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Rancilio S-Series - James Christopher's Review
Posted: June 22, 2003, 10:17am
review rating: 6.4
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Rancilio S-Series
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More About This Product
Arrow The Rancilio S-Series has 9 Reviews
Arrow The Rancilio S-Series has been rated 9.31 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Rancilio S-Series reviews have been viewed 78,311 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Baron Von spuma 9.00
Byron Ala 9.00
Jesse Imbach 7.16
Joshua Terrill 7.00
James Christopher 6.42

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 9.8
Product Reviewed: S-27
Manufacturer: Rancilio Quality: 10
Average Price: Varies Usability: 10
Price Paid: $0.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: E-bay Aesthetics 10
Owned for: 1 month Overall 10
Writer's Expertise: Aficionado Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: You name it
Bottom Line: Expensive but is well worth the cost.
Positive Product Points

It is a sturdy, truly commercial unit that you can easily put in your home.  Has a procor pump instead of a vibration pump making it much quieter. Heavy portafilter and all the parts can be repalced.

Negative Product Points

The cost could be a negative for some people.  The unit is also very heavy and very big.  As other have mentioned it will not fit under your counter top.  You must have a special hose that has British threads on it to connect the water line.  It can be readily found trough your Rancilio dealer for about 10 bucks.  The portafilter is also coated in a brow teflon wich makes the oils not stick to it.   It is hard to see how dirty the portafilter is and I would rather it just be bare metal.

Detailed Commentary

What a machine!  Ever since I first saw it I knew that this was the Ferrari of the home machine market.  I previously had owned a Pasquini Livia 90 machine and while it was a good machine, it just wasn't commercial quality.  There are three things that set the Livia and the S-27 apart which I'll talk about now.  

The first and the main reason that the two machines are very different is the way that they are designed to operate.  The Livia is labelled as a "semi-commercial" machine, what ever that means, but it's purpose is for small offices and catering companies and is not designed for constant high volume settings such as a cafe.  The S-27 on the other hand is designed to make shots all day every day an the quality, construction and it's heftiness shows it.  This is where the two machines differ.  The S-27's portafilter is much heavier than Livia's, the entire unit is about 50 pound heavier, and the boiler is bigger giving it the extra capacity to steam and pull shots.  I found that the temperatures are much more stable on the S-27 than the Livia as well.  The S-27 also features a Procor pump instead of a vibration pump so you can pull shots in the morning with out violating the noise ordinance.  But it is big.  Expect that it is about the same size and dimension of a cafe machine but only 1/3 the length because it is a one group instead of 3 or 4.  

The next item that sets the S-27 and the Livia apart is the fact that you can dial the S-27 in to your own specs.  The temperature on of the boiler is adjusted by a pressure switch inside the unit.  This is very important because when I owned the Livia I couldn't really adjust the temperature very easily and had no control over brew water temp.  The water level of the boiler is also adjustable by easing a probe in or out to lower or raise it.  This gives you more control of the dryness of you steam, another important variable when steaming milk.  

Lastly, the unit is accessible and the parts are available.  The two side panels as well as the back panels are each held by one screw then they just lift off.  The front panel (by the portafilter) and the top panel are each held on by two screws and come right off.  You can literally expose all sides and get to any component you want in about 2 minutes.  When I had to work on the Livia believe me it was not this easy and when I put the panels back on they didn't fit quite right. The parts are also very easy to find.  I love the fact that every part that makes up the S-27 can be replaced, a true sign of a commercial unit.  Cappuchinoguy.com has every part you will ever need from boilers to boards he got it all.  He is a super nice and helpful guy too.  If you are a little handy you can replace any part on the S-27 yourself.  When my Livia broke I called Pasquini and told them that if they sent me the part I could handle repairing it but the Tech was not to happy with that idea.  I also looked to try and find the part myself but there where no companys I found that sold Pasquini parts to the public.

All in all, I went trough hell getting this machine as I will talk about in Buying Experiences, but I love it.  It is fun and such a joy to use.  I get up every day and look forward to pulling my morning shot on it.  It is expensive but believe me well worth it's cost.  Remember to look on E-bay as they come around every so often and usually at a great price.

One final note: while searching on e-bay I found several machines that where rewired from 220 Volts (Europes standard wall voltage) to 120 US Volts.  As an HVAC tech by trade this worrys me a bit.  You have no idea who rewired it (probably not the factory), how good of a job they did, or the new wiring schematic or wiring diagram.  In my opinion I would stay away from these machines because they are problems waiting to happen.  If you have ever worked on something that has been altered and where trying to find probles without a schmatic or wiring diagram than you can appreciate what I am trying to tell you.  Your labor time just jumped by at least 10 percent.

Buying Experience

UHHHHHH  not a good one!  Let the buyer be ware definitely applies here.  When I wrote the guy he said that they where a few dings and scratches, it had already been cleaned up, and that he would make a wood crate to ship it in.  All of which where lies.  I got it filthy, in a regular cardboard box,  with a huge dent and about 2 weeks later.  You know who you are and you will get yours! Anyway, I couldn't make any comments on E-bay because I had bought it after the auction was over.  My major point I am trying to make is that e-bay pictures do no justice.  Be sceptical and ask a lot of questions.  Demand to know a complete list of major flaws or mechanical problems before buying to avoid needless frustration and repairs before it's operational.

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review rating: 6.4
Posted: June 22, 2003, 10:17am
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