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View Full Version : Time to get a home machine...



DavidS
18-04-10, 09:47
As you may have read, I work at a coffee shop, so I'm fairly fluent with our commercial machine (Faema E98 president) and like to think I get fairly good results :act-up:.

I've been considering getting my own machine for a while, whats held me back has been mainly space. (as well as me wandering how I'm going to adjust from a HX to a single boiler) But that problem is now overcome, and with my birthday next month, it seems like a great time to get meself a prezzie :p

I'm leaning towards the rancilio silvia. What I'm wondering is, where would be the best place to purchase one? Does it come with a decent (not a tacky wheel of plastic) tamper (if not, where can I get a good one, with the correct diameter etc.)

Also, what are the steam wands on these like? Are they any where near a commercial machine, or do the require a little more playing around to get a good amount of spin?

Thanks :cool:

DonRJ
18-04-10, 10:06
The Silvia is a well respected single boiler machine, there are owners here who can give you a hands on report, it will come with a useless plastic tamper as standard unless the dealer adds one in. I am aware of three UK suppliers, see links below. They will be able to sort out a decent tamper and a probably bottomless portafilter if that is of interest. You may also come across Italian based sites advertising at lower prices BUT you may not have UK warranty, nor UK based support.

http://www.myespresso.co.uk/product.php/40/rancilio-silvia-semi-automatic-espresso-machine-new-2009-model

http://www.hasbean.co.uk/products/Rancilio-Silvia-Espresso-Machine-%28New-Model%29.html

http://www.shopdrury.com/prodtype.asp?strParents=105&CAT_ID=107&numRecordPosition=1

Don

RisingPower
18-04-10, 10:52
Hang on a minute, if you're used to a commercial machine, why not get a used commercial 1/2 group? I'm sure you'd find it a lot more what you're used to than a silvia and I think you'll find most home machines a big disappointment.

Why not get yourself a used HX if not?

DavidS
19-04-10, 07:37
A 2 group machine would be absolute overkill. I'll only use it once or twice a day so 1 group will be fine. I'd love to get a HX, but unless I can get one for the 400ish of the silvia, I don't really think its worth the investment...

DonRJ
19-04-10, 07:38
I would tend to agree with rising power, I am moving to an HX machine and would imagine that a move in the opposie direction for someone like yourself could be problematic. That is not to say that you cannot produce very good espresso with a machine like the Silvia, it would not be so popular if you couldn`t.

Don

sandykt
19-04-10, 08:49
I purchased my Rancilio Silvia from Myesspresso.co.uk. The service was very good. I would recommend them.

As an owner of a Rancilio Siliva I would say its a great machine and I'm certainly pleased with my purchase.

BanishInstant
19-04-10, 01:00
A purchase is always a compromise, and it is a personal choice:

Price
Functionality
Appearance
Ease of use


Why not see if you can get to a store which allows you to see the machines in action? The cost of the trip may be worth you making the best decision.

There will always be better and more expensive machines. What is more expensive though is if you buy a machine you are unhappy with and want to replace.

RisingPower
19-04-10, 05:29
A 2 group machine would be absolute overkill. I'll only use it once or twice a day so 1 group will be fine. I'd love to get a HX, but unless I can get one for the 400ish of the silvia, I don't really think its worth the investment...

Oh I'd bet you could find a used l'anna, epoca or spaziale for that. Might get lucky on this: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/iberital-coffee-machine_W0QQitemZ270563626634QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK _BOI_Restaurant_RL?hash=item3efed94e8a

sandykt
19-04-10, 06:17
Oh I'd bet you could find a used l'anna, epoca or spaziale for that. Might get lucky on this: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/iberital-coffee-machine_W0QQitemZ270563626634QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK _BOI_Restaurant_RL?hash=item3efed94e8a

Blimey!! Get the measurements before you bid. It looks a bit of a beast.

Greenpotterer
19-04-10, 06:19
think this one didn,t reach its reserve at 600 its been relisted
Gaz

sandykt
19-04-10, 06:43
I'm leaning towards the rancilio silvia. What I'm wondering is, where would be the best place to purchase one? Does it come with a decent (not a tacky wheel of plastic) tamper (if not, where can I get a good one, with the correct diameter etc.)

Also, what are the steam wands on these like? Are they any where near a commercial machine, or do the require a little more playing around to get a good amount of spin?

Thanks :cool:

Just thought I would reply on this point. When I purchased my Rancilio Silvia, I opted out of the extras thrown in (from memory a tamping mat, coffee beans, plastic tamper) and asked for the value stated on the website to be off set against the Rancilio Base. You might be able to strike a similar deal in respect to a tamper. You'll need to get a 58mm size tamper.

Glenn
19-04-10, 06:57
Sadly most machine producers include a next-to-useless tamper in the box. This is usually a few mm too small and often has a ridge down the centre from the mould.

Rancilio Silvias have good steam pressure for their boiler size and can be used to produce enough milk for 4-6 drinks (if required)

sandykt
19-04-10, 06:59
Just checked Myespresso website and the Rancilio Silvia is now 35 cheaper than when I purchased exactly one month ago. That's not good. Why do people do that? :mad:

DavidS
20-04-10, 07:29
I don't think id have the space for that dual group machine (or the plumbing heh)

I think budget wise, my best choice is probably the silvia. I'll just have to get used to the fact I have to wait awhile from brew to steaming.

By the way, I was curious, I live in a hard water area, should I used de-ionised water in the machine? Or regular tap water, and descale regularly?

sandykt
20-04-10, 08:53
[QUOTE=DavidS;6845]I don't think id have the space for that dual group machine (or the plumbing heh)

I think budget wise, my best choice is probably the silvia. I'll just have to get used to the fact I have to wait awhile from brew to steaming.


I have the Rancilio Silvia and you do not have to wait between brew to steaming. The power of the steam wand is something else. Hope this helps.

vintagecigarman
20-04-10, 03:26
"I have the Rancilio Silvia and you do not have to wait between brew to steaming. The power of the steam wand is something else. Hope this helps."

I don't fully understand this. If the water is hot enough to steam with, how come it isn't too hot for coffee? With a single boiler HX machine my understanding is that you need to run a cooling flush through the head before you make the espresso. So how come this isn't the case with a single boiler non HX machine.

Not meant as scepticism - just looking for an explanation.

RisingPower
20-04-10, 05:18
I don't think id have the space for that dual group machine (or the plumbing heh)

I think budget wise, my best choice is probably the silvia. I'll just have to get used to the fact I have to wait awhile from brew to steaming.

By the way, I was curious, I live in a hard water area, should I used de-ionised water in the machine? Or regular tap water, and descale regularly?

Well, I know l'anna is hand fill so you'd be ok with a 1 group l'anna. But yes, commercial machines aren't small and why I opted for an izzo alex.

You can get away with using a brita filter possibly and descaling every so often, but I'm looking at RO mixed with brita filter water as a solution in the long run.

sandykt
20-04-10, 10:12
There are many videos on the internet (You Tube, Rancilio's website, Coffee Geek etc) showing how the Rancilio's work. Also check out the Seattle Coffee Company's videos on You Tube - they are very informative.

There is a step by step video demonstration on the MyEspresso website. If you need the link for this, PM and I will send you the link.

vintagecigarman
20-04-10, 11:19
Thanks Sandy - I've had a look and understand now. Cool down the water supply after steaming before making the espresso. Same in a HX, just a bit simpler to do.

Glenn
20-04-10, 11:37
Where possible, pull the shot before steaming.
Less stress on the machine and better temperature stability

If you adopt the steam then shot approach make sure you flush the grouphead sufficiently to bring it down to temperature or you will end up running hot with a burnt taste in the espresso (think lighter fluid)

sandykt
21-04-10, 08:51
Thanks Sandy - I've had a look and understand now. Cool down the water supply after steaming before making the espresso. Same in a HX, just a bit simpler to do.

I always pull the shot before steaming.

vintagecigarman
21-04-10, 10:35
If you pull the shot before streaming, doesn't it get cold before the machine comes up to temperature? I've always thought that this was the problem with single boiler machines? Surely the greater mass of milk in a jug will retain the heat much better than the much smaller shot?

sandykt
21-04-10, 01:35
If you pull the shot before streaming, doesn't it get cold before the machine comes up to temperature? I've always thought that this was the problem with single boiler machines? Surely the greater mass of milk in a jug will retain the heat much better than the much smaller shot?

I would say the delay between pulling a shot and steaming the milk is almost non-existent with the Rancilio. Once I have pulled the shot, I place my cup (with coffee in it) on top of the machine, switch the steam switch to the "on" position, take out gasket, get rid of the used coffee, give the gasket head a clean and replace. I then disperse excess steam twice to allow any excess water out of the steam wand and purge the wand in the milk and away you go. Steaming the milk takes around 20 seconds (from start to finish) depending on the amount of milk in the jug.

I never, never make the milk first. Always espresso first then milk.

I used to own a Francis Francis X1 and whilst it was great to look and the coffee was good, the time delay between pulling a shot and waiting for the machine to reach steaming temperature was a bit of a pain. Hence the upgrade to the Rancilio.

DonRJ
21-04-10, 02:42
Also, always prewarm your cups.

sandykt
21-04-10, 06:04
Also, always prewarm your cups.

Yes, definitely, I agree with Don. Pre-warm your cups. You can do this by either placing your cups on top of the machine or filling hot water from the machine into your cups. A good cup will retain the heat.

DavidS
21-04-10, 07:23
So, do you guys think a sivlia will suit my needs? I don't need to worry about a grinder, and I've worked out I can get the silvia, and accessories (tamper, jug, cleaning stuff etc) for around 400, which I think is a great deal!

DonRJ
21-04-10, 07:40
I have to agree as I bought a Silvia about half an hour ago.

Don

RisingPower
21-04-10, 10:33
So, do you guys think a sivlia will suit my needs? I don't need to worry about a grinder, and I've worked out I can get the silvia, and accessories (tamper, jug, cleaning stuff etc) for around 400, which I think is a great deal!

I think you'll find it a step down from a commercial machine, but since you probably won't be treating it like one, it'll probably be a fairly good choice. I'd personally still be on the lookout for a used hx machine though.

vintagecigarman
21-04-10, 10:57
So, do you guys think a sivlia will suit my needs? I don't need to worry about a grinder, and I've worked out I can get the silvia, and accessories (tamper, jug, cleaning stuff etc) for around 400, which I think is a great deal!

Depends on what you want. If it's a reasonably-priced, small footprint machine - then yes, it will do admirably.

But if you are regularly working with a pro-quality machine during the day, will it match your expectations? That one's a bit more difficult. Does a Ferrari mechanic drive home in a Ford Ka?

You may still care to consider some of the alternatives suggested here.

DavidS
22-04-10, 06:53
As much as I'd love a HX, I think it'd be foolish to get one cheap (so probably without warranty) as a first machine. I think I'm better of getting the silvia with a 2 year warranty, than a slightly better machine, that could or I could potentially break.

sandykt
22-04-10, 07:19
As much as I'd love a HX, I think it'd be foolish to get one cheap (so probably without warranty) as a first machine. I think I'm better of getting the silvia with a 2 year warranty, than a slightly better machine, that could or I could potentially break.

My aim is to get a lovely shiny machine from Bella Barista but for the moment (and until I have the money) I'm happy to learn the trade on my Rancilio. I doubt that you would "break" the Rancilio - they are very well built.