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Silvia or Solis SL70?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Silvia or Solis...  
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Elankat
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jan 2004
Posts: 35
Location: Midwest
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Miss Sylvia
Grinder: Cunill Tranquilo
Drip: Bodum press pot & 1 cup pour...
Roaster: Heat gun/dog bowl
Posted Fri Jan 9, 2004, 5:13pm
Subject: Silvia or Solis SL70?
 

I don't drink espressos (honestly, I've never tried one...I'd probably love them though) and have zero experience with espresso machines. However, I happen to love cappas. If I bought a machine, I'd probably have a daily cappa or two and my hubby would have an occasional espresso. We don't really entertain. Occasionally, my mother in law visits and she's a "frappa-mocha-cino with sprinkles, nuts, and 6 packs of sugar" type of person (no exaggeration, I once saw her put 12 packs of sugar in an ice tea). We drink a lot of tea and I have a toddler, so the machine would also be used hot water, hot vanilla milk, and hot chocolate.

So, which would suit me better? A used Sylvia or a new (or refurbished) Solis. I know the Sylvia is the more popular machine and generally considered to be better. I'm just wondering how well it would suit a complete newbie who is doing primarily milk-based drinks and steaming. I had originally settled on saving up for a Solis, but used Sylvias seem to be widely available, bringing them to the same price point.

And I know that I'll probably be saving for a used Rocky or Cunill grinder. I'm just interested in hearing opinions on espresso machines. Please, no one suggest an HX machine. I'd love an Escobar or Isomac, but I simply don't have that much to spend on a machine. I'll be stretching pretty thin to get a Solis or Silvia.

Any advice or random thoughts are much appreciated. Thanks!
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dsharp88
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Dec 2001
Posts: 73
Location: Metairie, LA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: LaCimbali Junior D/1
Grinder: Mini Mazzer, Solis Maestro
Vac Pot: Yama
Drip: Chemex, 1-cup Melitta
Roaster: Alpenrost, FreshRoast+,...
Posted Fri Jan 9, 2004, 7:13pm
Subject: Re: Silvia or Solis SL70?
 

I'd go with the Sylvia. It has a 3-way solenoid valve that the Solis SL_70 doesn't have. This means that when you unscrew the portafilter basket on the Sylvia, there won't be a build up of air pressure that can send coffee grounds spraying with the release of pressure.  If you need to save money you can get by with a Solis Maestro grinder, although you will eventually want to upgrade to one of the grinders you mentioned. I used a Sylvia and a Maestro until I upgraded both. I sold the Sylvia, but still use the Maestro grinder today for non-espresso coffee grinding.

- Donald Blum
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dana_leighton
Moderator
dana_leighton
Joined: 11 Jan 2002
Posts: 1,998
Location: Fayetteville, AR
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Relax; Caferina...
Grinder: Macap MXK; Baratza Vario-W;...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: Technivorm; CCD; Melitta
Roaster: Poppery I w/PID controller
Posted Fri Jan 9, 2004, 10:54pm
Subject: Re: Silvia or Solis SL70?
 

I think I will put my weight behind the Solis. It is overall a more forgiving machine for beginners/light users I think, with its pressurized portafilter and ability to use (gasp!) pods. I have used both, and am currently using a Solis SL-70. When we reviewed the Solis a couple years ago, I was impressed with a few things:

(a) how good the pod shots were
(b) how quiet the machine is. It barely hums (as opposed to Silvia's vibraphonic clatter)
(c) the steaming ability

Using it now, yes I do miss the 3-way solenoid, but I think the machine has way too much going gor it to discount it just for that. The Solis and Maestro is the ideal beginner setup I think.

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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jim_schulman
Senior Member
jim_schulman
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,772
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Sat Jan 10, 2004, 8:08am
Subject: Re: Silvia or Solis SL70?
 

I'd second the SL70 vote, since it's a lot easier machine to use for a beginner. Once you're up to speed, it will make as good a shot as the Silvia's, albeit a little smaller (the baskets are a smaller size).

However, if you plan on getting into espresso as a hobby, and spending a lot of time learning, the Silvia is the better choice; since there's a huge base of hobbyists who have modified their Silvias extensively, to the point where they rival commercial machines. The Silvia is an "open-ended" hobbyist's machine, whereas the SL-70 isn't.

 
Jim Schulman
www.coffeecuppers.com
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Elankat
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jan 2004
Posts: 35
Location: Midwest
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Miss Sylvia
Grinder: Cunill Tranquilo
Drip: Bodum press pot & 1 cup pour...
Roaster: Heat gun/dog bowl
Posted Sat Jan 10, 2004, 12:38pm
Subject: Re: Silvia or Solis SL70?
 

Thanks for the responses! I was originally leaning toward the Solis because it seemed to be best for my needs and experience. However, opportunity struck and I decided to get a used Sylvia and Cunill set up that  AuntConsuela offered in the Buy, Sell, Trade forum. It just seemed like such a good deal and it's a machine that I can (hopefully) grow into. Plus, I'm a person who tends to try and find out everything I can about something I enjoy. She's including a CD-rom that shows how to use it. Between that, the big Sylvia fan base on these forums, and some local baristas, I'm hoping that I can learn how to handle Sylvia.

So, I'm sure I'll be back to bug people for more advice. :)
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jim_schulman
Senior Member
jim_schulman
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,772
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Sat Jan 10, 2004, 4:45pm
Subject: Re: Silvia or Solis SL70?
 

Elankat Said:

Thanks for the responses! I was originally leaning toward the Solis because it seemed to be best for my needs and experience. However, opportunity struck and I decided to get a used Sylvia and Cunill set up that  AuntConsuela offered in the Buy, Sell, Trade forum. It just seemed like such a good deal and it's a machine that I can (hopefully) grow into. Plus, I'm a person who tends to try and find out everything I can about something I enjoy. She's including a CD-rom that shows how to use it. Between that, the big Sylvia fan base on these forums, and some local baristas, I'm hoping that I can learn how to handle Sylvia.

So, I'm sure I'll be back to bug people for more advice. :)

Posted January 10, 2004 link

Congrats. Randy Glass's is the learning the Silvia site.

 
Jim Schulman
www.coffeecuppers.com
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