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Grinding, Packing and Dosing Technique for Silvia.   - Back

Firm Tamping.

I will try showing you what works for me in a home environment and hope it can help in some way.

The goal is to create a uniform coffee density by uniform distribution, and not having the screen ruin or disturb the uniform density.



Do not use plastic material (as in this picture) for the funnel.


For making the funnel, It is better using metal as aluminum from a soda can.  Clear plastic material as soda bottle will have more static.


Dosing and Tamping (firm tamping). Click here for No tamp instruction and video. 

Note: Tamping is not a must, but if you firm tamp, you must do it right.  and know the positive and many possible negative effects.  If you are new to espresso or have no good experience with tamping, I strongly recommend you use the no tamping (soft tamping) option.  



How to achieve the best performance and consistency when tamping (hard tamp).

Because this basket is not as deep as the commercial triple basket that can hold 21 grams or more, and also has different (tapered side) geometry, I developed this technique which works for me. There are other approaches as to how to load the basket, but give this a try. As noted above, The goal with the #102 basket is that the dry puck (pre-brew) is to be supported by the basket from the bottom and just 1mm± 0.5mm from the shower screen at the top. There is some variation because the different coffees or older coffees varies and will use less or more space when brewed. Nevertheless, too tight will create a plug, too light will create bad filter. The correct dosing will create good filter from which the coffee is uniformly extracted by water at the right temperature and under the right pressure. 

  1. Warm up Silvia, portafilter & basket.  Portafilter must be connected at all times prior to brewing, to provide a consistent temperature at the point the water comes in contact with the coffee at the shower screen.

  2. Dry and dose the basket with the right amount 14g to 16g using a small digital jewelry scale (what is described below can be done through volume rather than weight, but it is much harder and messier to accomplish in a home environment). Because there are many factors which can change the actual weight of ground coffee in the same volume, you will have to find out the right weight for the particular coffee you are using.

  3. The coffee puck needs to be as close as possible to the screen, but no hard pressing to the screen, very light contact will work OK.

  4. As your first calibration test, you can use a tin foil as your gauge or a thin coin: After tamping, place one layer of tin foil between the screen and the coffee puck, tighten the portafilter in place and see when you start getting a light imprint on the tin foil, that is where you stop-- the maximum coffee you can use or the right amount of coffee you should use, is just under this line.

  5. Now you are ready to test this in real brewing situation: Run 1.5 fl oz - 1.75 fl oz. of water at 197F - 202F (measured at the screen) and check result (see notes below for instruction on measuring the temperature at the screen). With fresh coffee 2 - 5 days old, you can easily extract more then 1.5 fl oz without having over extraction.

  6. If the puck came out in pieces, you had too little coffee. If puck sticks to the basket so that you need a knock box to get it out, then you did not have a full extraction, due to cold water or too little water with uneven dosing, or too much coffee that created a plug. If the puck stuck to the screen, you also may have had too little coffee with too fine a grind.

With the new Rancilio basket, you won't need to hit the Portafilter on a knock box 99% of the time. (Watch the video clip below.)  Coffee puck may need to be removed with a knock box in rare cases and with certain type of beans.

Once you get this right, you can run your test, and see how high you can raise the water temperature (up to 202F-203F) and still have a high percent of the good taste and/or extract more than 1.75 fl oz. with no harsh bitter taste.  Different coffees will produce better results at different temperatures.  

During brewing, from start to finish, the temperature at the screen and within the coffee puck is not constant. Therefore, technically I don’t think it is 100% correct to use a single number as the ideal brewing temperature. What really counts is the average temperature and time that the grounds are exposed to the water, so I strongly recommend letting brewing results and taste to dictate the set value temperature of the boiler.  

If the coffee puck sticks to the basket so that you need a knock box to get it out and in most cases it's very dry at the top. 
You did not have a full extraction, due to: too much coffee that after expanding created a plug, or due to cold water or too little water with uneven dosing.

If the coffee puck fall out but came out in pieces, so portion of the puck left in the basket. 
You had too little coffee, and most likely the flow was too fast, and/or you had to compensate with a very fine grind. 

If the coffee puck stuck to the screen.
You may have had too little coffee and the grind was too fine to make up for the little coffee.




60ml Glass & Scale.

60 grams = 60 Milliliters = 2 fluid ounces ,    espresso at 2 fluid ounces (volume) will weigh only 32± grams.



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Contact: pidsilvia@gmail.com