This is one Pimp Espresso Machine, easy to use and doesnt seem to have a steep learning curve to get a nice espresso with tons of crema and awesome froth that many reviewers would have you believe. In other words its user friendly even for a 1st machine.
Positive Product Points
Easy to make awesome shots, this was my first machine Steam wand swivels all around, looking at other machines out there i cant imagine how anyone could get one that only swings back and forth. Simple easy to clean parts and its really easy to fill. Nice size, not too tall or wide and fits perfectly in a smaller kitchen.
Negative Product Points
Drip tray is a little small for all the rinsing i like to do Steam wand grip/handle is a bit small and if you fail to look when you're grabbing it all the nerves in your fingers will let you know when you're not target. Holy smokes that really hurts but you'll only do it a few times maybe even three. Any more than that and you'd better just stick to peet's and sbuxs.
Like so many others out there who are itching to get some good espresso i narrowed many hours of reading down to just two machines the Venus and Miss Silvia. In the end Miss Silvia won my heart and has given me nothing but wonderfull espresso bliss ever since i first pulled her from the box. Sure I liked the way the Venus looked with the red lights and sheik switches but i can honestly say that after using the silvia for a month i have absolutely ZERO buyers remorse. Its quite the opposite. If i go back and look at the more expensive Venus i can see a few things that it lacks. I just had to get over the looks and its 50's era retro look. Thats not to say that the silvia isnt a really nice looking solidly built machine, it really is but it is also more modern looking. It may seem like i am justifying my decision and its true that i am but its merely cosmetic and based on the looks. What really matters is how the machine makes espresso. Right? What made me happiest with my decision started first with the 360 deg swiveling steam wand that makes steaming small amounts of milk possible, i dont see how this would even work with a wand that only swung back and forth since its the tilting that makes this operation feasible, especially when trying to reach to the bottom of a steaming cup that is only filled maybe an inch high. If you couldnt tilt the wand you couldnt tilt the cup and then you'd end up with way too much milk. With the silvia i can minimize the milk and get fantastic amounts of foam. Second is that refilling the water reservoir compartment is easy and accessible through a lid in the top of the machine. I dont have to remove the cups/saucers from the warmer and although the reservoir is not small by any means when you get yourself locked into a serious espresso habit you will be refilling it a lot. The last thing has little to do with functionality but more along the lines of combating upgrade-itus The silvia has lots of flat surfaces that creates a lot of room to add things like pressure and temperature gages. And dont forget the ability to PID the silvia for the ultimate control.
I bought the Rocky Ginder Package with the Silvia. They were very helpful at SeattleCoffeeGear and even gave me an extra discount.