Great value machine, can produce fantastic espresso in capable hands.
Positive Product Points
The Rancilio Silvia is one awesome domestic espresso machine. High quality craftsmanship is a feature of this machine. Silvia is capable of making superb espresso in the hands of a talented owner. The Silvia is solid, heavy and very well built.
Negative Product Points
The Silvia is not a machine for someone who desires quick, easy coffee. The Silvia manual is not detailed enough and needs to be translated more clearly. This machine takes a while to change from brewing temp to steaming temp, in this sense a HX machine would be better.
After wanting to move up from a stovetop espresso unit I decided to buy a domestic espresso machine. After some research it seemed the Rancilio Silvia was the way to go. The first coffee I ever made on this thing made my wife cry, however I suspected it was operator technique. Now 10 months later Silvia produces fantastic espresso and my skills using the machine have increased significantly. One really does need a good quality grinder ( such as a Rancilio Rocky ) to complement this machine and the match up of the two can produce a heavenly result. It would pay any potential buyer to read up on basic espresso techniques before the purchase of this machine, because it is probably not the easiest machine in the world to use. The manual is not helpful, it gives a rough guide but does not detail the more subtle ways to get a great espresso from this machine. The Silvia takes considerable time to warm up properly ( about 1 hour ) but there are cheats available to make the machine warm up quicker. This is certainly a well made machine and all the controls work well. It is probably a good idea to upgrade to a commercial Rancilio portafilter and to use La Marzocco baskets. The improvements made with these are great. Well I'm one more convert to the Silvia Army.
The machine was bought in Perth Australia through Mocopan Coffee, the staff there were very helpful before and after the purchase of the machine.
Three Month Followup
I still think that the Rancilio Silvia is a very good machine. However a few months ago, an accident occurred where my appliance timer kicked on and my brew button was somehow left on. This ran Silv's boiler dry, the pump needed to be replaced and so did the thermostat. Silvia has never worked the same since. But I guess it is my fault. I will upgrade later to a LM linea one group. It is annoying that Silvia cannot brew and steam at the same time, although at Silvias price I guess that's to be expected. Overall Silvia is a very good start out machine, however true coffee nerds will want to upgrade at some point.
One Year Followup
After having Silv for over a year now, I am definitely ready for an upgrade. Silv was broken about a year ago (by myself, read above) so she is really not capable of producing very good coffee at all. I have ordered my upgrade machine and am currently waiting for it. I think Silv would probably have continued to be a good espresso machine if I was not so careless. Originally she was capable of producing a very good standard of espresso. Anyway I am about 7 weeks away from saying bye to Silv permanently and saying hello to a custom order PID'ed 1 group LM.