Well worth the money and makes great shots as long as grind is consistent.
Positive Product Points
Good crema from a sturdy well-made machine that looks good but doesn't take up entire kitchen counter. Excellent value for price. Quick to warm up and can be "cheated" to warm up faster. I've owed for almost 4 years with no problems/ repairs.
Negative Product Points
Very finicky about grind and I was never able to get consistently great shots (shot after shot) until I bought a Rocky. Tank for holding water is a bit small. Since I use only RO water, the tank needs to be refilled constantly, but this is the trade-off for Silvia not being a huge counter space hog.
I have used my Silvia for almost 4 years with no problems or repairs needed, just periodic cleaning of filter head screen. I use only RO water, never tap water. Silvia has a real learning curve as she is very finicky about grind and being warmed up, and since the manual that comes with Silvia is pretty badly written, it took me awhile before I could get good coffee from this machine. I have only been able to get really consistently great shots with this machine since purchasing a Rocky grinder. I have to admit that prior to purchasing the Rocky, I would get frustrated by the Silvia as I would sometimes have excellent crema and then not be able to repeat this on the very next shot. It seemed that you had to wait for the stars to be lined up correctly! However, I am now being rewarded by excellent coffee (consistent grind = thick crema) and, all in all, I would recommend the Silvia as a good value machine for the price. I would purchase a Silvia again, but this machine is very durable and I am hoping that, with regular cleaning and maintenance, I won't ever need to purchase another machine. Prior to purchasing the Silvia, I went through several steam machines, like Krups, which I would not recommend or buy again. They did not make good coffee and they did not stand the test of time, even with light household use. I use this machine almost every day, and on weekends I make about six shots a day- I consider this to be regular household use. I also make milk drinks with the Silvia and have not had any problems making steam, or having to wait for boiler to reheat repeatedly. I am not into latte art so I can't really comment on specifics to do with the quality of foam made with the Silvia. Aesthetically, the Silvia also looks proportional, isn't a counter-hog, has nice finishing on the stainless exterior, durable buttons and knobs, and well-placed buttons and knobs.
I bought locally from Mr. Cappuccino. The fellow there took about an hour of his time to actually show me how to use the machine (on a demo machine) as he warned me about the manual being poorly translated from Italian. At the time, he tried to upsell me to a Lucy machine (the one with the built-in grinder) but I was convinced my Krups grinder that I had at the time would be fine (ha, ha). I ended up buying a Rocky a couple years later, also from Mr. Cappuccino. I am satisfied with their sales service( they are friendly), but have not yet ever had to take anything in to them for servicing (knock on wood) so I can not comment on how they do with repairs. The fellow there did caution me to keep the original wood reinforced crate that Silvia came in, in case of moving or repairs, and to be sure to never let the machine get below freezing once it's been used and water is in boiler. Also, he suggested only using soft water from reverse osmosis to minimize need for repairs.
Three Month Followup
I still think this is a great machine for the price. The more you use it, the more reliable your coffee will be, as you get used to listening for the correct pitch and get a little routine.
One Year Followup
It's another year (or so) later and I still love this machine. I am having some troubles with my Rocky grinder, however. It keeps "clogging" if I put too many beans in the hopper at once...maybe the burrs need to be sharpened/replaced. I haven't really used it enough for them to be dull already, in my opinion, but something is definately not right. I will look into this. For those of you that have complained about the Silvia not working well after a few years, I really recommend using only RO water and backflushing the Silvia periodically. It's really important that mineral deposits and coffee oils not be allowed to build up.