Puck Indentation with Stock Rancilio Silvia Portafilter Basket

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
ben-ari

#1: Post by ben-ari » Jan 16, 2011, 2:59 pm

I recently bought a Rancilio Silvia and am using the stock portafilter and double basket. I've been doing some reading on this because no matter what I do, I seem to always cause an indentation on the puck.

I've read that the stock double basket on the Silvia is considered a 14g basket. I did some experimenting, took some pictures, and wanted to get some feedback from you guys. What is the ideal amount of coffee to put in the stock Silvia double basket, and should I get a different basket? I'm going to go buy some Counter Culture Toscano today and according to their website, they recommend a dose of 19.5g. I know that this recommendation is based on their LM Double, is there a big difference between that and the Silvia though?

Anyways, this first picture is from filling the basket to the top, using the WDT method, leveling it off with the Schomer method, then tamping with approximately 30lbs of pressure. Filling the basket to the top came out to 17g of Illy coffee (I ground it on a Vario Baratza). Here is the result on a dry puck.

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You can clearly see a large indentation in the middle of the puck and indentations around the side. My next attempt was to use 15g. Here is what the basket looked like before I tamped. Unlike my first attempt which filled everything in, at 15g not everything is filled in.

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After tamping, then placing the PF in place, then taking it out, here is the 15g dry puck.

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There is still a clear indentation in the center. Next up was 14g, which I guess is the recommended dose for this basket. Here is the picture before tamping. You can clearly see that not everything is filled in and it is well below the top of the basket. (Sorry for the blurriness btw).

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I then tamped it, placed this into the grouphead, and removed. Here is the dry puck.

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Still on 14g there is a clear indentation. I don't think it's possible that my grind is that off because I'm pulling about 2oz at 27 seconds. I could still mess around with the grind settings, but I wanted to get some more experienced eyes to look at this.

I'm going to go to the hardware store today and see if I can pick up a bolt with a smaller head to avoid this indentation (I've read other people have done that successfully). However, do you recommend any other double baskets that I should try out to get 18-20g dosed without indentation? I do plan on getting a naked PF soon. Great Infusions has this naked PF that supposedly works on the Silvia and comes with a 21g triple basket, but I would try to find a double basket. What do you guys think?

Thanks for the help.

Louis

#2: Post by Louis » Jan 16, 2011, 4:08 pm

The middle indentation comes from the group screen screw. It is fully screwed?

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HB
Admin

#3: Post by HB » Jan 16, 2011, 4:32 pm

ben-ari wrote:What is the ideal amount of coffee to put in the stock Silvia double basket, and should I get a different basket?
Many people do, including me years ago. I recommend allowing a nickel's worth of clearance between the top of the puck and the dispersion screen (lock in and remove); if there's a protruding screw, lightly touching it like in your 14g photo won't matter, assuming your technique is otherwise good. You can replace the grouphead screw with a flat one if the puck indentation offends. See Smaller screw for Rancilio Silvia dispersion screen for details.
ben-ari wrote:...I don't think it's possible that my grind is that off because I'm pulling about 2oz at 27 seconds. I could still mess around with the grind settings, but I wanted to get some more experienced eyes to look at this.
As you have no doubt read, the Rancilio Silvia presents a challenge to newbies (and not so newbie). Replacing the grouphead screw with a flat one and getting a deeper basket will eliminate a potential source of problems, but don't expect a revelatory improvement by swapping them out. I noted my own foibles in Rancilio Silvia Flash Review (Redux), despite years of experience with this particular machine.
Dan Kehn

ben-ari

#4: Post by ben-ari » Jan 17, 2011, 3:40 pm

Louis wrote:The middle indentation comes from the group screen screw. It is fully screwed?
I didn't mess with the screw at all since I received the Silvia. However when I went to replace the screw it was fully tightened.
HB wrote:Many people do, including me years ago. I recommend allowing a nickel's worth of clearance between the top of the puck and the dispersion screen (lock in and remove); if there's a protruding screw, lightly touching it like in your 14g photo won't matter, assuming your technique is otherwise good. You can replace the grouphead screw with a flat one if the puck indentation offends. See Smaller screw for Rancilio Silvia dispersion screen for details.
HB, thank you so much for all of your help and all of the articles you've written. They've tremendously helped me. I replaced the grouphead screw with a smaller one and have ordered a LM Ridgeless Double Basket, so hopefully that will solve this problem.

This morning after experimenting for a whole week and improving a lot, I finally pulled a really good cappuccino. The grind was right, the shot poured in the right time and started blonding at 26 seconds.