Should I first upgrade Rancilio Silvia or Niche Zero for light/medium espresso

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
Merlino

#1: Post by Merlino »

Hi all!

Hoping to draw on the collective wisdom of this forum, thanks a bunch in advance! :)

My current setup is a v1 Silvia from 2006 (I'm the first owner, she's been with me for a while!) that I bought as a college student and PID'd at some point around 2018, and a Niche Zero that I bought in 2020. Lately I've found myself going more and more in the direction of lighter roasts, but I feel like this setup isn't supporting that. I'd like to upgrade both machine and grinder but I don't have the money to upgrade them both at the same time.

For a grinder, I've kinda narrowed my list down to a Flat Max with the sweet burrs (I like somewhat longer shots, usually 1:2-2.5) or the EG-1 with Core burrs. For a machine, I really don't know yet. I like the Decent's ability to analyse and control so many of the variables, but I don't like the look of the machine and I really don't like the sound it produces. I have always really like Synesso's MVP Hydra when I saw it in shops (and I've been able to play with it every now and then), and so I'm really curious about the ES1 if it ever ships. Other than this, I just have a lot more investigating to do, I suppose.

My immediate question is: what do you believe is holding me back more, the machine or the grinder? I know the default answer is the grinder, but given that my Silvia is an old lady and she never was top of the line to begin with (though she was the best I could get for my money at the time and has served me very well over the years), I'm wondering if it is not the machine? I want to avoid buying an amazing grinder and then not getting much benefit from it because the machine can't support the grinder.

Thanks!

nisb

#2: Post by nisb »

Espresso only or do you do milk drinks?

I'd consider doing a cheaper interim setup that would allow you to better understand what you like in machine and grinder. E.g. a BDB with slayer mod and DF64 with MP+cast burrs - that would get you nearly there in show quality but you may quickly have the itch to upgrade.

Splatcat

#3: Post by Splatcat »

I run a Silvia and also got the upgrade itch a while back. I decided to do the grinder 1st and went from a breville smart grinder to a Ceado e37s. It made a significant improvement in workflow, taste and consistency. Next I'll upgrade the machine to a profitec pro 700 or possibly a londinium vectis. I'd say starting with a good future proofed grinder is a good change.

Merlino (original poster)

#4: Post by Merlino (original poster) »

nisb wrote:Espresso only or do you do milk drinks?

I'd consider doing a cheaper interim setup that would allow you to better understand what you like in machine and grinder. E.g. a BDB with slayer mod and DF64 with MP+cast burrs - that would get you nearly there in show quality but you may quickly have the itch to upgrade.
1-2 milk drinks and about 2 espresso a day, yes. I have indeed considered getting an intermediate machine, though the BDB (or any Breville) has never made the list because I just don't like the looks of them, at all.. I will look into the DF64, thanks!
Splatcat wrote:I run a Silvia and also got the upgrade itch a while back. I decided to do the grinder 1st and went from a breville smart grinder to a Ceado e37s. It made a significant improvement in workflow, taste and consistency. Next I'll upgrade the machine to a profitec pro 700 or possibly a londinium vectis. I'd say starting with a good future proofed grinder is a good change.
Great to hear you're happy with your setup. It sounds like the Silvia can handle a grinder upgrade like that in your opinion, correct? What type of roasts do you typically drink? Wondering if the Silvia can handle lighter style roasts.

Splatcat

#5: Post by Splatcat »

I prefer a lighter roast. Nothing over city, usually. The Silvia can handle it with a good grinder. If you haven't yet, you should check your pressure and possibly lower it. The Silvia is a great machine, I just want to try a different group. If the Vectis comes out before I upgrade, I'd seriously consider it.

User avatar
Randy G.

#6: Post by Randy G. »

The solution is to not look at the espresso machine while drinking your coffee. In terms of the Decent, I am an amateur musician and I feel that the reports of its sound are over emphaised. Yes, it is different in looks and sound, but there is nothing even remotely like it in terms of real-time feedback and control. I am not talking you into it- just saying, find better reasons to not get one. :wink:
Check my website. There are a few late chapters in my blog about the Decent and why I bought one, as well as a chapter about its oddities.
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
* 22nd Anniversary 2000-2022 *

Merlino (original poster)

#7: Post by Merlino (original poster) »

Having a read now, thanks! :)

TallDan

#8: Post by TallDan »

I'd suggest going with the machine first.

First, your grinder is easily in the realm of capable and well reviewed equipment. You are farther up the ladder on your grinder than your machine, so more money on the grinder is going to be moving farther into the territory of diminishing returns. Your upgrade money will bring much more capability by replacing the Silvia.

Second, a HX or DB machine is going to be a nice change in the workflow from the Silvia. I enjoy the process of making espresso much more now than I did with the Silvia. From a usability/workflow perspective, you won't improve much on the niche, though.