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Rancilio Silvia - Grouphead Screw Putting Divot in Puck
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JerDGold
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Joined: 11 Dec 2013
Posts: 82
Location: Chicago, IL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Breville...
Drip: Chemex
Posted Wed Dec 18, 2013, 2:19pm
Subject: Rancilio Silvia - Grouphead Screw Putting Divot in Puck
 

So first of all, I'd like to say I hate you all.  This forum alone has cost me about $700 in toys over the past two or three weeks. So thanks a bunch. ::Insert Sarcasm Here::

So I just bought a used Silvia and am having a great time with it.  I have a scale on the way to start measuring my dose, but until such time I am letting my Breville Smartgrinder do my dosing for me.  At two doses exactly, without playing with the adjustment knob, and a tamp that I feel my be a little too hard, I get a puck that sits nice and low in my portafilter.  Otherwise, my puck hits the grouphead which I know is terrible.  I'm finding that after I pull my shot, I'm seeing a divot from the screw that holds the screen onto the groupdead.  It's not (or just barely) touching the screw before I pull, so clearly it's happening when my puck gets wet and expands.  Could this be affecting my shot?  They taste pretty good considering I'm new to making espresso and just learning the cycle of the machine.

P.S.  Everytime I ask a question on this forum, it's after I've been playing with a coffee making device...sorry for my long winded posts ;)
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,090
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 Wed Dec 18, 2013, 2:58pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia - Grouphead Screw Putting Divot in Puck
 

JerDGold Said:

So first of all, I'd like to say I hate you all.  This forum alone has cost me about $700 in toys over the past two or three weeks. So thanks a bunch. ::Insert Sarcasm Here::

So I just bought a used Silvia and am having a great time with it.  I have a scale on the way to start measuring my dose, but until such time I am letting my Breville Smartgrinder do my dosing for me.  At two doses exactly, without playing with the adjustment knob, and a tamp that I feel my be a little too hard, I get a puck that sits nice and low in my portafilter.  Otherwise, my puck hits the grouphead which I know is terrible.  I'm finding that after I pull my shot, I'm seeing a divot from the screw that holds the screen onto the groupdead.  It's not (or just barely) touching the screw before I pull, so clearly it's happening when my puck gets wet and expands.  Could this be affecting my shot?  They taste pretty good considering I'm new to making espresso and just learning the cycle of the machine.

P.S.  Everytime I ask a question on this forum, it's after I've been playing with a coffee making device...sorry for my long winded posts ;)

Posted December 18, 2013 link


No worries on the "long windedness". lol

The divot isn't too much to worry about unless you unlock your portafilter before pulling your shot. Then you will have one hell of a gusher!  I have been able to pull beautiful bottomless shots while overdosing with the double basket with a clear visible indent of the grouphead bolt once I knock out the puck.  I personally don't worry about it anymore.  There are 3 solutions.  1. Simply dose the regular 14-15g in the stock rancilio double basket and tamp past the line inside the basket to avoid contact with the puck.  2.  Get a triple basket w/ bottomless portafilter and or get an 18+ g VST basket. 3. Get an aftermarket shower screen.  It's available here.

PS: pidsilvia.com has pretty much any mod you would possibly want on your Silvia. :)
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pilot25
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Jan 2012
Posts: 116
Location: MD

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Preciso
Posted Wed Dec 18, 2013, 6:55pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia - Grouphead Screw Putting Divot in Puck
 

Buy a flat head screw the same size as the original.  Don't waste $20+ on something that is 30 cents.
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boar_d_laze
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Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,316
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Wed Dec 18, 2013, 11:04pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia - Grouphead Screw Putting Divot in Puck
 

Actually... no.

The puck probably doesn't hit the screw until after the shot, when a vacuum is created between puck and screen.  The vacuum causes the puck to expand, and sometimes even pulls it off the bottom of the basket, pulling it pretty hard into the screen and screw.  That's entirely normal and nothing to worry about.  

If the puck IS hitting the screen as a result of overdosing (you can tell by the appearance of the shot as it progresses and by taste), then stop overdosing. Even if the screw impression is caused by overdosing, the impression won't do any harm which hasn't already been done by (wait for it) overdosing.    

As a quick, dirty, rough and useful rule of thumb:  If the top of the tamped (unused) puck is no higher than the basket's ridge line, YOU ARE NOT OVERDOSING the basket.  Note though, the rule is limited to the basket, and doesn't mean you have the right dose for what you're trying to do.  

Meanwhile, back at the screw:
There's no need to replace the screw because it leaves an impression -- for whatever reason.  It doesn't make a difference in the cup, so fuhgeddaboudit.  

On the other hand, you might want to switch the stock screw for one made to use a different drive -- an allen wrench for instance -- so you can remove and clean the screen and group head more easily.  Cleanliness counts for a lot in the cup.  
 
BDL
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,316
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Fri Dec 20, 2013, 8:14am
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia - Grouphead Screw Putting Divot in Puck
 

Let me add that the espresso process isn't like dampening a dry sponge with a gentle stream of liquid.  The water coming out of the group is hitting the puck at 9 bar (about 130psi), generating too much force for the puck to expand during the pull.  

BDL
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,163
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri Dec 20, 2013, 9:49am
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia - Grouphead Screw Putting Divot in Puck
 

I had the same question a long time ago. When I discovered www.espressomyespresso.com, specifically an article I highly recommend (article 12 under "how to" - Easy Guide to Better Espresso at Home). I learned about the "nickel test". This test should be done with a dime, instead of a nickel, on a non-modded Silvia (because of the screw). Basically, you prepare your bvasket in your normal way all the way up to the tamp. Then you set a dime on top of the dry puck, in the center, and lock it onto the group. Then remove it (still dry), carefully take the dime out, and see how much of a depression it left. If it's very slighty, you're good to go, but if the dime is buried, you have overdosed. When I did the test, I found my dime was buried.  So, I learned to back off on my dose, and guess what...I saw a big improvment in my shots.

You can also, like BDL says, assess your dose by pour and taste, but given you're learning, this test will help you, IMHO. And...I completely agree, there's no reason to change the screw out (as far as the results in the cup go).  I used Silvia for about 8 years.  When I upgraded to my Duetto the biggest change I saw was in efficiency...which translated to time spent and user satisfaction with the process. Although I will also add that I did see a big change in consistency, I can't say how much of that was simply because the Duetto has a PID.  Certainly, there's something to be said for better temperature stability from more thermal sink mass in the Duetto, but it's hard to measure what percent improvement comes from that, and what persent comes from the PID. All that aside, I don't think any of the difference at all is related to changing from a shower screen with a screw in the middle of it to an E-61 screen.

Oh....and let us know if you have any more money we can help you spend ;-)

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


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,316
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Fri Dec 20, 2013, 11:55am
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia - Grouphead Screw Putting Divot in Puck
 

emradguy Said:

Although I will also add that I did see a big change in consistency, I can't say how much of that was simply because the Duetto has a PID.

Posted December 20, 2013 link

The improvement comes from consistent and correct temping.  PID control over the brew boiler is one really good way to get there.  Flushing an HX is another.  

BDL
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JerDGold
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Dec 2013
Posts: 82
Location: Chicago, IL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Breville...
Drip: Chemex
Posted Fri Dec 20, 2013, 9:58pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia - Grouphead Screw Putting Divot in Puck
 

Thanks for everyones responses, really helpful! Haven't had a chance to pull any shots because of work in the last day or so, but can't wait to wake up tomorow.  Will do the dime test for sure.  Please god, don't let me spend any more money though! I do feel like I made a poor grinder choice with the Breville, although at the time I had no idea I'd be buying an espresso machine.  Only took about 2 weeks for me to decide I deserved it. ::Rolls Eyes::  Had I known, Iwould have picked a different grinder.  Now starts the ebay/craigslist vigil for used stuff.  Thanks for the help everyone.
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JerDGold
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Dec 2013
Posts: 82
Location: Chicago, IL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Breville...
Drip: Chemex
Posted Sat Dec 21, 2013, 11:21am
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia - Grouphead Screw Putting Divot in Puck
 

UPDATE

So I found this morning, using the dime test, that 14g is a serious overdose on my double shot basket.  Using the dime test, my dime was absolutely buried.  Even with 12g I had a slight divot in my puck.  However, I can dose 18g in my bottomless portafilter basket, which is way bigger than the double basket for my spouted PF.  My shots are also pulling too fast, but this is clearly a product of my less than adequate grinder.  

I noticed an earlier poster saying he dosed 14-15g in the stock double basket and he avoided contact with the puck.  Could my coarsness of my grind be the reason my 14-15g in what I assume to be the same basket (stock double) be the reason I am getting contact with the screw?
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,163
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Sat Dec 21, 2013, 12:48pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia - Grouphead Screw Putting Divot in Puck
 

Too fast means either channeling or your grind is too coarse. Getting only 14-15g in a Rancilio stock double basket also indicates your grind is too coarse. When you grind fine enough for espresso to flow properly, you'll be getting closer to 18g in the basket, and having only a slight impression in the puck from the dime. Keep working on it, you're on the right track.

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