A very capable domestic machine that will no doubt exceed expectations on all fronts.
Positive Product Points
-high quality, solid engineering -small footprint -easily accessed water tank -robust fittings
Negative Product Points
-small drip tray -steam nozzle not on a universal joint -missing feet...(!!) -crappy ill-fitting tamper
After having owned a commercial twin group Rancilio Millenium machine for 4 years, when the time came to purchase an espresso machine for home, I decided that it'd have to be a Rancilio. The'big brother' machine at the restaurant I own had given very few problems since I bought it, so hoped to enjoy the same with the 'little brother' machine that would provide us coffee at home.
Despite an absolute nightmare delivery experience courtesy of DHL Denmark, the machine arrived safe and well - albeit minus two rubber feet. The two remaining feet were found floating around the box amongst the packing chips. Rancilio can surely do better than to use what looks like double-sided sticky tape to attach the feet to the base of the machine! I contacted both Rancilio and the vendor, and was told that the feet are on their way - that was 11 days ago and they're still not here... I have in place two temporary feet - the two original Rancilio rubber feet are now attached to the base of the machine with machine screws - a much more secure option. Anyway, enough about the feet!
So far the machine has been fabulous. The manual was a little hard to understand, even for someone familiar with espresso machines. However, I quickly skipped though it and then proceeded to make a cup of brilliant espresso - things looked very promising indeed. The machine is robust, the switches and knobs all have the same solid feel as the big brother machine at the restaurant which has been given a hammering 6 days a week for the past 4 years - without fail.
It is of course VERY important to let the machine heat up so that the group and head is so hot that one can't really touch it for more than a split second. Aside of that, assuming that you've got the grind, amount and packing pressure right, the machine will produce wonderful coffee. The quality of the shots are on a par with what the big machine does, which is pretty impressive to say the least - especially when you consider that the big machine cost more than 10 times what the Silvia did...
One small gripe is that the steam wand is not on a universal/ball joint, which would make it much easier to place in/remove from the milk jug. In addition, the ability to angle the steam wand allows one to really get the milk swirling around in a centrifugal fashion, which helps produce that silky, dense foam that is very important on a good cappuccino. However that doesn't really bother me as I don't drink cappuccino. The drip tray is of course a little small, but it's not the end of the world - just remember to empty it! The 'max' marking on the tank is on the wrong side, meaning that it can't be seen when standing in front of the machine. This however is easily fixed by adding a new line with an permanent marker.
All in all, it's a great little machine - especially for the money. I'd even go as far as to say that for what you get, it's cheap. It's small enough to be packed up and put in the car to take on holiday - which could well be on the cards as once you're hooked on the great coffee that Silvia can make, you won't want coffee from another machine!
The vendor was very prompt in processing the order, and notifying me that it had been dispatched. They were also promt in answering a few questions that I had regarding back-flushing etc. They have also addressed the issue of the missing feet, however I still haven't received them...11 days later.
Three Month Followup
Still very happy with it after 3 months - it continues to produce espresso on par with our commercial Rancilio Millenium machine at our restaurant...despite the fact that the 'big brother' cost more than 10 times what the Silvia did! The texture of the milk produced by the Silvia is better than the one at work...sometimes more power is not necessarily a good thing. We've learnt to live with the undersized drip tray and the steam wand not being on a universal joint. All in all - we highly recommend the Silvia.