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  • Help with decision - Silivia upgrade.

    Have been a Silvia owner for 4 years, a V1 bought used in 2011 and teamed with a K3 grinder. Miss Silvia has recently given up the ghost, and given her age & what I think it will cost to repair (around $350), I'd rather put the money towards a new machine.

    I make one flat white / latte every weekday for breakfast, and two or sometimes three on weekends + occasional babycinos for the kids.

    Have been looking at options, and as this an unplanned upgrade have a limited budget - around $1000 tops. I've seen a couple of Vibiemme Domobar Piccolos, used, well within budget and they look like a great machine. From my reading, however, I see 2 consistent themes. (1) The E61 group head will be a real step up from the Silvia. (2) the fact that I brew milk based coffees means that I will quickly tire or "be over" the piccolo.

    My morning routine with Silvia I wouldnt say was particularly annoying. I pull my shot, flick on the steam switch, knock the grounds out of the pf, sugar in the cup with shot, put the milk in the jug and by the time I'm done machine is generally ready to steam. Maybe a minute?

    So will the experience actually be any different with the Piccolo, or just the same but with the benefits of the e61 group? If it really isn't a good option, then any suggestions for another machine? I'd love a HX or dual boiler, but can't see how my budget can get me there.

  • #2
    G'day GCC...

    What's your location mate? Sometimes, one or more of our Site Sponsors and other specialist retailers have reconditioned trade-in units up for sale at around the price of your budget. Might be worth consideration...

    Mal.

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    • #3
      Hi Mal. I'd be very happy if such an option presented.

      I'm in Sydney, I did send these details to all sponsors using the "quote" email many days back & only got 1 reply suggesting a single boiler e61, new price $ 1570. Jet Black Espresso are my local, and they have a few pre owned machines online, 1 in particular that I would grab if I could, but sadly not in budget.

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      • #4
        Ah, sorry to hear that...

        Maybe you could consider using an AeroPress for a while, until something within your budget turns up?

        I use our AeroPress quite a bit as it really makes for a most enjoyable alternative to espresso from time to time, in milk drinks as well....

        Hope something turns up for you soon mate,
        Mal.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by GCC View Post
          (2) the fact that I brew milk based coffees means that I will quickly tire or "be over" the piccolo.
          Eh, you've been doing it for some years on the Silvia so managing a single boiler E61 machine wouldn't be majorly different (Personally I went from a Silvia to an Isomac single boiler, to a VBM HX).

          But then if you want to go to an HX you might be best saving a bit more and keeping an eye on the Coffee Hardware For Sale forum here.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jbrewster View Post
            But then if you want to go to an HX you might be best saving a bit more and keeping an eye on the Coffee Hardware For Sale forum here.
            This is pretty solid advice, try and be patient, it is hard I know.

            If you are looking at the Piccolo on gumtree that says "Only used a couple of times in our communal kitchen in our office. Selling due to lack of use. In great condition."

            This sets of alarm bells for me and I think a better punt would be getting something from the for sale section here from a reasonably established member.

            However I could be wrong and it could be a great find......

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jbrewster View Post
              Eh, you've been doing it for some years on the Silvia so managing a single boiler E61 machine wouldn't be majorly different (Personally I went from a Silvia to an Isomac single boiler, to a VBM HX).

              But then if you want to go to an HX you might be best saving a bit more and keeping an eye on the Coffee Hardware For Sale forum here.
              I guess that's what I'm really trying to figure out. Given I'm used to Silvia and the process, the difference as far as I can see is that boiler size on the higher end SB's are bigger, so the wait for steam is longer? Does the E61 group add any more complexity?

              jbrewster, out if interest did you do milk drinks or straight shots?

              I did spot the machine on Gumtree, and another on EBay that suggest that sort of price point as a reference, but I wouldn't buy used without being sure of purchase / usage / service history. Definitely good advice to be patient and wait for a suitable HX or even DB with a good history, but from what I can see I'd need to budget $1500 minimum for something good?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by GCC View Post
                ? Does the E61 group add any more complexity?
                , but from what I can see I'd need to budget $1500 minimum for something good?
                E61. Complexity ?
                ..technically yes, but it sure simplifies the shot making process !
                IE,.. temperature stability, pre infusion.

                budget for a HX ?... I have bought several good HX m/c's for way under $1k ....just be patient.
                And don't expect "perfect, as new" equipment from a classified add sale !

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                • #9
                  $350 to repair a Silvia!? So the boiler, solenoid and pump all went at once?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by pyrmontboy200 View Post
                    $350 to repair a Silvia!? So the boiler, solenoid and pump all went at once?
                    Boiler gone + service.

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                    • #11
                      If it was me I'd just put the boiler in myself. The beauty of the Silvia is that if anything is wrong google will show up pictorial guides and often videos to demonstrate how to do it. Difficulty level is on par with fixing a leaking tap in the bathroom if you've ever done that. Of course if you couldn't be bothered, then yeah I suppose the machine is a write-off, each to their own and good luck with the new purchase!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by pyrmontboy200 View Post
                        If it was me I'd just put the boiler in myself. The beauty of the Silvia is that if anything is wrong google will show up pictorial guides and often videos to demonstrate how to do it. Difficulty level is on par with fixing a leaking tap in the bathroom if you've ever done that. Of course if you couldn't be bothered, then yeah I suppose the machine is a write-off, each to their own and good luck with the new purchase!
                        My 3 YO played a hand in Miss Silvia's demise, and I overheard Mrs G reassuring her thus...

                        Don't worry darling. Once mummy had a party and blew up daddy's speakers. Instead of being angry he was happy, and suddenly we had new speakers that cost a lot of money.

                        I think she has got this one figured out too...

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                        • #13
                          Cool, when you do junk your machine, maybe consider putting it up on here for parts? I might be interested...

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by GCC View Post
                            I guess that's what I'm really trying to figure out. Given I'm used to Silvia and the process, the difference as far as I can see is that boiler size on the higher end SB's are bigger, so the wait for steam is longer? Does the E61 group add any more complexity?
                            The elements in them are also larger, you'll get steam in a similar timeframe to Silvia, you'll also get more steam and drier steam.

                            Originally posted by GCC View Post
                            jbrewster, out if interest did you do milk drinks or straight shots?
                            Mostly milk-based, main reason for the upgrade was I had some funds available and I thought "why not" .

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                            • #15
                              As another poster alluded to above there's that Piccolo on gum tree at the moment, but also a La Scala butterfly for 800. Personally I wouldn't care about service history etc, everything is fixable, just get the best bargain you can and fix stuff as it breaks!

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