What was your upgrade path from a Rancilio Silvia class espresso machine? - Page 2

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

#11: Post by Alan »

Just upgraded my Silvia to an Astra Gourmet GS (HX machine). The E-61 grouphead is drilled and tapped with a thermocouple in it which makes the flush pretty easy to get right. I am liking it a lot. 2200W and 4liters of steaming power.

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#12: Post by mrgnomer »

HB wrote:Many espresso enthusiasts upgrade one or more times. Have you upgraded? (For those who plan to upgrade and have decided on the type of espresso machine, please select above as if you had already upgraded).
Less than a year after starting with a Silvia my upgrade was to a Quickmill Vetrano. Excellent home use e61 HX IMHO.
I wanted consistency, adjustablilty and reliability. There's not many double boiler machines to choose from vs. HX machines but even if there were more double boilers I felt I'd rather have the flexibility and control an HX offers.

It's been two months since the upgrade and it looks like upgrade fever has been cured.


#13: Post by affas »

After 2 years of the Silvia I ended up with an Spaziale S1. So easy and nice to use. Makes excellent shots time after time and the foaming is just so easy and makes me very good microfoam, even in small quantities of milk. The price is not so bad at all :D

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#14: Post by mogogear »

As a lever -head I kind of feel lonely in this group.
I started with and moved to :
Rancilio Betsy>Silvia> La Pavoni Europiccola>Olympia Cremina>La Peppina>Gaggia Compacta( commericail lever)>Conti Prestina (Same )

I have tried out some small.. HX machines for size- Livietta, Astra Gourmet and a Isomac TEA- maybe next year...
greg moore

LMWDP #067


#15: Post by jimoncaffeine »

My upgrade path - aka "The Upgrade Cycle of Doom..."

Various steam toys - (about 25 years ago)
-Gaggia Espresso - (about 20 years ago and still in use)
-Starbucks Barista - (about 5 years ago - pressurized portafilter caused me to think I had grown to dislike espresso!)
-Gaggia Baby - (about 2 years ago - after I realized it was my machine wrecking the espresso.)
-Quick Mill Anita (semi-auto, HX, pour-over) - (about 1 year ago - after I could not find a decent, used, commercial machine that I could afford.)
-Faema Compact S (semi-auto, HX, plumb-in) - (about 2 months ago - purchased all parts in a box, rebuilt and re-assembled - but it only cost $50... and it looked like way too much fun to let go by... I was on it like a crow on a dead squirrel! :) )
-La San Marco, Practical 95e (auto, HX, plumb-in) - (A week ago today... Found it used for $300 and just couldn't pass it up.)

I've enjoyed having an HX machine compared to the single boiler non-hx's in the past. Its nice to be able to steam milk drinks while pulling the shot meant for the drink. A larger boiler makes it much more stable when the boiler is filled than for the same amount in a smaller boiler. The plumb-in machines added far more to my enjoyment than I ever believed that they would. (Its nice not worrying about the water tank level all the time and you go through A LOT more water with an HX machine due to the cooling flushes.) The auto-dosing on the latest machine is nice too since you just sort of gaze occasionally at the creama while steaming the milk rather than having to stop it manually but, I wouldn't not buy a semi-auto machine just because it didn't have this feature.

I've enjoyed the upgrades I've made. I've sold everything from the Starbucks Barista to the Anita for more money than I originally spent on them. So far I've lost $295 on the Anita (sold it last week for $700) but I got a year of trouble-free use out of it and that's worth something to me as well. I suspect I will make up for it when I sell the Faema since I've only got $150 in it, including the rebuild parts.

For me, coffee is a hobby and meant to be fun as well as taste good. I'm having so much fun, lately, that I'm running out of counter space! (Check out the pic. You can see my gaggia mdf decaf grinder right beside it for scale!)



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#16: Post by Psyd »

My girlfriend's mom gave us a no-name espresso machine for some holiday. I started using it, and loved it more than any other coffee I'd had up til then. I needed to have a 'real' espresso machine, so I got a Krups steamtoy. Went through about four of those and decided that I wanted a 'pro' styled machine, and got the Krups Thermoblock pump machine. Yeah...
Then I saw Silvia, and fell in love. All my friends thought I was crazy. Then I made them all capps. All my friends thought I was crazy and glad of it. Silvia did me well, with her compatriot, Rocky, for many years, and all my friends, knowing how crazy I was, would keep an eye on me. Then it happened. My present girlfriend told me about a small intimate theatre that was closing, and the machine that was going to go with it. I bought the Astoria-badged grinder for a fraction of what it was worth. It was a small place, and the espresso machine was only abused on show nights and late mornings. It was a cafe by day, and mostly closed or running small shows at nite. The machine was a two group Astoria 'Big Gulp' (named for the size of the cup that would fit under the group, although I'll never figure out why they did that...) and it wasn't generating any interest. I suggested as I'd love to have it, but could only afford the most modest of semi-pro gear, and wouldn't be able to afford anything near what it was worth. The owner said something akin to "SOLD!" and I came by the next day to disco my new babe and load her lovingly into the back of my pickup. I took her apart, slowly and gently, carefully cleaning the signs of abuse that she had suffered. Fortunately, the onliest parts that needed replacing were the PF gaskets and one of the three-way valves. The three-way was the result of a bad braze (solder?) during manufacturing, so the mistreatment that she suffered injured nothing but her dignity. I had originally meant to sell her to a bud, and use a small profit to justify getting a single group E61 machine or a DB, or something equally as nice that I could plumb into my kitchen and plug into a wall outlet, but fate would have it otherwise,
My buddy's plans for a coffeeshop fell through, and she sat, all cleaned up and nice, in my living room. In a fit of boredom one day, I decided that I had all the plumbing I needed where the dishwasher used to be. Well, it's still there, but I don't like using them, so mine is a pots & pans cabinet now. Needless to say, the butcher block top or the washer and the remaining plumbing seemed ready-made for an espresso machine. All I had to do now was to drill a 3/4" hole in the side of my kitchen and park an eighty dollar 220V recept on the wall above my hot water heater, and, VIOLA, espresso. I'm not sure that I'll ever be able to go back.
One day I may want the use of those cabinets back, and I might try looking for a single group that'll impress me. I'm not sure what that is, the GS3 or the Cyncra, but really, who'd trade me for the Astoria? I don't think that I'd want to put out a whole lot of cash to 'downgrade' (I'm not saying that the GS3 or the Cyncra are not as good as the Astoria), but I don't think I could tell anyone here if I didn't get at least one of those machines as my next one!
Espresso Sniper
One Shot, One Kill

LMWDP #175


#17: Post by zin1953 »

Hmmm . . .

Well let's see, circa 1976, I bought a La Pavoni Europiccola EPC-8 for $299. It was my first espresso machine, and -- hey, it was 30 years ago; what did I know? It was finicky about the grind; it was impossible to refill the boiler when company was over (let alone impossible to make multiple drinks at one time); it was a Royal PITA!

Of course, now I realize that a) it was a great machine, exactly as advertised; and b) I was the one expecting it to do things for which it was never designed. It was Operator Error.

So after about 5-6 years of struggle, I got myself a Coffee Gaggia. Had it for about 10 years until it died. I figured, since it too was $299, it had served me well and I got another one to replace it.

Now that I've retired from 35 years in the wine trade, I have (a little) more time to devote to coffee, and so recently upgraded to an HX machine: an Ala di Vittoria La Valentina.

And I already know that -- at some point down the road, when we remodel the kitchen -- I'll have to go plumbed-in/rotary.

A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.


#18: Post by Reasnor »

Mine's a similar story. My sister gave me a Krups steam machine (which seemed highly impressive at the time). It just didn't do what I wanted it to. When I got married, I convinced my coffee-hating wife that we had enough money to buy the set-up I had always wanted: Silvia and a Solis Maestro. Well, I had upgrade fever shortly after, as I enjoy mostly milk-based drinks. So, less than a year later, I upgraded to a Nuova Simonelli Oscar.

This machine has been a workhorse. I've done weddings with it where I make 100 8 oz single lattes in 3 hours - no problem. But, this darned website has me itchin'. And I'll have to wait until my coffee-hating wife scratches it. I'd be interested in the Brewtus, maybe the S1, or possibly the Appia.
Matt Nikkel


#19: Post by edna713 »

Skip the HX, and go direct to double boiler

I owned a great HX and HATED it.

but just my opinion,

peace to all.



#20: Post by Lovey »

G'day all,
here looks like a good place for a first post, I thought I'd better stop lurking and make a post :oops:
I stepped up from a Silvia to a Giotto premium last week, very happy with it so far :D
All the best,