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Rancilio Silvia - David Ellis's Review
Posted: October 20, 2009, 6:20am
review rating: 5.8
feedback: (2) comments | read | write
Rancilio Silvia
Where to Buy
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More About This Product
Arrow The Rancilio Silvia has 231 Reviews
Arrow The Rancilio Silvia has been rated 8.54 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Rancilio Silvia reviews have been viewed 1,717,113 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Chris Clark 9.13
Ed Lawless 9.00
Joe DP 8.88
Dave Borton 8.67
Eric Larson 8.62

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 5.8
Manufacturer: Rancilio Quality: 5
Average Price: $629.00 Usability: 5
Price Paid: $550.00 Cost vs. Value 5
Where Bought: WholeLottaLove Aesthetics 9
Owned for: 4+ years Overall 5
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: Obtaining Tolerable  espresso wth the poor temp control is possible.  Eventually I'll spend more $$ and get a better machine.
Positive Product Points

Good steam
Nice Aesthetics

Negative Product Points

Poor brewing temp control - way too hot!

Detailed Commentary

I have owned and used my Sylvia machine daily for the past 7-8 years with its companion Rocky grinder.  Overall, the machine has been profoundly reliable, and I have not needed to have any maintenance done on the machine.   It still works and runs like new.  I have used Reverse Osmosis and Distilled water in my machine to ensure there is no calcium/mineral buildup in the boiler.  It remains very reliable and the steaming is good.

The only significant downside to the machine is the espresso brewing temperature control.  My Sylvia runs hot – very hot, and will consistently burn the espresso if allowed to reach full operating temperature.  My solution is to sneak the shot of espresso while the machine remains in the warming cycle (i.e. warming light on).   I am able to manage a 5-10 second pull that results in okay espresso with some crème.  This is a best-guess scenario.  About once per month I get a better shot of espresso – one with good crème, rich flavor, and no burn.  It doesn’t happen very often.  About 1 year ago, I learned that good temperature control is essential to good espresso and Sylvia completely fails in this regard.  It took me about 6 years of "usability" to figure out what the Sylvia was/wasn't doing.  The "quality of product" temp control is inadequate.  The result is a machine that is priced appropriately – in my opinion.

Also, I have read and experimented with temperature surfing.  After hundreds of experiments there is absolutely no way that temperature surfing will result in a perfect pull on a consistent basis with this machine.

Buying Experience

Great.  It arrived in perfect condition.

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review rating: 5.8
Posted: October 20, 2009, 6:20am
feedback: (2) comments | read | write
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