I've been intrigued by the art of making espresso for some time now. I'm still somewhat of a newbie, in that I'm not sure I've ever tasted a good shot of espresso, but I've certainly tasted a lot of bad ones.
I am currently running a Hamilton Beach 15 bar pump machine. It was cheap, and has been a good machine to learn on. Although I've pulled a few decent shots with it (three distinct layers, lots of Crema), I've maxed-out what I can do with it and am ready for a more serious machine.
Everywhere I look online, the forums point to the Rancilio Silvia as the machine to get. Every other machine seems to have one fatal flaw or another. But the Silvia, although widely regarded as finicky, seems to have no flies on it.
I found a used one for $475, and am considering purchasing it. The first owner bought it in 2004. The second owner bought it 6 months ago, and is upgrading.
He says it works flawlessly. It's pulled about 2 shots a day. It's been cleaned daily, but not backflushed (he read somewhere that backflushing on the Silvia can ruin the 3 way valve).
Does this sound like a good purchase? The photos of the machine look good, but don't show anything other than the condition of the outside.
I don't have a decent grinder, but had decided on a Baratza Maestro Plus. Would this grinder be a good companion for the Silvia?
I was originally leaning toward a New Gaggia Baby Black, paired with the same grinder, until I found this.
For some pretty obvious reasons, I cannot enter into any such discussion where commerce is being engaged - everything that happens in here is between the buyer and seller - and that process I only just barely tolerate because of the potential for abuse and heartbreak.
When you think about the fact that this website gets upwards of 300,000 sets of human eyes looking at it monthly, the opportunity for funny stuff is pretty high.
So, at this point I would say:
Caveat Emptor - buyer beware.
If you were buying on EBay you would have some protection - no such fail safe exists here - and for the record, I cannot be held accountable if things go haywire.
And if you are still not satisfied with this answer, try reading between the lines.