I'm about to throw Silvia out the window! - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
User avatar
Randy G.

#11: Post by Randy G. »

There is an awful lot to deal with there, and more besides that isn't there.

First, head down to the store and pick up some patience. Silvia is NOT a machine for someone who can be easily frustrated. No offense meant, but patience is definitely a virtue when it comes to owning an espresso machine. Wnat something easier to use and more consistent? Try spending twice as much as a starting point-- yes, it really does matter, but back to teh point.

You should be able to choke Silvia with Rocky with grind adjustment to spare. Ignore the numbers on Rocky. Grind finer, one step at a time, and do so until nothing comes out, then work the other direction. You say you cholked her at 1 or two with some hard tamping. Grind at -1 and tamp more gently and see what happens.

Get out a scale and measure your tamping force. 30 pounds? I'd bet it's closer to 50 or 60. I can get 30 pounds with two fingers. My advice- tamp at ten pounds until you find a grind that works, and work from there once you get consistent results.

Two weeks, fresh from the roaster, is the end of life for good espresso, but they should still afford a good pull with good crema, assuming that they really are two weeks old.

I would bet that the OPV was pretty darn close when you got the machine. You will need a pressure gauge now to readjust it, or at least check it. A pressure regulator should not be adjusted without a gauge. You end up chasing your tail. I have a dog with epilepsy that does that and it will get annoying after a while.

DO NOT declump after dosing with a fork. it will compress the coffee too much and cause overdosing which is a whole other problem. Use a dissecting needle, or even a straightened paper clip or sewing needle stuck into a pencil eraser or piece of 1/4" wood dowel. Thoroughly declump the entire basket, level off with a crooked finger, settle the grounds with downward tapping, then tamp to 10 pounds, and lock and load, then remove the PF. There should only be the slightest indentation of the screw in the coffee. Silvia is VERY sensitive to dose amount.

Oce you get this down, we can start talking about brew temperature control! :shock:
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
*20th Anniversary 2000-2020*

tcampbells

#12: Post by tcampbells »

I have had a Silvia and Rocky combination for just over a month and a galf. Like you I have went through a great deal of problems at first (and still sometimes problems now).

I was grinding too coarse. I thought it was fine enough when compared to what my coffee shop gave me, but it was not.

Follow the suggestions here. Grind as fine as possible, to choke the machine, then grind coarser 2 clicks and you should be fine. It doesn't matter what the dial says, every rocky is different, every coffee is different. what matters is the results.

One problem I had at first was over dosing. I was thinking I had about 14 grms in the basket but often it was more, and sometimes it was less. I concluded that when it was less I had better pulls. I now weigh it at 12.5g and I get great shots. When I as locking it in at over dose or 14 grms I found that the bolt in the screen was breaking the puck and causing terribily fast pulls. Loading less prevents this. Amazing creme and nice taste. I run the same beans, the same grind and the same routine with 14g and I get a totally different shot.

The amazing think with espresso is how little it takes to change everything. Use the same beans and the same routine and one click finer in the rocky and you can get an over extracted shot with at terrible taste.

remove the tap from your routine. It usually causes the side channeling evident with a slow pull at first speeding up near the end.

Grind into a container (plastic cup), break up the chumps, pour into the PF and spead even with finger, light tap on the counter to settle grounds then tamp (30pounds or less, not more). Lock and run the shot. (try under dosing, not over dosing at first)

Another question, are you keeping the PF out of the group for a long time before the pull? while grinding the coffee into he container keep it locked in place,only remove at the last second to load and lock. I have found that if I am slow, grind driectly into the pf, then my shots pull faster and taste worse. Even the minute to grind, distribute and tamp cooled it enough to ruin the shot. Keeping the cups in a water bath before the pour also helps.

Also try beans from another source. My favorite supplier I was using for a while and having more problems, went to another place and got beans with a fantastic pull everytime. bean quality really matters with espresso. Beans that make amazing coffee with my Hario Siphon, mokka pot, French press or auto-drip, don't alway work with Silvia.
Thomas

Urnex: 100% dedicated focus on coffee and tea cleaning
Sponsored by Urnex
User avatar
Medic One (original poster)

#13: Post by Medic One (original poster) »



Does anyone know what this is?

This is the screw that prevents you from finding true "zero" on your Rocky grinder. This is the screw that makes you think you are tapping the burrs together when you are actually tapping the screw up against some stop in the grinder. This is the screw, that when removed, makes you realize you are not grinding at 3 or 4 but that you are actually grinding at 8 or 9! This is the screw that makes you want to throw Silvia out the window because you are going insane because everyone says to grind finer and you are thinking "I can't go any finer!"

Is this some Rancilio conspiracy against me or do others know about this little insanity maker?

Anyway...

Tonight my grinder is empty, it is late, and I am tired. But first thing tomorrow you can bet I'm gonna' be grinding some beans reeeeeeeaaaaaaal fine. And I'm going to get a beautiful 25 second pour! :D

Thanks again.

tcampbells

#14: Post by tcampbells »

We all have it (though some remove it).

It's there as a "safety" measure so the burrs aren't squashed together. Removing it will allow you to "calibrate" the Rocky to the true zero point with the hopper re-attached to see where the number is at. You remove the safety screw at your own risk. If when the motor was running you were trying to turn the dial to finer or coarser and you accidentally let go, then the motor might cause the burrs to grind together on their own at the full speed of the motor causing chips or destroying the burrs or the motor! The safety screw is to prevent this and damage to the burrs.

In reality there should be no need to remove it for your purpose. If you are unable to get a fine enough grind to make a proper extraction with it in place, there are other issues in your process which are off. Grinding super fine to make up for other problems will usually just result in over extraction, and a bad shot.

It is useful to remove if you want to adjust the number scale to really show zero where 0 is, or to allow you to remove the upper burrs with the hopper when cleaning, but other than that, there is no use.

The numbers are nothing more than a scale. It doesn't matter if mine say +4 and yours says +12 as long as you are getting the right grind. My true 0 is -1, so I grind at around 6 or 8 depending upon the beans, the age, the roast, etc.

Just be careful you do not damage the burrs or the grinder after removing the screw.
Thomas

popeye

#15: Post by popeye »

I know you talked about inspecting the burrs earlier, but you didn't answer the question about whether the rocky was new. I'm guessing it's not, since you inspected the burrs. Feel free to take a high quality shot of the burrs and post them up here. We'll take a look at them. (although, i can't imagine burrs that are worn enough to give you a bad grind at 3 clicks above "true" zero on a rocky.)
Spencer Weber

User avatar
HB
Admin

#16: Post by HB »

tcampbells wrote:If when the motor was running you were trying to turn the dial to finer or coarser and you accidentally let go, then the motor might cause the burrs to grind together on their own at the full speed of the motor causing chips or destroying the burrs or the motor! The safety screw is to prevent this and damage to the burrs.
Actually the burr faces are smooth and perfectly parallel, so they cannot (reasonably) be damaged by touching:

Image
From Grinder burr types explained

The grinder burrs rotate in the opposite direction of the hopper; the safety screw is there to prevent the hopper rapidly unscrewing in the unlikely event that the burrs bind. The screw's secondary purpose is to prevent inattentive baristas from turning the adjustment completely out of whack.
Dan Kehn

k7qz

#17: Post by k7qz »

HB wrote:The grinder burrs rotate in the opposite direction of the hopper; the safety screw is there to prevent the hopper rapidly unscrewing in the unlikely event that the burrs bind. The screw's secondary purpose is to prevent inattentive baristas from turning the adjustment completely out of whack.
It also facilitates re-assembly by being able use the screw to quickly find the "zero" burr alignment consistently. At this stage for you, as others have suggested, I'd leave it.

Medic 1... Wow, Deja Vu... (Michael Copass and I are colleagues)

Anyway, you're in the Seattle area so there has got to be someone around town with a PF pressure gauge etc. that I'm sure would be glad to stop by and help you accurately (relatively) set your pump pressure. Perhaps make a friend down at the local high end espresso bar with someone who might be able to pitch in with a gauge. Otherwise, I built one with parts from Home Depot.

Aida Battle: Indigo Reserve from world renowned Finca Kilimanjaro in El Salvador
Sponsored by Aida Battle
User avatar
Randy G.

#18: Post by Randy G. »

k7qz wrote:It also facilitates re-assembly by being able use the screw to quickly find the "zero" burr alignment consistently. At this stage for you, as others have suggested, I'd leave it.
I removed that screw years ago and never missed it at all. It makes removal of the upper burr much easier and faster, turning a fifteen minute job into a two minute one.

It has nothing to do with finding the zero point other than by possible coincidence. There have been reports of it actually interfering with finding a fine enough grind. To find the zero point without the screw do this:

With no beans in the machine and the grinder off, make note of the current grind position number, and turn the hopper as far towards a finer grind as it will go to check. Note that position as well just for reference. Now just unscrew the hopper until it can be lifted off the machine. To replace (and avoid cross threading), place the upper assembly on the grinder, make sure that it is level, and turn it COUNTERCLOCKWISE until you feel it drop just a bit (it may be more of a sort of 'click' feel). This is the point where the end of the threads pass each other. At that point you should be able to carefully turn the hopper clockwise and the threads should engage without a problem. Screw it on until it goes no further (the burrs hit) and then back to that original grind setting.

As stated earlier, that screw only functions to keep the upper burr/hopper assembly from spinning more than one revolution when an unthinking consumer hits the grind setting release button without grasping the hopper when the machine is grinding beans.

With all the mods spoken of here and on other forums, this one is one of the most benign, and certainly one of the easiest to reverse if you find it is not to your liking. Worst case, you hit the button, the burr spins to a coarser position and you have to readjust it. The screw is about as necessary as the warning on the bottom of a bath mat "THIS SIDE DOWN."
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
*20th Anniversary 2000-2020*

User avatar
peacecup

#19: Post by peacecup »

You said the beans were two weeks old - two weeks after PURCHASE or after ROAST??? If the former, you have no way of knowing when they were roasted. Also, if they are on the darker side, these usually produce less crema and run faster.

Get some freshly ROASTED N. Italian espresso blend, set the Rocky at two, and it should stall completely. If not, try 1. Once you've found the stalling point just back it off a notch and you should be on your way.

PC
LMWDP #049
Hand-ground, hand-pulled: "hands down.."

User avatar
Medic One (original poster)

#20: Post by Medic One (original poster) »

Thanks to all for the input / help!

I managed to pull two shots one after the other, between 22 & 25 seconds for 2 oz! 8)

The taste and coloring are another matter related mostly to old beans. I've gone with a very simple tamp technique so that hopefully I can duplicate it over and over again. Right now I'm going to focus on grind and beans.

As was pointed out by k7qz, I'm a Seattle firefighter/Paramedic. If anyone between Seattle and Gig Harbor is interested in loaning a guy a portafilter pressure gauge let me know. Or maybe I could bring Silvia to you?

Any way. I'm back in action minus one annoying screw! :evil: