We love this little workhorse, but one of the baddest raps she gets is in regard to her temperature instability. It’s the way the cookie crumbles when you’re working with a small single boiler using a bi-metal thermostat to manage its temp. Folks have been tricking out their Silvias pretty much since day one, and the most popular modification is to add a PID, which will maintain the boiler’s temperature within one degree of a setpoint you select. We tested several models and finally settled on these by Auber, which you can pick up and install on your own or add during purchase and have us install for you before the machine leaves our warehouse.
Watch Gail talk about what a PID is and walk us through its functionality. These will be available for sale within the next couple of weeks.
Keeping your equipment sparkling clean is just as important as the freshness of your coffee and dialing in your grind & tamp — in fact, without the former, the latter will be an exercise in futility. If we have to tell you that rancid coffee oils will adversely impact the quality of your shot, we’re sorry. But if we have to be the first, then we might as well do it right, right? So we asked Louie Poore, who specializes in educating professional baristas on proper equipment care for Urnex, to give us the rundown.
First, he introduces us to Urnex’s new Full Circle, sustainably-produced cleaning products — including a toe-to-toe comparison of Cafiza and Full Circle’s coffee equipment wash.
Finally, Gail shows us the newly arrived 1, 2, Brew Kit for Espresso Machines, which features the goodies you need to keep your machine in tip-top shape (plus a bag of Velton’s Coffee of your choice!).
We had a few viewer requests lately around the weight of things, so we produced two videos covering the following questions: How much coffee is left in the grinder after grinding? How much water is injected into milk when frothing?
In this first video, we weighed out 20 grams of whole beans and then ground them in several different grinders, weighing the grounds afterward to see if any was retained in the grinder.
In the second video, we weighed out 200ml of milk (in most cases — the exception being the stand alone frothers), frothed them to the same temperature on several different machines and then weighed them afterward to see how much water was injected into the frothed milk.
There are a couple of questions that we get all the time about the Rancilio Silvia:
- Why does my machine have two water tubes? The manual only shows one.
- Why is my machine white? I ordered a stainless steel version.
We briefly discuss the answer to question one in this video, but we also covered it here awhile ago. For question two, Gail explains this great mystery in the video below.
To plumb in your Rocket Professional or Evoluzione espresso machines, you receive the connecting hose with the machine but not much else. One of the biggest stumbling blocks we’ve seen is that the end of that hose is a British Standard Thread — a fitting into which US plumbing components will not fit. So you have to, first and foremost, convert the hose’s end to a US standard in order to hook it into the rest of your plumbing apparati.
We found this adapter, which takes the hose’s fitting and converts it into a US standard. By attaching this to the end of the included hose, you can then easily attach the other necessary components for plumbing your machine into your location’s main water line.
We have a wide array of cleaning products available — from descaler to milk frothing cleaner to backflushing detergent — and, admittedly, we sometimes get a little stuck in our ways. Machines with a three-way brew pressure release/solenoid valve (such as the Rancilio Silvia, La Spaziale machines, many of the Ascaso machines and any of the machines with an E61 brew head), require regular backflushing in order to keep that system in tip top shape.
Heretofore we have always recommended powdered backflush detergent — Cafiza or Joe Glo — but when we were meeting with Urnex a couple of weeks ago, they mentioned using the Cafiza tablets for backflushing. And it blew our minds.
Yeah, it doesn’t take much, does it?
If you want to be precise about the quantity of detergent you’re using in your backflushing and cleaning your gear, these tablets are the exact amount you need. Place one tablet in your backflush basket and follow your process as normal; one tablet in a couple cups of hot water is perfect for soaking baskets, portafilters and any other gear you may have that comes into contact with coffee oils and needs a good scrub down.
So what we previously attributed solely to superautomatic brew group cleanliness is cross functional and a great way to easily backflush your equipment without concern of using too much/too little detergent.
We are squealing like a gaggle of teenage girls outside a Guns n Roses concert a la 1989 (yes, we realize we’re aging ourselves here) because — at long last — Seattle Coffee Gear’s Guide to Rocket Espresso DVD is complete!
Shot over the summer, sliced, diced and then lovingly molded into something akin to a visual user’s manual, this comprehensive DVD is incredibly informative, covering a variety of topics related to setup, care, maintenance and repair — including:
- How to plumb in the Evoluzione or Professional models
- Dialing in your grinder and how to steam milk to produce microfoam
- Routine maintenance such as backflushing or replacing the brew head gasket
- Troubleshooting tips that will resolve any of the minor issues we see with these machines
Plus a whole lot more!
This custom DVD will be included with all Rocket Espresso machines purchased from Seattle Coffee Gear beginning December 2010, but if you purchased your Rocket from us before that and would like to receive a copy, we’d love to send one to you! Just send us an email with your original SCG order number and your current mailing address and will drop one in the mail for you.
If you have been on the long lost search for the perfect O-ring, gasket, steam manifold or thermostat for your DIY espresso machine rebuild project, you’re going to be pretty excited to learn about the new parts section of our site. Admit it, you are.
We’re now offering tons of internal parts for espresso machines, easily located via exploded machine diagrams. Right now we’ve built out the parts for several of Saeco’s machines and we’ll be expanding those as well as adding other manufacturers in the future — such as Ascaso, Quick Mill, Rancilio, Rocket Espresso and Solis.
If you’re technically savvy enough to diagnose your machine, understand which parts it requires for repair and then install said parts without injuring a) yourself and/or b) the family pet, this is for you. However, if you think you need information on what’s wrong, what to buy and how to install, let us tell you like a friend: We have an excellent repair center that will more than meet your needs.
The Vario gives you a little more control over your grind than you find on a traditional stepped grinder (like its counterpart, the Virtuoso, or the Rancilio Rocky) because it allows you to tweak the fineness within each step of the burrs. If you find that your Vario doesn’t seem to be going fine enough for espresso, or that you have very little room to move on the fineness side of the spectrum once you get to your espresso setting, you may want to adjust the burrs so they are closer together.
Gail walks us through how to do this and demonstrates it on a grinder. Watch and learn!