Excellent shots, which is the most important part of any espresso maker, but has its limitations
Positive Product Points
- Sound, solid machine - Warms up quickly - Not too noisy - Cost... very reasonable - Looks beautiful; nice stainless steel with black accents - Large portafilter means better extraction - East to take apart group head and clean - Fits nicely under kitchen cabinets - The frothing wand works very well - Drip pan easy to remove and clean - Billions of resources out there since so many people own this machine
Negative Product Points
- Rubber feet came off a lot until I applied better glue - Water holding capacity rather small - Tired of people refering to Miss Silvia as if the machine were their lover (sorry!) - Although espresso making is the machines strong point, if you want to make caps, you may want to look elsewhere. After pulling, several minutes (maybe as many as six plus) are required to get the steam up to temperature and dry enough. I recommend steaming the milk first, preheating the group head with the excess heat in the steam, loading the portafilter and then pulling the shot.
Let's face it, espresso machines are big bucks. If not, they are department store cheapies or they are this one, the Silvia. This machine makes excellent espresso and is of very high quality but it has its limitations. After using this for some time, it is clear that a double boiler or other method to go quickly from hot water to steam would be a plus. If this is important to you, you might want to look elsewhere. For me it is not at all a problem since all I make are espresso and an occasional Americano. If a cap is to be made, I recommend that the milk is steamed first as I have outlined above.
If this was not given to me as a gift, I would absolutely buy it for my self. The most important thing of any espresso maker is how well does it make espresso and this unit delivers excellent results. More controls, e.g., pressure and temperature gauges would be nice but that costs money. Again, the Silvia is an excellent value and will provide years of service. In my estimation, the next best machine, and several that are not nearly as good, cost twice the price.