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Thread: Upgrade from a Silvia

  1. #1
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    Upgrade from a Silvia

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

    Ive owned my Silvia (and Rocky grinder) for the past four years and have generally been happy with the performance. However I have had to replace the boiler element once already and now its gone again. Its my fault (or rather my wife’s) as the steam switch has been left on for an extend period of time on more than one occasion when the kids manage to distract you - eventually the element has been cooked. As you know its not cheap to replace, so instead of getting a new element in the Silvia I am looking to upgrade to a prosumer machine, preferably a machine that doesnt result in me inadvertently cooking the element.

    A few things I would consider in purchasing a machine:
    - I usually only make 2 to 4 coffees a day but on the weekend that can increase to 6 to 10 a day if people drop by. I generally find myself making milk based (strong) coffees and the occasional espresso and long black. Good milk steaming is essential, something that can be patchy with the Silvia.
    - This machine will be used by both my wife and myself so my preference is for a simple machine with as few adjustable nobs and buttons as possible - my wife doesnt want to know about the technical side of making a good coffee (I dont mind) so she needs to make a great coffee with as little fuss as possible.
    - Dont want to plumb it in, Im happy with a water tank but would like it to be easily accessible.
    - A low water alarm or automatic switch off or something to avoid cooking the element.
    - It would be good if I could fit more than an espresso cup under the porta filter as I do make a lot of milk based coffees.

    Im not familiar with heat exchanger or double boiler machines and to be honest dont know the advantages of one over the other.

    Any suggestions you may have are most welcome.
    Kev

  2. #2
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    Re: Upgrade from a Silvia

    Welcome to CS Kev!

    First off well need a budget that youve got in mind; without that there are literally dozens to choose from. Secondly if you havent already, check out http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1163234999 as this will give you a good overview on some of whats out there and an approximate price range.

    Good luck!
    Greg

  3. #3
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    Re: Upgrade from a Silvia

    Hi Greg

    Im happy looking at machines up to approx $2500.

    Nice tampers by the way, I purchase 3 of you in the past for myself and others

    Kev

  4. #4
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    Re: Upgrade from a Silvia

    Hi Kev,

    VBM Domobar Super Black
    Bezzera Domus Galatea
    ECM Giotto
    Expobar Minore II
    Expobar Leva
    Maver David Makin Signature

    are all good choices, as is the Diadema Unico Splendor

    Expobar are spanish made, VBM have good build quality and triangular taps, ECM Giotto is hard to find, and the Maver I havent got a clue about, but luca and others like it. Bezzera is italian made and Ive got one which I love.

  5. #5
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    Re: Upgrade from a Silvia

    Hi Kev, where are you located? Im sure a site sponsor would be happy to give you some demos.

  6. #6
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    Re: Upgrade from a Silvia

    Im in Perth and not sure that many of the machines discussed here are available for demo. If anyone knows of a good place in Perth then Im all ears.

  7. #7
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    Re: Upgrade from a Silvia

    Quote Originally Posted by KevB link=1196302735/0#5 date=1196309792
    Im in Perth and not sure that many of the machines discussed here are available for demo. *If anyone knows of a good place in Perth then Im all ears.
    Hi Kev,

    We have shipped quite a few machines to WA and have service arrangements there as well.

    Not very much happens on the espresso machine front over there and the couple of non-sponsor outlets (which we cannot mention here *:-X) can be pretty expensive- which is why many WA residents have purchased from us.

    I am happy to assist in any way I can....We have some great deals ending tomorrow 30th November. Have a look in our sponsor area if you feel so inclined....

    Chris

  8. #8
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    Re: Upgrade from a Silvia

    Hi Kev,

    my own thoughts were these (Ive now got two of them)

    Couldnt try the David Makin machine - so Ill ignore it for now :)

    As any or all of the popular heat exchangers are great, Ill only give the unique points

    Minore II - Has ugly feet and a dual boiler. Can vary temperature on it, but you might not need or want this variable. Spanish-made, drip tank the size of a small sink. The HX version of this is the Expobar Leva

    ECM Giotto - bare minimum of componentry and hard to find, if you search posts on here, one of the site sponsors indicated that at the same price point you could have a...

    VBM Domobar Super Leva. Youll pay $300 more if you want the shiny stainless steel sides, the shower screen is pretty low and the group head seems to be low, but there are a lot of ways around this if it troubles you (go naked, uncrew the splitter from your portafilter etc). On a big latte glass I have to sneak it under, on an americano one, it fits. Deeper than the others by a few CM, "better build quality and componentry than the Giotto". Triangular taps which put me off first time round, but didnt put me off yesterday! These can be swapped to the expobar or giotto style taps if you like (i think).

    Isomac Mondiale - beautiful machine, has flick switches for steam and water and a really unique look. Massive boiler (2.2L) too. Big, tall and wide.

    Domus Galatea - wider than the VBM by about 3", lovely styling, I love the taps and its been a reliable work-horse for me. Flip-up access to the water reservoir which is easy to pour into. Big boiler, and I get repeatable cups from it :)

    are you leaning towards any in particular?


  9. #9
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    Re: Upgrade from a Silvia

    Hi Identity

    Dont know much about the Isomac. Ive narrowed it down to the VBM and the Galatea.

    My take on these two machines is that the VBM is built with the best components available in this price range and has a very powerful steam wand that takes time to master and comes in a very large package. The Galatea has reasonable componentry, nice presentation and is easier to master the milk texturing.

    Ive read the various threads on these two machines so now I just have to make a decision.

    As a matter of interest how does a Giotto compare in regard to componentry and ease of milk texturing?

  10. #10
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    Re: Upgrade from a Silvia

    Ive been researching machines for quite some time with nearly the same requirements as yourself. I narrowed the choice down to the Minore or the VBM DS - I have decided on the Vibiemme, and its only a matter of time before the bank account supports my decision, so to speak (and I mean that literally, not a metaphor for a significant other ;D)

    Edit: just realised I didnt really give much valuable input there... Im excited about getting a VBM though and needed to express it somewhere sorry! :)

  11. #11
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    Re: Upgrade from a Silvia

    Hi Kev,

    welcome to CS.

    I am going to have to diasagree just a teensy bit with something you wrote a couple of posts above as one of my own imports the Unico Splendor was mentioned in the group of machines above that as possibles for you to check.

    *Almost all* of *the above machines are made with the best components available in the price bracket.........................not just the 2 you mentioned.

    *Some* have a much better standard of build and finish than others.

    *Reliability* is great in some, not so good in others.

    Dont be unduly influenced by "flavour of the month" syndrome as seen in "reviews" written by "experts of one" who are understandably really excited after the purchase of a new machine, when it comes to reading stuff about various models on the net, some of them being new on the market and not having as much "history" as others that quietly do their job really well, but dont get people gushing all over them on the keyboard at the moment. Its cyclic.

    In any case a coffee machine is not the sum of its parts.

    On a brighter note I am happy to say my own machines enjoy a very good reputation and more importantly I dont think I have ever read anything to the contrary about them in this (or any other) forum. I would be pleased to help if you decided to choose one of them.

    Regardz,
    FC.

  12. #12
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    Re: Upgrade from a Silvia

    Thanks to all for your advice. I now have a new VBM sitting on my bench which fits and looks great. Have only had the breifest of plays with it so can comment on it at this time.

    Cheers
    Kev

  13. #13
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    Re: Upgrade from a Silvia

    Nice outcome Kev, sorry I disappeared off the planet for a bit! Just hope your tampers fit the VBM, if not you know where we are! ;)

  14. #14
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    Re: Upgrade from a Silvia

    Hi Guys.

    Another newbie here. Thought I would post here because I am looking at pretty much the same features as what Kev was in his first post in this thread.

    Im also after a decent grinder of course. Just starting to read up on a few here now. So far I am more confused than I was before I started reading due to the fact that we are spoilt for choice in this price range.



    One machine that I havent read a lot about here (yet) is the laScalia butterfly. I have read elsewhere that it is a decent machine but would like to find out where it sits in the market place.

    Is this a comparable machine to what is already listed?

    Anyone here actually owned one?


  15. #15
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    Re: Upgrade from a Silvia

    Quote Originally Posted by craig link=1196302735/0#13 date=1199531749
    Hi Guys.

    Another newbie here. Thought I would post here because I am looking at pretty much the same features as what Kev was in his first post in this thread.

    Im also after a decent grinder of course. Just starting to read up on a few here now. So far I am more confused than I was before I started reading due to the fact that we are spoilt for choice in this price range. *

    One machine that I havent read a lot about here (yet) is the laScalia butterfly. I have read elsewhere that it is a decent machine but would like to find out where it sits in the market place.

    Is this a comparable machine to what is already listed?

    Anyone here actually owned one?
    Hi Craig and welcome to CS...

    Let me first qualify things by saying that I have never used the Butterfly. I have heard a few rumours regarding reliability- but they may be simply that. Hopefully there may be some owners here who can chime in with some higher quality information for you.

    For mine though, I think that there are better machines around in a similar price bracket that tick many more of my boxes in terms of what a good machine should look like, how it should operate and what componentry it should be composed of.

    Dont get too reliant on specification sheets- bigger does not necessarily mean better and a machine is much more than a list of the parts that it is comprised of...

    I suggest that you talk to some sponsors (hopefully me as well...) and get some informed opinions...

    There are things I like and dislike about every machine in our range- each machine is a box of compromise and its a matter of matching you with the right machine for your budget and requirements.

    As for a grinder, all here will advise you to purchase the best you can possibly afford.

    Please feel free to call if we can assist. I promise to call them warts and all ;)

    Good luck in your search..

    Chris

  16. #16
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    Re: Upgrade from a Silvia

    Hi Chris.

    Thanks for the welcome and the advice. I have just been looking at your website before opening this thread and am about to send you a PM.

    Cheers,

    Craig.




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