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Choice between these two machines...
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Choice between...  
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BonsaiDoug
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Jun 2013
Posts: 50
Location: Canandaigua
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso
Roaster: FreshRoast SR500
Posted Tue Oct 29, 2013, 8:31am
Subject: Choice between these two machines...
 

This will be an upgrade for me from my low-end Delonghi (un-pressurized basket).  I only have $600-ish to spend and I believe I've narrowed it down to the Breville BES870XL Barista Express, or the Rancilio Silvia V3.

I roast my own beans, and this machine will be for double shots and café lungo only (no milk drinks at all).

Any thoughts on the functionality, reliability and longevity of these machines?

TIA
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T_Rick
Senior Member
T_Rick
Joined: 5 Feb 2008
Posts: 75
Location: NB Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rocket Giotto
Grinder: Compak K10, Rocky DL, Zass
Drip: press pot; Chemex
Roaster: Poppery II; iRoast 2
Posted Tue Oct 29, 2013, 8:57am
Subject: Re: Choice between these two machines...
 

I've never owned a Silvia, but I've pulled shots on one a couple of times, and they were acceptable.  I do own a Rancilio Rocky grinder, and that thing is a tank.  I've had it for several years, and it's running great (replaced the burrs once as per usage).

Also, I have NEVER had a good espresso from a machine that has a built-in grinder.  Those machines are made for convenience/footprint first and foremost, not quality.  Finally, I would tend to trust a company who's whole existence is based on coffee/espresso, not one that dabbles in it among other things.

 
T-Rick

BOOKMAN: "You buy a jar of Folger's Crystals, you put it in the cupboard, you forget about it. Then later on when you need it, it's there. It lasts forever. It's freeze-dried. Freeze-dried Crystals."
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,051
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Tue Oct 29, 2013, 9:04am
Subject: Re: Choice between these two machines...
 

If your looking for a good starter set up with a grinder I've seen a few videos and read that the BES870XL is an improvement from the BES860XL.  I however am a Silvia owner and in all aspects excluding the built in grinder the Silvia is a better built machine.  IMHO Wait and save a bit more money and go with the Silvia + a good grinder.
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,077
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Tue Oct 29, 2013, 9:09am
Subject: Re: Choice between these two machines...
 

MACHINES:

If you really want an SBDU, get a Gaggia Classic.  It's better in almost every way than a Silvia.  

As to the Barista Express, despite it's good SCAA result, if you think it through you'll quickly realize that you don't want a grinder -- which works best in a cool, dry environment -- located in the same housing as an espresso machine because...
 
Otherwise (in alphabetical order)
  • Breville BES840XL "Infuser;" or
  • Crossland CC1 (v1.5).

Both have good temp control, decent groups and can make decent espresso consistently without forcing the user through too many hoops.  The Breville does a pretty good job on straight espresso as long as you don't put heavy demands on it.  

The Crossland -- a skosh more expensive than a non-PID Silvia -- will stretch your budget, but it's easier to use and will give better results than anything else either of us has listed.   If you can afford it without substituting actual food for ramen every night, it's well worth the extra money.  

GRINDER:

When someone is shopping for a machine with a budget as tight as yours, the relative importance of the grinder is often overlooked or slighted.  A better espresso machine (and just about anything is better than the DeLonghi) means that you'll be better able to taste flaws in the grind.  If you're limited to spending only a few hundred bucks for now, you're probably better off investing in a reasonably good "espresso only" grinder.  

There are other grinders which can do the job besides the two Baratzas I'm going to mention:
  • Baratza Preciso; and
  • Baratza Vario.

The Preciso is the least expensive grinder with enough fine control at espresso grind size for bare adequacy.  $300.

The Vario is a good, mid-size, flat-burr grinder and good bang for the buck at $450.  

BDL
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jonr
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jun 2013
Posts: 290
Location: Americas
Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Tue Oct 29, 2013, 9:20am
Subject: Re: Choice between these two machines...
 

I second the CC1 suggestion (although I don't have hands on experience with it).
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,354
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Tue Oct 29, 2013, 10:09am
Subject: Re: Choice between these two machines...
 

CC1 hands down in this class, barely more then a Silvia but far outperforms it, way larger boiler (largest in it's class at 17oz), built in PID gives full control of basically everything like pre-infusion and dwell and not just temp, separate thermoblock for steaming so if you make a couple milk drinks it's a lot faster... just say'in as even though you mentioned that don't know if down the road you may want to make milk drinks or for guest etc. Even if I didn't own one I'd tell people it's too good of a deal to pass up in this class b/c of what it offers for the price.

And a seperate grinder, Breville made a little improvement over their previous built in grinders, but it's not near the adjustability and fine tuning of even an entry level grinder like the Preciso. Seperate grinder and machine is the way too go.
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Oct 29, 2013, 11:01am
Subject: Re: Choice between these two machines...
 

Another vote for the CC1, The Silvia is an overpriced dinosaur and Gaggia has likewise been chugging out the same home machines they made in the 80s. This is why so many beginners flock to Breville because they at least look like they're trying to innovate. Trouble is, they're mostly form over function.
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takeshi
Senior Member
takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 963
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Super Jolly
Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Tue Oct 29, 2013, 11:07am
Subject: Re: Choice between these two machines...
 

BonsaiDoug Said:

This will be an upgrade for me from my low-end Delonghi (un-pressurized basket).  I only have $600-ish to spend and I believe I've narrowed it down to the Breville BES870XL Barista Express, or the Rancilio Silvia V3.

I roast my own beans, and this machine will be for double shots and café lungo only (no milk drinks at all).

Posted October 29, 2013 link

Grinder?
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BonsaiDoug
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Jun 2013
Posts: 50
Location: Canandaigua
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso
Roaster: FreshRoast SR500
Posted Tue Oct 29, 2013, 11:50am
Subject: Re: Choice between these two machines...
 

Thanx all for the input. I'll have to check out the CC1. Currently my grinder is the basic Barazza burr (yeah, I know, it too has to go).
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jonr
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jun 2013
Posts: 290
Location: Americas
Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Tue Oct 29, 2013, 12:02pm
Subject: Re: Choice between these two machines...
 

It is amazing at just how slow espresso machine manufacturers have been to implement the full capabilities of computer control.  Or in the Classic and Silvia cases, implement it at all.
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