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.
Heat exchange espresso machines offer simultaneous brew and steam functionality by employing a large steam boiler with an embedded brew boiler and a dual pump. They’re easy to use and work well for the majority of home espresso enthusiasts who aren’t interested in dialing in and playing around with different temperatures.
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.
If this is the first time you’re hearing about descaling your espresso equipment, we haven’t been doing our job! We’re devotees to excellent maintenance, and regularly descaling your machine will maintain its performance and extend its overall life.
Heat exchange machines need to be descaled a bit differently than single boiler or thermoblock models, so we asked Gail to show us how it’s done in this updated version of our instructional video. Watch as she walks us through the process and then demonstrates it on a Rocket Espresso Giotto Evoluzione, using Dezcal.
It’s time to get serious people.
If you want to make excellent espresso drinks at home, a double boiler machine allows you to demonstrate both your dedication to the cause and your enviable skills. Featuring separate boilers for steaming and brewing, these machines offer excellent temperature control and simultaneous brew/steam functionality.
In this video, Gail talks to us about four different models — the Rocket Espresso R58, Izzo Alex Duetto II, La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II and Breville Dual Boiler — including their features, pros & cons and why you might purchase one model over another.
There’s a whole slew of them available these days, so how would you choose the one that’s right for you? Gail takes on Saeco’s currently available (as of July 2012) suite of superautomatic espresso machines to help you decide.
Watch her discuss features and functionality, compare how they function and discuss why you might select one model over another.
Interested in a superautomatic machine but not sure how different manufacturers measure up? We’re here to help!
Watch Gail take on Jura’s currently available (as of July 2012) line of superautomatic machines, describing their features and functionality and talking about why you might select one model over the other.
Earlier this week, Gail and Kat whet your appetite with an overview of the EC155, BAR32, EC270, EC702, ECO310BK and kMix. Are you still craving more? Wondering about shot performance, steaming functionality and other nuances between these machines? As a newbie to Seattle Coffee Gear, here’s my take on the Delonghi single boilers. Let’s start with the similarities:
Ease of Use: All of the single boilers have the same basic functionality, and are extremely easy to operate. They all use pressurized portafilters and include plastic tampers (all uptamp excluding the kMix). The EC155 and BAR32 have a dial to power on and select either steam or brew functionality. With the EC270, EC702, ECO310BK and kMix, these were updated to 3 buttons vs the dial. One push (or turn), and you’re good to go!
Shot performance: I used illy Medium Roast Espresso in my testing, and overall shot performance is comparable across these models. I noticed slightly less crema from the EC155, but aroma and shot temperature (130-135 degrees) seemed on par.
Milk Frothing: All of these models come with slightly different panarellos, which make frothing a breeze. The average time for milk to reach 140 degrees was 45-50 seconds. The panarellos all have limited mobility, and smaller pitchers work best, especially for the EC155 and BAR32. You won’t get a velvety microfoam from these wands, but there was no difference in foam quality across the board.
Now, on to the differences:
EC155: This has the smallest footprint of the bunch, but with that comes extremely low cup clearance – nothing but a small shot glass will fit under the brew head unless you remove the drip tray. While none of these machines include a solenoid valve, this machine delivered the wettest puck.
Bar 32: The retro styling of this machine is the only thing setting it apart from the EC155, and with that comes slightly higher cup clearance.
EC270: This machine marries the styling of the two previous models – with the studded metal top from the EC155, and the Bar32’s rounded lines. Crossing the $100 threshold gets you a passive cup warmer and a side knob for steam control.
EC702: Stainless steel casing sets this machine apart, and it has the largest footprint of the group. It also delivered the driest puck!
ECO310BK: If you want rounder lines, a passive cup warmer and a monster drip tray, this is your best bet.
kMix: Its compact design packs a punch with great cup clearance, shorter recovery time between shots and nice build quality. This model also has an upgraded portafilter with rubberized grip.
So, after all this testing, which single boiler would come home with me? It mostly boils down to aesthetics and space. With little counter space to spare, I’m sold on the kMix’s small footprint and cup warmer. For under $200, I’d place my bet on the EC702, but I’m a sucker for stainless and straight lines.
We asked Gail to set these guys up and give us a side-by-side feature set comparison between the EC155, BAR32, EC270, EC702, ECO310BK and kMix. Watch as she breaks it all down into wonderful, bite-sized pieces.
In follow-up to our recent post on gear you can easily take on the open trail, Gail gives us her recommendations for what coffee accoutrement she recommends for back country excursions.