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I can't make a decent espresso - what am I doing wrong (Silvia and a Preciso)
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orenzoor
Senior Member


Joined: 31 Jan 2013
Posts: 12
Location: USA, CT
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat Mar 30, 2013, 9:50am
Subject: I can't make a decent espresso - what am I doing wrong (Silvia and a Preciso)
 

I can't make a decent espresso.
What am I doing wrong?

History: I had a Saeco Venezia for year with an entry level grinder, with no knowledge at all about tamping, temperature, grinding but I was always able to make a very good espresso that was just right.
Now I have the Rancilio Silvia with a PID and a Baratza Preciso grinder and I can't get a decent espresso, it is always too bitter.
I am using the same brand of coffee beans I've used for years
I have set PID temperature to be 218, so the brewing temperature would be around 204
I've tried the following combinations
Brew time=25-30sec
Delay time = 1.2-2 seconds
Preinfusion = 1.2-2 seconds

Grinder setting 10-8
I always get a really bitter coffee, so I've tried to lower the tamping pressure / make the coffee grind thicker and the coffee came out too fast with a sour taste.
Any ideas about what is wrong with the way I am trying to brew the espresso?
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,870
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Preciso
Posted Sat Mar 30, 2013, 10:21am
Subject: Re:What am I doing wrong (Silvia and a Preciso)
 

You did not mention the coffee that you started with.  Which coffee beans and what is the roast date or age in days?  The Saeco had pressurized PF and forces crema, and pressurized PF is fairly forgiving of grind, beans, and dose.  Silvia is a bit more particular and you have to start with good and fresh beans.

Grinder should do fine, and temperature should be close, though you may have to play with that to hit the sweet spot, pun intended.  A degree or two can matter and without testing the brew water temperature you could easily be off a degree or two.

How long do you heat the machine?  PF locked in place?  Flush to warm the group?  Group is offset from the boiler.

Styrofoam cup technique, or thermofilter for brew water temperature here

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D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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Woody
Senior Member
Woody
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 598
Location: Hood River, OR
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Vivaldi I
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Vac Pot: Hoover
Drip: yuck
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Sat Mar 30, 2013, 10:25am
Subject: Re: I can't make a decent espresso - what am I doing wrong
 

A couple of things come to mind.  You didn't mention what you are using for beans-  freshness from a quality roaster is important.  a 204 brew temp may be a little high, especially with a darker roast.  If by delay time you mean the time you start the pump to when the coffee starts coming out, should be about 6-8 seconds.  Last thing is the brew pressure.  I'm not sure what setting the Silvias come with.

Jon
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orenzoor
Senior Member


Joined: 31 Jan 2013
Posts: 12
Location: USA, CT
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat Mar 30, 2013, 10:30am
Subject: Re: What am I doing wrong (Silvia and a Preciso)
 

Beans are Danesi Gold and Taza D'oro. They are fresh.
I heat the machine for about 15-20 minutes , I pour water from the brew head before brewing to make it warm and I do warm my cups before
The PF is locked , and the coffe is pressed at the line on the PF as it is supposed to be
I hate to tink that I bought such an expensivve machine and I could get a much better results from a much cheaper machine :-(
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 2,972
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat Mar 30, 2013, 10:38am
Subject: Re: I can't make a decent espresso - what am I doing wrong
 

You are using Italian beans?  Try some more local to you roasted within a few days of you getting them.

 
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Woody
Senior Member
Woody
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 598
Location: Hood River, OR
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Vivaldi I
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Vac Pot: Hoover
Drip: yuck
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Sat Mar 30, 2013, 10:43am
Subject: Re: I can't make a decent espresso - what am I doing wrong
 

BTW-  Bitter is usually too hot.

Jon
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D4F
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Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,870
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Preciso
Posted Sat Mar 30, 2013, 11:09am
Subject: Re: What am I doing wrong (Silvia and a Preciso)
 

orenzoor Said:

Beans are Danesi Gold and Taza D'oro. They are fresh.
I heat the machine for about 15-20 minutes , I pour water from the brew head before brewing to make it warm and I do warm my cups before
The PF is locked , and the coffe is pressed at the line on the PF as it is supposed to be
I hate to tink that I bought such an expensivve machine and I could get a much better results from a much cheaper machine :-(

Posted March 30, 2013 link

Fresh beans meaning how many days from roast?  I recommend Redbird Espresso blend, almost always delivered 2 - 3 days from roast, in US, from my experience and reading.  Forgiving fairly easy to use.  15 - 20 minutes should be adequate heating.  I have the PF locked in with heating and then you would run water through it and the group to finish.  Of course you have to then get it dry again.

You get decent mediacre from a pressurized PF and it is forgiving.  Once you master Silvia and perhaps try different blends you should easily get espresso that surpasses your cheaper machine.  Even some better machines have mods for pressurized PF.  Easier perhaps, but clearly not as good quallity espresso.  Here is some info on your Saeco and pressurized.  Shot quality is reviewed against Silvia.

Click Here (coffeegeek.com)

Hot may explain bitter, set the PID down 2 degrees and try again and repeat and see if bitter goes to sour as you cool.  I would switch beans as noted.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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CMIN
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Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,213
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Sat Mar 30, 2013, 12:36pm
Subject: Re: What am I doing wrong (Silvia and a Preciso)
 

orenzoor Said:

Beans are Danesi Gold and Taza D'oro. They are fresh.
I heat the machine for about 15-20 minutes , I pour water from the brew head before brewing to make it warm and I do warm my cups before
The PF is locked , and the coffe is pressed at the line on the PF as it is supposed to be
I hate to tink that I bought such an expensivve machine and I could get a much better results from a much cheaper machine :-(

Posted March 30, 2013 link

Those aren't really fresh beans, Danesi especially is more like a bulk roaster for lot's of restaurants etc, seemed over roasted to me. You need to find a local roaster or online that does "roast to order".

You had an easier time making coffee with the Saeco b/c of the pressurized portafilter which hides flaws (and at the same time doesn't really make espresso, has fake crema etc but you can get away with stale beans). You have a good setup now but you need fresh beans dialed in. It's like driving an automatic car at the track, and then hoping into a manual car and not knowing what your doing, you'll run better in the auto... but once you learn the manual... game over ;)

Silvia is tricky as well, you need a digi scale that measures to .1 grams. If you load the basket to much the Silvia group screw will indent the puck causing it to extract poorly. Fill your puck up, lock in, then unlock and and check to see if the puck is indented/fractured.. if it is you need to dose less. Also you may have the temp too high, try lowering it so brew temp is around 198-200 and see what happens.

I too went from a pressurized portafilter machine last year to my CC1/Preciso setup, and in the beginning the coffee was better in the pressurized machine. But once playing around and dialing in my setup, night and day difference, worlds better now lol.
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orenzoor
Senior Member


Joined: 31 Jan 2013
Posts: 12
Location: USA, CT
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sun Mar 31, 2013, 8:36am
Subject: Re: What am I doing wrong (Silvia and a Preciso)
 

I'll try and will post results.
For those of you that own Silvia+PID : If I want brew temp to be 200 , what temp should I set the PID ?
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CraigA
Moderator
CraigA
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 11,171
Location: Rexdale, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: PID/PressureMod 2001...
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Posted Sun Mar 31, 2013, 8:45am
Subject: I can't make a decent espresso - what am I doing wrong (Silvia and a Preciso)
 

Hi Maoz,

What make of PID do you have please?

I have a Watlow 965A two line display & my offset is 225F for 200F at the brewhead.

 
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