Posted on 19 January 2011 by Nate
If you’re serious about making consistent quality espresso from your Rancilio Silvia or any other home espresso machine, it’s very important to understand the need for a good espresso grinder to pair with your machine. After proper bean selection, the espresso grinder which you select to pair with your Rancilio Silvia is a critical component of pulling great shots and getting the best espresso machine experience at home or in your office.
In this article, I want to point out a few key features to keep in mind when you’re shopping for an espresso grinder. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I feel that the Rancilio Rocky is a terrific espresso grinder to pair with a Rancilio Silvia and it’s available at a fair price, but there are many makes and models on the market that you can choose from.
Obviously, set your budget first for your espresso grinder to determine which models to begin evaluating. This will help you narrow down your options to two or three that you want to research. Keep in mind that a quality espresso grinder will run anywhere from $200.00 to around $1,000.00 for top of the line home or light commercial models. By spending any less than $200.00, you’re not going to end up with an espresso grinder that can suitably match the capabilities of your Rancilio Silvia.
Burrs not blades
So this is an elementary consideration that most of our readers are likely aware of, but it is worth stating: DO NOT purchase a blade grinder. When you’re searching for an espresso grinder, you should stick to burr grinders which incorporate slowly revolving conical or disk burrs to crush your beans to the proper consistency without creating friction heat which will burn them. Blade grinders simply destroy coffee beans and ruin their flavor by heating them during the grinding process and leaving you with very inconsistent grinds.
Evaluate the range of adjustment for the espresso grinder you’re considering. Some grinders have stepped adjustments, meaning there is a setting that you lock into as you rotate through the grind range, and some are stepless, meaning you can select from anywhere along the spectrum of adjustability. Additionally, be sure to check out the low and high end settings of the adjustment range to determine whether or not the espresso grinder will be able to grind finely enough for the Rancilio Silvia.
Doser or doserless
The doser is a cylinder attached to the grinder which retains the grinds and “doses” them out into your portafilter. Many espresso enthusiasts feel that this “extra step” exposes the coffee to too much oxygen and leaves you with wasted grinds. It’s a personal preference as to whether or not you want to grind straight into your portafilter or into a doser.
This is a critical consideration. Be sure that the motor of the espresso grinder you’re checking out is slow enough to prevent it from heating your grinds. While there is no one range of motor speed to look for (it’s a function of how motor speed relates to burr size), but typically, you’ll want to stay at around 1,600 rpm’s or lower.
By taking some time to research and evaluate your choices, you can find the perfect espresso grinder to suit your budget and to help you get the best espresso from your Rancilio Silvia.