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Rancilio Silvia and PIDs


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94 replies to this topic

#61 weinoo

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 03:46 PM

BTW, I think this "how-to" at Home Barista was pretty damn helpful when I started on my espresso path.


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#62 Jason Perlow

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 03:57 PM

This is getting extremely geeky :)


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#63 weinoo

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 04:19 PM

There's more to come.  I mean, you started off by talking to Kinsey...that should've clued you in.


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#64 Jason Perlow

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:47 PM

Indeed. Another coffee geek friend twisted my arm and got me to order a VST 22g filter basket today. 


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#65 rotuts

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 05:31 AM

exactly right.   but I cant see the boiler at a true 224, it would be, well, boiling.

 

all espresso machines have various failings.  the RS has the problem with the group-head's mass.

 

not to say you cant pull some mean shots, I used mine for about 4 - 5 years, then someone put a bee in my bonnet and that was that.



#66 rotuts

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 05:33 AM

espresso is the ultimate geeky thing any one can try.   make a lot of your own wine, do you?



#67 nickrey

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 05:39 AM

espresso is the ultimate geeky thing any one can try.   make a lot of your own wine, do you?

Have you seen the Modernist cuisine threads? Espresso, ultimate geeky? Not likely. Fanatical? Obsessive? Caffeine driven? Sure.


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#68 rotuts

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 05:42 AM

I still maintain:

 

espresso is the ultimate geeky thing any one can try.   make a lot of your own wine, do you?

 

doesnt mean its going to be any good.  a paco-jet and a blast freezer, etc etc  not for most of us.



#69 weinoo

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 06:09 AM

exactly right.   but I cant see the boiler at a true 224, it would be, well, boiling.

 

all espresso machines have various failings.  the RS has the problem with the group-head's mass.

 

not to say you cant pull some mean shots, I used mine for about 4 - 5 years, then someone put a bee in my bonnet and that was that.

 

But I think the boiler is sealed, sort of like a pressure cooker, so that it can also produce steam for milk.  In that case, the water could theoretically boil at a higher temp than 212.


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#70 rotuts

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 07:02 AM

excellent point.  sounds right.  the Geeks at HomeBarrista would know.

 

the achilles heel of the RS is the (lack) of a large heat-sink at the group head.

 

not to saw with some skill one can get a mighty tasty shot!

 

( today is play with the editor day )



#71 nickrey

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:04 PM

I still maintain:
 
espresso is the ultimate geeky thing any one can try.   make a lot of your own wine, do you?
 
doesnt mean its going to be any good.  a paco-jet and a blast freezer, etc etc  not for most of us.


Since when did geek = equipment? Geeks use clever processes outside the mainstream. Books such as "cooking for geeks" talk about modernist techniques, not coffee. Even then although not many have paco jets or blast freezers, a lot of us have chamber vacuum sealers and a multiplicity of strange sounding chemicals to manipulate texture and taste.

If you are going to use an alcohol analogy, it's probably better to use beer rather than wine. It can be argued to be more technically precise because you cannot blend away your errors.

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Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog


#72 rotuts

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:31 PM

a bottomless filter, with a Weiss stir, might just be a

 

clever processes outside the mainstream

 

a lot of people make their own beer.

 

not so many make their own wine.



#73 slkinsey

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 03:07 PM

Espresso is probably the most technology-centric food preparation.  You can make a great steak using a crappy pan.  But you can't make great espresso on a crappy espresso machine.  Generally speaking, and assuming a reasonable but not outlandish level of expertise, the better the espresso machine is the better the average espresso you can produce will be.  It's all a matter of finding your sweet spot in price versus quality.  I love espresso and cappuccino, but I am satisfied with the quality of the former out of my PID-hacked Rancilio and I don't make enough of the latter to care about the Rancilio's minor shortcomings in this regard.  I have no doubt that I could make much better everything using a La Marzocco GS/3.  but I just don't care enough to spend sixty-five hundred bucks on it.


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#74 Jason Perlow

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 03:25 PM

Yeah, that is a lot of dough, as shiny and cool as that thing looks.
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#75 rotuts

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 03:30 PM

its the differential as the $$ go up as in all things.  the first step up from the RS to say the QuickMill give you the biggest boost.

 

Im very happy with my set up, as the operator error  ( me ) with the roasting, grinding, tamping etc  wouldnt get me much more than 

 

what I have now. with of course a 3-4 k grinder to match that GS/3 in addition.

 

so id get little return for the additional 10 K  , even if i was a billionare!


Edited by rotuts, 20 February 2013 - 03:31 PM.


#76 rotuts

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 03:37 PM

BTW  that tip about early/late fractionating a single shot is a very good one.  i did that a few years ago.

 

try this:   three warm espresso cups:  early   Midstream  End stream and taste them 'plain'

 

a lot of damage to the inherent 'sweetness' of your shot is done by thinking you are being frugal 'filling your cup' to some sort of

 

pre set level. all your efforts  you will see are lost with that last bit.


Edited by rotuts, 20 February 2013 - 03:37 PM.


#77 nickrey

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 05:51 PM

 


exactly right.   but I cant see the boiler at a true 224, it would be, well, boiling.

 

all espresso machines have various failings.  the RS has the problem with the group-head's mass.

 

not to say you cant pull some mean shots, I used mine for about 4 - 5 years, then someone put a bee in my bonnet and that was that.

 

But I think the boiler is sealed, sort of like a pressure cooker, so that it can also produce steam for milk.  In that case, the water could theoretically boil at a higher temp than 212.

I have mine set at the same temperature as Mitch.

 

There is an interesting experiment at this web page suggests that without PiD, the boiler goes up to 116C (241F) and swings down to 85C (185F) during the pour. This is why we pid our machines [the swing is restricted from 106C (223F) to 98C (208F) with the pid controller]. Note these temperatures are from the outside of the boiler, not at the point of contact with the coffee.


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Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
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#78 rotuts

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 05:35 AM

this thread is a lot more interesting that most of the other coffee threads.

 

and yes  the RS is a mighty fine but temperamental machine with some limits.  but with work and paying attention its superfine for (most of ) your shots.



#79 rotuts

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 05:38 AM

I recall that there are insulation 'packages' that are designed to conserve the energy in the water system that one can install.

 

cant say if they will help the heat drop at the group head.  probably a little, might not be enough to make a difference in the cup.



#80 slkinsey

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:16 AM

rotuts, you seem to be saying a lot of things about temperature instability at the grouphead for the Rancilio Silvia, but I'm just not sure that is actually all that true for a PIDed machine.  Have a look at this graph of a shot run on a PIDed RS.  This shows temperatures in the boiler, in the group and, more importantly, in the actual coffee puck itself.  What it shows is that once the puck is saturated and brewing begins (at around 6 seconds in), the temperature is remarkably stable -- starting at 200F and rising to 202F by the end of the shot.  I suppose an E61 grouphead would be more stable than that.  But how much more stability makes a difference?


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#81 rotuts

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:19 AM

good to know, thanks. perhaps the info i had at the time of my upgrade was not completely correct:  that the grouphead needed more thermal mass

 

maybe for multiple shots, which is a different matter.

 

maybe then the RS could do a decent triple basket!

 

i wonder how the pressure at the group-head does over the shot time.


Edited by rotuts, 21 February 2013 - 11:23 AM.


#82 slkinsey

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:12 PM

I pretty much only do triple baskets, and it's always worked fine for me.  Pressure seems very consistent, although I haven't measured it.  Potentially running multiple shots in close succession could make the "at rest" temperature in the group start to creep up, and this would have the effect of raising the overall brewing temperature.  Hard to say.  I don't really see the RS as a machine intended for cranking out a dozen triples in a row.

 

The thing about espresso machines is that people always seem to want to quantify exactly what it is that makes one machine more consistently turn out better espresso than another, and I don't think it's that simple.  In the pre-PID days, temperature instability was a major weakness of the Rancilio Silvia.  But a PIDed machine changes that dramatically, and really narrows the gap between the RS and machines costing twice as much.  Nevertheless, it is certainly true that there are any number of machines that will outperform it in quality and consistency.  I'd guess these start at around $1,500.


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#83 rotuts

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 05:45 AM

they do.  the QuickMill 's such as the AlexiaPID would be that entry next level.

 

Im very lucky to have one, and won't need the next up after that.   with the PID RS/ maybe that inner insulation, etc  that Bee, placed

 

in my Bonnet might have gotten no where.

 

Either way, espresso at home is really the Nuts with these types of machines.



#84 glepore

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:55 AM

New to this discussion-the Breville Dual is what I've been using-it not only PID's the boiler but also the group-it's an excellent machine, we'll just have to see how durable.



#85 Crouton

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:05 PM

Is anyone familiar with the Expobar Office Lever? I was talking to the rep at Whole Latte Love about ordering a PID'ed Silvia and he basically asked why spend the money modding the Silvia when you can just get a prosumer machine for not that much more, specifically the Expobar.

#86 weinoo

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 05:19 AM

I definitely researched the Expobar machines before I made my Silvia purchase.  The thing which worried me was that they aren't as widely carried or serviced, nor do they have the history of, the Rancilio products.  But - they look like great machines.


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#87 glepore

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 06:08 AM

Just keep in mind that the Expobars have pretty large footprint. I ordered a direct plumbed Office and it wouldn't fit under my cabinets.



#88 rotuts

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 06:33 AM

the best reviews on espressooo machines are at HomeBarrista:

 

http://www.home-bari...3407j1839581j14

 

the machine you want should fit your budget, give you plenty of room to sharpen your Express skills, and not be more than you need by $$$ or Flash.

 

the machine is the last in a series of steps you need to appreciate to get the Shot thats For You.  take your time.  think about what's the perfect shot or cup you have had in the past, then get a system, if you are really serious about your Cup, that will eventually give you that cup.



#89 Crouton

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:49 AM

I definitely researched the Expobar machines before I made my Silvia purchase.  The thing which worried me was that they aren't as widely carried or serviced, nor do they have the history of, the Rancilio products.  But - they look like great machines.

 

 

The guys over at Home-Barista are starting to scare me regarding the Expobar.  Looks like the QuickMIll Anita may be a better option. 



#90 Crouton

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:52 AM

Just keep in mind that the Expobars have pretty large footprint. I ordered a direct plumbed Office and it wouldn't fit under my cabinets.

 

 

The non-plummable is only 15" high which should fit under most standard cabinets. Not sure I want to go through hiring a plumber to route a water line up through our counter-tops