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Thread: Advice wanted: Silvia or Classic?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Advice wanted: Silvia or Classic?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all

    Just stumbled upon this site - pure gold. You folks should charge in 6 minute blocks!

    Anyways, Im at a decision point and I need help. Im finally upgrading(?) my much-loved Yama vacpot for an espresso machine. I have one of those ubiquitous Delonghi/Solis166/Barista/Bodum conical burr grinders.

    I was looking forward to getting a Silvia, but having read all this talk about matching machine and grinder Im beginning to think that this might almost be counter-productive. If I mate my grinder with a Silvia will I be doomed to doing no better than seven second shots? In that case, would I actually do better to step back to a Classic so that my grinder can handle my machine?

    Here’s hoping you all say my grinder will get along just fine with Silvia :)

    Many thanks.


  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    Re: Advice wanted: Silvia or Classic?

    I used the same grinder with a Silvia for about 6 months with no real problems. Mine was the starbucks variant and I was grinding on the finest setting till I modded it to grind a bit finer. (lots of info on this mod via google) Apparently *$ grinders are set to grind a bit coarser by default, yours may not. I sold it to a friend with a lever machine and its still going strong two years later.

    I eventually upgraded to a mazzer but the difefrence in the cup was subtle.

    Id say go the Silvia with a plan to upgrade your grinder in the next 12 months.

    Ive also had a Gaggia Baby and rate the Silvia well above the aluminium boilered Gaggia.

  3. #3
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Warwick, QLD

    Re: Advice wanted: Silvia or Classic?

    Hiya Bob,

    Great to have you with us here at CoffeeSnobs.... hope you get as much fun and enjoyment out of the community as the rest of us ;D.

    Regarding the perennial question :o.... Its not really that straight forward to answer without any boundaries set, e.g. your budget, the type and frequency of the coffee you want to make, and the list goes on.

    In a very general sense though, you should always try to get the best grinder that you can afford or is within the budget constraints that the CFO has established for you ;). For espresso, and especially with a machine such as the Silvia, Gaggia Classic, etc you need to have a grinder that is up to the task. Around here and most other coffeesnob circles, this is usually thought to be, as a minimum, a Lux/Ibertal/Cunhill shoot-out. Theres even a new one recently released on to the market by Sunbeam that is apparently up to the mark too, and for less than $200.00. Probably a Paul Basset sponsored design although Im not certain about that.

    Say you did opt for the new Sunbeam, Lux or whatever, then you you would have more left in the kitty to get hold of a top class espresso machine, such as a Silvia. Im not a great fan of the Gaggia range of domestic espresso machines though because of their insistence on the continued use of a small aluminium boiler. For the same money or less, you can get hold of an Imat Mokita Super Inox that is based very closely on the innards of the Silvia but for about $250+ less. The Mokita can produce shots that are very close to the quality of the Silvias and indistinguishable when used for making Lattes, Cappuccinos, etc. Ive had mine for nearly two years and am very happy with it.

    The Silvia has an enviable reputation though for quality of build and attention to detail that is difficult to emulate and it more or less stands by itself at that price-point. Really, the only machines capable of better performances and reliability at higher price-points than this are the small commercial class of machines made by a myriad of manufacturers, some of which our Site Sponsors offer from their retail establishments. Of course, when you get to this class of machine, you are starting to talk a lot more money than would buy you a Silvia..... anything from an Expobar Semi-auto at approx $1,200.00 to many thousands of dollars for some of the more well known truly commercial quality machines.

    So, I guess it comes down to knowing a bit more about your requirements for the machine and the budget constraints (if any?) to allow the advice offered by any of us to be more targeted to your needs. How does that sound? You give us some more info to work with and then well offer up some realistic possibilities :P. Hear from you again soon,


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Re: Advice wanted: Silvia or Classic?

    Hang on Im confused...

    the delonghi/solis 166 are one thing, but as far as I know the barista is the "emide" & this (these) are totally different from the first 2 mentioned...and the bodum I dont know at all...

    I cant see anything wrong with using the solis 166/delonghi as the basic grinder. However if the "barista" is indeed the "emide" then I would say that whilst it can be used, the quality of coffee produced will be substandard (due to the much wider "run" of grind / particle size it produces, with too many fines resulting in a v. dark crema / burned/ character).

    This goes for BOTH silvia & classic.

    If you are then going to choose between the two machines, they both work well and in real terms I dont know whether the bigger boiler of the silvia will do much for you (in comparison to the classic), but you have to be happy in the case of the classic to live with the ALUMINIUM boiler and all that it entails.


  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: Advice wanted: Silvia or Classic?

    The starbucks barista grinder is a rebadged solis 166/delonghi. The bodum grinder (if its the same one Im thinking of) uses the same burr set, and probably the same motor, with a fancy body, and probably costs twice as much.

    It all comes down to ease of use, IMHO. When I had the delonghi, grinding for espresso was a bit hit-and-miss, involved opening up the grinder and making adjustments, and hoping for the best. As you step up in the grinder world, things like grind adjustment become easier, dialling in shots is more achievable (the difference between one notch and another on some grinders can be 10 extra/less seconds in the shot).

    That said, it will do, youll just get frustrated. Im yet to bring the delonghi home from work, and see how it goes next to the expobar.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Re: Advice wanted: Silvia or Classic?

    Thanks all - most helpful indeed.

    First, just to clear up any confusion re solis166/delonghi or bodum/barista, mine is a denlonghi.

    So, on the balance of your comments I think Ill go with the Silvia, tweak my grinder now and upgrade it a bit further down the track. *

    Kudos all round for your advice - cant wait to further explore the sagacity of this little community!


  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Re: Advice wanted: Silvia or Classic?

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight

    The tweak info can be found here:

    Alan Frews article read that its marginal with the silvia at full tweak, and the tweak means that the machine is wearing out quicker. But if its a short term solution then youll probably be ok.


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