I wanted to put together a quick outline on how to pull shots of espresso using the Rancilio Silvia v4 with PID. There is a bit of a learning curve. But once you have the basic techniques down, you are set. All you really need to adjust is the grind when changing beans.
For espresso roasts, I stick to single source coffees and generally roast medium to dark (2min past end of first crack or through end of second crack). I have’t bought espresso in a long time, since it never tastes the way I want it to. Especially after I started roasting my own coffee. Plus, my tastes have changed over time. I’m sure yours will too if you drink it everyday.
Once I have my beans ready, I will setup my grinder so that a double tap gets me somewhere around 16-18 grams of espresso for a double shot. This is using the timer function on the grinder.
When switching beans, it usually it takes me 2-4 pulls before I can get the dose and extraction time right. I usually need to make adjustments to the fineness of the grind. Sometimes it pulls too fast, sometimes it pulls too slow and chokes.
In general I am looking at a around 220-223 degree temperature read on the PID, no preinfusion, and about 20-30 second brew time. I extended the brew time to 30 seconds in case the extraction is slow, but I usually end up cutting it off before then.
Since I roast my own beans and the espresso is fresh, I usually get a decent amount of crema. Don’t know what crema is? Read all about it here at coffeegeek