Category Archives: Rancilio

Compare: Rancilio Rocky vs. Baratza Preciso Coffee Grinders

Compare - Rancilio Rocky vs. Baratza PrecisoWe do love ourselves a grudge match over here at SCG, and today’s contest is between the Rancilio Rocky and Baratza Preciso grinders. While they’re both stepped grinders — meaning that they have a notch configuration on the burrs so you have referential numbers vs. an infinite grind (like you find on the Mazzer grinders, for example) — they each have different cases to make. The Rocky has commercial-grade components and a reputation as a solid, well-built machine, while the Preciso gives you more control over the grind (offering both macro and micro settings) as well as the ability to retrofit with the Esatto if you’re looking for simple, weight-based grinding.

Watch as Gail shows us the features between these two grinder — including a tour of their burr sets, functionality and grind quality.

 

Compare: Rancilio Silvia vs. Crossland CC1

Compare - Rancilio Silvia v. Crossland CC1These two machines are natural competitors! The Silvia has been around for over a decade and has serious fans in her corner — from her commercial-grade components to her simple interface. The CC1 is the new kid in the game, but has inspired serious devotees in the short time he’s been around, particularly those that adore precision in their brew functionality.

We put these side by side for you to check out how they compare! Watch Gail walk through features, show off their internals and then demonstrate making a latte on each of them. If you’ve been torn between these two machines, this is a great video primer that will help break ‘em down for you.

 

SCG’s Most Popular Coffee Gear – 2012

Even if you don’t buy into New Year’s resolutions, there’s nothing wrong with thinking about little ways to improve your quality of life and that of those around you. (We know what you’re like without your morning coffee. It’s okay, this is a safe place.) Why not start with a commitment to make better coffee in 2013? Here’s a list our best selling gear from last year to help you get started!

new-years-resolution coaster

Under $500
Saeco Aroma Black – $229 Stainless Steel – $259
Compact and durable, the Aroma is a great entry-level espresso machine. It’s extremely easy to use, and the pressurized portafilter and included pod adapter will have you brewing with E.S.E. pods, pre-ground espresso, or freshly ground beans with ease.

Saeco Via Venezia Black – $299 Stainless Steel – $349
The Via Venezia and Aroma share the same internals therefore they function almost identically, but the Via Venezia offers some slight improvements: larger capacity water reservoir (98 oz), steam wand with more mobility, and more clearance between the drip tray and brew head so you can brew into larger cups. This little workhorse will keep you caffeinated with no problems.

Breville Infuser BES840XL – $499.95
The Infuser is the only espresso machine in this price range to offer an internal PID, and while it’s not programmable, it stabilizes the brew temperature for perfect shot extraction. With built-in pre-infusion, commercial style steam wand, and compact stainless casing, you’ll be proud to have this on your counter top.

Under $1000
Rancilio Silvia – $629 with PID – $879
Simple, reliable, durable. The Silvia is one of the best sellers in the home espresso market and it’s a great machine on which to hone your craft since you’ll need to be precise with your grind and tamp. Upgrade to the installed PID version for programmable temperature control.

Saeco Syntia SS Superautomatic – $849
The Syntia is a compact and stylish superauto that offers the convenience of automatic espresso brewing paired with manual milk steaming – perfect for folks who order extra-hot lattes. With Saeco’s removable brew group and Intenza water filter system, it’s also easy to maintain and a great option for those who need a little extra help in the morning. ☺

Crossland CC1 – $699 (now 10% off!)
A PID comes standard with this single boiler, which let’s you customize brew and steam temperature, pre-infusion time, and volume. We love the stainless steel casing, thermo-block enhanced steam to switch quickly between brewing and steaming, and the programmability for this price point.

Under $1500
Breville Double Boiler – $1199.95
When you’re ready to brew and steam simultaneously, you’re ready for this bad boy. With an easy to use interface, you can program the electronic PID with extraction temperatures, volumetric control, and pre-infusion duration.

Nuova Simonelli Oscar – $1050
If you think you need a dual boiler for simultaneous brewing and steaming, think again. Heat exchangers like the Oscar provide similar benefits at a lower price point. This machine has great steam pressure, a large water reservoir, and is also available as a direct connect machine. It’s available in a sexy metallic red as well – vroom vroom.

DeLonghi 23450SL -$1499.95
This is one of DeLonghi’s newer superautomatics on the market, and if you are a bleary eyed zombie before your morning java, you will appreciate its one-touch functionality. It produces some of the hottest coffee we’ve seen from superautos.

Under $2000
Saeco Exprelia -$1899
This one-touch dual boiler is streamlined and compact, and we love that if offers both one-touch functionality for auto-frothing milk or manual steaming with a stainless steel steam wand – no panarellos here. Right now we are offering a year’s supply of coffee with the purchase of a new Exprelia!

Rocket Cellini Premium Plus – $1799 Giotto Premium Plus – $1899
Hand craftsmanship, a commercial grade E61 brew head and high polished stainless steel seduce many an espresso lover to bring the Cellini or Giotto Premium Plus into their lives. You’ll be extracting delicious shots and impressing all your friends with this one.

Sky’s the Limit
Rocket R58 – $2699
You’re ready to take it to the next level with this powerhouse. The dual boilers work independently to stabilize the espresso boiler, and maximize steam pressure without compromising shot quality.

Saeco Xelsis – $2999 or Xelsis ID – $3199
The only thing missing from these superautomatics is the ability for them to read your mind…coming in 2015 (Just kidding!) Right now you’ll have to be satisfied with the ID’s fingerprint recognition technology to access your drink profile and create beverages at the touch of a button.

Izzo Alex Duetto II – $2250 Duetto III – $2495
This dual boiler has commercial quality components, electronic PID control, and the option to plumb into your water line. It’s new older brother, the Duetto III offers an upgraded fit and finish, larger drip tray, and stainless steel cup rails. Both solid performers can take your java to the next level.

Compare: Rancilio Silvia vs. Breville Infuser

When discussing small home espresso machines that can produce a great shot despite their diminutive frames, the well-known Rancilio Silvia is often compared against Breville’s newer upstart, the Infuser.

While the Silvia features several commercial-grade components backed by a design that is sometimes equated with a tank, the Infuser has features to spare and excellent temperature control. Choosing which one that is right for you is largely a virtue of longevity vs. precision — and price tag. While they’ll produce similar shots at the end of the day, the Infuser is more than $100 cheaper than the Silvia, so if you’re looking for something under $500, it may meet your budget a bit better.

In this video, Gail runs through their features and compares their functionality. Then she demonstrates making a latte on both so you can watch them in action.

 

Compare: Rancilio Silvia with PID vs. Nuova Simonelli Oscar

While these two machines certainly have some core functional differences, they are often compared by folks because once you retrofit the Silvia with a PID, its price tag is very similar to that of the Nuova Simonelli Oscar. So, is one better than the other? As usual, it’s all a matter of perspective.

Watch Gail discuss the features and functionality of these machines, then demonstrate how they perform in terms of drink quality. She also talks about why you might choose one over the other, so if you’re on the fence regarding these two models, this comparison video was made with you in mind. Cherish it.

Rancilio Silvia with PID: Shot Temp in Cup

If you retrofit a PID on a Rancilio Silvia, how should you calibrate it to ensure you’re getting the ideal shot temperature? How much of an impact does preheating your cup have on the end shot temperature? In this video, Gail measures the temp of extraction with and without preheating the demitasse beforehand.

New! SCG Parts Kits

Since we launched our new website with a selection of external-only parts, we’ve been hard at work building out kits that include parts and instructions for common espresso machine repairs. First to be released are the Tune Up kits for the Ascaso Dream and Rancilio Silvia. We also brought back the ever popular Rancilio Silvia Steam Wand Upgrade Kit for V1 and V2 machines.

The new Tune Up kits include all the parts you’ll need to refresh gaskets, seals, brew head screens and descale your machine — a process we recommend following every six months or so. We’re also including step-by-step instructions to guide you through the process.

The Steam Wand retrofit is a bit more complicated, as you do need to get inside your Silvia in order to upgrade the machine’s steam manifold and install a new steam knob. While we don’t provide specific written instructions for this, we did produce a demonstration video a few years ago that will walk you through the process.

Before picking up any of these kits, definitely read through the instructions (Ascaso Dream | Rancilio Silvia) or watch the video to confirm that you understand what you’re getting yourself into! Personally, we’ve always been able to get things apart … it’s the putting them back together again that’s the challenge.

Grinder Throwdown: Virtuoso vs. Smartgrinder vs. Rocky

Looking for an entry-level espresso-grade grinder and not sure where to start? Well, we like a grudge match around here, so you may have seen the previous stand-offs between the Breville Smart Grinder vs the Rancilio Rocky and the Baratza Virtuoso vs Breville Smart Grinder. Those may have left you wondering: How do all three stack up against each other? Being the mind readers that we are at SCG, Kat and I used a Breville BES900XL and Velton’s Bonsai Blend to put these grinders through the paces.

Let’s compare them side-by-side:

Baratza Virtuoso Breville Smart Grinder Rancilio Rocky
Burr Type Conical steel Conical steel Flat steel
Burr Size 40mm 40mm 55mm
Case Material Plastic Brushed stainless steel Stainless steel
Height 13 inches 14 inches 14 inches
Hopper Capacity 8 oz. 1 lb and hopper is removable! 8 oz.
Weight 16 lbs 5.6 lbs 18 lbs
Programmability None LCD screen lets you set grind (coarse to fine) volume (in cups and shots depending on fineness of grind) and dosage (weak to strong) None
Timer or on/off switch Timer and manual Timer and manual setting Manual only
Time to grind double shot 12 sec 22 sec 20-30 sec
Dosing Only with timer, not by weight/volume Automatically adjusts with grind; from coarser (dose in cups) to fine (dose in shots) Doser avail for +$10, otherwise chute only
Grind consistency (1-5 scale, 5=most consistent) 40 individual step settingsFinest setting: 3

Coarsest setting: 1

25 settingsFinest setting: 4

Coarsest setting: 2

55 settingsFinest setting: 5, like talc

Coarsest setting: 3

Shot performance (scale of 1-5, 5=strongest) 3: Overall, a solid shot, with the depth you’d expect from a fresh grind and proper dial-in. 4: A solid shot with great flavor and slightly more complex notes using the 2nd finest setting. 5: Shot has a great mouth feel, and you can taste more complexity and richness to the shot.
Notes No frills, no fuss, easy to use, it’s a strong performer for espresso and other coffee applications. No electric panel makes trouble shooting a breeze as your grinder ages. The lightest of the pack, this grinder is extremely versatile and a great value. It’s all about the features and accessories: portafilter holders, ground coffee canister, removable hopper to switch out beans. Commercial quality for home use and it shows. Largest footprint of all grinders, a big commitment to your counter top, but with definite benefits in shot quality.

The Rocky is a literal heavyweight coming in at 18 pounds and a hundred dollar heftier price tag, but there’s no doubt that the commercial quality burrs make a difference when it comes to tasting the complexity of your shot. I love the Virtuoso’s ease of use and inherent versatility, so it’s often my go-to for testing espresso, pour overs and french press. But like an ostrich, I am drawn to shiny objects and I wish it had more stainless in the casing. The Smart Grinder fulfills this need, and weighing in under six pounds means it doesn’t need to be a permanent fixture on your countertop – but it could be because it’s great for households with multiple coffee drinkers with different bean preferences. What would you choose?

The Race is On!: Rancilio Silvia vs. Crossland CC1

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).

 

Feature Rancilio Silvia Crossland CC1
Configuration
  • 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.
  • Automatic
  • You’ll need to dial in the grind & tamp, but you can program shot infusion and duration for three different settings.
Boiler
  • Single Boiler
  • 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.
Solenoid Valve
  • Yes
  • The commercial-grade pressure relief system uses the three-way solenoid valve for easier clean up.
  • Yes
  • 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.
Water Source
  • 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.
Pre-Infusion
  • 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.
  • Programmable
  • The CC1 offers programmable pre-infusion and wait time for three different settings. This duration will be included in the overall shot time.
Programmable
  • 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.
  • Yes
  • The Crossland CC1 integrated programming interface enables you to select temperature, pre-infusion, wait time and overall extraction time for three separate settings.
Digital Interface
  • 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.
  • Yes
  • The digital interface displays your machines brew temperature, shot timer, boiler temperature and your programmed settings.
Thermostat
  • 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.
  • Electronic
  • 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.