Posted Fri Oct 22, 2010, 4:54pm Subject: Re: Blurred lines.. Silvano by Quick Mill
If you require and demand nothing less than perfection, well heck, I'm fairly certain there are machines costing $2K and up that will get you much closer to it than the Silvano. But I don't think the coffee elites are helping anyone here by picking nits about the Silvano's lack of giant killer features or engaging in idle speculation about its performance. If I was willing to drop two or three thousand dollars on a espresso machine then the Silvano would not even be on my radar. I'll go out on a limb and suggest that very few people, if any, are much interested in how the Silvano compares to an expensive HX or DB machine. I think the Silvano will attract people who are buying their first home espresso machine and have done their homework, or those with very low end machines who are contemplating an upgrade but don't want to spend the big bucks. Those are the customers that the Silvano is squarely aimed at.
I bought this machine for the following reasons: I like its looks. I like the idea of having seperate brew and steaming functions. It has a PID (a BIG plus for me personally). It's priced at less than $800. And I like the vendor who sells and stands behind it. Since I am a noobie I have nothing to compare the Silvano to, and since it is a relatively new machine there is very little in the way documented hands-on owner experience. After deciding that the Silvano had the features that were important to me, all that remained was to decide if I could trust Chris' Coffee Service. That's how simple the decision really was for me (I labored mightily over the choice of grinder...but that's another story). Yes, there is no question that I have been a strong defender of the Silvano. It isn't perfect, but then neither am I. I've made some bad coffee with it, but that was entirely my fault and not a problem with the machine. I have also made some excellent coffee with it. I've had way more hits than misses, and surprisingly very few shots have gone into the sink. Not bad for someone with just four days of expereince with making espresso.
As much as I like the Silvano, tonight I had a mishap. The one concern that I had about the machine was that steam and hot water come from the same wand. I like Americanos, and will drink far more of them than I will lattes. I didn't make my first Americano until last night. And before I made the drink I did some testing with the hot water. When you turn on the hot water, there will still be steam in the thermoblock so water will initially come out as steam and then hot water under pressure. The manual mentions that you should be careful not to use a shallow cup. I was using a 12 oz latte cup for my tests. I thought I came up with a method to safely dispense hot water into my coffee and it seemed to be ok on several test runs. I made an Americano last night like this without a hitch. But tonight I did the same thing and it blew hot coffee and water out of my cup, scalded my hands, and made a mess of my counter. It took me over 30 minutes to clean it all up. My advice to other Silvano owners is to avoid dispensing hot water into your coffee with the wand. I thought I was very carefull and still got burned. If you want to make an Americano then heat some water on the stove or use an electric kettle. That is what I will be doing from now on.
This experience doesn't change my perception of the machine. I knew about the warning in the owner's manual before I bought the Silvano, but I didn't heed it, so the blame rests with me. Dispensing hot water into a tall 20 oz glass is safe, but if you don't warm the glass first then it will cool your hot water too much and you will end up with a tepid Americano. So I like the electric kettle better.
mcKoffee Senior Member Joined: 29 Dec 2001 Posts: 856 Location: Vancouver WA USA Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: VBM DD, Bricoletta, Audrey,... Grinder: Major,SJ, Rocky,... Vac Pot: Gold Royal Balance Drip: When it rains...Aero,... Roaster: USRC3k,CCR HT, Behmor, Cafe...
Posted Fri Oct 22, 2010, 5:56pm Subject: Re: Blurred lines.. Silvano by Quick Mill
Espresso machine boiler water is generally unsuitable for Americanos, too hot, yielding a beverage too hot to drink. Makes much more sense to steam water to ~175-180f, the hottest you'd ever steam milk...Unless you have a Zoji' sitting there waiting at 176f...
Not sure I agree. For me, it's all about whether or not a machine would fit MY needs. I can probably afford a more expensive machine, but as a rule in life I don't spend money for things I don't need or just for show off.
I thought that the Silvano might make good espressos and steam well based on the advice I got from Chris. I thought it might be all I need for the 3-4 drinks/day and the buyers' remorse policy made me move forward. I admit again that I liked the geeky factor of the PID (sorry, Endo, in my world different tastes/personalities/preferences are allowed to exist :)
As a further update for my journey, today I got my 12 oz steaming pitcher and was able to make MUCH better milk. Still, it was not uniform like in a good coffee shop (there was a layer of nice micro foam & coffee on top and a layer of warm milk & coffee below). I understand that I need to give it some more time and practice... or maybe re-set my expectations from a home machine...
What kind of "action" would you like to see. Theoretically, set the temp and you are good to go. I suspect you will see more videos, but the biggest question about this machine was the steaming power, which this video did answer. It looks quite reasonable, not as fast as an HX or true DB, but certainly usable.
-Scott “Coffee - the favorite drink of the civilized world.” Thomas Jefferson
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