I live in England (UK) and found your website when researching the Rancilio Silvia... seems to have lots of good articles...
I have been using a Gaggia Baby Twin with a Dualit grinder for the last few years. Until it broke I was very happy with it. It made constantly decent espressos and the steamer worked great. I liked the simplicity of the programmable settings with pre-infusion, yet retaining the flexibility of grinding and handling the coffee etc.
Unfortunately my Baby Twin recently developed an intermmitent fault (it would cut out almost like it was overheating). I sent it off for a repair, long story, but basically the repair shop 'lost' my machine and have compensated me financially instead.
So I need a new machine.
Do I get another Baby Twin?
Or should I try something different? Retailers over here tell me the Gaggia Classic is both a cheaper and better machine than the Baby Twin, but that the Rancilio Silvia is basically the best consumer semi-auto of its price-band.
Reviews are equally mixed. The Baby Twin often received poor owner reviews, mainly around breakdowns etc.
But the Silvia seems to be a bit hit and miss, sometimes giving you that god-shot, other times something not so good.
I like my coffee, but have never had to learnt to temp surf etc. I am also not a fanatic and don't want to have to spend ages at the machine. Are the reviews of the Silvia overstating the inconsistencies and hassle around fluctuating temperatures? Is temp surfing quick and easy to master?
Any thoughts or suggestions for other alternatives?
Also, does anyone know if a Dualit grinder will be good enough for the Silvia?
I have the beans (from legend coffee shop Monmouth Coffee in London's Borough Market) just no machine to make coffee!