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  • Why are Silvias Better???

    Okay, so Im going to start probably a slightly contraversial thread here, but it will make a change from just berating people about supermarket beans, grind, etc.

    Im confused as to why people come down on the EM6910 as being an appliance (which I find a tad insulting but live with) and recommend the Silvia over the 6910.

    From what I can see and read, to get a decent Silvia, you have to fiddle around a lot with temp surfing, waiting for the boiler to heat up, etc.  In order to minimise all this, you need to buy a PID kit, which then makes the machine about 2.5 times more expensive than the 6910 and you might as well spend the money on a higher end machine, to my way of thinking.

    And they seem to have their fair share of problems, too, reading all the below posts about cracked this that and the other, needing to adjust pressure, problems with the heater, etc.

    Whereas yes, the 6910 has its problems also but most people can find a relatively local Sunbeam Service Centre to fix their machine in short enough timeframe (or, if no local Service Centre, then SB will pick up and deliver your machine at no cost), the call centre staff are usually over-the-top helpful and provided you care for your machine, the seals and other replaceable parts last a reasonable amount of time and are fairly easily replaceable for most owners.

    The SB also has the advantage of not waiting for long periods of time for it to heat up, its relatively easy to use, and you can steam milk at the same time as you pull your shot.

    Warning:  Girly remark here - Its also a lot more attractive looking on the bench top than the very utilitarian looking Silvia.

    About the only thing that the Silvia *might* have over the 6910 is the lifespan of the machine but judging on most owners, everyone gives in to upgraditis after a while so, okay the 6910 might die after a couple of years but at least you then have an excuse to buy a bigger & better model and dont have to justify trading in a perfectly good working machine to your spouse!

    I guess Im sending out a challenge here to all owners/sellers of the Silvia - apart from lifespan of the machine, what do you see in the Silvia that I dont?

    Cheers
    Di

  • #2
    Re: Why are Silvias Better???

    Hoyks I dont own a Silvia but have used a 6910 and 6900 at work for the last 18 months.

    In the first year of the 6910s life it went through 3 seals and I recently had the collar replaced.
    While that was being done the agent noticed and replaced a circuit board that had a burn mark on it (that explained the earlier smell).

    The reason I bought what I did was for longevity and long term savings.
    My Expobar is still a little fiddly in that it needs a quick flush if left idle for a while but thats a minor inconvenience.
    I prefer function over form.
    The Silvia may not be as pretty as the 6910 but have you seen the feet on my Expobar?

    Although the 6910 can steam and pull shots at the same time, the steam pump/thermoblock arrangement is not in the same ballpark as my machine.

    I know the Silvias need to switch between shots and steaming and cant do too many milk based coffees at a time but youll have to wait for a Silvia owner to comment on the steam power.

    If you are only doing no more than 4 at a time I think youll get an argument.

    The last seal I got for the 6910 I had to pay for (I must be losing my touch).
    It and a spacer cost me $25 from the local Sunbeam agent.

    Seals for my Expobar cost less than $5.

    Im up to my third tamper for the Sunbeam as the metal bit comes off (its only glued on).

    If Id had to pay for it (it was a free replacement for the 6900) Id not be happy.

    I have no problem recommending the 6910, providing you are aware of their shortcomings and potential short lifetime. To me theyre a good first machine to learn on.
    Barring anything major going wrong, by my observations they should last 5 years at home.
    An acceptable overall cost when you add in the free course and excellent customer service (read free parts).

    Enjoy it and learn.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Why are Silvias Better???

      Hi Di,

      Ill contribute to any controversy...

      Apart from longevity, the Silvia has the *potential* to pour a better espresso than the SB.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Why are Silvias Better???

        Woooo - them thars fightin words, pardner!!! ;D

        Happy to be a taste-tester in any competition between owners that want to stand up to the challenge!

        (Id offer, but clearly lose due to my still inexperienced technique...)

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Why are Silvias Better???

          Silvia has a boiler instead of a thermoblock, so should produce drier steam for producing better microfoam.

          Silvia doesnt sound like a jackhammer.

          Silvia has better build quality.

          Silvia is made in Italy by a manufacturer of commercial espresso machines. 6910 is made by a toaster manufacturer in, ummm where? China?


          and borrowing from Greg Pullmans review of both machines:

          6910 has poorer steam volume,

          poorer resale value,

          poorer temperature stability

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Why are Silvias Better???

            Great topic Hoyks.

            On the longevity issue, I dont think anyone can argue the Sunbeam is built to last as long as the Silvia. The use of brass in key areas gives the Silvia the edge. The element may go in a Silvia if the boiler is allowed to repeatedly run dry - but with care the owner can ensure this doesnt happen. I guess this is the corollary to the appliance argument - the Silvia isnt an appliance, Rancilio have built a tool that requires some care to use properly. But if used properly, it should last years. I get them in for service after years in the "field". Throw a group seal at them, o-rings for the steam valve and send em back out.

            I think a lot of the chat around temp surfing and pressure adjusting etc is a natural result of the quest for ever better results. But is the analysis carried out all the way to the cup or even to the coffee puck? In other words, how mcuch does it matter that the Silvias boiler temp swings? Bring on the blind head-to-head taste tests!

            Leaving all of the temperature probes aside, Ive rarely had a bad shot out of a bog standard Silvia (and most of the bad ones are barista related  : It doesnt hurt that there is a sizeable amount of brass in the group head and portafilter ...

            On the issue of aesthetics ... I guess Im biased. I look past those square sides to the beauty underneath   But Im not going argue with you - the Silvia looks like its built for business.

            Having used a bog standard Silvia and a PIDed Silvia, I was surprised to find that the biggest difference for me, was the constant steam pressure with the PIDed Silvia. A PIDed Silvia has its place, but most entry level users are well served by a standard Silvia.

            charlie

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Why are Silvias Better???

              having owned a silvia until recently I thought i might put my 2 c in.
              Silvia is a great machine if you have the time to perfect your process,
              i got some god shots with fresh personally roasted peru segunda natural
              beans, but with silvia it can be hit & miss a lot of variables,beans ,grind water quality temp surfing ,humidity consistant tamp pressure all of which if you are strapped for time can become a chore i always enjoyed the process but sometimes frustrated with less than acceptable results(probably more my lack of skill)but as a tradesman i appreciated the metal components over plastic & that is the primary reason i chose the silvia over the 6910
              having said all that I now own a super auto gaggia titanium which has a plastic brew group & 2 s/s lined thermoblocks
              But in the end if you are happy with the end product
              who cares what machine you have?
              I have a friend who makes good milk coffees with a sunbeam intuitive digital auto machine
              consistantly!

              sorry about the rant  

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Why are Silvias Better???

                The sunbeams that I used a few years ago all produced sour shots.  Didnt try out the steaming. I havent had a look at the 6910 recently; it may well be that this problem has now been fixed.  

                Sunbeam seem to have put a lot of work into their machines and are great supporters of the Australian specialty coffee industry in general.  If I were in the market for a machine at this price point, I would certainly look at the 6910 and I suspect that I would probably prefer it to the Silvia, which I owned for a few years.  

                I suspect that the 6910 probably has the silvia well and truly beat if its main task will be making one milk-based drink at a time.  Frankly, if you are buying a machine at this price range, I dont think that you should get your hopes up too high when it comes to producing espresso.  I do know one guy who sold his HX machine to buy a 6910 and has it paired with a mini-E.

                One thing that I felt thoroughly duped about when I bought my silvia is that the word "commercial" was thrown around a lot, especially in relation to the group head.  OK, so the group head might be used in commercial machines, but those machines are particularly crappy and it wouldnt surprise me if the group is a big reason for that.  (Thats not to say that the sunbeam group is better - I dont know that; just wanted to make the point that the silvias "commercial" pedigree is hardly a big point in its favour.)

                Okay, so Im going to start probably a slightly contraversial thread here, but it will make a change from just berating people about supermarket beans, grind, etc.
                Hahaha ... thats quite funny.  You forgot to mention maintaining the fiction that all expensive machines are good in their own special way and some are, for some reason, better suited to some people than others.

                Im confused as to why people come down on the EM6910 as being an appliance (which I find a tad insulting but live with) and recommend the Silvia over the 6910.
                I dont understand whats insulting about the 6910 being an appliance.  From dictionary.com, an appliance is "a piece of equipment, usually operated electrically, esp. for use in the home or for performance of domestic chores, as a refrigerator, washing machine, or toaster."  Seems to me like that definition of appliance is exactly what you want.  Maybe a three group machine isnt an appliance, but, then again, I wouldnt really want a three group machine at home.  At any rate, I cant see how the Silvia isnt an appliance.

                Im up to my third tamper for the Sunbeam as the metal bit comes off (its only glued on).

                If Id had to pay for it (it was a free replacement for the 6900) Id not be happy.
                I cant see how this is really all that relevant to the topic, which is a comparison of the silvia with the 6910, but if it is relevant, it strikes me that this is a point in favour of the 6910 and not against it, as you seem to imply.  The reason for this is because the thread is about making comparisons.  If you compare the 6910s tamper to the tamper included with the silvia - or, indeed, with your expobar - the 6910 comes out leagues ahead ... even without the metal bit attached to it!

                The last seal I got for the 6910 I had to pay for (I must be losing my touch).
                It and a spacer cost me $25 from the local Sunbeam agent.
                The equivalent consideration for a silvia would be the cost of rebuilding the steam tap.  IMHO, the silvia doesnt get anywhere near enough flak for the crappy steam valve, which, from the posts that I have read, seems to start to drip pretty commonly.

                I think that Chris saying is particularly apposite in this scenario: pick the box of compromises that you like the best.  If you want a box of junk that (from what I have read) is easy to use, but (also from what I have read) wont last all that long, get the 6910.  If you want a box of junk that is a pain in the neck to use, but just wont die, get the silvia.

                Cheers,

                Luca

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Why are Silvias Better???

                  Luca I was pointing out some negatives of owning the 6910.
                  Good point regarding comparisons of tampers though.
                  When the bottom hasnt fallen off, the Sunbeam one is the best included tamper Ive seen (but ONLY if the metal bit is still attached    ).

                  And by the way my second point was comparing the cost of group seals. :P

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Why are Silvias Better???

                    BOTTOM LINE.

                    Who delivers a better shot for under $1000.00






                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Why are Silvias Better???

                      Originally posted by pravspresso link=1230618138/0#9 date=1230658198
                      BOTTOM LINE.

                      Who delivers a  better shot for under $1000.00
                      I will deliver a shot to you for half that! Is that to go, or to drink here? :

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Why are Silvias Better???

                        One thing I have noticed with my em6910 is that dose and Tamp is very critical to getting a good shot. The double basket holds about 23gms of coffee the Sivias holds about 14gms.
                        With the sunbeam you need to get the coffee onced tamped to about 3mm of the lip of the filter basket or the shot is just muck, the silvia does not suffer this problem.

                        Have a look at this link to Alan Frews site I know many people here probably have already seen this but I thought it was relavent to the topic
                        http://www.coffeeco.com.au/articles/sunbeam.html

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Why are Silvias Better???

                          Originally posted by pravspresso link=1230618138/0#9 date=1230658198
                          BOTTOM LINE.

                          Who delivers a  better shot for under $1000.00


                          I guess your not including the grinder in that ???

                          At the end of the day it an Apple and an Orange and thus you can not compare!!!

                          1: $ difference is that one is approx 25% 35% more
                          2: One is a boiler and one is thermoblock
                          3: etc etc.

                          Every machine regardless of price has its pros and cons and there are often perceptions due to the end users requirements and or habits.

                          Its like comparing a Base model Ford with a base model Holden CRV.. It does not compute.

                          For under $750 including a grinder, the EM6910 is a great appliance ( :-) ) and would exceed the requirements of most homes, where the majority of drinks are milk based and the users are not pure perfectionists.

                          It does not mean that it is better or worse than the Silvia, only that it focuses on a different market base.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Why are Silvias Better???

                            Originally posted by AngerManagement link=1230618138/0#12 date=1230685260

                            For under $750 including a grinder,  the EM6910 is a great appliance ( :-) ) and would exceed the requirements of most homes, where the majority of drinks are milk based and the users are not pure perfectionists.
                            And if I had $750 to outlay on a new setup the Lelit Combi would easily be my choice over the sunbeam. But thats another story.


                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Why are Silvias Better???

                              Originally posted by Hoyks link=1230618138/0#0 date=1230618138

                              About the only thing that the Silvia *might* have over the 6910 is the lifespan of the machine but judging on most owners, everyone gives in to upgraditis after a while so, okay the 6910 might die after a couple of years but at least you then have an excuse to buy a bigger & better model and dont have to justify trading in a perfectly good working machine to your spouse!
                              Gday Di, the difference is that after a couple of years when "upgraditis" hits you sell the Silvia on ebay or similar for a respectable price and put that money towards your new machine/grinder. On the other hand you take your Sunbeam down to the tip and remind yourself never to buy crap in the future! Sorry to the Sunbeam owners here, as I know thats a bit harsh, but there is no comparing the build quality. Its like comparing a Hyundai to a Alfa Romeo, in the city both cars will get you from point A to point B in precisely the same amount of time but which would you prefer to be in? Just like the Alfa, the Silvia has "peculiarities" that will either drive you insane or youll just accept are the Italian way A bit like the dribbling steam wand, it reminds you its Italian! As Charlie said, most of the "problems" with Silvia are people trying to push the envelope with the machine and get even better results, whereas the Sunbeam problems tend to be closer to "problems" in the true sense of the word.

                              Pete

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