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Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels, 11.4 by 13.4-Inch
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- Ergonomic porta filter handle same as the proven design of Rancilio commercial machines
- Commercial grade group head for superb heat stability and extraction quality
- Articulating steam wand offers complete range of motion and professional steaming knob precisely controls steaming pressure
- Classic linear design fits most decors
- Optional pod and capsule adaptor kit available
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This popular traditional style semi-automatic espresso machine is built to last. Its strong linear designed housing is constructed of an iron frame and stainless steel side panels. Built with Rancilio's commercial grade group head for excellent heat stability and premium extraction quality. Features a patented ergonomic 58mm porta filter for superb extraction. These are the same porta filters used on Rancilio commercial machines. The single boiler of the Silvia has the largest volume capacity of any home machine in its class. Holding 0.3 liters (12oz) this chrome plated brass boiler produces outstanding steaming power and remarkable recovery time between shots. The two quart water reservoir can be removed or filled from the top at anytime during the operation. The Rancilio Silvia features an articulating stainless steel steam wand that allows for a complete range of motion for steaming perfect latte quality milk. Control steaming power with the commercially designed steam knob. This Silvia comes with a 7 gram coffee scoop, a plastic tamper and two filter baskets (single and double). This is the most current version of the Silvia available direct from the factory.
Top customer reviews
The Things You Want:
* The portafilter (the bit that holds the coffee) is full-sized and solid chromed brass. It retains heat nicely, so the brew going into your cup is at a proper temperature. The 58mm filter basket allows for a healthy dose of coffee.
* 3-way Solenoid Valve: The electric solenoid brew valve opens to allow water to flow through the brewhead and coffee. When the brew switch is turned off, it immediately releases the pressure on the grounds and shunts the excess into the drip pan. The result is a compact puck of brewed grounds that can easily be knocked out of the filter.
* Solid switches and mechanical components: The rocker switches are solid and last forever. The internal plumbing is solidly assembled, and the lines from the boiler are brass/copper. There are no finicky electronics inside this box - solid wiring, spade lugs, mechanical switches. This has one unfortunate side effect, but more on that later.
* Omni-directional steam wand: It's mounted on a ball joint, so it swivels where you want it to - not just out to the side. A good thing for tight spaces.
* Simple operation: very few things to go wrong. No built-in-grinder. No auto-brew or fussy push-button controls to malfunction.
* All-metal casing and frame: The cladding's brushed stainless, and is low-maintenance. Wipe down with a damp cloth and mild soap every once in a while. The frame is cast iron. Heavy as heck if you're moving it, but it doesn't flex and keeps everything solidly in place. This machine will not vibrate itself loose.
Things You Might Not Like:
* The water lines from the reservoir and from the pump to the boiler are silicon rubber and/or flexible hi-temp vinyl. Some people have an issue with this.
* The reservoir isn't the biggest, and is only accessible from the top - it cannot be lifted out without a lot of clearance. You can refill the water with the reservoir in place, but you have to have room to get to it.
* Brewing consistently with Silvia takes some practice. That simple design is a couple decades old at this point, and uses electro-mechanical thermostats with a fairly wide dead band in the middle. A Google search on temperature-surfing will help you get more consistent results. This is the main complaint people have with the Silvia.
* The big brass boiler takes a lot of time to heat up from brew temp to steam temp. If you're making lots of milk drinks, it's got plenty of capacity, but you'll want to brew all your coffee shots first before switching to steam.
Things You Will/Might Want to Change:
* Throw out the plastic tamper that comes in the box. Buy a good turned aluminum or steel tamper, preferably with a non-metal handle. Rapping the portafilter with a steel tamper (as opposed to the wood/nylon handle) to settle the grounds will put dings in the brass.
* If you are fanatical about temperature control/consistency, there are kits available to convert to digital temp control. They're easy enough to wire in for someone with basic mechanical and electrical competency. Not necessary if you learn Silvia's peculiarities, but a reasonable project if you want precision.
* You will want to replace your spice grinder/bean-basher or high-speed coffee whizzer with a good burr grinder. You can't expect reasonable results from a pump-driven espresso machine without a consistent grind, no matter what anyone tells you. Yes, that means you need to drop at least another hundred bucks on a coffee grinder to get a basic conical burr machine at minimum.
Still, after a decade of home espresso experience, I'd stand firm on my opinion that Silvia's the best choice for the vast majority of coffee enthusiasts who don't want to cross into the four-figure prosumer market. You can get more automation at this price point, but at the expense of reliability/durability in my opinion. And while you can fix Silvia's thermostat issues if you want, you can't fix other machine's durability/performance problems.
That issue above is not really a problem for me because I got that under control. I'm just really impressed that this machine is still running strong. None of my other espresso machines lasted this long, yielded this good espresso shots.
When this machine breaks down one day, I'd buy another same machine again!
A couple tips (I learned the hard way). Make sure you don't overfill the portafilter basket, or it won't go up into the grouphead properly, or possibly even at all. There is some resistance when you are turning the portafilter into the grouphead to lock it into place; that is natural. But as I said before, if you over-pack it with espresso, you may not be able to turn it properly or lock it into place.
I think this machine deserves the great reviews it has gotten over the years. Unless you have the money to burn, or have a commercial need, I think the Rancilio is a great value (for such engineering quality) and perfect for the home barista.