What reason(s)? You might want to consider whether or not you'll be upgrading down the road and if it makes any sense to pay the premium for the Silvia versus saving up for your next upgrade. I know it's tricky to think about it from that perspective when you're making your first purchase but there are a number of people that don't stick with their first single boiler machine.
You may want to allocate the difference in price to a grinder.
D4F Senior Member Joined: 15 Mar 2012 Posts: 1,191 Location: USA Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID Grinder: Preciso
Posted Tue May 1, 2012, 1:42pm Subject: Re: First Machine for £350 really stuck
I wanted Silvia but decided on a Gaggia Classic, strictly economic. I have not regretted the Gaggia since, and am in fact that I did not spend more for Silvia. I might like other machines but Silvia does not have enough advantage to me to justify the cost. Both are SBDU and have the limitations of SBDU. Silvia may steam some better, so decide if that is necessary for you. Most of my milk based drinks and steaming are for one, me. That means I do not have to go back and forth from brew to steam to brew, and I do not steam a lot. For cappuccino Gaggia is certainly fine and probably for most single milk drinks. Gaggia reheat is very fast with a small boiler but large power. If you are going to brew and steam for more than one most of the time, then you will have a bigger learning curve to operate Gaggia that way than some others. If it is mostly for you, get Gaggia, be happy.
Start reading threads on OPV and pressure. An almost free improvement is OPV adjustment and it makes the Gaggia, and some others, easy to use. It can be free to adjust if you have access to a pressure guage and fittings, or if you do it the blind way.
Read about temperature and surfing, applicable to many SBDU machines.
Gig103 Senior Member Joined: 12 Feb 2012 Posts: 204 Location: Arizona Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: Crossland CC1 Grinder: Baratza Vario Drip: French press!
Posted Tue May 1, 2012, 3:04pm Subject: Re: First Machine for £350 really stuck
Before I decided to splurge on a Crossland CC1, I was ignoring the Silvia in favor of the Classic, since it still had the 3-way solenoid and unpressurized portafilter, and I don't entertain so much and thus the smaller boiler wasn't going to be an issue.
Besides, if you get the Gaggia and you find your grinder isn't up to the task, you can buy a pressurizer that fits into the basket, as I understand.
adamr100 Senior Member Joined: 30 Apr 2012 Posts: 7 Location: Chester Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Wed May 2, 2012, 12:04am Subject: Re: First Machine for £350 really stuck
I think I will go for the gaggia then. Like you D4F I usually make coffee fro just myself so there is no need for masses of steaming power. What advantages would a pressurised filter give, is it a better crema?
JPF Senior Member Joined: 3 Jun 2010 Posts: 207 Location: NJ Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Mini Vivaldi, Pre-millenium... Grinder: Dosered SJ, Resurrected... Vac Pot: Yama Siphon Drip: Technivorm Roaster: Behmor, Poppery I
Posted Wed May 2, 2012, 6:34am Subject: Re: First Machine for £350 really stuck
A pressurized filter is a negative. It produces fake crema by using a pressure valve. It's used on entry level machines because it allows the use of (stale) coffee ground any old way, while still restricting the flow of water.
If you want to make espresso, and not an approximation, freshly roasted coffee must be ground properly in a non-pressurized portafilter, and the coffee bed creates the resistance to build pressure and have a properly timed extraction.
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