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Jason Perlow

Rancilio Silvia and PIDs

110 posts in this topic

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 (log)

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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.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog

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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.

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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.

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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?


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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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 (log)

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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.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

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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.

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the best reviews on espressooo machines are at HomeBarrista:

http://www.home-barista.com/search-results.html?q=expobar+brewtus+review&ie=ISO-8859-1&cof=FORID%3A9&cx=partner-pub-1874394195286019%3Aih80ev-qwtj&siteurl=www.home-barista.com%2Fforums%2Fsearch.php&ref=www.home-barista.com%2Freviews.html%3Fsid%3D89cee253adfa7dfa50b1e5591223953f&ss=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.

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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.

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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

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I have the Alexia-PID after I read HB and had about 3 months of sleepless nights. Its the perfect machine for me. I do not use milk.

consider Chris Coffee:

http://www.chriscoffee.com/

I spoke to them many many times and they answered my questions honestly and fairly. I got my 'system' from them as they are

two hours away and their price more than fair. I attended Coffee Univ. :biggrin:

and

http://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/

they have a lot of vids. Im sure they would be happy to talk to you also

I work for none of the above.

but please take your time. this should be the last machine you get. make sure you get the matching level grinder.

slurp slurp.

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I have the Alexia-PID after I read HB and had about 3 months of sleepless nights. Its the perfect machine for me. I do not use milk.

consider Chris Coffee:

http://www.chriscoffee.com/

I spoke to them many many times and they answered my questions honestly and fairly. I got my 'system' from them as they are

two hours away and their price more than fair. I attended Coffee Univ. :biggrin:

and

http://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/

they have a lot of vids. Im sure they would be happy to talk to you also

I work for none of the above.

but please take your time. this should be the last machine you get. make sure you get the matching level grinder.

slurp slurp.

I'm on night 2 of no sleep :) As far as grinders go, do you have any thoughts on the Ceado E37? I'm a sucker for heavy duty housing and minimal plastic parts and this grinder looks be built like a tank.

http://www.wholelattelove.com/Ceado/ceado_e37.cfm

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only 2? give it at least 3 M this is your last system.

http://www.home-barista.com/grinders/ceado-e37-owner-experience-t20814.html

looks interesting. get your grinder at the same place you get the machine. I also went doserless as i thought less to clean. and clean is very important. i got the Compac K3. Im very happy with it. its a tiny chore to clean but no big deal. what I have perfectly suits me. it might not suit others.

the question you have to ask yourself is " for me the perfect espresso is ... " leave yourself a little room to get a system that costs a little more than you thought you would spend.

Win the lottery did you?

http://www.home-barista.com/pros-perspective-gs3.html

http://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/compak-k8-fresh-espresso-grinder

or

http://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/mahlkonig-k30-vario-grinder

dont think for a minute that 10 K will make a better cup than the stuff I have or you are considering. there is the 'hand of the barrista' which is the limiting step.

Roast your own? ..... :biggrin:

Im sure ChrisCoffee ande Seatle Coffee gear will have a matching grinder for you.. dont get more grinder than machine. if you buy both at the same place you will save a great deal of Moooola. and might even get free shipping.

take your time. the two places are not the only ones that sell great stuff. if you decided after talking to both places many times on the machine and the grinder, shop around. you might find them else were but dont change your mind after youve made up your mind unless you have good reason to

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don't forget to consider a PID. if it has two boilers, then a double PID. some people think a HX machine does not need PID. Dont know much about that myself.

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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

Yeah, I hear you, but its not that hard, you can get John Guest kits that allow you to tap into the water at the sink and run a 1/4 plastic line to the machine, very DIY. Plumbed is a major convenience.

As far as no need for PID on an HX, I would agree that there's no "need" but my experience (PID'd Oscar) was that it was less hassle, more reliable , and more easily adjustable than a pstat. YMMV

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Do any of you with a PID's Silvia make lattes, or are you all doing purely espresso? Any longevity problems in the couple of years it's been since this topic started?


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I have had an Auber instruments PID for my Silvia for years and make milk-based coffee as well as black.

 

As far as I can remember the PID controller only works for the coffee extraction phase. Once you switch it to steam, the temperature increases to normal steaming levels. 

 

My daughter is a professional barista and she loves the steam pressure on the Silvia.

 

For the record, if you start frothing when the temperature gauge hits 126C, the temperature is high enough and the heating lights stays on all through the frothing phase. This seems to give the best outcome.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog

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She also told me my PID temperature was too high, it's now set at 91C (196F).


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog

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Wow, that temp seems really low if it's the boiler temp: what is the temperature of the water when it hits the basket, then? 


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Correction, it was 95C (was waiting for it to stabilise after switching it on, it hadn't apparently). That makes it 203F, which is 10C cooler than I used to have it set. Using a portafilter without coffee, the water comes out at 62C (144F).


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog

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