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Thread: The Silvia set the standard for home espresso machines more than 15 years ago.

  1. #1
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    The Silvia set the standard for home espresso machines more than 15 years ago.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Whether you agree with the above statement or not, there is no doubting the fact that the Rancillio Silvia had a major impact on the world home espresso scene.

    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/317222367482318239/

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

    On the mark I reckon. Don't think they've kept up with progress in the last few years though, to their detriment I expect...

    Mal.

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    Member AlastairMcG's Avatar
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    Hey Mal.

    Then out of interest, which is now the market leader in that segment? I see everyone still suggesting the Silvia for this segment.

    How do you think the Lelit compares? If I was buying in that price range I would be taking a serious look the Lelit's

  4. #4
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Yeah it seems strangely true. They definitely weren't the first, but it does seem that they got the formula right at the time and kickstarted the movement so to speak.

  5. #5
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlastairMcG View Post
    Hey Mal.

    Then out of interest, which is now the market leader in that segment? I see everyone still suggesting the Silvia for this segment.

    How do you think the Lelit compares? If I was buying in that price range I would be taking a serious look the Lelit's
    Yep, I agree...

    I think Lelit have been offering a range of machines that are excellent 'bang-for-buck' for several years now, and would always recommend that espresso newbies put them up near the top, if not at the top of the list for consideration...

    Mal.
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  6. #6
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    for those of us who only drink espresso/ristretto, no steaming, which produces a better pure espresso results - Silvia V4 or Lelit ?

    which model of Lelit? I am not familiar with this machine, I am a SIlvia owner since 2009.

    thanks

  7. #7
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Cant speak from experience, have never used a Lelit, however I believe Lelit now have the edge over the Silvia, as Dimal comments, Rancillio seem not to have kept up with progress of recent years.

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    thanks, but there are so many different Lelit models, which is the best for making espresso (I don't use the steamer) ?
    I make up to 6-8 double-shots daily (we have 4 espresso drinkers in the family), lucky they don't take milk!!

    Also, as I understand it Lelit does not take commercial size portafilters and baskets, unlike Sylvia.
    I have a bottom-less PF for Silvia and I have 3 different double baskets, plus a tamper.

    I take it, they will NOT fit into Lelit and I will have to buy those again just to fit?

  9. #9
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    G'day a-r...

    For straight espresso quality in the cup, you'd be very hard pressed to differentiate between the Silvia or any of the Lelit models, except maybe the models that come with PID Controlled Brew Water temperature. So long as freshly roasted, high quality coffee is used and only ground immediately before pulling the shot, it would have to be almost a dead-heat...

    Mal.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    G'day a-r...

    For straight espresso quality in the cup, you'd be very hard pressed to differentiate between the Silvia or any of the Lelit models, except maybe the models that come with PID Controlled Brew Water temperature. So long as freshly roasted, high quality coffee is used and only ground immediately before pulling the shot, it would have to be almost a dead-heat...

    Mal.
    Pretty much as I would have expected Mal.

    The killer for me which AR has identified is the small portafilter, certainly seems to limit your accessory choice, life is easy with a 58mm PF, can mix and match to your hearts desire.

  11. #11
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    G'day Yelta...

    I never really found it to be a problem you know, after using a similar machine for a few years in the early days. Greg Pullman made me a Tamper to suit, I eventually fitted a decent PID Controller (just for the hell of it really), and then never looked back. Produced coffee quality as good as I've ever been able to make with the Diadema Dual Boiler I use these days, milk texturing was excellent too but with the usual caveats applied for these sorts of machines.

    In the end, I lusted after a small commercial or prosumer machine for the extra flexibility these offer but the old dual purpose single boiler machine lost nothing in the cup; where it counts of course...

    Mal.

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    Imo the early 80s was the pinnicle of mid range consumer equipment. Round then you could buy decent mid to upper range stuff that would last and was engineered superbly.

    The silvia fits right into this catogary, i also look at my 80s vintage audio amplifiers (such as my pioneer sa770) caravan (viscount ultralite) , and bicycles (giant atx 760 , repco elite tri series both double butted cro-mo) in this range. add to that the WB Ute and 70 series cruiser.

    These days entry level stuff if rubbish and you have to pay significantly for top end stuff. Further complicating the marketplace now is a lot of branded stuff is just the junk rebaged.
    Many modern features are just cheap to impliment novalty addons.

    These reasons are likely the reason retro stuff is becoming popular again. And adding a pid to any silvia from v1 to v4 is trivial. Cant see any more features a silvia needs beyond that.
    Last edited by koshari; 9th November 2015 at 08:02 AM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    The Silvia set the standard for home espresso machines more than 15 years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by koshari View Post
    Imo the early 80s was the pinnicle of mid range consumer equipment. Round then you could buy decent mid to upper range stuff that would last and was engineered superbly.

    The silvia fits right into this catogary, i also look at my 80s vintage audio amplifiers (such as my pioneer sa770) caravan (viscount ultralite) , and bicycles (giant atx 760 , repco elite tri series both double butted cro-mo) in this range. add to that the WB Ute and 70 series cruiser.

    These days entry level stuff if rubbish and you have to pay significantly for top end stuff. Further complicating the marketplace now is a lot of branded stuff is just the junk rebaged.
    Many modern features are just cheap to impliment novalty addons.

    These reasons are likely the reason retro stuff is becoming popular again. And adding a pid to any silvia from v1 to v4 is trivial. Cant see any more features a silvia needs beyond that.
    Really? I try very hard not to make value comparisons with things from the past. And the further back you go the less comparable things are. For a start you need to apply inflation to compare prices and even that is a fairly floored equation. Take for example my Brugnetti Simona Top DE. From memory it was made in 1998 and had a retail price of $2000 at the time. Can you get a similar machine these days for $2000 brand new? Not really, but there's not really anything on the market that matches it's specs either. If you apply a fairly conservative inflation rate of 2%p.a. you get a dollar value of $2850. Again there's nothing directly comparable at this price but it certainly opens up a lot of quality alternatives such as a VBM Domobar Jr, a small Isomac or a BFC for example. And in that time the coffee machine industry has been turned upside down with a large number of manufacturers either going under or being bought out.
    I guess my point is that the Silvia along with the Lelit machines still offer great value, possibly even better value today than they ever have. And while they have their detractors and aren't yet proven over a decade or longer the top level Breville machines have exposed the greater population to the potential for making great coffee at home. So while I look back and remember fondly certain things from my youth like my 1976 VW Kombi Camper or any one of my mates' V8 Aussie muscle cars, I'm well aware that none of them will look after me in the event of a crash and none of them are particularly efficient or environmentally friendly either. So I try not to make comparisons with anything from today.

  14. #14
    Senior Member nikko.the.scorpio's Avatar
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    As an owner of both I see multiple similarities between the Silvia and a Toyota Corolla - both were segment leaders for significant periods and established a reputation for great value for money based around build quality/dependability BUT they very much rested on their laurels whilst their segment competitors upped their value offering/product features etc thus leading to them still being a very good product but somewhat selling based on a reputation and NOT the actual present day product offering thus lost market share.

    Given it really costs very little it astounds me that Silvia's dont come with factory fitted PID units. In actual part costs I've no doubt the factory could do this for ~$USD20 per unit - labour etc would add a tad more but still small pennies against the overall build costs.

    I still think the Silvia's are very good machines BUT they do drag out making several milk based coffees due to their small single boiler & temp surfing etc (mine is 'Gronked' not PID).

    PS. The most recent builds of Corolla's have somewhat lifted their game - so perhaps there's hope for the Silvia yet.
    koshari likes this.

  15. #15
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    This is my first home espresso unit (paired with a Rocky) and have been extremely happy with the combo for the past 3.5 years.....It has helped to hone my barista skills but now I am ready for an upgrade to a e61 machine!
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