Rancilio Silvia / Rocky owner needs advice on better extraction

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
bosh

#1: Post by bosh »

Hi all,
I could sure use some advise from the knowledgeable folks on this forum.
I have a Rancilio Silvia / Rocky combo and I've been struggling to get a good extraction. I've read through this site extensively and watched the entire library of how to videos here and on youtube.
I just can't get an extraction to last more than around 15 seconds before blonding or overfilling my 2 one ounce glasses.
I've tried fresh beans from Counter Culture (Toscano, Aficionado, Rustico), and Major D from Peet's, bought from one of their shops (roaster is about an hour from my home) to no avail.
I have my Rocky grinder adjusted all the way down to "1" and the coffee looks to be ground very fine, but I have no prior experience to judge from.
I checked the "zero" on the grinder and the burrs touch right at 0 on the indicator so that seems OK.
I've tried different doses, at first my coffee puck was hitting the shower screen so I reduced the amount but that had minimal effect.
I've tried different tamp pressures from light to well over 100 lbs and the result is the same (short extraction time).
Starting to think there may be something wrong with my equipment but not sure what it could be.

I have a bottomless portafilter on order, maybe that will tell more.

Any advice would be appreciated
:mrgreen:

Dave B.

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malachi

#2: Post by malachi »

As a general rule, if you are getting 2oz (or more) in less than around 22s you need to tighten the grind.

After that we can talk about distribution, dosing, etc.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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Randy G.

#3: Post by Randy G. »

bosh wrote: I have my Rocky grinder adjusted all the way down to "1" and the coffee looks to be ground very fine, but I have no prior experience to judge from. I checked the "zero" on the grinder and the burrs touch right at 0 on the indicator so that seems OK.
If we take for granted that the beans are fresh and that the dose and distribution are good, then either you have a bad grinder (quite unlikely), or you are misjudging the so-called "0" point (most likely). Try one click finer (grind at "0"). That grinder should be able to EASILY choke Silvia- that is, it should be more than capable of not allowing any water through the grind for 30 seconds or more if you grind fine enough. There is a very slim possibility that the Silvia's brew force is too high, but without a gauge it is not easy and/or possible to properly adjust it.

P.S. there is a problem child on the net in coffee-related areas (who use to post to this site) who went by "Dave B." among other names. Coincidentally, he is also in California. I suggest changing your name sig so that searches for him do not also include your posts. You really do not want to end up associated with him in any way.... trust me on this one.. :oops:
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HB
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#4: Post by HB »

First of all, you may want to read the forum search tips since your post is similar to other Silvia/Rocky owner threads. For a good introduction, see the Home Barista's Guide to Espresso and Randy's EASY GUIDE TO BETTER ESPRESSO AT HOME.
bosh wrote:I have a Rancilio Silvia / Rocky combo and I've been struggling to get a good extraction.
You're not alone! For Rocky, see How to find the grinder true zero point and Rocky thread slop and the teflon tape fix. For broader discussions, see the dozens of threads linked under Rancilio Silvia and Rocky in the FAQs and Favorites. You may find that others have reported similar problems and found helpful solutions.
bosh wrote:Starting to think there may be something wrong with my equipment but not sure what it could be.
You may want to reduce the brew pressure, but otherwise I think there's a 99.8% certainty that the problem is on the handle side of the portafilter.
Dan Kehn

bosh (original poster)

#5: Post by bosh (original poster) »

Thank you for the help!

OK.... I just got the old postage scale out and I'm dosing a very consistent 16g on the "1" grind setting.
I tried your advice on setting the Rocky to zero and was able to get an 18 second pull but I could hear the burrs touching together in the grinder. I weighed that dose also, 17g. From what I read, most folks are setting their Rocky around "5" for most espresso. I know this will vary by coffee and freshness etc.
I checked both coffee pucks and they are not touching the screen on the Silvia, can see an indent where the screen retaining screw touches the puck. No obvious evidence of break through.
I've double checked the tamp to make sure it is absolutely level and the coffee is well distributed in the filter.

I guess I'll order some more beans from Counter Culture to take freshness out of the equation as the Peet's has no roast date on it. I think it [Peet's] must be fresh though because they scoop the beans out of the same bin as the barista gets hers from and they do a big volume in that shop.

Sorry if this seems like a re-post to some but as I've said I researched this and tried all the suggested solutions to the other posts I've found and nothing has worked.


D.Bosh (thanks for the tip :mrgreen: )

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malachi

#6: Post by malachi »

Given that tightening the grind brought your extraction in the direction you desire, instead of worrying about the beans I would suggest reading (or re-reading) the various stuff linked to by Dan above (including the "finding the true zero point" and "teflon tape fix" threads).

As a great believer in the theory that the obvious solutions are most commonly the correct ones - I would suggest that a combination of adjustment to the grind and fine-tuning of your shot-building methodology (dosing, distribution, etc) is where you might want to start.

It's hard for any and all of us to accept that WE might be the problem, but it is most often the case.



On a final note - I would never assume that just because a shop is using the same beans to pull shots that they are selling you to take home means that those beans are fresh.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

bosh (original poster)

#7: Post by bosh (original poster) »

Thanks Malachi,
I'll re-read Dan's links (thanks by the way Dan), I've already done the Rocky "Zero" procedure but haven't tried the tefflon trick. My grinder didn't seem to have any slop in the threads.

I agree that the problem is most likely on the portafilter handle side of things. I'll figure it out. :oops:

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bosh (original poster)

#8: Post by bosh (original poster) »

Ok.... Problem solved :D

Turns out the ole Teflon tape thing did the trick. Originally my burrs were touching [each other] when the Rocky's indicator was at zero. Once I took the top Burr out and applied tape to the threads, the zero point shifted to -6 (minus 6). So apparently the burrs must not have been parallel and only a small part of them were contacting each other. The tape must help line everything up ("take the slop out").
I ended up having to take off the zero stop screw on the hopper and my Silvia is pulling 25 second doubles at a setting of about -1 with no issues with burr contact. So -1 up from -6 = 5 which is where I've seen most people posting their settings for the Rocky.

So thanks for helping me out guys... much appreciated.

Aaron

#9: Post by Aaron »

After you ensure that your beans are fresh, use the WDT. You might be getting some serious channeling and you will be able to tell after your bottomless PF arrives. I have a Rocky as well and can easily choke the Silvia so you should be able to get your grind too fine. Mine is set at about four numbers above the zero point right now. Also you can reduce the initial pressure, Silvia's version of pre-infusion, by opening the steam valve for a few seconds before pulling your shot.
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malachi

#10: Post by malachi »

That's great to hear!!!

Now it's time to start tasting good espresso. Have fun.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin