You have come to thr right place for coffee lovers but your mates in the US should be able to assist on locally available coffee makers.
I too had the Rancillio Miss Silvia but sold it last last year as I wanted to go the next step in my coffee geekness....
I now have a Bazzera BZ99 (http://barazi.com.au/content/view/29/129/
) and a Mini Mazzer grinder and it is a great unit - I managed to get the Bazzerz on flea bay for less than $1000 so I was pretty happy. If you want really good consistent steam then you need to go up from the Miss Silvia - it is good but it does not give you really good froth unless you get a PID unit for it and generally practice, practice, practice, etc....
Another good site is http://www.coffeesnobs.com.au/
and you can learn what to buy - Generally most of teh good stuff comes via the States so you should be able to source everything cheaper than we can anyway.
I agree with others in that you need to get a good grinder - doser or doserless does not matter, just good. Then you need to find a food local bean roaster and buy your beans there in small amounts (250 - 500 grms) so that you use fresh beans all the time.
Clean your coffee machine regularly and enjoy great coffee every time.
Oh and lastly, treat yourself to a Barista course so that you get to learn what to do and when!
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