I think that's true for everyone. But not everyone has the same needs. You, for example, have stressed the importance of steaming performance and latte art. That is not so important to me. I wanted a machine that was good enough for me to learn on and was capable of making quality shots of espresso with a minimum of guesswork (sorry, but I call temperature surfing on a SBDU machine guesswork). I was fairly confident that any espresso machine that I would buy could froth milk as good, if not better, than any stand alone frother, and that's all I really needed in the milk department. I drink mostly straight shots of espresso and Americanos. My point was that I think the Silvano's target market is people buying their first espresso machine and want to test the waters rather than folks who are expecting to make visual art in a coffee cup.
I can probably afford a more expensive machine...
I don't think I could really appreciate a more expensive machine at this point even though I can afford it. I want to develop some skill on the Silvano before I think about spending a lot of money on a high end machine. Because if I throw down the big bucks, then my expectation will be that every drink is near-perfect every single time. I want to make sure that my skill level is up to it before diving in that deeply. The Alex Duetto II, Mini Vivaldi II, and Rocket Giotto Evoluzione (or machines like them) will still be there when I feel the time is right. Who knows, by then I may decide that I don't really need anything more than the Silvano to make the kind of coffee drinks that I enjoy. But my wife also knows that there's a chance I will eventually want a little more counter space in the kitchen for a bigger machine. I don't know when that might happen: it could be never, six months to a year, or next month. We'll see. In the meantime, I am enjoying some of the best coffee drinks I have ever had.
I originally dismissed this idea because I don't think that would get the water hot enough to suit me. I was speaking with Scott today at CCS on another matter and the subject of making Americanos with the Silvano came up. He made the same suggestion you did. So I gave it a try tonight. It does work...but I think dispensing hot water from the Silvano into a 12 oz steaming pitcher works better and is safe. The water is a little hotter this way, though not has hot as taking water from an electric kettle that just came off the boil.
You may be wondering why this is so important to me. I usually take coffee in my home office, not in the kitchen. It's not a far walk my any means, but by the time I get back to my desk and settled my Americano has cooled just a bit and a couple of minutes later it is tepid. This doesn't happen if I use the electric kettle, where my coffee may be a little to hot to drink in the kitchen but it's just right when I sit down with it at my desk.
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