Anyone who is serious about making quality espresso, this is it.
Positive Product Points
This is a very well built machine. Solid metal construction throughout and very simple to operate. Anyone who is serious about making quality espresso, Silvia is worth the $400 price tag.
Negative Product Points
So far the only minor complaint I have is no way to see how much water is in the reservoir tank without lifting the lid.
I had been looking to replace my 10 year old Krups Espresso Novo. It still worked and could pull a decent shot now and then but the all or nothing steam control kept me from using the machine on a regular basis. So much so I had developed a $8.00 a day cappa habit at the local coffee house. About a month ago I added up how much I was spending each week and quickly decided it was time purchase a new machine.
So what machine to buy? I had seen a Francis! Francis! X1 in a local kitchen store a year ago and thought it was pretty cool but too expensive. I also liked the Starbucks Barista and eventually decided on it after seeing that it was on sale during the holidays.
Well by chance I came across Coffeekid.com and started reading Mark Prince's review about Silvia. I had heard of Rancilio before but wasn't real familar any of their machines. After reading about his experiences with Silvia and checking out some other sources on the internet, I called The Daily Grind and ordered one.
When I opened up the package and pulled Silvia out I could not believe I only paid $395 for this machine. It looks like it should cost more and to think I was almost ready to pay $350 for a Starbucks Barista ! Good thing I didn't.
So I plug it in, fill up the reservoir tank and grind up some coffee and try my first shot. I hit the brew switch and in about 20 seconds I pull a great shot. Great as in I could hear the pump kick in and build up pressure to produce a proper shot. Great that it had a good layer of crema and smelled wonderful. I taste it and Wow! I could pull a shot like this every once in awhile on my Krups if all was right with the espresso gods. Pleased as hell I continue to make a few more shots that all turn out just as well.
Now it was time to make a cappuccino. Like I mentioned before the Krups had an all or nothing control over the steam and it took anywhere from 6 - 7 minutes to froth. Sometimes I could get decent micro foam out of it but most times it was a mix of micro and unstable foam. I read Silvia had steam like a train and its no joke. You can froth up a pitcher of milk really quick and get loads of micro foam.
Over the years of using my Krups I knew how important coffee grind and proper tamping were to getting decent espresso. I also knew coffee freshness was important as well. When I first bought the Krups I was living in Dallas and bought coffee from different sources all over town and didn't have much luck producing any decent espresso. That was until one day I came across a coffee store that actually roasted their own coffee. I got the espresso blend and tried it out. Sure enough that made all the difference. I continued to buy from them until they when out of business several years later. Around 1994 I got my first taste of Starbucks in D.C. Since there were no Starbucks where I live, I started to mail order the beans. The coffee was pretty fresh for the most part and continued to use it all the time, that is when I actually made coffee because over the last few years I got lazy and started my bad habit of going to the local coffeehouse.
The first shot I made with my Silvia was with Starbucks coffee and as good as it tasted I knew I could have better. So enter home roasting. A week after I got my Silvia I ordered a Hearthware Precision Coffee Roaster and started roasting my own coffee. What a difference fresh coffee makes!
I would recommend Silvia to anyone wanting to make good, quality espresso. Even if you are inexperienced I would go with this machine-the payoff of learning how to use it and producing great espresso is worth it.
Bought my Silvia from The Daily Grind and promptly received it 4 days later.