Crew Review: Rancilio Silvia

The Rancilio Silvia is one of our best sellers and we think we know why: It’s an excellent mid-range machine that balances professional quality with economy.

To help you during your decision making process, here is our crew’s review on the pros and cons of this machine:

Pros

  • Steam Wand – Includes a traditional steam wand generally seen on higher end machines and does not have a pannarello frothing attachment
  • Case & Components – It’s stainless steel with a brass boiler and brew group, connected by copper tubing, which results in less mineral (scale) build-up and a
    consistently maintained temperature throughout extraction
  • 3-Way Pressure Release Valve – After you pull your shot, this valve will release the steam and dry the espresso in the portafilter, resulting in a dry ‘puck’ that is less messy to dispose
Cons
  • Requires a Quality Burr Grinder – As with all non-pressurized espresso machines, consistently ground
    espresso is required; some low-end grinders can’t grind evenly enough, which can result in frustration when first using a Rancilio Silvia
  • Single Boiler – Since brew temperature and steaming temperature are different, using a single boiler means you’ll have to switch back and forth between these temperatures
  • Poor Pod Adapter – We have received many returns of the Rancilio’s pod adapter with reports that it doesn’t work very well and doesn’t allow you to switch easily between grounds and pods without uninstalling the adapter

Get Involved with Sustainable Coffee

Have you ever thought about taking a volunteer vacation? You know the kind, where you give a little while you get a little? Earthwatch has some of the most amazing working vacations available, all concentrated on working with scientists and researchers to measure, examine, explore and understand nature and our place within it.

If you’re a coffee connoisseur, planning a trip to learn about how you can help in the development of sustainable coffee agriculture could bring more meaning — and adventure! — to your daily mug. Earthwatch offers a 15-day expedition in Costa Rica where you assist in field experiments to improve the ecological sustainability of shade-grown coffee. The research station is located in one of our favorite spots on earth — the breathtaking Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve — and involves hiking to different coffee plantations and collecting data for the experiment. They currently have stints planned for the first half of this December, or a few next year in March, July and November.

Please let us know if you choose to go — we’d love to hear all about your experience!

New! Coffee: Scrumptious Drinks & Treats

Irish Coffee Tart or Profiteroles with Coffee Ice Cream & Warm Chocolate Sauce? Who can choose? We certainly can’t — and now, we don’t have to!

We love Betty Rosbottom’s elegant and treat-filled book Coffee: Scrumptious Drinks & Treats so much, we just had to offer it in the shop. We highly recommend adding this book to your kitchen’s library; it’s chock full of wonderful espresso-inspired recipes that will keep you, your friends and family sufficiently sweetened.

How To: Boiler Draining

If you’re planning on transporting or storing your machine, it’s important that you drain the boiler of any residual water from the last use. The main reason is so that it doesn’t freeze, expand and damage the internal components.

Here’s a guide on how you can drain your boiler before you store or ship it. This care tip is essential to the longevity of your machine, so don’t skip it!

Recipe: Chocolate Raspberry Cappuccino

Oh, my.

Drink your dessert first with the delicious Chocolate Raspberry Cappuccino! This delightful cuppa joe is sumptuous, sweet and seriously stimulating.

Featuring two kinds of chocolate sauce, raspberry syrup, espresso and your favorite frothy milk, this cappuccino turns an afternoon pick-me-up into a celebration.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine sauces, syrup and espresso in 12oz mug. Stir until well combined.
  2. Pour steamed milk into mug; stir to combine.
  3. Top with froth from steamed milk.
  4. Garnish with Monin Dark Chocolate Sauce.