1a tools

espresso machine 1atools Rancilio Silvia

When I started this blog, I did so to share all about culinary pleasures and to help spreading these. True to the motto: More of the good stuff means more of the good stuff.
1a favorite tips, recipes, plays on flavors, knowledge of how-does-this-work to why-is-that, favorite equipment – everything what I find important and heartwarming and maybe someone else out there on the web as well.
I confess that I am a research junkie, before I acquire anything I always ask others for their recommendations, surf the net and dig deep into all those technical forums.
And because I appreciate this wonderful treasure of expertise so very much, I would like to add something to it – my personal 1a tools in the kitchen and elsewhere. Time therefor, to continue my little 1a Tools series a little more regularly. After my favorite beloved knife and the grater-of-all-graters here comes a further daily happiness provider that brought finally long-awaited good coffee to our house a few years ago. Before that I had for many years the Gaggia New Baby, which my brother had passed on to me (lucky me). And what had been a revelation to my cafetiera-accustomed tongue, but at some point the aluminum boiler in continuous use just didn´t feel good for our health and so it had to be upgraded. So after intensive research we decided for Rancilio Miss Silvia. (Spoiler warning: now we have yet carried out another upgrade, but more on that another time.)

The Miss Silvia is my answer to the question: How can i create good Latte at home? It is the machine that has been with us for many years and where I practiced my latte art skills (or at least pretended to) that I had brought back from a coffee class while in New York. And this home machine was also recommended by my Latte Art instructor Charrow that introduced the five participants of us in hot nyc summer in the cool cellar of Joe Coffee in Manhattan to the secrets of tulips and hearts and microfoam milk. Charrow is next to being a Super coffee expert also an illustrator and has a wonderful website. For me please the radish wallpaper.
Important for delicious coffee is of course the correct use of an espresso grinder, because fresh ground beans just really beat pre-ground coffee on any level. And that smell in the kitchen while grinding beans! Also pre-ground coffee in combo with all of our espresso machines (yes, before Gaggia there was 15 years ago a no name and an AEG) to me has never been convincing. So since many, many years this simple grinder by Braun has been serving us just fine. It is a little noisy, but otherwise perfectly grinds in numerous gradations. The finest setting we have, for example, not yet used. Though for some time now, we keep thinking to go for a better mill made of stainless steel, yet we have not decided on a model.

But back to our Miss. The Rancilio Miss Silvia is a compact, single-circuit machine made of stainless steel in a simple design. The handling is quite simple, and in only 15 minutes heating up you can already extract a nice espresso shot. Espresso lovers may forgive me that I cannot dwell on the subtleties of making espresso with this machine. Only I’m not an espresso drinker, but I find that exactly this (double) espresso works quite well in full-fat organic milk. Since I personally avoid cow’s milk now I’m more set on strong black coffee. The crema of Miss Silvia is here as well quite convincing, as opposed to cheaper espresso machines, which often use a so-called ‘crema valve’ in the portafilter, which indeed creates an optical Crema, but hardly brings flavor.
The advantage of the Rancilio is certainly that it heats up relatively quickly (our new machine takes 30 minutes), but related to a single water circuit it cannot make endless mixed milk drinks one after the other, since for the use of the steam nozzle more pressure has to be generated. We used to make two double espresso shots, then wait for the pressure of the steam (about 30 seconds) and then foam the milk for both coffees.
A very good description of the correct preparation of espresso and great about the tricks when it comes to Miss Silvia, you will find in this wikia, the Info-Mecca for coffee lovers. For any other question you should check out coffee-geek where there are a million helpful experts and is hardly a question that has not yet been discussed by the community.

But back to our Miss. The good workmanship of the portafilter of Rancilio Miss Silvia really convinced me. Nice heavy and solid. However what may wander directamente into the recycling bin is the supplied plastic tamper that cannot approximately do the job of his metal colleagues at all. So here you might want to upgrade. With us we first used this tamper and now an incredibly heavy drafted one like this, all a matter of perceived need and wallets, really.
What else makes a good cleaning of the brewing unit and the portailer is a nice wooden brush. Of course you can also simply take a dish brush, but you should use this exclusively for the espresso machine. Now the only thing missing is a knockbox, we use this one. This on is a little smaller here. Stainless steel I would recommend, so the container can be also put into the dishwasher.

So, now you should be more than well equipped for wonderful coffee happiness in the morning and in the afternoon!

And we could as a next thing move on to the big world of small coffee roasters. Even in Germany the third wave movement has brought some change in recent years. I cannot wait to introduce my favorite ones to you soon.

Speaking of 1a Kitchen Tools. Some weeks are just a knock out. And so last week my dearly beloved Thermomix 21 broke down (yes, that machine that works it all somehow, from soup over smoothie over pesto or bread). Now I’m looking urgently for a replacement. What kind of food machine that can cook, can you recommend? I´d love to hear your tips.

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