Machine can be tamed with temp surfing to provide consistant quality!
Positive Product Points
Commerical portafilter Heavy Duty Brass Hot-water ability Decent drip tray Lots of information available through the web. Best quality in the $400 range No crema enhancers or frothing aids
Negative Product Points
Having to "temp-surf" to find the best temperature. Water reservoir too small. Cup warmer feeble. Having to cool down the boiler after steaming before next espresso (single boiler, this is expected! It's not a heat exchanger).
So much has been said about these things! You probably are saying "not another Silvia review!" What more could I share that would not be repeating what others say? I'll give some suggestions though.
Learn to tempurature surf. Is this something only beach bums do when the weather is right? No! What I mean is finding the optimum boiler temperature so the espresso is not too cool and be bitter or not too hot to burn the espresso. Unless you PID your Silvia so you have a digital temp read out, this will give you the chance to have repeatable results. It will take one more factor out of making espresso (as if there arn't enough variables already right?!) To temp surf, I lock and load the portafilter with my puck then run water through the wand until the "heating" lamp turns back on. This means it is heating the boiler (you knew that didn't you!). I time 40 seconds then I begin the pour. Is 40 the number I received from God himself? Nope, I just tried 30, 40 and 50 and 40 was best for me! This is a real basic way to surf, check other reviews or sources for a more in depth way. Second I suggest getting the bigger filter basket. The stock double filter doesn't hold enough coffee in my opinion. I like to pull 2 oz doubles and I usually use 15-16 grams in my La Marzocco ridgeless double basket. It can hold more and it reduced my bitterness I experienced. The holes are smaller in the basket too. My 58mm tamper fits great. However, I didn't get a stronger spring to hold in the basket so when I use the knock box I sometimes knock out the filter as well. Ohh well. I got mine from Espresso Parts NW since wholelattelove keeps running out and 1-rst line only sells them to "their Silvia" customers. EP NW actually was significantly cheaper then the others too! I hope that you learned something here or at least not bored to tears. I think this machine is great for me at this time. 4-5 years ago this was THE machine. Since then, those who had this machine then have upgraded to Livia 90's, ECM Giotto's, Isomac's, etc. with Heat exchangers. Once I win the lottery or take over Dell Computers, then i'll upgrade to a heat exchanger or other expensive machine. I totaly agree with those who upgraded because I get frustrated after pulling 2 shots of espresso then steaming milk, then I have to cool the boiler before I can make any more shots (I go through a lot of water that way). If you want to serve more then 2-4 people FORGET IT. You'll be slaving away all night making them because people will enjoy them so much they will keep wanting another...
I order it on line so it was no problem at all. I also order the rocky at the same time (of course!).