Re: First night with my Silvia / Rocky - bunch of beginner questions!
- From: Randy G. <frcn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2007 22:24:11 -0800
"rob" <rob@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
- I followed Mark Prince's guide (http://groups.google.com/group/
alt.coffee/msg/f6abad357b9c0312) on 'tuning' the Rocky - and based on
what I've read on other forums, the 'zero' point is usually never what
is actually on the machine but something like +3, +4, etc.
The zero point means nothing, really, except a establishing a place
from which to count about 10 steps coarser the first time you use the
machine or after replacing the burr set. I think too much emphasis is
placed on the "zero point.".. IMO.
I might be in a minority there, but I don't think it is that important
- Seeing that the "0" point seemed correct, I decided to grind at a
+9. I then measured out 14 grams into the portafilter and put it on a
scale and tamped with ~30lbs (I also used a reg barber SS tamper - not
the plastic one).
to weigh the coffee either. And unless you have a scale that has
resolution to, and is accurate to .1 grams, it is pretty much
worthless to weigh the coffee anyway... IMO.
I hit the brew button (after letting it warm up,Grind one click finer and try again.
waiting for the light to go off, running a blank shot under it until
the light went off, and repeated it 3 times and made sure the
portafilter etc was hot) and used a timer set at 25 and as soon as I
hit the brew button, I hit the timer. I noticed that I had to stop
the brew before 25 seconds was up - more like 6-10 seconds left.
If IYou used two, 3 ounce cups at the same time?
didn't, the 3 oz Bodum Pavina espresso class (I used two of these)...
would of overflowed - it was right at the top. So I take it this wasThe grind numbers mean NOTHING other than being relative to what you
too fast? There was crema on top, not a thick layer, kind of thin,
and within 30 seconds - 1 minute it started to "fade" away. Anyone
have any tips on improving? It looks like it came out too fast, no?
Would a +7 be too fine to grind at? Could it be my tamping?
are doing. They make it easier to switch from espresso to drip and
back to espresso again, but other than that, they are meaningless
other than being relative to what you are doing. Grind one click finer
and try again, and click one more finer and try again... and again.
- What is the 'proper' way to clean up after the shot is doneRun water with the portafilter OFF the machine after every shot. Then
(assuming no steaming/frothing of milk was done) if I want to turn the
machine off? Right after I was done, I removed the portafilter, got
rid of the puck, put it back on, and then ran an empty shot through it
into a glass.
rinse the PF out in the sink under hot water. Use a brewhead brush-
pull a bit of hot water onto it, brush the screen and grouphead
gasket, and pull some more water through.
....- mine has the holes on the right half of it, and the left half seemsNew design...
to have horizontal "slots" for the water to go into. What's up with
that? Is this a new thing and all the pictures are of an "older" one,
or do I... have the wrong one?!
Be patient. it will take time, but it will come...
FWIW, here is my dosing/tamping procedure that can assist in
Dosing and Tamping:
I have been using this modified Dose and Tamp procedure which is a
combination of a number of things I have read and other procedures I
have developed over time. I have found that it gives very consistent
results this way. Use this as a STARTING PLACE and adjust the
procedure over time to match your style. Consistency is the key, and
for new users the following method makes it easy to be sure that your
dose and tamping is the same every time. An additional benefit is to
those who have adopted PID control since this method makes it easier
to sense the differences in taste created by small changes in brew
1- Using the doser on my Rocky I find that it is best to start dosing
as soon as the grinding begins. Place the portafilter under the doser
and turn on the grinder. As the grinder runs, repeatedly click the
doser lever while moving the portafilter so that the coffee is dosed
as evenly as possible. Continue this until the portafilter is just a
little overfilled. The goal here is the fill the portafilter as evenly
an level as possible, avoiding the "middle mountain" and the voids
around the edges that invariably are created if dosing from a full
This method accomplishes two things. It eliminates voids and it
eliminates clumping- both of which cause fracturing of the puck during
As you fill the basket, every one or two clicks of the dosing lever
(if you have a doser model) shake the PF _GENTLY_ back and forth, for
and aft, with a slight circular motion to get the grounds to be level
in the basket. The goal is to get the coffee to be as evenly
distributed as possible while doing as little compacting as possible.
Continue until you overfill the basket. Do so as evenly as possible-
try to avoid creating a mountain in the middle with voids around the
outside. Slowly operating the dosing lever while moving the PF around
a little helps.
2- Use the straight handle of a plastic coffee measure or similar tool
to distribute the coffee across the top of the basket. Your goal is to
fill any remaining voids without compacting the coffee at all. In
other words, work across the coffee without pushing it downwards. The
portafilter should still be slightly overfilled when finished with
3- Use the straight handle of a plastic coffee measure or similar tool
and GENTLY tap one or two times on the side of the PF. This is only
to fill any voids in the coffee that were not dealt with in the step
above. The goal here is to distribute coffee evenly. You are NOT
trying to compact the coffee at all, so tap laterally, not vertically.
[NOTE- The above step works really well with the La Marzocco double
basket and other larger-than-stock baskets which hold more coffee than
the original Rancilio single or double filter baskets. It can create a
situation with the original Rancilio basket in which there is too much
coffee making it difficult to lock the portafilter or it can press the
coffee up against the shower screen leaving a mess in there and not
allowing the coffee to expand during the pull. If you use the stock
basket and you find that happening, try skipping step 3 and proceed to
4- Use that plastic tool (or similar) to level the coffee across the
top of the basket. Be sure to work the coffee back and forth to
further fill any voids around the edges if any remain (if the previous
steps are carefully followed there should be no voids). Try to only
level ACROSS the top of the portafilter basket without pushing the
coffee downward so as NOT to compact the coffee.
5- Now that the coffee is leveled and the portafilter is filled with
coffee, tap the spout downward two or three times on the counter top
to settle the grounds. They will drop about 2mm in height or so. This
further distributes the coffee evenly before the tamping.
6- A book can be written about tamping- everything from no tamp to the
"handstand tamp" seems to work for someone, but here is what I have
A- I begin with a "clock tamp." Tamp lightly at 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and
9:00. Tamp at one position, lift the tamper enough to clear the
coffee, then tamp at the next position. This further helps evenly
distribute the coffee. This is done lightly- I would estimate it to be
no more than about 5 pounds of force. Think of it more as a
distribution than a compression action.
B- Now I use the joystick tamp- when I finish the 9:00 tamp I do a
circle tamp as if turning a joystick one full circle around its axis.
This compacts the outer perimeter leaving just a very slight mound in
the center. This evens out the coffee in case the previous step caused
any high and low areas.
C- Now a normal tamp with the tamper held level at about 15-20 pounds
of force. If you do not have a good feel for this low level of force,
use a scale to learn what it feels like. For most new users it takes a
lot less effort than you might think.
D- Using the top of the tamper's handle, lightly tap the outer side of
the portafilter body to knock loose any coffee missed by the tamper.
E- Final tamp using about 25 to 30 pounds of force.
F- Turn the portafilter upside down over the doser to eliminate any
loose coffee. This also tests your tamping efforts to be sure that the
coffee is full and evenly compacted and stuck in the basket. Every
once in a while (about 1 in 75 or so) I have one fall back into the
If you have not used a scale to measure your tamp before I highly
recommend doing so to get a feel for this tamping force. It is a lot
less force than most people think. I have found that the 'lighter'
tamp gives a better extraction because of the finer grind that it
necessitates (as opposed to a 35 or 40 pound tamp).
Although the procedure sounds time consuming, after some practice it
becomes fast and easy, and helps to give more consistent results by
eliminating (or lessening) one variable. This is particularly true for
the home barrista who probably makes fewer espressi in a month or two
than a professional barrista makes in a day.
Additionally, see my instructions on backflushing on my website...
Randy "another grasshopper" G.
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