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Thread: Intro Equipment: Silvia, Saeco, Riviera, etc.

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    1

    Intro Equipment: Silvia, Saeco, Riviera, etc.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Dear Coffee Snobs,

    Im a student in Ann Arbor, in the USA, recently back from a year in France and dreaming about the coffee I had there. You know, I never drank coffee before going; I was firmly committed to hot chocolate and tea; however the espressos and cappuccinos of Europe certainly changed all that.

    And now Id like to enter into coffee culture. I found your website while looking for product reviews, and frankly Im not surprised that the Australians appear to be holding down the fort, as far as coffee is concerned. One of my best friends, a bloke from Sydney (now studying law there), was the first person I ever met who had a truly artistic understanding of the drink.

    But I must admit Im a total novice. So heres my dilemma.

    Youre all crazy about the Rancilio Silvia, it seems: reading about it I suppose I am too. I fell in love with a Silvia once; shes back in Italy; wouldnt it be lovely to have the next best, an espresso machine, in America?

    Im trying therefore to find one that I can afford. But in the mean time, Ive been looking at a number of other machines.

    The Europiccola Rivieras, Pavonis, and Ponte Vecchios appear to be largely manual machines and I wonder what you all think of them: can they make good espressos? Can I learn something from them? I imagine that getting a manual machine might be like starting with a manual camera: you learn the basics, and if you want may move on later. Honestly I can find almost no information online about these machines.

    What do you all think about Saeco machines, like the classico? Are these decent? Theyre certainly less expensive than others, and... at least look nice.

    What are the advantages of manual machines? Which of these would you recommend?

    Im looking forward to your responses. If there are certain threads that are especially useful, Id love to read them.

    Daniel

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    541

    Re: Intro Equipment: Silvia, Saeco, Riviera, etc.

    Darouet,

    Welcome to CS
    I can certainly recommend the Silvia, it has a reputation of a steep learning curve, but actually all decent espresso machines require the same.
    level of barista skill.
    Anyway its a solid and well made piece of kit that makes great coffee.

    Dont know much about manual lever machines except that they introduce an extra variable [the operator determines the pressure...which is fixed in a Silvia] therefor they would be much harder for a beginner to master.
    Reviews on sites like "coffee geek" suggest that in the right hands these machines can produce superb shots, however it would be better to move onto one of these after youve honed your skills on a silvia or similar.

    There are not many on this site who would advocate for auto machines such as the saeco. The coffee produced is at best: average and there are generally reliability issues associated with all the additional complexities.

    Whichever way you go, remember a good grinder is more important.

    Good luck.....let us know how you go

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    33

    Re: Intro Equipment: Silvia, Saeco, Riviera, etc.

    Ive got the entry level Saeco Via Venezia which you can pick up for around $200 second hand - theyre about $500 new. IMHO it does a nice coffee and as its a basic, non-automated machine, you can "have a go" yourself.

    I would have gone for a Silvia but they are too pricey for me at this stage. Maybe next year....

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    1,673

    Re: Intro Equipment: Silvia, Saeco, Riviera, etc.

    In between the via veneza and the sylvia is the gaggia classic. A very good machine for the price and a great beginners to intermediate machine. They are on average $100 - $200 cheaper than the Sylvia.



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