Difficulty obtaining normal brew ratios - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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#11: Post by cafeIKE »

If you don't over dose, the bolt is not a problem.
Grind finer and use less coffee or get a deeper basket if you want to mega-dose.

The screen/bolt is changeable.
Flat shower screen for Rancilio Silvia espresso machine

IMO, puck screens are a solution in search of a problem.

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#12: Post by Jake_G »

Puck screens are great for keeping the group squeaky clean, but otherwise I don't see the benefit.

The flat shower screen mod was one of the first I did to my Rancilio machine. I highly recommend it.

Now, I'm in the same boat with the GS/3 having a similarly large screw sticking out of the shower screen. But it really doesn't cause any issues. I don't use a puck screen (largely because of interference with the screw - I do like a clean machine), so I set my maximum dose where where the screw leaves a light witness mark on the puck. From there, you can adjust grind down and grind finer to have the full gamut of outcomes for flavor.

I would really recommend going back to the basics.
kohlerk08 wrote:I'll definitely try cutting the dose to 18 or 17g, I was just afraid that putting even less grind into the basket would make it come out faster and contribute to the increased output even more.
Are you using the timed/volumetric dosing capabilities of the BDB, or just running the shot until you reach the desired weight and stopping it manually? I would recommend stopping manually until you have all your variables pinned down.
kohlerk08 wrote:When I've tried to adjust to a finer grind I just end up with a very small shot volume, so I started thinking maybe my shots just aren't achieving the right amount of crema?
Have you had any luck?

This tells me that your grinder is working as it is designed to, but tighter grind should make the shot take much longer, rather than making the output smaller. If I remember correctly, the BDB has a 90 second shot limit, so you should be able to manually get the volume where you want it, and then adjust the grind to reach that volume in the time you are after. Do everything manually. Then, once it is stable, you can program a volumetric button and let the machine do its thing, if you want.


- Jake
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#13: Post by MatGreiner »

skink91 wrote: using a 18g dose in a 22g VST basket
Fast flow fancy baskets make it harder. High doses make it harder. It won't be better, just harder.

Noting two posters with similar problems, different equipment. For Skink91, put that VST basket In a drawer and don't look at it for 6 months. It is ultra demanding on prep and equipment. Why not create easier (more delicious, less wasteful) conditions for success while learning?

The stock basket that came with your Silvia is your friend, and IIRC, it wants about a 13g dose. Or, if you have or get ye olde La Marzocco Ridgeless or an EPHQ in 18g, you could go to 15/16g, BUT low doses are easier, more consistent.
LMWDP #716: Jeez, kids! Don't swing on that!


#14: Post by skink91 replying to MatGreiner »

This kind of advice is pure gold sir, thank you! It has been a real challenge to filter out all the info I am taking in and knowing what to try/do, what mistakes can be avoided, etc. really fun (albeit expensive) journey here. Ahhh... life. Ha.

I am gonna pull that stock basket out for tomorrow's voyage, and will report back. Thanks again!


#15: Post by skink91 »

Results from my Rancilio stock basket usage this morning were pretty sketchy. Saw no improvement in flow rate (still really fast) also the taste of the shots were much different (and not good.)

Need to run them a bunch more and tweak some things and see how that changes the results.

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#16: Post by Jake_G »

Is the bolt fracturing the puck when you lock in?

Just try locking in and then pulling the portafilter right back out. You should have just a little witness mark of the bolt on the surface of the puck. Any deeper mark than that and your dose is too high for the Silvia.

If your dose isn't too high, just grind finer.

It is entirely possible your rocky cannot grind fine enough for espresso with your current setup. Things will get a bit better if you do the flush shower screen mod, as you can slo the shot down by increasing the dose without fracturing the puck.

Until then, grind as fine as you can to get a reasonable shot time. If that means grinding finer than zero, something is wrong with your grinder.
LMWDP #704


#17: Post by skink91 »

It didn't fracture it per se because I really didn't do too hard of a tamp, but it did indent it enough that I figured it was more than desired (I did take a look before pulling it).

The second one I tamped harder and put in a screen, different result but still not good (fast and bad taste... but hard to describe as it didn't taste over or underextracted... just funky).

Yeah I am grinding as fine as I can at present on my Rocky unfortunately. I did (pre)order a new grinder that should give future-me some help, but that is a couple months off.

I will keep using them and trying the stock baskets though. They did include a 9Gr basket... but really can't imagine that could possibly survive that screw sticking down.

I got the flat screw replacement yesterday for the shower... will install it this weekend.


#18: Post by skink91 »

Wanted to post this as an update: out of pure curiosity, I tried a bag of Starbucks Espresso beans with my setup. Used 19gr ground at my finest setting in the 18gr VST basket, firm even tamp, 1 sec preinfusion, and got exactly the approx ratio after 30 second pull I was hoping for (around 40gr out). Was super pleased with that!

And then I tasted it. LOL.

So very very awful. I used to like this stuff?? Wow.


#19: Post by iyayy »

imo starbucks beans are overroasted, hence normal shots tends to excessively extracts it and gets extremely bitter very early.
i found very low temp and 1.8 yield ratio or lower to do better.
i think the verona blend isnt too bad.


#20: Post by skink91 »

Another little followup: stock Rancilio baskets made a small difference in speed but not a 'this is the main issue' difference perhaps (probably a number of issues.) Yesterday I switched back to the 18g VST and put 20g in, medium tamp... got an acceptable end result.

This morning it seemed like all 3 shots pulled were just great... time 25-30 sec for 45-50g out, and tasted like I was narrowing in on getting the most out of the beans. Really satisfying actually. I suppose it is possible my grinder is getting 'seasoned', the machine is breaking in, dosing higher for the basket, and fewer 'user error' mistakes are getting smaller and fewer all contribute... in any case, feeling much better about it all!