I am amazed at this little machine. My old Melitta thermoblock machine was frustrating me with my (so I thought) inability to froth milk decently. Chris Schaefer was over at my house trying to get the Melitta to froth, to no avail. Flabbergasted, he ran over to his house and brought this Saeco machine back. I thought it was a joke, a steam toy. Boy, was I wrong.
We filled it, fired it up, and let it warm up. After bleeding a little water out of the boiler, we proceeded to froth up some of the best microfoam I have had. Conclusion #1, thermoblock machines steam for crap. OK, so I thought my Melitta pulled a pretty good shot, tho. Wrong again. Conclusion #2, the Melitta does nott have the pressure or thermal stability of the Saeco.
I had no beans ready that evening, so the next night, Chris came back with his Rocky and some beans. We ground some up, using the same setting as his Silvia, and pulled the most amazing 25 sec. shot from this little machine. It was delicious. That fine of grind would have choked the Melitta solid. Needless to say, my grinder is being retired and I am getting a Rocky. With a lesser grinder, you will not get anywhere near the quality of espresso it is capable of. Seems funny to pair a $100 machine with a $200 grinder, but it is necessary. Do not laugh, you will get shots that are pretty close to what a Silvia will produce, but the Silvia will be most likely more consistent due to better thermal mass.