There are many people who cannot survive the day without at least one cup of coffee. It is tasty, makes you more alert and gives you a veritable spring in your step. Some people are happy with instant coffee, others can enjoy a mug of filter coffee, but more and more people are seeking the stronger and more aromatic flavor of homemade espresso. The most popular home espresso machine in the mid-range bracket ($300-$800) is the Rancilio Silvia espresso machine, which is the best selling machine over $300.
This is a smart looking stainless steel machine which weighs around 30 pounds and is fairly compact in size, meaning it should fit on most countertops without any space issues. It operates with either pre-ground coffee bought from the store or your local coffee shop, or you can grind the beans at home for the freshest espresso possible.
Many people do not know that coffee actually starts to go stale after it has been ground, which is why it should be stored in an airtight container. If not stored in a sealed container it will be stale within 1-2 hours, but even when sealed the coffee starts to slowly deteriorate. For the freshest coffee, you really do have to grind your own beans.
The Rancilio Silvia espresso machine is very straightforward to set up and has a clear and useful instruction manual provided. Once you have filled the removable reservoir with water up to the maximum line, you can switch it on and it should heat up in around thirty minutes ready for use.
Making perfect espresso is a fine art, which is why coffee shops use highly trained baristas to give you your java fix. It is important to make sure you have measured the correct amount of ground coffee into the portafilter, either double or single depending on the strength required, and then tamp down firmly with around 30 pounds of pressure.
To test out how hard this is, it is a good idea to push down on a set of scales a few times first until you get it right. The tamper provided with this machine is not ideal as it is flimsy and made of plastic, so it is advisable to purchase a metal one if possible. This will help you to get a rich and silky smooth crema on top of your espresso.
This machine also has an excellent steam wand if it is milky coffees, such as lattes and cappuccinos that you prefer. It is very easy to create smooth and bubble free steamed milk. One of the reasons that the Rancilio Silvia espresso machine is so popular, aside from its simple, classic design and not over-inflated price tag, is the fact that it is one of the easiest espresso machines to use, meaning that anyone can enjoy delicious espresso based drinks at home.