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Thread: Myths about the Rancilio Silvia.

  1. #1
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    Myths about the Rancilio Silvia.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    HI All

    Having owned a Silvia and Rocky combo for some time now. I feel it is time to set the record straight regarding what some sites claim is necessary to get a good coffee out of a Silvia.

    Many sites and reviews say that Temperature Surfing (Waiting X amount of seconds after the light goes off before pulling a shot) or attaching all sort of electronic equipment to keep the temperature stable.

    Maybe I have the most stable Silvia on the planet but I get excellent to great coffees 95% of the time. The other 5% Ive done something wrong ie. running out of water or having the grind wrong. Even then my coffees are better than most café coffees.

    If you are having troubles with consistency with a Silvia, or any other machine for that matter, then Id suggest that there is a problem with technique than a inherent design flaw with the machine.

    If you think about it a vast majority of Silvias sold are loved by their owners and they are not temp surfed or modified in any way. Still they put out excellent coffees.

    The bottom line is that a Silvia teamed up with good grinder (Rocky) and good Coffee (Home Roasted or at least fresh) Will give you the very best of coffees and at $1000 - $1200 AU for both is excellent Value. Not to mention fun ;)

    You dont even need to go to the expense of a Rocky grinder there are many capable grinders that will cost you less if you are on a budget. For instance Gaggia seem to be selling thier grinders cheap at the moment. If you have a real tight budget you can pick up a Silvia for around $600 - $650 from Mocopan if you are lucky enough to get one of thier specials.

    Even on pre-roasted and pre-ground coffee ground to the right fineness will give you and excellent coffee. You just have to tell your roaster you have a good home espresso machine or that you have a Silvia. If they know their coffee machines they will grind it correctly.

    Supermarket Coffee when used in a Silvia is capable of giving you a better coffee than you will get in most Cafés. You will however taste the difference between that and fresh coffee.

    In saying all that if you feel you need to temp surf, do a wee dance when you make your coffee or attach your PC to your Silvia. So long as you are have the best Coffees you can get anywhere right in your home then excellent keep doing it. So long as you do the same thing each time then your coffees will be consistent. If you are getting consistently *good coffees then dont change a thing.

    I have seen people put off buying an excellent coffee machine, arguably the best in its class, buy something else or nothing at all. So hope fully this will help dispel some of the myths surrounding the Rancilio Silvia.

    Well thats my rant. Im glad I managed to see through all the crap.

    If these reviewers are so convinced Silvia is so inconsistant why to they rate it at 8 -10? (10 being excellent)

    What finally sold me on the Silvia was all the posts that said "I have X brand or X model. Im saving for a Silvia......"

    Have your self some great Coffees.

    Rich

  2. #2
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    Re: Myths about the Rancilio Silvia.

    Rich
    Thanks for your posting. As a newbie and having read so many views on the net (information can be too much of good thing sometimes!) Ive been left a little confused.

    There appears to be a universal view that the Silvia is a wonderful machine but Ive been a little put off by warm up time and comments re having to get everything right to pull a good shot. I guess its the latter view that youre trying to put to rest.

    I know Ive sort of raised this question in an earlier post (and thank you those that responded - Ive now discounted the Saeco) but Ive been looking at the reconditioned Classics on ebay which seem to be going for around $400 and Ive been reading great things abot the Mokita at around $500. Would you recommend a complete novice to go out and pay a further $150 on top of the Mokita and buy a Silvia first up (and hopefully avoid the need to upgrade) versus starting out with something that perhaps is a little easier to use?

    From my research it appears we Sydneysiders dont have much choice in terms of where to buy espresso machines. Does anyone have any recommendations of where to buy a Silvia/Mokita?

    Chris

    PS Ive just bought a MDF grinder on ebay and will soon be getting a heat gun - just need some beans and a machine and Ill be away!

  3. #3
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    Re: Myths about the Rancilio Silvia.

    A Silvia should see you through for a long time. *I havent heard of *anyone that has regreted buying one. Tho the Classic is still a capable machine. One of the things that put me off the Classic was the *short steam wand if you dont want to use the frothing attachment. on the Silvia its long enough to reach the bottom of a 1lt pitcher and has enough steam to drive a locomotive.

    One thing I do have on my Silvia that I didnt mention above was a $10 timer from Bunnings so warm up isnt a issue in the morning. I also added a real Rancilio commercial filter handle which the new series of Silvias come with any way. I did this more because I could rather than I really had too. Kinda like putting Mag wheels on your car

    The warm up time is about 10 mins if you are in a hurry but she really does need to be left on for about an hour.

    So long as you pack as much coffee in the filter basket as you can. IE fill it up tap on the bench fill it up again, tamp lightly (no Gorilla tamps required if your grinder is set up correctly), Pull your shot it should be between 20 - 30 secs for 30 ml. Should give you a very good coffee.

    Have a look at
    http://www.coffeeco.com.au/articles/tweaks.html
    http://www.siennacoffee.com.au/silvia&lucy.htm

    Cheers
    Rich

  4. #4
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    Re: Myths about the Rancilio Silvia.

    Hi Chris,

    Im coming out of the closet here. Im not a Silvia owner. I have had a Gaggia Espresso Deluxe since January. I can now pull a better shot than 90% of cafes/coffee carts around where I work in Sydney city. So I have no doubt that you would be happy with the Gaggia, but would you be ecstatic? Would you never have to upgrade?? My thoughts are you wouldnt - I know Im plotting my next move. I bought a Gaggia as they have a boiler (not thermoblock) and it was cheap ($200 on ebay) so that I didnt have a large investment if I didnt get into home espresso that much. Its served me fantastically, and as I said I can make fantastic coffee with it, but can see that theres plenty of scope for improvement (note to self.... can you really justify a new machine after those fantastic coffees this morning? Hmmm.)

    All gaggias have the same internals - in particular the aluminium boiler. But a commonly reported problem appears to be boiler corrosion. Water quality would play a big part here - but for best results all machines benefit from quality water (use a brita jug or similar).

    All machines perform better when it has had time to warm up, and the portafilter has been heated as well. An on-off timer is fantastic for this. Some need 10 minutes (Gaggia is in this category) others 30 or more (some people say Silvia fits here, even Rich ;) and also the larger heat exchanger models). So they all are the same in this area, just slightly different timescales. I simply say plan ahead ;)

    I bought my parents a Mokita (Napoletana II) a few years back, and they think its great. They havent had a problem with it, and it serves them well, but they arent obsessed like me 8).

    My thoughts for you are: if youre going to spend $400+ on a gaggia but could afford to go above that, then dont stop at Mokita, seriously think about Silvia at $629 (see the other Bretts post in this forum about his Mocopan deal). Youll not need an upgrade.

    Brett
    Who wants a La Valentina like Thomas has

  5. #5
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    Re: Myths about the Rancilio Silvia.

    Hahaha Brett!!
    Just my two cents worth regarding the Gaggias. I used to have a classic, and I thot that was a great machine. Does not take up much benchtop space, and is a very capable machine. If that falls within your budget, then I would say you will not be sorry. Since you already have a MDF grinder, they will look nice side by side as well.

    Having said that, a friend sent me photos of an old gaggia he was pulling apart. What he found was severe scaling, but no corrosion on the boiler.

    I would say, if you treat the machine with filtered water, not only will your coffee taste better, it will also protect the insides of your machine.

    But if you were purchasing a new machine, go for the Rancilio. The difference in price (if any) is insignificant.

  6. #6
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    Re: Myths about the Rancilio Silvia.

    Hi Thomas, do you think youre ready to do a coffeegeek style first-look review of your La Valentina? Grinders at Melbourne sells a Grimac La Uno, some says it is the same machine. Trying to justify to self and SO that we really do need a commercial coffee machine at home. Ah, Christmas is just round the corner, isnt it?

    Slow


  7. #7
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    Re: Myths about the Rancilio Silvia.

    ;D yeah, go on Thomas, you know you want us all to have one :D ;D 8) :)

  8. #8
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    Re: Myths about the Rancilio Silvia.

    Doesnt much of your protection of the inners of the boiler come from regular descaling?

    The higher your water is in Calcates and other minerals the higher quantities you have would cause you to be faced with higher build-ups etc.

    Your boiler is really very much like your HW heater for your house. We removed a heater from our house as we were renovating and it had been in use for nearly 35 years and all that time it ran on tank water. Ellements were replaced on average every 8-10 years (Writing on side of tank). This suggested to me that maybe rain water is the best and if you collect it into a Plastic/Fibre Glass tank and filter the water for impurities this would eventually lengthen your life expectancy of the boiler.

    Always remember that Copper reacts with galvanised fittings and alluminium re-acts with other things as well but with copper you must be mindfull that if your water is delivered to your house in old or even new steel pipes there is going to be some trace of iron/iron oxides in the water
    and this would have to re-act somewhere along the process. and what are most heating elements coated in?

    Any thoughts


    FB

  9. #9
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    Re: Myths about the Rancilio Silvia.

    Quote Originally Posted by poundy link=1093648974/0#3 date=1093743962
    Im coming out of the closet here. *Im not a Silvia owner. *I have had a Gaggia Espresso Deluxe since January. ......... *Its served me fantastically, and as I said I can make fantastic coffee with it, but can see that theres plenty of scope for improvement (note to self.... can you really justify a new machine after those fantastic coffees this morning? Hmmm.)
    It really depends on what you mean by improvement - in terms of best espresso shot, all Gaggias (except Cubika & Gran) get very, very close to a HX machine - I took my Carezza in to my favorite cafe and shocked the owner by how little difference there was vs the Azkoyen Vienna. The HX was a touch richer and sweeter when drinking straight espresso but the difference was slight - from all reports, the Sylvia can pull shots as good as a HX but this is probably where the finicky reputation comes from, as you need everything right to get this sort of result while its easy on a HX.

    Thomas, you can say it was me who was (still is) refurbishing the 20 year old Gaggia with megascale but no corrosion. Mind you, it probably hasnt been used for the last 10 of those years.

    I did a test of my Carezza vs Thomass old Classic and raced them to full temp in 3 and a half minutes. I verified this by leaving the Classic on for a couple of hours and then turning on the Carezza from cold and racing it back up and then comparing shots - no diff, so the teeny boiler has its advantages. Ive decided to keep the Carezza as its light enough for me to use as a portable espresso machine (esp with the little Lux grinder).

    Greg

  10. #10
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    Re: Myths about the Rancilio Silvia.

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    basically theres nothoing wrong with the older stuff, My Boema isnt that new and Oh but never a dissatisfied person yet that hasnt had a coffee from it. and thats what counts..................GoooooooooooooooooD Coffeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. and of course some good beans to go with it. :)

    Anyone know where we can get some. ;D...I had a laugh

    FB




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