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Rancilio Sylvia V3 & Eureka Mignon frustration!!
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Rancilio Sylvia...  
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leeh1971
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Jan 2013
Posts: 9
Location: U.K
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Jan 20, 2013, 2:53pm
Subject: Rancilio Sylvia V3 & Eureka Mignon frustration!!
 

Hello everyone.

I'm new to the forums and Iím going to post my query in Q&A as Iím certain there is nothing wrong with my equipment, which is a Rancilio Sylvia V3 & Eureka Mignon, both purchased new and a Motta 58mm tamper. The beans I have been using are Guatemala Huehuetenango (fresh allegedly) from Roast and Post U.K.

One the issues confusing me the most are where I am on the step less adjuster on my Eureka grinder. I've had the grinder set very fine, producing grinds so fine, almost like talcum powder and from this I have worked down coarser, while all the time dosing and tamping consistently and the results have been frankly terrible and completely inconsistent. I get fast extraction, blonding and no crema, so I grind finer and get a few drops of black tar in the cup!?  :cry: I'm beginning to think my grinder is set way to high and Iím just making too small adjustments, like fine tuning a guitar string an octave too high :?

I did realize that home espresso is hard to attain and an obsession for a lot of people, but Iím beginning to think itís just too unpredictable and expensive to warrant the time and money to produce passable espresso. I have gone through a full bag of Guatemala Huehuetenango beans @ £13.00 and had 2 decent, not amazing cups of coffee :( I get the same results using both baskets and warming the machine up for along time.

Any advice or suggestions would be eagerly appreciated, as I know many of you may have had similar problems starting out. I'm not going to give up, but I am a little disappointed on how allusive good espresso really is with this spec of equipment.

Many thankís Lee H.
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DavecUK
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Posts: 1,386
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Jan 20, 2013, 11:34pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Sylvia V3 & Eureka Mignon frustration!!
 

Your equipment is OK., so I suspect the beans.

A few questions

  1. What is the roast date on the pack (I don't mean the packed date, I mean the "roasted on date")
  2. What's the batch number of the coffee
  3. Are you grinding up a load of coffee, then using it as you need it, or are you grinding just what you need, when you need it.
  4. Do they come in a foil one way valve bag, are they heat sealed and is the seal good
  5. Are the bags all puffed up when you get them/if you don't open them straight away, do they puff up
  6. Are the beans dry, few spots of oil, quite oily, very oily......and how dark are they (use milk chocolate as a reference)
  7. Are the beans broken, have little holes in them, lots of lighter beans, have divots?

Some just in case your doing something unexpected questions below:

  1. What brew pressure is your Silvia delivering.
  2. How long do you let Silvia warm up for (after switching it on) before pulling a shot

Guatemalan beans tend to require a slightly finer grind, unlike Brazilians which extract a little better and need a coarser grind, but It will be interesting to see the answers to the questions.

I don't have any idea of your level of experience, but have assumed experienced. Any other information though would be helpful (like how you are storing the beans)
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leeh1971
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Jan 2013
Posts: 9
Location: U.K
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Jan 21, 2013, 2:00pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Sylvia V3 & Eureka Mignon frustration!!
 

Hi,

Thanks for your response and in answer to your questions:

1. There's no date at all on the pack? Either roast or pack date, Just the variety of coffee.
2. No batch number
3. Just grinding what i use as i go, little by little and not keeping it in the hopper.
4. Foil bag. With a small 10p size circle near the top, inside what looks like to pin holes, sorry this packaging probably has a name, but I'm still learning.
5. It wasn't vacuum packed for sure, just tight.
6. The beans are light, possible lightly roasted? Unlike the previous varieties i have used. not oily, but they do have a quite strong aroma.
7. The beans seem evenly coloured and uniform in characteristics, as i say lighter than the few other varieties i have tried.


8. I cannot work out the pressure the machine is delivering, as you know it doesn't have readout dial, any way of figuring it out?
9. I let it warm up for at least an hour and often leave it switched on all afternoon.


I did a fair bit of research before i purchased the beans, and decided to buy them from Roast & Post U.K, (Realcoffee.co.uk) because they had good reviews and the site afforded much choice. I did only purchase one bag 500g bag, most of the other beans i have tried have had even worse results, but these were purchased from the supermarket and some from my local deli, who could have had them in their containers months?! I'm thinking of purchasing my beans from aromatico.co.uk next, but its a minimum spend of £50. Another reason i purchased from roast & post was they claimed to roast the beans when ordered and then post them immediately to the customer, something i think aromatico may NOT do, because all their coffee looks branded? ( is it best to buy branded, or sourced coffee?) The reason i chose Guatemalan was the strength and flavour rating seem to suit my taste.

Thanks.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,954
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Mon Jan 21, 2013, 10:16pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Sylvia V3 & Eureka Mignon frustration!!
 

Roast and post looks like they care enough to be proud of a good product.  I'd say you need to work on dialing in your grind. I'd suggest that while you do that, you stick to their mor popular espresso blends. Then, after you get comfortable with the process, try some single origin beans, such as the Guatemalan that peaked your interest.

I'd like to refer you to www.espressomyespresso.com for a little reading. Specifically take a look at article 12 - Easy Guide to Better Espresso at Home (about halfway down the right hand column under "how to"). I think you'll find the advice in there extremely helpful.

Be patient, don't give up...great espresso awaits you on demand...and believe it or not, you're almost there!

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


Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Posts: 1,386
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Jan 22, 2013, 12:12am
Subject: Re: Rancilio Sylvia V3 & Eureka Mignon frustration!!
 

leeh1971 Said:

Hi,

Thanks for your response and in answer to your questions:

1. There's no date at all on the pack? Either roast or pack date, Just the variety of coffee.
2. No batch number
3. Just grinding what i use as i go, little by little and not keeping it in the hopper.
4. Foil bag. With a small 10p size circle near the top, inside what looks like to pin holes, sorry this packaging probably has a name, but I'm still learning.
5. It wasn't vacuum packed for sure, just tight.
6. The beans are light, possible lightly roasted? Unlike the previous varieties i have used. not oily, but they do have a quite strong aroma.
7. The beans seem evenly coloured and uniform in characteristics, as i say lighter than the few other varieties i have tried.


8. I cannot work out the pressure the machine is delivering, as you know it doesn't have readout dial, any way of figuring it out?
9. I let it warm up for at least an hour and often leave it switched on all afternoon.

Thanks.

Posted January 21, 2013 link

Just for context, I was commercially roasting coffee for a while, but I stopped. The problem was my coffee was very popular, but I only had a small roaster, then some massive order requests came through and at that point it was either expand and buy a 25kg roaster (with associated risks and need for premises), or just stay happily retired as I am now. There are some regulations for coffee when packaging and selling and I am suprised the labelling laws as I knew tham are not always followed.

Ah...well some answers for you:

  1. If you  put a roast date on the pack, legally that HAS to be the roasted date.  I always put a roasted on date as part of my batch number...no roast date means you don't know when it was roasted!

  2. A batch number used to be a legal requirement, because of traceability (e.g. the customer is getting the right product and it matches what's on the label, each roast needs to have a batch number, also weight checks need to be done periodically). Perhaps this has changed? However all good roasters should always use a batch number system anyway in case of problems.

  3. Good

  4. That should be a One way valve (check it inside and see if you can blow through it one way and not the other. Not using a 1 way valve is not great news and you can't vaccum pack fresh coffee for long it soon blows up again as it outgasses.

  5. Oh dear....if it was a 1 way valve, it should let  air out, but not back in, the bag should be slightly puffy for fresh roasted coffee.....squeeze a one way valve bag of stale coffee and it will stay tight.

  6. Probably a bit light for that coffee, it should be exactly the colour of cadburys milk chocolate.

  7. Good

  8. There are supposedly ways on the internet, buy measuring expansion valve flow, but I don't believe their that accurate....see if you can borrow a pressure measuring portafilter. If your near me, you can bring your machine over, as I have one. I live near Woking in Surrey.

  9. Excellent

Well it's up to you but I would try some beans from a different vendor perhaps (much as it pains me to say it), Hasbean. Or perhaps Square Mile coffee who I don't believe have such a heavily commercial operation. Go for a non exotic coffee, even a good Brazilian. They are easy to roast and forgiving to extract. Both the above vendors I mentioned I believe use batch numbers, not sure about roasted on dates, but I think the coffees are quite recent.
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leeh1971
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Jan 2013
Posts: 9
Location: U.K
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Jan 22, 2013, 10:35am
Subject: Re: Rancilio Sylvia V3 & Eureka Mignon frustration!!
 

Thank you both very much for your replies and advice. i'll be sure to read up on the link and keep trying!!
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