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Topic: Silvia n00b: tips and tricks? (4 msgs / 69 lines)
1) From: Scot Murphy
I recently picked up a Rancilio Silvia off eBay and it seems to work fine, but I'm having trouble getting used to it. For one, it's not an auto-fill machine, so I have to figure out how to get it to fill the boiler between shots/steaming. I also can't seem to get the steam power I really need out of it. Worst is that I can't seem to get a non-sour shot out of it. Usually, isn't a sour shot the sign of underheated water? I get this no matter what grind I use.
What is the best website for teaching the n00b how to manage the Silvia?
Scot "my cold cafe au lait was supposed to be a latte" Murphy
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2) From: Barry Luterman
Silvia can deliver great shots but she is a demanding mistress. First she
must be thoroughly cleaned. Use sour salt for build up in boiler and cafiza
for the rest. Then practice practice. Check archives for correct cleaning
pprocedures
On Sat, Mar 26, 2011 at 3:30 PM, Scot Murphy  wrote:
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3) From: Sandy Andina
A sour shot can also be caused by too coarse a grind, too loose a tamp, an underfilled basket or a combination thereof.  Haven't used my Silvia much except when the LaCora is in the shop for its biennial tuneup (or when I've brought it and Rocky to parties), but I recall it likes to be slightly updosed.  You really, really have to dial your grinder into it, and be prepared to tweak during the day to allow for room humidity and bean age.  When mine is on, I manually top up the tank at least once during a session. Mark Prince has a video on CoffeeGeek.com called "Cheating Miss Silvia" that shows you how to prime the pump when you turn it on so that you can be ready to rock within 6 minutes. (I always give it 20).  I have to consult the notes I made every time I "take her out of mothballs."  I seem to recall that during the warmup process you draw off some water, then turn the steam switch on to accelerate heating, turning it off when it's time to pull a shot.  Google "Silvia temp surfing" for details about how to induce the boiler to fill and heat between shots and after frothing. Make sure you are NOT using distilled or demineralized water!
On Mar 26, 2011, at 5:30 PM, Scot Murphy wrote:
<Snip>
Peace & song, 
Sandy 
www.sandyandina.com
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4) From: Mike Koenig
The Silvia really needs to be fully warmed up and "temperature surfed"  to
get in the right temperature range.  The mechanical thermostat has a pretty
wide temperature range so if you are pulling your shot a while after the
last time it heated the boiler, you are going to be on the cold side.
It's been a few years since I've worked with my Silvia, but I remember
having pretty good luck with "reverse temperature surfing" (try a google
search), where you wait a certain amount of time after the heater turns
off.  I would grind and tamp my shot, while a stopwatch kept track of how
much time until I should pull my shot.  It did require a bit of patience,
which is why I put a PID controller on it after a while.
"Normal" temperature surfing involves pulling your shot a certain amount of
time after the heater comes on,  which is MUCH faster, but a bit less
consistent.
Let us know how you make out.
--mike
On Sat, Mar 26, 2011 at 6:30 PM, Scot Murphy  wrote:
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