Temperature Surfing the New Rancilio Silvia 100C Thermostat

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whereshaldo

#1: Post by whereshaldo »

I'm hoping to start some conversation about temp surfing the newer Silvia's with the 100C thermostat. Most of the material on Silvia deals with the older Silvias that have the 110C thermostat. I'm not sure why they switched to the lower temp thermostat but the traditional temp surfing methods don't seem to completely apply.

Here's what I do: let it warm up as long as possible. Ideally 1 hour, but often its only about 20 minutes and I flush hot water through the PF twice during that time. Then right before brewing, I flick on the steam switch for 5 seconds, then switch it off and brew.

Are you doing something different or nothing at all? PID-ed Silvia's are on their own unless you have a used PID kit you want to sell me.

Hal

PS, I noticed that the screw on the grouphead is now (was it always) an 8mm hex screw with a wide flat-head slot. The screw was in tight but an 8mm box end wrench loosened it no problem

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erics
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#2: Post by erics »

Actually, most of the information on this site (and others) pertains to Silvias with the 100 C thermostat (when not PID'ed). The change from 110 C to 100 C was made very early in Silvia's popularity, e.g. my Silvia is September 1999 production and was certainly originally equipped with the 110 C thermostat. About a year later I changed over to the 100 C t-stat.

From a temperature standpoint, here would be a place (emphasis on "a") to start:

Rancilio Silvia Performance with/without PID
Skål,

Eric S.
http://users.rcn.com/erics/
E-mail: erics at rcn dot com

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Psyd

#3: Post by Psyd »

erics wrote:Actually, most of the information on this site (and others) pertains to Silvias with the 100 C thermostat
Ehm, most of the stuff that I've heard about temp surfing the Silvia has been based on the 110C t-stat. Waiting any amount of time greater than a minute after the light has gone off with a 100C t-stat would make the temp a bit too cold (I'm thinking, I just switched to the 100C stat myself) and surfing from the time it goes on would be getting it before it reached 100C, wunnit?
I'm curious, too.
I'd suggest that any suggestions, instructions,and experiences with a Silvia be annotated which t-stat she's boasting.
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whereshaldo

#4: Post by whereshaldo »

[Edit] The above link mentions that the new thermostat came onto the scene in 2001, much earlier than I thought.

[My understanding was that the newer thermostat didn't come on the scene until Silvia v. 2 (the POD adaptable version?) Maybe I'm completely wrong here, I'll try to find the reference.]

Hal

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Randy G.

#5: Post by Randy G. »

whereshaldo wrote:[Edit] The above link mentions that the new thermostat came onto the scene in 2001, much earlier than I thought.
[My understanding was that the newer thermostat didn't come on the scene until Silvia v. 2 (the POD adaptable version?) Maybe I'm completely wrong here, I'll try to find the reference.]
Hal
The earliest that the 100C t-stat came along was mid to late 2001. It definitely came before the model upgrade of "v.2." My Silvia from late 2000 (which was one of the earliest ones with the welded-in heating element instead of the bolt-in heating element) originally had the 110, and when that part died (about mid-2003 I think) all that was available for replacement was the 100C.
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Randii

#6: Post by Randii »

Actually, most of the information on this site (and others) pertains to Silvias with the 100 C thermostat
I don't agree with this statement. When I got my Silvia, it was the one with the 100C t-stat, and every time I tried *any* of the traditional temperature surfing techniques with it, they did not work at all. The older temperature surfing techniques - some which tell you to take the shot at 2 minutes - are WAY too cold for the 100C t-stat. Those techniques were developed on the 110C t-stat and do not apply to the 100C t-stat.

I eventually found a post from Jim Schulman, who said that you need to pull the shot just when the light goes out, because the machine is up to brew temp then. I found that the temperature was more stable (and around the same temp) at 1 minute after the light went out. When I pulled the shot, I also hit the steam switch at the same time to further stabilize the shot temperature.

I agree that somewhere there needs to be a listing of the different Silvia temperature surfing techniques for the different thermostats, so people will know which techniques apply to their machine. Lots of people don't even know that there are different thermostats in the machines.

whereshaldo

#7: Post by whereshaldo »

I eventually found a post from Jim Schulman, who said that you need to pull the shot just when the light goes out, because the machine is up to brew temp then. I found that the temperature was more stable (and around the same temp) at 1 minute after the light went out. When I pulled the shot, I also hit the steam switch at the same time to further stabilize the shot temperature.
Just to clarify, 60 seconds after the light goes out you hit the brew switch and the steam switch simultaneously?

It is going to be difficult for me to be this coordinated before I have any coffee.

Hal

ChrisC

#8: Post by ChrisC »

whereshaldo wrote:Just to clarify, 60 seconds after the light goes out you hit the brew switch and the steam switch simultaneously?
I have a new v2 Silvia, obviously with the 100C t-stat, and prior to getting my PID, I waited two minutes after the light went out, then hit the brew switch and immediately afterwards the steam switch (don't worry, it's not that hard, and it becomes habit pretty quick). I based the two minute wait on a recommendation in a post of Dan's where he did temp measurements and found they hit 200F at the grouphead pretty reliably at that point -- but I must confess I don't know what version of the thermostat the Silvia had when he did those tests. And the idea of turning on the steam switch at the same time came from Mark Prince's 'Cheating Miss Silvia' page, but I also confess that at the time I thought it was just so you didn't have to wait so long to start steaming the milk after. It was only later that I realized that it might help temp stability within the shot.

Did I get good results? Tough to say -- I was brand new to coffee at the time, and of course, Silvia is a harsh task mistress. Certainly I would say that at least some of my coffees were very good. I had at least one memorable straight shot that was approaching what I would call godliness.

The catch 22 in trying to figure this out is that all the Silvia owners that have access to good temp measuring equipment have likely already PIDed their Silvias... You could try the styrofoam cup / thermometer test, I guess. And ultimately even if someone here told you what timing they use on your Silvia, the differences with your machine (and grinder, and coffee blend/roast/age, and barista technique, and altitude, etc.) are going to make that a little moot. As annoying as this advice may be, your best option may be just a lot of experimentation to figure out what tastes best to you. It's been 4 months now since I got my PID, and I finally was able to dial in on the perfect temp setting for a type of coffee I've struggled with. While that was a long time, the sense of accomplishment I feel is immense. :-)

(BTW, I do still switch the steam switch on at the same time as the brew switch with my PID, of course -- now I'm just trying to remember to turn it off afterwards every time if I'm not immediately moving on to steaming. :-))

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Psyd

#9: Post by Psyd »

ChrisC wrote: I based the two minute wait on a recommendation in a post of Dan's where he did temp measurements and found they hit 200F at the grouphead pretty reliably at that point -- but I must confess I don't know what version of the thermostat the Silvia had when he did those tests. And the idea of turning on the steam switch at the same time came from Mark Prince's 'Cheating Miss Silvia' page,
It may just be me, but if the t-stat turns off the heating element just as the boiler approaches 100C, I'm guessing (with some lee-way for drift) that it isn't getting much hotter than that. With room temp water being pushed in by the pump, and the rest of the metal contact starting to cool the water, I'd say that you're approaching the high end of decent brew temps (96C) fairly rapidly, and it'll start to cool from there. Any waiting would bring that down. I could be wrong, but I have noticed that my near-perfect, clockwork-like reproductions of my daily espressos at my GF's house (where Silvia gets her workouts) have been somewhat less spectacular since I replaced the 110C stat. I've been pulling just as the light goes out, but I'm thinking about trying to get a bit more heat into her before I start.
I'd really like it if the publishers of past and future surf techniques were to label which stat they're surfing.
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ChrisC

#10: Post by ChrisC »

My understanding is that the water gets hottest about 1 minute after the thermostat cuts the power to the heater. This is because there is residual heat in the element that continues to pass into the water during that time. (Maybe you could try brewing at this time for a little extra heat, Psyd?) Then it falls after. Seeing as 200F (a good average start temp for espresso) is 93C, and the heater is turned off when the water is 100C and then the water gets hotter than that for a minute, you'd want to wait at least a minute to stand a chance of getting closer to 93C/200F as your starting temp. After that, as you point out, other factors come into play. Hopefully cold water is not a big one right away, as it sinks to the bottom and the water to the GH is drawn off the top. And hopefully heating the metal isn't either if your Silvia is properly warmed up, or if you've pulled some blanks beforehand. And if you flick the steam switch at the same time as the brew switch...

I'd love to see charts of the intra-shot temp on Silvia with the steam switch on and off. Perhaps someone like Eric has already done this?