I love this machine; it makes me smile every time I see it. It's one of those rare products that I look forward to using and enjoy every time I do.
Positive Product Points
Good-looking, functional, no-nonsense machine that makes consistently good espresso. Built to last, with some commercial parts and a good deal of loving hand labor.
Negative Product Points
As the vendor warns, you can cut yourself on the sharp edges of the steel drip tray and its perforated cover. The water reservoir is a bit awkward to remove for cleaning and reinsert. I would like a more positive feel from the knob (like a click) when shutting off the water/steam outlet. The supplied plastic tamper is virtually useless. (I ordered an aluminum one along with the machine.)
I've had my Silvia (and the Rocky grinder) for going on two years now and couldn't be happier. I consistently make espresso better than I can get in most cafes. It took a little experimenting... I tried out various suggestions I read on coffee websites for getting the best use out of the Silvia, and--surprise: I finally found that following the instructions in the not-very-well written, but decipherable manual that accompanied the machine produced the best results for me. I do not leave the machine turned on between uses. I let it warm up till the power-switch light goes out, then draw a little water through the portafilter to warm it some more, and the cup also; then grind my coffee into the portafilter and make my espresso. That simple. Rinse the portafilter by jiggling it as I run more water through, then turn off the machine till I want my second (or third, or fourth) cup.
The very feel of the commercial-grade switches pleases me as much two years later as it did the first day I used the machine. The overall look of the machine pleases me. The extensive use of metal, with virtually no plastic, pleases me a LOT. It's a snap to clean the machine so it looks like new. It warms up to operating temperature within three minutes. The pressure relief valve is a most welcome touch after using for several years a machine without one, and spraying hot water and grounds on me and my surroundings a couple of times as I forgot and removed the portafilter too soon.
It is true that the Silvia is finicky about wanting exactly the right amount of ground coffee. Even slightly too little can produce a disappointing or even undrinkable result. So developing some skill in judging the correct amount, as well, of course, as developing skill in tamping, is necessary. But that's part of the fun of the process!
If I were buying a replacement for this machine, it would be another just like it. I am totally satisfied, apart from the very minor quibbles stated earlier. In fact, when I wash the drip tray and cover and carefully avoid those sharp edges, I think, "After all, it's hand craftsmanship!" I get the feeling that Rancilio is a company that really focuses on function and quality. I'll take a few sharp edges in exchange for dependable, solid, beautiful craftsmanship anyday.
Excellent. I feel I need look nowhere else for coffee needs, and I would recommend 1st-Line Equipment to anybody who asked me for a good coffee-equipment vendor. I've had a few questions and they were promptly answered by email. Packing on both the Silvia and its companion Rocky grinder was superb and absolutely no damage occurred in transit. Both arrived right on schedule.