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Thread: Rancilio Miss Silvia Review?

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    Rancilio Miss Silvia Review?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Forgive me but I cannot for the life of me find a decent review of the Rancilio Miss Silvia.. I know that there are many many posts about this particular machine (which I appreciate of course) and even a review of the Sunbeam EM6900 that includes a fair amount of info on the Silivia..

    I am really keen for one of you guys/gals that are very experienced to perhaps do a full review of the Silvia or EVEN BETTER do a side by side with a more expensive machine, perhaps the Giotto or the Brewtus? Im at the point where Ive decided to grab a Silvia but need confirmation that its all that its cracked up to be!!!

    Thanks in advance!
    Paulie
    :-/

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    Re: Rancilio Miss Silvia Review?

    Paulie -
    I think youll find that there are enough endorsements of the Rancilio Silvia on this and other coffee sites to mean that you can buy one and feel that youve made a good choice. *You will not really hear a bad word said about them, and their resale value speaks highly of the regard in which they are held.

    It would seem clear that, if used properly, they are capable of making consistently excellent coffee - and I am yet to read anyone say how they regret buying theirs or how over-rated they are. *For a (relatively) modest price you are getting a very well built machine that will serve you well for as long as you want to keep it.

    I really fail to see how a single persons review - in the face of so much positive press from all over the world could persuade you one way or the other.

    Buy one and get a compatible grinder - then forget about the hardware and just enjoy the coffee! :)


    Anyway .. Heres a link to a coffeegeek review:
    http://www.coffeegeek.com/reviews/consumer/rancilio_silvia/dan_kehn

    and another from Alan Frew;
    http://www.coffeegeek.com/opinions/alanfrew/12-28-2001

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    Re: Rancilio Miss Silvia Review?

    Thanks El, the Dan Kehn article is close to one of the best, not only reviews but general suggestion articles Ive seen. I think you are right about the Silvia too.. although it has its weak points (like all machines), its reasonable price tag makes it a great addition to anyones kitchen bench!

    8-)

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    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Rancilio Miss Silvia Review?

    Yes, well said, El Espressio. *Not much more can be said about the Silvia that hasnt already been covered extensively here and elsewhere. *If you web surf, Paulie, youll find plenty of reviews.

    The Silvia is popular because it is rugged, all-iron and stainless steel. These metals have the twin functions *of durability and thermal stability. Very little heat loss during that 25-second pour.

    The weight allows the portafilter to be scewed on single-handedly, without the whole machine doing a pirrhouette. *The rubber feet are also effective.

    The portafilter is very heavy. Again, thermal stability.

    Rocker switches are heavy duty, and feel positive, right for the job.

    These and other good points *are well-documented.

    There are also weak ones:

    Its not the prettiest machine around, rather boxy. A chrome or polished stainless housing would have been more attractive, but more costly.

    Even much cheaper machines have a water level indicator. Silvia does not.

    The steam wand tip could have been more streamlined so dried milk does not collect there. *Extra-special effort is needed to wipe that area immediately. *Otherwise, its gunksville. *An insulated wand as found in some higher-end machines would have been nice. *

    The space between the group and drip tray could have been much more generous. Latte glasses do not fit upright -- they have to be angled.

    Also not enough space under the steam wand if a larger milk pitcher is used. *Ive gained elevation on my Silvia by placing it on a 20 ml board, flush on the right hand side.

    The shower screen screw should have been a phillips head. *Blade screwdrivers tend to easily slip off the slot when removing *(or trying to) the screen for cleaning.

    Ive gone on about the negatives at greater length than the positives. *But that does not really detract from the Silvia as a good coffee machine with deserved good reputation.

    Its just that reviews tend to extoll the virtues and gloss over the negatives--- or, reviews are written immediately after the thing is unpacked and the negatives are yet to be discovered.

    Youll notice that these negatives, too, fall in the *"annoying" catagory. They dont prevent the Silvia making a damned good espresso.

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    Re: Rancilio Miss Silvia Review?

    Thanks Robusto!!! That is very useful first hand experiences that youve shared.. ! What about pressure?? How does the Silvia go, meaning is it hard to choke the machine with finely ground coffee??

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    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Rancilio Miss Silvia Review?

    Coffee ground too fine WILL choke the Silvia.

    Steaming ability, by the way, is excellent, and it will produce enough to power a train.

    Heres a hint: when steaming for ONE latte, continue for a maximum 10 seconds AFTER the heating light comes back on. I find that at that point the temperature suits my partners taste. This form of "mik temperature surfing" gives very consistent results, and you can throw away the thermometer, and no longer any need to keep feeling the pitcher to judge correct heat.

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    Re: Rancilio Miss Silvia Review?

    Thanks again Robusto. Its funny you say that.. we have a Cafe Roma machine at present and my wife actually steams milk first... this in theory is a problem because the block heats up to steaming temp and then the coffee extraction probably occurs too hot.. I tell you what though, the coffee she can produce is still GREAT!

    Ill test that hint out when we get the Silvia!

    Paulie
    :D

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    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Rancilio Miss Silvia Review?

    Yes, Ive heard of people steaming the milk first, and then pulling the shots. But to me it makes more sense pulling shots first while the water temperature is relatively cooler (95 degrees or so).

    The hot milk will more than compensate for any heat loss in the espresso during that wait.

    On the other hand, cooling the boiler from steaming to espresso temperature seems like a waste. You have to draw cold water through (and I use filtered water, too). And when do you know youve cooled the boiler down sufficiently?

    Without instruments, its guesswork. So you keep flushing with cold water until the brew light comes on, indicating its now too cold...and wait till it heats up again -- another 40 seconds or so.

    Totally unnecessary.


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    Re: Rancilio Miss Silvia Review?

    Well Ive finally got myself the Silvia.. my Mum bought one for me for my birthday!! Sweet as..

    I had a lot of trouble getting a 25-30 second shot let me tell you. I ended up suceeding finally with a Mococpan Philiosophy that I had them grind in the shop. This coffee was too fine for my old Cafe Roma machine but the Silvia is able to extract it no problem - provided I dont tamp to heavy.

    So far...

    Positives: shots taste great compared to cafe roma.. great crema, milk frothing is much easier and Silvia produces much smoother micro foam --> the foam actually tastes different which I didnt think was possible.

    Negatives: the supplied tamper is an absolute waste of time, the machine is quite noisy - particularly when extracting coffee.

    All up, very very happy!
    Thanks Mum!

    paulie338
    8-)

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    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Rancilio Miss Silvia Review?

    Congratulations Paulie on your birthday present. Beats a pair of sox any day! . Sounds like youre well on the way to pulling fine shots.

    Initially, I had the very same thoughts as you about the plastic tamper. But its grown on me. It manoeuvres easily around the portafilter, and I believe the tamp pressure comes more readily from strength than heavy metal.

    Enjoy the machine.
    Robusto

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    Re: Rancilio Miss Silvia Review?

    Hey Robusto, have you got Marzocco filter baskets for Silvia and if so do they really make that much difference?

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    Senior Member Lovey's Avatar
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    Re: Rancilio Miss Silvia Review?

    Gday Paulie,
    congrats again on the present. *
    In relation to the [s]Marzocco[/s] baskets, you might like to take a look at this http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1127823696.
    Hope this helps, and enjoy your new arrival,
    Steve.

  13. #13
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Rancilio Miss Silvia Review?

    Paulie, Ive still got the stock standard Rancilio single and double baskets. Ive yet to be convinced that La Marzocco baskets fit the Slvia portafilter (the subject of an earlier thread) or that theyll hold more coffee in any case.

    I fit about 18 or so grams into the double, so buying another one which only holds a similar amount seems pointless.

    Although 14 grams is supposed to be the standard for double shots, that amount will give a very thin, pale extraction. So if you want to "break" the "rules" err on the side of generosity, grinding a little too fine, overloading the basket and allowing well beyond the 25 seconds for a nice, dark extraction.

    The single basket.....I avoid using it if possible. Only comes in handy on occasions for a weak latte for others to drink.



    --Robusto

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    Re: Rancilio Miss Silvia Review?

    Ok so Im slowly getting the hang of it.. Im now able to brew terrific espresso with Silvia. Can anyone tell me how tight I should attach the portafiller? I worry sometimes that I might break something making it too tight. Should it be tightened until the spouts are square with the machine? Sometimes I get a little leak.. that cant be good..

    Thanks
    Paulie338
    :o

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    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Rancilio Miss Silvia Review?

    Quote Originally Posted by paulie338 link=1129087240/0#13 date=1130453077
    Ok so Im slowly getting the hang of it.. Im now able to brew terrific espresso with Silvia. *Can anyone tell me how tight I should attach the portafiller? *I worry sometimes that I might break something making it too tight. *Should it be tightened until the spouts are square with the machine? *Sometimes I get a little leak.. that cant be good..

    Thanks
    Paulie338
    :o
    Paulie,

    It doesnt need to be really tight. On mine, it does not go to the point where the spouts are square. Probably about 10 degrees from square.

    Leaking could mean a bad thing but it most likely means that there are some coffee grounds around the group head that need to be cleaned away.

    Coffee grounds build up no matter what. You need to get into a routine to clean the area each week or so.

    What I do is:
    Remove the shower screen (small flathead screwdriver - be careful not to damage the shower screen. Its easier on your fingers to do this when the machine is cold).
    Wash the shower screen, nut and washer (be careful if doing this over the sink. The nut and/or washer will fit down the sinkhole very easily).
    Turn Silvia on and let it heat up.
    Put blind basket in portafilter and fit portafilter looslely and turn on brew. Be careful, water WILL come out the sides. Jiggle the portafilter around (tighter then looser) and this will hopefully dislodge some of the built up gunk around the group head.
    IMPORTANT: DONT LEAVE BREW ON FOR LONG PERIODS HERE. Doing a backflush puts strain on your pump, you dont want to put too much stress on your machine. Do this in fairly short bursts - no more than 3-5 seconds is the general advice around.
    Turn off brew and wipe with cloth.

    There is a really good cleaning article around on the web. Ill try to find a link for it.

    If you dont have a blind filter, it is worth getting one. At some point, you will want to backflush the machine and you need a blind filter to do this.

    The sponsers can no doubt help you out with this. Also look at a group head brush and perhaps some espresso cleaner (but do some more research before going ahead and putting chemicals in your Silvia).

    Brett.

    Edit - Found a generic backflush article which has some good info. I dont think you need to disassemble your portafilter (even if you can) and you need to decide if putting chemicals through is a good idea for you. Also, this article suggests VERY short brew times for the backflush. I have used 3-5 seconds on the Silvia without issue.
    I have only done a chemical backflush once in my machine. After about 12 months of use. It did remove a bit of gunk. I now do a water backflush each week along with removal of shower screen and cleaning of portafilter in solution.

    http://home.surewest.net/frcn/Coffee...Backflush.html

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    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Rancilio Miss Silvia Review?

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Good to see you are mastering your birthday present, Paulie.
    Being new, there should be no issue with the gasket. Screwing on the portafilter does not require any force. If you find yourself using brute strength, it usually indicates an overloaded basket. A properly loaded one turns fairly smoothly and comes to a "natural" stop where youll really need to exert pressure to go beyond there.

    Use less grounds, and lock the portafilter at right angle to the front of the Silvia.

    With too much coffee, pressure builds up and often it leaks out the top around the seal. Nothing wrong with the seal -- just too much coffee, or, too fine.

    So which is it? If you have trouble getting the portafilter into position, let alone turning it -- thats a surefire indication of too much coffee in there.

    Good luck,
    robusto




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