Rancilio Silvia V3 Single-Hole Steam Tip

When Rancilio was reworking the new Silvia, which was released in May, they tested it with a three-hole steam tip. It seemed to work just fine in their European testing labs, but when it hit the market in the US, they got nothing but grief. Ostensibly the difference in using a machine on 220V as opposed to 110V, the tip just didn’t offer a big improvement — the power and the boiler size simply couldn’t support the increase in steam expression and the resulting milk frothing was sub par.

Since the first iteration of the V3, they have released a new round of machines that comes standard with a single-hole steam tip. The steam wand is still the awesome, 360 degree articulating wand that we have grown to love on the V3, but with a single hole in the steam tip instead of three holes — which has vastly improved the steaming performance. If you’ve got the first generation of the Silvia V3 and would like to see how a one-hole tip performs, you can pick one up for just $9.95.

Recipe: Double Shot Mocha Cupcakes

We were poking around for a cupcake recipe for an upcoming party and we found this delicious concoction. Sounds quite lovely — we can’t wait to make them!



  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coffee
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons coffee
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, heat coconut milk until hot (but not boiling).
  3. Put coffee grounds into a fine sieve, pour coconut milk over grounds and allow to seep through.
  4. Whisk sugar, oil and vanilla extract in to coffee mixture. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to wet ingredients and beat until no (or very few) lumps remain.
  5. Pour into liners, filling each with a scant 1/4 cup of batter. Bake 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
  6. For frosting, sift together powdered sugar & cocoa. Cream butter and add to sugar mixture slowly. Add salt and coffee. Beat 2 minutes. Add vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.


Curves of Steel

One of our favorite methods for making coffee at home is using our moka pot on the stove — sure, it’s not technically espresso, but it is a delicious, smooth brew that is a wonderful complement to a lazy Sunday afternoon. So it was with great relish that we tracked the development and evolution of OTTO, billed as the world’s best stovetop espresso maker. More than just a labor of love for engineer Craig Hiron of Sydney, Australia, OTTO is a significant achievement in function and design as well, taking the basic design of the 40’s era Atomic stovetop coffee maker and re-engineering it for a new millennium.

The folks over at CoffeeCrew got their hands on an OTTO and wrote a great review of how it works, comparing it to traditional pump-driven espresso machines and the standard moka pot. You can also check out a few videos that the makers of OTTO have produced to show off how it works. It looks like they’re shipping all over the world, with a base price of $595AU — it seems a little bit steep to us, but perhaps it will find a good home in the market usually explored by La Pavoni/lever espresso machine connoisseurs. It is a gorgeous piece of engineering, however, so if its functionality aligns with its design, it could be well worth the investment.

Grillin’ with Gail: Chili-Rubbed Baby Back Ribs with Espresso Barbecue Sauce

We’ve all been working our ‘cues to the bone this summer in Seattle — with temperatures rarely dipping below 75F recently, we’ve got to get our summer on while we can! Because you know when we’re moping around here in December we won’t be able to respect ourselves otherwise.

Gail sussed out a great little recipe for some delicious baby back ribs to throw on the grill this past weekend, but it involved espresso powder and Gail was like, ‘kitten, please,’ so she swapped it out for 4 shots of espresso. Mmmmmhmmm. She says, ‘End result, very tasty & tender. The barbecue sauce with the espresso definitely added a little something extra. I would recommend this recipe.’


  • 2 tablespoons hot Mexican-style chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 pounds baby back pork ribs
  • 1 12oz. bottle of dark beer
  • 1 18oz. bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 4 shots of freshly pulled espresso


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper in small bowl to blend. Rub spice mixture all over ribs. Place ribs in heavy large roasting pan.
  2. Boil beer in medium saucepan until reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Pour beer around ribs. Cover pan tightly with foil. Bake ribs until fork-tender, about 1 hour 30 minutes.
  3. Combine barbecue sauce, 1/2 cup water, brown sugar and espresso in heavy medium saucepan. Simmer until flavors blend and sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. (Ribs and barbecue sauce can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, then cover separately and refrigerate.)
  4. Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Brush ribs with some barbecue sauce. Grill ribs just until heated through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer ribs to platter. Bring remaining sauce to simmer. Brush ribs with more barbecue sauce. Serve ribs, passing remaining barbecue sauce separately.


Recipe: Mocha Mousse

Lookin’ for a little sugar? This sweet concoction might fit the bill! Adapted from a recipe by Gordon Ramsay.

IngredientsServes 4

  • 100 g good quality dark chocolate (about 60-65% cacao)
  • 125 g mascarpone
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 4 tablespoons strong espresso — cooled
  • 150 ml double cream
  • Garnish: 4 tablespoon double cream, a bit of grated dark chocolate and a few amaretto biscuits, crushed


  1. Break the chocolate into small pieces and melt in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until smooth, then remove the bowl from the heat and leave to cool. (Tip: To melt chocolate in a microwave, break into small pieces and tip into a bowl. Microwave on high for a minute, give the pieces a stir, then microwave again for another minute. Stir the chocolate until smooth. This method is only suitable for plain or dark chocolate. White chocolate, in particular, is likely seize as it overheats in the microwave)
  2. With a hand whisk, beat the mascarpone and icing sugar together until smooth, then whisk in the espresso and the melted chocolate.
  3. In another bowl, whip the double cream until soft peaks form. Fold the cream into the mocha mixture until well combined. Spoon the mousse into four espresso / cappuccino cups or ramekins and chill overnight.
  4. Just before serving, lightly whip the 4 tbsp double cream until thick and swirl over top of the mousses. Sprinkle the grated chocolate and crushed amaretto cookies on top. Serve immediately.


Starbucks V.2.0 – Take Two

As folks discuss the reasoning behind Starbucks’ recent move to completely retool & rename their 15th Ave Coffee and Tea house, yet another example of the global java giant’s new approach is put on display: The redesigning of the back room of one of their Hong Kong locations to look like that city’s coffee shops from the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Literally translated as “Ice Room,” the Bing Sutt style change-up also comes with some specialized additions to the cafe’s menu to further extend the coffee chain’s connection to its local area. We love the design of the space and applaud their attempts to increase their community relevance — whether or not a face lift and menu change will revitalize their market share remains to be seen.