shadowsnuzzy Senior Member Joined: 8 Jan 2011 Posts: 70 Location: Pleasanton Expertise: Just starting
Posted Mon Jan 14, 2013, 6:12pm Subject: Rancilio Silvia Upgrade?
It's time to upgrade my Silvia and Rocky combo. I think I've settled for a Vario grinder, which leaves me with the espresso machine. I'm looking for something under $1000. I only drink lattes and do not want to have to invest in a PID on this new machine. I currently do not have a PID on my Silvia and it's a pain, but I'd rather buy a machine with temperature stability built in. So far I've come up with the Expobar Office and the Quickmill Alexia. Thoughts?
That's a decent upgrade from the Rocky. If you can spring for the extra cash, see if you can get the Vario-W. Weight based grinding will result in better consistency. Otherwise, you'll have to buy a scale like I did.
I'm looking for something under $1000. I only drink lattes...
If you want to move away from a SBDU and more into a dual heater machine, (That's a machine with a brew boiler and a thermoblock for steaming) you could consider machines like the Quickmill Silvano or the Crossland CC1. Those will meet your budget and allow you to make lattes without having to wait, but I don't really consider these two machines much of an upgrade from the Silvia. The huge upside to these machines is that they have a dedicated PID controlled brew boiler.
If you really want to step up from the Silvia, you really should consider bumping up your budget to somewhere between the $1000-$1200 range and consider an entry level heat exchanging machine, like the Nuova Simonelli Oscar or the Expobar Office Control/Pulser. Please read the reviews on either machine on this site before making your decision. A lot of people on this forum have owned or do own an Oscar and have been quite happy with them, they're a proven machine.
I would say that a heat exchanging machine is considerably better if you are a serious latte drinker. Some people on this forum have said that the steaming capabilities of a thermoblock really do not compare very well to the steaming ability of a heat exchanging machine. One could argue that it is easier to make microfoam on a heat exchanging machine as well due to the better steam capabilities.
In saying that, please do not let the lack of a PID control for a HX machine deter you from buying one. Actually, due to the way they work, a PID control is almost pointless for an HX. This article gets passed around a lot: http://www.home-barista.com/hx-love.html
I considered a vario w but not being able to grind directly into the portafilter seems like it would get annoying. Also, I already use a gram scale so I don't think the extra 100 is worth it to me.
Regarding my precise point, I intend on buying a used machine off Craigslist or eBay, which should open up a lot more doors for my $1000 budget. I almost got an expobar office for $500 but the guy sold it to someone else.
And yea, I've only heard negative things about thermo block and steaming; ill have to look into that more but as of right now a double boiler and HX seem appealing.
If you can find a double boiler for under $1000 used, I wish you the best of luck.
Sometimes there are specials on the Breville Double Boiler machine. I've seen it selling as low as $999 on sale, which would meet your budget.
You know, there are people on this forum who are very iffy about Breville quality and that's because in the past, they made junk. However, there are some HUGE threads on this forum about the Breville DB and lots of people have very positive things to say about it. Apparently, it has amazing temperature stability. I almost bought one myself actually.
Read the reviews about the machine and the HUGE threads about it on this forum and see what they have to say.
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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