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  • silvia vs em7000

    Hi guys,

    I've been clicking through these forums for the past week or two, trying to learn about the interesting world of home coffee machines. My wife and I currently have an Electrolux ELM5400MR pod machine which rarely gets used while we constantly buy coffees from the cafe up the road.

    While the coffee from the electrolux is "ok" at best, we have no control and the milk frother sucks. We decided to look into getting a manual machine and from browsing this forum - it seems that the Rancilio Silvia is the most recommended in the pricebracket.

    Our expectation was that it would cost around $1k for a machine and grinder which is a bit higher than we're hoping to spend.

    I have been offered a sunbeam EM7000 for $450 and wondered how it compared to the silvia? It means we can get a machine + grinder for less than the silvia alone.

    Any opinions or advice would be great!

    Cheers

  • #2
    Hi there - I've got an EM7000 that I've had for a year, and an EM6910 for 6 years before that, and aside from the long term build quality issues with the 6910, I've been happy, and the EM7000 seems really good so far.

    I've got a friend who has a Rancilio Silvia - he's also happy, but from his comments, there are a few things that it doesn't do. It takes a good half hour to warm up, you can't brew and steam at the same time, and it's more of an art actually producing drinkable coffee than any type of science. On the other hand, he reckons that he pulls a really good shot about 1/3rd of the time but he's only had it 3 years. And he's started roasting his own beans.

    To my mind, it's the difference between a brand new Mazda 3 and my dad's old BMW 2001 Z3 convertible. One will get you places you want to go reliably, safely and with reasonable certainty. The other is a lot more fun but harder to drive, with shocking fuel efficiency and more than average breakdowns, with expensive parts.

    Look - my metaphor is breaking down here, but you should get the idea by now.

    Comment


    • #3
      I love Silvia and swear by her. I agree that she can be rewarding but also difficult to deal with but I think it's worth it if for no other reason the longevity you will get from the superior quality of the components. However if buying the Em7000 allows you to buy a decent grinder then that should be deciding factor. You should at least aim to spend at least the same again on a quality grinder.

      Comment


      • #4
        thanks for the responses guys. i actually scored a via venezia from a friend so i can gauge my interest in this whole home made coffee thing. i've posted a thead over here to get some tips and pointers. thanks again

        Comment


        • #5
          No interest yet for the Crossland CC1....

          The crossland seems like a nice machine to begin with... packing some good features in a nice price IMHO....

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by jztilly View Post
            Hi guys,

            I've been clicking through these forums for the past week or two, trying to learn about the interesting world of home coffee machines. My wife and I currently have an Electrolux ELM5400MR pod machine which rarely gets used while we constantly buy coffees from the cafe up the road.

            While the coffee from the electrolux is "ok" at best, we have no control and the milk frother sucks. We decided to look into getting a manual machine and from browsing this forum - it seems that the Rancilio Silvia is the most recommended in the pricebracket.

            Our expectation was that it would cost around $1k for a machine and grinder which is a bit higher than we're hoping to spend.

            I have been offered a sunbeam EM7000 for $450 and wondered how it compared to the silvia? It means we can get a machine + grinder for less than the silvia alone.

            Any opinions or advice would be great!

            Cheers
            Hi jztilly,

            We find new (and experienced) "baristi" find it easier to get better milk on a boiler machine than on a thermoblock (Sunbeam) because the boiler machines have stronger steam. However the Via Venezia that you've been given has a pretty small boiler so it will run out of puff pretty quickly. The Silvia and Lelit machines on the other hand are boiler machines which generate plenty of steam for a couple of milk coffees in one go.

            As far as shots are concerned, the Silvia baskets are quite shallow and this can give a few new baristi some grief as noted by some others. The Lelit and Sunbeam have deeper baskets which makes the sweet spot a bit bigger and easier to hit.

            Warm up time: the Silvia takes longer than the Lelit or Sunbeam.

            Longevity: the Silvia and Lelit are made of brass and stainless and we have customers into their second decade of use with these.

            Easy to live with: it depends. If you can learn how to refill a boiler machine (30 sec operation) you'll find it just as easy as a twin thermoblock. If not, you may be better off with a twin thermoblock.

            $$$: have a think about what you spend at the local cafe over a year and take that into account for your budget. You'll only save this money if you have a capable machine and grinder and reasonable technique. Making great tasting coffee is more about science than art, and that's just as true on a Silvia, Lelit or Sunbeam.

            See how you go with the Via Venezia and if the steam isn't up to scratch consider one of the Lelits or a Silvia as well as the Sunbeam. You can often get tuition into the package where you find the Italian brands. If you take up the option of the cheap Sunbeam also budget for a barista course. But before you do, see if you can get a demonstration of making microfoam on the Sunbeam versus on a Lelit or Silvia so you know whether the milk will be at the quality you want. Buying a machine because it is cheap which doesn't end up performing the way you want it to, ends up costing you money.

            charlie

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by JetBlack_Espresso View Post
              Hi jztilly,

              We find new (and experienced) "baristi" find it easier to get better milk on a boiler machine than on a thermoblock (Sunbeam) because the boiler machines have stronger steam. However the Via Venezia that you've been given has a pretty small boiler so it will run out of puff pretty quickly. The Silvia and Lelit machines on the other hand are boiler machines which generate plenty of steam for a couple of milk coffees in one go.

              Easy to live with: it depends. If you can learn how to refill a boiler machine (30 sec operation) you'll find it just as easy as a twin thermoblock. If not, you may be better off with a twin thermoblock.

              See how you go with the Via Venezia and if the steam isn't up to scratch consider one of the Lelits or a Silvia as well as the Sunbeam. You can often get tuition into the package where you find the Italian brands. If you take up the option of the cheap Sunbeam also budget for a barista course. But before you do, see if you can get a demonstration of making microfoam on the Sunbeam versus on a Lelit or Silvia so you know whether the milk will be at the quality you want. Buying a machine because it is cheap which doesn't end up performing the way you want it to, ends up costing you money.

              charlie
              Just for the record, amongst far too many others to list, I owned a Silvia for nine years, as well as a 2 group La Pavoni (since 1985, with a two year break) and a manual paddle Electra for nearly 20 years (divorce casualty, sob). I bought the first of my two Sunbeam 6910's (in 2010) and my 7000 (bought a few months back). Oh, I have sold one of my 6910's in perfect working order when I bought the 7000. Maintained correctly, they are a solid workhorse. I have no doubt it could make ten years easily, as could my old Silvia. I also see a lot of dead Silvias with blown boilers: one "lack of water" brain fade and exit one Silvia boiler. Ditto dead 6910's: failure to clean them properly or use Perth's tap water directly and they WILL fail - and so have 28 LM Strada's recently (all reputedly under three months old!).


              Refilling a 6910 / 7000 involves simply pouring the water into the reservoir from above. No need to stop pulling shots whilst simultaneously steaming milk while it happens, and it probably does not take 30 seconds unless you pour very slllooowwwlllllyyyy. Even an 8 year old can (and did) do it when I needed both hands (see below).


              “Better milk on a boiler vs thermoblock”: You must be thinking of a "lower than 6910" as the small boilers on domestic machines run out of puff long before a 6910 or 7000 will. True microfoam (complete with the extra sweetness) only requires a little practice. Dedicated steaming (read LARGE) thermoblocks are more stable than any non-commercial sized boiler over an insanely long haul. One Xmas day I did four litres in separate one litre milk jugs without a break in my older 6910 while I pulled a dozen or so coffee shots and made several hot chocolates: no way could my Silvia do that in its wildest dreams (even just the milk bit, let alone the shots as well – the “barista” would go mad trying to temp surf it). That is why they use thermoblocks rather than boilers in Chem Labs where temperatures are critical.


              The other reason I did not replace my Silvia (moved o/s for a while and sold it in working order before I left) was the frustration of not being able to deliver a latte properly: if I cannot deliver the shot and the froth within 5 seconds I call it a fail. After living with two different "upmarket" commercial beasts for two years there was no way back to a Silvia. The 6910 allows you to pull the shot whilst steaming the milk. A little practice and you can time them to within a second on a 6910. It is so nice not to fluff around with microwaves & plungers, so called "milk frothers" et al when I am pulling an espresso shot.


              FWIW, I originally bought the 6910 as a stop gap whilst agonising between a Lelit, another Silvia and a Crosslands. The intention was to use the 6910 as a large milk frother when I bought my “real espresso machine”. After a month I was impressed enough with the 6910 to shelve plan A. When I was doing a double work / home thing I eventually bought a second 6910 for my other site.


              Moving on to the 7000: it would be the most idiot proof milk steamer I know of. Even easier than most commercial machines like La Pav's, La Cimbali and La Marzocco's (one blink and the milk may scald). I would be quite startled if ANY domestic espresso machine would be easier to use in that regard (add my Silvia, various Brevilles [inc. the 2 boiler ones], Gaggia's and DeLonghi's to my first hand mix).


              The Sunbeams all came with a free "barista course" lasting a couple of hours or so. It covers all the coffee basics quite well and also gives a few machine specific hints. My friends and relatives have benefited by the three courses (even a Silvia owner!).


              Commercially: no contest, I would be choosing a full blown commercial machine: just don't expect me to live with one of the PITA's at home again. Even my beloved La Pav is close to being retired (plumbing it in and having a 15 amp power point at hand is becoming tedious). I reckon if you try a 6910 / 7000 (esp the 7000) you may be startled at how easy they are to live with domestically, and how little maintenance is required to keep them shipshape. Oh, and they can make great coffee shots and lattes.




              TampIt

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by TampIt View Post


                “Better milk on a boiler vs thermoblock”: You must be thinking of a "lower than 6910" as the small boilers on domestic machines run out of puff long before a 6910 or 7000 will. True microfoam (complete with the extra sweetness) only requires a little practice.


                TampIt
                In the years we've been running our barista course, people have generally found it easier to get microfoam using a boiler machine like the Lelit or Silvia rather than a thermoblock - including the 6910. I'm not talking about how long each machine can steam. But that's just what we've found. People will have different experiences, views and opinions and that's all good. Even more reason I recommend the OP try a couple of machines on his shortlist if at all possible before buying. After all, the only thing that really matters is whether a machine does what the owner wants it to,

                charlie

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thumbs UP EM7000

                  I have an EM7000 since May2014 and are very happy with it. A few little design items on this are not as functional as the EM6910 (drip tray indicator, no rear wheels, not as solid) but otherwise I find it a solid machine and would recommend to anyone who has a domestic interest in great coffee, but is not obsessive or OCD. Naturally a good grinder is required as well.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Matthew8 View Post
                    but is not obsessive or OCD.
                    I'm not OCD...

                    It's my taste-buds, honest...

                    Mal.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Looks like the OP has sorted his machine - but for anyone searching the forums for ideas - here is my experience of the last few weeks.

                      I have owned an EM6910 for the last 7 years, 1 of which it was in storage. It is a good quality machine, and I assume that the 7000 is similar - however I have noted that I have been lucky - my first repair was 6 years in whilst others only make it to 6 months in. The long term durability seems an issue. I have always been able to get good microfoam on the EM6910 but I worked in cafes in the past and have been a bit obsessive about perfecting the coffee that I can make.
                      At the end the EM6910 needed a collar replacement $250 fitted and then started humming when only turned on at the wall. I decided against repairs this time and to upgrade.

                      So I went with the PL042 - the espresso/grinder combo that Lelit make. I have to say that (Day 2) I am very happy with it. Making microfoam requires less effort, shots are more consistent and the machine is in general easier to use (my wife, who never warmed to making on the Sunbeam, has found it exceptionally easy). Do have to prime the boiler, but being a single boiler, couldn't expect anything else, it only takes a few seconds. I am sure that once I get a routine that it will be easier again.

                      Why didn't I go the 7000? To be honest after the breakdowns, and the other stories that I have heard about some machines, I decided to go with a machine that is simple and solid. I will let you know how it goes as I work more with it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        thanks guys. ive been working hard at it for the past couple weeks but have still had no luck getting tasty coffee out of this via venezia. i don't think it's going to work in our household and we'll continue to buy coffees from up the road. thanks again though

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jztilly View Post
                          thanks guys. ive been working hard at it for the past couple weeks but have still had no luck getting tasty coffee out of this via venezia. i don't think it's going to work in our household and we'll continue to buy coffees from up the road. thanks again though
                          Hi there mate, sorry to hear its hard work with the Via. Have you got a grinder or are you using preground stuff from the supermarket?

                          If you are using preground it'll come out water and horribly under extracted no matter what as you need the very fine grind only an on site grinder can provide.

                          I was gifted a Sunbeam EM6910 for my 21st, and I'm now 27. It gets used every day, and has only needed a new grouphead seal in that time, which was $15 or so. I bought a grinder, the upmarket Sunbeam one to match it (EM280?) and set on '5' it will give a good grind and respectable shot with supermarket beans.

                          I use Woolworths brand beans if I'm out of home roasted ones as they seem fairly fresh and are quite cheap.

                          Give a good grinder a go, or get someone took grind you some coffee, before you give up. Definitely consider the 6910 or 7000 as a machine to own and grow with if you cannot master the Via after grinderation.

                          All the best mate - boingk

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jztilly View Post
                            thanks guys. ive been working hard at it for the past couple weeks but have still had no luck getting tasty coffee out of this via venezia. i don't think it's going to work in our household and we'll continue to buy coffees from up the road. thanks again though
                            Have you bothered with a barista course. Highly reccomended if you haven't.

                            Have you got a decent grinder?

                            A good grinder and good technique are all that is really required.

                            When you say you are not getting a tasty coffee, what excacly is wrong with what you are producing? Watery? Bitter? Telling us that might help us guide you towards where your problem is

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