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Rancilio Silvia - Vikram Shrivastava's Review
Posted: November 28, 2001, 12:02pm
review rating: 6.6
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Rancilio Silvia
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More About This Product
Arrow The Rancilio Silvia has 230 Reviews
Arrow The Rancilio Silvia has been rated 8.55 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Rancilio Silvia reviews have been viewed 1,691,627 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Chris Clark 9.13
Ed Lawless 9.00
Joe DP 8.88
Dave Borton 8.67
Eric Larson 8.62

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 9.2
Manufacturer: Rancilio Quality: 10
Average Price: $629.00 Usability: 8
Price Paid: $0.00 Cost vs. Value 10
Where Bought: 1st Line Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 1 month Overall 10
Writer's Expertise: Intermediate Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Krups Novo Plus, Mr. Coffee
Bottom Line: After this machine, you can almost compete with proffessional baristas!
Positive Product Points

Consistent Flavor and Crema; Amazing steaming power

Negative Product Points

There are some brew temperature prb's....Thinking of PID

Detailed Commentary

So in the span of a year the Rancilio is my third espresso machine!!

So I started off with a steam powered Mr.Coffee given as gift. I got a blade
grinder. Then as my espresso passion grew...one fine day my wifey bought me a
Krups Novo 2300 and a can of Illy. Whoa....that was a whole different ballgame....
couldnt believe the quality of espresso I was getting over a steam machine...
the Illy worked pretty well on the machine, but then came the onslaught of beans from
all over...I finally figured that the grinder was the cause of my pains due to
inconsistent espresso flavor and crema. In comes the Solis Mulino...bang
I am up there again. Then I discovered the Coffee kid website....and I was
indroduced to the pressurized portafilter....I get rid of the pressure disc in
my Krups portafiler....whoom...yet another leap....I get the best consistent
cups I have ever got from Peets roasts.....but I am still unhappy. I still could not
duplicate Espresso Roma(Berkeley) cappa at home.

Was it time to upgrade....wifey couldnt believe it....Spent long hours reading reviews
at the Coffee kid ..... the Silvia it seemed, but no image on the web did justice.
Other machines I researched were Gaggia classic or Baby, the Tebe, the Starbucks
Athena, Solis SL90, and the Saeco Classico....the finalists were Tebe, Gaggia Classic
and the Silvia.

I was just so thrilled with the Silvia...though I had  initial worries about tamping and
grind requirements....it looks like I was already doing a hell of a picky job with
my previous machine....so that was no hassle at all...I was already heating the portafilters
and all other things picky baristas do to prime their home machine.

After, surfing for a while, I found 1-st line equipment and got a deal on a Silvia.
So the Silvia arrives....got me fresh Espresso Roma beans...voila....I was there!!!!
I couldn't wipe  the smile off my face. This was it the ultimate espresso I had
ever made at home. Unbelievable...I could finally taste the elsuive seediness
in the espresso shot...ummmmmm.....'the guiness effect'....it was all true...caffe nirvana!

The steamer.....enough said on this site already....amazing dry steam and lots of it.

I think all the pains of grind and tamp fickiness is a small price to pay for amazing
espresso...cup after cup after cup....hm wait....I do have extraction problems when,
    - if I brew instantly after switching the Silvia on using Marks cheat method
    gives great results....but a few espresso shots later....no crema....yucky black
    shots...I attribute that to bad temp control.
    - if I had the machine on for 30-45min before I brew....not a single decent shot!
    hmm....so I just switch the Silvia on when I need it...and I got an appliance timer
    to give a 5min warm up time before I show up in the kitchen.
    - had no luck with brewing after steaming!!! brew in heated cups first and steam in
    but later.

So looks like my next project will be a PID controller for the Silvia.

But the espresso is just amazing.....my friends are sick of hearing me talk
about it. Wait till master the art of microfroth and then I will have myself
an Espresso party. Another word of caution for newbies.....MUST HAVE
FRESH BEANS....cant have old beans lying around....the Silvia will espose
them for what they are! I buy 1/2 lb beans 'just in time' on a weekly basis.
Waiting for Cafe Vivace beans to show up tonite!!!

Cant thank Mark enough for his CoffeKid site that has posted so many insights on how to
get the most out of the Silvia.....his cheating method works like a charm.


Post 3 month update:

Alright, my big beef was temperature consistency if one is planning
to do lots of shots and a mix of steam and shot job. So, I got a PID
controller off ebay for $50 + other components ($20) and got a neat
system going. All my shots now are totally consistent. Recovery times
between shots has become shorter too. With PID though, you cant rely
on Silvia's light anymore...just use the digital readout to know that
you are at your setpoint...ready to brew.

Buying Experience

Excellent Service by 1st line

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review rating: 6.6
Posted: November 28, 2001, 12:02pm
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
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