Introduction to me and newly acquired Quick Mill Silvano Evo

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sid the sloth

#1: Post by sid the sloth »

Hello and greetings. New member, but have used this forum for a number of years in research and knowledge. Thanks to the dedicated posters who take the time to share knowledge on a fun hobby.

pt.1

In our family, (Indian heritage), drinking tea is pretty standard. However, about half of India drinks coffee to the point some of my extended family only consume or the other exclusively. Point being, most of my hot beverages have transitioned from milk as a child to tea or coffee as an adult. Entering college meant long nights come easily while sleep does not. Though I was used to enjoying my cup of drip coffee the real treat was stopping for the espresso in the form of a cappuccino at the library during the weekend.

Fast forward to my first real job out of college, I finally had a little cash in hand and decided that it was time to get a coffee machine. The push was partly financial as I learned real quick the difference between a campus coffee store price and the real-world cafe. After looking at prices, I decided it wouldn't hurt to buy a used espresso machine as the design is quite simple. giving myself a budget of $1000, I set off looking around what was on the market back in 2015.

The very first thing I learned browsing this forum and some others on advice was the grinder is the major limiting factor. As an avid cook at home, quality equipment is important. Not mutually exclusive is cost. After reading reviews and features, the Baratza Sette 270W was just coming out. Watching videos and reviews, then decided to take a cool $600 plunge on a brand new one. After all, with a solid foundation, there is a good chance the rest would come out better.

Why, the Sette? Simple, in the kitchen a food processor or blender is a staple item for quickly creating a sauce, gravy base, or lightning fast vinnagrete. These blade devices operate on a slicing philosophy wherein an item is sliced so many times it liquifies. Now try creating a liquid from a more fibrous object such as ginger or carrots and quickly, you realize why juicers exist. They also slice, but have such a large surface area and cutting speed, far less time is spent on trying to get every last ingredient liquified and not straining out the chunks. The Sette has burrs which are electrically powered with the same mechanism as a pepper mill. Rather than slicing which creates uneven cuts repeatedly, the burrs pass the bean through the grinding area only one time. Results speak for themselves with minimal powder and large pieces, and even consistent grounds. The consistency and quality are the crux of good coffee. Not exclusive to espresso is the fact that crushing releases more flavors than slicing. Try griding spices with a pestle versus blender and note the difference in flavor and fragrance.

A week later it arrived and has been my workhorse for going on 6 years now without skipping a beat. Now the Sette 270w does have quirks, but the most important aspect of any task is repetition. For grinders in the coffee world, it is the consistency of the grind and reliability of the settings. After the burrs were seasoned and the roughness was taken out after the first 1lb of coffee, the sizes of the flakes have been consistent and fluffy. I'm happy with this purchase and it has yet to fail my 4 shot quantity of grinds on average 4 days per week. Some issues are sensitivity of the scale where a bump nearby can cause the scale to detect the dosage setpoint. On occasion the electronics lock up and it self-resets. However, it always recovers and happens on rare occasion - not a concern for me.

The first espresso machine after spending dearly on the grinder needed to be more... budget friendly. Lo and behold, nothing that nice is available for under $400. However, we have a wonderful website called eBay. On there a quick search yielded me a working and well kept example of a La Cimbali Domus Dosatron from the 1980's. Ironically, I was buying something that was older than me. After talking with the seller for sanity, it was bought and shipped.

This was a fantastic machine and let me enjoy a great espresso for 4 years without skipping a beat. Though it is no longer even listed online, it was one of the first machines to support electronics for the home environment. It has 2 volumetric setpoints, individually adjustable for single and double shots. As a single boiler machine, it worked well for either brewing or steaming, but not both -- which I knew going in. Never once, did this machine let me down. After getting the right grind dialed in, any batch of whole beans I ran through the grinder required slight adjustment to yield a fantastic espresso. Complete with crema on top. As the years went by, I was able to profile the flavor of my cup by timing the extraction flavors by catching the flavors in my cup and letting rest go to drain.

When suddenly out of nowhere.... Click. Kitchen GFCI just tripped. Now my enjoyment of coffee stems partly as professional. My background in process automation means that anything that moves, makes noise, and repeats is my wheelhouse. It also means that I understand electricity and that breakers do not trip for no reason. After fussing about, the sad realization was my boiler had a hairline crack. This meant I was not building the full 9 bars of pressure which I began to notice as there was less creme as of late and why it seemed like there was an odd drip from inside the housing that was never there before. In short, that old workhorse was torn apart, dutifully cleaned, prepared with new hoses and kept aside for the day I met someone crafty enough to create a new boiler for me.

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sid the sloth (original poster)

#2: Post by sid the sloth (original poster) »

Continued...

For a year, I decided that I didn't need one as I had a South Indian Filter Coffee maker. Do a search - it is wonderful and less expensive. Using my grinder, I bought fresh beans and adjusted the grind size. Without fail, I still had a wonderful cup of coffee on-demand.

The past year with the COVID pandemic, my desire for good coffee hit a peak. While I travel for work and enjoy it, there is nothing like coming home to familiar surroundings. In a fit of mild rage and frustration, I bought a Nespresso taking original capsules. Certainly not H-B worthy, however, when I'm not home for 3 weeks, preserved coffee in a variety of flavors is still wonderful. Consistency in each cup is wonderful. Notably, the decaf selection and ease of entertaining is there as well in a low-cost platform. Yet it still didn't get me where I wanted to be.

At this point, I had other passions in life that I wanted to accomplish and decided to allocate funds that way. However, like dream cars, I have my dream espresso machines. Bit pathetic to type this, but we are all guilty of keeping something saved in a cart at all times! Many hours of research yielded 2 conclusions. Firstly, espresso is most important as if I want milk based drinks, then chai is the preferred method of consumption. And no - cinnamon does not belong in tea. Personal vendetta against a strong spice overtaking the nuance of tea, but I digress. Second, is the fact I wanted a double boiler so when entertaining, the switching back and forth is minimized. After careful consideration, I realized a thermoblock really isn't all that bad. After all, milk is already mostly water and few extra grams of moisture is nothing I care about. Quality differences exist, but they do not matter to me. End result - the Quick Mill Silvano Evo was the winner.

After a few practice shots and getting the grinder dialed in for espresso again, it is a fine machine. Polished mirror finish, simple and easy to use controls. A manometer for monitoring pressure during extraction, large drip tray, 3-way solenoid valve. The valve is critical because after using my Cimabali which also has a 3-way, dry pucks and no portafilter sneezing is completely worth the expense. Steaming performance is quite good as well. Water reservoir is tad small, but fresh water is easy to add so not a big deal. It is also relatively light weight meaning, I can take it with me nearby if there is a friends or family gathering. Dual pump means it can steam and extract at once and I can disable heating steaming circuit entirely which is great for keeping operating costs low for the majority of my usage scenarios. All in all, I couldn't be happier with the Silvano Evo. The styling is on point as well, making it blend seamlessly in to most environments.

Hope you enjoyed the read.

Cheers,
-S

SandraF

#3: Post by SandraF »

Hello. Congratulations on your new espresso machine. As you get to know your machine better I hope you post some updates.

I'm new here too, and this is my first post.