Monday, May 12, 2008

An Ode to Silvia (Rancilio, that is)

Espresso

Allow me to present Silvia, the other woman in my life. It's ok, though - Sherry introduced us. In fact, Silvia was a birthday present over seven years ago. Ever since then, Silvia has allowed our mornings to look like this:

Espresso

Forever ruined by traveling in Italy, we are addicted to a well-made espresso. Unfortunately, here in the land of "how many shots would you like in your über-grande-mocha-madness", a good espresso is very hard to come by.

Buying a semi-commercial espresso machine, while an initial high upfront cost, has definitely paid dividends. After more than seven years of constant use, our machine is still running just as smoothly as the day we got it.

Espresso

As important, if not more important than a good espresso machine is your grinder. A burr grinder is an absolute must - and don't skimp on the price. We started with a cheaper grinder, but soon upgraded to the Rancilio Rocky. The difference was significant.

Espresso

Rocky makes it possible to get the perfect grind. Figuring out exactly what that is takes a lot of experimentation, but once you have it locked in you'll be enjoying a perfect espresso time and time again.

Espresso

Making a good espresso is definitely a bit of a Zen art - getting the perfect grind, figuring out exactly how much coffee to use, tamping it down just right. That's probably why it is so hard to get a good one.

Espresso

But when you do...

Espresso

It is definitely worth it!

Espresso

3 comments:

  1. Great post.

    I just use my Cuisinart Grind and Brew, but I know I need to step it up.

    I have heard that your system is the best. Sounds like it lasts a long time too.

    How messy is it? How much preparation time?

    Thanks,

    Matt

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  2. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for your interest! Yeah, Silvia and Rocky make a great pair.

    It's not too messy, although I usually have a fresh paper towel under the grinder shoot each day to catch errant grounds and we keep Silvia near the sink for easy clean up afterwards.

    Prep time is minimal - just make sure the water tank is full, then let Silvia warm up for at least 20 minutes while you do other things. We grind beans for each shot individually, but that only takes a few (10?) seconds.

    This pair won't replace your brewer for the standard American-style pot of coffee, but they make a very nice espresso.

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