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Good deal?
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Good deal?  
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Jreamer
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Aug 2013
Posts: 5
Location: spokane valley
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Aug 9, 2013, 7:43pm
Subject: Good deal?
 

Hello, I'm new to the boards and a bit overwhelmed with all the great info. Just wanted to say hi and ask a few questions. Once I get all set up I'm sure all be lurking on here daily.
I enjoy good espresso and am finally considering making my own rather than $2 per cup everyday. I found a used rancilio Silvia for $300.says it has new gaskets. I'm not sure how old it is but seems in good shape. He also has a Nuevo simonelli grinte that is brand new. I think he will sell both for $500. Is this something to consider or should I keep looking? I am new to brewing my own but look forward to the challenge. I primarily drink straight espresso or Americanos, never milk drinks.
Thanks,
John
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MikeReilly
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 304
Location: Vancouver Island
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Cimbali Junior Gaggia...
Grinder: Pharos CC45 Mazzer Mini
Drip: Cuisinart
Roaster: Behmor, I-Roast 2, Popper
Posted Fri Aug 9, 2013, 7:54pm
Subject: Re: Good deal?
 

At that price the Silvia isn't a bad deal.  It will last a long time and can make good espresso.  I would consider a used silvia a decent starter machine, but one that you will inevitably want to upgrade.  One plus is that you don't do milk drinks, which isn't the forte of an SBDU machine like the Silvia.  That said, I would suggest, if you are truly serious about the pursuit of excellent espresso, that you start with an HX machine and a good grinder.  The Grinta is a decent grinder, but there are better (the Grinta has 50mm flat burrs).  If you want a decent starter setup at a good price, that's not a bad set up.  If you are committed to making great espresso I'd suggest an HX machine and a Pharos hand grinder for a budget set up (you'd also be supporting a nearby business in Idaho).
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Jreamer
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Aug 2013
Posts: 5
Location: spokane valley
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Aug 9, 2013, 10:31pm
Subject: Re: Good deal?
 

Thanks for the response. So if I understand the advantage of an hx unit is in its ability to steam milk it may not benefit me. For $550 I could get the Pharos and the Silvia. Maybe that is my best bet. I didn't see any hx units for that price. I also found out the Silvia was made in 2000. My best guess is that's version 1. Any issues with that?
Thanks again,
John
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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,404
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Fri Aug 9, 2013, 10:43pm
Subject: Re: Good deal?
 

I had a Silvia (my first machine) I bought in late 2000. Other than the brew thermostat which had to be replaced (typical failure point) and I rebuilt the steam valve once, it was quite dependable. I would call the machine a v1.5 anyway. The originals had bolted-in heating elements that could be replaced separately. Unfortunately, the sealing gaskets eventually leaked. The welding was a good solution.

I can go on and on about the benefits of stepping up to a HX machine having done it, but unless you are willing to spend a lot more, the Silvia sounds like a good deal and then get the best grinder you can afford. later, add a PID to the machine, but that can wait a couple of years. The Pharos? Might be the best return on the dollar in grinders if you can handle its eccentricities.

I believe in the Book of Arabica, 2:25, it states. "And so Pharos did lustily serve the needs of Silvia through their many years together, and they did bring forth upon this earth great numbers of little Espressi, as their offspring were called. And there was much rejoicing."

Check my website for all the BTDT details. It's been quite a journey.

 
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www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,110
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Sat Aug 10, 2013, 9:42am
Subject: Re: Good deal?
 

frcn Said:

I believe in the Book of Arabica, 2:25, it states. "And so Pharos did lustily serve the needs of Silvia through their many years together, and they did bring forth upon this earth great numbers of little Espressi, as their offspring were called. And there was much rejoicing."

Posted August 9, 2013 link

lmao...good one, Randy!

I agree with the comments made already about Silvia and HX.  I used not one, but two Silvias previously, for a combined total of about 8 or so years.  I bought the second one for a second home, then when we had only one home again, I sold the older one to a very close friend, who is still to this day using it without a problem.  The second Silvia is now in the home of my brother-in-law he's had it for about a year and a half, and uses it daily.  It's a great starter machine, if it can be had for low cost, such as the one you propose.  Benefits: it will help you know if you really want to get into this hobby, habit, addiction; if you ever upgrade, you can keep it for car travel or make a close friend or relative a great gift; you will develop skills that are essential to operate any HX or DB machine.  however, as said previously, if you know you will be going the long haul into espresso, a better machine will make your life easier from the get-go and save you money in the long run.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Jreamer
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Aug 2013
Posts: 5
Location: spokane valley
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Aug 10, 2013, 12:12pm
Subject: Re: Good deal?
 

I think I'm leaning towards the Silvia. I really do want to make sure I like this hobby before I go all in. That being said I do tend to have upgraditis ask me about fly fishing and brewing beer. I found another option as well. So I am thinking either the original $300 version plus the pharos or this version 2 with a pid, base and rocky for $550. About the same price either way. These seem to hold value fairly well so I'm not too concerned with losing money.
As an aside, what is a typical morning procedure going to look like in the morning time wise?
Link for second option: http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/hsh/3993157818.html
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,015
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Sat Aug 10, 2013, 12:37pm
Subject: Re: Good deal?
 

I believe that you will want the PID.  Do you want a DIY project, if not, Silvia with PID is a good deal.  You can sell the Rocky or use it for non-espresso though it seems that the seller is using it.  The machine could use 15+ minutes to warm up for stability with or without the PID.  Some put them on timers appropriate for heavy watts/amps or turn it on and then shower and get ready so that is is ready to go when you are.  Grind, pull the espresso with or without steam and a little clean up.

DIY PID project for around $50 - $100 as a ballpark.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,404
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Sat Aug 10, 2013, 2:29pm
Subject: Re: Good deal?
 

Jreamer Said:

I think I'm leaning towards .... this version 2 with a pid, base and rocky for $550. About the same price either way. These seem to hold value fairly well so I'm not too concerned with losing money.

Posted August 10, 2013 link

Go for it. It looks well cared for, and if they have been using soft water it should be great. Turn teh steam wand and it should feel smooth. Ask the seller to heat it up before your arrival, and then just hope you aren't the only person interested. If you get it, save up some $$, sell the Rocky in a year, and get a better grinder if you feel like you will be in this for a while.

As an aside, what is a typical morning procedure going to look like in the morning time wise?

Get up turn on Silvia, get dressed, etc, (the four esses), giving Silvia about 30 minutes to heat up. After that, with practice, you should be able to make two cappuccino in  about fifteen minutes including clean up.

 
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www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
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Jreamer
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Aug 2013
Posts: 5
Location: spokane valley
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Aug 10, 2013, 9:33pm
Subject: Re: Good deal?
 

I really appreciate all the advice so far.  I feel like I am getting things narrowed down a bit.  As far as grinders go I think I really like the looks of the pharos. I don't mine hand cranking and love the idea of a quieter grinder. It sounds like it is by far the best value grinder and capable of producing a great grind for espresso. I am a little on the fence about the Silvia. It sounds like it is capable of pulling an excellent shot, but maybe not easily or predictably. So say the pharos is $250, and my budget is $750 to $1000. What would you buy? I drink straight espresso and Americano. My wife may occasionally steam milk. Ease of use,  and consistency are probably the most important factors for me. I don't mind a learning curve but I want to be able to pull 4 shots in the morning relatively quickly. I am also very likely to catch the upgrade bug.  At least I do with everything else.
Thanks,
John
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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,404
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Sat Aug 10, 2013, 10:32pm
Subject: Re: Good deal?
 

If you read the blog section of my website and follow my journey you will see what a deep, deep abyss you have entered. One little step here, and other upgrade there, it's "just" another $100 and we can have this or that, and suddenly the mortgage is refinanced and your talking to the La Marzocco folks.

The comparison between a single-boiler dual-use (SBDU) machine to a heat exchanger machine is an important one. The convenience of being able to steam at nearly any time before, during, or after an extraction without having to go through the pull-steam-pull routine is one worth considering. Most HX machines also offer greater temperature stability than a Silvia and greater predictability which is actually more important. With $750 for the espresso machine, it puts you at an interesting price point. If you examine all the major players like 1st-Line, Chris Coffee, Espressocare.com, and others you weill see what is available at that price. But also consider the BST forum here on CG and see what used machines are available. I sold a Vibiemme Domobar Super HX machine that I refurbished (to the point of having the frame powdercoated), for $1300 iirc, two years ago. Deals are out there.

The hard part is going to be sticking to a budget, which, from your posts in this thread, is going to be a real challenge.  On the other hand, you are asking a lot of good questions before the purchase. A great improvement over all the messages we read like, "I just bought this great new coffee grinder to go with my dual boiler machine and it only cost $85! What do you think?"

 
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