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Solis SL-90 - Torgny Nilsson's Review
Posted: November 6, 2002, 4:58pm
review rating: 6.5
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
Solis SL-90
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More About This Product
Arrow The Solis SL-90 has 26 Reviews
Arrow The Solis SL-90 has been rated 7.98 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Solis SL-90 reviews have been viewed 111,184 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Rick Waits 9.50
Rohan Durrant 9.50
Rob Novak 7.87
Mark Thacker 7.66
Mark Prince 7.63

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 9.0
Manufacturer: Solis/Saeco Quality: 9
Average Price: $449.00 Usability: 10
Price Paid: $399.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: Whole Latte Love Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 1 month Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: Intermediate Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Krups
Bottom Line: Just buy it, you will love it.
Positive Product Points

Great machine that is very easy to use, forgiving of the grind of coffee used, and makes steaming a snap.  It works equally well making a single coffee drink and multiple drinks.

Negative Product Points

Only minor complaints.  The Solis would look better with a metal case and drip tray grill.  It would be an added bonus if the steam wand rotated and if the drip tray grill could be lowered enough to easily accomodate an American style mug.  It would also be nice if the machine came with a maintenance kit.  The only real design flaw is the handle for the steam wand: it is made of silver painted white plastic and the silver paint comes right off if you ever wipe it down with a towel.

Detailed Commentary

I wanted to find an espresso machine that would be easy to use everyday but that had the power and flexibility to make multiple drinks at parties.  I decided to buy the Rancilio Silvia but was worried about all the comments I had read about it being finicky.  The people at Whole Latte Love suggested the Solis and I am glad I chose the Solis.  This is simply a great machine.  All the important parts of the machine are brass, the machine heats up quickly and is quiet and easy to use.  I get great crema without having to spend a lot of time making sure I have exactly the right grind of coffee, and steaming is a snap.  The Solis' computer has 12 preset water levels and a manual override.  The only confusing aspect of the machine is that the manual lists the water levels produced by the European circuit board, not the much, much lower water levels produced by the American circuit board.  But with Baratza's very efficient and friendly help, I swaped out the American board for the European one which I think makes the machine even more flexible.  Despite the small improvements that Solis could make to this machine, it is a great machine with great customer service by Baratza and I would buy it again in a second.

Buying Experience

I bought the machine from Whole Latte Love and it arrived within a matter of days and in a well protected box.  But Whole Latte Love does not provide any maintenance kit, which some other internet companies do, and they don't provide any customer service for this machine: they simply refer you to the importer, Baratza, which is not really a bad thing as Baratza has about the best customer service I have ever seen.

Three Month Followup

After more than 4 months of use, I am still enthralled with this machine, and would buy it again in a heartbeat despite the minor design flaws I mentioned before.  I still dislike the inflexibility of the steam wand and its cheap silver plastic handle but I am no longer sure that you need to swap the circuit board for the European version.  It would be nice if someone did a side by side comparison of the two available boards, but I think they would conclude that both work fine and that a board set between the two would be best.  I cannot, however, understand why Solis ships the machine with only pressurized filter baskets.  While the pressurized baskets guarantee you will get crema, and make good espresso, the non-pressurized baskets sold by Baratza produce just as much crema and make even better espresso.  Order your machine from a retailer who will give you the non-pressurized baskets for free or at a reduced price as they cost about $14 each.  In the end however, this is a very forgiving, easy to use machine that makes great espresso whichever circuit board or filter baskets you use.  I highly recommend it.

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review rating: 6.5
Posted: November 6, 2002, 4:58pm
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
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