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file Living with the Rancilio Silvia

  • Brian Kwon
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12 years 6 months ago #2881 by Brian Kwon
Living with the Rancilio Silvia was created by Brian Kwon
This thread discusses the Content article: Living with the Rancilio Silvia

I've had my Silvia for about a month and I am still learning. I have a couple questions probably about making espresso in general but also with my new Silvia. 1. Why the great controversy about tamping pressure? What's the true purpose of tamping? I do it with a nice heavy tamper so I find applying pressure is no problem.

2.My second question is about the post-extraction puck. My pucks come out muddy when I dump them out. Is there a consistency that they should be at? I understand the 20-25 sec brew time and the most advice that I read suggests changing grind size (I have a Virtuoso). I guess what I'm wondering is whether the appearance of my pucks are any indication that I am doing something right/wrong. Any tips?
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12 years 6 months ago #2882 by Troll
Replied by Troll on topic Re:Living with the Rancilio Silvia
Brian Kwon wrote:

This thread discusses the Content article: Living with the Rancilio Silvia

I've had my Silvia for about a month and I am still learning. I have a couple questions probably about making espresso in general but also with my new Silvia. 1. Why the great controversy about tamping pressure? What's the true purpose of tamping? I do it with a nice heavy tamper so I find applying pressure is no problem.

2.My second question is about the post-extraction puck. My pucks come out muddy when I dump them out. Is there a consistency that they should be at? I understand the 20-25 sec brew time and the most advice that I read suggests changing grind size (I have a Virtuoso). I guess what I'm wondering is whether the appearance of my pucks are any indication that I am doing something right/wrong. Any tips?


I don't think there's any great 'contraversy' about tamping pressure and you'll read that 30lbs of pressure is where you want to be at. I wouldn't worry so much about applying exactly 30 lbs of pressure. I think it's more important to be consistent with how much pressure you're applying to each shot. That way if the end result isn't exactly what you were looking for you can discount tamping pressure as the cause. With that said you don't want to over tamp as it might put too much stress on the boiler.

As for the appearance of your pucks, are they soggy all the way through? or just alittle soggy on top? If it's the latter, that's par for the course.

With that said, I've only had my Sylvia for about a month and alot of what I've said is from what I've read from variouses sources on the web. G'luck.
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12 years 6 months ago #2884 by cappuccino1
Replied by cappuccino1 on topic Re:Living with the Rancilio Silvia
My apologies I accidently posted on the wrong Forum.
I own a Rancilio Silvia which I have had for a month now and am loving it. Best machine I ever owned. Lots of great research material on internet so I now know my Silvia quite well.
Last night I brewed an espresso on my Silvia. Coffee flowed from the spouts of my portafilter but water dripped from the portafilter as well. The water appeared to be leaking from somewhere in the grouphead and was dripping from the space in between the two spouts on the portafilter. This has never happened before and continued to occur every time I brewed espresso. My portafilter was attached properly and tightly.My Virtuoso was on the finest setting which is zero and I never had this problem before on this setting. I put my Vurtuoso on one setting less finer than zero and there was no water leakage when I brewed on this setting.

Anyone with ideas as to what is happening and what I should do to prevent the water leakage?
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12 years 6 months ago #2885 by colin
Replied by colin on topic Re:Living with the Rancilio Silvia
A couple of things to consider:

-Make sure the area around the group-head and gasket are clean.
-back flush and descale... especially if you haven't since you purchased your machine.
-Check the fineness of your grind.

I will repeat this for the benefit of all:
There is no need to tamp at 30 pounds. This number is meaningless. Use the grind fineness to regulate the flow of espresso.

This phenomenon of high pressure tamping is a product of North American obsessive compulsives.
You will find in Europe that there is very little tamping in the World's oldest cafes.
I am not sure what they do in Australia. Then again... Who cares what they do in Australia! Bwah-ha-ha- he-he-he ho-ho-ho!
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12 years 6 months ago #2890 by Anonymous Coward
Replied by Anonymous Coward on topic Re:Living with the Rancilio Silvia
Do you think descaling is necessary in Victoria with the soft water we have? I read someone say that Rancilio recommends NOT backflushing the Silvia but is that just their paranoid legal department talking? Could you give me a little advice about the proper way to backflush my Silvia? Some people say wait till the machine is room temperature, some say when it's hot, etc... I'm worried about screwing it up.
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12 years 6 months ago #2891 by Troll
Replied by Troll on topic Re:Living with the Rancilio Silvia
Hey Colin, I know you had a Sylvia for some time and was hoping you could answer something for me. How often should I backflush the Silvia? I use it approx. twice a day. And what can you say bout the process as well? I know Rancilio frowns upon it, but seems it's a necessary cleaning process.

What about often of descaling? I was thinking 1-2x/year.

Thx.
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