It has been two months since I got my Euro2000. The switch from Siliva to a prosumer thoroughbred like E2K came a bit earlier than planned. Like any other coffeegeek I knew the moment would come when I had to do the upgrade, but I didn't think it would happen so soon. Even though this feels pretty much as being on top of the food chain as far as espresso machines go, I think there will be some nice machines coming out in the near future, like the LM prosumer that so many talk about.
Well, over to the purpose of this post : to say something about the switch and the benefits of entering the E-61 HX world.
First impression and first days of use
After unwrapping the machine and filling the tank with water I let her heat up for something like 30-45 minutes before making the first cappuccino. I decided to use the professional porfafilter and basket from Silvia since I'm so used to it. Not only for that reason, also because I frequently use other rancilio machines, among them the pros like epoca and classe 10. I don't remember if I had to adjust the grind, but what I do remember is that the first cappuccino was great. I immediately felt the richness in taste that the very best silvia cappas could offer from time to time. I proceeded to make another one, this time concentrating hard on making the milk totally perfect without visible bubbles. I had to throw away some pitchers before I was satisfied. E2K is fast and the tip design makes great microfoam, but one has to be very precise with the placement of the tip to get the best result. The next cappa was just as good as the first one and I was very happy indeed, exclaiming "oh my god ... mmmmmmm!" or something like that for the second time around
I have to agree with other E-61 HX users. The espresso is very consistent and always very good, often superb. No more surfing (after letting out the super hot water at the start of the brewing session, which I use to heat the cappuccino cup).
First impression (as a silvia owner) is that the steam is weaker than expected, but it is faster than silvia and the steam tip with two holes is very good at producing microfoam. Still, in my opinion it is not better than the stock siliva. The wand is a bit too short for my liking and I miss being able to move it freely, not just up and down. Being able to move it over the drip tray would be nice as well. Steaming with E2K is great once you have the technique right, and it faster, but don't expect better latte art for instance if you do the switch.
My E2K has black side panels that doesn't need cleaning frequently. The bright front, including the E61 group needs a wipe now and then with a microfiber cloth or the like, but this is as expected. The lower part of the front close to where the group dispenses the used brewing water needs more cleaning, but that is to be expected. Overall I think keeping her clean is easy. I've not removed the dispersion screen yet. Just doing the portafilter wiggle and backflushing with espresso detergent seems to be sufficient so far.
I like the overall look, the E-61 group, the *large* drip tray, the cup holder that slides easily to reveal the water tank. I don't like that neither the steam arm nor the hot water arm moves freely. They can only be moved up and down in a vertical motion.
Love her. No need to switch unless LM releses a prosumer machine that is irresistible.
Btw, I actually used Silvia for a couple of days recently. I quickly noticed the lack of the long preinfusion that the E-61 group gives, the smaller drip tray (I was a millimeter from flooding it!) and work involved in priming, waiting for steam etc. Still, Silvia is an awesome machine.