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Thread: Is it possible ???

  1. #1
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    Is it possible ???

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi there, new to the forum and have been doing a bit of reading and I feel like I have leant alot.

    I love coffee. I live in the Sutherland Shire and frequent Kafenio and Grind. Between my partner and I we could probably pay a small mortgage with our coffee bill.

    So here I am thinking....

    1 Rancilio Silvia and have it fitted with a PID
    1 Compak K3 Touch
    1 Some fresh beans and accessories

    And then learn how to make coffee.

    My question....with the above tools and a desire to learn, is it possible to make coffee just like or even better than the taste I have come accustomed to ???

    I am ready to make the purchase if the feedback is good, are there any site sponsers reading this that would like to tender a quote ? Please feel free to email it to me.

    Thanks for your time,
    Andrew
    adultandrew@hotmail.com

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Quote Originally Posted by 000F051304160D0417040D0D610 link=1233573748/0#0 date=1233573748
    Hi there, new to the forum and have been doing a bit of reading and I feel like I have leant alot.

    I love coffee. *I live in the Sutherland Shire and frequent Kafenio and Grind. *Between my partner and I we could probably pay a small mortgage with our coffee bill.

    So here I am thinking....

    1 Rancilio Silvia and have it fitted with a PID
    1 Compak K3 Touch
    1 Some fresh beans and accessories

    And then learn how to make coffee.

    My question....with the above tools and a desire to learn, is it possible to make coffee just like or even better than the taste I have come accustomed to ???

    I am ready to make the purchase if the feedback is good, are there any site sponsers reading this that would like to tender a quote ? Please feel free to email it to me.

    Thanks for your time,
    Andrew
    adultandrew@hotmail.com

    Hi Andrew,

    With the right gear and good fresh coffee along with a correctly adjusted group handle nut, youll get a terrific result!

    You can contact all sponsors for a quote using the bulk email function over there <<<<<<<<. Im sure that our Sydney guy, Dennis Wells (who just happens to be in Sylvania) would be thrilled to assist and will be able to blow your socks off with some sensational shots!

    With the current US exchange rate and cost of PID fitment, you might also consider the Vibiemme Domobar Piccolo. You get the stability of the e-61 group as well as more grunt out of a bigger and better machine. Dennis has it as well as the K3T on his demo bench.

    Enjoy your shopping ;)

    Chris

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Hi Chris, thanks for your reply. Okay now some confusion....

    This post leads me to think the machine you recommended might not be for me, I want to make lattes.....

    "The alternative is the single boiler e61 machines. These are basically not suitable if you want to make milk drinks, as the boiler has to heat up from brew to steam and this takes a few minutes. They should, however, be a considerable step up from the first bracket machines in terms of espresso - both quality and ease of use ... I mean, these machines are basically half a dual-boiler e61." from Luca

    What do you think re the above opinion ?

    Does this machine have more consistency ??? Thus no need for a PID ?

    Thanks
    Andrew

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Single boiler machines will make milk drinks quite easily, just as long as youre making one or 2. You can make more than that, it will just take time because after you brew the coffee, you have to take the boiler temp up to steam temperature and if you want to brew again after that, youll need to cool the boiler down to brew temp again which will involve running water through the group and it is rather time consuming when you look at making coffee for guests. But if youre going to be mainly making only one or 2 coffees, the silvia or the single boiler E61 is more than sufficient.

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Quote Originally Posted by 52796B4873596F6C6E796F6F731C0 link=1233573748/3#3 date=1233609928
    Single boiler machines will make milk drinks quite easily, just as long as youre making one or 2. You can make more than that, it will just take time because after you brew the coffee, you have to take the boiler temp up to steam temperature and if you want to brew again after that, youll need to cool the boiler down to brew temp again which will involve running water through the group and it is rather time consuming when you look at making coffee for guests. But if youre going to be mainly making only one or 2 coffees, the silvia or the single boiler E61 is more than sufficient.
    Hi Andrew,

    Id agree. You will get terrific results out of a PID Silvia or a single boiler e-61 but for multiple runs of milk drinks, they are slooooow. I have heard claims of 30-45 sec between espresso and milk operations, but in my experience, its rubbish. Factor in a couple of minutes and then add time to prime the boiler once youre done.

    My advice is that if its really all about milk, you might need to consider a HX or dual boiler machine. There is more pain at purchase, but you will never have to upgrade.

    Hope that helps.

    Chris

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Hi Andrew *welcome aboard,

    A month ago I was in your dilemma , intially looking for positive confirmation that the Silvia was the right machine for me. I was looking for a slightly different result, as I drink espresso and only need to knock out about 3 milk based drinks per week.

    I decided early that if a Silvia was to be the chosen device it would have to be with PID, but as soon as I did that it lifts you to another category.
    I ended up going for the VBM Piccolo cause I figured that both machines were single boiler , and would need time to recover if steam was required , but the larger boiler of the VBM was a plus for me . If I need steam ,it takes between 40 and 60 seconds before the boiler light goes out , and max steam is available. Silvia would also require time to hit the steam , no doubt less time as the boiler is smaller.Not ever owning a Silvia Im guessing the difference between the 2 machines for when max steam is on tap would be 20 secs ( Silvia owners step in here please ..!!! all depends on where the heating cycle is .)

    That said , the little VBM is a steaming demon when asked.

    One trouble I kept encounting was for another $250 *you jumped to another category ,and then another $200, WOW, at some point you have to define exactly what your needs are and chase that style of machine. I found myself being seduced by the bling of machines I didnt really need. Especially as a novice, the espresso machine market can be very confusing.

    I can vouch for the VBM doing a fabulous job , very heat stable , I also thought initially that it would make sense to have any single boiler with a PID control , but various CSers told me otherwise when a E-61 *is used. Once setup *Piccolo *will deliver fantastic *coffee, as do many machines that you will review before that purchase is made.

    Good luck
    hotshod


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    Re: Is it possible ???


    Hi Andrew and welcome to CS!

    Were located just down the road, at Sylvania, and would be happy to be of assistance.

    Have sent you an email with further details.

    Cheers!

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Although the initial outlay for a superior machine can be daunting, look at it this way. How long will you use the machine? ten years? More? Any decent machine will last twice that long with proper use and maintenance. What if you spend the money to get an HX machine as compared to Silvia + PID? $700 more, maybe? Over a ten year period that is only an additional $.19 a day. Thats about the cost of one double mocha latte every two weeks at the local shop. For that you will never have to deal with switching from steam to brew, you will have a machine capable of making better coffee as well as being able to pull a shot and recover for the next faster than you can prepare it... and can do that for hours, and will continue to do so for ten years! or TWENTY!

    With that in mind, I started with a Silvia, then I PIDd my Silvia. I used that machine for 6 years before stepping up. Sure, I learned a lot from the Silvia, but the quality of espresso from my HX machine is so much better. My worst shots now are on par with the better shots I got from Silvia (with the same coffee), and day to day, the espresso I get now is far superior than most anything I ever got from Silvia, save one or two pulls from the old girl.

    It is a fact that the machines sold as "home machines" and starter machines are the least likely to create superior espresso and most difficult to use to do so. There is far more going on in an espresso machine than just temperature control, and the PID will not solve all of Silvias problems.

    I dont mean to try to talk you out of purchasing a Silvia, nor out of adding the PID. It is a well-built machine with quality materials, and it has a very good resale value.

    BUT.... If I knew then what I know now, I probably would have bought a Giotto back then instead of the Silvia. What about now...? I am very glad to be the owner of a Vibiemme Domobar Super.

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Andrew,

    I think the best way for you to recognize which machine is the best machine is to visit Cuppacoffee, Di Bartoli or Jetblack. All of us we have all this machines in the bench ready to be use and like us a few more like the Ascaso Duo.

    Let me know if we can be of any assistance.

    regards


    Renzo

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Hi and welcome Andrew

    My first post was almost identical to yours
    After a little reading and help from CS members I hopped, skipped & jumped over the Silvia & *the VBM piccolo and went straight for a HX machine the Bezzera Galatea

    Main reason is you need to way up your needs e.g.
    How many coffees do you drink and include other family members & visitors
    Do you also drink Tea & Hot chocolate and need a hot water tap on your machine
    Do you mainly drink milk based drinks

    For all the examples given above I originally felt the Silvia could do it all, but found out quickly that I really needed a HX (heat exchanger) machine *

    ""Your needs will filter out unsuitable machines because all designs have limitations and you need to choose a machine with design specs that exceeds your needs"

    Hope that helps mate

    KK

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Hi Andrew,
    I had the same plan like KK after reseaching this site.Firstly I had the Silvia in mind, then moved to the Piccolo/Perfeta and ended up with a HX machine (but a Giotto).

    That was after seeing a site sponsor (Chris at Talk Coffee) to see the various machines and looking at my needs. When I counted the number of family/friends gatherings throughout the year I knew the HX was the correct machine for me.

    Yes more $$$$ but these machines should last for a very long time and should pay itself off (well easily if your coffee bill would pay a small mortgage!). Also, no need to upgrade!

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Andrew welcome to Coffee Snobs.

    KK and I reached the same decision and my very first (and possibly last) machine is a HX.

    Another consideration not yet mentioned is how many extra coffees youll need to make once friends and relatives get used to your great coffee. ;)

    I have a friend who never used to drop in. We only ever saw him at planned gatherings.
    After I convinced him to try one of my coffees he now pops in whenever hes remotely in the area.

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Just for some balance, you can get the same (or better) coffee than what you are used to with a low budget. Machines such as the Sylvia (without PID), Gaggia domestics (except Cubika) and Nemox Fenice can all make espressos that come close to that of HX/dual boiler/e61 single boiler machines (in the case of the Sylvia, the same quality if EVERYTHING is PERFECT). With milk drinks, you would be very hard pressed to tell the difference and if you pull double basket single espressos, then the difference to a HX/dual boiler/e61 single boiler machines version is miniscule.

    The downside is that you do need to be more precise (anal) in dose/tamp/grind and you need to temp surf the machine to get the optimal brew temp (a PID on the Sylvia removes this last requirement). Also, if you like milk drinks, then you have to factor in the delay as the machine cycles from brew->steam mode. With a Sylvia and Nemox, the cycle time is fairly long but once up to temp, they do steam quite strongly - with a Gaggia, the cycle time is very quick but steam power is much less. For making 2 lattes at a time, a Gaggia is faster overall - more than that and the stronger steaming of the Sylvia and Nemox will make up for the longer heat cycle time.

    Another candidate is the Sunbeam EM6910 which can make espressos similar to that of the Gaggias and Nemox if everything is correct, can steam while pulling shots (about as strongly as a Gaggia), has adjustable brew temp and has a brew pressure gauge to help get the optimal dose/tamp/grind. My main dislike for this machine is that it is quite expensive and very complex but many others here love it.

    If you intend to entertain lots and make lots of coffees at a time, you cant beat a HX/dual boiler machine. The e61 single boiler machines are as Luca described - pretty specific niche market IMHO.

    Personally, I have no regrets at all in cutting my espresso teeth on a cheaper single boiler machine (Gaggias in my case but Ive also played around with a Sylvia and had a few goes with a Fenice and a EM6900) as they forced me to be precise and I learnt heaps about all aspects of espresso. I will still keep one of my Gaggias as a travelling companion even though I have recently upgraded to a HX machine.

    You dont need to go whole hog on the grinder, either. A Sunbeam EM0480 or EM0450 does a very good job of grinding at a great price but just wont be as finely adjustable, neat nor as stylish as a more expensive grinder.

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Wow, this is a great forum.....so much detail in the replies, its a quick education !

    So I am gathering that for my tastes and experience (nil) the Sylvia will disappoint.

    Usually I will be making two lattes at a time, but your right.....I have a fair crew that will be doing the pop in. So that two could easily be 4.

    The Vibiemme Domobar Piccolo mentioned by Chris also doesnt seem to suit my main need ie milk based coffee / 4 coffees in a session

    So now....maybe I am going down the path of a HX machine. What models are recommended whilst maintaining some sense in the budget ?

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Hi Andrew,

    If you are mostly making milk drinks, buy a dual boiler or HX machine from the start. It will be money well spent.
    You cant run a de-facto coffee shop using a single boiler machine (they are just too slow for milk drinks) and as word spreads among your friends, you will find that you are doing just this.
    Also buy the best grinder that you can afford.
    All the best with your deliberations

    Cheers,
    Alan

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Hi Andrew,

    Can I suggest that you have a read over http://www.espressocompany.com.au/downloads/DomobarUserGuideSteaming.pdf ?

    This document explains how milk texture works with a dual purpose, single boiler machine (Silvia, Piccolo, Perfetta, Zaffiro) et al.

    You could possibly/probably squeeze 4 shots from the machine and then texture for 4 drinks but beyond that, youd need to re-prime the boiler. The Silvia boiler is even less well suited to texturing for multiple drinks.

    Pushing these machines places you at risk of cooking an element- as does forgetting to re-prime the boiler or forgetting to switch off the steam button. A replacement Silvia boiler is close on $200 before the labour to fit it- so these maistakes and omissions can become expensive.

    The small machines do require more fiddly work to run them. Only you can decide if youre prepared to go that way or if HX/dual boiler is better suited to your needs.

    Believe me, if you have 6-10 people over, youd probably want to hide a little machine in the cupboard- or employ a barista to do the dirty work ;)

    Chris

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    4 milk coffees with a Sylvia will work - any more would get rather frustrating. If your mates dont mind chatting while you make their drinks, then it wont be bad at all. If they all sit in another room while you make the coffees, then it might get a little anti-social.

    A HX is definitely nicer and easier to use but unless you run the gauntlet of a cheap used machine (mine was under $1000 but needed a fair bit of refurb) then you are looking at close to $2500 inc grinder at the minimum. I dont know if this makes budgetary sense to you - it doesnt to me but Im a cheapskate *:P.

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Talk to the sponsors about your budget.
    Theyll work within it.

    I bought the Expobar Leva as I reckon it gives more bang for buck because it has less bling than some other machines.

    I was initially thinking Silvia/Rocky but something was niggling me and I felt better after deciding on the Expobar and Macap.

    It was probably the long term view that caused me to start with the equipment I did.

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    It was probably the long term view that caused me to start with the equipment I did.
    Exelent point
    I sometimes only drank 1 cup a day
    Now that the coffee is fresher and better than at the cafes
    My consumption has increased 4 fold plus the rest of the family and visitor needs

    KK

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    I initially wanted a Silvia/Rocky but got talked into a Sunbeam EM6910. When my patience ran out, I thought of replacing the Sunbeam with a Silvia/Rocky and in fact a good used one came up on this site with a DIP, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised the Silvia/Rocky would be a compromise, so I went all the way!
    It may be worth considering the Silvia/Rocky as a medium-term solution, given the good resale value they command, but I agree with the comment about a bit of pain upfront (pricewise - okay, make that a lot of pain) for a long-term solution. (Heres hoping the Giotto/Mazzer go the distance!).

  21. #21
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    Re: Is it possible ???

    My first decent setup was a Silvia and Rocky.
    We drink lattes most of the time.
    2 was OK. 4 was a bit slow. Anything more was not really good.
    Even with 4, I spent more time making the extras than it takes to drink them, so polite people were drinking theirs at a less than ideal temperature, or we were not drinking together.

    We moved up to an Expobar Minore II and Macap M5 grinder a couple of years ago and could not be happier.

    It does seem like a significant jump in the expenditure, but it is a long-term investment. As with some of the other posts, once we got the Expobar, our personal consumption went up as it just becomes so much easier to make a good coffee.

    If its at all possible, go in at the higher end to start with. It will probably save you money in the long run.

    Brett.

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Quote Originally Posted by 4649435542504B4251424B4B270 link=1233573748/13#13 date=1233629203
    Usually I will be making two lattes at a time, but your right.....I have a fair crew that will be doing the pop in. *So that two could easily be 4.

    The Vibiemme Domobar Piccolo mentioned by Chris also doesnt seem to suit my main need * ie milk based coffee / 4 coffees in a session

    So now....maybe I am going down the path of a HX machine. *What models are recommended whilst maintaining some sense in the budget ?
    gday andrew,

    Obviously an HX is better if you can afford it and you need it. BUT just to clarify the capabilities of the VBM piccolo...

    It will EASILY handle 4 reg milk drinks (splitting 2 double baskets) and I occasionally pull 6 reg milk drinks (splitting 3 double baskets).
    It does have enough steam to cope with these volumes.

    It does take about 1 min for the boiler to reach steaming pressure. So I pour all the shots, then steam the milk. During which time, I pour the milk, add sugars, wipe the bench, etc.

    It all depends on your usage and you should at least match your current usage because it will likely increase over time.

    happy shopping,

    sd

  23. #23
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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Hi Andrew, I have recently upgraded to an HX from my PID Silvia, I was getting great shots from Silvia, but when I had people over I seemed to be at the machine trying to produce coffee for them all, so after having 12 people on xmas day I stated to my wife that an HX was needed and to my surprise after explaining to her my reasons for wanting it, she agreed and a couple of weeks later I had a shiny new Isomac HX sitting on my coffee counter.
    If you stretch the budget to an HX go for it as you will get the upgrade bug sooner or later, this way you can bypass that stage.
    Good luck with your decision and machine search...................gm

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Im with TG. I went straight from a thermobloc to an HX, so I cant comment on the better ease of use over a boiler, but in 4 years I have never had any desire to upgrade. I want a Macap, Hottop, Zass Turkish hand mill, Pullman... but the Expobar Leva will see me for many years yet I hope.

    And it isnt that much more than the VBM Piccolo.

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Quote Originally Posted by 6A7476727C607D7C7A72190 link=1233573748/21#21 date=1233635513
    just to clarify the capabilities of the VBM piccolo...

    It will EASILY handle 4 reg milk drinks (splitting 2 double baskets) and I occasionally pull 6 reg milk drinks (splitting 3 double baskets). *
    It does have enough steam to cope with these volumes.

    It does take about 1 min for the boiler to reach steaming pressure. *So I pour all the shots, then steam the milk. *During which time, I pour the milk, add sugars, wipe the bench, etc.
    That a single group e-61 machine has plenty of steam is basically a given since they have a much larger boiler than other single boiler machines.

    The reservation that Luca and I have against these machines is that a full minute to wait before even starting to steam is a very long time. While OK if steaming for 4 or more people, it is a very long wait when making just one or 2 milk drinks. And also they take a long time (or a lot of flushing) to bring the temp back for brewing after a steaming cycle.

    They really are very oriented towards primarly non-milk coffee usage (at which they excel).

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Thanks again, all....now I am leaving.....

    For the Pointy End forum, you have convinced me that the extra $$$ are worth it.

    So after some reading, I am looking at

    Isomac Teh-ya or Expobar Minore III......

    Some more prodding to be done before I make a choice.

    Andrew

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Hi All, just joined up so just learning on here. I have a EM6900 that has broken down for about the sixth time in the last 2 and a years. Sunbeam dont want to know anything about it anymore. It has cost me money and fed up. The machine makes quite good shots but time to move on. I was looking at a Rancilio Silvia or Gaggia Classic or Saeco Via Venezia which i have used previously. What is everyones opinion on these machines and which should i go for?? Would a pre-loved Silvia be a good machine and if so where would i be able to get one? Please help because life without coffee at home is not worth living!! Just wont lower myself to Instant crap!! :D
    I had a laugh Regards, Adrian :)

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Quote Originally Posted by 684D4C1F1D44290 link=1233573748/26#26 date=1233817375
    Hi All, just joined up so just learning on here. I have a EM6900 that has broken down for about the sixth time in the last 2 and a years. Sunbeam dont want to know anything about it anymore. It has cost me money and fed up. The machine makes quite good shots but time to move on. I was looking at a Rancilio Silvia or Gaggia Classic or Saeco Via Venezia which i have used previously. What is everyones opinion on these machines and which should i go for?? Would a pre-loved Silvia be a good machine and if so where would i be able to get one? Please help because life without coffee at home is not worth living!! Just wont lower myself to Instant crap!! *:D
    I had a laugh Regards, Adrian *:)
    *
    Is it just me, or is the 6910 just as bad as the 6900? Seems to be a whole heap of heartbreak in appliance land :-?

    Best to stick with their toasters me thinks ::)

  29. #29
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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Quote Originally Posted by 0D524A5C575C5059595A5A525E513F0 link=1233573748/27#27 date=1233819528
    s it just me, or is the 6910 just as bad as the 6900? Seems to be a whole heap of heartbreak in appliance land *

    Best to stick with their toasters me thinks *

    I do not think they are as bad... *But I do think that some sales people do over simplify the process and what the EM6910 can do..

    They tend to market it, not unlike many other white good and most of them do not require Maintenance or much TLC..

    I would suggest that if many of the up market machines were sold in H Normal or the local hardware shop... *That their would be a flood of complaints to the supplier... *Maybe not on the same issues... But all related to units failing or not working properly..

    While some are interested in the product and the process (CS members in general), many users just want to hit a button and forget. * That is why most of the models in HN for eg. are fully automatic...

    Any you only have to go to the repair center to see the line up waiting for Service and repairs on these units...

    My 2cents worth...



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    Re: Is it possible ???

    even those are a problem as well

    regards

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    Re: Is it possible ???

    Quote Originally Posted by 43666734366F020 link=1233573748/26#26 date=1233817375
    I was looking at a Rancilio Silvia or Gaggia Classic or Saeco Via Venezia which i have used previously.
    If you budget allows, the Sylvia is the best made out of these.

    Of the Sylvia and Classic, for shot quality, the best shot will come from the Sylvia closely followed by the Classic IMO. The Classic is less finicky to use than the Sylvia so you may well find that you can get consistently better shots from a Classic if you are not brutally precise with your grind/dose/tamp procedure. The Sylvia will steam much more strongly but will take a fair bit longer to heat up from brew to steam than the Classic.

    Used Sylvias and Classics should be fine.

    I have not used the Saeco but some report good results with the PF depressurised.

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    Feb 2009
    Posts
    7

    Re: Is it possible ???

    Thanks for that info!! If i did buy the Via Vinezia i would definately depressurize the PF. I had another machine offered toi me today it was a Spidem does any one know anything about them are should i just not waist my time? Thanks Adrian



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