In The Great Espresso Machine Wars of 2011, the bloodiest battle was that between the rotary and the vibratory pump. Seriously; things got real.
You didn’t hear about it? Well, it’s really not something we like to rehash — and there were definitely lessons in there for all of us. But even though we’re not yet prepared to talk through it (too soon!), we don’t mind taking a couple of pumps apart and asking one of our favorite engineers for his input on how these bad boys work.
Watch as Gail and Bill Crossland go through the internals of a vibratory and rotary pump, discussing how they work, why you might select one over the other and what to expect from them. Then we measure the sound differential between the vibratory pump on the Rocket Espresso Premium Plus and the rotary pump on the Rocket Espresso Evoluzione to learn if the whole ‘it’s quieter!’ argument really holds water. Finally, we pull shots to see if there is a noticeable, practical difference in flavor between the two styles of machines.
In the market for an espresso grinder but not sure if dropping an extra hundred bucks will benefit you? We asked Gail to compare the functionality, grind consistency and shot quality (using the Crossland CC1) of the Breville Smart Grinder and the Rancilio Rocky to find out.
Time for a side by side grudge match with two of our favorites! We’ve collected some basic feature information on the Rancilio Silvia and Crossland CC1 so you can see how they measure up against each other.
For the Rancilio Silvia, we noted the stock functionality as well as the functionality you’ll gain if you upgrade it with a PID (a roughly $200 additional expense).
Stock: Semi-Automatic. You’ll need to dial in the grind & tamp, then manually start and stop the shot.
With PID Upgrade: You can turn this into an Automatic with the PID by leaving the coffee button on and using the PID to start and then automatically stop the extraction.
You’ll need to dial in the grind & tamp, but you can program shot infusion and duration for three different settings.
The 12 oz. brass boiler evenly distributes heat, so it will reach the desired temperature quickly. It will also maintain the temperature throughout multiple extractions and steam wand uses.
It has three thermostats to monitor the espresso, steam and boiler heat to maintain the ideal temperature for your caffeinated drinks.
Single Boiler + Thermoblock
In addition to the stainless steel boiler that is controlled by the PID interface, the CC1 features a thermoblock-enhanced steaming.
Rather than wait for the entire boiler to heat up to steam temperature, the thermoblock heats up the boiler water on the fly. This results in nearly endless steam (as long as you have water in your reservoir!) and no need to flush the boiler after you steam and before pulling your shots.
The commercial-grade pressure relief system uses the three-way solenoid valve for easier clean up.
You won’t get mucky pucks from this machine, as it’s three-way solenoid valve sucks up any extra moisture and leaves you with a dry coffee ground puck every time.
Reservoir / Internal Tank Only
The Silvia cannot be plumbed but has a 67 oz. removable water reservoir. Access is on the top of the machine and you can remove the tank or fill it while still in the Silvia. Without removing the reservoir’s lid, you can’t see how much water is left in there, so you’ll need to remember to check that regularly.
Reservoir / Internal Tank Only
The CC1 cannot be plumbed but has a 2 liter internal water reservoir. Access is on the front of the machine, as you pull the reservoir out and to the side to refill. This enables you to keep an eye on how much water you have left in the reservoir.
Stock: No. The stock Silvia doesn’t have any pre-infusion capability, save for your manual switch on / off of the brew button briefly before beginning your full extraction.
With PID Upgrade: Yes. You can program pre-infusion time for one setting.
The CC1 offers programmable pre-infusion and wait time for three different settings. This duration will be included in the overall shot time.
Stock: No. The Silvia has a more simple interface controlled by manual switches. It gives you a little less to tinker around with and is fairly easy to use.
With PID Upgrade: Yes. You can select the temperature, pre-infusion, wait time and overall extraction time for one setting.
The Crossland CC1 integrated programming interface enables you to select temperature, pre-infusion, wait time and overall extraction time for three separate settings.
Stock: No. Plain and simple, the Silvia does not have a digital interface or display and takes you back to it’s roots of relying on the machine itself without you adjusting it to give you your ideal cup o’ joe.
With PID Upgrade: Yes. You’ll have a digital read out of the temperature on the outside of the boiler, pre-infusion and shot time.
The digital interface displays your machines brew temperature, shot timer, boiler temperature and your programmed settings.
Stock: Standard, bi-metal thermostat, which can have up to a 20F degree differential, depending on where it’s at in its heating cycle. To work with this, temperature surfing is essential for brewing your espresso at the ideal temperature.
With PID Upgrade: Electronic. This will override the stock thermostat and maintain the boiler at the temperature you have selected in the interface. Note that it reads the outside of the boiler, so the set temperature should be roughly 20 degrees higher than your target shot temperature.
The integrated PID allows you to set the temperature for three different settings. Additionally, it display actual boiler temperature vs. the temperature at the outside of the boiler.
We’ll admit that we have a little bit of a soft spot for Crossland Coffee’s CC1. While it may not be the sexiest machine on the block, it’s hard to beat all the excellent features for the price!
Setting it up for the first time does involve a bit of care and feeding to ensure the boiler is filled properly and will then recover/heat consistently afterward. So we asked Gail to show us how to set this little baby up right out of the box — and, thankfully, she agreed.
Watch the setup process as well as tips Gail has around troubleshooting the ‘HH’ error that appears if your boiler is not filled properly and, therefore, overheats.
You know we dig the CC1 — for the price and features, it’s a tough machine to beat! But one thing it has been missing is a bottomless portafilter, so we were very happy when Bill Crossland introduced one.
In the left corner, we have the new Breville Dual Boiler; in the right, the Crossland CC1. Both machines were released this year, and other than having a difference in boiler design, have some similar functionality in terms of steaming and temperature control.
Watch Gail break ‘em down for us — features and specs — and make lattes on each to show how their performance and practical results.
There’s a new kid in town and we’ve been asked by folks how the practical results compare with one of its primary competitors — so we put them to the test! Watch as Gail pulls espresso shots from the Rancilio Silvia and the Crossland CC1, offers them up to Rob, Jess and Allison and finds out which they prefer in this blind, side-by-side taste test.
If you’ve got a party rockin’ hard, you don’t really want to be away from it too long, do you? That’s the question posed to us by several of our YouTube viewers: How long does it take to make 4 lattes on a few different machines?
If making espresso was a children’s fairy tale, this experimentation is all about good ol’ Papa Bear. According to Kenneth Davids, an espresso lungo is 2 oz of espresso, or 2/3 of a demitasse, pulled using the coffee dosage for a single espresso.
We have had several folks ask us if some machines are more suited to this than others, but we really think it’s probably going to be more defined by the coffee you’re using. However, we still tried it out on a few different machines to see if any of them produced a better long shot than the others. Watch Gail pull long shots from the Rocket Giotto, Nuova Simonelli Oscar, Saeco Via Venezia and Crossland CC1.