Rancilio Silvia Revisited

Long time reader Bert M. checks in with his Rancilio Silvia story!
Way back in 2007 we published this treatise on the Rancilio Silvia espresso machine -- it has since been read about 600,000 times.
A Local coffee enthusiast, Bert M., took it all to heart and set out on a journey with this great Italian coffee maker - here is his update!

Hi Colin! 

Just re-read the Rancilio Silvia article and thought I would give you an update.

On your recommendation I received my Rancilio Silvia and Rocky In March 2008.  Silvia worked perfectly until I had to replace the pump about 2 years ago.  Most of the chrome has peeled off the group head cover.  Waiting for one of the new black group head covers.  Silvia still works perfectly.

These following photos when the machine was about 13 years old.
IMG 3958Untouched photos of the 3-way valve disassembly before I realized it was the pump.  I thought maybe the 3-way valve was plugged up.  - Whitfield Food Services (Victoria) replaced the pump for me - Fast, reasonable priced service there!

Thirteen years of following your recommendations for cleanliness obviously paid off.  I shared these photos with a Toronto area service tech and he was amazed.

Two years ago I started using IMS precision basket and screen - it really improved the quality of the shot but they were not always great.  A few months later I gave my Rocky to a family member and purchased a Eureka Oro Mignon XL grinder with 65mm burrs.  3 shots and it was dialed - in and another really noticeable upgrade in taste quality.  ("Let the grind do the work as you taught me").  

The biggest change with the grinder is consistency of quality shots.  Every shot, and I mean every shot, is excellent.  You were right again when you said, “Spend your money on the grinder.”

We drink Americanos - splitting the double shot and adding about 4 ounces of water with 2-3 teaspoons of 18% cream. Three times a day.  Brita filter for the water for 15 years.  No desire for lattes, cappucinos etc.  

IMG 3961Method: 

-Minimum 30 minutes preheat machine and portafilter before pulling the shot
-Hit brew switch till heating light comes on.  
-Remove portafilter when heating light goes off.
-Then grind for 7.6 seconds and tamp. Use 7.8 seconds when the coffee approaches 2 weeks. 
IMG 3959We still purchase Half-Caf Fantastico every two weeks on your recommendation!
-Portafilter into group head at 1m 30sec after heating light goes off.  
-Pull shot for 31-36 seconds although 90% of time it is 33 seconds.
-Remove and flush group head and portafilter immediately until heating light comes on.
-Add water and cream to coffee.
-About 15 seconds after heating light goes off, flush group head with first a bit of steam followed by the water for a few seconds and use Pällo brush to quickly clean screen area.  Wipe all carefully with dry cloth.
-Reinsert portafilter to be ready for second shot in about 10 minutes.

Boil all parts with ½ teaspoon of Granny’s dishwasher detergent every month and rinse rinse rinse.  Back flush with same and only get a hint of colour in the water that comes through and then backflush with clean water about 10 times.  

We have enjoyed perfect coffee every time.

Thank you Colin!

All the best.

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