[Homeroast] Espresso advice
sandraandina at mac.com
Fri Jan 8 16:25:39 CST 2010
I would recommend--if you had to choose between one and the other--springing for a great grinder if you can afford it, rather than a Silvia or even a heat-exchanger machine right now. The grinder will make a bigger difference in the quality of your shots. What advantage the Silvia gave me over the Crapesso Ultima was greater steaming capacity, control over tamp and dosage, and ability to keep my machine squeaky-clean. Going up to a heat exchanger machine (as I later did with first a Pasquini Livia 90A and then, after it irreparably broke, a La Cora--a rebadged tricked out Andreja Premium) buys you an easier and more reliably repeatable espresso and steaming experience while still maintaining full control: much less temp-surfing, and limitless steam and hot water capacity (and a separate wand for the latter). I seriously doubt I will move up to a dual boiler machine, and I know I have all the grinder I need in my Mazzer Mini. But I suspect that if you sink the bucks into a Silvia first and make espresso and milk drinks for more than one or two people, you will soon tire of having to ride herd on temp and steam supply and be inclined to upgrade yet again. If you pop for a Rocky (or better yet, a Mazzer or other sturdy stepless grinder), you will probably stick with your grinder. I also have to agree that when the Silvia was $400 it was a pretty good deal compared to a heat exchanger--but the newest Silvias are going for $600-700 (and at least $150-200 more if you want PID controls installed). For that money, you are close to heat exchanger territory; in fact, gently used Nuova Simonelli Oscars can be found for that price (their only downside is no hot water dispensing--you have to steam a cup or pitcher of water you've drawn separately), and lower-end Expobars also under a grand.
Moreover, the best grinders are built like tanks and usually the only repairs you'll ever need will be new burrs. However, machines have all kinds of infuriating and perplexing ways to go blooey.
On Jan 8, 2010, at 9:52 AM, Mike Koenig wrote:
> My two cents on the matter (as someone who has owned both a Silvia and a
> Rocky, and since upgraded..). I'd recommend getting the grinder now, and
> learning a bit more about whether you want to go further down the espresso
> path before you jump into a new espresso machine.
> The Silvia is certainly a decent machine, and I enjoyed it for many years,
> but in the last few years has gotten fairly expensive for what it is. For a
> few hundred dollars more, you can get a machine with much greater
> temperature stability (both between shots and during the shot). Truly good
> shots are somewhat random and take a bit of fussing to achieve.
> If you can get a used Silvia in good shape, that might be a viable option,
> but right now at $600 new I don't see it as a good value when for $400 more
> you can get something like a Nuova Simonelli Oscar.
> Might be better to wait until you can afford a better machine, rather than
> spend $600 now, and $1500 a few years later (like I did..)
> If you plan to use the grinder for espresso, I'd recommend getting the
> doser model, though I know others on the list will vehemently disagree with
> me. The clumps I used to get with my doserless Rocky were frustrating to no
> end, and required a lot of manipulation to alleviate. Dosers do a wonderful
> job of breaking up the clumps, at the expense of some difficulty with
> On Thu, Jan 7, 2010 at 5:05 PM, Mark Jones <mpj100 at comcast.net> wrote:
>> Good afternoon everyone:
>> I'm wondering if someone could provide some advice. I've been throwing
>> around the thought of advancing my espresso setup. I currently have a
>> Breville Cafe Modena and the Jura Capresso Inifinity (Stainless.) The
>> espresso machine, my wife got it free from being at the Martha Stewart show.
>> I bought the Capresso thinking it was a nice grinder for making some decent
>> espressos and americanos. I make espresso from time to time, but mainly use
>> my Europress for the americanos.
>> As time goes on, my coffee addiction has me wanting a Silvia and the Rocky.
>> Can I afford them? Well, I'm sure I'd find a way, but then again, my wife
>> would find a way to make me regret it. Could someone please respond and tell
>> me that what I have is alright and to wait on the new equipment?
>> I dont want to jump into a large expense when I'm ok with what I have for
>> as much as I use it.
>> Thanks again everyone!
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Peace & song,
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