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Noob questions about Italian machines as upgrade from Breville 800e

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  • Noob questions about Italian machines as upgrade from Breville 800e

    I have had home espresso machines for a long time now but only owned Breville middle of the road range. My Breville 800e steam wand is leaking and after taking a wrench to it and trying to see if it's fixable I am also considering a Rancilio Silva - or something similar.

    I have done a barista course at five senses but have inly practised on the Breville but am confident I would love having a proper machine with real standard sized baskets. I like espresso, flat white and machiatto but generally would use both espresso and steamer when making coffee, about 2-8 cups a day depending on who is visiting.

    I already have a sunbeam grinder - it's a burr grinder but from what I gather from this thread, a Rancilio might need a higher quality grinder?

    I have seen a reconditioned Silva v1 at around the $570 price tag that has been reconditioned, but for not much more the V5 which is on sale everywhere at present. Given I would prefer to spend around $400 - should I be looking at other italian brands or keep hoping for second hand?

    Thanks for any advice, tips, crushing realism etc.

  • #2
    Noob questions about Italian machines as upgrade from Breville 800e

    Hi Amyish,

    Let me try the crushing realism [emoji41]
    If you're trying to upgrade the quality of coffee at home, there are few fundamentals to consider, apart from country of manufacturing and the size of the group head.
    Yes, your starting point is a machine made in Italy and a fully commercial group head, hence why a Silvia WILL be an upgrade to a Breville.
    BUT, do you stop there?
    Do you want to maximize extraction of aromatics, sugars and other soluble in the coffee?
    Would you like to make great coffee consistently and easily?
    Would you like to be able to make coffee and steam at the same time so your espresso doesn't go cold while you're waiting for steam to build up pressure?
    Would you like to buy a machine that will last many years without the need to upgrade again?
    If yes to any of the above, then the question to ask is what do we need inside the box that does all that? Which technology is the right one for you?
    A good place to start looking for answers is our Buyer's Guide:

    Please feel free to PM me with any questions following your read.

    Good luck [emoji846]


    • #3
      A grinder upgrade might give you better bang for your buck? Keep your eyes peeled in the for sale section, you might pick up something used that will be an improvement.



      • #4
        8 milk coffees on a silvia will suck. Save up and get an hx


        • #5
          Yes, a Silvia (new) would be a step up. I realize you are on a budget, so saving up does not solve the problem. Yes, my jump from a Silvia to a HX (Rocket) was the biggest step I made. But I was in a position to do it. Now, back to the Silvia. I think they are around $750. They do make good coffee if the grind is right, this was the hardest lesson I learnt. The basket holds around 14gms and that is why the grind is critical. The extraction pressure can be adjusted mine was around 12 bars but I reset it to 10 bars - so buy from a sponsor who can set it up. The only real downside it that you MUST make sure you refill the boiler after steaming, that is you run the hot water tap setting until only water comes out of the steaming wand. The instructions come with the unit. It will easily make two milk coffees at a time, but does empty the reservoir rather quickly if you are making multiple coffees because of the manual refilling the boiler after steaming. I have tried to keep my reply in your real world.
          You do pay for the simplicity and easy of use of a HX, but you are adding around $1000 to the cost and that may be prohibitive.


          • #6
            I bought my Bezzera BZ99s on ebay for around $400 on the bay of evil. It's a heat exchanger (HX) machine which is still going strong 3 years or so later, despite being over 20 years old). Picked up a reasonably new Compak k3p here for around $300. I would keep looking second hand myself...