What was your upgrade path from a Rancilio Silvia class espresso machine? - Page 3

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.
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HB
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#21: Post by HB »

Lovey wrote: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,
Steve.
Welcome Steve, most were lurkers at one time. The Giotto Premium was one of the site's comparison machines for the Andreja Premium and Expobar Brewtus buyer's guides. Sharp looking machine and good performer; I'm sure you'll be pleased with it for many years to come.
Dan Kehn

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luca
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#22: Post by luca »

edna713 wrote:Skip the HX, and go direct to double boiler

I owned a great HX and HATED it.

but just my opinion,

peace to all.

e
"Dual boiler," when used in the exceptionally broad manner above, is just another buzz word. We're starting to see more and more dual boiler machines around ... does anyone seriously think that the kitchenaid machine would be any good? Why not buy two gaggias and put them side-by-side? Dual boiler, but in two different machines. Will either of these perform anywhere near as well as a synesso or a hotrodded marzocco? No. I've only used a few domestic dual-boiler machines. Some were OK, I thought that one of them delivered far less clarity of flavour than a HX that I had used not too long ago. I haven't used any that blew me away, but, like I said, I haven't used very many at all. All that I want to point out is that it's not necessarily true to say DB>HX.

Similarly, all HXs are not created equal. There are a myriad of different factors at play; thermosyphon restrictors, flow restrictors, hx inlet length, boiler size, basket, water distribution ... Unfortunately, I think that it's more or less impossible to judge how these things perform just from a statistics page on the internet alone, which will not mention most of these factors. I'm not going to name the machines, because people seem to get irritated when I don't like their toys, but to give you a brief rundown of some of my (brief) prosumer HX experiences:

Machine A: 100mL cooling flush, espresso went from dark to blonde relatively quickly. Massive steam power, pretty good steam tip.

Machine B: 10mL cooling flush (just to clean the screen), picture-perfect pour. Steam OK for 6oz cappuccini, but not very abundant. Stock steam tip sucked.

Machine C: 300mL cooling flush (!), 10 seconds to first drops, regardless of grind; espresso started off very dark, then finished an OK colour. Heaps of steam, but, again, stock tip sucked.

Three different machines, nothing too different about them on paper, but Machine B leads the pack by a mile, IMHO.

Chris Tacy's bricoletta review is also worth reading on this sort of point. He noted that with both the water filtration unit and the flojet installed he got shots with great clarity of flavour, but with only one of them his results were a lot muddier. How the heck-a-roo can you tell that from a page full of statistics or a generalisation? Jim Schulman's current review of the Elektra Semiautomatica also does a very good job of pointing out subtleties.

Just to further illustrate the point, my local roastery has a stock, non-pidded, linea sitting opposite a HX that they have had built to their specifications. When the HX had 0.8mm flow restrictors, it was performing way better than the linea - tiny flush and the extraction was thicker and smoother, whilst still getting those origin characteristics into the cup. Now it has 0.6mms in it and I'm not such a fan.

So I guess that my big tip to people who are considering upgrading from a silvia is don't generalise - try all the options, if at all possible! Now, of course I understand that very few people are going to actually be able to try all of the machines that they might possibly buy, but that's not a reason to make sweeping generalisations.

Cheers,

Luca
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Grader Exam, Brewer's Cup #3, Australian Cup Tasting #1

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RapidCoffee
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#23: Post by RapidCoffee »

luca wrote:"Dual boiler," when used in the exceptionally broad manner above, is just another buzz word. We're starting to see more and more dual boiler machines around ... does anyone seriously think that the kitchenaid machine would be any good? Why not buy two gaggias and put them side-by-side? Dual boiler, but in two different machines. Will either of these perform anywhere near as well as a synesso or a hotrodded marzocco? No. I've only used a few domestic dual-boiler machines. Some were OK, I thought that one of them delivered far less clarity of flavour than a HX that I had used not too long ago. I haven't used any that blew me away, but, like I said, I haven't used very many at all. All that I want to point out is that it's not necessarily true to say DB>HX.
...
So I guess that my big tip to people who are considering upgrading from a silvia is don't generalise - try all the options, if at all possible! Now, of course I understand that very few people are going to actually be able to try all of the machines that they might possibly buy, but that's not a reason to make sweeping generalisations.
Luca, you make some great observations. Perhaps even more provocative: suppose you paired a really good single boiler E61 machine (I'm thinking QM Alexia, available with PID for under $1K) for espresso with a dedicated milk frother (heck, even a $25 steam "toy" espresso maker might work). You should be able to get results comparable (or superior) to Brewtus/S1 class DBs, n'est-ce pas?

Oops, gotta go run for cover now... :-)
________
John

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Teme

#24: Post by Teme »

luca wrote:Machine B leads the pack by a mile, IMHO.
Would Machine B happen to be a Maver by any chance? I have heard some interesting things about this machine and hope to have a personal experience soon :)...

Br,
Teme

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luca
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#25: Post by luca »

Oh no you don't, Teemu ... the whole point of not using names was so that people wouldn't know which machines I was talking about!
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Grader Exam, Brewer's Cup #3, Australian Cup Tasting #1

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luca
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#26: Post by luca »

RapidCoffee wrote:Luca, you make some great observations. Perhaps even more provocative: suppose you paired a really good single boiler E61 machine (I'm thinking QM Alexia, available with PID for under $1K) for espresso with a dedicated milk frother (heck, even a $25 steam "toy" espresso maker might work). You should be able to get results comparable (or superior) to Brewtus/S1 class DBs, n'est-ce pas?

Oops, gotta go run for cover now... :-)
________
John
Maybe. I don't know; I've never used any e61 single boiler machines. That group head arrangement doesn't really make much sense to me, but I'm not terrifically knowledgeable about such things. From what I have read, you might be right, but, off the top of my head, I don't know what, if any, machines the users of e61 single boilers have tested them against. Which brings me back to the point that I was trying to make before: "Brewtus/S1 Class" is a generalisation - until you have used them, you can't be sure how they will perform vis-a-vis each other. They seem to have very different group heads, so they might well perform very differently.

The stand-alone milk frothers that I have seen have not had proper temperature control, so the pressure will wax and wane. Maybe there is a decent one out there - did you have one in mind?

All of this internet based conjecture can potentially fall to pieces the second you actually use one of these machines. It is further clouded by legions of fan-boys that constantly respond to the "what should I buy" posts with "I have machine X, it is the best (no, I have not made any meaningful comparisons with others)," which is why the proper reviews on this site are so valuable. Then I think that it's pretty fair to say that if the new machine buyer hasn't used espresso machines before, the subtle differences between them aren't really going to mean much in the period when they are learning. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. The plus side is that people are going to be happy with machines that they have and the espresso that they produce. The bad side is that they might have skipped over a machine that would better suit their needs and preferences. But I guess that it's the same for any sort of specialised field - digital photography, for example.

There probably is a "best" prosumer machine out there, but I doubt that we'll ever know what it is, be able to adduce significant evidence or opinion about it or, much less, agree on it. So my mindset, personally, is to look for a machine that has good points that matter to me and bad points that I understand and can tolerate. And let's keep this all in perspective - many of these differences are just subtleties.

Cheers,

Luca
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Grader Exam, Brewer's Cup #3, Australian Cup Tasting #1

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edwa

#27: Post by edwa »

Finally, I get to partake in the poll that I requested Dan to create.

After more than a month's use I can happily say I upgraded from Miss Silvia to a Fiorenzato Volante - direct plumb. Although Silvia was more of a side step or to be fair incremental upgrade from the Gaggia Classic I had for 15 years she prepared me well for an Hx. She kept me to task in getting my grind, dose, distribute, tamp, and temp surfing skills honed. At present I have no intentions of parting with her, if, god forbid, the Volante needs to be sent away for service Miss Silvia will be unboxed and put to task.

I thought for sure my path would have been to a double boiler. But in the end the criteria of my shopping list led me elsewhere.

gchapman

#28: Post by gchapman »

Starbucks Barista (2 Years) -> Silvia (1 Year) -> PID'd Silvia (1 Year) -> Elektra Semiautomatica (2 Weeks)

Love it! Significant improvement over the Silvia in quality of shots, especially singles, consistancy of shots, speed of Caps, quality of microfoam and just stunning good looks. Going to put Silvia on the market after the first of the year.

I hadn't realized what an improvement the HX is over the single boiler.

The reviews here and at CG were a great help in making the decision. I almost went for a lever (Gaggia Achille), but didn't think I could get the consistency from it that I would from the Semiautomatica.

Geoff Chapman
Geoff Chapman

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prof_stack
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#29: Post by prof_stack »

Starbucks Barista (2 years) now a Sama Export lever machine. Just learning the new toy but its size fits our caffeine quota. Getting a larger lever machine or HX or DB is overkill right now.

I'm amazed how fast the milk gets up to temperature and how much thicker the espresso tastes. That Barista was holding me back! :lol:
LMWDP #010

medegraa

#30: Post by medegraa »

I also started with a Krups. I pulled great shot after great shot with my pre-ground store bought coffee (Ha Ha). But I knew this. I really liked coffee. So, I took the big plunge and got a Solis SL70 and a Solis Maestro grinder. I very big improvement, but I was exasperated trying to make a cappy. I mean the waiting . . . argh. So for my downsizing present when I lost my job, I bought a Giotto and a Mazzer Mini. I love the Giotto. She is one purdy lady. My friends love her as well and one of them remarked if he could just sell the coffee drink I made him he'd be set. For now I'm pretty happy. I plumbed her in a couple of years ago and she has never let me down. I rarely think about upgrading again. But who knows what the future will bring . . .

Mike.