I have used the Sivia for about a year now.I have a pretty good understanding of espresso and the machines that make espresso .I can tell you that the Silvia is an outstanding machine.You can not do better.That is why it cost so much..I can also tell you that you must have an equally high end grinder.The grinder has to [truely] grind to the turkish grind.I just moments ago bought a Rancillio Rocky.The money spent on the solis Maestro Plus was wasted..If you can afford a heat exchange or two boiler machine that would be the only step up from the Silvia.Good luck...Earl D......... 8)
The Silvia is a home unit and not a high volume commercial machine. Second a Solis Maestro Plus is great for people who do a few shots a day and or decaff espresso. I must applaud you how ever on buying the Rocky, not quite a commercial grinder but still a very good grinder at that. I have a few MD-40's, there ok but the MD-50 is far better. Man there is absolutely no waiting for espresso with that beast and I can only assume what the 80 would do!
The S20 series are good machines with great potential. As for anything better then the Rancilio experiance, try a Cimbali M29 Selectron. If you thought your Rancilio was expensive this will break the bank.
The 2 group tall is a nice machine. You can put 20 ounce cups underneath it. What makes it better then the average machine is the maintenance. Changing group gaskets requires you to drop 3 bolts to pull off the old gasket. No more having to pick out a gasket hard as a rock. There are tons of other features too.
Stay a way from the Rancilio Epoca. Big plastic paperweight. After the S20 series who would ever want an Epoca. It's made out of aluminum tubing and plastic. I bet it would float if you put it on a pond!
The S20, or the submodels, tecna, midi are good solid machines. You would be pleased. However, the tecna is a compact two group. It heats up fast but it is not a full sized model. It has a 3000 watt heating element and a 5 liter boiler. All the newer models have at least a 4300 watt element and 11 liter boiler (two group). The S20 line uses the old style group head while all the new lines, Epoca/C6/C8/and C10 all use the same advanced group head and temp stabilization system. You may not like the plastic side panels on the Epoca but hundreds do. Check the price and you will find out why. If you fear what others enjoy, the other models C6/C8/C10 provide the same accuracy and power of the Epoca in a prettier package.
I had an Epoca, hence the "had"! Advanced my ass. For all it's advancements it was crap. That wonderful electronic water fill system that attaches to the sightglass, it slips. So over time there is less water in the boiler. For that advanced group head. I really don't know much about it but I can say even if the Epoca was nice to look at, it made horrible shots.