If you're reading this, you are probably considering buying your own espresso machine or you just want to upgrade and you're wondering if the high price tag is really worth it. Well, yes and no.
If you are a weekend coffee maker and you'll drink anything that has caffeine in it, this might not be worth it. But if you want above average espresso shots and you don't mind spending some time perfecting your skills, then this machine will be more than adequate.
The machine comes tightly packed in brown cardboard with two arrows pointing upwards (meaning keep in upright position), and printed in block letters "MADE IN ITALY". There was no shiny packaging, no bonus cups or cupons, just the machine. And no "fragile" warning on it either, which was comforting.
As soon as you unpack it, the machine feels heavy, with a solid build. You have to run some water through it, but other that that, it's pretty much ready to go. And here is where the fun starts. The first few shots will be far from perfect, but the internet offers lots of tutorials and tips for espresso, latte etc. I strongly recommend a good grinder, the Rancilio Rocky is good enough, but if you go to something better by all means. Also fresh roasted beans are key to making a good espresso.
Almost 4 years now and it's running like new. One thing to remember, always make sure there is water in the reservoir, air can damage the pump. I used filtered or distilled water, it prevents calcium deposits. And the steel base started to rust a bit, but it can be replaced.
In conclusion, the machine paid for itself after 4-5 months. It's hard to get bored with it, because every coffee is different and you will constantly have to adjust. Having had a $250 Saeco machine, this is far superior, and I am glad I chose this one.
Great. Espressoplanet exchanged the Saeco machine and grinder I bought previously because I wasn't satisfied with them. The sales person was very helpful in helping me choose the Silvia, and gave me tutorial with one of the floor models. They also threw in a pound of coffee beans for free.
Three Month Followup
After 4 years of using this machine, I still am anxious to get home and enjoy a great espresso. No quality issues, no complaints whatsoever. This is truly a great investment, the machine paid for itself after 8 months.