Not perfect, but a better machine than a Gaggia Baby, and probably the best available for under $750.
Positive Product Points
Very high quality appearance and construction. Outstanding frothing capacity, even though it‘s not continuous. Heats up very fast. Makes good espresso.
Negative Product Points
A little bigger than it needs to be. Slightly finicky grind and tamp combination to get a good crema. And I don‘t like having to manually prime the reservoir if I haven‘t been around for a few days. It probably won‘t burn up the element if I forget, but I prefer the automatic "whrrr" of my Livia 90 when I turn it on.
After all the raves about the Silvia on this website, I finally broke down and got one myself. It was an easy decision, really; I had just bought a Pasquini Livia 90 for my country house and judged it perfect, but I certainly didn‘t want to spend that kind of money for a second unit for my city apartment. And I wanted something that I thought would be better than a Gaggia Baby, recently given away to a friend. This seemed like just about the right ticket at $399.
I was warned by 1st Line that the Silvia would be a lot more finicky about grind than the Livia 90, which is very forgiving. They were right. The first pull, made with Illy ground by Manhattan Espresso, was terrible. No crema, almost no taste. So I REGROUND the ground Illy into the finest powder I could manage with my Saeco grinder, and the results were much better. At first the degree of tamp was a problem as well, but it‘s all getting kind of second nature now. The machine regularly makes excellent espresso and really good frothed milk for a great capucinno. It is, indeed, a wonderful step up from the Gaggia.
I haven‘t yet gotten around to ONCE-ground coffee, or tried anything other than Illy, my favorite, in it. The taste of the Illy made in the Silvia is not quite as good as Livia 90 at its best, but for one-third the price, this is no beginner‘s machine! It‘s certainly a best value winner.