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Topic: Newbie Tamping/Espresso Questions (6 msgs / 251 lines)
1) From: Steve Hay
Hey all,
Been having some fun with my Silvia.  Actually finding that Espresso is most
convenient in the morning as it takes the least amount of time of all
methods from start to finish (assuming she's warm).  Have a few questions
about my technique I'd like to ask to see if anyone has any insight:
1) Can a PIDed Silvia be left on?  It seems to have a pretty low duty cycle,
so I'm curious if I can just leave it on and use when needed.
2) When tamping, usually some side junk builds up.  What do you do with
that?  I've tried both getting rid of it (various methods) and tapping it
and retamping to make it part of the puck.
3) I've tuned in my tamp and grind such that I get anywhere from 15-30
second pulls.  What is highly variable is the amount of liquid I get.  My
stopping point is usually just after I see what I consider to be "blond".
The Espresso starts out black, then turns into black/brown with in a foamy
river, then pretty suddenly turns all foam, which is when I stop.  I've had
two pulls go 25 and 30 seconds, both of which yielding a lot of espresso.
Most of them are shorter, in the 15-25 second range and probably yield about
1/4 of the amount.  All of them taste good but bitter.  This last long pull
I just did (30 seconds) I made into an ice coffee and tastes great, so the
bitterness might just be me misinterpreting the strong coffee flavor.
4) Is there anything I can do to check to see if I have channeling?
5) What should my puck look like when all is said and done?  Should there be
a little hole-dealy in the center?
Silvia is great.  I'm loving it!  I need to get some skim milk or something
and start trying some lattes.
-- 
Steven Hay
hay.steve -AT- gmail.com
Barry Paradox: Consider k to be the greatest element of the set of natural
numbers whose description require maximum of 50 words: "(k+1) is a natural
number which requires more than 50 words to describe it."

2) From: miKe mcKoffee
	From: homeroast-admin
[mailto:homeroast-admin] On Behalf Of Steve Hay
	Sent: Sunday, August 06, 2006 6:11 AM
<Snip>
	Hey all,
	
	Been having some fun with my Silvia.  Actually finding that Espresso
is most convenient in the morning as it takes the least amount of time of
all methods from start to finish (assuming she's warm).  Have a few
questions about my technique I'd like to ask to see if anyone has any
insight: 
	
<Snip>
duty cycle, so I'm curious if I can just leave it on and use when needed.
<Snip>
Yes & no. Two main issues. First machines in Silvia's class (whether PID or
not doesn't matter) do not have boiler auto-fill. With Silvia the only time
water entering the boiler is when drawing water through the group or hot
water wand. If left on and say the steam wand not fully tightened the boiler
can eventually run dry which can potentially damage the heating element.
There is a thermal safety which usually will prevent heater damage. Along
the same lines important to always fill the boiler after steaming and not to
do a bunch of back to back steaming without filling the boiler inbetween.
That said I routinely left Silvia on all day on weekends and sometimes on
Friday evening 'til Sunday night. A timer is a another solution.
Second issue the more time on the shorter the group gasket life. Just plan
on replacing every 6 to 9 months if on a lot and should be fine.
<Snip>
with that?  I've tried both getting rid of it (various methods) and tapping
it and retamping to make it part of the puck. 
<Snip>
First question do you have a 58mm tamper, if not get one? A wee bit side
wall push up is normal. Different people treat it differently. Here's one HB
forum thread discussing it:http://home-barista.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t18<Snip>
15-30 second pulls.  What is highly variable is the amount of liquid I get.
My stopping point is usually just after I see what I consider to be "blond".
The Espresso starts out black, then turns into black/brown with in a foamy
river, then pretty suddenly turns all foam, which is when I stop.  I've had
two pulls go 25 and 30 seconds, both of which yielding a lot of espresso.
Most of them are shorter, in the 15-25 second range and probably yield about
1/4 of the amount.  All of them taste good but bitter.  This last long pull
I just did (30 seconds) I made into an ice coffee and tastes great, so the
bitterness might just be me misinterpreting the strong coffee flavor. 
<Snip>
Goal for a normale double 2 to 3oz in 25sec range, including crema. But
don't worry about exactly 25sec it's a guide not set in stone. Bitter is
usually a result of either too high a shot temp and or over extraction. Over
extraction doesn't necessarily mean shot was too long, channeling can also
be the culprit over extracting that portion of the puck. Adjusting grind
finer or coarser should be your primary method of adjusting time of the
shot. Again lots of technique discussions on HB.
<Snip>
Naked/bottomless portafilter is the tool for diagnosing shot technique.
<Snip>
there be a little hole-dealy in the center?
<Snip>
That "hole-dealy in the center" is from the group screen screw caused by the
puck pushing up against the group screen. Can mean you're over filling the
PF but not necessarily. Lock in your filled PF and remove without pulling.
You should not have the screw indentation. During the shot the puck expands
and a bit indentation is ok IIRC. Ask the question on the HB forum for
replies from much more experienced people!
	
<Snip>
something and start trying some lattes. 
	
Suggest trying a tradional morning cappuccino rather than heavily milked
latte! Specifically steam about 3oz milk for a double shot cap'. 
	
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htmUltimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.

3) From: Steve Hay
Thanks, Mike..
On 8/6/06, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
<Snip>
I think what I am seeing is normal. It is just a wee bit.  What seems to be
zen for me is to just kind of blow it out...  Using a Thor Tamper, which is
excellent.. Just a very small bit up on the edge and the rest is a very
smooth finish.  The puck, when hot out of the machine, is a solid wet putty.
Goal for a normale double 2 to 3oz in 25sec range, including crema. But
<Snip>
Hmm..  Yeah, this one may involve some soul-searching..  The strange thing
is that the coffee is very good if I make it into an Americano.  It may be
that I am unaccustomed to the strength of espresso straight.
<Snip>
I'll have to get one of those... :)
Suggest trying a tradional morning cappuccino rather than heavily milked
<Snip>
Perhaps.  First step is to get some milk.  I usually drink my morning coffee
black.
Thanks again!
-- 
Steven Hay
hay.steve -AT- gmail.com
Barry Paradox: Consider k to be the greatest element of the set of natural
numbers whose description require maximum of 50 words: "(k+1) is a natural
number which requires more than 50 words to describe it."

4) From: Terry Stockdale
At 08:10 AM 8/6/2006, you wrote:
<Snip>
Mine stays on unless I leave town.  I also keep a small pitcher under 
the steam wand for those times when I don't get the valve cooled 
adequately after steaming (when it cools, it will leak unless it's tight).
Check out my "Autofilling Silvia" web pages for one of the easiest 
mods.  No more refilling the reservoir.  My PID'ing Silvia pages 
address the other fun stuff -- that actually has an effect on flavor.
<Snip>
It sounds like you need a different tamper.  Yours might not be a 
tight enough fit.  I'm using the 58mm Ergo Tamper.
<Snip>
the depression in the center is from the screw -- and means you have 
a little too much coffee in the portafilter.  Try less coffee at a finer grind.
<Snip>
--
Terry Stockdale -- Baton Rouge, LA
My Coffee Pages:http://www.terrystockdale.com/coffeeTerry's Computer Tips:  http://www.terryscomputertips.com

5) From: miKe mcKoffee
	From: homeroast-admin
[mailto:homeroast-admin] On Behalf Of Steve Hay
	Sent: Sunday, August 06, 2006 6:54 PM
<Snip>
heavily milked
		latte! Specifically steam about 3oz milk for a double shot
cap'.
<Snip>
<Snip>
morning coffee black. 
	Thanks again!
	-- 
	Steven Hay
<Snip>
My first cup of the morning has always been black too and still is. Since
first getting Silvia 4&1/2 years ago being an Americano. I didn't really
start exploring traditional cappucinos until a year and a half or so ago.
Prior to that was just "desert" milk drinks. However, I've really learned to
appreciate a great shot with equal parts milk and micofoam ie a cap' as more
often than not my second cup of the day. Usually just that one cap' then
back to black, usually straight shot or two or three during the day. Even on
a hot afternoon a ristretto can hit the spot. Don't have to drink a big
volume hot cup of coffee to have a fantastic taste linger for sometimes a
good hour. But after dinner an Americano or occasional desert cap'.
Of course getting into cappucinos partially led to Miss Silvia leaving our
house:-)
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htmUltimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.

6) From: Michael Wascher
I'm seeing some of the same issues, espresso is better than I can buy, but
I'm having trouble with repeatability. I got one really great shot of Monkey
Blend, and just can't repeat it.
I also find that a less than perfect shot can become a good Americano. And
this morning I had to leave early to get to a job interview, I drew 2 long
double shots, added some sugar, and put them in the fridge. This morning I
filled a travel mug with the espresso, ice water, and ice cubes. It was a
great way to start the morning, and the fastest morning cup I've ever made.
My machine is an Esto Profi (AKA Barista). It has a pressurized
portatfilter. I've noticed that I need to let it run longer than 35 seconds
.. 45-60 seems to work well for me. Also, a lighter tamp seems to work
better. And as for learning anything useful by watching the stream of
coffee? It's almost impossible to tell what's going on.
How do I optimize my pressurized portafilter system?
--MikeW
On 8/6/06, Steve Hay  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
"There is nothing new under the sun but there are lots of old things we
don't know." --  Ambrose Bierce


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