Appropriate technology for my countertop, reliable , easy daily use.
Positive Product Points
The absolute number one positive point is the pid temp controller. (We use these all day long in the brewery where I work to keep the beer temps stable) I wanted this one feature more than any other. Temp surfing was not so appealing to me. The thermo block ability to steam and brew simultaneously is also a major positive. The sub $800 intro price sealed the deal. All stainless!
Negative Product Points
I fill the tank every day, it could be larger but I get all my daily required drinks done on one tank, so it's really fine. The tank slides out the side to the right of the machine, which for our countertop is the preferred way. But maybe not so for everyone's situation. Regardless, a top fill was not going to work for us due to low overhead cabinets, so really the side tank is a big positive.
We make a couple of lattes every morning, an afternoon espresso and extras on the weekend. I have experienced noticeably different flavors using different brew temps - so glad to have and use the pid controller! Machine has run without a single hiccup for the better part of a year with just weekly backflush cleanings. As others have pointed out the drip tray is huge, very nice. The steaming is perfectly fine in my opinion and since you can pull the shot at the same time it is really a very short time interval til your drink is finished. Seeing the videos online at Chris' Coffee brought this point home for me and heavily influenced my decision. I like that the machine plugs into a normal 15 amp receptacle. That has allowed us to use an inexpensive hardware store timer to power on the machine just before we get up and then automatically shut it off later. As a beer brewer surrounded by stainless steel tanks all day long, I love that the entire case is stainless on the Silvano. In my mind I was coveting a rotary pump machine for a queiter experience. Compared the other machines we've owned (that rattled your fillings noisewise), the Silvano makes just a nice purr and that was a pleasant surprise.
I never use the hot water and I always leave the thermo block switched on in the back.
I thought I might have upgrade envy at some point but in nine months that has not happened!
I had a really fun time on the phone with Scott from Chris' Coffee. We talked about the relative merits of all kinds of different machines and formed a "logic loop" that kept leading back to the SIlvano. Not at all like talking to a "salesman", rather a nice, informed conversation with someone who has a mutual interest in good coffee. Great follow up too, these people are good communicators. Showed up as projected by UPS tracking in a bomber package, with nary a scratch.
Three Month Followup
I've now owned the Silvano for a full year and everything that I said in my first review is still true!