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Date: 02 Nov 2006 13:17:36
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: First shots with Silvia - WOW!!!
This is way beyond old hat to most of you, but I'm a bit bowled over
here and figured I'd share my enthusiasm. I'd been using a Saeco Magic
Cappacino for a few years, pressurized portafilter and all, and had
never really thought about how much better an espresso could be until
recently. Based on input from friends and then doing some research here
and elsewhere on the web, I recently plunked down for a Sylvia/Rocky
combo, with PID. I'd read JimG's admonition on Coffee Geek about not
getting the PID until you'd really worked out your technique, but it
didn't make sense to me - seemed like even a rank beginner could
benefit from a consistent brewing temperature.

With the Saeco, I'd gotten to a point with intuitive temp surfing to
where I could get shots that weren't bitter or sour, but there was
never much to them - kind of thin, not quite tasteless, but nothing
exciting. I rarely just had a shot of espresso without some sort of
milk, because it wasn't very rewarding. When the Rocky came last week,
the shots may have improved very slightly, but I couldn't guarantee it
and, in any case, it wasn't by a lot.

Today the Silvia arrived. To quote my teenage daughter, "OHHHHH MYYYYYY
GOOOOOOD!!!!"

I had to take a child to an appointment, so it got a full hour plus
warmup, with the PID set to 223. I'm using a click tamper so the tamps,
whether optimal or not, should at least be consistent and remove
another variable. Which basically leaves the grind. I pulled three
shots, adjusting the grind, and the last one came out at 25 seconds,
pretty much dead on. The first two, at about 19 and 28 tasted
incredibly good, with just a hint of bitterness in the longer one. But
better than anything I'd had before. The 25 was heavenly. Jeeez, SOOOO
much deeper and more subtle than anything I could ever imagine coming
out of the Saeco. So I made another with the same grind, steamed up
some milk (I thought it would be more difficult using the Silvia's
'manual' steam wand, but no trouble at all), and had the best cappacino
I've ever had at home. The only ones I can remember that were as good
were at a Seattle restaurant on Queen Ann last spring. And this is with
coffee that's probably 3 weeks old, so clearly not as good as it is
likely to get when I get some fresh roasted beans.

I honestly didn't know if this was gonna be money well spent, if the
differences would be too subtle for my beginners palate to discern,
etc, etc, etc. But after one afternoon of coffee bliss, I'm out of my
mind ecstatic here.

So, again, thanks to all of you who shared your expertise, either
through archival searches or direct questions. I may or may not get
into it to the level of obsession that many of you have, but if I stop
right now and the shots don't improve at all, I'm way beyond thrilled
with this machine.

-Ray





 
Date: 04 Nov 2006 09:23:33
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Re: First shots with Silvia - WOW!!!
On Nov 4, 11:17 am, shall <mrf...@ihatespamearthlink.net > wrote:

> You're right in thinking the grind is probably the culprit. If you are
> working with good, fresh coffee, it's usually the grind. You will be
> amazed at how small an adjustment it takes to make a great difference
> in your drink. And how different the grind needs to be for different
> roasts.

I don't have a really good shop nearby and will try to work it on my
own for awhile before hiring a coach! I did a bunch of experimenting
this morning (leaving the temp constant BTW) and am getting
consistently good shots from my old coffee and now drinkable shots from
the very dark fresh coffee - I just don't think I like this roast all
that much. In a couple of days (going out of town tomorrow), I'll try
some fresh beans from a roast I know I like and see how that goes.

But I am noticing the big difference between stops on the Rocky and I
now understand why a stepless grinder might have been a nice, if
expensive, thing to get. So I'm getting to the closest to best setting,
erring on the fine side, and compensating with less tamp pressure. As I
said, my pucks look very solid and even so I think the distribution and
tamp are working pretty well.

> By the way, I think 2.5 oz is too much. If you grind more finely and
> aim for 1.5 to 2.0 oz, you'll be on a better track.

When I said 2.5, I meant before the crema had a chance to settle - once
it does, there's less than 2oz in the cup. Is this the right way to
measure the shot size?

> After reading about all the rituals people have developed to placate
> the espresso gods, my reality check is to watch my Italian friend make
> a shot. Once he has the grind dialed in, he gives a quick leveling
> tamp on the doohickey that sticks out of his machine, pops in the
> portafilter and out comes a near-perfect pour every time. Then he
> reads on-line posts and cackles to himself.

I think its too late for me to turn Italian, so I may not reach that
level of transendence, but I'll keep trying until I get consistently
better at least.

I do cackle to myself at some of the posts I read here though ;)

Thanks much for all of the advice - you all are a great bunch when you
put your guns down for a while!

-Ray



 
Date: 04 Nov 2006 02:27:45
From: daveb
Subject: Re: First shots with Silvia - WOW!!!
Call anytime, Ray

[great! pointers shall]

Dave
910 616 0980

thanks


ramboorider@gmail.com wrote:
> On Nov 3, 8:21 pm, shall <mrf...@ihatespamearthlink.net> wrote:
> >Ray, it's about the coffee first, not the toys. You are about to
> > follow in the footsteps of newbie camera nuts who buy 5 lenses before
> > they figure out what an f-stop is.
> >
> > Tight temperature control should not be high on your list of
> > priorities when you're getting "pale grey" crema. It's your technique
> > that needs help, not your temperatures. You're a beginner all over
> > again with this machine. If you are prone to tinkering with variables,
> > it's going to get exponentially worse, if you find yourself able to
> > adjust temps by 0.1 degrees.
> >
> > Work on your grind, volume, distribution and tamp. When you are making
> > good espresso consistently, think about getting a PID to make it even
> > better.
>
> Fair enough, but the PID's already there. I agree, though, that I need
> to just leave it in one place for a while and work on the other stuff.
>
> I *THINK* the volume and distribution are good - I've been using the
> 'yogurt cup' trick to stir the coffee around in the PF to get it
> distributed out to the edges. I'm doing the four corner tamp lightly to
> further distribute the coffee in the PF and then using the 'click'
> function of the tamper to get a consistent pressure. I've read plenty
> that tells me that 30 lbs may not be the optimal tamp, but at least I
> know it's consistent. Which seems more important for a newbie, no? And
> I think all of this is working because the pucks are coming out very
> even looking and show no signs of chanelling or breakdown around the
> edges. So, leaving the temp alone, the only variable that's left is the
> grind. Which I've adjusted for each bean so I get 2.5 oz in about 25
> seconds.
>
> With the first coffee I tried, this produced the best shots I've had on
> essentially my first tries, really nice crema, good consistency, and
> wonderful taste - beginners luck I'm certain :) The coffee I tried
> yesterday was much fresher (about 3 days post roast), but was also a
> much darker looking roast, based on the color of the ground coffee in
> the PF. And regardless of how well timed the shots were coming out, it
> tasted quite bitter and the crema never looked even close to right. I
> *thought* I was then adjusting the temps in about 2 degree increments
> (NOT .1 degree!), but Jim convinces me I wasn't changing the temp much
> at all. And, again, I went back to the first coffee and got much better
> results, even though it's probably 3 weeks old.
>
> Anyway, point taken - I'm staying with the 50mm lens for a while - I'm
> going to leave the PID alone for a while and use it to eliminate one
> variable, not create a bunch of new ones. And I'm going to keep working
> on the other stuff, although I don't think I'm doing too badly in that
> regard, based on the results I was getting with the first coffee. I
> like that roast anyway , so I'm gonna get a pound of it fresh and see
> how that goes. The other one was new to me, so I had nothing to compare
> it to - its labelled as an espresso friendly roast, but it may just be
> darker than I like. Perhaps I'll use it for french press and keep it
> away from the Silvia.
>
> Anyway, thanks for the reality check. I'm all ears here for a while.
>
> -Ray



 
Date: 04 Nov 2006 01:26:50
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Re: First shots with Silvia - WOW!!!
On Nov 3, 8:21 pm, shall <mrf...@ihatespamearthlink.net > wrote:
>Ray, it's about the coffee first, not the toys. You are about to
> follow in the footsteps of newbie camera nuts who buy 5 lenses before
> they figure out what an f-stop is.
>
> Tight temperature control should not be high on your list of
> priorities when you're getting "pale grey" crema. It's your technique
> that needs help, not your temperatures. You're a beginner all over
> again with this machine. If you are prone to tinkering with variables,
> it's going to get exponentially worse, if you find yourself able to
> adjust temps by 0.1 degrees.
>
> Work on your grind, volume, distribution and tamp. When you are making
> good espresso consistently, think about getting a PID to make it even
> better.

Fair enough, but the PID's already there. I agree, though, that I need
to just leave it in one place for a while and work on the other stuff.

I *THINK* the volume and distribution are good - I've been using the
'yogurt cup' trick to stir the coffee around in the PF to get it
distributed out to the edges. I'm doing the four corner tamp lightly to
further distribute the coffee in the PF and then using the 'click'
function of the tamper to get a consistent pressure. I've read plenty
that tells me that 30 lbs may not be the optimal tamp, but at least I
know it's consistent. Which seems more important for a newbie, no? And
I think all of this is working because the pucks are coming out very
even looking and show no signs of chanelling or breakdown around the
edges. So, leaving the temp alone, the only variable that's left is the
grind. Which I've adjusted for each bean so I get 2.5 oz in about 25
seconds.

With the first coffee I tried, this produced the best shots I've had on
essentially my first tries, really nice crema, good consistency, and
wonderful taste - beginners luck I'm certain :) The coffee I tried
yesterday was much fresher (about 3 days post roast), but was also a
much darker looking roast, based on the color of the ground coffee in
the PF. And regardless of how well timed the shots were coming out, it
tasted quite bitter and the crema never looked even close to right. I
*thought* I was then adjusting the temps in about 2 degree increments
(NOT .1 degree!), but Jim convinces me I wasn't changing the temp much
at all. And, again, I went back to the first coffee and got much better
results, even though it's probably 3 weeks old.

Anyway, point taken - I'm staying with the 50mm lens for a while - I'm
going to leave the PID alone for a while and use it to eliminate one
variable, not create a bunch of new ones. And I'm going to keep working
on the other stuff, although I don't think I'm doing too badly in that
regard, based on the results I was getting with the first coffee. I
like that roast anyway , so I'm gonna get a pound of it fresh and see
how that goes. The other one was new to me, so I had nothing to compare
it to - its labelled as an espresso friendly roast, but it may just be
darker than I like. Perhaps I'll use it for french press and keep it
away from the Silvia.

Anyway, thanks for the reality check. I'm all ears here for a while.

-Ray



  
Date: 04 Nov 2006 16:17:24
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: First shots with Silvia - WOW!!!
On 4 Nov 2006 01:26:50 -0800, "ramboorider@gmail.com"
<ramboorider@gmail.com > wrote:

>Fair enough, but the PID's already there. I agree, though, that I need
>to just leave it in one place for a while and work on the other stuff.
***
>edges. So, leaving the temp alone, the only variable that's left is the
>grind. Which I've adjusted for each bean so I get 2.5 oz in about 25
>seconds.

Do you live anywhere near a really good coffee shop? Some baristas are
earning extra money giving private lessons to consumers, individually
or in groups. Some will even come to your home, which I think is best,
because they have to work with your equipment.

If this isn't feasible, I think the bottomless portafilter is a great
training tool. 9 times out of 10 you'll know if you're going to have a
great shot just by watching the flow (narrow, but evenly distributed,
stripes of darker and lighter coffee coming from the entire face of
the screen, gathering into a single flow at the center).

You're right in thinking the grind is probably the culprit. If you are
working with good, fresh coffee, it's usually the grind. You will be
amazed at how small an adjustment it takes to make a great difference
in your drink. And how different the grind needs to be for different
roasts.

By the way, I think 2.5 oz is too much. If you grind more finely and
aim for 1.5 to 2.0 oz, you'll be on a better track.

After reading about all the rituals people have developed to placate
the espresso gods, my reality check is to watch my Italian friend make
a shot. Once he has the grind dialed in, he gives a quick leveling
tamp on the doohickey that sticks out of his machine, pops in the
portafilter and out comes a near-perfect pour every time. Then he
reads on-line posts and cackles to himself.

shall


 
Date: 03 Nov 2006 17:01:09
From: jggall01
Subject: Re: First shots with Silvia - WOW!!!
ramboorider@gmail.com wrote:
>.... I didn't realize that the changes in the reported PID
> temperature weren't really accurate as I changed them.....

I'm sure they're accurate as far as measuring the temp at the sensor.
It's just that other locations in the system need a little time to
catch up to changes. Won't be a problem once you have the SV dialed in
and have an established ritual.

Jim



 
Date: 03 Nov 2006 16:25:49
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Re: First shots with Silvia - WOW!!!


On Nov 3, 6:21 pm, "jggall01" <jggal...@yahoo.com > wrote:

> On this machine, the top of the boiler reaches
> operating temperature within 5 or 6 minutes. But at the brew group,
> located a long way physically and thermally from the top of the boiler,
> the temperature doesn't fully stabilize for at least 45 minutes on
> initial warmup.
>
> So when you change temps on the PID, the change probably isn't fully
> communicated throughout a warmed up brewing system for maybe 20 minutes
> or more.
>
> To really judge whether or not a new set point is better, you need to
> change the SP, let everything restabilize around the new setting, then
> pull a few shots. Changing the SP on consecutive shots that are 2-5
> minutes apart won't tell you much because the temperature of the group,
> which has a big influence, will be very unpredictable.

Thanks Jim - very helpful information. I do let the unit heat up
thoroughly at the start (auto timer to turn on about an hour before we
get up), but I didn't realize that the changes in the reported PID
temperature weren't really accurate as I changed them. So maybe these
beans are ok after all. I started at 228 today and was getting really
bitter shots (once I got the grind adjusted for 25 second shots). I
backed it off, or so I thought, but maybe not much in reality. So
tomorrow I'll start at 224 or 225 and see how it tastes. Although the
incredible shots I had yesterday were from a startup temp of 223, so
maybe I'll drop all the way back to there and work up a couple degrees
per day and hope I can 'remember' the taste well enough from day to
day.

-Ray



 
Date: 03 Nov 2006 15:21:40
From: jggall01
Subject: Re: First shots with Silvia - WOW!!!
ramboorider@gmail.com wrote:

> snip.....but had to play around like crazy with the temp to look for the taste.

Ray -

There is a lot of thermal mass in a Silvia's boiler and group. That's
one of the reasons you can get such good intrashot temp stability.

You are controlling the temp of all of that mass by sensing the
temperature at a single point (presumably under one of the screws on
the top of the boiler). On this machine, the top of the boiler reaches
operating temperature within 5 or 6 minutes. But at the brew group,
located a long way physically and thermally from the top of the boiler,
the temperature doesn't fully stabilize for at least 45 minutes on
initial warmup.

So when you change temps on the PID, the change probably isn't fully
communicated throughout a warmed up brewing system for maybe 20 minutes
or more.

To really judge whether or not a new set point is better, you need to
change the SP, let everything restabilize around the new setting, then
pull a few shots. Changing the SP on consecutive shots that are 2-5
minutes apart won't tell you much because the temperature of the group,
which has a big influence, will be very unpredictable.

You will be able, eventually, to dial in a perfect setting for your
PID. While honing the setting, my advice is to use only a fully warmed
up (45 minutes or more) machine, and use just one setting per day (or
allow at least 30 minutes after changing SP). Then judge taste based
on a series of shots, pulled 5 minutes apart or more. This procedure
will yield a relatively predictable, repeatable group temperature.

Set it higher or lower by at least 2F the next day, and repeat.

If you have your PID set between 224F and 230F (depending on
calibration of controller and placement of t/c sensor), then you are in
the ballpark of good brew water temp. If your espresso tastes bad,
then it is due to something else. Once you have that something else
fixed, you can make it taste "even more better" by dialing in the
temperature. The changes will still be noticeable, but subtle.

Jim



 
Date: 03 Nov 2006 14:09:37
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Re: First shots with Silvia - WOW!!!


On Nov 3, 1:58 pm, "Omni...@gmail.com" <Omni...@gmail.com > wrote:
> bigrdw wrote:
> > I don't have a PID yet, but my
> > technique is so inconsistent right now, I'm not sure it'd matter.Actually, a PID might well be of greater value now than later. It
> controls one key variable so that you can focus on the others.

Gotta agree. Day 2 has not gone nearly as well as day 1. I got some
fresh roast and got the grind/tamp right for a 25 second shot, but had
to play around like crazy with the temp to look for the taste. I think
this may not be a great roast because I could only get it less bad,
never good. The crema was kind of a pale grey, not golden at all, and
even the least bitter shot was bitter. Didn't even work well in a milk
drink. After trying shots at 5 different temperatures without
satisfaction, I went back to the old beans I was using yesterday, and
it was much better, but not as great as what I came up with yesterday.
Of course, by then my brain was so caffinated that I could barely tell
which way was up.

Knowing the temperature and being able to hold it constant or
methodically moving it around is a GOOD thing when everything else
seems to be going to hell.

-Ray



  
Date: 04 Nov 2006 01:21:09
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: First shots with Silvia - WOW!!!
On 3 Nov 2006 14:09:37 -0800, "ramboorider@gmail.com"
<ramboorider@gmail.com > wrote:

>
>
>On Nov 3, 1:58 pm, "Omni...@gmail.com" <Omni...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> bigrdw wrote:
>> > I don't have a PID yet, but my
>> > technique is so inconsistent right now, I'm not sure it'd matter.Actually, a PID might well be of greater value now than later. It
>> controls one key variable so that you can focus on the others.
>
>Gotta agree. Day 2 has not gone nearly as well as day 1. I got some
>fresh roast and got the grind/tamp right for a 25 second shot, but had
>to play around like crazy with the temp to look for the taste. I think
>this may not be a great roast because I could only get it less bad,
>never good. The crema was kind of a pale grey, not golden at all, and
>even the least bitter shot was bitter. Didn't even work well in a milk
>drink. After trying shots at 5 different temperatures without
>satisfaction, I went back to the old beans I was using yesterday, and
>it was much better, but not as great as what I came up with yesterday.
>Of course, by then my brain was so caffinated that I could barely tell
>which way was up.
>
>Knowing the temperature and being able to hold it constant or
>methodically moving it around is a GOOD thing when everything else
>seems to be going to hell.

Ray, it's about the coffee first, not the toys. You are about to
follow in the footsteps of newbie camera nuts who buy 5 lenses before
they figure out what an f-stop is.

Tight temperature control should not be high on your list of
priorities when you're getting "pale grey" crema. It's your technique
that needs help, not your temperatures. You're a beginner all over
again with this machine. If you are prone to tinkering with variables,
it's going to get exponentially worse, if you find yourself able to
adjust temps by 0.1 degrees.

Work on your grind, volume, distribution and tamp. When you are making
good espresso consistently, think about getting a PID to make it even
better.

shall


   
Date: 04 Nov 2006 01:30:54
From: sprsso
Subject: Re: First shots with Silvia - WOW!!!
On Sat, 04 Nov 2006 01:21:09 GMT, shall
<mrfuss@ihatespamearthlink.net > wrote:

Now, this is some of the best advice I've seen here for a long
time....al
>
>Ray, it's about the coffee first, not the toys. You are about to
>follow in the footsteps of newbie camera nuts who buy 5 lenses before
>they figure out what an f-stop is.
>
>Tight temperature control should not be high on your list of
>priorities when you're getting "pale grey" crema. It's your technique
>that needs help, not your temperatures. You're a beginner all over
>again with this machine. If you are prone to tinkering with variables,
>it's going to get exponentially worse, if you find yourself able to
>adjust temps by 0.1 degrees.
>
>Work on your grind, volume, distribution and tamp. When you are making
>good espresso consistently, think about getting a PID to make it even
>better.
>
>shall



  
Date: 03 Nov 2006 22:44:50
From: Robert Harmon
Subject: Re: First shots with Silvia - WOW!!!
"ramboorider@gmail.com" <ramboorider@gmail.com > wrote in
news:1162591777.602535.229900@h54g2000cwb.googlegroups.com:
> Knowing the temperature and being able to hold it constant or
> methodically moving it around is a GOOD thing when everything else
> seems to be going to hell.
>
> -Ray
>
>

Howdy Ray!
You'll like having your machine a lot more with a PID on it. There are so
many variables to making 'good' espresso that adding a PID won't
automatically make you a world champion barista. But, by the use of a PID,
you'll be able to concentrate on other variables because you've got the
tempeature one under control. I just added one to a friends Gaggia Classic
and his shots are much better (they were pretty good alread).

So get the PID & enjoy your new toy.


Robert (Now for your roasting options...) Harmon
--
http://tinyurl.com/pou2y
http://tinyurl.com/fkd6r
Remove "Z" to reply via email.


 
Date: 03 Nov 2006 10:58:58
From: Omniryx@gmail.com
Subject: Re: First shots with Silvia - WOW!!!

bigrdw wrote:
> I don't have a PID yet, but my
> technique is so inconsistent right now, I'm not sure it'd matter.

Actually, a PID might well be of greater value now than later. It
controls one key variable so that you can focus on the others.



 
Date: 02 Nov 2006 15:57:12
From: bigrdw
Subject: Re: First shots with Silvia - WOW!!!
Same thoughts here. I just unboxed my Silvia on Monday along with a
brand spankin' new Mazzer Mini w/doser (wish I hadn't got the doser
now...it just gets in the way). I don't have a PID yet, but my
technique is so inconsistent right now, I'm not sure it'd matter.
Although tampering technique is important, I'm not convinced the click
tamper is as important. My biggest challenge is determining how much
grind to use. I'll have to reread some of the tamper articles on the
barista sites, but I think it's basically going to come down to
practice.

Comparitively speaking my shots are better than any shop (I've been to)
here on Oahu...not since Venice have I had similar bliss.

Cheers and All the Best Ray!

Rob



ramboorider@gmail.com wrote:
> This is way beyond old hat to most of you, but I'm a bit bowled over
> here and figured I'd share my enthusiasm. I'd been using a Saeco Magic
> Cappacino for a few years, pressurized portafilter and all, and had
> never really thought about how much better an espresso could be until
> recently. Based on input from friends and then doing some research here
> and elsewhere on the web, I recently plunked down for a Sylvia/Rocky
> combo, with PID. I'd read JimG's admonition on Coffee Geek about not
> getting the PID until you'd really worked out your technique, but it
> didn't make sense to me - seemed like even a rank beginner could
> benefit from a consistent brewing temperature.
>
> With the Saeco, I'd gotten to a point with intuitive temp surfing to
> where I could get shots that weren't bitter or sour, but there was
> never much to them - kind of thin, not quite tasteless, but nothing
> exciting. I rarely just had a shot of espresso without some sort of
> milk, because it wasn't very rewarding. When the Rocky came last week,
> the shots may have improved very slightly, but I couldn't guarantee it
> and, in any case, it wasn't by a lot.
>
> Today the Silvia arrived. To quote my teenage daughter, "OHHHHH MYYYYYY
> GOOOOOOD!!!!"
>
> I had to take a child to an appointment, so it got a full hour plus
> warmup, with the PID set to 223. I'm using a click tamper so the tamps,
> whether optimal or not, should at least be consistent and remove
> another variable. Which basically leaves the grind. I pulled three
> shots, adjusting the grind, and the last one came out at 25 seconds,
> pretty much dead on. The first two, at about 19 and 28 tasted
> incredibly good, with just a hint of bitterness in the longer one. But
> better than anything I'd had before. The 25 was heavenly. Jeeez, SOOOO
> much deeper and more subtle than anything I could ever imagine coming
> out of the Saeco. So I made another with the same grind, steamed up
> some milk (I thought it would be more difficult using the Silvia's
> 'manual' steam wand, but no trouble at all), and had the best cappacino
> I've ever had at home. The only ones I can remember that were as good
> were at a Seattle restaurant on Queen Ann last spring. And this is with
> coffee that's probably 3 weeks old, so clearly not as good as it is
> likely to get when I get some fresh roasted beans.
>
> I honestly didn't know if this was gonna be money well spent, if the
> differences would be too subtle for my beginners palate to discern,
> etc, etc, etc. But after one afternoon of coffee bliss, I'm out of my
> mind ecstatic here.
>
> So, again, thanks to all of you who shared your expertise, either
> through archival searches or direct questions. I may or may not get
> into it to the level of obsession that many of you have, but if I stop
> right now and the shots don't improve at all, I'm way beyond thrilled
> with this machine.
>
> -Ray



  
Date: 02 Nov 2006 20:05:12
From: FERRANTE
Subject: Re: First shots with Silvia - WOW!!!

>Comparitively speaking my shots are better than any shop (I've been to)
>here on Oahu...not since Venice have I had similar bliss.
>
Espresso and Hawaii. Can life get any better??

I'm jealous.

k Ferrante


 
Date: 02 Nov 2006 15:44:57
From: daveb
Subject: Re: First shots with Silvia - WOW!!!

Glad you like it, Ray, and that I could help provide you a great
experience!

Daveb

www.hitechespresso.com

ramboorider@gmail.com wrote:
> This is way beyond old hat to most of you, but I'm a bit bowled over
> here and figured I'd share my enthusiasm. I'd been using a Saeco Magic
> Cappacino for a few years, pressurized portafilter and all, and had
> never really thought about how much better an espresso could be until
> recently. Based on input from friends and then doing some research here
> and elsewhere on the web, I recently plunked down for a Sylvia/Rocky
> combo, with PID. I'd read JimG's admonition on Coffee Geek about not
> getting the PID until you'd really worked out your technique, but it
> didn't make sense to me - seemed like even a rank beginner could
> benefit from a consistent brewing temperature.
>
> With the Saeco, I'd gotten to a point with intuitive temp surfing to
> where I could get shots that weren't bitter or sour, but there was
> never much to them - kind of thin, not quite tasteless, but nothing
> exciting. I rarely just had a shot of espresso without some sort of
> milk, because it wasn't very rewarding. When the Rocky came last week,
> the shots may have improved very slightly, but I couldn't guarantee it
> and, in any case, it wasn't by a lot.
>
> Today the Silvia arrived. To quote my teenage daughter, "OHHHHH MYYYYYY
> GOOOOOOD!!!!"
>
> I had to take a child to an appointment, so it got a full hour plus
> warmup, with the PID set to 223. I'm using a click tamper so the tamps,
> whether optimal or not, should at least be consistent and remove
> another variable. Which basically leaves the grind. I pulled three
> shots, adjusting the grind, and the last one came out at 25 seconds,
> pretty much dead on. The first two, at about 19 and 28 tasted
> incredibly good, with just a hint of bitterness in the longer one. But
> better than anything I'd had before. The 25 was heavenly. Jeeez, SOOOO
> much deeper and more subtle than anything I could ever imagine coming
> out of the Saeco. So I made another with the same grind, steamed up
> some milk (I thought it would be more difficult using the Silvia's
> 'manual' steam wand, but no trouble at all), and had the best cappacino
> I've ever had at home. The only ones I can remember that were as good
> were at a Seattle restaurant on Queen Ann last spring. And this is with
> coffee that's probably 3 weeks old, so clearly not as good as it is
> likely to get when I get some fresh roasted beans.
>
> I honestly didn't know if this was gonna be money well spent, if the
> differences would be too subtle for my beginners palate to discern,
> etc, etc, etc. But after one afternoon of coffee bliss, I'm out of my
> mind ecstatic here.
>
> So, again, thanks to all of you who shared your expertise, either
> through archival searches or direct questions. I may or may not get
> into it to the level of obsession that many of you have, but if I stop
> right now and the shots don't improve at all, I'm way beyond thrilled
> with this machine.
>
> -Ray



 
Date: 02 Nov 2006 15:43:03
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Re: First shots with Silvia - WOW!!!


On Nov 2, 5:13 pm, "jggall01" <jggal...@yahoo.com > wrote:

> I wouldn't want to get crosswise with Jim S, so thought I should point
> out that the CG piece was authored by him, not by JimG (possibly
> referring to me?).

Oh jeez - apologies. I thought you were the same guy. I haven't been
around here long enough to sort all of the names and personalities yet.

-Ray



 
Date: 02 Nov 2006 15:41:31
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Re: First shots with Silvia - WOW!!!
On Nov 2, 4:54 pm, Randy G. <f...@DESPAMMOcncnet.com > wrote:

> There is no more stopping this obsession than there is after jumping
> off a cliff and remembering that you left your wallet with medical
> insurance cards up there in the car.

I know a thing or two about addictive hobbies/passions. Some of them
grab me and don't let go. If that happens here, I'm sure I'll have a
double boiler with PID within a couple of years :)

But other stuff I do seem to find a comfort level and just stay there.
I'm not making any PROMISES here, but I don't assume that I'll get
crazy either.

-Ray



 
Date: 02 Nov 2006 14:13:51
From: jggall01
Subject: Re: First shots with Silvia - WOW!!!

ramboorider@gmail.com wrote:
>I'd read JimG's admonition on Coffee Geek about not
> getting the PID until you'd really worked out your technique, but it
> didn't make sense to me - seemed like even a rank beginner could
> benefit from a consistent brewing temperature.


Congrat's, Ray. Our experience with Silvia/PID/Rocky was very similar.

I wouldn't want to get crosswise with Jim S, so thought I should point
out that the CG piece was authored by him, not by JimG (possibly
referring to me?).

Have fun!

Jim
www.pidkits.com



 
Date: 02 Nov 2006 13:54:20
From: Randy G.
Subject: Re: First shots with Silvia - WOW!!!
"ramboorider@gmail.com" <ramboorider@gmail.com > wrote:
>...[snip], I recently plunked down for a Sylvia/Rocky
>combo, with PID. I'd read JimG's admonition on Coffee Geek about not
>getting the PID until you'd really worked out your technique, but it
>didn't make sense to me - seemed like even a rank beginner could
>benefit from a consistent brewing temperature.
>
Actually, there is some value to Jim's statements, but as you have had
a good deal of experience with another machine you were in a good
place already and probably ready for the PID.


>
>Today the Silvia arrived. To quote my teenage daughter, "OHHHHH MYYYYYY
>GOOOOOOD!!!!"
>
Are you sure it wasn't, "Ohmahawd!"? ;-)
>... with the PID set to 223. I'm using a click tamper so the tamps,
>whether optimal or not, should at least be consistent and remove
>another variable. Which basically leaves the grind.
>
Also, dosing evenly can have a huge effect as well. Even with the tamp
being exactly the same each time there can still be voids in the
compacted coffee.

>... [snip] The 25 was heavenly. Jeeez, SOOOO
>much deeper and more subtle than anything I could ever imagine coming
>out of the Saeco. So I made another with the same grind, steamed up
>some milk (I thought it would be more difficult using the Silvia's
>'manual' steam wand, but no trouble at all), and had the best cappacino
>I've ever had at home. And this is with
>coffee that's probably 3 weeks old, so clearly not as good as it is
>likely to get when I get some fresh roasted beans.
>
Espresso is coffee + water, and so the coffee is critical! ;-)

Fresh coffee is the key. As your taste buds adjust to the improvement
you will see that coffee that is more than about ten days out of the
roaster is at the end of its prime and nearing the end of its useful
life for espresso.

>I honestly didn't know if this was gonna be money well spent, if the
>differences would be too subtle for my beginners palate to discern,
>etc, etc, etc. But after one afternoon of coffee bliss, I'm out of my
>mind ecstatic here.
>
Anyone else see a Hottop in this guy's future? ;-)
Seriously, home roasting is the next step for you. Not only are you
guaranteed fresh coffee but it allows you to try your own blends and
roasts until you find exactly what you like.

>So, again, thanks to all of you who shared your expertise, either
>through archival searches or direct questions.
>
This is a really great place, with lots of great folks ready to help!

>I may or may not get
>into it to the level of obsession that many of you have....
>
tee hee... The naive are so cute! ;-D

>...but if I stop
>right now and the shots don't improve at all, I'm way beyond thrilled
>with this machine.
>
There is no more stopping this obsession than there is after jumping
off a cliff and remembering that you left your wallet with medical
insurance cards up there in the car.


Randy "AHHHh
h
h
h
h

h

h

h


h"
G.
http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com




  
Date: 02 Nov 2006 23:12:49
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: First shots with Silvia - WOW!!!
On Thu, 02 Nov 2006 13:54:20 -0800, Randy G. <frcn@DESPAMMOcncnet.com >
wrote:


>Anyone else see a Hottop in this guy's future? ;-)
>Seriously, home roasting is the next step for you. Not only are you
>guaranteed fresh coffee but it allows you to try your own blends and
>roasts until you find exactly what you like.

Depends where he lives. Maybe he's down the street from Victrola.

shall "one size does not fit all"