A beautifully made machine that deserves your attention; before and after purchase.
Positive Product Points
The Silvia is beautifully made and beautifully designed. There is ample steam for lattés and the portafilter is a gem. It is simple to clean and makes excellent espresso.
Negative Product Points
As other users have noted, it takes a while to get Silvia happening each morning. I switch it on and hop in the shower. Upon my return, a quick run of hot water to prime it, and then I move to getting the grind ready. The grind is key, as all will tell you. The wrong grind, or little warm-up and no crema.
This machine has changed my daily routine. Bent it out of all proportion. I had an expensive Alessi French Press (birthday present) which ruled the roost until Silvia arrived. But then, after only two days of sampling the "Silvia" difference, it's mothballs for the lovely Alessi. Sorry Aldo!
The thing is, this machine turns out espressos, cappuccinos and lattés that outstrip anything at my local coffee bars. And I have done the rounds, hoping to gather intelligence, tips, etcetera. With attention to detail, a good grind and firm tamp, the crema and the FLAVOUR (a key point sometimes overlooked) of excellent espresso is Silvia's watchword. The Rancilio company makes excellent machines; this is one of them.
The stainless steel and simple surfaces are easy to clean and keep shiny and from my look at the internals, they are first rate.
I have nothing but praise for this machine. As my perspicacious brother said, on seeing Silvia for the first time this past week: "This thing's going to be in your Will!"
Until then, get that whipped cream ready!
I purchased this machine from the knowledgeable fellow at espressotec here in Vancouver and spent two pleasant afternoons (not my original intention) getting the scoop on brewing perfect espresso. He even carried it to my car - a fact that will be appreciated by fellow Silvia owners. Excellent customer service.
Three Month Followup
It is now one year on and this machine has changed my daily routine! Since buying it I have settled on the Dolce coffee blend from Espresso Vivace in Seattle (thank you David!) and, having hit almost every coffee bar in Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest, I can say that the Dolce/Rancilio combo turns out one of the best, if not the best, espressos in the area. As good as any, that's my view. This machine is awesome.