1 Aug 2008

Ms. Silvia is Sick

Posted by khk

People who know me know how important good coffee is to me. For the last two years I’ve been using a Rancilio Silvia to brew my morning cappuccino. And that is exactly what I wanted to do last Sunday morning:

So, I grind, tamp, and install the filter. I push the button, and within a split second, I see light brown water shooting out of the filter…

That’s not what’s supposed to happen. Maybe I did not tamp enough… So, I try again – with the same result. Maybe the setting on my grinder got changed, adjust, grind, tamp, and give it another try – with the same result.

Cappuccino Cups

I notice that I can turn the handle of the filter a lot farther than usually… Did something break in the group head?

ARRRRGGGGHHHH… I need my morning coffee! My despair is good news for the local coffee shop.

After breakfast, I try to get on Rancilio’s web site to see if they have any troubleshooting instructions. The web site is down. The Italian web site is down too. Is this a conspiracy to drive me nuts?

OK, I have not cleaned the machine in a while, let’s start with that. Sure enough, the machine needed a good cleaning. I put everything together again, try another shot – the same result.

While disposing of the grounds, I notice something: The grounds are cold. They should be hot, but given the speed with which the water rushed through, at least a bit warm. Cold. Hmmm… I realize that not just the grounds are cold, the filter is cold too… and the group head too, and the whole machine is cold. Even though the “heating” lamp is on, the machine is not heating.

Aha! That explains everything. How could I miss that important clue?

So, let’s try Google. And sure enough, I find information about how to reset the thermal protection “thingy”. I open the machine, look around, and there it is: A small red button. I push it and hear a “click”.

Ms. Silvia

I suppose that means that the thing actually got triggered. After putting the cup warming tray back on I turn the machine on, and after a couple of minutes I can feel how it is getting warm. Bingo!

Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I do not wait the 30 minutes the machine usually needs to warm up, I do part of the “Cheating Ms. Silvia” process and pull a shot after 15 minutes: It’s delicious!

Cup of Cappuccino

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