upgrading home machine


New member
Jul 10, 2005

I have owned a Gaggia Evolution for about a year now, and I am more than pleased with the quality for the money. But alas, the itch to upgrade my espresso machine is growing stronger. I recently upgraded my grinder from a nothing to a Rancilio Rocky.

I am generally pleased with my Evolution, except the finish is cheap plastic and the small boiler makes steaming and frothing milk a bother. I would like to buy a machine that loves to make espressos and cappuccinos as much I do.

So I am wondering what people believe is the best semi-auto espresso machine on the market for <$600.

Any and all opinions a appreciated.



New member
Sep 25, 2003
Syracuse NY
Under $600 is the Rancilio Silvia. Don'e even bother looking at anythign else in that price range. It's about $500.

There are scads of great E61 style heat exchanger machines in the $1,000 range. They require a bit less tweaking than the Silvia to get consistently great results but the Silvia can make shots just as good with practice. The big benefit to heat exchanger machines (also called HX and the Silvia is not an HX machine) is that you can steam while pulling a shot or immediately after - no waiting. Look for an Expobar on sale in the $700 range - it's the one HX E61 type machine that's well under $1,000 and does as good a job as the rest.

I happen to own an Isomac but the Expobars are good. It is really, really, really worth the money to jump to the E61 style HX machine. Spend the extra money now rather than jumping to the $500 range. You will now be disappointed.


New member
Jul 16, 2005
Hampstead, MD
as an owner of and Expobar, I second that I'll never go back to a non HX machine again. If you do end up with an expobar, I have some tips to deal with some of the machine's design flaws, mainle lack of decent water level view window.



New member
May 4, 2005
New Mexico
Hi, I was going to order the Silvia tomorrow till I read the two posts on the exobar. A friend got me a Nuova Simonelli [ Oscar ] at dealer cost but when it arrived the instructions said no RO or distilled water. I do not like the taste of filtered tap water. Also I was told it had the three way solinoid valve...nope....I was not impressed with the plastic housing or the amt of crema it produced on my friend's identical machine. He ran a successful roastery/coffee shop for years and knows how to pull a shot. SO, the machine was returned unused and I started looking yesterday for a replacement. The Silvia seemed like a good bet but I felt I was taking a dive in quality so the news about the Expobar [ who the hell came up with that name?] is very welcome. You guys saved me from making another bad choice.



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