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Hello from Bulgaria


blazarov
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Hello,

After 6 months of lurking around I decided to introduce myself. I have read tons of information around, mostly on technical grinder/machines topics. Except this forum, i enjoy reading Home-Barista, but i dont think i have much to contribute there. I would also like to benefit from using the "For Sale/Wanted" sections. I noticed that there are quite a few active people in Scotland. I have relatives in Edinburgh and we are traveling back and forth.

 

My name is Borislav and I live in Sofia, Bulgaria.

It's been 6 months since I entered the world of high quality espresso at home and this has been quite a journey and learning curve.

I started with brand new Silvia and Eureka Mignon. As everybody is well aware the Silvia is quite unforgiving for newbies, so i have had first few weeks of awful espresso, but i am happy i persisted in researching and trying, until i finally figured out the critical requirements for good espresso with my gear - consistency and careful puck preparation.

 

Now i can confidently say that ~19 out of 20 shots are very very good. Of course that comes at a cost with this level of equipment - around 5 minutes per shot of temp surfing, weighing, WDT, etc.. But its bearable for 2 persons x 1 espresso during weekdays and several during weekends.

Me and my wife drink straight espressos only, leaning towards double ristretto range. My usual recipe is 18g in/36-45g out in ~30sec (2-2.5:1 brew ratio) using VST 18g basket which works exceptionally well for me.

6 months already in, not a single milk based drink done and not looking forward to them.

 

I am currently at the stage where I really enjoy switching between several types of coffees, but single dosing ruins my well-established routine for consistency :) It works, but the additional time and fuss that it involves is just enough to make me NOT do it.

 

Recently i purchased a humble second hand setup for my office as well (~25 people IT company) - ~ 20 year old Brasilia Lady + Mazzer Super Jolly. I have carefully refurbished them and did the usual upgrades - OPV for Brasilia and Doserless mod + Auber timer for the SJ. In theory I expect at least on par performance from the office setup, but still i get better quality and better consistency from the home setup. I am also installing PIDs for brew temp control on both machines in the next few days - still waiting for some parts.

 

(Un)fortunately, apart from the espresso drink itself i very much like the actual gear (grinders and espresso machines), so with so much to read from so many like-minded people around upgradetitus is inevitable :)

Not that I NEED it that much, but I WANT and i plan to make a step up with my setup. I will start with the grinder with either used big flat - Major or Ceado E37S or Niche Zero.

 

After the grinder upgrade i would like to upgrade the Silvia to something more fancy and more prosumer oriented. I have yet to decide if i go "all-in" with pressure profiling E61 such as Lelit Bianca or similar with the hope not thinking for upgrade in the next few years, or i get some "intermediate" SBDU E61 machine (e.g. Bezerra Unica) with the clear understanding that in just a few months upgradetitus will be back and i will need to scratch the itch again :)

Thanks and best regards.

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Hi Stanic,

I have bought the most common chinnese XMT7100 PID which looks exactly like the Auber one with 1 line display. Probably the most common choice for DIY-ers. In fact it is said that Auber use the same chinnese hardware with minor proprietary hardware mods and a custom firmware. Nevertheless, the custom firmware and hardware is needed for the extra features - "pre-infusion", shot timer, etc. that i dont need anyways.

 

The PID install itself is not a big deal and there is more than enough information on this and other coffee forums, so i will not get in details for it.

However I believe i have found solution for two common challenges on PID installation on late Rancilio Silvia that are worth sharing:

1. Project box for auber like installation: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1pcs-lot-Sand-blasting-surface-extruded-aluminum-enclosure-6063-T5-injected-aluminum-junction-box-63-37/32767260549.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.10c04c4dXbwTyU

I have ordered that one and i can confirm the quality is very high and (height, width) dimensions fit perfectly for auber like installation - beside the group head. Needs cutting to reduce length and ofcourse cutting the face panel for the PID itself.

 

2. Temperature sensor. This is tricky for late Rancilio Silvia, because the boiler lacks threaded thermowell like on the older (pre-2015?) versions and the Gaggia Classic, which is the best and most common solution. In theory the thermowell allows the sensor to be closer to the actual hot water that we're measuring, providing more precise and faster reacting measurement and easier mounting. Older silvias (also Gaggia Classic and Brasilia Club/Lady) use a M4 threaded thermostat that you can directly replace with RTD PT100 or K-Type thermocouple sensor for the PID. However the late Silvia uses flat bottom thermostat and to add reliable and precise sensor for the PID you have to chose the proper sensor and mounting. Auber sells plug&play sensor with the same form factor as the original flat thermostat, but it is quite expensive to source from US and i've heard it is very fragile.

I prefer to use platinum RTD PT100 because of the higher accuracy and 1/10 degree resolution and found that one to be very good fit the flat Silvia boiler:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Pt100-RTD-Temperature-Sensor-20mm-7-5mm-3-7mm-Probe-for-Flat-Surface-500mm-3-Core/32886894972.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.b6234c4dI9It63

new_thermostat.jpg

old_thermostat.jpg

silvia boilers.jpg

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Thanks Sean!

Yes Sofia is very nice place especially for food, nightlife and if you like winter sports.

In terms of coffee, there are just a few places where you can drink really good one.

Now we have also several good roasters, one of them is run by a judje in Cup of Excellence - http://www.dabov.bg

 

When you come back feel free to contact me - i will be happy to recommend you nice places and stuff to do, i can show you around, make an espresso :)

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