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Topic: Using my new Solis sl90 with homeroasted coffee (14 msgs / 458 lines)
1) From: Rev Tom Cox
Wow, out of the box the solis produced a pretty good cup in my opinion, but being an absolute newby with an espresso experience, I note that the brew time is prettyshort about 10 second, is this normal or should I tamp harder etc?  I used the illy coffe that came with it, but I also tried some home roasted Kenyan that had been roasted fairly dark both were about the same for brew time.  Both had some moisture puddles in the portafilter after brewing. Is this normal? 
 
Thanks for any advice.  Tom

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2) From: Jim McClellan
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Hi 
Tom.
 
I've 
had my Solis for about 6 months now. The time you mention is normal for 
this machine as is the water left in the portafilter. I even switched to the 
non-pressurized model Tom sells, same results. The puck is always loose when 
finished no matter how hard I tamp. Just must be the way the critter was 
designed. It is GREAT for americanos, with the built in hot water spout. Not bad 
for espresso either IMO, though I imagine a staight espresso machine like the 
Rocky can make a better shot if you get everything right with it. The Solis 
pretty much just makes a shot independant of tamp and not as fussy about 
grind.
 
Jim 
M

3) From: Thom Underwood
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I've had my Solis since Christmas and find it 
produces great shots consistently.
 
It seems to me ( I am not inclined to get too 
analytical about coffee as I have to function in that capacity with my work ) 
that I can obtain a firm puck by adjusting the grind (boy does a good grinder 
make a difference) and by adjusting the amount of coffee I put in the holder 
(what the proper name is I don't know) and how hard I press to compact prior to 
the shot (I practiced with the bathroom scale for the first week).  I 
recently received a fancy new tamper for Father's day and that too made a big 
difference for me.
 
In closing I must say that when using the Solis I 
can create a great head of crema even on an Americano.  This will vary with 
the coffee but is consistently successful nonetheless.
 
Regards - Thom
 
 

4) From: jim gundlach
Re: +Using my new Solis  sl90 with homeroasted coffee
on 7/13/01 3:26 PM, Rev Tom Cox at rvtomcox wrote:
Wow, out of the box the solis produced a pretty good cup in my opinion, but being an absolute newby with an espresso experience, I note that the brew time is prettyshort about 10 second, is this normal or should I tamp harder etc?  I used the illy coffe that came with it, but I also tried some home roasted Kenyan that had been roasted fairly dark both were about the same for brew time.  Both had some moisture puddles in the portafilter after brewing. Is this normal? 
 
Thanks for any advice.  Tom
I find that running a double shot on the 3 setting gives a 21 to 22 second extraction, including the pre-soak cycle and pause, that gives me the flavor that compares favorably with the best I could do with the Gaggia Coffee.
Jim Gundlach
Roasting over pecan wood fires
in Shorter, Alabamahomeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast

5) From: Mike Koenig
I guess this is a good topic for me to de-lurk.
I had the same problem with my Saeco machine.  I had the pressurized
poratfilter that came with it, and a somewhat abused Gaggia "MM" grinder.  I
would rarely be able to pull shots longer than 10-15 seconds, and they
tended to come out thin and watery.  Right around the time I started
homeroasting, I got the Solis 166 grinder (actually the Starbucks barista)
and suddenly I was able to get 20-25 second shots, and I could even clog the
machine if I ground too fine.  Now I use the "non-pressurized" Saeco
portafilter, and can still clog the machine if I'm not careful.
The point of my ramblings is: the grinder can make a big difference (next to
homeroasted coffee naturally).
--mike

6) From: John Roche
Re: +Using my new Solis  sl90 with homeroasted coffee
on 7/13/01 4:38, Jim McClellan at jmcclellan wrote:
The Solis pretty much just makes a shot independant of tamp and not as fussy about grind.
I strongly disagree with the above statement. 
I own a SL90 and find to hit the correct extraction time for the correct volume, consistent tamp and  degree of grind are VERY important. I aim for 25-30 seconds and a volume of 1.5 to 1.75 oz. You'd better believe tamp and grind are important in doing so or my shots would be all over the place either in volume or time.
Since the user is using pre-ground Illy, the only solution is to vary the tamp to acheive the correct volume/time. This can be a bit tricky, trial and error will get you close. I've found Illy is a little too fine if tamped as hard as normal (30-50 pounds) and will choke the SL90. YMMV.
john

7) From: Jim McClellan
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Re: +Using my new Solis  sl90 with homeroasted coffee
John, perhaps your 
Solis is different than mine. I have tried grind setting from 0.5 to 3 on my 
Solis grinder and tamps from very light to 'lift you off your feet' and always 
end up with about the same shot. go figure!

8) From: Jim Friedlander
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Message
Tom,
  
Remember to count the time of the pre-infusion...
 
  
I find that using the Solis SL90 standard pressurized baskets yields really good 
shots (without tamping) but that with a little practice and a non-pressurized 
basket (available from Swee Maria's), I get some really great shots and some 
occasional pour-down the drains.
 
  
My pucks go from soupy to dry and back again, but with no discrenible 
taste/texture difference.
 
  
I've had a couple of dark brown crema shots with orange flecks, but somehow have 
lost the knack of reproducing that.
 
  
Make sure you grind your own coffee (you mention that you do, but also that you 
used pre-ground coffee) with a good grinder.
 
  
Having said all that, the fact that you got some "pretty good" cups means you 
are off to a good start!
 
jim

9) From: John Roche
on 7/13/01 7:21, Jim McClellan at jmcclellan wrote:
<Snip>
from 0.5 to 3 on my Solis grinder and tamps from very light to 'lift you off
your feet' and always end up with about the same shot. go figure!
I don't get how that is possible, but if it works for you...
Do you end up with the same volume of liquid AND the same length of time for
your shots? 
john
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10) From: Jim McClellan
I tried a grind setting of 1 this morning and a tamp with all my weight.
Same amount of time as always for the shot (a double on the 2 setting), the
'puck' was a loose watery mess. Never do end up with a nice puck with the
thing, even after switching to the non-pressurized filter basket. Perhaps
the unit is defective?
The Cremina I use at work is extremely sensitive to grind and tamp. With a
grind of 1 and a tamp like I used this morning I would not be able to pull
the lever to get a shot.
In defense of the Solis, it does give me a very consistant shot that I like.
I do wish it ended with a firmer puck and gave me *some* control.
<Snip>
for
<Snip>
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11) From: Jim Friedlander
My Solis sure doesn't work that way.  I can choke it up and get a 90
second shot quite easily, either by using too fine a grind or by tamping
too hard.  It sounds to me as if your grind might be way too coarse or
your ground coffee is way too old, but that would just be a guess.  As
for the Solis being defective, I can't imagine a defect that would give
the pump what sounds like 200 bar of pressure :).
The Solis does not have a solenoid that stops the water flow after the
shot has been pulled, so you will probably wind up with a wetter puck
than with machines that do (such as the fabled Silvia).
jim

12) From: Angelo
 
I'm kinda confused about why you care about how wet/dry the puck is. It 
seems to be after the fact.
I've noticed that if the puck was too wet, after a few minutes out of the 
machine, it would get dry and I would be able to knock it out easily. Of 
course, there's pretty much no need to do that with the Silvia, with it's 
solenoid switch, but  I'm not so sure that the moisture content of the puck 
has any great bearing on the espresso expressed.
BawaddaIknow?
Ciao,
Angelo
At 10:16 AM 7/14/2001, you wrote:
<Snip>
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13) From: John Roche
on 7/14/01 11:22, Jim Friedlander at jim wrote:
<Snip>
BINGO.
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14) From: John Roche
on 7/14/01 7:17, John Roche at jroche wrote:
<Snip>
Sent that too fast.
Meant to add that the wet puck for this machine is *normal*
If it bugs you, leave it in the machine for a few minutes before removing
and it will be significantly drier. Of course, if your pulling multiple
shots it's a PITA and not worth the trouble. It bugged me at first but now I
hardly notice it and dump it straight into the knock box til later.
john
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