A Proportional-Integral-Derivative controller keeps Silvia on track.
Positive Product Points
Temperature stability courtesy of a PID and plenty of brass. Easy to clean. Compact, and fashionably stainless.
Negative Product Points
Small drip tray, no water level indicator.
I spent ten years pulling occasionally drinkable shots from different Krups pump machines and an inexpensive burr grinder. It wasn't real espresso, but I was learning. With a good espresso blend from the local roaster, the limitations of the machines were not too apparent to me. Salvation was at hand, however, when I broke the pressurized portafilter and a replacement was not available for a reasonable price. I tried to keep it alive by taking a hacksaw to the portafilter and inserting a plain basket where the pressurized bits used to be. Not surprisingly, my portafilter hack did not produce a quality shot. I was only camping out, and it became apparent that I needed to upgrade.
My better half indulged my desires to get a higher quality setup last year. I read good things about the Silvia, and liked the price, but also read long explanations about temperature surfing. I was tired of inconsistent shots, so I looked at the various offerings, and decided to get a machine with a PID installed from Hitechespresso.com. It has been a short learning curve. With the addition of a Rocky and an inexpensive gram scale, I am pulling consistent shots, and enjoying my morning routine more than ever. My local roaster's blend never tasted so good, and I'm experimenting with blends recommended here with great success.
The Silvia beat my expectations, and while it doesn't reproduce the shots I occasionally buy from a couple of excellent DC area coffee bars, it does produce a consistent, repeatable shot that is responsive to minor adjustments in grind, dose, and temperature settings.
Purchased from Hitechespresso.com. Dave has been patient and responsive to my inquiries.