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My Silvia will not get clean!
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > My Silvia will...  
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sugarbrew
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Joined: 3 Feb 2011
Posts: 8
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Feb 14, 2011, 11:33pm
Subject: My Silvia will not get clean!
 

So, it's been way too long since I've cleaned out my Silvia.  Way, way too long.  I descaled a month ago, but that's been the extent of my maintenance for more than six months.  I know, I'm a bad Silvia owner, and there's really no excuse.

Tonight, I decided, was the night that I would clean everything out and backflush.  So I did.  Again, and again.  I soaked the shower screen, dispersion disk, brass ring, etc. in Cafiza with the portafilter for about 45 minutes.  I then scrubbed everything meticulously with a nylon brush, including the group, which didn't seem that dirty to begin with.  Anyway, I backflushed, and due to the amount of grounds I saw coming out into my drip tray, I backflushed again.  After running clean water through the machine a few times, I still saw grounds in my cup, so I soaked the portafilter and dispersion parts AGAIN.  Still, I'm getting grounds in my cup.

Should I soak everything overnight?  The inside of my portafilter is still slightly coffee-colored despite all the cleaning.  

Thoughts?
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DNAofCoffee
Senior Member
DNAofCoffee
Joined: 10 Jan 2011
Posts: 66
Location: San Francisco, CA
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Feb 15, 2011, 2:41am
Subject: Re: My Silvia will not get clean!
 

I have almost no experience other than completely disassembling my Silvia and cleaning each part separately (just bought a used one).  Somewhere I remember reading about people backflushing with Cafiza up to five times and then backflushing with plain water at least another five times.  Unless there's some magical never ending source of coffee grounds in there, eventually you will get them all out.

 
Michael Silberg
San Francisco, CA
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TheMadTamper
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Joined: 2 Nov 2010
Posts: 1,246
Location: US
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Salvatore SES; Izzo Duetto...
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Posted Tue Feb 15, 2011, 7:40am
Subject: Re: My Silvia will not get clean!
 

Indeed, coffee grinds are coming from SOMEWHERE.....the only places they can come from is the group, screen, gasket area, portafilter/baset, disc, etc.  There shouldn't be coffee anywhere else, so are you SURE those items are clean?

If you're getting some in the drip tray, that probably means there's still some in the solenoid/drain path....but if you're getting grinds int the cup, I can't think of any "invisible" areas they could be coming from.  Are you SURE you can see no deposits of coffee up in the group/disc area? Use a flashlight.  Is your PF just coffee oil stained, or is there actual buildup on it, or anything else?

The soaking is mostly about the oils if you don't see any actual buildup on things.  Otherwise, there's got to be some grounds stuck somewhere.  Whether or not that's really a problem or not is a different question though.
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sugarbrew
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Feb 2011
Posts: 8
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Feb 15, 2011, 11:53pm
Subject: Re: My Silvia will not get clean!
 

Ugh.

So, I spent pretty much all evening again backflushing and rinsing Silvia.  No luck.  I still get TINY, TINY coffee grounds at the bottom of my cup in varying amounts.

I removed the dispersal disc, shower screen, and brass ring, and simply ran water through the group into a cup.  Lo and behold, the grounds are coming up from somewhere inside the group.  

I seem to remember an incident, maybe a year ago, where I accidentally pulled a shot with Turkish-grind coffee.  Maybe some of these particles are leftover from that incident?

Either way, I am desperate to get this machine clean again.  Do you think that disassembling the three-way valve and scrubbing it would help?
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TheMadTamper
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Joined: 2 Nov 2010
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Espresso: Salvatore SES; Izzo Duetto...
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Posted Wed Feb 16, 2011, 8:09am
Subject: Re: My Silvia will not get clean!
 

sugarbrew Said:

Ugh.

So, I spent pretty much all evening again backflushing and rinsing Silvia.  No luck.  I still get TINY, TINY coffee grounds at the bottom of my cup in varying amounts.

I removed the dispersal disc, shower screen, and brass ring, and simply ran water through the group into a cup.  Lo and behold, the grounds are coming up from somewhere inside the group.  

I seem to remember an incident, maybe a year ago, where I accidentally pulled a shot with Turkish-grind coffee.  Maybe some of these particles are leftover from that incident?

Either way, I am desperate to get this machine clean again.  Do you think that disassembling the three-way valve and scrubbing it would help?

Posted February 15, 2011 link

To all you newbies just tuning in: This is why we recommend regular backflushing! :)


In all honesty,though, I think you can stop worrying about it.  No one ever said that the machine must be suitable for use in a cleanroom....it just must be clean :)   Sure you CAN disassemble the group and the valves, etc.  But is there really a need?  I guess it's always possible that the black particles are really pieces of disintegrating group seals too. At this point, though,  you've cleaned it a lot, purged a lot of oils, I think you're fine.  Just use your machine and maintain it on a regular schedule from now on!
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DNAofCoffee
Senior Member
DNAofCoffee
Joined: 10 Jan 2011
Posts: 66
Location: San Francisco, CA
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Feb 16, 2011, 8:37am
Subject: Re: My Silvia will not get clean!
 

If you're as OCD as I am, you'll be disassembling, cleaning parts and putting it back together.  It just depends on whether or not you can stand not knowing...  

There's a allen screw on the top of the group head that is the plug for the end of the hole made to connect the solonoid valve and the showerhead .  It's a small dead end in the pathway.  If you pull it out (it's torqued hard in there), you might find some grinds.  A Q-tip shaft will fit in there to fish anything out.

 
Michael Silberg
San Francisco, CA
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TheMadTamper
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Joined: 2 Nov 2010
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Espresso: Salvatore SES; Izzo Duetto...
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Posted Wed Feb 16, 2011, 11:05am
Subject: Re: My Silvia will not get clean!
 

And people thought that those of use who clean our grinders with vacuum cleaners after every session and remove the upper burr carrier weekly to monthly for a chamber cleaning were OCD.  This is just beyond that :)

Do you *REALLY* want to know what lies behind the screen in a commercial machine? :) Sure they clean them daily, even twice daily....but stuff backs up over years....they're shiny and clean but never 100% clean :) It's one thing to maintain them, and even periodically have the group disassembled to replace seals etc inside (E61s, for example, have a 5-7 year rating on the seals...though I believe that assumes at least an 8 hour duty cycle of being hot daily. Groups aren't meant to be disassembled too often!
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Frost
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Frost
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
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Location: Sierra
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Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Lelit PL53
Roaster: Poppery I w/variac, MET, BT
Posted Wed Feb 16, 2011, 12:00pm
Subject: Re: My Silvia will not get clean!
 

Are you sure those black bits are coffee and not something else from the water or boiler?  You backflush with the cafiza, rinse, and clean the shower screen, dispersion and grouphead, the water should run entirely clean.
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sugarbrew
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Feb 2011
Posts: 8
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Feb 16, 2011, 2:49pm
Subject: Re: My Silvia will not get clean!
 

Yes, the water going in is filtered and completely clean.

Hey!  I don't think it's OCD to be bugged by a bunch of black bits that end up in your cup when you're running filtered water through your machine.  There's still enough grounds that I'm willing to bet there's an effect on flavor.

Could it really be a disintegrating group seal?  These look an awful lot like coffee grounds to me.  How would I know if my seals need to be replaced?  Nothing's leaking, so I'm skeptical.
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TheMadTamper
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Nov 2010
Posts: 1,246
Location: US
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Salvatore SES; Izzo Duetto...
Grinder: Compak K10 WBC, K8 Fresh,...
Drip: /Pod: Bunn MCP
Roaster: /Other: Blender - BlendTec...
Posted Wed Feb 16, 2011, 3:00pm
Subject: Re: My Silvia will not get clean!
 

sugarbrew Said:

Could it really be a disintegrating group seal?  These look an awful lot like coffee grounds to me.  How would I know if my seals need to be replaced?  Nothing's leaking, so I'm skeptical.

Posted February 16, 2011 link

Could be coffee, could be bits of seals & gaskets.  Could be that it's really green and not black and thus magnesium deposits in the boiler (scale.)  There's a lot of things it could be.  It's PROBABLY coffee...but we can't be sure, I suppose.  If it's working.....maybe Teflon from the boiler...I know the old Silvias used to have a Teflon lined boiler, though I'm not sure if the new ones do.

My old Silvia sometimes deposited "black stuff" in the reservoir via the non-settable OPV.   I always assumed it was Teflon from the boiler (yum!) but it could easily have been coffee (maybe Silvia has a habit of not fully releasing backward pressure and it backs into the boiler or OPV?)
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