Rancilio Silvia espresso runs too fast - best path forward

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?
flow_so_sick

#1: Post by flow_so_sick »

First post here, thanks for reading! :) These forums have given tons of insight on how to make better espresso.

Currently stuck deciding whether I should
1) Buy a new grinder, upgrade from Rocky with Teflon tape mod
2) Mod the Silvia v2 to decrease brew pressure, since it's not adjustable out of the box
3) Something else?

The problem: Shots are running too fast.

I use freshly roasted (1-2 week) full city coffee. 15.5g in stock double basket, no screen imprints or obvious signs of channeling in bottomless portafilter. WDT and tamp. Shots start at about 6 seconds, comes out evenly/fast, and only take about 14 seconds for that 1:2 ratio. Grinder is set to true 0, just before burrs touch, and has yet to choke the machine. Burrs were replaced in the last year.

Anyone have any suggestions on how to troubleshoot? Totally willing to upgrade to a better grinder, but I'd be pretty sad to find out the problem is the machine. or even worse, the person behind the portafilter :oops:

Thanks for the veteran advice!

JRising
Team HB

#2: Post by JRising »

Because adding a copper washer to the OPV is the cheapest thing that's easy to un-do, I would try that and see what you think. Of course I don't know what pressure your machine is running or how you're measuring it. A teflon-stepless rocky should be able to adequately control your brew-flow so that the shots aren't running too fast. It may still produce nasty espresso if the pressure is way too high, but dialing in the grinder to find the 30 second shot shouldn't be difficult.

Or just replace the OPV with a new OPV, the adjustable ones fit and will give you the ability to try at many different brew-pressures.
Not quite as inexpensive as the copper washer, but certainly a mod that's worth the cost.

User avatar
baldheadracing
Team HB

#3: Post by baldheadracing »

Welcome to H-B!
flow_so_sick wrote:... Anyone have any suggestions on how to troubleshoot? Totally willing to upgrade to a better grinder, but I'd be pretty sad to find out the problem is the machine. or even worse, the person behind the portafilter :oops:

Thanks for the veteran advice!
Grinder grinder grinder.

Even if upgrading the grinder doesn't solve the problem, you'll still have a better grinder 8).

In terms of less expensive steps, are you sure the OPV isn't adjustable? My memory is not perfect, but I thought that an adjustable OPV was part of the v2 changes? My late v1 has an adjustable OPV. Mind you, it is a PITA to adjust, but it is adjustable: https://www.1st-line.com/technical-supp ... io-silvia/

The earlier OPV's could be adjusted somewhat by adding washers. Here's a sample video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlElxFaCbXQ

Also, if you have the old stock Silvia double basket then I highly recommend that you change it. (The part number on the side is 40.100.010. It is a nominal 12g basket, and doesn't handle much more very well in my experience.) A lot of people like this one with the Silvia: https://www.espressoparts.com/products/ ... asket-14gr

Good luck!
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

palica

#4: Post by palica »

Why not trying to increase grind qty to 17 or 18 gr before making more complicated/expensive steps? 15.5 is small to me. I may be wrong but at least, testing it will cost you only 3 mns and 18 gr of beans :mrgreen:

User avatar
Jeff
Team HB

#5: Post by Jeff »

The Silvia/Rocky duo was a reasonable option when it came out. Since then there have been a lot of knowledge gained on espresso, so it is missing "essential" things like a reasonable OPV and fine adjustment of grind size.

I agree that adjusting or replacing the OPV is a good step. I'm assuming that you're already temperature surfing with the Silvia, yes?

On the grinder, especially if you're only pulling a couple shots in a session, hand grinders have gotten amazingly good over the last few years. A grinder like the 1ZPresso JX-Pro is around US$160 and provides high-quality grinds for espresso with enough adjustability to dial in. There are other options, but that is one of the least expensive grinders that current enthusiasts consider suitable for espresso. Electric grinders of similar grind quality start around $300 for a Baratza refurb. The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is not recommended.

User avatar
baldheadracing
Team HB

#6: Post by baldheadracing »

palica wrote:Why not trying to increase grind qty to 17 or 18 gr before making more complicated/expensive steps? 15.5 is small to me. I may be wrong but at least, testing it will cost you only 3 mns and 18 gr of beans :mrgreen:
He has a stock basket. Even with the later 40.100.102 basket (nominal 14g) from later Silvias, 16g is about it for lighter roasts, with traditional roasts at about 14g.
Jeff wrote:... I'm assuming that you're already temperature surfing with the Silvia, yes? ...
Good point on temperature surfing. I had forgotten about that as I've had a PID in mine forever :oops:. The classic Silvia v2 temperature surfing video:
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

GreavesManchu

#7: Post by GreavesManchu »

Definetly upgrade your grinder. I used a Rocky for 19 yrs and started getting much better results after changing to a stepless grinder (Ceado E37S).

flow_so_sick (original poster)

#8: Post by flow_so_sick (original poster) »

Thanks all for the swift responses! John had a great point, why not try?

Looks like I was incorrect about my OPV's adjustability. Was tricky to find a wrench thin enough at 20mm to adjust, but I made the changes! Running the pump for 30 seconds now outputs about 130g of water from the overpressure hose (was previously 0g :lol: ). I'm told this is a very rough approximation of 9 bars.

The machine is still nowhere near choking with the 0 setting on the Rocky, but flow has definitely decreased in a good way. Pulled another short shot including temp surfing like always, but I think I tamped unevenly because I was excited.

Will give it a try again tomorrow morning and report back!

Thanks for the basket recommendation Craig and the grinder rec Jeff :D

User avatar
Randy G.

#9: Post by Randy G. »

How old is the Rocky? If it is in regular use and the grinder is more than about 2½ to 3 years old, change the burrs. Then use it for drip and get a grinder more suited for espresso use. You sound committed, so invest in a good grinder that will serve your needs well into the future for when you upgrade your espresso machine. I had a Rocky for about 7½ years and it was ready for its third burr replacement when I sold it.
Read my blog- btdt.
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
* 22nd Anniversary 2000-2022 *

CSME9

#10: Post by CSME9 »

Rocky can usually grind fine enough, I used one for many years. Did it grind fine enough prior to changing to the current burrs ? Is the zero the true zero where the burrs touch, if not re-zero and grind finer.

Recommend cleaning the grinder and re-installing the hopper and re-zero, and up-dose the basket are easy least costly options.