6, 2012, 6:46am
Subject: Re: Training using consumer equipment?
 

Thanks Joel.
I assume you’re talking about this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhxvDusY3jk .
Indeed I have been trying to emulate that technique. I’ve varied the time of the surf, even trying pulling a shot immediately after the light goes out with no draw-down. And while I can detect difference between the shots, they are all tart.
Generally I do allow the machine plenty of time to warm up (although I have used the “cheating Silvia” technique a few times).
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
santoli3
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Apr 2012
Posts: 4
Location: UK - East Midlands
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat May 26, 2012, 1:20am
Subject: Re: Training using consumer equipment?
 

So more than two months into this journey things have gotten only marginally better.
I've found one bean that works well for me (Grumpy Mule Organic Espresso).
But one of the main reasons for bringing Silvia into my home was the opportunity to enjoy a variety of espressos.
Alas. Nothing I do can coax a drinkable cup out of most beans.
I like your idea, Joel, of hooking up with a fellow coffee geek.
But I'm afraid my Brit friends think I'm quite off my nob spending all this money and effort on coffee when all that is needed for a great cuppa tea is a 10-quid kettle and some Yorkshire tea bags. And I am, to my dismay, in no position to refute them.
So if there are any UK coffee lovers out there willing to help out a displaced yank please speak up!
I’m in Derby, and would be willing to travel a fair way if there is someone willing to give me a walk-through on their equipment. Or if there’s someone local who’d be willing to do a run through on mine, that would be great too.
Cheers.
Steve
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
mhborstad
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Feb 2012
Posts: 31
Location: Gatineau
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Sat May 26, 2012, 8:40am
Subject: Re: Training using consumer equipment?
 

How did you settle on grind and dose (you mentioned weighing beans)? You should be able to mellow the shot by grinding finer - you'll have to use correspondingly less coffee each time you adjust the grind to maintain the target timing.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
santoli3
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Apr 2012
Posts: 4
Location: UK - East Midlands
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon May 28, 2012, 11:52pm
Subject: Re: Training using consumer equipment?
 

Thanks for the reply.
I started out just filling the portafilter the same way every time, giving it a few shakes to level during the process (I'm using a doserless), and leveling off with a knife before tamping to 30#. I then adjusted grind to get 23seconds. I found the dose to stay consistant in weight once I was dialed in that way. Then I found that I could adjust the load by a) not shaking while loading, or shaking more, b) leveling with a slightly curved edge (mounding or concav-ing). I've played with weights between 12 and 19 grams for a double shot, always adjusting grind to get 23 to 28second shots. I've also adjusted tamp pressure. But with lighter loads I can hit the ridge in the basket, limiting tamp.
I still seam to get my best shots w/ about 14grams and 30# tamp. This I get with a relatively straight forward grind-shake-grind and level w/ a straight edge.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Discussions > Regional > UK > Training using...  
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered     Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
Discussions Quick Jump:
Symbols: New Posts= New Posts since your last visit      No New Posts= No New Posts since last visit     Go to most recent post= Newest post
Forum Rules:
No profanity, illegal acts or personal attacks will be tolerated in these discussion boards.
No commercial posting of any nature will be tolerated; only private sales by private individuals, in the "Buy and Sell" forum.
No SEO style postings will be tolerated. SEO related posts will result in immediate ban from CoffeeGeek.
No cross posting allowed - do not post your topic to more than one forum, nor repost a topic to the same forum.
Who Can Read The Forum? Anyone can read posts in these discussion boards.
Who Can Post New Topics? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post new topics.
Who Can Post Replies? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post replies.
Can Photos be posted? Anyone can post photos in their new topics or replies.
Who can change or delete posts? Any CoffeeGeek member can edit their own posts. Only moderators can delete posts.
Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.
Coffee Kids
Help folks who help folks in coffee producing nations.
coffeekids.org
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2014 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.185853004456)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+