Choosing a Good Grinder For Miss Silvia

Getting Started with Grinders

The range of coffee grinders that is available can be overwhelming. So let’s have a look at some of the better grinder choices on the market at the moment. This isn’t an exhaustive list, just our thoughts on some of the better grinders to pair with Miss Silvia.

Remember you put the money into a good espresso machine and many argue your grinder is even more important, so don’t cheap out.

Budget Conscious Grinders

If you are looking for a slightly cheaper grinder (below $200 USD range) the brand Baratza seems to be the best choice. Baratza produces multi purpose grinders that are the minimum acceptable for espresso. Some people experience static issues with their products, but Baratza has been working on anti-static coatings to prevent this. While you will be able to brew an acceptable espresso won’t get the same espresso quality as you would with a Rancilio Rocky, Macap, or Mazzer Mini and we’d recommend you invest in one of those.

Baratza Maestro & Maestro Plus

The Baratza Maestro is the replacement for the Solis 166. It has several improvements over the 166. The Maestro features a side mounted switch while the Maestro plus has a grind button on the front of the machine which allows for easy one handed operation as well as a side mounted timer switch.

Grind Adjustment Stepped: 40 settings
Burr Rotation Speed 450 rpm
Burr Size 40 mm conical burrs
Motor 240 watt DC

Baratza Virtuoso

The Baratza Virtuoso is a bit more expensive at $199 US, but it gets a substantially better grind than the Solis 166 / Starbuck Barrista. The main complaint with this grinder has been static issues causing clumping, but it produces a very even grind. Many say the best grinder if you have to spend under $200.

Grind Adjustment Stepped: 40 settings
Burr Rotation Speed 405-495 rpm
Burr Size 44 mm conical burrs
Motor 480 watt DC

Baratza Vario

The next step up from Baratza is their brand new for 2009 Vario Grinder. This grinder includes a completely new ceramic burr set introduces a whole new flat ceramic burr set which is a major change from their cheaper grinders. This electronic grinder is supposed to offer a wide range of grind and time adjustment settings as well as the ability to grind straight into your portafilter.

Grind Adjustment Electronic: 230 settings
Burr Rotation Speed 500 rpm
Burr Size 54 mm ceramic burrs
Motor 240 watt DC

Prosumer and Commercial Grinders

Rancilio Rocky

The Rancilio Rocky at around $349 US is a professional level grinder developed for home use and is the partner grinder for the Silvia. This unit fits nicely into a kitchen as it isn’t as big as some of the other straight espresso grinders. While a decent “real” grinder, the Rocky is known to clump a bit and some find that the burrs wear out faster than they expected. Many argue that it is worth upgrading to the Mazzer or MACAP if you can afford the price jump as there is an noticeable difference in qualty. The Rocky is a stepped grinder not a stepless one, which reduces the fineness of adjustment. Most report that a one step adjustment is equal to about four seconds of extraction time.

Grind Adjustment Stepped: 55 settings
Burr Rotation Speed 1725 rpm
Burr Size 50 mm flat burrs
Motor 166 watt DC

Mazzer Mini

Mazzer Mini was for many years the bar by which all home grinders were measured. Its heavy commercial burrs spin at low rpm to reduce the heat caused by friction and it produces a very even fine grind. Mazzer’s machines are also well known for their longevity, and while it costs $649 this machine is well worth every penny.

Grind Adjustment Stepless
Burr Rotation Speed 1600 rpm
Burr Size 58 mm conical burrs
Motor 250 watt DC

Macap M4

MACAP M4 Stepless grinder is a new entrant to the north american market has unseated the Mazzer mini in many’s eyes as the best home grinder option. Visually the M4 resembles the Mazzer quite closely and it in fact offers all the quality of it with a few exta perks. – $549 US +

Grind Adjustment Stepped: 40 settings
Burr Rotation Speed 1400 rpm
Burr Size 58 mm flat burrs
Motor 250 watt DC
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getting a grinder

Submitted by izoard77 on Fri, 10/30/2009 – 03:31.

I tried to post this as a topic on the forum but it seems I am not allowed to do that.
I had my silvia for about a year now, and i always used preground illy coffee. I never managed to achieve a consistent good shot with pre ground coffee, but some shot were definitely good. I feel ready to grind my own coffee but i don’t want to buy another kitchen appliance without beeing sure it makes a big difference in my espresso shots.
I plan to grind illy beans that I would purchase in supermarkets in the usual can where gasses are used to preserve them. I would probably use those beans in about a week storing them in the refrigerator.
My question is, will I see a big improvement in my shots by grounding myself even if the beans are not freshly roasted? Will the beans grounded after the can has been opened for a few days still produce a good shot? Basically, is it helpful to buy a grinder even if i don’t live near a trusted roaster and purchase fresh beans on a daily basis, but use beans from supermarket?

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RE: getting a grinder

Submitted by Anonymous on Sat, 11/21/2009 – 10:07.

Don’t keep your beans in the refrigerator! Airtight container at room temperature is best for beans. There is a huge difference when you grind beans yourself. You want to use coffee within just five minutes after grinding or it is already losing freshness and taste. Even if the beans are not freshly roasted, grinding them yourself will make much, much better espresso. Of course, fresher roasted beans will make a huge improvement again. You can order beans from roasters if you don’t live near enough to pick them up in a store. The grinder is really more important than the espresso machine – don’t skimp on this part but make sure you get one that is suitable for the Silvia.

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