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Date: 10 Dec 2006 20:05:52
From: Cliff Heller
Subject: new silvia - shot starts thick but then thins out.

I'm loving my new Silvia and still tweaking to find the ideal
tamp/grind. Since folks will ask, I'm grinding with a Solis Maestro
which really seems fine for now. No plans to upgrade just yet.

My last shots started out thick reddish brown and syruppy, the way they
should be. Then about 15-17 seconds into the pull they thin out and
get lighter. There are still mouse tails into the cup, but the tails
look watery.

What is this symptomatic of?

Do I simply need to tamp harder?


--
"Letters may be used to construct words, phrases and sentences that may be
deemed offensive."
-Warning label on children's alphabet blocks




 
Date: 13 Dec 2006 10:28:37
From: jgriff
Subject: Re: new silvia - shot starts thick but then thins out.
Oops! I meant to write:

Isn't this the most important part? Don't worry so much about numbers
and what everyone says if you like your coffee!

And Dave, I think calling the Maestro a pos is unfair. Sure, it's not
ideal for espresso and doesn't compare to the Mazzers, Macaps and Super
Jolly Green Giant grinders that some people have, but they're much
better than a blade grinder and passable for espresso in some machines.
I've used one for years until recently.

Cliff Heller wrote:
> Keep in mind that all these shots I'm pulling are perfectly delicious to
> my tastes. It's just that the numbers are saying they are sub-optimal.



 
Date: 13 Dec 2006 10:15:21
From: jgriff
Subject: Re: new silvia - shot starts thick but then thins out.

Cliff Heller wrote:
> "daveb" <davebobblane@gmail.com> writes:
>
> > the grinder is your problem.
> >
>
> Is it really? This seems to be the party line. But the problem I'm
> describing is definitely "early blonding" and seems to be connected more
> to distribution and tamp than fineness of grind.
>
> So unless grind unevenness is going to cause this (and it might) there
> may be other things I can at least try, or focus my attention on.
> I'll get a grinder eventually and maybe a PID too, but not yet.
>
> To answer the earlier query - double basket - no direct measurement of
> volume pulled, but my estimation is 1.5-2 Oz before blonding. It happens
> even when I grind coarser to get a cafe crema. So again, the problem
> isn't that my grind isn't fine enough. In that case I get more volume
> (probably about 4 oz) but it still blonds at about 15-18 seconds.
>
> Keep in mind that all these shots I'm pulling are perfectly delicious to
> my tastes. It's just that the numbers are saying they are sub-optimal.
>
>
> --
> "Letters may be used to construct words, phrases and sentences that may be
> deemed offensive."
> -Warning label on children's alphabet blocks



 
Date: 13 Dec 2006 07:48:07
From: daveb
Subject: Re: new silvia - shot starts thick but then thins out.
Uh, cliff?
it may be the party line -- especially when the subject grinder is a
pos maestro.

dave.

Cliff Heller wrote:
> "daveb" <davebobblane@gmail.com> writes:
>
> > the grinder is your problem.
> >
>
> Is it really? This seems to be the party line.



  
Date: 13 Dec 2006 13:35:55
From: Cliff Heller
Subject: Re: new silvia - shot starts thick but then thins out.
"daveb" <davebobblane@gmail.com > writes:

> Uh, cliff?
> it may be the party line -- especially when the subject grinder is a
> pos maestro.
>
> dave.

1st: Dave - please don't top post.

2nd: I know that my grinder is a limitation but I was wondering what if
anything I might be able to do to work around it for now.

When someone who SELLS equipment simply says that the problem can only
be fixed by a costly upgrade, it's natural to react with suspicion.

When I purchased the Maestro it was based on the consensus IN THIS
NEWSGROUP that it was pretty good value for money. Now it's a POS.
Is the Rocky a POS too? What about the Baratza Virtuoso? I like the
configuration of the Maestro/virtuoso with the grinds catcher. I shake them up
to remove any clumping and then scoop them into the portafilter. Less mess.


--
"Letters may be used to construct words, phrases and sentences that may be
deemed offensive."
-Warning label on children's alphabet blocks


 
Date: 12 Dec 2006 11:24:37
From: daveb
Subject: Re: new silvia - shot starts thick but then thins out.
the grinder is your problem.

dave
www.hitechespresso.com
187



  
Date: 12 Dec 2006 17:11:53
From: Cliff Heller
Subject: Re: new silvia - shot starts thick but then thins out.
"daveb" <davebobblane@gmail.com > writes:

> the grinder is your problem.
>

Is it really? This seems to be the party line. But the problem I'm
describing is definitely "early blonding" and seems to be connected more
to distribution and tamp than fineness of grind.

So unless grind unevenness is going to cause this (and it might) there
may be other things I can at least try, or focus my attention on.
I'll get a grinder eventually and maybe a PID too, but not yet.

To answer the earlier query - double basket - no direct measurement of
volume pulled, but my estimation is 1.5-2 Oz before blonding. It happens
even when I grind coarser to get a cafe crema. So again, the problem
isn't that my grind isn't fine enough. In that case I get more volume
(probably about 4 oz) but it still blonds at about 15-18 seconds.

Keep in mind that all these shots I'm pulling are perfectly delicious to
my tastes. It's just that the numbers are saying they are sub-optimal.


--
"Letters may be used to construct words, phrases and sentences that may be
deemed offensive."
-Warning label on children's alphabet blocks


   
Date: 13 Dec 2006 00:22:18
From: Bertie Doe
Subject: Re: new silvia - shot starts thick but then thins out.

"Cliff Heller" wrote in message

> To answer the earlier query - double basket - no direct measurement of
> volume pulled, but my estimation is 1.5-2 Oz before blonding. It happens
> even when I grind coarser to get a cafe crema. So again, the problem
> isn't that my grind isn't fine enough. In that case I get more volume
> (probably about 4 oz) but it still blonds at about 15-18 seconds.
>
> Keep in mind that all these shots I'm pulling are perfectly delicious to
> my tastes. It's just that the numbers are saying they are sub-optimal.
>
2 oz isn't far off the optimum for a dbl. Have you tried the test, that
shows if your pump is producing 9bar?
Bertie




    
Date: 13 Dec 2006 12:42:02
From: Bertie Doe
Subject: Re: new silvia - shot starts thick but then thins out.

"Bertie Doe" wrote in message
>
> "Cliff Heller" wrote in message
>
>> To answer the earlier query - double basket - no direct measurement of
>> volume pulled, but my estimation is 1.5-2 Oz before blonding. It happens
>> even when I grind coarser to get a cafe crema. So again, the problem
>> isn't that my grind isn't fine enough. In that case I get more volume
>> (probably about 4 oz) but it still blonds at about 15-18 seconds.
>>
>> Keep in mind that all these shots I'm pulling are perfectly delicious to
>> my tastes. It's just that the numbers are saying they are sub-optimal.
>>
> 2 oz isn't far off the optimum for a dbl. Have you tried the test, that
> shows if your pump is producing 9bar?
> Bertie

Using the info on the Ulka pump site http://www.ulka.it/eng/E.htm#
How do you test pump pressure on Silvia and Zaffiro, for 9bar?
Should the test be under load i.e. flowrate via OP valve back to water tank?
Or nonload, thru emty p/f basket?
How would rate be timed? - I guess from second pump is switched on.
Sorry to hyjack Cliff, but pump flow may be an issue on your Silvia + I'd
like to know if my gauge is working properly - it does suffer from scale.TIA

Bertie




   
Date: 12 Dec 2006 22:21:10
From: Steve
Subject: Re: new silvia - shot starts thick but then thins out.
On 12 Dec 2006 17:11:53 -0500, Cliff Heller <fnord@panix.com > wrote:

>So unless grind unevenness is going to cause this (and it might) there
>may be other things I can at least try, or focus my attention on.

My experience with the Maestro was the same as what you are
describing.
After purchasing a different grinder the problem stopped immediately.
I believe the problem with the Maestro is the inconsistency of
particle size. A very small improvement came with the installation of
the Solis upgraded felt gasket, but by that time I'd moved on.
It's a fine grinder for brewed coffee, though.
I'm not going to say that the Maestro is without question your
problems cause, but for me it was.


 
Date: 12 Dec 2006 19:19:05
From: Bertie Doe
Subject: Re: new silvia - shot starts thick but then thins out.

"Cliff Heller"
> wrote in message>

> Then about 15-17 seconds into the pull they thin out and
> get lighter. There are still mouse tails into the cup, but the tails
> look watery.
>

Are you using single or dbl basket? What is your shot volume in oz or ml -
after the crema has settled?
Bertie




 
Date: 12 Dec 2006 10:26:15
From: jgriff
Subject: Re: new silvia - shot starts thick but then thins out.
I was also using a Solis Maestro until recently, but mine was the
"Plus". I think they adjusted so it had more steps and could grind
finer. Recently, I got the "upgrade kit" and all it does is make it so
you can grind coarser and increases the tabs the hopper sits on to make
them less prone to break. When I installed the kit, I couldn't grind as
fine as I used to. To remedy that, Keith Anderson at Baratza sent me
some shims which you have to install under the center burr. You could
see if you could get the shims from him or a hardware store to bring
your burrs closer together for better grinding. Aside from that,
everyone else is right - save your money and get a better grinder! Keep
the Maestro for French Press.

Brian Colwell wrote:
> "Cliff Heller" <fnord@panix.com> wrote in message
> news:upk60ztbed.fsf@panix3.panix.com...
> > "Ken Fox" <morceaudemerdeThisMerdeGoes@hotmail.com> writes:
> >
> >> assuming good and truly fresh coffee, ground just before the shot, you
> >> could
> >> do any of the following things to "improve" the situation. (1) you could
> >> grind finer, which would be the normal recommendation; (2) you could cram
> >> more coffee into the basket, e.g. "updose;" (3) you could tamp a LOT
> >> harder.
> >
> > Thanks. My last shot used more coffee and a harder tamp and was
> > somewhat of an improvement.
> >
> > The beans are primo. I get them from a local shop that does their own
> > roasting. This was the tail end of a batch I bought a week ago and
> > stored in an air tight container.
> >
> >> I would view a Solis Maestro as a stopgap measure until I bought a
> >> grinder more suited to espresso, and I wouldn't want to wait too long
> >> on that, either.
> >
> > At least until the summer when I earn some more money.
> >
> > When I bought the maestro in 2001/2 it was pretty well regarded around
> > here. Now it's barely adequate. I'm pretty happy with my results so
> > far. No need to take it to the next level just yet.
> >
> >
> > --
> > "Letters may be used to construct words, phrases and sentences that may be
> > deemed offensive."
> > -Warning label on children's alphabet blocks
>
> Cliff,
> Check out www.kwilson.fsnet.co.uk Ken has some information on
> *tweaking* a grinder to improve its performance.
>
> Regards, BMC



 
Date: 11 Dec 2006 03:45:50
From: chardinej
Subject: Re: new silvia - shot starts thick but then thins out.
Totally agree. Before my Mazzer mini arrived I was having a friend
grind up some beans for my NS Oscar. He had a Starbucks-branded Solis
grinder set at the finest setting. I could not get a 20s pour out of
this coffee even with massive tamping (which I know doesn't make much
difference to time of pour). The Solis just could not cut it.

John

Randy G. wrote:
> Cliff Heller <fnord@panix.com> wrote:
>
> >
> >I'm loving my new Silvia and still tweaking to find the ideal
> >tamp/grind. Since folks will ask, I'm grinding with a Solis Maestro
> >which really seems fine for now. No plans to upgrade just yet.
> >
> >My last shots started out thick reddish brown and syruppy, the way they
> >should be. Then about 15-17 seconds into the pull they thin out and
> >get lighter. There are still mouse tails into the cup, but the tails
> >look watery.
> >
>
> The grinder is more important than the espresso machine. The older
> Solis grinders were quite nice for press pot or drip, but only barely
> adequate for espresso. I believe there was an upgrade kit that helped
> stabilize the burrs- check with Baratza or Solis on that one. If the
> burrs in that grinder are the original ones that could also be part of
> the problem. When new it was ginally acceptable- five years later
> the wear on the burrs and the burr retention system in that grinder
> will make consistency nearly impossible... IMO.
>
> Change you plans.. you need to upgrade that grinder for best results..
>
>
> Randy "nuh huh!" G.
> http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com



 
Date: 10 Dec 2006 21:55:21
From: Randy G.
Subject: Re: new silvia - shot starts thick but then thins out.
Cliff Heller <fnord@panix.com > wrote:

>
>I'm loving my new Silvia and still tweaking to find the ideal
>tamp/grind. Since folks will ask, I'm grinding with a Solis Maestro
>which really seems fine for now. No plans to upgrade just yet.
>
>My last shots started out thick reddish brown and syruppy, the way they
>should be. Then about 15-17 seconds into the pull they thin out and
>get lighter. There are still mouse tails into the cup, but the tails
>look watery.
>

The grinder is more important than the espresso machine. The older
Solis grinders were quite nice for press pot or drip, but only barely
adequate for espresso. I believe there was an upgrade kit that helped
stabilize the burrs- check with Baratza or Solis on that one. If the
burrs in that grinder are the original ones that could also be part of
the problem. When new it was ginally acceptable- five years later
the wear on the burrs and the burr retention system in that grinder
will make consistency nearly impossible... IMO.

Change you plans.. you need to upgrade that grinder for best results..


Randy "nuh huh!" G.
http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com




 
Date: 10 Dec 2006 18:14:46
From: Ken Fox
Subject: Re: new silvia - shot starts thick but then thins out.
"Cliff Heller" <fnord@panix.com > wrote in message
news:uppsartf67.fsf@panix3.panix.com...
>
> I'm loving my new Silvia and still tweaking to find the ideal
> tamp/grind. Since folks will ask, I'm grinding with a Solis Maestro
> which really seems fine for now. No plans to upgrade just yet.
>
> My last shots started out thick reddish brown and syruppy, the way they
> should be. Then about 15-17 seconds into the pull they thin out and
> get lighter. There are still mouse tails into the cup, but the tails
> look watery.
>
> What is this symptomatic of?
>
> Do I simply need to tamp harder?
>

assuming good and truly fresh coffee, ground just before the shot, you could
do any of the following things to "improve" the situation. (1) you could
grind finer, which would be the normal recommendation; (2) you could cram
more coffee into the basket, e.g. "updose;" (3) you could tamp a LOT
harder.

Normally, one would prefer to hold other things constant and to simply grind
finer. Your grinder is operating at the limits of its capabilities in
making espresso. I have a Solis Maestro plus which I use for pourover cone
coffee when visiting my parents (the grinder lives in a closet in their
house when I'm not there, as neither of my parents drink coffee as we here
understand it:-)) Having a lot of experience now with a number of
commercial grinders, I would view a Solis Maestro as a stopgap measure until
I bought a grinder more suited to espresso, and I wouldn't want to wait too
long on that, either.

ken




  
Date: 10 Dec 2006 21:27:22
From: Cliff Heller
Subject: Re: new silvia - shot starts thick but then thins out.
"Ken Fox" <morceaudemerdeThisMerdeGoes@hotmail.com > writes:

> assuming good and truly fresh coffee, ground just before the shot, you could
> do any of the following things to "improve" the situation. (1) you could
> grind finer, which would be the normal recommendation; (2) you could cram
> more coffee into the basket, e.g. "updose;" (3) you could tamp a LOT
> harder.

Thanks. My last shot used more coffee and a harder tamp and was
somewhat of an improvement.

The beans are primo. I get them from a local shop that does their own
roasting. This was the tail end of a batch I bought a week ago and
stored in an air tight container.

> I would view a Solis Maestro as a stopgap measure until I bought a
> grinder more suited to espresso, and I wouldn't want to wait too long
> on that, either.

At least until the summer when I earn some more money.

When I bought the maestro in 2001/2 it was pretty well regarded around
here. Now it's barely adequate. I'm pretty happy with my results so
far. No need to take it to the next level just yet.


--
"Letters may be used to construct words, phrases and sentences that may be
deemed offensive."
-Warning label on children's alphabet blocks


   
Date: 11 Dec 2006 17:05:01
From: Brian Colwell
Subject: Re: new silvia - shot starts thick but then thins out.

"Cliff Heller" <fnord@panix.com > wrote in message
news:upk60ztbed.fsf@panix3.panix.com...
> "Ken Fox" <morceaudemerdeThisMerdeGoes@hotmail.com> writes:
>
>> assuming good and truly fresh coffee, ground just before the shot, you
>> could
>> do any of the following things to "improve" the situation. (1) you could
>> grind finer, which would be the normal recommendation; (2) you could cram
>> more coffee into the basket, e.g. "updose;" (3) you could tamp a LOT
>> harder.
>
> Thanks. My last shot used more coffee and a harder tamp and was
> somewhat of an improvement.
>
> The beans are primo. I get them from a local shop that does their own
> roasting. This was the tail end of a batch I bought a week ago and
> stored in an air tight container.
>
>> I would view a Solis Maestro as a stopgap measure until I bought a
>> grinder more suited to espresso, and I wouldn't want to wait too long
>> on that, either.
>
> At least until the summer when I earn some more money.
>
> When I bought the maestro in 2001/2 it was pretty well regarded around
> here. Now it's barely adequate. I'm pretty happy with my results so
> far. No need to take it to the next level just yet.
>
>
> --
> "Letters may be used to construct words, phrases and sentences that may be
> deemed offensive."
> -Warning label on children's alphabet blocks

Cliff,
Check out www.kwilson.fsnet.co.uk Ken has some information on
*tweaking* a grinder to improve its performance.

Regards, BMC




  
Date: 11 Dec 2006 02:02:46
From: I->Ian
Subject: Re: new silvia - shot starts thick but then thins out.
On Sun, 10 Dec 2006 18:14:46 -0700, "Ken Fox"
<morceaudemerdeThisMerdeGoes@hotmail.com > wrote:

>"Cliff Heller" <fnord@panix.com> wrote in message
>news:uppsartf67.fsf@panix3.panix.com...
>>
>> I'm loving my new Silvia and still tweaking to find the ideal
>> tamp/grind. Since folks will ask, I'm grinding with a Solis Maestro
>> which really seems fine for now. No plans to upgrade just yet.
>>
>> My last shots started out thick reddish brown and syruppy, the way they
>> should be. Then about 15-17 seconds into the pull they thin out and
>> get lighter. There are still mouse tails into the cup, but the tails
>> look watery.
>>
>> What is this symptomatic of?
>>
>> Do I simply need to tamp harder?
>>
>
>assuming good and truly fresh coffee, ground just before the shot, you could
>do any of the following things to "improve" the situation. (1) you could
>grind finer, which would be the normal recommendation; (2) you could cram
>more coffee into the basket, e.g. "updose;" (3) you could tamp a LOT
>harder.
>
>Normally, one would prefer to hold other things constant and to simply grind
>finer. Your grinder is operating at the limits of its capabilities in
>making espresso. I have a Solis Maestro plus which I use for pourover cone
>coffee when visiting my parents (the grinder lives in a closet in their
>house when I'm not there, as neither of my parents drink coffee as we here
>understand it:-)) Having a lot of experience now with a number of
>commercial grinders, I would view a Solis Maestro as a stopgap measure until
>I bought a grinder more suited to espresso, and I wouldn't want to wait too
>long on that, either.
>
>ken
>

I had a Maestro for several years that I used with an SL90 and to
maximize consistency :

Don't grind anything but espresso.
Run the grinder empty and give it a couple of good raps on the side at
the start of the day to drop out yesterday's stale stuff
Grind a blank at the start of the day to clear out yesterday's stale
stuff.
Always adjust from the same direction. If you want to go larger, go
way larger and move finer.
Hold your hand on the top of the hopper while grinding to minimize
burr hopping and get between stop values.

Doing all that, you can make espresso, but just.