Great machine to learn Barista skills on. It will last and last. Not a good machine for multiple shots when entertaining.
Positive Product Points
Solid build. Looks good. Potential to make a really good Espresso.
Negative Product Points
It has its quirks. You need some technical expertise to get good results.
Previously, I had a Krups consumer-grade Espresso machine. It was good for what is was but it felt like a toy compared to the Rancilio.
Solid metal structure. Stainless steel housing. A real solid machine. The watertank holds about 2 litres, more than enough for many, many cappucinos. Four years on and it has yet to develop any issues. The portafilter is the commercial grade E61. It retains heat well. The grouphead is a solid piece of metal, also helping to maintain the correct temperature.
Combined with a good grinder and fresh beans, the Rancilio is able to produce quality shots of espresso.
I heard that the original set came with a plastic tamper. I did not see it. I was fortunate enough to purchase a specially ordered tamper for the Spinelli's cafes in Singapore. It fitted the portafilter just right.
You DO need to "learn" the machine. DO the warm up for the portafilter and cups. DO the temperature sufing. Make it a habit. It is now second nature to me. I know exactly when the boiler will cycle up (17s). And about when to begin the pull (after water flash).
For steaming, again you need to know how and when to steam. For me, I wait till the light goes off, then on again, wait 20s. At this stage you can gradually bring up the steam. Do it right and the heater light continues on and the power is more than equal to any other domestic machine.
The major gripe and the thing that will probably lead me to buy a new machine sometime later; it only has one boiler. I KNOW it is designed that way but it is a major issue for me. Making 2 cappuccinos, no problem. Anything more than that.. Well, it is not pretty. When I entertain, which is once in a while, I so abhor the notion of making multiple drinks with the machine, that I finally offer them 3-in-1 instead. The last party, to make 8 cappucinos, I had to pull, then steam, then pull, then steam. All the while waiting for the heater to bring the boiler to the different temperatures. It took me more than 30 mins. With a double boiler, I am sure I can do it in less than 5.
I paid the equivalent of USD769 for the Rancilio Silvia, Rancilio Rocky Doserless and the metal base, second hand. At that time, a similar new set would have cost USD1230.