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Silvia To Lever Machine?
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Discussions > Espresso > Lever Espresso > Silvia To Lever...  
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bcrdukes
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Joined: 22 Feb 2010
Posts: 93
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia V3 w/ Auber...
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Hario V60
Posted Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:26pm
Subject: Silvia To Lever Machine?
 

Hey folks,

I've had my Rancilio Silvia V3 with PID for over 2 years now, moving on to 3.  The machine has served me well but I have upgrade'itis.  I'm looking to see if any of you went from a SBDU machine like Miss Silvia to a lever machine?  If so, could you please share with me any words of wisdom?

My machine is in great condition with new seals and maintenance performed on it regularly.  I pull about 4 shots a day - 2 in the morning and 2 in the evening.  The most logical move is to get something like a Rocket Giotto, Bezzera Magica, or Andreja Premium, but again, looking for some words of wisdom.  For what it's worth - I have absolutely ZERO experience and exposure to lever machines.  Why I'm considering one?  I'm looking for a new challenge.

Hoping for some good input!  Thanks!  :)

Mike
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BLrdFX
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BLrdFX
Joined: 29 May 2012
Posts: 231
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: L-I
Grinder: HG-One, Kony-E, VL, Lido2
Drip: Chemex
Roaster: Quest
Posted Sun Jan 13, 2013, 6:59am
Subject: Re: Silvia To Lever Machine?
 

Mike:

I had a similar upgrade path.  I had a Silvia for about 6+ years and decided it was time to upgrade.

I picked something that had dual boilers, PID, plumb-in capability but also a tank.  I picked a Rocket R-58; wow was that a mistake!  It made some real weird expensive noises and I decided to send it back and get a refund.  I really do not regret that decision.  I still wanted a machine with the same capabilities, I thought.  I liquidated some other hobby assets and went even higher into the economic stratosphere and got a LaMarzocco GS/3 MP.  

Now this machine does everything for you, except your taxes!  For a very expensive machine it will do what you might possibly require and more, but I was missing something; simplicity.

We are now 6 months out from selling Miss Silvia and it dawned on me that all the pump espresso machines built anywhere are all trying to copy what a good commercial Spring Lever espresso machine can do in pulling shots and steaming milk.  I guess I am a slow learner.  After reading until I was blue in the face I decided to go to some cafe's and check out the shot quality of a few different machines.  I discovered that of the machines I liked none of them could operate off of a tank unless I used something like a Flo-Jet.  I read about a new machine on H-B or maybe here, called a Londinium L-I(http://londiniumespresso.com/products/londinium-i).  It had all the Group size and basic characteristics I wanted, sort of a Bosco machine but with a tank if I needed it.   It is also considerably smaller package than the Bosco.

I love the decision of getting s Spring Lever Machine!  I picked the one I did for the build quality and simplicity.

Good luck!

Stephen
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russel
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russel
Joined: 12 Mar 2010
Posts: 437
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: 73' Cremina, '74 Club,...
Grinder: Super Caimanos x2, Forte BG,...
Drip: V60, Kalita Wave, Clever,...
Posted Sun Jan 13, 2013, 3:20pm
Subject: Re: Silvia To Lever Machine?
 

I too use a GS/3 along with lever machines.  I sold my Strega to move to the GS/3 because I wanted a more precise big machine and prefer the experience of using regular domestic lever machines to large group spring levers.  I use the GS/3 every day all day, and every time I go back to using my La Pavoni or Caravel it just feels more "right".  A manual lever is a real joy to use; simple, compact, fast to heat up, and capable of really amazing shots.  The only thing that keeps a pump machine on my bench is proper steam power (and professional concerns).  I can get what I want out of the LP's steaming, but it takes forever and is both an art and a chore.  I don't even bother with the Peppina.  I've never owned an MCaL, so I can't speak it its steaming capabilities.

If you are looking for a lever machine to meet all a home user's needs and can spend $1700-2200 I think both the Strega and the Londinium I are great options (and a much better value than the GS/3 IMO).  If your budget doesn't go that far and you're willing to put in some time and beans into learning, I would strongly recommend an La Pavoni.  A properly accessorized and operated two switch Europiccola can do wonderful things with coffee and milk.  An LP Professional/Europiccola-with-pstat is a little simpler to use, pulls great shots, and is a decent steamer.  They are built to last, easy to maintain/repair, and not expensive used (certainly compared to your Silvia).
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Prof
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Prof
Joined: 10 Sep 2004
Posts: 704
Location: Seattle
Expertise: Pro Roaster

Espresso: PV Lusso
Grinder: Pharos 696
Drip: Aeropress
Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Sun Jan 13, 2013, 8:57pm
Subject: Re: Silvia To Lever Machine?
 

A cheaper lever option just down I-5 from Vancouver is the Ponte Vecchio Lusso at the Good Coffee Company in Seattle.  The two remaining units are less than $900US and don't suffer heating issues like the Pavoni (I had one).  The 3L boiler has virtually unlimited steaming capability.  Vaneli's in CA has a 2-group Lusso for a bit more money.  

There are always positives and negatives to all the choices given above, but all will suit your needs in some positive manner.

The "lever" machines you mentioned, Mike, are not lever machines as we coffee geeks know it.  They (Rocket, Bezzera, Andreja) are very nice semi-autos that have a lever to turn on/off the flow.

 
LMWDP # 010
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bcrdukes
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Joined: 22 Feb 2010
Posts: 93
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia V3 w/ Auber...
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Hario V60
Posted Sun Jan 13, 2013, 9:59pm
Subject: Re: Silvia To Lever Machine?
 

Thanks for the info guys.  Much appreciated!

Stephen - The Londinium is attractive, but perhaps I may have missed the detail somewhere - is a pourover option available?  I cannot, without spending tens of thousands in renovations, plumb a machine.  The option is too costly.

russel - Thanks for your insight.  I thought about a La Pavoni Professional/Europiccola as I'm confident I will no longer have the time/patience to re-learn the entire art.  It took me a while to get to "know" Miss Silvia and her inner workings.  I would like to take a few months to perfect the whole craft behind a lever machine, pull my shot, a cappuccino and be on my way.  Any thought on this or am I being too naive?  Perfect world would be having a GS/3 in my kitchen but again, without having to spend $$$$$ on renovations, it isn't possible.  :(

Prof - Does Good Coffee Company have a website?  Of course, cheaper is always better!  I'm looking to budget around $2500 for a new machine and if I have enough leftover, a new grinder.  I understand the Rocket/Bezzera/QuickMill are semi-automatics and was looking to just "settle" for one for the sake of simplicity and convenience.  Would it be silly to go the way of a lever machine?  Perhaps I may have to take the plunge or live in regret I never gave it a chance.  The bottom line is I'm looking for a machine that can give me more steaming power than the Silvia.  I am an absolute sucker for dry cappuccinos and I find that Miss Silvia isn't living up to my expectations anymore.

Here's a dark secret I have not told anybody, not even my significant other:  Rewind maybe 10 years ago, I bought a cheap $30 Krups espresso machine on eBay (I know, I know...) and I made the mistake of removing the portafilter too early and got my first taste of the portafilter sneeze.  It was a very traumatic experience as I got hurt in the process and I immediately donated the machine within the next hour to The Salvation Army.  I'm now older and wiser but do not want to make the same mistake nor do I want to repeat old mistakes.  :(

Edit:  Just did some more reading on lever machines.  Maybe this isn't for me afterall...
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erik82
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Joined: 22 Oct 2012
Posts: 20
Location: The Netherlands
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Olympia Cremina 2013
Grinder: HG One 83mm #0083
Drip: Kalita Wave, Aeropress,...
Roaster: Gene Cafe
Posted Mon Jan 14, 2013, 4:55am
Subject: Re: Silvia To Lever Machine?
 

I've worked with a silvia a couple of times, had an E-61 HX and got a Bezzera Strega a week or 3 ago and really love it. The Strega doesn't really have portafiltersneeze if you wait for 20 seconds after the lever is all the way up. You just hear a soft sneeze and nothing happens, no mess. I really love the taste of a lever and the Strega is a really good in steaming milk with lots of power. It's also very easy to use and find it even easier than my E-61 HX.

The Londinium also seems like a very nice machine but haven't worked with it so can't commend on that one. It was my first choice but doens't fit on my counter. The strega has less depth and fits fine.

My advice is to get a Strega or Londinium and you'll be fine. You can read this link and find out for yourself if a Strega is something for you click here.
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BLrdFX
Senior Member
BLrdFX
Joined: 29 May 2012
Posts: 231
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: L-I
Grinder: HG-One, Kony-E, VL, Lido2
Drip: Chemex
Roaster: Quest
Posted Mon Jan 14, 2013, 6:07am
Subject: Re: Silvia To Lever Machine?
 

bcrdukes Said:

Thanks for the info guys.  Much appreciated!

Stephen - The Londinium is attractive, but perhaps I may have missed the detail somewhere - is a pourover option available?  I cannot, without spending tens of thousands in renovations, plumb a machine.  The option is too costly.

Here's a dark secret I have not told anybody, not even my significant other:  Rewind maybe 10 years ago, I bought a cheap $30 Krups espresso machine on eBay (I know, I know...) and I made the mistake of removing the portafilter too early and got my first taste of the portafilter sneeze.  It was a very traumatic experience as I got hurt in the process and I immediately donated the machine within the next hour to The Salvation Army.  I'm now older and wiser but do not want to make the same mistake nor do I want to repeat old mistakes.  :(

Edit:  Just did some more reading on lever machines.  Maybe this isn't for me afterall...

Posted January 13, 2013 link

Londinium does have the Tank option for a few $$$ more.

PF sneeze is a fact of life with machines that do not have the 3-way valving, but as stated just wait after the lever finishes it's travel and then no sneeze.

Stephen
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Prof
Senior Member
Prof
Joined: 10 Sep 2004
Posts: 704
Location: Seattle
Expertise: Pro Roaster

Espresso: PV Lusso
Grinder: Pharos 696
Drip: Aeropress
Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Mon Jan 14, 2013, 2:45pm
Subject: Re: Silvia To Lever Machine?
 

bcrdukes Said:

Thanks for the info guys.  Much appreciated!

Prof - Does Good Coffee Company have a website?  Of course, cheaper is always better!  I'm looking to budget around $2500 for a new machine and if I have enough leftover, a new grinder.  I understand the Rocket/Bezzera/QuickMill are semi-automatics and was looking to just "settle" for one for the sake of simplicity and convenience.  Would it be silly to go the way of a lever machine?  Perhaps I may have to take the plunge or live in regret I never gave it a chance.  The bottom line is I'm looking for a machine that can give me more steaming power than the Silvia.  I am an absolute sucker for dry cappuccinos and I find that Miss Silvia isn't living up to my expectations anymore.

Here's a dark secret I have not told anybody, not even my significant other:  Rewind maybe 10 years ago, I bought a cheap $30 Krups espresso machine on eBay (I know, I know...) and I made the mistake of removing the portafilter too early and got my first taste of the portafilter sneeze.  It was a very traumatic experience as I got hurt in the process and I immediately donated the machine within the next hour to The Salvation Army.  I'm now older and wiser but do not want to make the same mistake nor do I want to repeat old mistakes.  :(

Posted January 13, 2013 link

The Good Coffee Company is too old-school to have a website.  Joe is in his 80's and has no time for that kind of nonsense.  :)   They do have some refurbished Ellimatics (precursor to the Oscar, I think), a nice HX machine, for around $400.  

I experienced the portafilter sneeze with my first lever machine.  None after that one time.  Now you just wait after the coffee stops dripping, slowly turn the handle to release any pressure, and then remove.  With the new Lusso, there hasn't even been a "poof" of pressure, since I wait at least a minute before removing it.

But it sounds like you are really wanting a nicer semi-automatic machine.  You'll need a matching quality grinder.  Good luck!

 
LMWDP # 010
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bcrdukes
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Feb 2010
Posts: 93
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia V3 w/ Auber...
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Hario V60
Posted Mon Jan 14, 2013, 4:42pm
Subject: Re: Silvia To Lever Machine?
 

Prof Said:

The Good Coffee Company is too old-school to have a website.  Joe is in his 80's and has no time for that kind of nonsense.  :)   They do have some refurbished Ellimatics (precursor to the Oscar, I think), a nice HX machine, for around $400.  

I experienced the portafilter sneeze with my first lever machine.  None after that one time.  Now you just wait after the coffee stops dripping, slowly turn the handle to release any pressure, and then remove.  With the new Lusso, there hasn't even been a "poof" of pressure, since I wait at least a minute before removing it.

But it sounds like you are really wanting a nicer semi-automatic machine.  You'll need a matching quality grinder.  Good luck!

Posted January 14, 2013 link

Prof, you're probably 99.999% correct as I would like a nicer semi-automatic machine for the sake of simplicity and transition.  I was hoping to dive into the world of lever machines but after the info provided (the links especially - they were extremely helpful) I don't think I'm ready.  :(

I don't know if my Vario is going to cut it anymore neither.  Sigh.
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joatmon
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Joined: 18 Sep 2004
Posts: 346
Location: Greer, SC
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Jan 15, 2013, 7:43am
Subject: Re: Silvia To Lever Machine?
 

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