The Coffee Stuff!
Pretty much, this is a list of the stuff I've used to support my addiction over the years.

Brewing Devices

The Rancilio Silvia
Silvia Picture The Silvia is decidedly the most popular espresso machine currently talked about on the Internet. This is due to the quality of the machine's build, its reasonable price, and its ability to be modified.

I have carefully collected information from internet sources on my page about the Rancilio Silvia, along with my own musings, since I now have one!

The Krups Il Primo Coffee Steamer
Well, I used it nine years, heavily. And, honestly, it served me well. But I finally decided it was time to get a pump machine, and now I can only describe this little beastie as "Kruppy". But, at least it didn't have one of those lame crema-producing devices on it! Foam production worked pretty well once the lame "foam producer" was removed. I was even able to make microfoam occasionally... At the time I got it, this was probably the best of the steamers. Made a pretty good cafe au lait / latte impression.

The Vaculator Pump Pot
This device was once part of a commercial system that brewed directly into the pump pot. This wonderful pot was a gift from a friend who is a coffee distributor - the pot has a small dent in the side and was no longer able to be used commercially. Holds two pots from my 10 cup Mr. Coffee, about half of a gallon. Keeps the coffee nice and hot for 8 hours, and warm enough to be good for at least 12 hours.

The Mr. Coffee Drip
Mr. Coffee Picture I have used this machine for a long time. Make a great drip, and it is perfect for most of my needs when guests are over - unless only a few are over, then I may do my barista impression with Silvia.

The Bodum French Press
Bodum Picture A must have. The debate rages on whether the French Press, the Vacuum Brewer, or the Moka Pot make the best coffee. But they all make better than average cups, and this is the exclusive coffee maker of my desk. I have the eight-cup model that is no longer made - it looks just like the one pictured here, but instead of chrome, dark green plastic. It was also about 2/3rds of the price of the pot at left... No more budget models from Bodum, I'm afraid!


The Nuova Simonelli MCF
MCF Picture I have decided to get a Nuova Simonelli MCF grinder because they are the right price, with infinite grind adjuctment, 50mm burrs, a doser that works, and fits under my countertop cabinets easily. Weight is about 18lbs, HWD of 12.2"x4.1"x7.8", 150 watts, black or red. I've now ordered mine from Chris's Coffee Service. Others often use the Rancilio Rocky, but complain about the doser and the amount of adjustment available. The other popular choice is the Mini Mazzer, but it costs up to $60 more than the MCF, depending on source, while Rocky is about $50 less. Note that the Mazzer doesn't fit under a normal cabinet in a U.S. kitchen, it is 18" tall so that ruled it out for me.

The Braun Burr Grinder
Braun Burr Grinder Picture My old Braun didn't grind fine enough, so I modified it to work tolerably well until I get a new grinder. I took off the bottom of the unit and loosened the nut on the set screw. Then, holding it upright with a screwdriver on the set screw, turned on the motor and tightened the screw (raising the bottom set of burrs) until I heard the burrs touching, and then I backed off a little, tightened up the nut, and put it all back together. I am now able to use this grinder to pull ristrettos from my Silvia, but I must use a heavy tamp (more than 30 pounds) for a proper 25 second shot. But this is better than the 10 second doubles I was pulling before modifying the grinder, even with very heavy 60 pound tamps! Note that there is still a little too much dust in the grind, so the cup has too much sediment compared to a shot done with grinds from a good grinder - I am comparing to grinds from my local shop after they ran some beans through their Mazzer Super Jolly. I hear this moidification still works on the current model of Braun burr grinders, the KMM-30. Mine is the older KMM-20 Type 4045. NOTE: You can give yourself a shock if you are not careful. In the worst case, you could electrocute yourself. I am NOT responsible if you do! You are doing this AT YOUR OWN RISK!

The Braun Aromatic KSM 2 Blade Grinder
Braun Blade Grinder Started with one of this doohickeys for my coffee, and used it a few years. Shortly after I got my coffee steamer, I managed to upgrade to the Braun burr grinder. Nowadays, it grinds flax seed and spices, wihch is the perfect use for one of these!

Copyright © 2003 by John Holder