Results 1 to 25 of 25

Thread: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    7

    Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    we have a Gaggia Expresso Deluxe purchased just over 12 months ago. At a local wine & food week I had the opportunity to take part in an abbreviated barista course which blew me away! We thought we were making reasonable caps until now! They used a commercial machine and an ECM Giotto both outside of our budget but we were all making great caps & lattes by the end of the session. Like the other views expressed in this forum, there is obvioulsy a lot to learn about grinding and tamping etc before even getting to the froth stage. As our Gaggia is starting to play up (probably needs a service) and I cant get the milk to swirl like we did at the course, we are thinking of getting a better machine without breaking the bank. Have had a look at many machines on the internet and one that seems to stand out is the Rancilio Silvia for around $750.
    What do other members think about this machine and to someone who owns one, can you advise if it has enough grunt to make the milk swirl etc to get that nice thick froth?
    Apart from the poor steam pressure, the angle of the Gaggia spout makes it very difficult to position it so that the milk does swirl. I was also advised to remove the plastic tubing on the spout.
    To service or upgrade is the question!

  2. #2
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,971

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    Good choice, Ramon. The Silvia has more than enough grunt to steam, swirl, microfroth, burn, scald or whatever else you desire to do to milk.

    Steaming from the 300 ml boiler is one of its many strong points.

    Having done your course you dont need to go through all the agony of experimenting, either.

    Google comes up with 150,000 entries for "Rancilio silvia" -- testimony to its world-wide popularity, so theres much to read about it.

    Robusto


  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sydney Oz
    Posts
    503

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    Ramon,

    There are HEAPS of reviews out there on the Silvia. Search this site, CoffeeGeek or just Google it and lots of info will turn up. I havent seen one post yet where somebody wanted to return one because they were disappointed. Regarding steam pressure - yes there is enough to get a good swirl going and produce great microfoam but like all single boiler machines you have to wait 20-30 secs after brewing to get the best pressure. Its great for 1-2 maybe up to 4 cups at one sitting but wont really handle big orders as it will run out of steam and you will need to wait for water to heat up again.

    Best bet is to do lots of research, match it with a good grinder (lots of discussions here about that too) and try and get a demo before you buy. And of course feel free to ask as many questions as you like - lots of Silvia owners lurk here *:)

    Cheers,

    Matt

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    131

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    Hi Ramon,
    Have a look at
    http://www.coffeeco.com.au/articles/comparison.html
    This is what convinced me to upgrade.
    Bruce

  5. #5
    Senior Member Lovey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    South Coast NSW
    Posts
    847

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    Gday Ramon and welcome to CoffeeSnobs.
    To answer your question about whether to service or upgrade, IMHO (H for humble in this case) I dont think that the Silvia is an upgrade from the Gaggia, more of a sideways move. If you decide that your needs fall outside of the capabilities of the Gaggia, then by all means, upgrade, bearing in mind that youll need some serious $$$. Id never stand in the way of progress though*:).

    As our Gaggia is starting to play up (probably needs a service) and I cant get the milk to swirl like we did at the course, we are thinking of getting a better machine without breaking the bank.
    How do you mean that the machine is playing up? What symptoms is the machine exhibiting that have brought you to this conclusion?
    If these are recent things, it may be a matter that some basic maintenance is required to bring the machine back to tip top condition.
    Check this link out, it has some helpful hints.
    http://www.coffeeco.com.au/articles/august2002.html

    You wont be able to get the milk to swirl like on the course with the Gaggia (or the Silvia for that matter) as they are vastly different machines to their commercial cousins, with a huge difference in steaming power.

    In relation to the plastic froth aid, you should be able to just ditch it and use the bare wand.
    If you want to have a play with the machine and utilise a different steam wand, heres is a link which shows you how to change it for a Silvia steam wand.
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1126833848/11#11
    That way you may not have Silvia, but youll have a part of her to play with ;).

    Theres quite a few members here that have a Gaggia and from all accounts are happy with it. There are also quite a few members that have a Silvia (me included) and are happy with it also.
    My only other suggestion would be is to practice, practice, practice. If you need some help or advice along the way, feel free to ask here, theres heaps of people to help.
    As a wise man once said, "Theres no such thing as a dumb question."
    Hope this helps,
    Steve.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,958

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    Im kinda in agreement with Lovey. We can do the whole silvia vs gaggia thing ad infinitum, but, in your position I would guess that you would get more bang for your buck by fixing your gaggia, seeing as you already have it. But what, exactly, is wrong with it?

    Regarding milk, if you have not removed the so-called "froth aider" (ie. good milk hinderer), doing that should be the first thing that you try. Dont try to steam using anything larger than a 350ml jug. If you still find it difficult, bend the steam wand out on a bit of an angle. If it is still problematic, go and buy a silvia steam wand for $20 or so, bend that and replace the gaggia wand with it.

    One of the huge problems with most machines in this class is that the temperature is controlled by on/off thermostats. The idea of the steam thermostat is particularly bad. On most machines, you switch to steam mode and wait for the light to go on/off to indicate that it is ready to steam, which is to say that it has reached a temperature where the steam thermostat turns off the heating element. As soon as you open the steam wand, you get heaps of steam and the pressure drops rapidly because the element isnt on to create steam to replace what is exiting the boiler. This happens until the thermostat turns the element back on. Problem is that the pressure drop makes it very difficult to keep the milk rolling. The solution to this is to start steaming slightly before your machine indicates that it is ready, so that the boiler temperature never gets high enough to turn the element off and, so, is constantly replenishing the steam that exits the boiler. Using this technique, I am able to get steam on my Silvia that is the equal of any small domestic heat exchanger machine. The attached photo is something that I poured last week.

    If you are only going to make milk-based drinks, the solis sl-70 might be worth looking into. Its basically a gaggia with a really nice steam wand and the designers were clever enough to make it turn the heating element on when you open the steam valve. Just make sure to buy the unpressurised double basket.

    Ill just re-iterate what has no doubt been said to you a million times in your barista course - make sure you have a good grinder and fresh beans.

    Hope that helps,

    Luca


  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    86

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    NICE art Luca!

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    7

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    Thank you all for the very helpful advice - you have given plenty to think about and I certainly was interested in the idea of chaning the gaggia wand for a silvia. *I think the main problem with our machine is that it needs a good service as the steam output is poor. *Will keep you posted. RamonT

  9. #9
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,971

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    Perhaps it just needs a good descale.

    Robusto

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    283

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    you know what, I had a gaggia espresso deluxe that all of a sudden went "off the boil" so to speak. That was before Id ditched the plastic "tip" of the frothing device. After a phonecall to Gaggia, it turned out that the insert in the plastic "tip" had moved, and so the venturi effect its attempting to create wasnt happening. So After I relocated and fixed this, it came back to what it was before. But, the best results I found was that by frothing directly with the "pointy" part of the wand I got instantly better results. The tip here is to partially straighten the wand so you can get enough length to submerse it in the milk. The bad thing was that the plastic threads and bits are pretty ugly to clean with all that milk everywhere

    Oh, if your machine is the same as mine, you may have trouble attempting to cobble a sylvia wand onto it, the nuts are different sizes and wont fit. I found out only after pulling mine apart, and accidentally breaking the plastic nut. Apparently works well on "classic" and other models, just not espresso deluxe.

    With the wand youre given, make sure you use the process Luca says, and start frothing while the element is still on so you maximise steam pressure.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    338

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    The Gaggia CAN make good microfoam - but the first thing to do is to get rid of the crappy wand. I posted about this - "Replace steam wand" search should find it.

    After you replace the wand - you can also customise the tip - but Ive been hella busy at work and not posted about this yet. I simply brought a set of screws from Mitre 10, then drilled .01 holes through them, then screwed them into the Rancillio wand. This gave a much easier to control steam, and enabled me to do microfoam every time now.

    If you want help with tweaking your Gaggia- email me, Im too busy with work atm, but I still look at the email.

    The proof is, of course, in the pudding:

  12. #12
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    7

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    Thanks Andy for that but what about the comments by Poundy above your response? He seems to think there would be problems changing the wand in a Gaggia Expresso Deluxe rather than the Classic that you refer to with the good colour pics etc.
    Must say as a new member I am most impressed with the helpfulness of all the responses.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    338

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    Hhhhhmmm? Sorry - didnt ready the whole post - was in a rush, and just skimming. Poundy does know his stuff, but that seems odd to me without more explanation??

    Can you take the top off the Espresso Delux and take a couple of pictures of its internals - try to get the wand attachment to the boiler into the pictures, and also, importantly - take a picture of where the wand leaves the caseing. I dont know the baby.

    Where the stainless part of the baby wand connects to the brass part of the wand inside the housing- is that right inside the housing, or close to the outside? Does it look similar to this connection - not necessaraly the whole wand, just he brass/stainless connection. (the Carezza Wand)


    Lets investigate. (Plus the Rancillio Wand from MocoPan in preston is only $21!)

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    283

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    Poundy may know some stuff, but who *really* knows what he knows and what he says he knows :)

    Anyway, I did pull the sucker apart, it was a LONG time ago now.

    I think that the fitting on my gaggia was more like the disconnected end of your picture above, not the end near the wand. It had a nut that went over the external part of the wand, and screwed onto an exposed screw thread, rather than what yours looks like, being an internal threaded nut?

    So RamonT, be careful when you do any of this, but try pulling it apart and checking what it looks like, but dont bend the arm or anything until you can confirm itll hang together (I bent mine and in the process broke the plastic nut on the wand tip when I was careless trying to get the locknut off)

  15. #15
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    7

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    OK have taken some pics of my set-up of the Gaggia Expresso Deluxe showing the inside and the wand. *The total wand has to be unscrewed from the boiler to separate the two pieces. *The join is concealed in the upper housing. *The chrome part inserts with two O rings to facilitate the removal of the lower water tank.
    PS Cant seem to attach two pics so just showing the wand.


  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    283

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    so that looks to me like it might just be a match with AndyCJs pic above. That means there is at least some hope!

    Now a few things are falling into place for me (perhaps, as I pointed out above, this was a while ago and I really REALLY dont remember things that well). I have a faint recollection that the way the Sylvia wand fitted didnt seal in the longer brass "nut" that the two o-rings go into to seal and allow movement. Perhaps this is what AndyCJ mentions that we have to "trust him" about, but for me it just didnt seem to work.

    Anyway, as mentioned, the wand isnt that expensive, so its probably worth getting one from Mocopan in Preston (if youre Melbourne based) for a Sylvia wand and take it from there.

    you still didnt mention if you were using the full panarello wand (the longer outer wand piece), just the pointy plastic part of the wand, or a bare-metal tip. If you arent using the full panarello (and have the issue I mentioned), then realistically replacing the wand wont improve the steam you have available. As the other posts mention, an important change in process is required to get the maximum steaming power out of the machine, you need to start steaming before the boiler element turns off, I think someone mentioned 25 seconds from when you switch the boiler over to milk froth mode. So perhaps if youre not using the bare wand, just try that with this 25 sec count and see whether that makes a difference?

  17. #17
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    7

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    Andy do you note that my wand is slightly thicker at the male end with two O rings that go into the brass section. Yours seemed to be the same width without the O rings. The threads look the same but wonder if I would have too much play if the Silvia wand is not the same diameter. What do you think?

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    338

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    OK - So, the bottom line is - It MAY fit?!?

    From the picture you posted its clear that the seal is done on the baby where the 2 o-rings are inside the wand housing.

    The main part would be where the Rancillio screws into the baby. With the Carezza, as Poundy said, it didnt SEEM like it was going to fit/seal - but I just tightened it right up (even thou there was a bit of a gap) and it worked without leaks.

    If the brass section is the same thread as the Rancillio wand, then you should be able to get a seal at the screwthread. Worse case scenario and you get leaking through the thread then you could seal it with silicon tape perhaps? (Would there be any reason NOT to do this with steam going into the milk? I dont really know enough about silicon tape at hight tempratures??)

    If you can get the wand for round $20 - then go for it, because you could probably sell it for $10 (+ postage of course) to someone on CS if you cant fit it!!

    Plus its cool fun tinkering and getting things working if you can.

    Good luck - let us know.

  19. #19
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    89

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    Hi,
    from my own decidedly murky memory - both the Classic and Silvia wands dont have that thick o-ring setup. The end that inserts into the brass section in the above pic is the same diameter as the wand shaft. On both, there is a small collar around the shaft, about 1cm or so down from the inserted end, that stops it from going in too far.

    You then use your original gaggia nut to fix the Silvia pipe in place against the brass piece. (AndyCJs pic)
    The nut provides the seal against leaking/steam pressure.

    Im not sure if the espresso deluxe will take the Silvia wand because of the thicker end piece. Still - at $20, it may be worth a try?

    Frankie

  20. #20
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    7

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    OK just to let everyone know, I did manage to fix the Sylvia wand to my Gaggia Deluxe. You can get away with it by using the rubber collar that is inserted in the Gaggia plastic steam wand to hold it on to the chrome pipe. This effectively sealed the Sylvia wand into the Gaggia housing. However , having done this I have found it difficult to drive the beast with enough steam to get a swirling milk. I get that awful noise that comes from a lack of steam and no swirl. Have tried waiting till just before the green light comes on. Get more swirl with the Gaggia original set up but cant stop those wretched bubbles from forming. Get better froth from low fat milk but the downside is less taste. So it looks like making the best of this machine for the time being and perhaps investing in a new machine when funds permit. In the mean time, will continue to read the comments of you experts!! Thanks for all your help.

    RamonT

  21. #21
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    2

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    So I too have a Gaggia (mine is a baby dose- one of the metallic cased red ones) and i have also had the same problem of not being able to produce good, thick micro froth. After doing all the obvious things like removing that crap plastic piece I can produce "better" froth. However, as mentioned above, the wand on this machine is so small that it hardly reaches the milk in my jug. Poundry mentioned something about bending the wand? Is this possible? I am considering taking it off the machine and taking a hammer and/or pliers to it as to remove the bend. Im hoping this will enable me to get the wand into the milk better and in turn produce better froth. Am I wasting my time with this? Im actually an Australian living in Spain so its a bit hard to simple order a replacement wand as suggested...
    Thanks for any suggestions and thanks for a very entertaining board!
    David

  22. #22
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    793

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    david
    i had a carezza a while back. i was able to get a little more length on the steam wand by removing the outer froth aider that can be pulled off with a gentle tug. then i simply loosened the remaining black plastic collar and moved it down as far as it would go on the wand and then tightened it up again. i could achieve some decent microfoam using a 350ml jug but no bigger. i think i tilited the jug to help get a swirl. you can practice with water to see what happens under the sufrace when you steam.

    also had to experiment for a short while to learn when was the best time to START steaming. i think for me it was something like 25 secs which was JUST before the green light lit up, which meant that the boiler was still actively heating. also, purging the steam wand just before/as soon as you flip the steam switch and letting out some water helps to give you some more "headspace".

    microfoam is achievable without having to swap to a silvia wand.

    cheers

    aaron

  23. #23
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    2

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    Hi Roknee. Thanks for the advice but I think your Carezza is quite different to my Gaggia baby dose as I described. On my machine it is not possible to do what you suggested to get some more length on the wand. However, the tip about the starting time to steam is certainly useful though. I found that if started steaming about 15-20 seconds (before the green "ready" light comes on) i am able to get much more steam power for longer. Thanks!
    In fact this morning before work I was able to generate some reasonable microfoam so im thinking that a large part of my problem was this. Hopefully with a bit more tweaking all will be good. Thanks again for the advice. David

  24. #24
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    722

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    If youre after a silvia wand, Im sure any one of us (you could try site sponsors) would be willing to get one for you here and send it to you in Spain. We are a nice friendly community here.

  25. #25
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Warwick, QLD
    Posts
    17,209

    Re: Gaggia v. Rancilio Silvia

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Id suggest contacting CoffeeParts....
    <<<<<< over yonder.

    Not only do they sell the Rancilio Steam Wand but they habitually freight parts overseas as a normal part of their day to day business. 8-)

    Cheers,
    Mal.



Similar Threads

  1. Gaggia Classic, Rancilio Silvia, or Sunbeam EM6910
    By 2009lamb in forum Brewing Equipment - Midrange ($500-$1500)
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 8th March 2009, 07:46 AM
  2. Gaggia Classic v Rancilio Silvia
    By scottc in forum Brewing Equipment - Midrange ($500-$1500)
    Replies: 27
    Last Post: 6th October 2008, 07:08 PM
  3. [m]: Gaggia Classic v Rancilio Silvia
    By scoota_gal in forum Brewing Equipment (non-machine specific)
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 15th May 2007, 12:08 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •