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Thread: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

  1. #1
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    Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi All,

    Recently I went to a store to have a demo of a Silvia.

    I am impressed with the machine. It is well made. Unfortunately I wasnt impressed with the coffee! I drink strong cappuccinos normally.

    However even when they poured a double shot into one glass it was still normal to weak. Certainly not strong. I was disappointed, particularly since I had been to a cafe earlier that week which uses the same beans and had a rich strong coffee!

    Can someone please shed some light on what might have been the problem with the Silvia? Could stale beans have caused this? Or bad technique? Is the Silvia a good machine???

    cheers,
    Graham

  2. #2
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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    If it was just the strength then the most likely difference is that they were using the standard Silvia double basket - the cafe were probably using a basket with ~ 50% more coffee (I have vague memories that Alan Frew did a (blind?) taste test between a Silvia and HX and the basket was the biggest contributor to the shot (by swapping baskets) - sorry couldnt find a link).
    Easily fixed with $8.65 (http://www.coffeeparts.com/marzocco/521994.htm) although the Synesso is another step up (http://thingscoffee.com.au/product_info.php?cPath=25&products_id=51).

  3. #3
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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    In addition to potentially different basket sizes there are many other factors including grind, dose, tamp pressure, extraction temperature, extraction volume, and more.

    There is no good reason why you couldnt get the strong caps you desire with a Silvia. *

    Was the machine already turned on when you went to the store?

  4. #4
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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    Yes the machine was already on, and the demonstrator used an 18 gram basket.

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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    what makes the "strong" coffee strong in taste at your regular place ?

    is it a bigger basket? better barista? or just more water through the puck?

    like CJ said plenty of reasons not just the machine


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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    Sorry Maheel, I cant answer your questions as I dont have that information.

    Thanks for the advice Caffeine Junky. I suppose in short I just want to know that I am not wasting money buying a Silvia. As they say "the proof is in the pudding" and I didnt see that last week!

    If anyone can give some feedback on their Silvia I would appreciate it.

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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    Hi Chem,

    I have my suspicions about where you tested the machine. PM me where you went in particular - not all stores/staff are equal.

    Ive had a Silvia for a couple of months now and the quality of the coffee is improving. The shots are quite viscous, although of course you cant compare it with a commercial machine that cost $8K. They do get more watery as the beans reach the end of 2 weeks.

    I am contemplating selling mine, so PM me if you want to consider buying secondhand.

  8. #8
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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    I gather I am not making this sale, so there isnt any commercial interest to this post:

    Nothing wrong with the Silvia, and I am afraid you cant make comparisons from one setting to another. The only way you can do that is to have both machines side by side, with the same operator having had a little time to get his technique right for each machine. If you wanted to do this quickly you would usually need to have a grinder for each machine because the grind setting will be different for each OR......you wait a little time between making the shots from each machine because the grinder will need readjusting between each, to give a comparable shot.

    The Silvia is what it is. It is well publicised throughout the web over a period of many years, and it is quite simply the best domestic small boiler machine in the market OR to put it another way, if a properly made espresso from the Silvia (given best quality beans and expert operator) does not satisfy, then nothing else in that price bracket will and you will have to start looking to spend $2000.00 & above on a HX machine instead of less than half of that on the Silvia.

    The regular commercial export market double filter is a must (as it is on any machine in this market). Realistically it will hold, depending on type of beans and grind setting and pressure of tamping, somewhere between 18 and 19 grams in the Silvia. Standard silvia filters hold a couple of grams less and the quality of the resulting espresso using best quality Australian market espresso blend coffee, in this 2 gram difference is significant.

    Hope this helps.

    Regardz,
    A.

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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1E353830342E292F246C6F6E695D0 link=1296983859/5#5 date=1297037839
    If anyone can give some feedback on their Silvia I would appreciate it.
    After spending 5x on an upgrade I had renewed respect for the shots my Silvia could produce BUT it took a lot more focus and attention to technical details (and a gronk) to get close more often than not and the compromises with doing milk were the case for change.

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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    hi 1234; Im a greenbean with only 9 days of experience with my Silvia w PID (plus Rocky). Im a bit perplexed reading about people who dont get a great cap from Silvia; maybe I cheated a bit by having a one-on-one course on my gear. I just went home and did exactly what the guys at Jetblack Expresso showed me and Ive had the most wonderful coffee ever since. This is hardly a scientific observation; that requires a control group, a before and after scenario, and quantitative measurement of defined parameters. But in my case, all I can say is that Ive had better coffee in the past week or so than Ive had in my entire life (Ive seen 6 decades slip past). I think the key is the course on your own gear. As a life-long plunger drinker, my fresh-faced barista son sums it up neatly: he said the difference between plunger and a top shot was like the difference between cheap Easter egg chocolate and the best Lindt. I cant believe what Ive been missing. The point of all this is that the Silvia makes a fabulous coffee and is simple to use; I drink nothing but double cappuccinos and the double Synesso basket gives me the extra flavour depth I want. This website was instrumental in my choosing the Silvia and it was a great choice. I simply love it.

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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    Thanks for your feedback Richard.

    I can t afford a Silvia with a PID or a course. So things will be trickier for me. But it sounds like its a good machine :)

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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    Richard, glad the pid/silvia is working well, but Itd have to disagree with the plunger/espresso comparison. To me its more like comparing a beaujolais with a barolo - neither is bad, just very different. I normally go for espresso, but sometimes plunger works too.

    Your opinion on the silvia will be very different to others because of the PID and the training. My experience has been that a PID makes an incredible difference to shot consistency.
    Will find out soon if training makes a difference...

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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    I just got a new Silvia yesterday. I had a Breville Cafe Rome before that, and I have been using that for about six years! Not complaining though! I have made thousands of coffees with it and know it VERY well, and not trying to blow my own trumpet here but it can make a coffee equal to or better than a good cafe - a $150 machine!
    I thought it was time to step it up a little so I bought a Silvia and Rocky (I have ordered a Synesso basket and PID kit) and spent hours trying to get the grind right so the shot times are right.
    I havent been able to get a shot as good as I can get from the Breville machine yet, but practice makes perfect! A boiler machine is a lot more finicky than a thermoblock machine, but Im sure I will grow to love it.
    First impressions? Love the look of the machine, great build quality, and great steam!!! Getting the PID will improve shot consistency and the deeper PF will hopefully improve flavour richness over the standard rancilio basket - which isnt bad by all means.

    cheers!
    Tim

  14. #14
    brett230873
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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    Quote Originally Posted by 372A2E22302B747474430 link=1296983859/12#12 date=1297379524
    I just got a new Silvia yesterday. I had a Breville Cafe Rome before that, and I have been using that for about six years! Not complaining though! I have made thousands of coffees with it and know it VERY well, and not trying to blow my own trumpet here but it can make a coffee equal to or better than a good cafe - a $150 machine!
    I thought it was time to step it up a little so I bought a Silvia and Rocky (I have ordered a Synesso basket and PID kit) and spent hours trying to get the grind right so the shot times are right.
    I havent been able to get a shot as good as I can get from the Breville machine yet, but practice makes perfect! A boiler machine is a lot more finicky than a thermoblock machine, but Im sure I will grow to love it.
    First impressions? Love the look of the machine, great build quality, and great steam!!! Getting the PID will improve shot consistency and the deeper PF will hopefully improve flavour richness over the standard rancilio basket - which isnt bad by all means.

    cheers!
    Tim
    I would grind really fine (enough to choke the machine) and work backwards. Remember, the only thing you should change is the grind (tamp dose and shot time should remain consistent). Every new machine has a new set of idiosyncracies and foibles to learn. Good luck, she is a fine mistress!

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    Senior Member Pavoniboy's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    Change only one variable at a time, rather than only change grind. If grind was the only factor it would be much easier to be a great barista.

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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    Does anyone know where the Silvia can be bought (and preferrable seen in person) in Brisbane?

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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    Update: I was fortunate to find someone who has a Silvia in my location. So I took some beans and made some coffee.

    Low and behold, it was strong, it was rich, and it was GOOD.

    No PID, or anything fancy, just a great machine. Here comes the Silvia :)

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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    Made a coffe at lunch today, and the ultimate test - made one for the missus as well. She loved it! Best ever was her comment. I think I have the right grind! ;D

  19. #19
    brett230873
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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    Quote Originally Posted by 435E5A56445F000000370 link=1296983859/17#17 date=1297403957
    Made a coffe at lunch today, and the ultimate test - made one for the missus as well. She loved it! Best ever was her comment. I think I have the right grind! *;D
    Fantastic! Keep her clean, remember after steaming to run water through the group or steam wand (refill the boiler to protect the element) and shell bring you many years of great service! Enjoy ;)

  20. #20
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    Quote Originally Posted by 4855515D4F540B0B0B3C0 link=1296983859/17#17 date=1297403957
    made one for the missus as well. She loved it! Best ever was her comment. I think I have the right grind!
    I think you have the right wife. :)


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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    Quote Originally Posted by 59706271747B7B7C70150 link=1296983859/15#15 date=1297400030
    Does anyone know where the Silvia can be bought (and preferrable seen in person) in Brisbane?
    Hi Lewdannie,
    Brisbane site sponsor Barazi at Coopers Plains stock and sell the Silvia and Rocky (as well as the beautiful Bezzeras!) and will provide training on how to use and look after your new equipment (and service it as well when needed).

    You can see their website at www.coffeecentre.com.au. Hope this helps. Good luck.

    Paul

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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    Good to hear you persisted with checking out Silvias. As has been stated there is no better bang for buck. I have had mine now for 2 years and has never missed a beat. YouTube Temp surfing, work on tamping, fresh beans freshly ground and you will get some amazing coffees out of her. look after her and she will look after you!

    remember finer grind and firmer tamp will generally mean stronger shot.

    I wouldnt swap mine for anything.... well anything under $2000 ;) ;) Im open to offers ;D

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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    Do any of our sponsors offer a kit for installing a bar pressure gauge to the Silvia. I know of overseas suppliers but the freight price is a killer. ;D

  24. #24
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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    I moved to a Silvia from a low-end machine and it was all good except at one point the boiler element burned out. You need to be careful to be sure theres water in the boiler before it heats up and I do that by running water through the steamer wand each time I switch it on. My dealer was kind enough to throw in a pair of commercial-style baskets as part of a bundle (and also good enough to extend the warranty to cover the burn out).

    Otherwise, as the others say, any variation will depend on how you make your coffee. This machine should be able to make coffee as good as any other, with a little more attention to detail than an top-end device. I would only consider a step up (for my personal needs: others differ) if I needed to do higher volumes and the single boiler became an issue.

  25. #25
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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    Quote Originally Posted by 7C76777B6E721A0 link=1296983859/22#22 date=1297462335
    Do any of our sponsors offer a kit for installing a bar pressure gauge to the Silvia. *I know of overseas suppliers but the freight price is a killer. ;D
    Not sure what a pressure gauge would show - the OPV valve will ensure it goes from zip to 9 (or whatever your OPV is set to..) and just sit there..

    I put a gauge on the bottom of a PF to check and set my OPV. Regrettably, I dont have it anymore - someone borrowed and hasnt returned >:(

    Making one is a snap - I picked up a gauge for under $20 including an adaptor to 3/8BSP which is the thread on the bottom of the PF if that helps. The downside is that the gauge is upside down, but I can cope with that ;)

    Quote Originally Posted by 59727F7773696E68632B28292E1A0 link=1296983859/10#10 date=1297337505
    I can t afford a Silvia with a PID or a course. So things will be trickier for me. But it sounds like its a good machine
    The Silvia is a fine piece of kit. Mine has a PID, both my brother and sister have Silvias ;) and theirs dont have a PID. Using mine is easier. If you just do one shot (or a double), then a simple temperature probe works well (check out "gronking" ;D ). But they have neither, and I can make a darn good shot with either of those machines. But as all have said above - junk the Silvia baskets and get Synessos or La Marzoccos. (I got mine from Greg Pullman, but pretty much anyone can supply).

    Cheers
    /Kevin

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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    My Silvia arrived today. I now understand why they call it "Miss Silvia"!!

    The coffee is great but I can see that it will be a steep learning curve. If anyone has any tips I would love to hear them.

  27. #27
    Senior Member benandfaith's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia - not sure about buying one.

    Two quick tips:
    1) Brew the coffee at the same point in the boiler cycle every time to reduce 1 variable. For me I did it this way: boiler light off (i,e, brew ready - element is off, but temperature continues to rise by about 10degrees!) - open steam wand up for 3-4 secs to bring temps back down to a good brewing temp for me (I was gronked for awhile, so got to see the temps for myself). Lock in PF and brew!
    2) Start steaming milk about 40secs after flicking steam switch. Temps reach about 130+ degrees, so good steam already, element remains on to maintain steam power. If light goes out, it runs out of puff especially for steaming >250ml milk (milk for 2 caps)
    Hope that helps...



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