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apples & oranges - rancilio silvia vs rocket giotto
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > apples & oranges...  
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dlevens
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Joined: 4 Feb 2011
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Location: Alta Loma
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Posted Fri Feb 4, 2011, 4:43am
Subject: apples & oranges - rancilio silvia vs rocket giotto
 

I am curious how much better of a shot would pull from a Rocket Espresso Giotto Evoluzione vs Rancilio Silvia V3? The price difference between these machines is vast (more than tripple). I have been watching youtube videos, reading reviews, reading forums, trying to narrow my search down for a great home semi-auto espresso maker. I have at least narrowed the choices down to one in each price range. What I am not sure about is how much better of a shot I would I get from the Giotto vs the Silvia?

I am really curious if there are any former Silvia owners who moved up the Rocket machines and noticed a significant difference in shot quality?

Dennis
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,775
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Fri Feb 4, 2011, 6:52am
Subject: Re: apples & oranges - rancilio silvia vs rocket giotto
 

Welcome to the board!

I have not used Silvia but I have used SBDU machines.

What you gain by "moving up" is a bigger boiler and more metal in the group head and machine which translates into much better temp stability, the ability to pull shots back to back quickly, more consistent high quality shots, ease of use, the ability to steam milk and pull shots together or in rapid sequence to each other.

It is true that you can pull good and even great shots on a SBDU but you will pull many more of them with a better machine, more consistently and have a much easier time doing it.

There is much more "fussing" with a SBDU than there is with a HX or DB machine. If you are limited by budget, a SBDU will pull you some good/great espresso but if you are serious about a "great home semi-auto espresso maker" like you put in your post, you will want to look up the ladder a bit from the SBDU.

Don't forget, you WILL NEED a good grinder to get anything like a good to great shot FROM ANY MACHINE. Your Capresso is fine for methods OTHER than espresso but you will need a better/espresso grinder for espresso.

FRESH coffee is mandatory also, that is NOT OLDER than 2 weeks FROM THE DAY IT WAS ROASTED ON!

You are in Alta Loma and I am in Riverside, I have offered to others to come over and try my equipment, and I have been taken up on that offer. We pulled some great shots, had some good coffee and had a good time. I am offering this to you also, let me know.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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TheMadTamper
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Joined: 2 Nov 2010
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Posted Fri Feb 4, 2011, 7:49am
Subject: Re: apples & oranges - rancilio silvia vs rocket giotto
 

The oranges.  Definitely go for the oranges....


calblacksmith Said:

I have not used Silvia but I have used SBDU machines.

What you gain by "moving up" is a bigger boiler and more metal in the group head and machine which translates into much better temp stability, the ability to pull shots back to back quickly, more consistent high quality shots, ease of use, the ability to steam milk and pull shots together or in rapid sequence to each other.

It is true that you can pull good and even great shots on a SBDU but you will pull many more of them with a better machine, more consistently and have a much easier time doing it.

Posted February 4, 2011 link

Everything Wayne said is correct, however I'll add that I've owned a Silvia and moved up to a better machine.  Not specifically the Giotto, but that's a machine I often compare mine to, they're in the same class.  I agree that the main point of the upgrade is convenience related in terms of use.  Be it switching from steam to brew and back (or at once), which makes milk very difficult to deal with an on SBDU like Silvia, or just the ability to just lock & pull shots back to back without having to worry about temperature stability or waiting to "surf" the machine, it just makes life much simpler.  

But since your question specifically targeted shot quality, I'll assume you know all that (call me naieve :) .) Specifically regarding shot quality, I got to the point, with one of the absolute top of the line grinders out there (see the grinder conversation below), a Compak K10 "titan" conical, that I was getting very good shots out of Silvia.  However, Silvia, being Silvia, the shots were still inconsistent.  From a session of, say, 4-6 shots, the first would almost always be either bad, or sink-worthy.  Of the rest it was easy to detect a trend that the more I pulled, the better the shots got, the the point that by shot 6 or 7 they were excellent.  Meaning that on sessions of pulling less shots (most sessions) it would never be as good.*

The last blend I pulled on Silvia was Redbird Espresso Decaf.  I'd let the bag sit a little too long and the once dry bean had clearly become oily.   It wasn't expired, it was 1.5 weeks old or so, but for decaf especially you only get a few days at peak performance much of the time.  I wasn't fond of the blend in that condition and assumed that I'd just let it sort of get too old for its own good.  Before the end of that bag, I got my new machine and swapped it out.  The very first shot I pulled on it was noticably clearer than any shot I'd pulled with that blend on the Silvia, and I could specifically detect almond & hazelnut where it was buried in the background noise on the Silvia, and I've not had a sink shot since (at least ones I didn't fairly knowingly blow with grind/distribution issues.)  So the first shot on the new machine was better than my best shot on Silvia. Temp stability goes a long way....

*Disclaimer: My Silvia was a v1 ("original") Silvia with an 880W heater, and a non-settable OPV, supposedly set at 10.5bar or so.  

Don't forget, you WILL NEED a good grinder to get anything like a good to great shot FROM ANY MACHINE. Your Capresso is fine for methods OTHER than espresso but you will need a better/espresso grinder for espresso.

This is critical, the oft said "grinder is more important than machine", better phrased as "your coffee is only as good as your weakest link (thanks, Pietro, for getting me back into saying that..... ;).)  While there was a shot improvement going from Silvia to the HX, it was nowhere NEAR the shot improvement I experienced going from K3 to K10, or even Rocky to K3 for that matter.  Rocky to K3 made my shots drinkable.  K3 to K10 turned it into a completely new beverage all together.  Silvia to HX refined it substantially further.  But it can also be said that depending on grinder, you may notice no difference between Silvia and an HX.  Surely the better temp control of my HX really brought out the notes that my top-tier grinder provided but Silvia was unable to articulate.  But if the grinder weren't delivering those additional intricacies to begin with, consistency would certainly have improved (and that can't be overstated), but comparing the "best" shot from the Silvia to the "average" shot of the HX may have been more even.

FRESH coffee is mandatory also, that is NOT OLDER than 2 weeks FROM THE DAY IT WAS ROASTED ON!

And, yes, without fresh beans....is there much point in debating the resolving power of the equipment if the bean is muddied to start with? :)
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Endo
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Endo
Joined: 26 Jun 2008
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Espresso: machine is < important than...
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Posted Fri Feb 4, 2011, 8:11am
Subject: Re: apples & oranges - rancilio silvia vs rocket giotto
 

dlevens Said:

I am curious how much better of a shot would pull from a Rocket Espresso Giotto Evoluzione vs Rancilio Silvia V3? The price difference between these machines is vast (more than triple).

Posted February 4, 2011 link

I owned a Silvia and then upgraded to a E-61 HX.

First the obvious: Just because it is 3 times the cost, the taste will not be 3 times better. (I'm sure you know that already). More like 30% better at best. What you're paying for is mostly metal, some extra parts and bling factor.

To get some perspective, I'd say that particular machine upgrade is slightly less than a typical grinder upgrade (say Rancilio Rocky to  Mazzer SJ) and about half the impact of a good coffee upgrade (say 1 month old grocery store beans compared to micro-roaster beans).

One of the main things you'll notice right away is the improved water dispersion going from Silvia to E-61 (much more uniform)and the HX steaming convenience.

Is it worth it. No..... unless your a espresso machine fanboy... like most of us here (me included) of course! :-)

Hope that helps.
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JonR10
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JonR10
Joined: 26 Apr 2004
Posts: 10,376
Location: Houston, Texas
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Posted Fri Feb 4, 2011, 8:21am
Subject: Re: apples & oranges - rancilio silvia vs rocket giotto
 

Endo Said:

What you're paying for is mostly metal, some extra parts and bling factor.

Posted February 4, 2011 link

Plus the operational convenience of steaming on demand (rather than waiting for the boiler to change temperature)
Plus the added ease of use to get more consistent brewing temperatures compared with non-PID Silyia
Plus being able to pull consecutive shots and steam milk at will to serve more than one person - if you entertain at all

Of course you can make a fairly equivalent espresso shot on either machine, so the question will be if the added conveninces, capability for entertaining, and ease for consistency in temp. management are worth the extra expense (along with the bling factor)

 
Jon Rosenthal
Houston, TX
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,391
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
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Posted Fri Feb 4, 2011, 8:49am
Subject: Re: apples & oranges - rancilio silvia vs rocket giotto
 

JonR10 Said:

Plus the operational convenience of steaming on demand (rather than waiting for the boiler to change temperature)
Plus the added ease of use to get more consistent brewing temperatures compared with non-PID Silyia
Plus being able to pull consecutive shots and steam milk at will to serve more than one person - if you entertain at all

Of course you can make a fairly equivalent espresso shot on either machine, so the question will be if the added conveninces, capability for entertaining, and ease for consistency in temp. management are worth the extra expense (along with the bling factor)

Posted February 4, 2011 link

So . . . is it worth it?  To most people here, the answer is "yes."

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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Nathan
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Joined: 10 Nov 2010
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Location: Montreal
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Espresso: Rancilio Silvia v3
Grinder: Vario
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Posted Fri Feb 4, 2011, 8:51am
Subject: Re: apples & oranges - rancilio silvia vs rocket giotto
 

What is the highest value machine to upgrade from a Silvia then? I imagine it would be a PID on a Silvia.
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
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Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Fri Feb 4, 2011, 9:03am
Subject: Re: apples & oranges - rancilio silvia vs rocket giotto
 

That's a very difficult question to answer.  Doesn't it depend upon what YOU mean by "highest value"?  Personally, if you are speaking along the lines of quality-to-price ratio (and this, too, will vary with the individual whose budget is involved), I see very little value in a PID'd Silvia because that price is so close to an HX machine . . . and I would MUCH rather have an HX than an SBDU.

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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TheMadTamper
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Joined: 2 Nov 2010
Posts: 1,246
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Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Salvatore SES; Izzo Duetto...
Grinder: Compak K10 WBC, K8 Fresh,...
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Posted Fri Feb 4, 2011, 9:29am
Subject: Re: apples & oranges - rancilio silvia vs rocket giotto
 

Endo Said:

I owned a Silvia and then upgraded to a E-61 HX.

First the obvious: Just because it is 3 times the cost, the taste will not be 3 times better. (I'm sure you know that already). More like 30% better at best. What you're paying for is mostly metal, some extra parts and bling factor.

To get some perspective, I'd say that particular machine upgrade is slightly less than a typical grinder upgrade (say Rancilio Rocky to  Mazzer SJ) and about half the impact of a good coffee upgrade (say 1 month old grocery store beans compared to micro-roaster beans).

One of the main things you'll notice right away is the improved water dispersion going from Silvia to E-61 (much more uniform)and the HX steaming convenience.

Is it worth it. No..... unless your a espresso machine fanboy... like most of us here (me included) of course! :-)

Hope that helps.

Posted February 4, 2011 link

I think I remember reading in some thread that you only periodically make milk drinks and frequently don't even use the steam boiler on your machine, so one of the most night and day comparisons between SBDU and anything else is a bit less impactful on you than someone who may steam often, or even every session.  Steaming on an SBDU is PAINFUL, though possible.  If you want to re-live the horrors, turn on your steam boiler ONLY when you have your pitcher ready to go, then flush it until it's cold after the pitcher and switch it off before the next shot.  Also flush your brew boiler until its cold before pulling the next shot. :)  Now, scream.  :)

But if we're talking purely shot-only quality, I agree  with you generally, though it does depend on grinder.  The difference from Silvia to HX on the K3 isn't as vast as the difference with the K10...  Consistency from shot to shot and convenience of not surfing and flushing until the boiler goes on shouldn't be underrated though!


Nathan Said:

What is the highest value machine to upgrade from a Silvia then? I imagine it would be a PID on a Silvia.

Posted February 4, 2011 link

Define "value"?  What are you looking for? This part fits conveniently into price brackets.  Entry level HX includes Bezzera BZ02 and Nuova Simonelli Oscar at around $1000, followed by Expobar Office Pulser.  The next price bracket is $1200-$1400,  then something of a jump to $1800 (for practical differences.) But the grinder must be part of your budget!!
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Endo
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Endo
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Posted Fri Feb 4, 2011, 9:35am
Subject: Re: apples & oranges - rancilio silvia vs rocket giotto
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

So . . . is it worth it?  To most people here, the answer is "yes."

Posted February 4, 2011 link

It's a "coffeegeek" forum. What do you think the answer would be?

The Silvia (or even less) is MORE than enough machine for 99% of espresso drinkers (as sales would indicate). I expect like most, your mind is made up on the more expensive machine and you're simply posting here for justification. And that's fine. Just save yourself some pain and don't use the "improved temperature stability" argument with your wife! :-)

So just go for it and we'll avoid the inevitable SBDU to HX to DB upgrade justification posts that have already been written several times before.

Have fun!
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