Category Archives: Rancilio

Top Three Grinders For Espresso Machines

If you’re looking for a top-notch grinder, then look no further! We’ve picked out our top three grinders for espresso machines. When we’re looking for a grinder to go with our espresso machine, we’re looking it to be super fast and incredibly accurate for the best tasting espresso shot. 

  1. Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder

Rancilio Rocky

Tall, dark and built with pure muscle—no we’re not talking about that Rocky, but we might as well be. The Rocky by Rancilio is a powerful machine much like a certain boxer. Built with commercial-grade 50mm steel burrs, this is a professional machine that’s made for home brewing. This is a true underdog story folks.

This is the only grinder we’ve picked that isn’t stepless and we’re totally OK with that. The Rocky gives you 55 levels of control to grind your coffee beans thanks to ultra-fine threading that lets you go from espresso to French press without any fuss.

2. Rocket Mazzer Mini Electronic Grinder – Type A

Mazzer Mini Type A

Give us a shout if you’re a Type A, too! The Rocket Mazzer Mini is certainly the workaholic of grinders. It’s outfitted with a stepless grinder to allow you to fine-tune the grind, which is great for dialing in your beans. Once you hit that sweet spot, you won’t need to adjust it again.

The Mazzer Mini is also equipped with stainless steel burrs that rotate at a low RPM (rotations per minute) so that your beans won’t get extra crispy. These burrs are big; at 64mm the flat burrs grind beans quickly and that’s why the lower RPM won’t affect the overall speed.

3. Rocket Macinatore Fausto Grinder

Rocket Fausto

We thought the Rocket Mazzer Mini was impressive but man, when it comes to grinders the Rocket Fausto steals the show. The 65mm stainless steel flat burrs quickly and accurately create perfect, consistent grounds. It’s also stepless like the Mazzer Mini, so you have total control.

Now this is love—if you’re like us and make a lot of coffee, then you’ll love that the Fausto’s bean hopper holds a pound of beans. A. whole. pound. And, if you don’t go through the whole pound, there’s a stopper that’ll keep the beans inside so you can remove the whole bean hopper and change them out. Could you image trying to turn this guy upside down to shake out the extra beans?

We make a lot of coffee here at Seattle Coffee Gear and we love all our grinders for different coffee brewing methods. When it comes to getting the best grinder for your espresso machine, though, these three grinders fit the bill.

Pros & Cons Of Having A Built-In Grinder

Let’s talk about built-in grinders. There’s a lot of debate on the benefits of a built-in grinder on coffee machines. You expect it on a superautomatic, but what about those other guys? Built-in grinders can be found on some semi-automatic machines like the Breville Barista Express and some drip coffee makers like the Breville Grind Control. Naturally, we compiled a pro and con list for people out there weighing their options on buying a machine with a built-in grinder.

Built-In Grinder (1)

Our Top Pros

Space Saver:

When it comes to saving room on the kitchen counter, the built-in grinder optimizes every inch of your machine. Instead of having two machines sitting taking up space, you have one compacted unit. Arguably, a machine with a built-in grinder tends to be bigger overall, but we appreciate that it’s more ergonomically designed for space.

Convenience:

As if we needed more decisions to make, after you purchase an espresso machine you’ll need to search for a compatible grinder. Grinders come in all shapes and sizes and not all grinders fit the bill for your machine.

Saves Money:

We debated whether or not buying an espresso machine and built-in grinder saved money and we decided it can be less expensive to buy them together…depending on the model, that is. If you’re buying a grinder and espresso machine at a similar caliber, then it’s generally less expensive when the machine has a built-in grinder.

Compatible:

To pull off a delicious brew, you need a grind that’s consistent—and consistency can be tricky to find in a grinder! In short, you’ll cut out the middle man when you purchase a coffee machine that has a grinder that’s compatible with it.

Our Top Cons

If It Breaks:

Worse-case scenario is your grinder breaks. You generally have two options that will end up costing you extra money. The first option is to purchase a new grinder—which can be a good purchase if you invest in a high-end grinder. The second option is you have the scrap the whole machine and buy a new one. Hopefully, you have a machine that doesn’t rely on the grinder (such as the Breville Barista Express) but if it can’t be bypassed, then you’re out a whole machine.

Bulkier:

While the grinder and machine together create an ergonomic design the overall size is larger than a model without one. If you look at the Breville Barista Express and Breville Infuser, the Barista Express is about an inch wider than the Infuser.

Difficult To Change:

You can’t turn the whole machine upside down to shake out the old beans (well, we guess you could, but we highly recommend not doing that). To remove the old beans you’ll have to grind until it’s empty and waste beans—especially if you have multiple coffees you want to brew. 

One Function:

If you’re interested in brewing a pour over, French press or other brew methods that require a wider grind setting, generally a built-in grinder will only make a grind consistent for that machine. Take the Breville Barista Express again, for example, the grinder makes a fine grind for espresso shots that wouldn’t be coarse enough for French press.

We’ve heard the top concern is that if the grinder breaks down, then you’re stuck with a now completely useless feature. Fortunately for you, we haven’t seen that happen too often, so don’t let this be the number one deterrent. The biggest disadvantage, in our opinion, would be that the grinder is only designed for that machine, and not for other brewing methods such as French press or pour over.

Pro Tip: We recommend investing in a high-end grinder as your first purchase. If you are interested in investing, check out some of our reviews on top-notch grinders like the Rocket Fausto Grinder and Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder. We also recommend the Breville Dose Control if you’re leaning towards something sweet, but not too sweet.

Crew Comparison: Breville Infuser vs. Rancilio Silvia M

When it comes to purchasing a solid semi-automatic machine, the Rancilio Silvia M and the Breville Infuser both would be a welcomed addition to any home! But hey, we’re in the business of making choosing easier for you, so we’ll give you our two cents on which machine would be better for a beginner and experienced barista. Watch the full video below for the full comparison on the Rancilio Silvia M versus the Breville Infuser.

Breville_Infuser

To all those new to coffee out there, welcome! We’ve all started our coffee journey somewhere and what’s a better place to start a beginner than with a Breville Infuser? This semi-automatic machine is filled to the brim with convenient features for—you guessed it—beginners. The 54mm stainless steel portafilter has a pressurized basket that helps get a delicious espresso shot out of subpar coffee grinds. It also comes with non-pressurized baskets that would be great for people looking to perfect their craft after practicing with a pressurized basket.

Pro Tip: We  recommend if you’re interested in brewing with semi-automatics that you start by purchasing a high-end grinder. The flavor, texture and enjoyment of your cup come down to consistent grinds and high-end grinders will answer the call to this task.

The Infuser also comes with a  tamper that sits nicely up in the machine. There aren’t a lot of machines with tampers built-in like that and it’s a sweet bonus for people who haven’t purchased a tamper yet.

This machine also has some programmable features such as two volume controlled buttons and a PID. On the side, you can flip a switch between hot water and steaming. The steam power on this machine, however, is weak. Although, we think that the Infuser’s softer steaming gives espresso newbies a chance to learn how to froth milk on a traditional steam wand, so you can’t go wrong with that!

Rancilio Silvia M

If you want to brew with the big boys, the Rancilio Silvia M has a lot of the same features but with more advanced skills needed. The professional grade 58mm portafilter only comes with non-pressurized baskets—meaning you’d want to purchase a quality grinder to get the grounds just right.

Both machines have a PID but there is an additional cost to adding it on the Silvia M. The extra cost does mean extra precision! The PID on the Silvia M controls the temperature between one degree of where you set it and keeps it there, sets the pre-infusion time, the wait time between pre-infusion and brewing, and the brew time.

Here’s another hot-shot difference. The Rancilio Silvia M is built for steaming. You can see in the video at 5:40 Gail demonstrates both machine’s steaming power and the Silvia M blows the Infuser out of the water with performance. The traditional steam wand on the Silvia M will create fluffy microfoam and hot milk at lightning speed. It’s easy to see that this high-powered machine would be a great addition to an intermediate or experienced barista’s home.

We’d recommend if you’re new to coffee to purchase a machine like the Breville Infuser. It’s simple, sweet and gets to brewing without too much fuss. The Rancilio Silvia M, though, is the machine for you if you’re looking to upgrade from an entry-level machine like the Infuser. It’s built with power that an intermediate or experienced brewer would love.

Didn’t see a video you were looking for? We’re open to suggestions! Drop us a comment on our YouTube channel and tell us two machines you’d like us to compare.

Crew Review: Rancilio Silvia M

Say hello to the latest version of Rancilio’s Silvia, the Rancilio Silvia M. Like it’s predecessor, it features an all-over stainless steel body, traditional steam wand, and non-pressurized portafilter, but with some technical (and rather handy) upgrades. Check out the Crew Review video below to see the new additions at work.

Rancilio Silvia M

For those of you new to the Silvia, the machine features a traditional steam wand with a hot water feature and comes with a 58mm chrome plated brass portafilter—the same ones found on their commercial machines, so you know it’s good stuff—and stainless steel single and double shot baskets. It is a durable machine with equally reliable accessories, and we only recommend upgrading that plastic tamper for a metal-bodied one.

So, what has changed? The Silvia M has a new green “on” light. It may sound trivial, but as the machine is heating up, the orange light (directly below the green) will be on and then it’ll turn off. Since the green light will remain on, when the orange turns off it’ll be easy to see when your machine is ready to brew.

The Silvia M is still a single boiler machine, which means you’re steaming and brewing one at a time, so the two lights will help you temperature surf from steaming to brewing to get you ready to brew!

Inside the machine, there is a new the lead-free boiler and insulation wrap around the boiler. The heating element is still removable in case you do happen to get burnout, which will reduce the costs to fix it (but no worries there, our techs got you covered!).

In short, the heavy duty materials that make up the Rancilio Silvia M complement this hard-working single boiler machine and is for someone looking for control and quality in their espresso.

Comparison: Rancilio Rocky vs Smart Grinder Pro

In today’s Crew Review Comparison we have two popular grinders for you! Introducing the Rancilio Rocky vs Smart Grinder Pro from Breville. Which is best for you? Which grinder will give you the grind you are searching for? Let’s find out!Rancilio Rocky vs. Smart Grinder Pro

The Rancilio Rocky is quite the machine! With 50mm flat stainless steel burrs grinding at an impressive 1725 RPM, this coffee grinder will wow any home barista. The Rancilio Rocky weighs 18 pounds, the motor itself weighs 11 pounds. Basically this grinder can grind! Some like to compare this grinder to other commercial quality grinders, and while it is not designed for a commercial setting it certainly can hold its own.   It is operated by a simple on and off switch and the grind setting is adjusted by rotating the bean hopper. What the Rancilio Rocky may lack in bells and whistles it certainly makes up in grind quality.  This grinder is an excellent choice for all types of consumer espresso machines!

Rancilio Rocky vs. Smart Grinder ProNext up on our comparison list is the Smart Grinder Pro from Breville. The Smart Grinder pro has 40mm stainless steel conical burrs. The conical burrs allow for a faster intake of beans and as a result can produce a double shot in 17 seconds (compare to 25 seconds with the Rocky). The Smart Grinder Pro is powered by technology. You are able to program the grind time, volumetric grind amount, and the grind setting on the easy to navigate digital display. The Smart Grinder Pro has an adjustable upper burr, which will allow you to compensate for use over time. So grind on you crazy diamond!

Be sure to watch our complete Crew Review Comparison video below! Did you know we publish a new video on our Youtube channel every single day? From Crew Reviews to Maintenance tips and back to crazy brew methods, we are sure there is something there for you! Click here to subscribe and never miss a video!

 

Comparison: Silvia vs Barista Express

In corner number one we have the Rancilio Silvia. An iconic single boiler machine, ready to brew up anything you throw at it.

In corner number two we have the Breville Barista Express. With it’s built in grinder and optional pressurized portafilters, brewing up great espresso has never been so simple.

Ring the bell referee, its the Silvia vs Barista Express!

Silvia vs Barista ExpressThe Rancilio Silvia is a single boiler espresso machine. The boiler is built out of brass and has a removable heating element, which makes repairs much cheaper if the heating element ever burns out. The case material on the Rancilio Silvia is stainless steel, so you know this machine is built to last! Our comparison showed that the steam pressure is better on the Silvia, which is to be expected given the design differences between these two espresso machines. At just 9.5 inches wide and 11 inches deep, the Silvia has the smaller footprint- but don’t forget about your grinder!

Silvia vs Barista ExpressThe Breville Barista Express has a stainless steel boiler with a thermocoil design. What’s a thermocoil?  A  thermocoil or thermoblock takes water from the reservoir in an espresso machine and heats it on the fly, versus heating up a full boiler of water. The benefit is a shorter wait time for the water to come to temperature, but it is not as consistent. The Barista Express has a built in burr grinder, so for someone on a budget or with limited counter space this would be an excellent option. The Breville has several programming options, something the Silvia does not have.

Be sure to check out our full Crew Review Comparison video below! Want to subscribe to our channel and never miss a video? Then click here!

 

Morning Maintenance: Programming a PID

Time and temperature. If you break down the essentials of a good cup of coffee/shot of espresso you will arrive at two variables: time and temperature.Silvia PID

It doesn’t matter how fresh your coffee is or how expertly roasted it was. If your brewing time and temperature are not correct, you end up with something you don’t want to drink. So what’s the best way to control those two variables? With a PID of course.

Especially on a single boiler machine, where the boiler temperature will fluctuate between brew temp and steam temp, a PID will help you dial in a delicious shot of espresso, every time.

In the Morning Maintenance video below Gail will show you how to program your PID on the Rancilio Silvia. The PID’s we install on the Silvia will allow you to control the brew temperature, pre-infusuion time, pre-infusion wait time, and brew time.

Once you know how to program your machine, it’s fun to experiment with different temperatures and times for the same coffee. Each variable will bring out different flavors in your cup! Yum!

Be sure to subscribe to our channel for more videos! Subscribe to our channel by clicking here!

 

Morning Maintenance: Rancilio Silvia General Maintenance

So you have been brewing up some delicious espresso shots with your Rancilio Silvia for a few months now. Your liking the taste and want this investment to last!Silvia General Maintenance

That’s good news! (You came to the right spot). We are here to share with you some tips for Rancilio Silvia General Maintenance. It’s easy to do if you keep up on it!

When it comes to Rancilio SIlvia General Maintenance, you want to hit the big three. What are the big three? We will share.

First, make sure you blow steam out and wipe down your steam wand after frothing milk. This is something you absolutely must do every time, and immediately. Check out this video to see what can happen if you don’t!

Next, you want to backflush your machine. When you backflush, you are forcing a cleaning solution up into the brew screen and back down the solenoid valve.  Coffee is oily stuff! Using a product like Cafiza will help break down those oils, which can cause clogs if left uncleaned.

Finally, give your machine a wipe down. When espresso shots are being pulled, or milk is being frothed, things can get a bit messy! Keeping the exterior clean is just the right thing to do 😉

Watch the video below to see step by step instructions for all these easy general maintenance tips! And be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss and episode!

Morning Maintenance: How To Descale A Rancilio Silvia

Descale SilviaIf you own an espresso machine you have probably heard that you
need to descale your machine. But what is descaling and how do you do it?

Descaling is the process of removing deposit build up from the inside of your espresso machine. This deposit build up is caused by minerals in your water supply. All water has tiny amounts of minerals and over time they attach and build up. Much like cholesterol plaques build up inside arteries!

So the first step to descaling begins before the scale can build up! Using filtered water in your espresso machine is key, as you don’t want to be descaling all the time. But when the time comes, following the steps demonstrated by Gail will have your machine up and running in no time.

Watch the full Morning Maintenance video below to find out how to descale your Rancilio Silvia.

 

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Ask Gail: Is There a Rancilio Silvia V4?

We always get asked if there is a Rancilio Silvia V4. And if we were to get  technical, there wasn’t even a V3, V2, or V1!Rancilio Silvia V4

I know what you are thinking, “I read online about the Rancilio Silvia V4 with the new screw in the boiler element that is more durable and easier to replace!”  And you are right! But Rancilio never formally changed the names or version numbers.

So yes, the latest version on the Rancilio Silvia has the upgraded boiler. Which, in the event of a burn out, can be replaced much easier (and cheaper!).

Watch the Ask Gail below to get the full scoop! Thanks for watching!