Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The World's Best Coffee Makers

OK, so the title is a little misleading. You may have got here thinking you were going to be regaled with tales of daring baristas who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the java brewing contests of yore. Sadly, I am going to tell you about what I believe is the best coffee making machine in the world ... and even then I have caveats on that. The best coffee making machine in the world under $1000 dollars.

Cutting to the chase, I believe that the Rancilio Silvia fills the role of world's best coffee maker admirably. The reasons for my bold statement are as follows:

  1. It sells for under $1000 dollars ($750 Aussie dollars in approx in these parts)
  2. Despite the price, it will give a shot almost as good as a full commercial unit worth 5 times the price
  3. It's not one of these automated, all bells and whistles type machines, that flawlessly grinds, magically steams and produces terrible coffee - The coffee that comes out is totally up to the skill of the person driving
  4. It's a coffee machine that really teaches you how to make coffee. Refer Point 3
  5. It's a rubust little thing. I've had mine for over 3 years, and it just had it's first service today ... and all it required was a washer replaced and a descale. To quote CoffeeGeek, it's robust and built like a tank
  6. You can make steamed milk properly with it. None of this frustrating nerk-nerk-nerk of the nasty little units on most department store shelves. This thing really gets the milk spinning
  7. Point 6 is possible because unlike most cheaper machines, the Rancilio has a little boiler that it uses for heating the water and producing the steam, not a thermablock
  8. Despite all that has been mentioned above, it still looks pretty good in a square kind of silvery way
If you want some more information, Greg Pullman of Pullman's Tampers fame, reviews the Rancilio Silvia here and compares it with the top of the range Sunbeam. Worth a read. If you've got the time, read my post on steaming milk (with a Rancilio of course), and an old Boing Boing post on Miss Silvia.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The (Internet) Toast of Town

Those of you who have such empty and vapid lives that you have read some of my older posts will realise that I have an unhealthy interest in high tech toasters and in particular, "the internet toaster". In fact I have been posting on this very subject since 2005. So of course, my interest was piqued by a post on the appropriately named (for this topic) CrunchGear and other places about a toaster design concept that can print toast whatever you want on your thick, crisp and heavily buttered. I say make it happen, Electrolux. But make it wireless with a app that allows you to pick an RSS feed or weather report or something similar to be printed on said crisp and warmed.

Other posts on this stomach warming subject can be found here and here.

Incidentally, Hobbes Internet Timeline refers to an Internet enabled toaster as far back as 1990.