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Silvano v. PID Silvia -- lacking good comparison
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Silvano v. PID...  
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,045
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Thu Apr 4, 2013, 10:01am
Subject: Re: Silvano v. PID Silvia -- lacking good comparison
 

Consistency is the name of the game, everything you do is for the sake of consistency.  Larger machines with more controls allow you to be more consistent. This means more metal, gauges and money than starter machines.  Without that you have to work more to get consistency and being human it is harder to do than if the machine can do it for you. It is like kneading bread by hand or in a stand mixer or bread machine.  The machines make it so much easier.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 665
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Thu Apr 4, 2013, 6:53pm
Subject: Re: Silvano v. PID Silvia -- lacking good comparison
 

Sigma Said:

Upon further reading, it sounds like HX machines need substantial flushing to cool them before a shot. Do you agree with this?

Posted April 3, 2013 link

To sum it up, it's not necessarily a bad thing. Brew Water gets superheated in the heat exchanger. Flushing it just ensures that you have proper brewing temperature.
To counteract the problem of having to flush (Although, I really wouldn't call it a "problem" per say) the double boiler machine was developed. The biggest issue with double
boiler machines is that they are significantly more expensive than their HX counterparts, especially in the prosumer market!

Sigma Said:

Suppose we raise the $1000 bar.

Posted April 3, 2013 link

Well, this was my experience.. You start out at $1200, that gets you into a low end HX machine.. Then you add $200 and suddenly you get a LOT more for the money. Then you
add another $200 and you get even more.. Suddenly, you are up around the $1600 mark for a machine, then you wonder, "For $400 more, I could get a DB!" .. and then eventually
you end up losing your head and getting what I'm using and not only have you blown your budget to smithereens, you have nuked it beyond all oblivion.

So, realistically, you need to look at all of the options and decide whether or not you want to cut your budget hard, or just save your pennies to get something you won't outgrow.
(Well, Outgrow is a relative term. It took me about 6 months to outgrow my Silvia. :-) )

Sigma Said:

Which of these would be best bang for  buck?

Posted April 3, 2013 link

Well, before I say anything, It's not so much the best bang for your buck but rather whether or not the machine will meet your needs. I think that Bezzera and Quickmill do a pretty damn good
job of covering the Prosumer reservoir vibe-pump market really well, the sweet spot being somewhere between $1200 to $1600. Once you go past that mark, then you are looking more at
a whole other bunch of players and some very different competition.

Sigma Said:

Is the E61 group worth sacrificing quick-steam for?

Posted April 3, 2013 link

Heh.. I think you meant to say, "Is it worth it to sacrifice the ability to brew and steam with the Silvano just to get a SBDU with a E61 like the Unica?"

Realistically, you have to look at it this way... An E61 group is a tried and true design which is easy to service, has plenty of documentation, is easy to maintain and is pretty much what you'll
find on a lot of commercial machines. There are E61 groups which have been in service for decades. That says a lot right there.

The problem with the Unica is that it is a SBDU and you do pay a premium for the E61 group. I'd rather use a HX E61 machine than a SBDU or a SBDH (ie. Silvano) machine anyday.
Where a SBDU with an E61 group really shines though is if you don't make milk drinks and prefer to drink mostly straight shots.

Sigma Said:

Bezzera Unica, QuickMill Alexia
It's unclear to me what the difference between the Unica & PID'd Alexia are.

Posted April 3, 2013 link

These two are directly competing for the same market. As best as I can tell, they're both PID controlled E61 SBDU machines.
Think of it like this.. It's like buying a car and you are choosing between a Ford Focus and a Dodge Dart. They're both compact cars.

Sigma Said:

QuickMill Silvano,Bezzera BZ07P

Posted April 3, 2013 link

Silvano is a SBDH - Single Boiler Dual Heater machine... Thermoblock for steaming, Conventional Boiler for brewing.

Bezzera BZ07P is a Heat Exchanging machine.. very different.

Sigma Said:

The QuickMill QM67 looks fantastic, but not sure I can make that price point happen.

Posted April 3, 2013 link

If you are looking for a double boiler machine, the QM67 is what I would call "Entry Level" into that market. It's direct competitor is the
La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi. Keep in mind though that when you are at the $2k mark, you are at the upper end of the prosumer espresso machine market.

For example, My Alex Duetto is only $500 more than the QM67.. but what I paid for was a rotary pump and plumb-in capability. Vibe pump machines
tend to always be roughly around $300-$500 cheaper than their rotary pump equivalents. (At least from my own observations.)

Sigma Said:

Forgot to ask: At $1600 for the Bezzera Magica, is it 'worth' the $400 to jump up to a DB QM?

Posted April 3, 2013 link

Well, The direct competitor to the Bezzera Magica is the Quickmill Anita.. That's at the upper end of the market.

Perhaps you are getting a little lost here, there is a lot of choices!!

I would say, if you drink lots of straight shots and demand absolute rock solid temperature stability and control, you'll benefit from using a Dual Boiler, but you will pay for it.
If you make primarily milk drinks or you don't care if your straight shots are a few degrees off, then I'd say that it is better to stick with a Heat Exchanging machine. Again, this is all IMHO.

Here's what I would recommend...

First of all, you don't need to spend $2k on a machine to get decent espresso. Start out with a more basic heat exchanging machine, such as the Bezzera BZ07P or the Nuova Simonelli Oscar.
Keep the machine for about six months and decide if you want more. If you want more, expect to get about roughly 50 percent of your purchase back by selling that machine in the classifieds.

Now, while you are drinking coffee for six months, put aside some cash. One of two things will happen..

  1. You will take the attitude of "OK, this is good enough." and you will use the machine until it crumbles into a pile of rust. :-) (One Silvia owner on here used their machine for 20 years!)
    OR
  2. You will want "More". Maybe more steaming power.. Maybe more temperature stability and consistency. Maybe you are sick of filling the reservoir and you want to plumb-in?

In my case, I started out with a Silvia and got tired of temperature surfing and waiting for steam. The machine itself was OK though and it made a great espresso. For most other people,
it probably would have been fine, but I wanted so much more! Eventually, I was going to buy a Bezzera Magica or a Quickmill Anita to replace it, but I figured since it would be so close to the
sink and I really hate the sound of vibration pumps, I just skipped directly to the Izzo and I'm glad I did.

Was it Overkill? Damn straight! I could have probably stuck with the Magica/Anita and been happy, as long as I didn't want to plumb in.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,436
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Thu Apr 4, 2013, 8:59pm
Subject: Re: Silvano v. PID Silvia -- lacking good comparison
 

Any bets on when the jump to, "I recently saw the Vibiemme Domobar Double...," and then the pool, shortly thereafter, wagering how long before we are asked about the LM GS-3?   ;-)

Looking back, I get a smile thinking about how I started to where I am. My entire first outfit's cost wouldn't buy the grinder I use today. If someone would have told me that I would end up with the grinder and espresso machine I now use each day I may not have ever bought the Silvia and Rocky in 2000. I tell people how much the burrs for the Kony cost and they can barely speak, assuming that I am insane and may go Postal at any moment.

Would I have believed it to be worth the investment 2000? No.
Do I believe it now? Yes; every morning when I take a sip, I do believe, I do believe...  (full credit to Frank Baum and the Cowardly Lion).

 
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Sigma
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Apr 2013
Posts: 33
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Apr 5, 2013, 7:53am
Subject: Re: Silvano v. PID Silvia -- lacking good comparison
 

qualin, thanks for the detailed reply. It succinctly sums up my thinking. It is very easy to get into "it's only $200 more!" mindset. Financial limits being what they are, one can only play that game for so long.

I've thought about it, and steaming is important to me, I just have to decide how much. I think that will help guide my choice. It seems that there is no real bad choice.

If you are looking for a double boiler machine, the QM67 is what I would call "Entry Level" into that market. It's direct competitor is the
La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi. Keep in mind though that when you are at the $2k mark, you are at the upper end of the prosumer espresso machine market.

For example, My Alex Duetto is only $500 more than the QM67.. but what I paid for was a rotary pump and plumb-in capability. Vibe pump machines
tend to always be roughly around $300-$500 cheaper than their rotary pump equivalents. (At least from my own observations.)

I could probably stretch for $2k, and although just a bit more money gets a lot more, that's the limit of the budget. So if I were to consider the DB machines, it seems like an entry-level QM67 is potentially the way to go (as much as I'd like a rotary...).

Bezzera v. QuickMill -- it seems a lot of my problem is comparing direct competitors. The Bezzera is consistently $100-$200 cheaper. I assume this is really due to part quality?

Perhaps you are getting a little lost here, there is a lot of choices!!

My massive spreadsheet would suggest so, although I"m getting a much better handle on what exactly I want/need/etc.  At the moment my thinking is: Unica /Alexia -> Magica/Anita -> QM67. With steaming really guiding the choice here.

You will want "More". Maybe more steaming power.. Maybe more temperature stability and consistency.

I'm already there, that's the problem. I'd like something that I can grow into. I'm not really sure what the used market is in my city other than 'limited' so I'd be concerned about unloading a machine.

In my case, I started out with a Silvia and got tired of temperature surfing and waiting for steam.

I know I'd tire of that pretty fast, and I doubt my wife would have much patience for it.

Maybe you are sick of filling the reservoir and you want to plumb-in?

Not yet :)

A problem I have found is because I'm used to metric, it hadn't quick clicked exactly how large these HX/DB machines are! Counter space may be a slight issue...

Any bets on when the jump to, "I recently saw the Vibiemme Domobar Double...," and then the pool, shortly thereafter, wagering how long before we are asked about the LM GS-3?   ;-)

Don't even joke! :)
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,045
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Fri Apr 5, 2013, 8:43am
Subject: Re: Silvano v. PID Silvia -- lacking good comparison
 

Once you leave the single boiler area steam pretty much is pretty much a non issue.  My entry level HX Oscar is a steam dragon. $500 used and 1200$ new.  Some machines will have more (boiler size) and easier steaming (different tips, wand lengths) but you will get used to whatever machine you have. At the $1500+ area I bet there is very little difference in the steam.  Look at the "shrine photos" for sizes in people's kitchen.  General section.
"Espresso Shrines"?

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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