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Thread: Help with decision - Silivia upgrade.

  1. #1
    GCC
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    Help with decision - Silivia upgrade.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Have been a Silvia owner for 4 years, a V1 bought used in 2011 and teamed with a K3 grinder. Miss Silvia has recently given up the ghost, and given her age & what I think it will cost to repair (around $350), I'd rather put the money towards a new machine.

    I make one flat white / latte every weekday for breakfast, and two or sometimes three on weekends + occasional babycinos for the kids.

    Have been looking at options, and as this an unplanned upgrade have a limited budget - around $1000 tops. I've seen a couple of Vibiemme Domobar Piccolos, used, well within budget and they look like a great machine. From my reading, however, I see 2 consistent themes. (1) The E61 group head will be a real step up from the Silvia. (2) the fact that I brew milk based coffees means that I will quickly tire or "be over" the piccolo.

    My morning routine with Silvia I wouldnt say was particularly annoying. I pull my shot, flick on the steam switch, knock the grounds out of the pf, sugar in the cup with shot, put the milk in the jug and by the time I'm done machine is generally ready to steam. Maybe a minute?

    So will the experience actually be any different with the Piccolo, or just the same but with the benefits of the e61 group? If it really isn't a good option, then any suggestions for another machine? I'd love a HX or dual boiler, but can't see how my budget can get me there.

  2. #2
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    G'day GCC...

    What's your location mate? Sometimes, one or more of our Site Sponsors and other specialist retailers have reconditioned trade-in units up for sale at around the price of your budget. Might be worth consideration...

    Mal.

  3. #3
    GCC
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    Hi Mal. I'd be very happy if such an option presented.

    I'm in Sydney, I did send these details to all sponsors using the "quote" email many days back & only got 1 reply suggesting a single boiler e61, new price $ 1570. Jet Black Espresso are my local, and they have a few pre owned machines online, 1 in particular that I would grab if I could, but sadly not in budget.

  4. #4
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Ah, sorry to hear that...

    Maybe you could consider using an AeroPress for a while, until something within your budget turns up?

    I use our AeroPress quite a bit as it really makes for a most enjoyable alternative to espresso from time to time, in milk drinks as well....

    Hope something turns up for you soon mate,
    Mal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GCC View Post
    (2) the fact that I brew milk based coffees means that I will quickly tire or "be over" the piccolo.
    Eh, you've been doing it for some years on the Silvia so managing a single boiler E61 machine wouldn't be majorly different (Personally I went from a Silvia to an Isomac single boiler, to a VBM HX).

    But then if you want to go to an HX you might be best saving a bit more and keeping an eye on the Coffee Hardware For Sale forum here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbrewster View Post
    But then if you want to go to an HX you might be best saving a bit more and keeping an eye on the Coffee Hardware For Sale forum here.
    This is pretty solid advice, try and be patient, it is hard I know.

    If you are looking at the Piccolo on gumtree that says "Only used a couple of times in our communal kitchen in our office. Selling due to lack of use. In great condition."

    This sets of alarm bells for me and I think a better punt would be getting something from the for sale section here from a reasonably established member.

    However I could be wrong and it could be a great find......

  7. #7
    GCC
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbrewster View Post
    Eh, you've been doing it for some years on the Silvia so managing a single boiler E61 machine wouldn't be majorly different (Personally I went from a Silvia to an Isomac single boiler, to a VBM HX).

    But then if you want to go to an HX you might be best saving a bit more and keeping an eye on the Coffee Hardware For Sale forum here.
    I guess that's what I'm really trying to figure out. Given I'm used to Silvia and the process, the difference as far as I can see is that boiler size on the higher end SB's are bigger, so the wait for steam is longer? Does the E61 group add any more complexity?

    jbrewster, out if interest did you do milk drinks or straight shots?

    I did spot the machine on Gumtree, and another on EBay that suggest that sort of price point as a reference, but I wouldn't buy used without being sure of purchase / usage / service history. Definitely good advice to be patient and wait for a suitable HX or even DB with a good history, but from what I can see I'd need to budget $1500 minimum for something good?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GCC View Post
    ? Does the E61 group add any more complexity?
    , but from what I can see I'd need to budget $1500 minimum for something good?
    E61. Complexity ?
    ..technically yes, but it sure simplifies the shot making process !
    IE,.. temperature stability, pre infusion.

    budget for a HX ?... I have bought several good HX machine's for way under $1k ....just be patient.
    And don't expect "perfect, as new" equipment from a classified add sale !
    Dimal likes this.

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    $350 to repair a Silvia!? So the boiler, solenoid and pump all went at once?

  10. #10
    GCC
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyrmontboy200 View Post
    $350 to repair a Silvia!? So the boiler, solenoid and pump all went at once?
    Boiler gone + service.

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    If it was me I'd just put the boiler in myself. The beauty of the Silvia is that if anything is wrong google will show up pictorial guides and often videos to demonstrate how to do it. Difficulty level is on par with fixing a leaking tap in the bathroom if you've ever done that. Of course if you couldn't be bothered, then yeah I suppose the machine is a write-off, each to their own and good luck with the new purchase!

  12. #12
    GCC
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyrmontboy200 View Post
    If it was me I'd just put the boiler in myself. The beauty of the Silvia is that if anything is wrong google will show up pictorial guides and often videos to demonstrate how to do it. Difficulty level is on par with fixing a leaking tap in the bathroom if you've ever done that. Of course if you couldn't be bothered, then yeah I suppose the machine is a write-off, each to their own and good luck with the new purchase!
    My 3 YO played a hand in Miss Silvia's demise, and I overheard Mrs G reassuring her thus...

    Don't worry darling. Once mummy had a party and blew up daddy's speakers. Instead of being angry he was happy, and suddenly we had new speakers that cost a lot of money.

    I think she has got this one figured out too...
    Brewster, Dimal, DaveD and 1 others like this.

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    Cool, when you do junk your machine, maybe consider putting it up on here for parts? I might be interested...

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    Quote Originally Posted by GCC View Post
    I guess that's what I'm really trying to figure out. Given I'm used to Silvia and the process, the difference as far as I can see is that boiler size on the higher end SB's are bigger, so the wait for steam is longer? Does the E61 group add any more complexity?
    The elements in them are also larger, you'll get steam in a similar timeframe to Silvia, you'll also get more steam and drier steam.

    Quote Originally Posted by GCC View Post
    jbrewster, out if interest did you do milk drinks or straight shots?
    Mostly milk-based, main reason for the upgrade was I had some funds available and I thought "why not" .

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    As another poster alluded to above there's that Piccolo on gum tree at the moment, but also a La Scala butterfly for 800. Personally I wouldn't care about service history etc, everything is fixable, just get the best bargain you can and fix stuff as it breaks!
    mulquemi likes this.

  16. #16
    GCC
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    Hmm. There is also a Isomac Millenium for $850, looks good & was purchased second hand but from a reputable coffee and machine dealer.

    It obviously isn't the current model millenium but looks identical. Does anyone know anything about these machines - good or bad?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by GCC View Post
    Hmm. There is also a Isomac Millenium for $850, looks good & was purchased second hand but from a reputable coffee and machine dealer.

    It obviously isn't the current model millenium but looks identical. Does anyone know anything about these machines - good or bad?
    I have had a 06 Millenium for several years .
    solid machine, large 1.5 ltr drip tray,...descaled only once, one new group seal, one new pressure stat , only usual maintenance back flush etc.
    depending on its heritage, and your philosophy , that one may not have the restrictors in the thermo loop....but no big deal.
    weakest part is the common red an green indicator lights on the front which can break easily ( chromed plastic) but again they are cheap to replace if necessary.

  18. #18
    GCC
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    Quote Originally Posted by blend52 View Post
    I have had a 06 Millenium for several years .
    solid machine, large 1.5 ltr drip tray,...descaled only once, one new group seal, one new pressure stat , only usual maintenance back flush etc.
    depending on its heritage, and your philosophy , that one may not have the restrictors in the thermo loop....but no big deal.
    weakest part is the common red an green indicator lights on the front which can break easily ( chromed plastic) but again they are cheap to replace if necessary.
    This one is probably closer to 15 years old. $850 seems a good price but I can see that seen newer models have sold on CS for about the same. Perhaps now I've figured out the sub $1000 HX is achievable i should try to be patient....
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbrewster View Post
    The elements in them are also larger, you'll get steam in a similar timeframe to Silvia, you'll also get more steam and drier steam.
    The Sylvia has a 300ml boiler with a 1100W heating element while the Piccolo is 750ml with 1400W (although the JetBlack Espresso site has it as 1200W) plus the e61 group is a big heatsink so the time to transition from brew to steam (and back) will almost certainly be longer with the Piccolo. The times I used a Sylvia, I hated the transition time (vs the domestic Gaggia's I normally used back then), especially if more than 2 lattes needed to be made, so I would not recommend the Piccolo unless you were a dedicated black coffee drinker (which the OP is not)

    Personally, I'd get a 2ndhand HX machine rather than any of the "appliance" brand machines in the OP's situation
    (and I'm appalled that a burnt out element costs so much to replace on the Sylvia)
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaanage View Post
    ..and I'm appalled that a burnt out element costs so much to replace on the Silvia
    Sadly, not much less on a VBM Piccolo. It's a boiler out job so the labour component (as with the Silvia) is significant.

  21. #21
    GCC
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaanage View Post
    The Sylvia has a 300ml boiler with a 1100W heating element while the Piccolo is 750ml with 1400W (although the JetBlack Espresso site has it as 1200W) plus the e61 group is a big heatsink so the time to transition from brew to steam (and back) will almost certainly be longer with the Piccolo. The times I used a Sylvia, I hated the transition time (vs the domestic Gaggia's I normally used back then), especially if more than 2 lattes needed to be made, so I would not recommend the Piccolo unless you were a dedicated black coffee drinker (which the OP is not)

    Personally, I'd get a 2ndhand HX machine rather than any of the "appliance" brand machines in the OP's situation
    (and I'm appalled that a burnt out element costs so much to replace on the Sylvia)
    Thanks, and I've definitely come to the same conclusion. So my current confusion is, at my budget, what is "too old" for a used HX e61 machine. As above I've found a isomac millenium for $850 with what seems a good background (& can check before buying) + service 1 year ago, but it is 14 years old. That seems old to me. But then I can see that Jet Black here in Sydney are selling a pre loved 2002 Giotto for $1400. A trawl through the CS "sold" archive shows that newer machines at my budget do come up, but in reality not that often.

    Any help with my thinking on this greatly appreciated.

  22. #22
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    The decent machines are built like a tank and if looked after should last for many years. I wouldn't buy on age alone, the way it's been treated and especially quality of water used is much more important IMO.

    Just keep your eyes peeled, quality machines at good prices come up regularly.

    Cheers

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    Quote Originally Posted by artman View Post
    The decent machines are built like a tank and if looked after should last for many years. I wouldn't buy on age alone, the way it's been treated and especially quality of water used is much more important IMO.
    Yeah, this, if it's not an "appliance" and it's been looked after the age is pretty much irrelevant.

  24. #24
    GCC
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    Happy to report that I am now the proud owner of a pre-loved Bezzera BZ07, purchased here within my budget from a fellow CS.

    We are just in the process of arranging transport, so still using the aeropress for now.
    Dimal likes this.

  25. #25
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    The BZ-07 is a great little machine 'GCC'....

    You'll enjoy many years of excellent espresso from this little beauty mate, so long as you do your part....

    Happy brewing,
    Mal.
    GCC likes this.



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