Don't buy this grinder for a Silvia . . . I regretted not paying $100 more for a Rocky.
Positive Product Points
- Pretty good build quality except for the timer knob - Small footprint - Handy thumb button for portafilter grinding - Rubber feet prevent slipping
Negative Product Points
- Can not produce fine enough grind for espresso (on the Silvia) - Useable range between finest and press pot only uses 20 out of 40 steps
Right out of the box this grinder performed adequately on my Silvia. I bought it 4 months ago and found an appropriate grind setting (near the zero point, where the burrs contact one another). As time wore on I found it increasingly difficult to achieve good shots; everything was running too fast. I recalibrated the zero point and even took it back to EspressoTec for them to take a look (the finest grind they could achieve was on par with this grinder). I experimented with different tampers and tamping techniques but by this time I basically had to stand on my tamper to achieve a drinkable shot, and there seemed to be a lot more coarse chunks than when it was brand new. I experimented a lot in the fine range to no avail. The only way to get a good shot was to really overload the basket and tamp the snot out of it.
I took care of the grinder . . . only 9 pounds of coffee went through it, and I was always careful to not have the burrs gnashing. I removed the burrs and cleaned them. It's been great for press pot coffee, but it's been a horrible disappointment for espresso.
Now that I'm upgrading to a Rocky it's a little sad . . . if I had known from day one that I would eventually spend $540 on two grinders in 4 months I would have bought a Mazzer Mini! I didn't explore the other Virtuoso reviews on this site until a few weeks after buying it. Before I bought it I heard Mark Prince gush about the professional burrs and turkish--press pot range of this grinder on a coffeegeek podcast, and I heeded the advice of a local espresso equipment supplier (read the next section)
A salesperson at EspressoTec told me that the Virtuoso was one of the two grinders they recommend for the Silvia (the other being the Rocky). Seeing that I could save $100 I chose it. When I took it back for them to take a look they said they would offer me $100 for it. I guess that seemed fair from their perspective, but now they are saying that they don't recommend the Virtuoso with the Silvia. ???
I declined their offer of $100 and purchased a Rocky from another retailer.