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Thread: domestic like Silvia or second hand commercial?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    domestic like Silvia or second hand commercial?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi there,

    Ive been keeping my eye on coffee machines for around 2 years now and i finally have a kitchen big enough to take one so im planning a purchase. I need some advice because i want a machine that ill be happy with.

    At first i looked at machines like the Silvia but soon found out that they really need this PID mod otherwise you have to flush the superheated water first. I really want a machine that will do plenty of steam, hot water and espresso without much effort. My girlfriend drinks tonns of tea so instant hot water is a must. Id like to plumb it in too but thats not essential.

    Im looking at spending no more than 700.

    Would i be happy with a Silvia or should i go for something with multiple boilers? Im thinking maybe second hand small commercial machine. I like the look of the Rancilio S20, are these any good? What small commercial machine would you guys recommend?

    Any help much appreciated.

    Kind Regards,
    Chris Phillips

  2. #2
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Perth, Western Australia

    Re: domestic like Silvia or second hand commercial

    The Silvia is a fantastic machine but if you want heaps of hot water the boiler is only 300ml and might come up a bit short. An HX machine is probably the best way to go for you but you might struggle to find one in that price range. You will also need a good quality grinder to go with the machine which will add $300-$800 to the purchase cost. Im sure you will plenty more expert advice from fellow CSers...good luck with making your choice!!

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

    Re: domestic like Silvia or second hand commercial

    Gday Chris.....

    Firstly, Welcome to CoffeeSnobs mate...... [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

    You do realise that you are visiting an (the ;)) Australian website dont you? Anyway, your requirement for ready access to plenty of Hot Water makes the selection of a suitable machine within your budget a little more difficult as this inevitably narrows the choice down to either Heat Exchanger or Dual Boiler machines. As greenman has already pointed out, the Silvia or machines of that ilk have quite small boilers which are great for producing a series of espresso pours and for texturing 300-600ml of milk but not really designed to deliver cups of Hot Water for Tea, etc.

    The Rancilio S20 is a fine machine and will do everything you want but I doubt you will be able to buy a new one for 700, unless of course you are talking about a used machine, in which case I wouldnt just focus on the S20. There would be plenty of very capable machines in this market sector from all the leading manufacturers, with all the usual caveats of course ::). Have you tried posing this same question on a UK site such as TooMuchCoffee? You would be able to get much more relevant information from the members of 2MC than we can likely provide from here in Oz.

    Anyway mate, all the best with your search and keep us in the loop when youve made your purchase.... :)


  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    Re: domestic like Silvia or second hand commercial

    Welcome mate. Not that the Silvias really going to be suitable for you, but Id just mention that you dont "need" the PID mod - it certainly helps and I have one myself, but its a very capable machine straight out of the box; like any machine, it has its idiosyncrasies which you need to learn to work with, the PID just helps to take control of one of these and turns a great machine with brilliant value for money into an excellent machine with good value for money.

    Best of luck with your search!


  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Re: domestic like Silvia or second hand commercial

    Hi guys, many thanks for your replies,

    I do realise your in Australia......ive not managed to find a UK site with many users or much info but ill check out 2muchcoffee, cheers for that. I realise that you guys arent going to be able to advise me on prices and things like that as things cost much more over here. But im after your genereal adivise on quality makes as i have no experience whatsoever and dont want to buy one from a poor company with clever marketing.

    Id be looking at a used commercial machine and ive narrowed it down to these makes.....please tell me if you think any of them should be avoided.

    La Pavoni
    La San Marco
    La Cimbali

    I;ll check out thew UK site you recommended......i look forward to your replies.


  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    Re: domestic like Silvia or second hand commercial

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight

    Old Rancilios often run too hot and will burn the coffee.

    Id add Faema to the list, as they are usually excellent machines.

    Of your list, Id put La Cimbali first, then La Pavoni, Expobar then La San Marco... for a range of reasons which are both subjective and personal. But thats the nature of an open forum; you get someones opinion.

    One point of warning is that you may need to tweek these machines to perform in a home situation, as they are designed for a nearly constant duty-cycle, not just a few shots a day. However, the tweaking isnt too hard and there are plenty of hints and tips on this forum and others.



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