All the praise is well deserved. Wonderful machine.
Positive Product Points
This is a tank... albeit a very nice looking one. Miss Silvia has presence and style in the kitchen. There is ample steam power, I don't find the temp dropping (via the boiler light coming on) during an extraction (as it often did with the Barista.) The portafilter holds heat very well. The whole machine is just well built. Oh yeah, and when you get the other variable right (grind, tamp, bean, etc) the Espresso shots are WONDERFUL.
Negative Product Points
Goes through water very fast. I use almost the entire water container just to do my heat up blank shots, refill the boiler after extracting, and cleaning rinse for 2 double shots and one cappa. But things can be all perfect, right?
The drip tray can fill up quickly without noticing it. Though it's very easy to empty, so only a minor issue.
If you forget to bleed off some of the pressure (if she's been on for awhile) through the wand and just go to pull a blank shot, steam with sputter water everywhere (and it hurts).
There is a learning curve, especially compared to using a SB Barista. However it is nice to have more control over the creation of the espresso.
Like many people have said over and over again, you won't truly appreciate what Miss Silvia can do, or how good pure espresso can taste without a quality grinder. I used my Solis Maestro with ok results until my Innova I-1 showed up, then WOW what a difference.
Anyways, about the machine. Silvia is pretty easy to get the hang of after just a few tries.
My routine is: - Wake up, stumble in and turn her on, making sure to pull water through the wand so her boiler is full. (You did leave the water tank full last time, right?) - After going back to bed for two snooze cycles, then waking my son up, showering - Silvia is nice and hot, ready for the morning espresso (and cappa for my son.) - Pull a blank shot to warm the cups till the light comes on. - Waiting for the light to go off, I grind the beans, pack and tamp the portafilter. - Lock in the portafilter, pull that 28 sec 2oz espresso. - Remove the PF and knock the puck - Wipe her down, run some more hot water through the empty PF, wipe her down again. - Pull more water through wand to refill boiler. - Shut her down and head out the door.
Silvia is really a great espresso machine when paired with a good grinder. All in all, I expect to be using Miss Silvia for many years to come.
I bought my Silvia used from a fellow Geek who'd had her for about 1 year or so.
Three Month Followup
I kinda forgot to fill this one in, but it holds the same as the initial and 1 year.
One Year Followup
Sadly Miss Silvia hasn't gotten as much action as she used to. Still beautifully displayed in my kitchen, but since I ran out of time to roast beans I've not run her as much. BUT... it is still a wonderful espresso machine and would recommend her to anyone.