HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Sylvia vs SM5000 (5 msgs / 172 lines)
1) From: John Abbott
RIGHT ON!!!!!!
John - waiting on the purest to flame me now

2) From: Bob Szanto
I currently use a Sylvia/Rocky for espresso drinks, but I have to admit
that the convenience of a quality automatic is very appealing.  The
thought of pulling consistantly "good" shots seems more suitable to my
situation than hitting a "great" one now and then.
I've been considering selling the Sylvia/Rocky and buying an SM5000
automatic.  One of the features on that I liked on the digital unit is
that it apparently has a "standby" cycle that allows the unit to come to
operating temperature from a warm stage rather than from a full cold
start.  Does the non digital have this same function? What are the other
significant differences between the digital and non digital units?  Is
the digital worth price difference.  Is there a better automatic for the
money than the SM5000.
I read the thread of posts when Mike M tested the SM5000 a while back.
At the risk of never becoming a card carrying member of the CSA, when I
consider  the limitations of the SM5000 pointed out by  Mike's test, and
factor back in the satisfaction of John in Texas, I think that I might
actually use and enjoy the SM5000 more than the Sylvia. (I can't believe
I just said that).
I'd appreciate feed back on the above questions and any other
information any of you would like to contribute.
Bob Szanto
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3) From: Scott Jensen
Bob, I own the Digital SM5K, John and Charlie own the standard so between
all of us we should be able to give you the information you are looking for.
I bought the digital hoping the additional adjustments would enable me to
pull a better shot.  My experience and testing does not prove this to be so.
In fact as far as the coffee goes I would venture to say both units are
identical.  I do like the bells and whistles of the digital, but I wouldn't
spend the xtra money again.
If espresso is what you are after, my personal opinion is that this is not
the machine.  However, like you I value convenience and I love my Solis for
that.  It does have the standby, which I think takes 30secs to warm up.
Then I'm ready for great coffee!  I don't even use it for espresso, my
everyday drink now is the cafe crema and this machine excels at that.  I
just went back to a real espresso machine for my espresso drinks.  I don't
drink espressos every day, but once you've had a heavenly shot it's tough to
settle for anything else!
I looked at other Machines before I bought the Solis, but for the price I
don't think you can find a better one.  The next level of super Auto is
around $1500-$2000, Marc Prince is in the process of testing a nice one now
and hopefully will have a review up in the next month or so.  However for
that kind of money, I'd just keep the Silvia and buy a solis too! :)
I've kind of jumped around here- caffeine overdose today!  To recap- For
convince and everyday drinking the solis can't be beat.  If you are
particular about your espresso ( do you tamp to 30lbs, do you time the
shots, do you roast and grind fresh, have you read shomers book, do you live
in the NW?) Then I don't think you would be happy with the Solis for true
Now I don't mean to offend anyone who likes the espresso shots from the
Solis.  I am just saying you wouldn't impress Dr. Illy or David Schomer with
them and most of us (I think) agree the Solis is at it's best for Cafe
Cremas, which are excellent drinks and will almost make you forget lattes
altogether! :)
More later,

4) From: Mike McGinness
Back when I had the SM5k to test for those two weeks I came to really
appreciate it's convenience for excellent, yes I dare say excellent, Cafe'
Crema style coffee. If I had the kitchen space I'd have it in addition to,
but not instead of, Miss Silvia. The SM5k cannot match espresso shots, not
even close, IMNSHO. And sometimes I don't know if it'd make more sense for
us to have a super-automatic. We make way more Cafe' Crema style drinks than
espresso shots. Yet now and then I really love a good shot. Plain and simple
50-75% reddish brown rich dark smooth crema shot of coffee elixir espresso.
No milk, no sugar, no flavoring, no chocolate (white or dark) just straight
pure coffee essense. That's an espresso shot. SM5k just can't do it. For
now, at this point in my coffee journey, I choose hassle and occasional
great over convenience. (Still wish we had space for both!!!!;-) Alas, Debi
says no....:-( too much counter already coffee allocated... (And that's one
of the secrets to today being our 22nd Anniversary, Debi's always right!;-)
Home Ju-Ju Variable Variac Rockin' Rosto Roasting in Vancouver, WA USA
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5) From: Scott Jensen
What I like about my digital:
It's digital! :)  Which means evrything is spelled out for me... Watertank
is low, dumpbox is full ect.  The shots volumes are all programable, and I
have 3 buttons which are preset at 2, 4, and 6 ozs approximatly, and it's
easy to change any or all of them.  Al of the options are selectable via the
digiatal controll panel and that is very easy to navigate as well.
Thats about it really.  Not a lot of difference for the extra money, but now
that I have the digital version I like it.  Of course if I had to do it all
over again I would just buy the regular version.  Fortunatly I found someone
who sells the Digital at $700 instead of $900 so I only wasted about $200
xtra! :)  Funny how easy that is too say, I guess the fact that I only
wasted $200 xtra instead of the $400 I could have wasted makes me feel
better! :)
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