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Thread: Silvia - how reliable?

  1. #1
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    Silvia - how reliable?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Please do not shoot me down.
    My boss is interested in buying a Silvia for himself. He approached a seller of coffee machines who said that he had experience with Silvias and they were always being repaired. *This dealer also said that all the great reviews were american bias. I find this hard to believe as the machine is nearly always sold out or on back order. Im aware this could be sales propaganda. ;)
    Anybody out there who has experience with the Silvias - What *are your thoughts? Reliability? Problems?
    Thanks in advance,
    Pete.

  2. #2
    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia - how reliable?

    Ive had mine for 18 month, no issues like that for me.

    Hard to know what the guy really meant by the comments without knowing the full context. Id also like to know what he was recommending INSTEAD of the Silvia.

    I do think there is a bit of self-fulfilling bias regarding the Silvia. It seems to be the one you see the most written about. That certainly influenced me when I got the upgrade bug. However, if they were always being repaired, youd read articles about that too!

    Do a search on one of the plastic super-auto types and see what kind of articles are returned.

    Brett.

  3. #3
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    Re: Silvia - how reliable?

    Silvias are very reliable, no doubt about it.

    Look at it this way, it is about the worlds most simple machine with not a lot of moving parts. It is also incredibly robust with all internal lines made of copper.

    I have had one and it was fine and I know a lot of other people with them too.

    Peter Holton at Supreme Coffee machines here in Perth has sold hundreds of these machines and reckons that they rarely go wrong.

    Grant

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    Re: Silvia - how reliable?

    I guess our sponsors would know best but I donít think too many really bad words have ever been said about silvia or rancilio service on this forum?!
    All I know is I love mine.. we even go on weekends away together (its not a holiday without damn fine espresso hey?) and Iíve had no hiccups yet!


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    Re: Silvia - how reliable?

    I guess there is the potential to run the boiler dry if you dont run some water through the head after a sustained steaming effort, but apart from that, they are a well built tank!

    I have never had any problems with mine, nor have any of my friends and associates who have one....

    Cheers....

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    Re: Silvia - how reliable?

    My Silvia hasnt missed a beat in two years. Stratford is right on the money about running the boiler dry. Its good practice to run water out of the steam wand after use. Not only does this refil the boiler, but it also stops milk from being sucked back in. And dont leave the machine on and unattended forever!

    RE: reviews; yeah, a lot of them are self-justification. But the bottom line is that silvia is the cheapest machine with a standard commercial portafilter and a good steam wand. Which is not to say that there arent other good machines out there. I guess that the problem is that how good a machine is is always relative. If youre looking at the coffeegeek reviews, I always take a look at the similar items owned field. By comparison with a Krups, Silvia is awesome. By comparison to a Synesso Cyncra, it sucks. The real question is what do you want it to do? ... and can it do it?

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia - how reliable?

    Wise words Luca [smiley=tekst-toppie.gif],

    Mal.

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    Re: Silvia - how reliable?

    Silvia is Puff 8-)

    Saw it on an add last night, Puff not Silvia.

    Longmatt, I can confirm there is nothing wrong with taking Silvia out, even if its an over nighter. Weve had several holidays together, most people are very accomodating to give up bench space when we arrive. ;D

    Boris

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    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia - how reliable?

    All those positive reviews world-wide must have some basis. Speaking from experience, Ive not encountered any issues regarding Silvias reliability.

    In daily use for 12 months now without faltering.

    Robusto

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    Re: Silvia - how reliable?

    Thanks for the replies.
    Not sure where this sales rep was coming from. I will pass on the info to my boss.
    Thanks again ;)

  11. #11
    Avi
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    Re: Silvia - how reliable?

    Ive had my Silvia for over 3 years now, and I have never had anything even resembling a hiccup. Perfect performance day after day, week after week, month after...you get the drift.

    It is the most reliable piece of machinery I own.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Yep, I know it's an old thread, given my long time love affair with Silvia I couldn't resist replying.

    I replaced my Krups with a Silvia around 2001 (what a revelation) the Silvia served me well without a hiccup for just under 10 years, then I advertised it and it sold for $50 less than what I paid for it new.

    In that time I,

    Took a few days to master the new machine

    Early on I replaced the Rancillio baskets with an 18 gram La Marzocco (vast improvement)

    Replaced the shower screen screw (what a pig of a thing to remove) with a stainless socket head cap screw, made removing the screen a piece of cake.

    Pulled on average approx 4 very good coffee's per day.

    Back flushed and descaled regularly.

    Never had a failure, mechanical or electrical.

    Never ran the boiler dry.

    Never fitted a PID.

    Yes, I was a happy Silvia owner.
    grebe, Inga51 and TC like this.

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    Senior Member CafeLotta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peak View Post
    Please do not shoot me down.
    My boss is interested in buying a Silvia for himself. He approached a seller of coffee machines who said that he had experience with Silvias and they were always being repaired. *This dealer also said that all the great reviews were american bias. I find this hard to believe as the machine is nearly always sold out or on back order. Im aware this could be sales propaganda.
    Anybody out there who has experience with the Silvias - What *are your thoughts? Reliability? Problems?
    Thanks in advance,
    Pete.
    Seeing we've bumped a 7 yo thread. A popular repairer told me last year that most weeks he was repairing 2-3 Silvias mainly installing a new boiler/element. This was usually due to user error - no/low water in boiler. Taking into account how many Silvias are out there v "appliance" brands it sounds like its not a rare occurrence being he's just one repairer. Message as always, prime.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CafeLotta View Post
    Seeing we've bumped a 7 yo thread. A popular repairer told me last year that most weeks he was repairing 2-3 Silvias mainly installing a new boiler/element. This was usually due to user error - no/low water in boiler. Taking into account how many Silvias are out there v "appliance" brands it sounds like its not a rare occurrence being he's just one repairer. Message as always, prime.
    Do you reckon Peak is still around to read your your comment?

  15. #15
    Senior Member CafeLotta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Do you reckon Peak is still around to read your your comment?
    No, hence the comment "seeing we've bumped a 7 yo thread". Decided to add a comment based on the thread title and the inevitable viewings it will have.

    The thread originally started due to a retailer's comment 7 years ago that "Silvias were always being repaired". Whatever the retailer's motivation for doing so back then, I suppose the question does cross prospective buyer's minds.

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    A family member of mine has a Silvia and he is very happy with it.

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    3 years on my Silvia, with two cosmetic faults only: little plastic insert on the steam knob came loose (superglue fix!) and the plastic surround on the grouphead started to peel, which was replaced under warranty.

    Honestly it's probably one of the most reliable appliances in my house, and it gets used at least twice a day. I think the only potential issue for most owners is running the boiler dry, and that shouldn't happen if you operate it properly.

  18. #18
    enjoy black coffee JamesM's Avatar
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    in less than six months, our Silvia has been in the shop twice (under warranty). First time the boiler failed and had to be replaced (wasn't run dry), second time it had a leak at the steam fitting in the boiler (probably not quite re-fitted properly during the previous service). Otherwise, pretty hard to beat for the price!

  19. #19
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesM View Post
    in less than six months, our Silvia has been in the shop twice (under warranty). First time the boiler failed and had to be replaced (wasn't run dry), second time it had a leak at the steam fitting in the boiler (probably not quite re-fitted properly during the previous service). Otherwise, pretty hard to beat for the price!
    Bad luck James, guess these things happen, thankfully it was a warranty job.

  20. #20
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    had ine going on 5 years, the odd descale and backflush and not a problem with it at all

    same goes for my rocky, bit of a clean out here and there and otherwise flawless

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    10 years and gasket, solenoid. Can still rival the junior by a slightly harder path.

  22. #22
    Senior Member sidewayss's Avatar
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    2 and a half years old and not missed a beat yet.

    Though the steam knob is getting a bit difficult to turn which means something needs lubricating in there somewhere.

    After working with a La Marzocco Strada on a daily basis, I still enjoy relaxing with a cuppa made on the Miss Silvia at home.

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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    The Sivlia is a reliable machine. I'm just finally upgrading, but as my first enthusiast machine, I owned my Silvia for 5 years with absolutely no idea how to care for a coffee machine (other than regular backflushing and not letting it run dry). After 5 years, the boiler has finally failed (the gasket in the '08 model between the heating element and the broke down and started leaking, which caused some corrosion in the heating element). Even if I wasn't upgrading, replacing the boiler is really only $150 and a quick bit of plumbing (or $250 and let a mechanic do it for you).

    I hadn't even replaced the group seals until this year; getting the vitrified rubber off the group was a fun exercise, I can tell you. It's cheap to care for, reliable as hell with very little interaction, and very hackable. Pretty much the ideal starter machine for a budding coffee snob.

    The main place where the Silvia falls down is variables and convenience. If you don't PID-mod yours, temperature surfing is always an exercise in frustration. It takes a comparatively long time to make a coffee if you care about keeping the variables under control. You need to run water until the heating kicks in, wait for the heating cycle to complete, wait for two minutes, then brew. And of course, if you're making a milk coffee there's then more waiting for the boiler to get steam going. You can shave time off these by forward-surfing instead of reverse-surfing, or flushing 'until the bubbles stop' instead of surfing, but I found the long route was the most reliable method for getting consistently good espresso out of the Silvia.

    However you work around its foibles, the fact remains that the Silvia can produce outstanding espresso, and for as low as $600 new.



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