Build quality is superb; aesthetics clean and appealing: everything screams quality.
Negative Product Points
I'm not saying the drip tray is small, but... once that solenoid valve kicks in, you need more sloshing space. Am slightly worried about the steamer, which wiggles a tad lightly.
Well, here's a CoffeeGeek: I've had a LaPavoni Europiccolo for five years and I slowly but surely tuned into that machine. On a good day -- when I'm in the mood, when the machine warms properly, when the grind, beans and water are good -- the LaPavoni makes a very good expresso. But that is it: one espresso. So I couldn't really share with the LaPavoni; I got to enjoy a fine espresso (forget capuccino) whenever I could be bothered to boot the machine up. It was regularly a pleasure, but often a real drag.
And so the saving began for what I read EVERYWHERE was the best domestic machine. And finally, when I didn't expect to, I ordered the Silvia. My better half received that package and by the time I got home from work, Miss Silvia was set up. But where to begin?! And worse still, I was due to be away for the weekend; and yip, like a genuine CoffeeGeek, I thought of nothing else but firing up the machine.
Sunday came, I cleared my girlfriend out of the kitchen, filled the reservoir, wound back the Rocky for a good grind and on my very first shot I got a truly magnificent espresso: running honey-coloured crema, slow Guinness-like rising of the crema to the surface and a sweet, properly heated drink which beat my local (UK Barista Championship Award-winning) Clements cafe. Sorry laPavoni: nothing I EVER got from the Chrome Peacock came near this.
Next, my dread: the foamed milk. The LaPavoni only ever gave me decent froth with that awful attachment - what kind of coffeegeek could I be if I had to rely on that?! Well, I know the art and the science and fired up the Silvia for a capuccino and that microfoam was glorious. I was actually dumbfounded. After so long with that bloody piece of plastic tat, it was a miracle.
So is it all good? Well, yes it is, except that the Silvia is and can be temperamental. The beans must be good. The grind must be perfect. And the Silvia has to be hot. But in my brief period with this machine, I can't imagine why I'd need - or want - anything else.
I've buffed up my Pavoni and it's now on a bookshelf: a work of art but no longer my machine of choice.
Getting a Silvia in the UK can be a pain. When I bought a Rocky from Drury in London I had to listen to them whining about having to send the machine to Belfast. I went back to Drury to buy the Silvia but they were out of stock and seemed diffident about when a machine might be in. So I went to www.espressocoffeeshop.com, which operates in Italy, but ships for free (over 300 euros) anywhere. I ordered my machine on a Tuesday, it was dispatched by Carlo of the company on Wednesday, and arrived in Belfast on Thursday!!! Fantastic service. And the standard portafiler had been replaced with the professional one, and Carlo didn't even say he'd done it. Sweet.