A temperamental mistress that plays hard to get but, wow, does she put out ;o)
Positive Product Points
Commercial-grade components Easy-to-use swivel steam arm LOTS of steam! Big switches and steam knob
Negative Product Points
Shallow drip-tray Cumbersome water tank Takes a long time to reach optimum temperature (60 minutes)
The craftsmanship is apparent from the moment you lift the machine out of the box. It weighs a lot more than it looks and you can see why if you lift off a few of the panels (I couldn't help myself). It was then that I saw all of the commercial-grade components that I'd read so much about. Very exciting.
I also read that Silvia can be a temperamental mistress and this too was apparent within a few minutes. Make no mistake, she'll drive you crazy before you fall in love with her... but you will fall in love with her.
I spent the first WEEK trying different roasts, grinds and techniques.
Here are a few hints & tips that might (hopefully) make things easier for you: 1) Buy a timer and have the machine switch on automatically one-hour before you need it. 2) I use a 2.5 grind. 3) Milk jug should be at least 1 litre capacity. 4) You really need to be heating at least 300mls of milk to achieve good micro-foam. The steam output is so intense that any less than this reaches boiling point too quickly. This means making coffee for two or wasting milk. 5) Hit that steam switch immediately after pouring your espresso. The boiler takes around 60 seconds to reach the right temperature for steam so you don't want to waste time (and drink a cold espresso). 6) The steam wand will shoot water for the first 3 seconds, so aim it at the drip-tray before sticking it in your milk. 7) DO NOT forget to prime the boiler after steaming your milk.
We bought online from Jetblack Espresso and it was a great buying experience. My wife bought the machine for my birthday and was given great advice over the phone from the staff. The machine was fully tested by the time it reached us and had some great extra reference sheets in the box. We'll be buying our new grinder through these guys (once I save enough money).