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very short shot, no crema, no OPV flow
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > very short shot,...  
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trnlatte
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Sep 2013
Posts: 3
Location: Madison WI
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Sep 16, 2013, 2:08pm
Subject: very short shot, no crema, no OPV flow
 

I've been having trouble with my Rancilio Silvia for about the past three months. A shot pulls in about  5 seconds or so and I get absolutely no crema. I have tried numerous different bean and grind combinations but the problem is consistent: too fast a shot and no crema. Having read some of the very helpful threads on this site, I have tried the water debit test and am getting about 100 mLs in 10 seconds with the portafilter empty. My portafilter has a permanent 2-shot spout on it so I have not been able to directly test the brew pressure (can't figure out how to get a pressure guage onto the portafilter without buying a new portafilter). I did test the temperature and it is correct (about 195F). I do not detect any kind of steam leak between the portafilter and its group head gasket and I have descaled the machine recently.

One suggestion I had was to hold the OPV line out of the reservoir while I pull a shot and I find that I have no water returning to the reservoir at all. This made me think that the OPV was set at too high a pressure or that it was scaled up so I removed it, cleaned it, and replaced it adjusted to a lower pressure. Still the shot comes through too fast and now when I set the machine’s switches to the higher temperature for steaming, there IS steam leaking back into the reservoir.

Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!

David
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,981
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Mon Sep 16, 2013, 2:46pm
Subject: Re: very short shot, no crema, no OPV flow
 

David, welcome to CG.  

"Trouble for 3 months," what was the maintenance before that?  Did you descale just before problems?

10 ml/sec is normal unobstructed pump flow, so the pump flows fine at essentially no pressure.  You obviously have been reading to know "water debit test."

What model Silvia?  What grinder?  Which beans?

A different pressure setup may work:

Click Here (www.home-barista.com)

I have also seen pressure tests done with a gauge and hose clamp to the steam wand.  I do not really like that method as the steam fittings see pump pressure.

You can add a bit of info as above and it will help with suggestions.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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trnlatte
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Sep 2013
Posts: 3
Location: Madison WI
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Sep 17, 2013, 11:58am
Subject: Re: very short shot, no crema, no OPV flow
 

Thanks so much for the reply. Performance up until 3 months ago was on a decline (faster shots, less crema). For the past three months there has been no more decline, just consistently fast shots and no crema. I descaled a couple weeks ago to no avail.

I am pretty sure that  I have the v3 Silvia (manufacture date is Sept 2009 and it has an adjustable OPV). I use a Capresso grinder (Infinity model I believe). Its finest setting has been marginally fine enough and I suppose that degradation of its burrs could be part of the problem here. This did not occur to me until some reading I did in one of the links you sent.

I recently got some turkish grind (much finer than what I am able to run at home) but it too results in a fast pull and no crema. I realize staleness may be an issue with the shop-ground coffee. Any suggestions for a good but not ridiculously expensive grinder?

Thanks also for the link to the bicycle valve pressure test set up; that is really clever. I think the double pour spout is braised onto the bottom of my portafilter so I can't get any kind of tube down through it and I haven't been able to unscrew it. If the experts out there can assure me that it is just really tightly screwed in place, I will apply more force to it. I stopped when the wrench (with protective cloth in place) started to mar the portafilter body. I didn't want to break the thing.

Thanks again!
David
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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,351
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Tue Sep 17, 2013, 1:00pm
Subject: Re: very short shot, no crema, no OPV flow
 

You need to grind so fine that it virtually stops the flow. if you can't do that, then the problem could be one or more of the following:
- stale coffee
- a grinder problem (worn burrs, broken parts, incorrect calibration cheap grinder, etc.)
- not using enough coffee
- not using a proper-sized tamper
- not tamping hard enough
- not distributing the coffee properly in the portafilter
- nor reading the article I wrote on my website: www.EspressoMyEspresso.com, 12 - EASY GUIDE TO BETTER ESPRESSO AT HOME    ;-)

If your grinder is the Capresso Infinity, I would vote that as a starting point for looking for problems. It has better burrs than some other low-end grinders.  While all things are relative, the Infinity can be had for less than replacement burrs for my grinder. The grinder is (far) more important than the espresso machine.

 
Visit My Website
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Sep 17, 2013, 1:11pm
Subject: Re: very short shot, no crema, no OPV flow
 

Your grinder is completely inadequate to the task, I'm afraid to say. The lowest end grinder that can suitably grind for espresso is the Baratza Precision or Hario Skerton (if you don't mind grinding by hand).
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onthego
Senior Member
onthego
Joined: 3 Jul 2005
Posts: 231
Location: Anchorage, AK
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Salvatore One Black, Silvia...
Grinder: Macap M4 Stepless, Rocky DL,...
Drip: Krups
Posted Tue Sep 17, 2013, 1:44pm
Subject: Re: very short shot, no crema, no OPV flow
 

frcn Said:

 If your grinder is the Capresso Infinity, I would vote that as a starting point for looking for problems. It has better burrs than some other low-end grinders.  While all things are relative, the Infinity can be had for less than replacement burrs for my grinder. The grinder is (far) more important than the espresso machine.

Posted September 17, 2013 link

I agree.  This sounds like a grinder problem.
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,981
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Tue Sep 17, 2013, 1:46pm
Subject: Re: very short shot, no crema, no OPV flow
 

Sorry if I confused you with the tire pressure fitting.  Not knowing your machine and if the PF was OEM I thought that perhaps someone had substituted in a PF with 2 openings from the inside, not one central.  Gaggia used to have those on some machines, not OEM Silvia.  Doubt brazed, most are thread locked, but a Silvia user can confirm, and the diagram suggests removable.

http://www.partsguru.com/user/SilviaParts.pdf.pdf

Definitely read the FRCN article.  I usually include that and forgot.  A little expansion on the above posts in case you have read something different and don't believe, yet :)

You may be doubting the grinder as you think that you got decent espresso for a while and the grinder must have worked. Some grinders have a single setting that can make espresso if all of the stars are aligned just right.  You have the just right beans at the just right time and use the just right tamp and then have the just right luck.  In reality that will not happen much.  The Rocky used to be a standard recommendation but does not easily have the adjustment to stay in the espresso sweet spot.  You need a grinder that is stepless or has very small steps.  Is has to be able to choke the machine before the finest setting.

That brings the discussion back to hand grinders or about $250 for a Baratza Preciso Refurb (Baratza.com) delivered, or a used grinder.  There are many threads on grinders and when you read them you need to note the dates.  Do not trust reviews that are not on coffee/espresso forums, and there are plenty here on CG.  Also, make sure that when a grinder is recommended that it is for a non-pressurized PF.  

Don't even think about preground, it is not adequate, as noted.  Again, some get away with it in a pressurized PF, not for real espresso.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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trnlatte
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Sep 2013
Posts: 3
Location: Madison WI
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013, 9:04am
Subject: Re: very short shot, no crema, no OPV flow
 

just wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to help me out. I bought the Rocky Rancilio grinder and that has solved my problems (well...those related to crema anyway.)

again my sincere thanks to all those who chimed in!
David
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