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Rancillio Silvia or Sunbeam 6910 Purchase

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  • Rancillio Silvia or Sunbeam 6910 Purchase

    Hi All,

    I have been checking out this site for a while now and need some friendly advice. I am torn between two machines, the Rancillio Silvia and the Sunbeam 6910.

    I already have a Sunbeam EM0450 grinder (Which I have been very happy with) to compliment my next purchase but just cant decide between the two machines. My budget is around the $700.00 mark and I expect my local Myers to be doing some deals in the run up to xmas, I have seen the special on siennacoffee for the Silvia for $699.00 so both are going to be in the price range.

    I am concerned I will be left wanting more of a professional machine if I go for the Sunbeam, but then upgradeitise is always going to be a problem

    I would appreciate any advice you can offer.


  • #2
    Re: Rancillio Silvia or Sunbeam 6910 Purchase

    Well I am sure this will be a controversial post you have made. People will feel strongly about both machines. On paper the 6910 seems like it will be a great machine. As long as sunbeam have sorted out the problems it will be a good machine. One piece of advice though if you decide for the silvia give some site sponsors a pm and get a quote. That way you will know you will get good after sale service.
    If you already have the sunbeam grinder it may suit the sunbeam machine more than the silvia.


    • #3
      Re: Rancillio Silvia or Sunbeam 6910 Purchase

      Or you could buy my Silvia for $530 delivered!



      • #4
        Re: Rancillio Silvia or Sunbeam 6910 Purchase

        Originally posted by fatboy link=1163496688/0#2 date=1163498653
        Or you could buy my Silvia for $530 delivered!

        I agree...No matter how good the new Sunbeam might be (which is to be seen :), I doubt its going to be around in 10 years....My old original Rancilio Audrey (pre Silvia) is still going and just as well as day one!

        Grab fbs Silvia.....Yet another bargain


        • #5
          Re: Rancillio Silvia or Sunbeam 6910 Purchase

          I agree with what has been said above.

          This is and will be a controversial and emotional thread! However, and on a more serious note, having seen both the Sunbeam and owning a Silvia, I think that I would prefer the Silvia gracing my bench.

          Purely from an asthetic point of view, the Silvia looks the goods. I love the fact that I have a machine that is built by people who are also building commercial machines and that when I go into a cafe that has one on their bench, I can quietly go to myself "Ive got a Rancilio too!". It gives me the warm fuzzies!

          From a practical point, the Silvia is a machine that has not yet made me want to upgrade! Even only today, I was chatting with a friend about the bigger HX machines and I cant honestly say I am ready to have any of them grace my bench. The Silvia is doing us just fine. (having a commercial machine to play on at work probably aids my potential upgradities here!).

          But I will just reiterate, Sunbeam doesnt make commercial coffee machines, only domestic. Rancilio make commerical and domestic machines. Whether that has any bearing on purchase for you, Dave, will be purely up to you!


          • #6
            Re: Rancillio Silvia or Sunbeam 6910 Purchase

            Maybe some one in the know of both these machines maybe able to point out specific differences as well?
            Can the sunbeam take commercial portafilters and baskets?
            Personally I would go the Silvia as well just on reputation more than anything.


            • #7
              Re: Rancillio Silvia or Sunbeam 6910 Purchase

              Originally posted by Coffeechaser link=1163496688/0#5 date=1163506575
              Maybe some one in the know of both these machines maybe able to point out specific differences as well?
              Can the sunbeam take commercial portafilters and baskets?
              Personally I would go the Silvia as well just on reputation more than anything.
              Alternatively you could say you would go against the Sunbeam as well just on reputation more than anything.

              The Silvia (like my Botticelli) is a simple solidly and well built machine with little to go wrong- electronics dont like steam and the Silvia has very minimal electronics. It is also easily repairable, and like Scootergal hinted at- its built down from a commercial machine, not from an appliance company trying to be clever with nasty cost cutting and poor quality control.
              Having said that, like a commercial machine, the Silvia is capable of dropping you on your **** the first few times you use it. Once you get the hang of it theres no real reason to upgrade, just little inconveniences and green envy at larger blingier machines!


              • #8
                Re: Rancillio Silvia or Sunbeam 6910 Purchase

                OK, Im going to enter into this controversial thread....

                I own the EM6900 and while Its taken 4 visits to Sunbeam (3 new machines and the 3rd new one had to get repaired as the Steam Pump Died - which was just unfortunate).. However, since then (about 4 months now I think), I have been informed by a reliable source that my EM6900 is loaded with new EM6910 parts... Eg... Steam Pump, Group > Thermoblock fix (stronger bolts) and the blue group seal.. and Im happy to report that he machine is performing outstandingly. I do believe, going on how my machine is basically Half an EM6910, that the EM6910 is a pretty good machine.. and to add fuel to the controversy/\/discussion, you can adjust the steam pressure/\/temp and the brew temperature which is a very handy addition for those who like light roasted beans eg.. Columbian, where you up the brew temp...

                My initial experience with the EM6900 was a very frustrating one however, Sunbeam have been good and have repaired/\/replace units without hassle.

                Having said that, the Silvia has a fantastic reputation - but one thing it cant do is brew and steam at once... which was what drew me to the Sunbeam in the first place in the price range I could afford...

                marc (Adding balance to controversy) stolk



                • #9
                  Re: Rancillio Silvia or Sunbeam 6910 Purchase

                  Wow, thanks for all the responses so far, they have been very useful.

                  I would be interested to know if anyone has any information on the question coffeechaser raised which is - Can the sunbeam take commercial portafilters and baskets?

                  Some of the points that are going round in my head in the decision making, which might spurr more debate....

                  1) Ability to use commercial portafilters.

                  2) Serviceability - I like to keep things the way they are meant to be out of the factory or better!

                  3) Ease of use - I guess more practice helps here but have read that the Silvia can take some getting used to.

                  4) Warranty - I know the Sunbeam has 5 years and from various posts when things do go wrong Sunbeam seem willing to replace units quickly. Has anyone had any bad experiences with the Silvias which necesitated a return?

                  5) Volume - I get through about 5 cups a day for myself, which will likely increase with a new machine + lots of milk for other, non caffeine, drinks as well (My wife is pregnant and just loves that chocolate ;D ). Does anyone have experience of how the two machines hold up to volume?

                  Thanks again,


                  • #10
                    Re: Rancillio Silvia or Sunbeam 6910 Purchase


                    The Sunbeam can take commercial baskets but not PFs... although it has a Commercial PF, its just not Industry standard.... it is solid and heavy... I believe Feama baskets fit in the Sunbeam PF

                    Serviceability, I guess so for the Em6900... no idea... never pulled it apart...

                    Easy of use = EM6900 is easy to use...

                    Carefully on the Warrantee claim... the 5 years is only on the Pump... 12 months on anything else...

                    Volume on the EM6900 isnt a problem.. in fact, because it has seperate thermoblocks for Brewing and Steam... you can make drinks faster....

                    5 cups a day??? geezzz.....


                    PS... I cant comment further on the Silvia as I havent used one...but by all accounts its a great machine going on testimonies here... Site Sponsors will look after you.


                    • #11
                      Re: Rancillio Silvia or Sunbeam 6910 Purchase

                      [Keep in mind I am a biased Silvia ex-user]
                      1. The Sunbeam 6900 could not take standard commercial portafilters. The ears were just a little bit different. I dont know if they addressed that with the 6910.

                      2. I believe it can take standard 58mm baskets, but there will be some that wont fit. (Like the LM triple, but it wont fit the standard Silvia portafilter either). In the original article I read (Alan Frews), he also mentioned that the Sunbeamm portafilter shipped with some kind of plastic thing under the basket. If you do buy one, get rid of that ASAP.

                      3. I found the Silvia quite easy to use, but a consistent approach and getting your grind right was very important. This is going to be somewhat true of any machine you use. Then again, if you upgrade to a Minore II, it becomes a LOT easier to make good coffees ;-)

                      4. Warranty - New Silvia carries a 12 month warranty. Never had an issue with mine. My brother-in-law owns a 2nd hand one (about a year now) and he has had no issues. One of the sponsors would know more about the likely problems with the Silvia. One thing I have heard about is the machine being left on (I think in steam mode) and the
                      boiler getting too hot and a safety switch cutting in. Some people have taken machines back to service to get this reset, but there is a how to post on this site about how to reset yourself.

                      5. Volume - No issue from my perspective. I always did sets of 2. So, if I had to make 6, they went out in 3 groups. The reservoir is around 2.7 litres and the boiler holds around 300ml.

                      Personal opinion - The new Sunbeam has an RRP of $699.
                      A new Silvia is pretty much the same. (And of course... a 2nd hand one....)
                      At the moment, the 6910 has yet to prove it has ironed out the bugs of the 6900. It might become a category killer, but it aint quite there yet.


                      • #12
                        Re: Rancillio Silvia or Sunbeam 6910 Purchase

                        A few more thoughts:

                        Silvia pros:
                        Simple technology (no electronics).
                        Commercial portafilter.
                        Well built/solid, steel frame, brass group and boiler
                        Capable of commercial quality shots
                        Excellent resale value

                        Silvia cons:
                        Cant steam and brew at the same time (can take a long time making drinks for parties)
                        Not very temperature stable (depending on use the temperature can vary widely from shot to shot).
                        Shallow drip tray (pretty annoying IMO)

                        EM6910 pros:
                        Capable of repeatable and stable brew temperatures
                        Capable of rapid turn-around for making multiple shots (ie thermoblocks allow extremely rapid recovery between shots)
                        Adjustable brew temperature
                        Adjustable steam temperature/pressure
                        Steam quality reported to be close to Silvia (ie. good)
                        Commercial-sized portafilters (but not compatible with aftermarket products- alas)
                        Accepts commercial baskets.
                        Sunbeam warranty turn-around has been excellent

                        EM6910 cons:
                        Reliability in question.
                        No user serviceable parts
                        Doesnt accept aftermarket portafilters
                        Quality issues (its hard to understand how a company cant even make a reliable group seal)
                        Complex electronics
                        Long term reliability and wear issues
                        Probably poor resale value

                        In short I believe the EM6910 should be a category-killer if and only if they can produce a reliable and robust machine that can take the wear and tear that a machine in this category is supposed to take. It has the ability to provide effortless shots with a shot-to-shot consistency second to none (due to the thermoblocks). If they can get it right, it would be no contest.

                        However, the Silvia is simple, robust and will last for years. It will require a steeper learning curve and more care to make consistent shots. But it is capable of excellent shots. So the potential is there if you can master it.

                        Its probably like comparing a tempramental Italian sports car to an old reliable Mercedes. The Italian sports car is only better if its actually on the road. Othrwise the Mercedes will always get you where you want to go.

                        FWIW, a secondhand Silvia at a good price would be very hard to pass up.

                        For me, the Silvia doesnt really interest me due to its limitations and simplicity. However, the EM6910 interests me a lot due to the shot to shot repeatability and ease of use. The reliability is the only thing Id be really concerned about.

                        Happy decisions.



                        • #13
                          Re: Rancillio Silvia or Sunbeam 6910 Purchase

                          I think resale value is a valuable point. You will most likely want to upgrade in the future and it is a good thing to have a bit of a kick along with the proceed coming from your existing machine.
                          If you are making multiple milk drinks though it obviously pays to be able to brew and steam with as minimal gap as possible. That is why I bypassed the Silvia and went HX straight away but that doesnt help you as that is obviously above your current budget.
                          It would be hard to go past a 2nd hand silvia IMO and with the money you save put it aside in your upgrade fund. But that depends on how long you think it would be before an upgrade would be on the cards.
                          A Silvia on YOUR bench is worth 2 6910s in the Sunbeam service bench.


                          • #14
                            Re: Rancillio Silvia or Sunbeam 6910 Purchase

                            Yes- definitely agreed on the resale value of a Silvia. We have clear evidence here that they retain close on 70% of the RRP and hold their value at that point so long as they are well maintained. In addition, they dont break...Anyone here on Silvia #4 beacause all the others failed... :-?

                            Whod pay $400 for a 6 month old em6900?? :



                            • #15
                              Re: Rancillio Silvia or Sunbeam 6910 Purchase

                              I think that the "ease of use" thing is a bit of a dangerous thing to say.

                              The Silvia, IMO is very easy to use! But then I am a Coffee Snob who is pretty regimental in my method of making coffee, so I found it a breeze to use and never once had a problem.

                              The Sunbeam had me stumped completely the first time I used it! Couldnt get a decent shot for love or money. It wasnt until later did I find out that the damn thing had a huge super filter in it and needs to be updosed hugely. Not something I was fond of anyway.

                              I think that easy to use is all relative. You really should go and find a couple of these machines and have a good look at them. Youll soon see which looks easy to use!