This machine serves as a fantastic entry into the world of espresso, yet it more than likely will be all the machine that I will ever need.
Positive Product Points
• Built to last • Easy to produce acceptable shots, but is capable of rewarding those who dig deeper with outstanding espresso
Negative Product Points
• Industrial styling might not suit everyone • Requires moderate research and subsequent experimentation to produce best results
I find it rather intimidating to add yet another review about a machine that has seen more words dedicated to it than a large number of other espresso makers combined. But then that is part of the beauty of the Silvia - there is a wealth of information out there on this machine that is ripe for the picking.
Ignorance is bliss... The Siliva was/is my first true foray into the world of espresso. I had done plenty of online research and consulted with friends before deciding on this machine. With all of that data stored up in my head, I was well aware of the basics required to pull a good shot of espresso, or so I thought. Even though I had read much about Silvia and the nuances of her operation, I quickly fell into the habit of going through the motions and consuming the rather decent shots that I was managing to pull. After a few months had passed I was reviewing my technique with a friend. I discovered that I had more or less ignored a fair amount of what I had read. This was an easy trap for me to fall into as the shots that I was pulling were already better than most places in town could produce.
Upon revisiting some of the information that lay at my fingertips via the web, I started to refine my technique (temperature surfing and the like) and the quality of my shots went up by a significant degree. This isn't rocket science, I just needed to be a bit more focused. I am now extremely happy with the shots that I am able to pull.
The right machine for me: The Silvia works great for me as I am primarily producing drinks daily for myself, sometimes my wife, and occasionally our guests. I could see the benefits of a higher end HX machine if we entertained more. Simply put, as things stand right now, Silvia fills all my espresso needs.
Bottom line: If one is not put off by the styling (I actually like the rather industrial look with the brushed stainless and the industrial build to match), and does not anticipate pulling a huge number of shots on a daily basis, I would highly recommend this machine. Be sure to do your homework, and if you end up purchasing a Silvia, be sure to take a look at all that wonderful information available to you once again just to make sure that you've properly digested all of it. You will be rewarded for your efforts.
The folks at WLL were very helpful - highly recommended.