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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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Sigma
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Joined: 2 Apr 2013
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Posted Tue Apr 2, 2013, 5:54pm
Subject: Silvano v. PID Silvia -- lacking good comparison
 

]]I'm starting to seriously think about upgrading to a $1000-range espresso maker and have fallen into the (common?) Silvia v. Silvano analysis paralysis after spending months on home-barista, coffeegeek, and /r/coffee . Currently I have a $200-range Cuisinart with a non-pressurized basket I made fit. While it was a good intro machine (esp. without the pressurized basket), I want something that produces coffee I want to drink (even with the grinder listed below). As my palate has evolved, I'm at the point where the espresso it makes just isn't worth the effort, and it sits unused.
Specifically, I'm looking at the Auber PID (w/pre infuse) + Silvia v. the QuickMill Silvano . Having the PID pre-installed on the Silvia is ideal as the warranty will remain intact. I have considered the Crossland CC1, but reports of a slightly buggy UI as well as a lack of an established track record for reliability has made be hesitant. It seems to be a solid first-gen product, but I'm in no position to replace within the next 5+ years, so a long track record is a must.

I have a Baratza Preciso grinder, so am looking at just a maker.

The price difference between the PID-installed Silvia and Silvano is negligible as this point ($985 v. $1100). As I am in Canada, idrinkcoffee is the only place I can find with pre-installed PID Silvias.
Searching here and elsewhere results in  comparisons between non-PID Silvias v. Silvanos, which is an unfair comparison.
Thus CoffeeGeek , I was wondering if you had any thoughts on which would be a better choice. I must admit, the timed shots and pre-infuse of the Auber PID are very attractive. I care about milk, but only 2nd to the espresso. All things being equal, being able to pull shots and steam back-to-back when people are over would be a deciding factor. Generally I'm looking to pull 1-3 shots back-to-back.

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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
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Posted Tue Apr 2, 2013, 6:52pm
Subject: Re: Silvano v. PID Silvia -- lacking good comparison
 

Please do yourself a huge favor, do not buy a Sylvia at that price, you are in the price range of a starter HX machine such as the Oscar or the Nuevo Caudera (forgive spelling)
Either of those two HX machines will blow a pid Sylvia away.

 
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Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

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Sigma
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Posted Tue Apr 2, 2013, 8:13pm
Subject: Re: Silvano v. PID Silvia -- lacking good comparison
 

(Hmmm. I can't find the Oscar with shipping to Canada and La Nuova Cuadra looks to be around the $2500 price point (Click Here (www.amazon.ca)).
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sharky
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Posted Tue Apr 2, 2013, 8:37pm
Subject: Re: Silvano v. PID Silvia -- lacking good comparison
 

I'm in Calgary with a Silvia & PID.  I love it and it makes amazing espresso & steamed milk!  No temp surfing and minimal wait time between shots & steaming!  Installing a PID on the Silvia is a no brainer & should be done as soon as you can, IMO!
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qualin
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qualin
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Posted Wed Apr 3, 2013, 1:44am
Subject: Re: Silvano v. PID Silvia -- lacking good comparison
 

First of all, I wanted to say that a Silvia with a PID is a kind of a hack. It is nice that idrinkcoffee will support it and warranty it, but realistically, unless you really really like the looks of the Silvia
or you want to stick with a really high quality SBDU, from a cost standpoint, it really doesn't make any economical sense to buy one when there are other offerings on the market which are
comparable in price.

I personally do not like machines which use a thermoblock to steam for a variety of reasons. They seem to fill in the price range between the $800-$1100 mark and seem like a compromise to me.
Long story short, I wouldn't really spend money on one unless you are absolutely fixated on your budget. Again, this is IMHO.

If you REALLY want to stick with a SBDU, the Bezzera Unica is a PID controlled machine, but it is $1100. It offers better value than the Silvano, at least IMO. It is probably the cheapest E61 group
machine on the market, next to the La Nuova Cuadra. (BTW, The price you saw isn't typical. Amazon is not really a place you go to buy an espresso machine. :-) )

For an extra $200, I personally don't see why you shouldn't consider a Bezzera BZ07P for $1300 or the Nuova Simonelli Oscar for $1370. (The latter has very good reviews on this site.)

I realize that is a bit outside of your budget, but if you are already at the $1100 mark, you might as well bite the bullet and spend the extra $200-$300 to get a machine which will
blow a SBDU machine away, both in terms of capacity, steaming capability and convenience.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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sharky
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sharky
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Posted Wed Apr 3, 2013, 9:05am
Subject: Re: Silvano v. PID Silvia -- lacking good comparison
 

qualin Said:

First of all, I wanted to say that a Silvia with a PID is a kind of a hack. It is nice that idrinkcoffee will support it and warranty it, but realistically, unless you really really like the looks of the Silvia
or you want to stick with a really high quality SBDU, from a cost standpoint, it really doesn't make any economical sense to buy one when there are other offerings on the market which are
comparable in price.

Posted April 3, 2013 link


There is NOTHING that comes close to the Silvia in it's price range!  It is nice looking, all stainless steel, well made, reliable, makes a great espresso, holds its value, and will last for years!  Adding a $150 PID is just icing on the cake!   If you are going to compare machines that are twice the price, then we are comparing apples to oranges, no?  Show me another machine at $650 that has all the features the Silvia has . . . and has been tried & tested for years?
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takeshi
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Posted Wed Apr 3, 2013, 9:18am
Subject: Re: Silvano v. PID Silvia -- lacking good comparison
 

sharky Said:

There is NOTHING that comes close to the Silvia in it's price range!

Posted April 3, 2013 link

There are plenty of options that are frequently suggested in its range.  This is an extremely common topic and I'm not sure why newbies consider the Silvia since all recent threads contain posts from a number of people who consider it overpriced.  I'm one of them as well even though I own one.  Thing is I bought mine 12 years ago when it wasn't quite so overpriced.

One also has to consider that "overpriced" as well as the importance of the features you list are subjective matters.  Not everyone assigns the same priority to everything.  If one is willing to pay the premium for the Silvia's design (also a subjective matter as to whether it is "nice looking" or not), build quality and the online knowledgebase then it may be worth considering.  However, there are many that would be happy with other lower priced SBDU's and would probably be better served by spending that savings on getting a better grinder.

sharky Said:

If you are going to compare machines that are twice the price, then we are comparing apples to oranges, no?

Posted April 3, 2013 link

Of course.  However, there are entry HX's that are less than twice the price and slightly more than Silivia+PID, IIRC.
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Sigma
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Posted Wed Apr 3, 2013, 9:41am
Subject: Re: Silvano v. PID Silvia -- lacking good comparison
 

It offers better value than the Silvano, at least IMO

Because of the E61?

TW, The price you saw isn't typical. Amazon is not really a place you go to buy an espresso machine. :-)

Agreed. However I can't find anywhere in Canada that sells them...1st-line *might*, but it may have large shipping and import duties. I've read HX is not as good for steaming -- is this true?

The Bezzera Unica looks *very* compelling given it has an E61. I'm not familiar with the Bezzera brand. Is it considered quite reliable & easy to repair?

The Bezzera BZ07P looks good and I'd consider. No PID though. Is it worth it to lose that feature?

//edit

Oh, and what is an 'auto-fill function on the boiler', and why do I want it?
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frcn
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frcn
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Posted Wed Apr 3, 2013, 9:54am
Subject: Re: Silvano v. PID Silvia -- lacking good comparison
 

sharky Said:

There is NOTHING that comes close to the Silvia in it's price range!  It is nice looking, all stainless steel, well made, reliable, makes a great espresso, holds its value, and will last for years!

Posted April 3, 2013 link

There are other machines that generally fit that list of descriptors including a number of Gaggia machines, many of which cost a LOT less. Silvia has been around for about 13 or 14 years, and in that time there has been one(!) change that was aimed at making it work better and that was the addition of an adjustable pressure relief valve. One change made it more dependable- the welding of the heating element to the boiler instead of it being bolted in. A fairly worthless addition because of the lack of pressure gauge. Another change arguably actually made the machine less functional, and that was the change of the brew thermostat to a lower temperature.

Silvia is NOT all stainless steel. The frame is painted steel and will rust. It also has a brass boiler and group.

The price of Silvia + PID puts it very close to the range of HX machines. These offer greater temperature stability and faster service for brew and steam as well as larger boilers that are better suited to serve multiple drinks. There are also hybrid machines that feature a dedicated brew boiler and thermoblock for steaming (CC1 for example). The benefit it that they go from brew to steam and back much faster.

Adding a $150 PID is just icing on the cake!   If you are going to compare machines that are twice the price, then we are comparing apples to oranges, no?  Show me another machine at $650 that has all the features the Silvia has . . . and has been tried & tested for years?

Very expensive icing..  $630 (lowest current Google price) + $150 PID (if the user can install it) = $780. And you still have a machine that the user has to do the dance necessary to go from steam to brew to steam. The Gaggia Classic is $300. Add the Auber PID for about $200 and it is less than Silvia alone by. That leaves and EXTRA $280 for a grinder.  

It would be interesting to hear what other machines you have owned for any reasonable period of time that would support your comments. A decade ago Silvia was THE machine in the home range. over time it gained a large following as evidenced by the number of hits on Google. But today it does not delver the consistency nor quality of espresso on a consistent basis to justify the price. Not when you can spend less on an espresso machine, more on the grinder, and end up with an outfit that makes better espresso.

 
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Sigma
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Joined: 2 Apr 2013
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Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Apr 3, 2013, 10:38am
Subject: Re: Silvano v. PID Silvia -- lacking good comparison
 

Suppose I increased the budget to around $1400 CAD so as to incude the QM Alexia. How does that start to change the picture?

Why is Bezzera Unica (with PID) $1000 whereas the QM Alexia with PID is $1500? What am I getting with the Alexia?
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