Advice: Upgrade from Rancilio Silvia - Page 2

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
BodieZoffa
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#11: Post by BodieZoffa »

The brew boiler/group is the same, but no doubt Rancilio really controlled the flow rate on the Pro/X compared to the typical gushing of early Silvias. I can also say without question that the PID implementation for the Pro/X is simply better than adding one, as I have had both versions... I didn't think I would see any real difference and rarely use steam, but the Pro model is definitely an improvement on the already good original.

MikeinChicago (original poster)
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#12: Post by MikeinChicago (original poster) »

Jeff wrote: Grinders at a "moderate" price that I would consider for someone interested in traditional or medium-roast espresso include:

* Various Eureka grinders if you insist on a hopper-fed grinder
* Refurb (or used) Baratza Sette 270 or Vario with steel burrs
* Option-O Lagom Mini if you are only pulling a few shots at a time
* Perhaps the DF64 in one of its recent incarnations, stock burrs OK to start, can upgrade burrs later

Thanks, very helpful. I'll be looking into the grinders you recommended.
baldheadracing wrote:I would definitely recommend changing grinders given that you pull light roasts.

I would consider replacing the pump and install an Auber PID kit (auberins.com) in the Silvia. The kit can be easily installed in an afternoon as all the wiring is pre-cut and prepared with terminals installed. Then there is no reason to consider a Silvia Pro X given that you never steam, as the brew boiler and group of the Pro X are identical to the regular Silvia; the only appreciable difference is PID temperature control.

The only spring lever machine in your price range that I would consider in North America and for light roasts is the Elektra Micro Casa a Leva. However, the Elektra does produce a very different cup from a Silvia. Although I have both machines; I never use the Silvia for light roasts - but definitions vary on what is a "light roast," as Jeff explains above. My definition of "light roast" will not taste good on most stock pump machines (without flow/pressure control, etc.).

What I would do if I were you is fix up and PID the Silvia, and pick up a relatively inexpensive manual lever like the Flair 58. That would give you more consistency in your current Silvia and allow for experimentation.

Good luck!
This is great, thank you. I'll be looking into a better grinder then and a lever machine sounds interesting. The Flair 58 won't work for the partner (ahem) with the additional work of heating the water separately but the La Pavoni EPC-8 does. I'm going to dig into the search function and see what comes up about this. It also looks cool and would fit.

Splatcat
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#13: Post by Splatcat »


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baldheadracing
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#14: Post by baldheadracing »

MikeinChicago wrote: This is great, thank you. I'll be looking into a better grinder then and a lever machine sounds interesting. The Flair 58 won't work for the partner (ahem) with the additional work of heating the water separately but the La Pavoni EPC-8 does. I'm going to dig into the search function and see what comes up about this. It also looks cool and would fit.
If the Flair is too much, then I would say that any Pavoni would be way too much of a PITA to get decent results out of.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

vecchi della seattle
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#15: Post by vecchi della seattle »

I can work up a little nostalgia for my old Silvia. It did the magic trick of turning bad grocery store beans into a pretty tasty espresso. When I got the E61/HX machine, that went poof and everything I thought I knew about espresso went in the trash can. If you're a happy camper now, changing out that vibe pump might be the move.

MikeinChicago (original poster)
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#16: Post by MikeinChicago (original poster) »

baldheadracing wrote:If the Flair is too much, then I would say that any Pavoni would be way too much of a PITA to get decent results out of.
Ha! It's not too much of a PITA for me, but heating water separately would be a non-starter for my partner! Figuring out how to pull down a lever on the Pavoni might seem easier to him. I think.
vecchi della seattle wrote:I can work up a little nostalgia for my old Silvia. It did the magic trick of turning bad grocery store beans into a pretty tasty espresso. When I got the E61/HX machine, that went poof and everything I thought I knew about espresso went in the trash can. If you're a happy camper now, changing out that vibe pump might be the move.
That's just it - I haven't been super happy for a while but my job life kept me otherwise occupied. Now I have some time to sort things out!

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baldheadracing
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#17: Post by baldheadracing »

MikeinChicago wrote:Ha! It's not too much of a PITA for me, but heating water separately would be a non-starter for my partner! Figuring out how to pull down a lever on the Pavoni might seem easier to him. I think.
I was referring to the temperature control needed on a stock Pavoni, in addition to the pressure control coming from how one pulls the lever.

There are mods to control brew temperature, but regardless a Pavoni is a manual (direct) lever, not a spring lever. It just takes more skill and technique to get excellent and consistent results from a direct lever vs. a spring lever, and the Pavoni is perhaps the hardest direct lever machine on the market to master (well). If you want a direct lever I would recommend a Streitman, but that's at a slightly higher price level, albeit with vastly better build quality than current Pavoni's.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

MikeinChicago (original poster)
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#18: Post by MikeinChicago (original poster) replying to baldheadracing »

Something else to consider then, thanks. The Streitman is beautiful but I'd rather not wait 6+ weeks! Is there another lever machine that might work? And when you say "temperature control on a stock Pavoni" you're implying there is none out of the box, right?

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baldheadracing
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#19: Post by baldheadracing replying to MikeinChicago »

There is temperature control, in the sense that the machine will always make coffee. However, it is up to you to manage brew temperature. That is fairly easy to learn for the first shot made within a few minutes of the machine being turned on, more effort for the second, and needs active efforts for any shots afterwards ... all of which are more effort in comparison to boiling a kettle.

As for lever machines, there are none that I would be comfortable recommending - for various reasons - that are within your constraints of size and budget and light roasts (and also availability and ease of use).
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

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Jeff
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#20: Post by Jeff »

:twisted:

How many years are you going to own this machine?

What's six weeks on that scale?