After a couple of years of manually refilling the Silvia's water reservoir (including a few times where I ran out of water in the middle of pulling a shot of espresso), I finally took the plunge.
I moved my espresso machine and grinder to the other side of the kitchen, next to the refrigerator. Then, I hooked up to the water line and automatically refill the reservoir. I did not pipe the Silvia's drain pan to the sink's drain, so I still have to empty and clean the drain pan every week or so. This has been a big improvement to my satisfaction. Plus, it's fun just to know that I won't have to refill the reservoir.
On my Autofilling Silvia web pages, I discuss and show how I made this modification to my Rancilio Silvia espresso machine.
Every once in a while, the blind hog finds an acorn. Such was the case when Ron Kyle offered one of his RK Drums< as a "Tradition" gift on the Sweet Maria's Homeroast mailing list. The Traditions are "one string attached" gifts where the giver offers some item(s) free including free delivery. Usually there is random choice involved. The only "string" is that the recipient is obligated to offer a Tradition of his own.
In Ron Kyle's tradition, he offered one of his custom-made RK Drums for coffee roasting. I WON! All I had to do was add my own gas grill and rotisserie. Ron sells these drums for $210 through his website.
I bought a $99 Charbroil 35,000BTU unit from Lowe's and a $20 Charbroil rotisserie. Oops! Wrong rotisserie -- this was a cheap, two-piece-rod that broke during assembly. If I hadn't already taken my Dremel to the prongs on the locking collars, I would have taken it back. The $30 "premium rotisserie" was the right choice for starting. Ron also makes a high-speed 57rpm motor assembly for your grill, which is supposed to give you a more even roast and less chaff (it breaks it up).
My RK Drum pages discuss my beginning steps along that process. Watch it for more development in the near future. At this point, I have my 57 RPM motor assembly built, operational, and can easily make fantastic coffee. My Hottop will soon be retired and will probably be listed on eBay, unless someone contacts me first!
After reading about the "crotchless", a.k.a. "naked", a.k.a. bottomless portafilter in the newsgroup alt.coffee and on the Coffeegeek website and seeing all the pictures that were being posted, I was intrigued. With a birthday coming soon, I knew just what I wanted. I ordered a "bottomless" portafilter for my Rancilio Silvia from Home-Espresso.com. As soon as it arrived, I put it to use creating wonderful espresso shots. In the picture, the espresso is just starting to flow. Notice the droplets at the bottom of the streams. The streams converge to a single, larger stream very quickly, rich with gleaming crema.
The espresso from the bottomless portafilter has a much better texture, much more crema, much more "mouth-feel" and much more aftertaste.
Copyright © 2004-2006 Terry A. Stockdale