The Best machine for the money by far. If you cant afford a new one then get a used Silvia.
Positive Product Points
Excellent espresso. Built to last. Stainless steel looks great. Large brass boiler, Commercial size brass portafilter, 3 way valve to release pressure and back flush as required. Quailty parts. Easy to fix if required.
Negative Product Points
The frame is cast iron and will rust badly if paint is chipped. The steam valve on this 2 year old machine leaks. $25 to replace, or $6 for o-rings to rebuild. The screw which holds the brew screen can stick and become impossible to remove with a screw driver if not removed on a regular basis. Water reservoir could be bigger.
This review is of a Silvia that I bought used, from an alt.coffee and coffee geek poster. It is in fact the same machine that is the first Silvia in the list of reviews here at Coffee Geek! I bought it from David Strom, the original owner and reviewer. The machine is still going strong after two years of daily use by him.
First things first, the espresso that this machine produces when coupled with fresh beans and a capable grinder is fantastic, and better than any I have had at a coffee shop.
The machine is pure quality, all the parts are of very good quality.
This machine is built to last. It is also built to be repaired if it breaks, it is easy to disassemble if required and parts are available at reasonable prices to replace if needed.
After 2 years of daily use by the previous owner this Silvia is still going strong. The only defects this machine had when I bought it were: 1) a leaky steam valve, ($25 to replace or $6 for o-rings to rebuild) 2) a stuck screw for the brew screen, (I had to destroy the brew screen to get screw out) 3) and a rusty frame below the drip dray, caused by the steam and water corroding the iron frame where it had been chipped and scratched by the Stainless drip tray and cover. (I have scraped the rust off, and intend to wire brush and repaint the affected areas. None of the affected areas are visible with the Stainless Steel drip tray and cover in place)
All these signs of age and intensive use are easy and inexpensive to repair and the Silvia will be as good as new.
This Silvia has many more years of use left in her.
If you are looking for a first pump espresso machine this is the one. I did much research after deciding to get rid of my Krups, and the Silvia was the machine that stood out from the crowd. It was the cheapest machine that had all of the minimum requirements that I required. Large brass boiler, Stainless exterior, Commercial size portafilter, and 3 way valve.
$400 is a lot to pay for some (me included), but if you are patient and make some enquirys you can find a used machine for less, a lot less if it requires a few minor repairs.
Dont settle for anything less than the Silvia.I believe you cannot step up from this machine without spending over $800, so it looks like "till death do we part" for me and Silvia. Unless I win the lottery or something. ;p
If I had to change anything on this machine it would be: a larger water reservoir and either a less rust prone frame, or a better coating of the frame to aviod chips and scrapes which can rust quickly due to the steam and water if not painted or treated. For this reason only I gave a 9 for quality instead of a 10.
As I have said, this machine was bought used, from David Strom the original owner, user, and reviewer. David is an excellent person to deal with, he offered me the machine for a good price and even included some extras such as a blind filter for backflushing, a spare brew screen and a spare boiler heating element. David disclosed all problems and quirks of this machine before I bought it and I would not hesitate to buy something from him again.