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Thread: Upgrade from a Silvia... Really confused.

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    Upgrade from a Silvia... Really confused.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    First post! Well I was a member some time ago but stuffed if I can remember my user name or email address back then.

    Anyway my faithful Silvia finally died. The element broke and the chassis is quite rusty. So time to replace it. It has served me very well and has been a great machine to learn on and grow with.
    I could get another Silvia. I was happy with my old one, but it was not the easiest machine. Temperature surfing for consistent results was a bit annoying and it was useless entertaining. But itís cheap compared to an upgrade. Itís solid, reliable, familiar and you can easily get spare parts.

    BUT itís very confusingÖ so much easier 6 years ago when the Silvia was really the only competitor in its price point and anything much better was quite expensive.

    Uses: Mainly milk drinks with the odd espresso. Occasional hot chocolate for visitors so hot water would be good but not a must. We entertain quite a bit which is the main reason why i am looking at something other than another Silvia.
    I have a K3 Touch grinder.

    If I upgrade I am torn between the following.

    Breville BES920 ($1360) Ė Sounds and looks like a fantastic machine. Heaps of options, HX, pre-infusion, dual PID, 3 way solenoid and the list goes on. A lot of thought has gone into it. BUT just not sure about reliability and access to spare parts. Itís a lot of electronics. Can descale this new version. Gets rave reviews.

    NS Oscar ($1200) Ė Not bothered about the plastic outside, easier to clean. Sounds like it has quality guts, but access to spare parts is a bit vague?? No hot water to flush the boiler. Descaling sounds like a pain but not needed very often. Gets rave reviews. Not as many options as the Breville but possibly more durable??? Not sure if it has a 3 way solenoid. Steam may be too strong to get a decent microfoam, people seem to mod it to a 2 hole tip. In fact people seem to mod this machine quite a bit.

    OR I save for a bit longer and get something like the Exobar Office Semi-Auto ($1550). Iím guessing it would outlast the other 2 but itís only because it looks more robust, I have no idea if its internals are any better than the Oscars. Itís a HX machine, has hot water, big cooper boiler etc.

    Any experience or thoughts? The more I read the more confused I get!

    I thought I could find a second hand machine, but they seem few and far between and still quite expensive!

    Thanks in advance for the help!
    Pete

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    Lelit have some really nice offerings now. Worth checking out in the <1500 bracket.

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    I think the Breville BES920 is a dual boiler, not a HX. I went through some trouble (o-ring disintegration) with my BES900. I got it repaired under warranty and now everything is fine (fingers crossed). The quality of coffee is excellent. I hope Breville has solved the reliability problems in the BES920. If so, it would be a fantastic machine for the price.
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    Very happy with my BES920 and K3 grinder. I believe you can pick up the machine and new smart grinder (BCG820) for $1,200 with some haggling. Selling the Breville grinder will lower your overall cost too, or you could keep it for a filter grinder like I should have.

    Good luck.

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    Hi all,

    First post on CSnobs. I just bought my first espresso machine, Breville BES920 from Myer at 20% off with 3yr extended warranty plus another year from my visa Credit card (6yrs wty all up) $1459. I was also concerned about the reliability factor hence getting an extended warranty.

    Anyway the machine so far works great, although I'm still learning the basics of getting the grind right (Baratza Preciso) which so far is the hardest thing it took me a few sessions over two days to get a correct extraction. Initially I was getting really over exacted shots (seems a few people have had this with the BDB) and I totally freaked out thinking maybe the machine brew pressure was defective but this was not the case.

    So far very happy with my machine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tupinamba View Post
    I think the Breville BES920 is a dual boiler, not a HX.
    The BES920 is both. It has a heat exchanger in the steam boiler feeding the brew boiler.

    Great when you make milk drinks.

    I have had my BES900 for nearly two years. The only trouble was an O ring failure at one year. No trouble since. Great coffee. The 920 is better.

    Barry

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    Yeah the BES920 is dual boiler with a heat exchanger.

    To be honest I would grab one if I was confident that i would get the next 7-8 years out of it. It looks good, has heaps of great features, could be used to pump out a number of milk drinks while entertaining and is pretty enough to keep the wife happy. But for $300 more I could get a second hand Giotto Rocket which would last a lot longer. To be honest I think they are asking too much for it with a fairly sketchy history of cheap appliances behind them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GimmeBeans View Post
    Hi all,
    I just bought my first espresso machine, Breville BES920 from Myer at 20% off with 3yr extended warranty plus another year from my visa Credit card (6yrs wty all up) $1459. I was also concerned about the reliability factor hence getting an extended warranty.
    Can you please enlighten us as to what the 3yr extended warranty covers. Also does it give you an extra three years warranty, or just three years in total. As well, what does the extra yr from your credit card offer?
    Reason I ask is that I am highly skeptical of extended warranties, and potential buyers would be interested.
    Under current Australian Consumer Law, the machine you buy is expected to provide a reasonable life, which can be interpreted in numerous ways. Does the extended warranty actually provide anything that this law does not cover?
    Also, who looks after the warranty? Where do you take or send the machine to be repaired once the Breville warranty finishes?
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    Quote Originally Posted by bainpj View Post

    To be honest I would grab one if I was confident that i would get the next 7-8 years out of it. It looks good, has heaps of great features, could be used to pump out a number of milk drinks while entertaining and is pretty enough to keep the wife happy. But for $300 more I could get a second hand Giotto Rocket which would last a lot longer. To be honest I think they are asking too much for it with a fairly sketchy history of cheap appliances behind them.
    While the topic of Breville vs Italian has been hotly debated, the truth is you can pick up some excellent second hand machines at a very reasonable price. The "European" units are well built, easy to maintain and repair. They are designed and built to last quite a few years. Buying one of these represents better value in my eyes, and the unit can always be readily sold, with only a reasonable loss in value, when the upgrade bug bites. The same does not apply to appliance brands, even though they do offer a lot of bang for buck as a "new" purchase.

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    Agreed Bosco.... not much interest or 2nd hand value on appliances so whilst the entry is attractive, depreciation is a killer.

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    I would agree... I would be happy to purchase a second hand one and there are 2 Giotto Rockets for sale that I know of which I would be over the moon if I could purchase... BUT they are both over my budget
    I have tried convincing the wife, but we will be dropping to one income in a few months and did the calculations a couple weeks ago... the result is that my toys have been severely curtailed!
    Extending the budget by $300-$400 would result in a unit that would last for years and years, but the wife won't shift.

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    For your purposes (lotsa milky drinks.)

    Look at the Lelit PL60 Dual Boiler.
    it's simple, tough construction.
    Simple to operate
    PID for stable temps
    and i can just about bang out endless back to back Latte's until the cows come home.

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    I did look at that and it looks great, but given that it is at least $500 more than the models I have listed I am afraid it is way over budget.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Agreed Bosco.... not much interest or 2nd hand value on appliances so whilst the entry is attractive, depreciation is a killer.
    BTW thanks for the phone conversation yesterday. Very helpful indeed! I am trying to convince Mandy to get the the second hand unit from you but its not looking good at all.

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    Still Have a chat to the site sponsors.
    there may be some "wiggle room" in their pricing. EOFY stocktakes and all that.
    plus they may have some leads on other customers who are upgrading and looking to trade in...

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    Quote Originally Posted by bainpj View Post
    BTW thanks for the phone conversation yesterday. Very helpful indeed! I am trying to convince Mandy to get the the second hand unit from you but its not looking good at all.
    Hi bainpj- My pleasure!

    Just to clarify, its this one: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/coffee-har...v1-1600-a.html

    We're just assisting the seller by allowing it to leave it with us in Melbourne. When he tells us it's sold, we release it to the buyer.

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    Yeah that's the one. Sorry I meant you simply because you have it with you. Any communication goes through the seller. Understand that

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbks View Post
    ....there may be some "wiggle room" in their pricing. EOFY stocktakes and all that....
    I'll put that one to all of our suppliers. I suspect I might be told to "wiggle off".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    I'll put that one to all of our suppliers. I suspect I might be told to "wiggle off".
    Just tell 'em to "Wake up Jeff!"

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    I didn't realise that the Giotto Rocket was a lever machine... I have only ever used semi automatics, both domestic and commercial machines.

    Is the lever just like flicking a switch or is it a lot more involved? Like OFF = down, ON = up? Just thinking of my wife who will use the machine every now and then. From what I can figure out the position of the lever sets the volume of water flowing through the puck, so depending on how far the lever is lifted can change the volume. Is this the case?

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    The lever only activates a micro-switch to turn on the pump

    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    I'll put that one to all of our suppliers. I suspect I might be told to "wiggle off".
    Without customers or retailers, the suppliers don't make any money.
    Wholesalers need to wiggle more..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbks View Post
    The lever only activates a micro-switch to turn on the pump


    Without customers or retailers, the suppliers don't make any money.
    Wholesalers need to wiggle more..
    Yes- end users will often say that with little/no understanding of Australian cost structures.
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    Australian cost structure

    OS Parts Manufacturer > OS Manufacturer > OS Wholesaler > AU Importer > AU Wholesaler > AU Distributor (some occasions) > AU Retailer

    +20% or more for every time it changes hands.

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    Its only my opinion, but I think that people who demonstrate by virtue of their posts, that they dont actually have the benefit of being IN the coffee machine manufacture, selling and distribution "industry", OR direct experience and understanding of (can also be read as "dont have a clue"), probably should refrain from making nonsense observations .
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbks View Post
    The lever only activates a micro-switch to turn on the pump
    Ah ok, sweet! Fears dismissed, the wife will be able to use it! :P

    Super keen to get it... I may be able to get insurance on my old machine. Currently trying to organise an authorised repairer to certify that it is the heater element. Which is really annoying as my expertise is electronics so I would know far more about it that most repairers would. But I guess the insurance company needs the transparency which is fair enough. The insurance money would be a huge help in convincing the wife to free the funds towards the Giotto. I am not so sure it will fit on our bench real well, but given how awesome it looks I am sure I can squeeze it on somehow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bainpj View Post
    .....I may be able to get insurance on my old machine. Currently trying to organise an authorised repairer to certify that it is the heater element. Which is really annoying as my expertise is electronics so I would know far more about it that most repairers would.....
    From my own point of view, its really annoying when the expertise of professional espresso machine repairers is so often discounted or denigrated in forums by people that dont repair espresso machines for a living, who are looking in from the safety of their different and often unrelated professions .
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    Quote Originally Posted by bainpj View Post
    Ah ok, sweet! Fears dismissed, the wife will be able to use it! :P
    She just needs to be aware of the process of flushing the group head if the machine has been on for a while,
    otherwise you'll be dumping 100+ degree water into the puck and ruining the shot.

    One of the reasons I chose a PID controlled Dual Boiler machine (idiot proofing )

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbks View Post
    She just needs to be aware of the process of flushing the group head if the machine has been on for a while,
    otherwise you'll be dumping 100+ degree water into the puck and ruining the shot.
    Err, no. If it's properly setup (which if it was originally sold by Talk_Coffee, it will be) all you need to do is a quick purge (flip on, flip off). No "cooling flush" required.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOK View Post
    From my own point of view, its really annoying when the expertise of professional espresso machine repairers is so often discounted or denigrated in forums by people that dont repair espresso machines for a living, who are looking in from the safety of their different and often unrelated professions .
    Yes and no... I am an electronics engineer, so definitely not different or unrelated... I have been designing and repairing all sorts of electronics for over 14 years. If I can't figure out if a thermostat or heating element are working or not I shouldn't be in a job :P A Silvia is a very simple design electronically. However, the pressures and flow side of things yes, I am all ears as that is out of my area of expertise and something I have never really dabbled in, but that's not the problem in my machine.

    In case anyone was offended by my comment, I am not discounting or denigrating any profession, simply annoyed that I would have to pay someone for a letter stating what I already know and am qualified to test.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbks View Post
    She just needs to be aware of the process of flushing the group head if the machine has been on for a while,
    otherwise you'll be dumping 100+ degree water into the puck and ruining the shot.

    One of the reasons I chose a PID controlled Dual Boiler machine (idiot proofing )
    Misinformation and I wish people wouldn't regurgitate this 10 year old stuff. Times change and well manufactured espresso machines operate correctly. We don't deal in brands that don't and I'm pretty certain that statement applies to all sponsors here. We sell machines which are manufactured and calibrated for the Australian market. So do the others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbks View Post
    The lever only activates a micro-switch to turn on the pump.
    whilst it certainly does activate the pump switch, that is not the only thing it does.
    it also controls the flow valves for brew water, pre infusion, and drain, which can make considerable difference depending on how that lever is operated !
    ..But nothing a 5 min training session wouldn't take care of !

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbrewster View Post
    Err, no. If it's properly setup (which if it was originally sold by Talk_Coffee, it will be) all you need to do is a quick purge (flip on, flip off). No "cooling flush" required.
    same thing.
    on/ off is moving water from the HX and through the group is it not?


    please explain (to a person with vast knowledge of both electronics and fluids/ thermal engineering)
    what your "flip on flip off" procedure is actually achieving if my statement above is not true.
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    If it is simply a micro switch it is essentially an on/off setup as the unit would have no way of detecting any absolute position of the lever to exercise any level of variable control.

    If it was progressive (ie NOT a micro switch) then I can see the possibilities for manual control of pre-infusion, flow and volume control. But this would either require an manual spring setup or some electronic position setup.

    So is it JUST a micro switch or is there actually some smarts involved? I was under the impression that the lever offered more control than simply on/off (based purely of watching people pull shots on you tube!)
    Last edited by bainpj; 29th May 2014 at 12:47 PM. Reason: Grammer

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    Last edited by bainpj; 11 Minutes Ago at 12:47 PM. Reason: Grammer

    Next edit by chokkidog. Reason.... not grammar..........spelling! ;-)

    Do I detect some confusion over Lever and Lever machines? :-D

    Just to be clear, baunpj ( and welcome to CS, by the way. ) which type are you referring too?
    Attached Images Attached Images
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    Quote Originally Posted by chokkidog View Post
    Last edited by bainpj; 11 Minutes Ago at 12:47 PM. Reason: Grammer

    Next edit by chokkidog. Reason.... not grammar..........spelling! ;-)

    Do I detect some confusion over Lever and Lever machines? :-D

    Just to be clear, baunpj ( and welcome to CS, by the way. ) which type are you referring too?
    haha got me there! :P

    By lever we are talking about the lever setup on a Giotto Rocket (well I was seeing that is the machine in question). So I assume that is the LH picture which activates a PUMP. I am pretty sure the RH one is a fully mandraulic setup which isn't what I am interested in (or can afford).

    EDIT: this forum changes L O L (remove spaces) to "I had a laugh"?????

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    Taken from the posts above (in reference to E61 type group):

    Quote: "...The lever only activates a micro-switch to turn on the pump...."
    Fraid not.

    Quote: "...it also controls the flow valves for brew water, pre infusion, and drain,..."
    Could be expanded a little, but in a nutshell, Yup.

    Quote: "...So is it JUST a micro switch or is there actually some smarts involved?..."
    The mechanical design engineering smarts are inside the group, The lever actuates them. The cam connected externally with the lever activates the microswitch to start water flow at the same time as the "smarts" are happening inside the group.

    There may be a diagram of the internals of an E61 group in this forum somewhere. If not check coffeeparts website and you shall find.

    This set up revolutionised the design of the commercial espresso machine and was in effect the birth of modern commercial espresso machine technology.

    Hope that helps.
    Last edited by TOK; 29th May 2014 at 01:52 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Misinformation and I wish people wouldn't regurgitate this 10 year old stuff. Times change and well manufactured espresso machines operate correctly. We don't deal in brands that don't and I'm pretty certain that statement applies to all sponsors here. We sell machines which are manufactured and calibrated for the Australian market. So do the others.
    Can I ask how an E61 HX machine is calibrated such that you don't need a flush, yet remains temperature stable?
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  38. #38
    TOK
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    That's "commercial in confidence" I'm afraid...If someone tells you how to manufacture / tune machines to suit different markets, afraid they might also have to kill you afterwards

    That said, yes its certainly true that machines are built / set up differently for different markets. Easiest example is to look at machines set up for their "home" (Italian) market, and those set up for here. One will invariably burn the brew, and the other shouldn't. New importers always bring in machines as built for their home market first up. Then they discover their machines run too hot and burn their coffee, then they go back to the manufacturer and try and sort it out (if they know enough about coffee).
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    Quote Originally Posted by bainpj View Post
    So is it JUST a micro switch or is there actually some smarts involved? I was under the impression that the lever offered more control than simply on/off (based purely of watching people pull shots on you tube!)
    The electrical switch is a microswitch. It is activated when the lever is at ~50% throw. This (roughly) coincides with the point at which the exhaust port is closed and the brew port is opened.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hildy View Post
    Can I ask how an E61 HX machine is calibrated such that you don't need a flush, yet remains temperature stable?
    Sure thing. When you'd like to make an offer I can't refuse for the business so as to keep me permanently in the manner I'll become accustomed to, we'll happily hand over all of our I.P
    Last edited by TC; 29th May 2014 at 05:24 PM.

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    Has this mod been done to the Giotto you have there?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bainpj View Post
    Has this mod been done to the Giotto you have there?
    Nope- not required beyond Premium Plus variant. Our Giotto stock has all arrived in the last couple of weeks- all V3 and Evoluzione.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hildy View Post
    Can I ask how an E61 HX machine is calibrated such that you don't need a flush, yet remains temperature stable?
    I don't pretend to know the answer, but I suspect boiler pressure setting and thermosiphon restrictions are key to achieving required group and shot temperature; however I suspect there is a trade off between achieving a balance that requires little flushing and a setup that permits high volume usage (i.e quick recovery).

    If you search for thermosiphon restrictions you will find lots of E61 related info, including fixed and variable restriction options.

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    Just to head back to the OP's original question...

    From a 'Bang-for-Buck' perspective, it is very difficult to go past the Simonelli Oscar. Lots of very satisfied owners here on CS and if the urge ever took you, it would not be a difficult exercise to further improve on some aspects of its design post warranty period, especially given your engineering background.

    Mal.

  45. #45
    TOK
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    Quote Originally Posted by bainpj View Post
    ....my faithful Silvia finally died......I could get another Silvia..... but it was not the easiest machine. Temperature surfing for consistent results was a bit annoying and it was useless entertaining. But it’s cheap compared to an upgrade....

    .......Uses: Mainly milk drinks with the odd espresso. Occasional hot chocolate for visitors so hot water would be good but not a must.

    ......We entertain quite a bit which is the main reason why i am looking at something other than another Silvia.

    I have a K3 Touch grinder.....

    ..........Any experience or thoughts? The more I read the more confused I get!

    I thought I could find a second hand machine, but they seem few and far between and still quite expensive!

    Thanks in advance for the help!
    Pete
    Requirements as per this quote taken from your original post?
    On a budget?
    Absolutely cant stretch it to the TalkCoffee offer in post #16 above?
    Then take a look at this:
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/coffee-har...hine-sale.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbks View Post
    same thing.
    on/ off is moving water from the HX and through the group is it not?
    For starters it's not "my" procedure, it is a recommendation from the importer (ECA, refer to their training videos).

    The quantity of water we l we're talking about here is minimal, maybe 5-10ml (i've never bothered to measure) which shouldn't be enough to substantialy influence the temp of water in a well behaved HX.

    I gather the purpose of this "flush" is to purge the passages downstream from the valve to avoid pushing air through your puck.

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    Thanks TOK! I have had my eye on that one. Right now I'm going through the process of putting a claim in through insurance. They think I will be able to claim on the Silvia. If I can do that then I really want to try to get the Giotto as I think it's a much nicer looking machine (read wife looks approval) and the lever action is starting to intrigue me! If not I will be looking at the cheaper options again...

    Just checked some measurements and the Boema machine is too big for the space we have available. The Giotto (which is still a fairly large machine) will be a squash as it is...
    Last edited by bainpj; 30th May 2014 at 11:09 AM.

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    When my Silvia dies I will be heading down the Giotto Rocket path... I think I'll have to wait another 8 or so years for it to die though .......*sigh*

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    The electrical switch is a microswitch. It is activated when the lever is at ~50% throw. This (roughly) coincides with the point at which the exhaust port is closed and the brew port is opened.
    Mine's got a good 20 degrees of throw between port opening and switch actuation. Looking at it more closely, the amount of throw before the switch is actuated is adjustable on my machine.

  50. #50
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    1
    fwiw, i recently bought an ecm casa iv
    from espresso connect.
    got the shelf model for 990.. retails for 1295
    gotta say, its pretty fantastic.
    obviously no affiliation, just saying.
    if you search on here there is a test between it and the silvia....
    i reckon it smashes it



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