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Thread: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

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    Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    After surfing these forums extensively and receiving conflicting advice from a number of specialist coffee machine retail outlets, I seek further input from the depth of knowledge of many contributing to these forums.

    I need to find a coffee machine to fit the following criteria:-
    * Office situation (actually a fire station with 24/7 staffing) with the ability to produce 2-4 cups of varying types of coffee within a reasonable time frame
    * It is likely that we will have a Breville BCG800 Smart Grinder (take as given)
    * Needs to be reliable
    * Simple to operate
    * Heat up time max 15 min
    * Simple maintenance requirements
    * Produce reasonably consistent results of acceptable quality
    * Budget for the machine no more than $800 (financed through sale of soft drinks, etc from staff fund)

    Have looked at and dismissed the white goods store sold brands.

    Currently considering the following:-
    * Saeco Via Venezia
    * Rancilio Silvia
    * Lelit PL41E

    I dont really want to go down the track of a second hand higher specification machine.

    A number of dealers including some sponsors of this site have suggested machines ranging in price from $1500 to $2500.* *Unfortunately, in the world of the financially challenged, these lovely looking machines are not affordable.

    The Via Venezia I have been advised is likely to suffer from a short heating element life if left on constantly 24/7.* *Human nature being such that some staff will inevitably regularly "forget" to swith off the machine after use, this concerns me.* *I dont want to feed the hungry coffee machine repair animal.* *I am also not impressed with the rather cheap looking construction of the outside of this machine.

    Given the major constraint of cost, I would appreciate the views of members to assist my rather difficult selection process.

    What would you recommend and why?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    dbd
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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    I can offer some comments on the Silvia, since I have one.

    Can you leave it on 24/7 without damage - yes. Mine is on 12-15 hours a day 7 days a week (Ive had it about 5 years), and Ive been told theres no harm in it being always on.

    Can it do 4 coffees at a time - yes.

    Fast heat-up - well I prefer to let it half an hour to warm up in the mornings, but theres no question you can physically make the first coffee within 5 minutes of turning it on.

    Maintenance - the water tank needs to be manually checked and refilled once a day. With a lot of use that might be twice a day.

    The Silvia is solid & reliable, and easy to use.

    Hopefully someone can compare it to the Lelit?

    Depending on what city youre in, maybe you could try another visit to a shop after you get some advice here - the more you know, the easier it gets to walk into a shop and see if they can help. Before you buy, you want demonstrations, plus a chance to make coffee yourself on each machine.

    Some of the people on this forum sell the Silvia and the Lelit, and they come well recommended.

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    TC
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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    Hello and welcome Lots,

    To be honest, I dont consider any of your chosen options to be appropriate as theyre all single boiler machines.

    In an office situation, its a matter of time until someone leaves a steam switch turned on and/or forgets to prime the boiler. The result is an expensive repair of perhaps as much as $200-300 each time you blow a heating element.

    My advice is wait and buy a Heat eXchanger (HX) machine. It will save a whole heap of heartbreak in the long run.

    Chris

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    Senior Member SniffCoffee's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    Hi Lots

    I reckon Chris is spot on. A single boiler machine wouldnt last long. And Im pretty sure that all your suggested machines require more than just pushing a couple of buttons to get a decent coffee.

    Maybe you should consider a second-hand Nuova Simonelli Oscar - its probably the cheapest HX machine available, and you might be able to pick one up second hand on Coffeesnobs for your budget. It will autofill the boiler so that means less risk of a burnt out element.

    Are you or your staff interested in milk coffees?

    If not, why not use the Smart Grinder to grind for plunger coffee - the freshness of the grind will make the biggest difference to the coffee I reckon.

    cheers

    Sniff

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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    Given the budget and requirements, I think the Sunbeam 6910 might fit your needs. Yes it is one of the whitegoods store appliances but I know one or two other members have used it in an office situation. It goes into standby after a period of non-use and quickly resumes when required.

    I would also advise against the single boiler machines for multiple-user scenarios like yours.

    A more realistic alternative is some form of leasing arrangement for a suitable machine (automatic or pod). This will reduce the upfront payment and the usage and maintenance factor for users who cant be bothered with grinding, dosing and cleaning a manual machine.

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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    Quote Originally Posted by 0E3B36310519353C3C3F3F5A0 link=1311034355/2#2 date=1311036713
    ....To be honest, I dont consider any of your chosen options to be appropriate .....etc.....My advice is wait and buy a Heat eXchanger (HX) machine. It will save a whole heap of heartbreak in the long run.
    Chris
    Very well written words. The best advice is to buy a machine that is suitable to the task and domestic machines are not suitable for an office coffee situation.

    If you are in the Canberra area, we would be more than pleased to help, and we are familiar enough with fire station client situations...

    Rgdz,
    Attilio

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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    Thanks to those that responded, I appreciate your thoughts.* *Sometimes the answer you receive is not what you want to hear, but need to hear.

    So if I can stretch the budget, which might take another 12 months of selling soft drinks, and had an absolute limit to the budget of $1500, what would you recommend?

    That models sell new for less than $1500 which would meet all the other criteria?

    And NOT a second hand, $1500 machine please.* *I would never be able to convince my colleagues (some of whom drink tea* :D) to spend this much on a second hand coffee machine of this value, only a new one.* *

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    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    How about the new breville dual boiler? It should have failsafes inplace, goes to sleep if left on etc.

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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    I have pre ordered one of the Breville dual boiler medals for my own home situation, not sure how this lovely looking machine would be treated by the reasonably large number of staff who would play with it.* *So I am wondering what other options there are.

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    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    I would have thought it would be quite "idiot" proof, the only way to break it would be physically breaking off the steam knob or similar? And you can set it and the grinder for decent "auto" shots that should be decent for those that are not coffee people?

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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    What about the* isomac Zafiro.It has an automatic refill boiler with good capacity.
    As it is not a heat HX machine* you dont have to do the temp dance, ?easier for the target* group of people you are* working* with.
    Sell it to the tea drinkers by saying* they can have* instant hot water.
    Of* course steaming milk* would take a* little longer as* you would need to heat up* the boiler after* brewing , like with the* silvia.
    Could email the sponsors* for quotes to match your budget
    http://www.coffeeparts.com/machines/info/downloads/isomac-zaffiro.pdf

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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    Quote Originally Posted by 7D707A747C707F110 link=1311034355/10#10 date=1311081611
    Sell it to the tea drinkers by saying* they can have* instant hot water.
    An espresso machine is not an urn. I have seen plenty of dead elements caused by continually running the boiler dry, autofill or not.

    Sorry, but not advisable.

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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    Further suggestions of machines to consider (and why) would be most appreciated.

    Looks like a stove top moka pot for a while longer!

    Thanks.

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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    The Nespresso machines work in an office setting. Being a coffee snob I dont actually drink it but my colleagues seem happy with it. Its been there for 6 months and hasnt blown up yet.

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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    I think it depends on how the office staff is skilled at coffee making.

    Single boilers are not recommended in this environment.

    If they are skilled, then id say go for the HX machines, the money would be worth investing, and the results in the cup will be fantastic. :)

    If poorly skilled, then go for the Sunbeam EM6910, which for an outlay of $700 odd, the forgiving nature will allow an ok cup, which is still better than those super auto dispensing machines. It should last a year or two before it may decide to give up the ghost, then you could say the $700 spent is worth it for two years.

    My suggestion is, since you posted in this website, take your staff on a coffee making course as a bonding session. It takes 2-3 hours, its worth the investment to train them, with which the knowledge they have is transferable to the next person.
    Then get the HX machine, with proper use, should last at least 5 years in a office environment.
    This way youre achieving more than training. Youre getting those staff out of the office, and creating a closer knit group, which can only be better for business, with the bonus of a better cup of coffee and a zest for good things in life.

    Gary at G




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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    Quote Originally Posted by 5A404D4C5E48505A5A290 link=1311034355/14#14 date=1311141312
    If poorly skilled, then go for the Sunbeam EM6910, which for an outlay of $700 odd, the forgiving nature will allow an ok cup, which is still better than those super auto dispensing machines. It should last a year or two before it may decide to give up the ghost, then you could say the $700 spent is worth it for two years.
    Ummm, I dont know how to say this, you might think that $700 for a machine which may last only a few years may be good value.* *In my world, it would be a waste of very limited financial resources.* *We just cant blow that sort of money.* *Remember that we are financing the project by selling soft drinks, etc. through a staff fund / club.* *The employer will not contribute at all to the purchase of a coffee machine.* *(Public sector emergency service industry with other priorities)

    I want to get it right the first time!

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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    Hi Lots,

    I hate to say this, but its clear that your budget and requirements just dont match at this point.

    I think your best bet <$1.5k will be the breville. Sadly, you are in a HX wasteland at this price bracket. This is one reason why I think the Breville will do so well.

    Perhaps the best start will be a good grinder and fresh coffee through a french press or aeropress and then a machine down the track when funding will allow you to proceed.

    If an office came with your brief, Id be suggesting a volumetric machine like an Iberital Handy, Diadema Elettronica or even a mini Vivaldi II and perhaps a timed grinder like a K3T. Any of these combos would have you looking at 2x your budget :(

    Chris

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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    Just how many users are there likely to be? If the numbers are high enough it may be worthwhile looking into a rental.

    If you do end up buying a machine you really need someone to take responsibility for the machine when it comes to daily cleaning and regular maintenance. If you (or someone else at work) is not prepared to put in at least 1 hour per week of your own time to clean up other peoples mess, then I would not bother and put the money toward something else.

    Also, what will be the source of water used?

    I have used a Nuova Simonelli Oscar in a small office and found it very suitable. It was only doing 4-6 cups a day but capable of a lot more.

    To be honest there really arent any other options, other than the Breville DB or grinder plus a few plungers.

  19. #19
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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    Quote Originally Posted by 0E0A0008170C090C0E0A0F0F021107630 link=1311034355/0#0 date=1311034355
    Have looked at and dismissed the white goods store sold brands.

    Currently considering the following:-
    * Saeco Via Venezia
    * Rancilio Silvia
    * Lelit PL41E
    Allrighty then.

    Out of those three, the Lelit would be the choice due to a good build quality though not as good as the famous Rancilio Silvia.
    It should, with proper use, last a number of years, and it is more forgiving of user error.

    Im presuming you only have a small handful of workers.
    If you or one of them are experienced in coffee making and know how to maintain the machine properly, then he/she will have to teach them how to use it in the right fashion.

    You all just need to be patient with these single boilers as they are firstly, quite small. 250ml for the Lelit, 300ml for the Rancilio. So, after the first person has done with the brewing and steaming, the next person then has to wait for the temperature to stabilize again, and that in itself takes some getting used to, also thats if he/she does remember to refill the boiler again. Very important.

    It is possible, as long as everyone there understand how they work.

    The Breville Smart grinder and the Lelit will have you within budget.

    Otherwise, get the Smart grinder , a bunch of Aeropresses or plungers and keep it simple.

    A good grinder, and fresh coffee beans are the most important factors for good coffee.

    All the best. Hope that helped Lotsacoffee :)

    Gary at G

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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    Hi Lots,

    Any chance your fire station would agree to sign up to a rental agreement with coffee drinkers paying the rental? Weve found that this is a pretty good option for organisations looking to fund equipment purchases without a big outlay of cash. For example you could get a volumetric heat exchanger and auto dosing grinder (worth $3,250) for under $37.50/week. Not a lot of $ per cup for even a modestly busy work coffee machine. Youd probably have more money left over at the end of the week than from selling soft drinks* ;D

    charlie

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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    Quote Originally Posted by 507F6E58767B7971597B7C7F1A0 link=1311034355/19#19 date=1311235566
    Hi Lots,

    Any chance your fire station would agree to sign up to a rental agreement with coffee drinkers paying the rental? Weve found that this is a pretty good option for organisations looking to fund equipment purchases without a big outlay of cash. For example you could get a volumetric heat exchanger and auto dosing grinder (worth $3,250) for under $37.50/week. Not a lot of $ per cup for even a modestly busy work coffee machine. Youd probably have more money left over at the end of the week than from selling soft drinks* ;D

    charlie
    I second your comments Charlie.

    Given the financial situation, its the best solution to deliver to the requirements.

    Chris

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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    If we wait until we can scratch together $1500, then I am considering the following machines:-

    * Nuova Simonelli Oscar
    * Expobar Office Semi Automatic
    * Breville Dual Boiler

    All teamed with a Breville Smart Grinder...

    Am I heading in the right direction with this new list?

  23. #23
    Senior Member SniffCoffee's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    Quote Originally Posted by 373339312E353035373336363B283E5A0 link=1311034355/21#21 date=1311247783
    Am I heading in the right direction with this new list?
    Yes. Youll still have to teach people how to keep them all clean and tidy (and how to grind, dose and tamp) but at least with those three options the boiler wont run dry.

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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    Lotsa,
    * *you are definitely heading in the right direction now. I have purchased several coffee machines for the working environment as well as owning both silvia and via venezia at home. The wise folk above are right in saying that a single boiler like the silvia will get destroyed fairly quickly by carelessness from some poor caffeine withdrawn soul. In my mind the only options that are suitable in work environment are either a superauto (expensive/poor quality), a double boiler or hx machine or the humble pod machines.* *
    * We have had a double boiler machine that cost $2000 when new for the past five years. It is on 120 hrs a week and has hardly skipped a beat. If you cant find the $1500-2000 required to fund this type of machine, I would seriously check out the pod systems as the machine are loaned and maintained for free providing you purchase a sufficient* number of pods.
    * I would imagine that all three of the machines listed should do the job nicely.

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    Re: Silvia, Via Venezia or Lelit PL41 for office situation

    Quote Originally Posted by 4A606C633C0D0 link=1311034355/23#23 date=1311556318
    If you cant find the $1500-2000 required to fund this type of machine, I would seriously check out the pod systems as the machine are loaned and maintained for free providing you purchase a sufficient* number of pods.
    It would be prudent to also look at a rent/try/buy plan for the machine so that you can use whole beans you can buy anywhere. Some might say one of these rental plans for equipment is expensive, but if you value good coffee and your capital it can actually make a lot of financial sense. For example, if the alternative is to pay $3 or $4 per cup until you have saved up enough for a machine you might be ahead if you rented.

    charlie



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