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Inspection Advice

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  • Inspection Advice

    I am in the market for a second hand Silvia. Ideally id like to get a second hand snob machine but Im keeping my options open and looking everywhere.

    I am located in Perth and I preferablly want to be able to inspect the machine I purchase. My questions is, can anyone give me some pointers on what I should look out for when inspecting a used machine? and what questions should I be asking the owners?

    Any help is appreciated



  • #2
    Re: Inspection Advice

    Hi Deano

    Probably not the best expert on this - Ive only sold one second hand, not bought one (well, apart from the refurbished one I own now, but that was just about completely overhauled!) but the things I would ask would be:-

    1. How old is the machine (obviously);
    2. How often did you do a chemical backflush (should be probably at least every month or so);
    3. How often did you descale it - this is particularly relevant in Perth where, apparently, the water is very hard and the scale clogs machines very quickly;
    4. What water was used - ie; tap water, filtered water, etc (see above about hard water in WA - if they used filtered water, this should help the scale builld up so would probably not need to be descaled as often).
    5. Have you ever had to have something looked at by a repairer and, if so, what was the outcome; and
    6. If the machine is more than probably 2 years old, then ask what its service history is - I would imagine you would probably need to get a service done every year of two, but Im just guessing on this one (Ive not had the same machine for over 8 months, so far!)

    I would have a good hard look at the machine and, in particular, pull the basket out of the portafilter - this should give you a good indication of cleaning regime: if its kacky with muck, its a pretty fair indication of not being cared for.

    If none of the above are great answers, then at least bargain someone down in price if they are asking a premium. If theyre not prepared to budge when youre a bit dubious about the machine, then walk away.

    Having said all that, if youre buying from a Snobber, then you should get good answers to all of the above, the machine should be clean and you should not have any problems at all.

    These are just off the top of my head. I hope this helps - and, for all the others more experienced, please feel free to correct if Im being a bit hard or got something wrong.



    • #3
      Re: Inspection Advice

      Thanks Di

      That sounds like really sound advice.


      • #4
        Re: Inspection Advice

        you could just buy a new one with warranty


        • #5
          Re: Inspection Advice

          Im considering a new one but the cheapest I can find delivered to my door is $720 from coffee parts. I really only have $600 to blow at the moment and my car really needs a service + I need new uni books. So its $400 on a machine, $200 on a service and I go to the library for the books


          • #6
            Re: Inspection Advice

            Originally posted by 012630223A490 link=1248243889/1#1 date=1248249892
            I would have a good hard look at the machine and, in particular, pull the basket out of the group handle - this should give you a good indication of cleaning regime: if its kacky with muck, its a pretty fair indication of not being cared for.
            another good tip is
            take the shower screen of the group head and have look in there
            do some research on how to do it here first screw or nut etc?
            take a set of tools, screwdrivers, small socket set with you so you can take any bits of for a better look.
            Would you buy  a car without opening the bonnet?

            even bending down and looking up into the group heads of machines can tell you a lot about the cleaning thats been done..... in my search for something interesting i have seen some tragic sights  :P

            just saw your budget post, DO YOU HAVE A GRINDER??


            • #7
              Re: Inspection Advice

              Also taste the water via the group and the steam wand.

              The group water obviously travels through the "coffee path" and if the unit has not been well maintained, you may find the water tastes slightly of bitter coffee, due to the build up of oils.
              You can compare this to the steamwand water.

              If you taste coffee, It does not necessarily mean the unit is no good, but it will give you some indication of the owners diligence.

              Also, if there was any issue with gunk or other undesirables in the boiler you would taste this via either source.
              If this was the case, determine when the boiler was last cleaned and descaled.


              • #8
                Re: Inspection Advice

                Originally posted by 666A636E6E670B0 link=1248243889/5#5 date=1248259228
                Would you buya car without opening the bonnet?
                yes i would.

                coffee parts is very easy to work with and give 10% CSers discount so you should be a bit cheaper than that


                • #9
                  Re: Inspection Advice

                  instead of spending the $200 on your car service, what about drinking more shots, then when on a caffeine high then scooter to uni?? could work, and gives you more $$ to spend on your coffee habit.

                  As others have said- do you have a grinder?? You will need one whatever espresso machine you get


                  • #10
                    Re: Inspection Advice

                    Originally posted by 5F535A57575E320 link=1248243889/5#5 date=1248259228
                    DO YOU HAVEA GRINDER??
                    Yes, I use a EM0480 with my presso currently.


                    • #11
                      Re: Inspection Advice

                      Whats wrong with using the presso? I have never used one, but I suspect you can good results if you put the effort in (which you need with Silvia also)

                      Since you are on such a tight budget, you may just use your money for a grinder-upgrade and stick with the presso until more money comes in...

                      Good luck


                      • #12
                        Re: Inspection Advice

                        Any luck on finding any Silvias around. Keep. Checking here unfortunatley they usually dont last too long


                        • #13
                          Re: Inspection Advice

                          Originally posted by 2D282738490 link=1248243889/10#10 date=1248488179
                          Whats wrong with using the presso?
                          The Presso is fantastic and is by no means going to be retired just relocated. My main issue with the presso is milk texturing, as wonderful as the manual frother is, I feel Im ready for some steam.

                          As for a grinder upgrade, its definately on the cards but Ill make do with the Sunbeam until I can get together some more cash. If I dont get the machine now I will find myself with a nice grinder and a presso for a very long time, as my gf will sew my wallet shut.

                          All that aside Ive taken Azzs advice and just biten the bullet and bought new from a site sponsor. The price difference between 2nd hand ebay machines and a new 08 model was too small to justify the risk imo.

                          Thanks for all your contributions, be sure to look out for my next post
                          "Argh I just got my Silvia, now what do I do?"

                          Just kidding, Im attempting to do my homework



                          • #14
                            Re: Inspection Advice

                            Congrats!! Enjoy her shes a brilliant machine just work on dose, tamp and temp surfing- not hard but important!! Welcome to the Silvia club!!

                            Let us know how u go with her.


                            • #15
                              Re: Inspection Advice

                              Good luck Deano!

                              Silvia makes excellent coffee. Youll have to work on it, but its really rewarding.