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Silvia vs VBM Domobar Levetta

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  • Silvia vs VBM Domobar Levetta

    I am considering purchasing either of these two machines. I have read quite a bit about the Silvia and know that the PID version is far superior to the stock standard. However it will add 40% to the purchase price of the machine.
    Then I stumbled upon the Levetta. Not sure how these two machines compared. I know there is also a PID kit for the Levetta as well. By the way, this will be my first machine. Which one should I choose?

  • #2
    Re: Silvia vs VBM Domobar Levetta

    Hi

    I owned a Silvia for several years and added a PID to it. The PID does make life easier in that one does not have to temperature surf to pull a perfect shot. However by the time you factor in that cost your into the E61 bottom end anyhow. When I started I got a Silvia as that was affordable at ~ $700. I could not afford any E61. It was years later that I added a PID as about $350. That brings the Silvia up to a Levetta performance wise with its stable E61 group head. If your starting out and can afford a Levetta I would go for the Levetta as it looks better. The Levetta also has a pressure gauge so would be useful if you pull lots of milk drinks. Mainly though a Levetta looks better, the Silvia is a work horse and looks it :-)

    Mike

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    • #3
      Re: Silvia vs VBM Domobar Levetta

      Bigmomma,

      welcome to CS

      I have a PIDd Silvia and for my purposes [dollar for dollar] I would struggle to choose something else over it.
      Why?...........

      Apart from my first AM latte, I only drink espresso.

      Because I home roast and enjoy varieties of SO beans, the ability to weak the temperature by say 0.5C to change the character of a shot to suit the bean/blend has become a necessity for me.

      I am the only coffee drinker in the house, and generally dont need to make multiple drinks.

      But,

      Assuming you are not an espresso purist, and/or drink mainly milk based coffees, the absolute temperature control of any PIDd machine is not so important.
      As long as it is relatively temp stable [the Levetta is] the machine will certainly meet your needs and wont require temp management/temp surfing.

      Plus,
      The Levetta will cope much better with multiple drinks.
      The Levetta will be a tad easier to learn on and overall more forgiving.
      The Levetta looks amazing

      So it sort of comes down to what you want from your coffee, but generally, like Mike, [if $$$ allow] I recommend the Levetta over a Silvia too.

      Id also add that Silvia without a PID is a great machine too, it just requires a little more effort to get into the right temp zone.

      Site sponsors [such as Talk Coffee] would be able to discuss the merits [and even demo] both machines.

      Remember, any decent machine must be paired with a decent grinder and this means a further $300-600 to allow for in your budget.

      Cheers

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Silvia vs VBM Domobar Levetta

        Thanks guys,

        I already have a Sunbeam EM0480 which I use with a moka pot at the moment. Will that be good enough for the Levetta?
        I will be making 2-4 drinks (milk based coffee) per day. Now I am seriously considering the Levetta over Silvia.

        Cheers

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        • #5
          Re: Silvia vs VBM Domobar Levetta

          Bigmomma

          When it "behaves" the EM0480 is capable of producing a great grind so hopefully it will do the job for you.

          If it misbehaves [tolerance issues and build quality] the grind adjustment can slip/ or it may not end up at the same point for a given setting.
          So you may find on a particular setting that you dont get repeatable shots.

          The other issues is the large step [adjustment] size, but I think this is more of a problem for fussy espresso drinkers [milk is a great cover up]

          Many here [including myself] have experienced these sort of problems and have found workarounds or upgraded, but plenty have also reported that their sunbeam grinders have behaved ok.

          Obviously with any espresso machine, you will need to work on your barista skills [eg dosing, grind adjustment, & tamping].
          If you are confident that your dosing and tamping are consistant, but the shots vary, you may find the sunbeam grinder is to blame.

          Good luck with it.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Silvia vs VBM Domobar Levetta

            Hi bigmomma

            Yes, the EMO480 will be good enough for the Levetta if you use freshly roasted beans. The Levetta is a forgiving machine which will produce beautiful shots consistently if your basket- filling procedure is anything like spot-on.

            I evaluated several machines, including the Silvia, and read widely before choosing a Levetta 10 months ago. Im very glad I spent a bit more to buy the Levetta. I would suggest that the steaming power of the Levetta is greater than a Silvia, PID or not. Silvia boiler size is 3ooml, against Levetta 700ml.

            Other niceties: Levetta has a huge drip tray against Silvias very small drip tray, and very importantly to me, the Levetta has an automatic boiler cut-off switch once the water level is low (adjustable).

            In saying all this I am not belittling the Silvia...it has a great reputation and following. Good luck with your choice.

            Trevorbeans.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Silvia vs VBM Domobar Levetta

              Hi bigmomma

              Can highly recommend Chris at Talk Coffee if youre looking at either of these machines. I bought my Levetta a week or two ago and even though the machine and I are still going through the "getting to know you" stage , I know in the long run I wont be disappointed with my choice. Its a gorgeous machine!

              Chris has a current August special on the Levetta, so definitely worth a chat!

              Cheers,
              slowcoffee

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Silvia vs VBM Domobar Levetta

                Hi Bigmomma, I love my Silvia and have just ordered a PID kit for her. But if you have the $$ for the Levetta with the 700ml boilder Id probably go for it, especially if you entertain and make a lot of milk drinks.
                Whichever machine you choose you will get great espresso shots..............good luck with your decision................................gm

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Silvia vs VBM Domobar Levetta

                  I was in the same boat a couple of weeks ago, ended up purchasing the Levetta. I think when you start looking at having to spend significant extra dollars (dollars which equate to a fairly hefty percentage of what the machine cost originally) on modifications in order for it to meet the functionality/stability of other like machines, then perhaps the machine is nearing its used by date. Although the machine may still make excellent coffee at times, perhaps its due for more than just a few cosmetic enhancements.

                  Anyways... my Levetta had me a little confused the first day but after that using it was a no brainer. My Sunbeam grinder also does an excellent job, but its only 3 months old so time will tell. Ive only had one very small issue with it which was easily solved by consulting fellow CSs.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Silvia vs VBM Domobar Levetta

                    Gday Bigmomma,
                    I am glad to read that I made a great decision. I was trying to get a Super Lever and dragged my kids around Aroma fest so the wife could decide that we needed it. I nearly had her convinced until she saw the Levetta and asked why we needed a HX when there was only the 2 of us to worry about.

                    While I was getting to know her (Levetta) after surfing with a 300ml Quaha I thought that a pid may have been worth looking at, until the light went on and I came to understand the true beauty of the 61 group. All that brass means that you dont really have to worry what temp the boiler is at as long as it has had time to properly heat up it will look after itself and you can sit back and just enjoy the coffee. The difference between 300 and 700 ml with E61 is amazing.

                    Thomas.

                    P.S. Chris does a wonderful job and is happy to answer lots of silly questions.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Silvia vs VBM Domobar Levetta

                      Hi bigmomma,

                      Regarding whether the EM0480 is good enough for the Levetta...why dont you tell us about your coffee drinking habits?

                      Do you mainly drink espresso/short blacks? If you dont but you want to start out down the path of how to appreciate espresso, then it will do for the moment. You will end up upgrading as it just wont dial in where you want it as the steps are too large.

                      Or do you mainly drink milk based espresso coffees? If so, the Sunbeam will be OK, BUT save your money and buy the Silvia. You might upgrade the grinder later if you can justify the expense.

                      Happy brewing,
                      Javabeen.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Silvia vs VBM Domobar Levetta

                        If you like dark chocolate, buy the Levetta; if you only eat milk chocolate the Silvia and 480 should do fine.
                        Rational: Good espresso (black) is like good dark chocolate, but far more rare. The better machine and a better grinder (later) will allow you to keep cutting down the milk and enjoying the coffee.
                        Greg

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Silvia vs VBM Domobar Levetta

                          Hi bigmomma,
                          I had to make a similar choice, and in the end I went for the levetta. to add to the list of great features, I must say that a big deciding factors was that the Levettas capability in making several milk based drinks is better than silvia. Im an espresso only drinker but when friends come over the levetta can handle the work load if needed, with steam to spare too. All this in turn makes having friends for coffee a pleasure not a chore.

                          Having had an EM0480 grinder first(still) I find it to be good grinder for the VBM, however it is the consistency(or lack thereof) the plagues the EM grinders and for this reason Im currently looking to upgrade to a Mazzer Mini. In saying this you get good shots with this combo and some times delicious amazing if things go just right, hopefully with MM & VBM ill get them all the time.

                          Get the Levetta you wont regret it!
                          Rancho.

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