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Rancillio Silva OR Breville 820XL Die-Cast OR Breville Barista Express 860XL?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Rancillio Silva...  
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MihaPharmD
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Joined: 23 Jan 2010
Posts: 3
Location: Florida
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Jan 23, 2010, 1:18pm
Subject: Rancillio Silva OR Breville 820XL Die-Cast OR Breville Barista Express 860XL?
 

Hello everyone. I've been surfing this website and forum for the last 2 months or so to learn more about choosing an espresso machine and about espresso in general :)
I looove coffee but I am new to the actual art of making a good espresso at home. I just bought my fisrt espresso machine, an Espressione 1387 Cafe Novecento, which I found on sale at 50% of the original price. It looks great on the counter, but I do have some issues with it and because I am new to this...I really have nothing to compare it with to see if all machines are this difficult. One thing that I do not like at all is that you cannot make 2 shots at once...since if you fill the portafilter for 2 shots it takes 2 people to close the portafilter in place, which is nice and heavy, but the machine is too light and unstable. Not happy with the steaming wand either....After using it for 2 weeks, I decided I don't want to live with the frustration and the feeling of not knowing if I am missing something better....so...I decided to return it and buy another one, even if it is more expensive. I have been reading reviews, but I don't know what to choose. I really like the Breville Die-Cast models, but I was hoping to get more insight from you experts out there =). If I plan on spending no more than $500-$600, should I go for Rancillio Silva OR Breville 820XL Die-Cast OR Breville Barista Express 860XL?
Thanks in advance!
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Endo
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Endo
Joined: 26 Jun 2008
Posts: 804
Location: , location, location.
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: machine is < important than...
Grinder: !
Posted Sat Jan 23, 2010, 1:20pm
Subject: Re: Rancillio Silva OR Breville 820XL Die-Cast OR Breville Barista Express 86...
 

Silvia (that was easy).
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chelle
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chelle
Joined: 22 Jan 2010
Posts: 21
Location: Chesterfield, MO
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rocket Cellini Evoluzione
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Press
Posted Sat Jan 23, 2010, 1:28pm
Subject: Re: Rancillio Silva OR Breville 820XL Die-Cast OR Breville Barista Express
 

I'm new at home espresso making, too, but I have to tell you, PLEASE do not waste your money on a Breville Barista Express.  I got one for Christmas and am taking it back today.  The grinder gave out after less than 3 weeks of twice-daily use, and even before my espresso began over-extracting (also at less than 3 weeks of use), the shots were only fair.  I'm guessing, after doing a lot of reading on here, you will probably be told to avoid the Breville 820XL as well.  Generally, it seems, the best place to get something is from it's place of origin.  Buy an Italian-designed machine that is made in Italy.  Stay away from Australian-designed machines that are made in China.  I'm sorry if that sounds discriminatory, but...

I've pretty much decided on the Le'Lit PL041 and the Le'Lit grinder (can't recall the model #), just in case you were wondering.  I had the Silvia and the Gaggia Classic on my short list, but for the money, I can get a seemingly well-reviewed grinder and machine that should keep me happy while I'm learning. :)
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,368
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sat Jan 23, 2010, 1:30pm
Subject: Re: Rancillio Silva OR Breville 820XL Die-Cast OR Breville Barista Express 860XL
 

MihaPharmD Said:

If I plan on spending no more than $500-$600, should I go for Rancillio Silva OR Breville 820XL Die-Cast OR Breville Barista Express 860XL?

Posted January 23, 2010 link

Hmmmm . . . have you read:  
-- Any thoughts on the Breville Barista Express?, or
-- Taking back my mistake (Breville Barista Express) and need some suggestions

I usually quote a line from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" whenever someone mentions the word "Breville":  Run awaaaaayyyyyyyy!!!

OTOH, the Siliva is an excellent machine, albeit a bit on the pricey side . . .

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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SteveRhinehart
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SteveRhinehart
Joined: 27 Dec 2009
Posts: 855
Location: Syracuse, NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: 1970s La Pavoni Europiccola
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Hario Skerton
Vac Pot: Yama Tabletop 3-cup
Drip: Chemex, CCD, Kalita Wave,...
Roaster: Flavorwave/Stir Crazy
Posted Sat Jan 23, 2010, 1:38pm
Subject: Re: Rancillio Silva OR Breville 820XL Die-Cast OR Breville Barista Express 86...
 

First, welcome to CG!

Now, I hate to break it to you, but the answer is "none of the above", unless you already have an espresso capable grinder. Miss Silvia will be recommended over the Brevilles, certainly; they don't have a strong following here on CG. But Silvia has a reputation of being finicky, and if you don't have the ability to fine-tune your grind, you won't get the results you want. It's been said many times before that the grinder should end up being the major item in your budget, and the machine can come second. With that in mind, there *is* a Silvia in the Buy, Sell, Trade section (at the time of this post) for $275. It is used, but for the price, that's not a bad way to step up your home setup. It also leaves plenty of room for a good grinder in your budget, the likes of which I'm sure you'll see recommended to you by other members shortly.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,368
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sat Jan 23, 2010, 1:50pm
Subject: Re: Rancillio Silva OR Breville 820XL Die-Cast OR Breville Barista Express 86...
 

SteveRhinehart Said:

the answer is "none of the above", unless you already have an espresso capable grinder.

Posted January 23, 2010 link

Good catch!  A big +1 . . .

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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MihaPharmD
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Joined: 23 Jan 2010
Posts: 3
Location: Florida
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Jan 23, 2010, 2:02pm
Subject: Re: Rancillio Silva OR Breville 820XL Die-Cast OR Breville Barista Express 86...
 

First thank you all for the replies so far. I did just read the other posts about the Brevville machines, so those are out.
Now...I am looking at the Le'Lit or Rancillio Silvia. Gaggia Classic seems to be just as expensive as Rancillio Silvia. I should've mentioned before that I do love lattes, a machine with a good frothing performance is what I want. Also (I know it is not what you consider a quality grinder) I am using a Cusinart burr grinder, which I bought recently and I can still return. Would you say the hand grinder is a better choice for less than $100?
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crazy4espresso
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crazy4espresso
Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 147
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia, La Pavoni...
Grinder: Pharos
Posted Sat Jan 23, 2010, 3:05pm
Subject: Re: Rancillio Silva OR Breville 820XL Die-Cast OR Breville Barista Express 86...
 

MihaPharmD Said:

First thank you all for the replies so far. I did just read the other posts about the Brevville machines, so those are out.
Now...I am looking at the Le'Lit or Rancillio Silvia. Gaggia Classic seems to be just as expensive as Rancillio Silvia. I should've mentioned before that I do love lattes, a machine with a good frothing performance is what I want. Also (I know it is not what you consider a quality grinder) I am using a Cusinart burr grinder, which I bought recently and I can still return. Would you say the hand grinder is a better choice for less than $100?

Posted January 23, 2010 link

 A hand grinder from Orphanespresso will most definitely provide a better espresso grind than the Cusinart.  Do yourself a favour and return your grinder if you value a good espresso shot.
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davethebrewguy
Senior Member
davethebrewguy
Joined: 31 Jul 2008
Posts: 1,228
Location: The Brewery
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Fiorenzato Bricoletta,...
Grinder: Compak K-6, Baratza Maestro...
Drip: Saeco Renaissance
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sat Jan 23, 2010, 3:39pm
Subject: Re: Rancillio Silva OR Breville 820XL Die-Cast OR Breville Barista Express 86...
 

SteveRhinehart Said:

the answer is "none of the above", unless you already have an espresso capable grinder.

Posted January 23, 2010 link

A good grinder is essential but the answer isd still none of the above.

Under $200, the only option is a hand grinder, nothing else in that price range is even close. Electric grinders for espresso start at $200 and it's worth jumping up to the $240 range for a stepless grinder. From that rice on up you can get something even better but that's about the bare minimum.
As far as machines are concerned, the Brevilles are junk and the Silvia is a decent machine but it's overpriced. The LeLit and the Gaggia Classic are the only machines I would consider in the SBDU class. There are a couple SBDU machines that may be a bit nicer but they are too close to the price of a HX machine to not go for the next step up.
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MihaPharmD
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Jan 2010
Posts: 3
Location: Florida
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Jan 23, 2010, 6:38pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia OR Breville 820XL Die-Cast OR Breville Barista Express 86...
 

Ok, all of your replies have helped me a lot. I think I will be going for the LeLit PL041 since Gaggia Classic is $500 so if I would pay that much I would go a little higher for the Rancilio Silvia. I will also return my Cuisinart  burr grinder and buy a hand grinder for now and upgrade later with an better quality electric grinder. Now one more question: any recommendation for a specific brand and model of hand grinder? Kyocera? Zassenhaus?
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