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Date: 19 Nov 2006 08:32:29
From:
Subject: New Silvia - bad espresso
After reading this group and others for quite a while, I have my PID
Silvia (done beautifully by Dave at HiTech Espresso) and Rocky,
correctly sized tamper (RB)
Using a LM portafilter (modded to fit Silvia) and a smooth-sided LM
double basket.
I'm using fresh beans (Gone through 4 lbs of 2 local roasters(all
bought within 48 hrs of roasting) and mailorder Black Cat (roasted 2
days before I received it.)
I'm weighing my dose (tried both 14gm and 16 gm.)
Tamping to 30 lbs on a scale.
Blowing an empty shot before dosing and tamping.
I've varied the pid from 216 to 228 (waiting about 40 min after each
change)
My shots are 25 sec/1.5-2.0 oz volume. Nice crema, but not long
lasting.
The shots are not good. No sweetness; mostly bitter (I think, but I'm
not sure yet about bitter v sour), mosttimes 'thin' mouthfeel.
Occasionally, just OK.
What's next? What am I missing?
Counting on you guys for help.
Thanks
Stan





 
Date: 28 Nov 2006 22:16:10
From:
Subject: Re: New Silvia - bad espresso

Paul Vojta wrote:
> In article <1163961040.194542.35550@m7g2000cwm.googlegroups.com>,
> ailevin <ailevin@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
> >Stan,
> >
> >One more thing. I use the LM double basket as well, and follow
> >Schomer's advice about filling the basket, leveling off without
> >compressing etc. ( http://tinyurl.com/ybvv3r )
> >This leaves more like 19-20g of coffee in the basket in my experience,
> >so I would consider increasing the amount of coffee you are using.
> >(Sorry for the additional variable.)
>
> Another possibility is to use only about 10g of coffee (e.g., measure
> two scoops with the spoon that comes with Silvia). I realize that this
> is a minority opinion, but it helped with me, and has been reported to
> help others, too.
>
> --Paul "If all else fails, follow directions" Vojta
> vojta@math.berkeley.edu

Follow-up. Thanks to all who helped here. Raised the temp (now 229),
increased the dose to 17gm,
more care in dosing, tamping. Pulling a much higher percentage of good
(up from 'sucks') shots. Occasionally an excellent shot! I'm using
Black Cat until my roaster arrives (can't believe this. A year ago I
was drinking *$ espresso and thinking it was good. ) Again, thanks so
much for all the help.
Stan



 
Date: 20 Nov 2006 10:48:12
From: ailevin
Subject: Re: New Silvia - bad espresso
For the record, depending on blend I have used temps as low as 220 and
as high 232. I am currently at 226 with Supreme Bean Del Norte. I
have experimented from 217 to the high 230s. I hear that optimum temp
varies by location of the thermocouple and by machine, but for my
machine I agree with Randy and always start in the 225-228 range with a
new blend experimenting from there. Light roast espressos, which often
tend to have more citrus highlights, seem to be more temp critical and
generally require higher temps. I need to get within a degree or two of
too hot with those. Darker roasts seem to tolerate a wider range of
temps and generally taste better a few degrees cooler than the light
roasts.

Alan


Randy G. wrote:
<snip >>
Right around 226, +/- one or two degrees should do it.
<snip >



 
Date: 20 Nov 2006 07:00:09
From: Simpson
Subject: Re: New Silvia - bad espresso
In article <1163953949.491001.239170@h54g2000cwb.googlegroups.com >,
stan.shire@gmail.com says...
snip
> I've varied the pid from 216 to 228 (waiting about 40 min after each
> change)
> My shots are 25 sec/1.5-2.0 oz volume. Nice crema, but not long
> lasting.
> The shots are not good. No sweetness; mostly bitter (I think, but I'm
> not sure yet about bitter v sour), mosttimes 'thin' mouthfeel.
snip

You have gotten many great answers. I'll just note that, for me, the
most dreadful shots are ones I pull too cool. The resulting sour taste
is mind-numbingly awful. My best shots are easy to drink in a slurp or
two... temperature is not too high, yet the pull temperature is not so
cool that the taste is spoiled. Shots pulled too hot not only can taste
bitter or lackluster but also are not fun to drink because of the
temperature.

So, again for me, I shoot for shots that are pulled at a drinkable
temperature on the one end, and that are not too cool and hence sour on
the other. If anything, I err on the hot side and work down rather than
working up from the cold end of the shot temperature spectrum.

Ted

--
email me at:
tee en jay ess eye em pee ess oh en one-the-number (at) cee oh em cee a
ess tee (dot) en ee tee

ANY other email addie will probably mean I spam-killed your message
unread, by accident, really.


 
Date: 19 Nov 2006 22:16:59
From: Harry Moos
Subject: Re: New Silvia - bad espresso
Is it possible your PID is giving you the wrong reading?

<stan.shire@gmail.com > wrote in message
news:1163953949.491001.239170@h54g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> After reading this group and others for quite a while, I have my PID
> Silvia (done beautifully by Dave at HiTech Espresso) and Rocky,
> correctly sized tamper (RB)
> Using a LM portafilter (modded to fit Silvia) and a smooth-sided LM
> double basket.
> I'm using fresh beans (Gone through 4 lbs of 2 local roasters(all
> bought within 48 hrs of roasting) and mailorder Black Cat (roasted 2
> days before I received it.)
> I'm weighing my dose (tried both 14gm and 16 gm.)
> Tamping to 30 lbs on a scale.
> Blowing an empty shot before dosing and tamping.
> I've varied the pid from 216 to 228 (waiting about 40 min after each
> change)




 
Date: 19 Nov 2006 15:23:13
From: daveb
Subject: New Silvia - bad espresso??
Stan,
Set the temp to whatever gives you a pleasing cup, and experiment.
This is cooking, NOT space science.

BTW I'm using a LM deep basket in a full commercial Rancilio handle.
GREAT!

Dave
162.5
www.hitechespresso.com



 
Date: 19 Nov 2006 14:17:54
From: jggall01
Subject: Re: New Silvia - bad espresso
wes wrote:
> Sounds like it's too hot- can you go lower than 216 on the PID? I
> realize that's boiler temp, not group head temp, but the thinness and
> bitterness sure sounds to me like it's too hot- espresso that's
> somewhere around 201 or so in the basket is easily drunk without that
> burning your mouth feel- I'm really sensitive to hot drinks (burn my
> tongue easily) but I can drink proper espresso, it's not "too hot" for
> me. Does it seem really hot?

Because of the temp drop from top of boiler to group, an SV of 216F
will give you brew water way below 200F, very likely even below 190F.
As Craig and Eric have said, if you want to brew with water in the 200F
to 204F range, your SV needs to be 225F or higher, IMHO. (I am
assuming the sensor is located on the top of the boiler; that the
controller is well calibrated; and that you aren't talking about shots
pulled immediately after a steaming session).

I have checked this many, many times using both a Scace device and an
Eric-style group sensor.

Jim



 
Date: 19 Nov 2006 16:16:52
From: Eric Svendson
Subject: Re: New Silvia - bad espresso
I believe the PID set up at 228 is just fine. However I would dose up to
17.5 - 18.0 grams with that particular basket and shoot for 2.0 ounces total
including crema. Blackcat is a very versatile blend re temperature and I
would continue to use that blend until you feel your problems are solved.
The rationale being that lots of posters here (other than me) know a lot
about troubleshooting a machine's operation with such a popular blend.

Since you/re waiting about 40 minutes between an Sv change, I assume you're
also letting Silvia warm up about 45 - 60 minutes before pulling your first
shot. I wouldn't pull a full blank shot before the real event - maybe at
most a half because this only serves to heat up the group probably a little
too much even if this is the first shot of the day. Silvia's group
certainly tends to heat up with successive shots - obviously depending on
the interval between shots. However, the first shot of the day with PID at
228 and 17.5-18.0 grams with, say, a 1 ounce or less flush, should be pretty
good given your regimen and bean choice.

Eric S.


<stan.shire@gmail.com > wrote in message
news:1163953949.491001.239170@h54g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> After reading this group and others for quite a while, I have my PID
> Silvia (done beautifully by Dave at HiTech Espresso) and Rocky,
> correctly sized tamper (RB)
> Using a LM portafilter (modded to fit Silvia) and a smooth-sided LM
> double basket.
> I'm using fresh beans (Gone through 4 lbs of 2 local roasters(all
> bought within 48 hrs of roasting) and mailorder Black Cat (roasted 2
> days before I received it.)
> I'm weighing my dose (tried both 14gm and 16 gm.)
> Tamping to 30 lbs on a scale.
> Blowing an empty shot before dosing and tamping.
> I've varied the pid from 216 to 228 (waiting about 40 min after each
> change)
> My shots are 25 sec/1.5-2.0 oz volume. Nice crema, but not long
> lasting.
> The shots are not good. No sweetness; mostly bitter (I think, but I'm
> not sure yet about bitter v sour), mosttimes 'thin' mouthfeel.
> Occasionally, just OK.
> What's next? What am I missing?
> Counting on you guys for help.
> Thanks
> Stan
>




 
Date: 19 Nov 2006 10:41:23
From:
Subject: Re: New Silvia - bad espresso

ailevin wrote:
> Stan,
>
> One more thing. I use the LM double basket as well, and follow
> Schomer's advice about filling the basket, leveling off without
> compressing etc. ( http://tinyurl.com/ybvv3r )
> This leaves more like 19-20g of coffee in the basket in my experience,
> so I would consider increasing the amount of coffee you are using.
> (Sorry for the additional variable.)
>
> Alan

WOW! Thanks to everyone for the quick responses. I'm determined to make
this work. My current beans are from my local coffee house/roaster. I'm
going by what I taste there with these beans. (Yeah, I know I'm trying
to compare Sylvia to their LM Linea, with John Hornall (he used to be
Hines Public ket Coffee in Seattle) pulling my shots) but hope
springs eternal.) John also suggested lowering the temp and that's when
I started going to the 216 range.
I'll try all of the suggestions one at a time to reduce variables;
lower temp - starting at 214, increasing the dose. I'll report back.
Thanks again for all the help.
Stan



  
Date: 19 Nov 2006 22:23:38
From: Randy G.
Subject: Re: New Silvia - bad espresso
stan.shire@gmail.com wrote:

>
>WOW! Thanks to everyone for the quick responses. I'm determined to make
>this work. My current beans are from my local coffee house/roaster. I'm
>going by what I taste there with these beans. (Yeah, I know I'm trying
>to compare Sylvia to their LM Linea, with John Hornall (he used to be
>Hines Public ket Coffee in Seattle) pulling my shots) but hope
>springs eternal.) John also suggested lowering the temp and that's when
>I started going to the 216 range.
>I'll try all of the suggestions one at a time to reduce variables;
>lower temp - starting at 214, increasing the dose. I'll report back.

Right around 226, +/- one or two degrees should do it. If not, then
try actually measuring the temperature of the water at the brewhead to
be sure that PID is working correctly with your machine. Instructions
for doing this measurement are on my website. After that, there is no
better way to improve things than to invite someone over who has more
experience to play with the machine and see if they can get more out
of it than you can. After that, try another coffee. If for no other
reason than to verify that it isn't the coffee that is the problem.
Any given coffee, in any given machine, on any given day... etc.

Also try grinding one click finer and using a lighter tamp. The
bitterness could be from slight under extraction which leaves behind
the important elements that mask the tongue from the bitter
elements... or not.


Randy "or knot" G.
http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
beginning to miss Miss Maddy more about this time of year




 
Date: 19 Nov 2006 10:30:40
From: ailevin
Subject: Re: New Silvia - bad espresso
Stan,

One more thing. I use the LM double basket as well, and follow
Schomer's advice about filling the basket, leveling off without
compressing etc. ( http://tinyurl.com/ybvv3r )
This leaves more like 19-20g of coffee in the basket in my experience,
so I would consider increasing the amount of coffee you are using.
(Sorry for the additional variable.)

Alan



  
Date: 21 Nov 2006 02:30:28
From: Paul Vojta
Subject: Re: New Silvia - bad espresso
In article <1163961040.194542.35550@m7g2000cwm.googlegroups.com >,
ailevin <ailevin@ix.netcom.com > wrote:
>Stan,
>
>One more thing. I use the LM double basket as well, and follow
>Schomer's advice about filling the basket, leveling off without
>compressing etc. ( http://tinyurl.com/ybvv3r )
>This leaves more like 19-20g of coffee in the basket in my experience,
>so I would consider increasing the amount of coffee you are using.
>(Sorry for the additional variable.)

Another possibility is to use only about 10g of coffee (e.g., measure
two scoops with the spoon that comes with Silvia). I realize that this
is a minority opinion, but it helped with me, and has been reported to
help others, too.

--Paul "If all else fails, follow directions" Vojta
vojta@math.berkeley.edu


  
Date: 19 Nov 2006 13:01:53
From: notbob
Subject: Re: New Silvia - bad espresso
On 2006-11-19, ailevin <ailevin@ix.netcom.com > wrote:

> (Sorry for the additional variable.)

Hey, it's all about variables. For my Solis SL90, I find tamping
without leveling gives the best shots. I get more in my basket by
overfilling, tapping a few times to settle and round off the grounds
mound, then tamp to about 30-35. This packs my smaller basket to the
max, to the point where I'm barely able to lock the p/f to a no-leak
seal. But, the proof is in the cup. Godshots aplenty!

nb


 
Date: 19 Nov 2006 10:17:26
From: ailevin
Subject: Re: New Silvia - bad espresso

Stan,

I have same setup. If the temp is too high, the taste is "plastic" or
chemical/medicinal which I would classify as bitter and as others have
mention you tend to taste that further back in your mouth. Temp too
low tastes sour which you taste more at the tip and for me especially
the edges of the tongue. In my experience, the smell of the shot can
still be quite good when the temp is too low and it still tastes sour,
but when the temp is too hot the coffee aroma is gone or there is a bit
of a bitter smell.

Also, if you change your temperature significantly, prepare to adjust
your grind as you go. When I was experimenting with temp, I found that
the flow rate varied enough that I had to adjust Rocky by several
clicks. One other symptom, at least for my current coffee (Supreme
Bean Del Norte), is that when the temp is too low the puck is sloppy
even if the flow rate is right, but at the right temp (and above) the
puck is pretty dry. I don't know if that is true in general.

Last but not least, though it is time consuming, I suggest pulling and
tasting several shots at each temperature and taking notes. There are
so many variables, especially with a new grinder and machine, and
unfortunately many of the variables are coupled. You think that only
one thing is changing , but it is more complicated than that.

Alan



 
Date: 19 Nov 2006 09:51:19
From: daveb
Subject: Re: New Silvia - bad espresso
I sure agree with Wes.
Stan -- try it even lower.


the rule of thumb= bitter? -- too hot
sour -- too cool.

of course the moon phase and many other factors enter in as well.
(And I appreciate the compliment! :-) )

DAVe
162.5




wes wrote:
> Sounds like it's too hot- can you go lower than 216 on the PID? I
> realize that's boiler temp, not group head temp, but the thinness and
> bitterness sure sounds to me like it's too hot- espresso that's
> somewhere around 201 or so in the basket is easily drunk without that
> burning your mouth feel- I'm really sensitive to hot drinks (burn my
> tongue easily) but I can drink proper espresso, it's not "too hot" for
> me. Does it seem really hot?
>
> You should be able to pull great shots with that setup, sounds like
> your beans are good. . .
>
> Wes
>
> stan.shire@gmail.com wrote:
> > After reading this group and others for quite a while, I have my PID
> > Silvia (done beautifully by Dave at HiTech Espresso) and Rocky,
> > correctly sized tamper (RB)
> > Using a LM portafilter (modded to fit Silvia) and a smooth-sided LM
> > double basket.
> > I'm using fresh beans (Gone through 4 lbs of 2 local roasters(all
> > bought within 48 hrs of roasting) and mailorder Black Cat (roasted 2
> > days before I received it.)
> > I'm weighing my dose (tried both 14gm and 16 gm.)
> > Tamping to 30 lbs on a scale.
> > Blowing an empty shot before dosing and tamping.
> > I've varied the pid from 216 to 228 (waiting about 40 min after each
> > change)
> > My shots are 25 sec/1.5-2.0 oz volume. Nice crema, but not long
> > lasting.
> > The shots are not good. No sweetness; mostly bitter (I think, but I'm
> > not sure yet about bitter v sour), mosttimes 'thin' mouthfeel.
> > Occasionally, just OK.
> > What's next? What am I missing?
> > Counting on you guys for help.
> > Thanks
> > Stan



 
Date: 19 Nov 2006 09:44:52
From: wes
Subject: Re: New Silvia - bad espresso
Sounds like it's too hot- can you go lower than 216 on the PID? I
realize that's boiler temp, not group head temp, but the thinness and
bitterness sure sounds to me like it's too hot- espresso that's
somewhere around 201 or so in the basket is easily drunk without that
burning your mouth feel- I'm really sensitive to hot drinks (burn my
tongue easily) but I can drink proper espresso, it's not "too hot" for
me. Does it seem really hot?

You should be able to pull great shots with that setup, sounds like
your beans are good. . .

Wes

stan.shire@gmail.com wrote:
> After reading this group and others for quite a while, I have my PID
> Silvia (done beautifully by Dave at HiTech Espresso) and Rocky,
> correctly sized tamper (RB)
> Using a LM portafilter (modded to fit Silvia) and a smooth-sided LM
> double basket.
> I'm using fresh beans (Gone through 4 lbs of 2 local roasters(all
> bought within 48 hrs of roasting) and mailorder Black Cat (roasted 2
> days before I received it.)
> I'm weighing my dose (tried both 14gm and 16 gm.)
> Tamping to 30 lbs on a scale.
> Blowing an empty shot before dosing and tamping.
> I've varied the pid from 216 to 228 (waiting about 40 min after each
> change)
> My shots are 25 sec/1.5-2.0 oz volume. Nice crema, but not long
> lasting.
> The shots are not good. No sweetness; mostly bitter (I think, but I'm
> not sure yet about bitter v sour), mosttimes 'thin' mouthfeel.
> Occasionally, just OK.
> What's next? What am I missing?
> Counting on you guys for help.
> Thanks
> Stan



  
Date: 19 Nov 2006 13:06:51
From: Craig Andrews
Subject: Re: New Silvia - bad espresso

"wes" <wnance3@rochester.rr.com > wrote in message
news:1163958292.548405.220950@m7g2000cwm.googlegroups.com...
> Sounds like it's too hot- can you go lower than 216 on the PID? I
> realize that's boiler temp, not group head temp, but the thinness and
> bitterness sure sounds to me like it's too hot- espresso that's
> somewhere around 201 or so in the basket is easily drunk without that
> burning your mouth feel- I'm really sensitive to hot drinks (burn my
> tongue easily) but I can drink proper espresso, it's not "too hot" for
> me. Does it seem really hot?
>
> You should be able to pull great shots with that setup, sounds like
> your beans are good. . .
>
> Wes
>

To get 201F @ the grouphead, the display would be indicating 226F or
thereabouts.
Craig.



 
Date: 19 Nov 2006 10:57:22
From: jim schulman
Subject: Re: New Silvia - bad espresso
On 19 Nov 2006 08:32:29 -0800, stan.shire@gmail.com wrote:

>The shots are not good. No sweetness; mostly bitter (I think, but I'm
>not sure yet about bitter v sour), mosttimes 'thin' mouthfeel.
>Occasionally, just OK.

If the espresso smells good, stick with it. You may not be uised to
the intensity, or the blend may be too lightly roasted or dry for a
great espresso blend. Just add sugar to counteract.

Bitter you feel on the roof of the mouth. Tastes like unsweetened
chocolate or spice, bitter almonds peaty smoke are good, and show
there's not enough sweetness in the blend -- just add sugar. Tastes
like ash, rubber, asphalt are bad, change your coffee

Sour you feel on the tip of the tongue. Tastes like unsweetened citrus
or berries are good, just add sugar. Tastes like vinegar, wierd
science experiment odors, rotting vegetables, etc are not so good,
change your coffee