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What after Rancillio Silvia for non pro?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > What after...  
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brettr
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Sep 2013
Posts: 26
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Sep 29, 2013, 9:48am
Subject: What after Rancillio Silvia for non pro?
 

I've had my current Rancillio Silvia for about 4 or 5 years.  I've been using this brand of machine though for over 10.  I have a Rocky grinder too.

I buy my means whole from a local coffee shop so they are fresh.  The Rancillio does ok and always has but never as good as a coffee shop.  I can't drink espresso straight from the Silvia because it is just to bitter.  I drink lattes instead, which still aren't on the same level as most any coffee shop.

I'm not a pro at this but I'd think better then average (with 10+ years of experience).  Is there some machine any could recommend that will produce lattes just as good as a coffee shop?  In others, something that will make great lattes even for a non pro like me.  Something that is more or less difficult to mess up and can just power though with a great tasting latte regardless of what the user is doing (to a practical degree of course).
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,011
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Sun Sep 29, 2013, 10:10am
Subject: Re: What after Rancillio Silvia for non pro?
 

Hey Brettr!

I am also a Silvia owner.  I have found that when making a latte via Steam first and brew second that the heat is just to much.  I usually let the steam build for about 10 minutes before making my drink which I have stopped doing.  As for brew temp I'd look into the PID to properly adjust temp to your liking. IMO jumping up to a high end machine just for temp adjust may not be the best Idea.  That is unless you are also looking to upgrade for other reasons. :P

Off the bat I'd look at adjusting your technique a bit.  Do you purge steam build up from the group before brewing espresso?  If not this is causing the bitter espresso.  I do so or once the brew light goes off I begin preparing my shot.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,744
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, 2 Macap M4s, OE...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Sun Sep 29, 2013, 10:14am
Subject: Re: What after Rancillio Silvia for non pro?
 

I was once in your shoes.  I've upgraded both my grinder and my machine since.  I did the grinder first.  The improvement was huge!  Then, a couple years later, I finally upgraded the old wand to the articulating v3 version.  Yet another huge improvement, more than I expected. A few months after that, I upgraded my machine.  The improvement was less noticeable...mainly consistency and efficiency to be honest.

You've got a ton of research to do.  You need to figure out exactly what your needs and budget are, then decide what type of machine you want, what features are important, which aren't, what features you don't want.  Then you have to see what fits the bill.  So, as much as I want to help you decide, it's going to take a bit more information from you first.  As you work from point A to point B, please ask more questions.

Many of us who've been there, done that with the Silvia/Rocky combo can happily tell you to get what we have.  Why not?...we did all the research, and that helped us end up with what fit our needs and wants, so we're happy with them.

miscela = beans/blend
macinadosatore = grinder
macchina = machine
mano = you

Gotta have them all doing their part in producing excellence in the cup!

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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brettr
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Sep 2013
Posts: 26
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Sep 29, 2013, 10:17am
Subject: Re: What after Rancillio Silvia for non pro?
 

Hi Burner0000,

Over the years, I've tried many techniques with the Rancillio and still have not gotten anywhere near coffee shop quality.

Currently, my technique is this:

1.) Let machine warm up for about 15 minutes.
2.) Grind coffee and brew.
3.) Flip steam switch and wait for main orange light to turn off.
4.) Flush out water from wand.
5.) Steam milk in frozen pitcher (milk itself is not frozen)

That should produce a high quality product but does not.  As for temp, I'm not upgrade for anything to do with temperature.  I just want something that can consistently produce a high quality latte and isn't fickle like the Silvia.
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brettr
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Joined: 29 Sep 2013
Posts: 26
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Sep 29, 2013, 10:30am
Subject: Re: What after Rancillio Silvia for non pro?
 

Hi emradguy,

If I had to replace the machine, I'd want something less fickle than the Silvia.  Something that can handle temperature automatically.  Something with a great wand.

But it sounds like replacing the wand and grinder are good starting points.  I thought the Rocky was an excellent grinder.  What are you currently using that replaced the Rocky?

Machines like the MACAP M4 Grinder and Mazzer Mini seem to be good upgrades.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,479
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Sun Sep 29, 2013, 10:34am
Subject: Re: What after Rancillio Silvia for non pro?
 

I still have a Sylvia for travel.
I mainly use commercial machines. The thing in common  is the commercial grinder
Sylvia can easily best a coffeeshop, add a PID to Sylvia and upgrade the grinder. ....unless the upgrade bug has bitten and new machines have visions dancing in your   head :-)

Today, Rocky is a starter grinder. Mini is OK but better can be had for the money. Used SJ is about half the price and is better.
An excellent used value is the NS MDX, even less than a SJ and the same quality grind with a better IMHO adjustment system.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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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 Sun Sep 29, 2013, 10:35am
Subject: Re: What after Rancillio Silvia for non pro?
 

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machines/620441

read the first post and answer the questions and that will give us a base.  Your grinder has wide steps.  That makes it hard to make the fine adjustments needed for the beans as they age.  You end up having to adjust dose and tamp to compensate for the lack of fine grind settings.  That makes for even more variables that are affecting your espresso. The more you can lock down your variables the better you can trouble shoot your set up.

I agree, invest in a good grinder then you will see how much it matter to your espresso it might even make you happy with your machine for at least a while, then buy the machine upgrade later or never.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

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Click Here (maps.google.com)

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brettr
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Joined: 29 Sep 2013
Posts: 26
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Sep 29, 2013, 10:45am
Subject: Re: What after Rancillio Silvia for non pro?
 

Thanks.  Nope - no upgrade bug here.  I understand the huge number of variables at play. Machine upgrade would create a whole new ball game. So wand and grinder in no particular order are fine by me.

1)  What kind of drinks do you like/want to make?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's capabilities.)

Latte (whole milk)

2)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at any one time? (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's ability to work continuously.)

Two every morning.  Two shots per drink.

3)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself making in any given week?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's durability.)

14

4)  Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pour over machine with its own reservoir?

reservoir

5)  Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit?

20-amp

6)  What is your budget for a new machine?  Does that also include a grinder?  If not, what is your budget for a grinder?

both = $2500

7)  Are you willing to buy used or do you need new equipment? Do you or family member have the skills to repair used equipment?

New.  No repair skills.

8)  Do you have the essential accessories (decent tamper, knockbox, the works), otherwise budget about $100 for these.

Yes.
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CSME9
Senior Member
CSME9
Joined: 26 Feb 2004
Posts: 272
Location: West Texas
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Tea, Rancilio Silvia,...
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky
Drip: Moka Pot
Roaster: BBQ Roaster
Posted Sun Sep 29, 2013, 11:05am
Subject: Re: What after Rancillio Silvia for non pro?
 

brettr Said:

Hi Burner0000,

Over the years, I've tried many techniques with the Rancillio and still have not gotten anywhere near coffee shop quality.

Currently, my technique is this:

1.) Let machine warm up for about 15 minutes.
2.) Grind coffee and brew.
3.) Flip steam switch and wait for main orange light to turn off.
4.) Flush out water from wand.
5.) Steam milk in frozen pitcher (milk itself is not frozen)

That should produce a high quality product but does not.  As for temp, I'm not upgrade for anything to do with temperature.  I just want something that can consistently produce a high quality latte and isn't fickle like the Silvia.

Posted September 29, 2013 link

15 minute warm up is not sufficient to properly heat up the group and other components, group head needs minimum 30 minutes, and I would flush water a few times to make it even hotter-45 minute warm up is even better. It will make a difference in your shot quality. I had the same machine and grinder combination and steamed/pulled great drinks.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,744
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, 2 Macap M4s, OE...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Sun Sep 29, 2013, 11:13am
Subject: Re: What after Rancillio Silvia for non pro?
 

I went from the Rocky to a Macap M4 (Mazzer Mini class).  From all I read, I took away the Macap was comparable in the cup to the Mini.  I've heard some complain about adjustments on the Mini and it's sweep mechanism (doser version). My Macaps have a simple worm screw adjustment that is as easy as twisting your wrist a tiny bit, and you have infinite control over how far you turn it, so I couldn't see how it could get better than that. The doser sweeps very clean, and I've read it's another one of the Macaps advantages overall.  Like I said above, huge improvement in the cup, but now I've got the upgrade bug again and want to go big.  I was thinking about the HG one, but I think I've recently decided I prefer to stick to presspot for manual grinding and save myself from the frustrations of dialing in a manual grinder for espresso, so I've got my eye on the Mahlkoenig family (K30 Vario WBC or the Pro-M Espresso).  Anyhow, that's me, what you choose may be totally different, but what I'm trying to illustrate is...get the very best grinder you possibly can, as it's going to make the biggest difference where it matters.

I agree with Chris (Burner) you can make the Silvia work, but having done the upgrade, I personally wouldn't go back to a SBDU. The efficiency alone is worth the upgrade to me, let alone the better themal stability, steam power shot consistency, etc. The prosumer is ready when you are (once it's warmed up - and you can put it on a timer for that), whether you want to puill a shot or froth milk.  Instead of spending 10-15 minutes making a couple of drinks in the morning, it's like 3min/drink start to finish.  But hey, to each his own, yeah?  So, I think bottom line, no, you don't at all have to upgrade.  You can change out the wand easily by turning a few screws and twisting a wrench, and it's a heck of a lot cheaper than a new machine.

I used to take my Silvia along when we did car travel - like a weekend away from home.  It's pretty easy, and there are tiomes when I wish I had kept it.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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