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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!
I'm a newbie in this world. Few months before I thought espresso was written with an X (express-o) to give you an idea that espresso is in itself a language and a language I didn't spoke that much (if any at all) so if you're like me few months ago, chances are you've never tasted good coffee before, you just don't know it. :)
First I have to admit Coffee was never my thing but from some time now I wanted an espresso machine just for the look of it, not exactly for the coffee... showing off maybe? decoration? I really don't know but the fact I bought a DeLonghi Kmix 5-Cup Drip Coffee Maker, Yellow coupled with a Cuisinart DCG-12BC Grind Central Coffee Grinderlast Christmas for whatever of the above reasons and kept them both as an stationary display for about 4 months. It was very overwhelming for me trying to understand the whys and hows of the espresso making and at the end of the day, I just wanted delicious sweet lattes without all the fuss.
Few months ago I started trying to understand how to use it and presto! got locked in preparing my lattes at least twice a week and reading about espresso from time to time enjoying the occasions with my beloved wife. After some trial and error I started getting better lattes each time but then, curiosity about what could be next in this new (at least for me) world of coffee taste was growing inside me so I started looking for more info here in the internet.
It was pretty overwhelming because you can find many options and prices, at first I was looking at "Super Automatic" kind of machines like the KRUPS EA8250001 Espresseria Fully Automatic Espresso Machine with Built-in Conical Burr Grinder, Black which is a lot cheaper if you consider you don't need to buy an expensive coffee grinder as well but for some reason, I was interested in becoming a real Barista (which I'm not yet) so I forgot everything fully automatic and started looking at the semi-automatic (as they are called by connoisseurs) espresso machines and here's how I met the Rancilio Silvia V3.
At first I was worried about the size so to a local espresso machines shop I went to see the Silvia in person, I have to say I was not ready to buy but once I had the Silvia in front of me and a credit card in my wallet... you can now imagine what happened next... Now I had more debt and a big smile on my face carrying the Silvia all over the mall and let me tell you, this thing is heavy but not that big.
Now in my house, I realized my first mistake even though I've read about it a thousand times... I used to be a Radio Amateur when I was younger and the best you could do was to spend 70% on the antenna and 30% on the radio... It is very similiar here, you have to buy not a decent but a very good coffee grinder with an espresso machine like this Rancilio if you want coffee because believe me, If you use the standard blade grinder like the one I had, you're going to taste the worst coffee in the world, and here's why:
When using low end home espresso machines, they use a flow restricted filter basket which means, you can use normal grind coffee and the flow valve will regulate the water flow therefore, good coffee is very easy to achieve because the coffee extraction time is up to an extend controlled, but with higher level home espresso machines with non-restricted filter baskets like the Silvia, the only thing that controls the water flow through your coffee and therefore control the extraction is the coffee grind itself.
That said if the coffee grind is too coarse, the water flows too quick and the coffee you get is on the acid side but believe me when I say, If you try a blade coffee grinder, very coarse is the best you'll ever get so the coffee is not going to be only acidic, it is going to be horrible!!! full stop.
There's no way in the world you can get the kind of grinding you need for an espresso machine like this with a blade coffee grinder, let alone get some level of consistency. That said, buying the very best "bur" coffee grinder you can afford is really a must. I didn't believe it but it is true, very true so don't take my word for it, read all over the internet about espresso coffee grinder and believe those experts, they know best!
So to the shop I went once more, the credit card once more, more debt and carrying a Rancilio HSD-ROC-SS Rocky Coffee Grinder all over the mall I was... again. Since then, I've been learning and practicing, trial and error with every type of coffee I could find until I got with the grind grade that suits my taste better and now I just don't want to drink coffee anywhere else but mine... Things are soooo different when you get a real espresso even though I'm still a newbie... Now coffee has a different dimension, it has how can I put it... more complexity? Body? I don't know how to express it but the thing is, now the coffee is sort of oily but in the good way, like an alcohol-less liquor perhaps? Wonderful for sure!
Now that we have read ( And I appreciate you have come this far ) that the Silvia is very good doing what is supposed to do and coming from Rancilio, it is not like anybody is surprised don't you think? I just wanted to give you some why a higher level espresso machine could worth the effort and give you some well known advice to not to skip on the grinder but how is to live with the Silvia?
First of all, the Rancilio Silvia v3 has a timeless industrial design that I don't think will ever age, it is soooo simple and so well designed I don't think there's a single place on earth it won't look just great. Yes you can find more elaborated designs and more trendy ones but the problem with those is that they may look good today but may not tomorrow so the Looks goes to the Silvia.
To keep it in top condition, I use the Franke Inox Cream Stainless Steel Sink Cleaner, 8.5 oz Tube - Model: 903 which is by country miles better than anything else I've ever encountered to clean and maintain stainless steel appliances, you'll only need some microfiber cloths like the Cobra Gold Plush Jr. Microfiber Towels 3 Pack I use on my car and now on my appliances and you're all set to keep it looking like new!!!
The Silvia has only one boiler, a very good one by the way but just one, why this is important? because you use the very same boiler to steam milk and to pull shots therefore, you'll have to wait from shot to steam for the temperature to raise for steaming and then, you'll have to wait from steam to shot for water to cool down. Yes you can accelerate the cooling down but not the heat up process. This is not by any means a show stopper but definitely something to consider.
The porta-filter, is made entirely from solid brass so is the boiler and the group so if you use your machine properly, I don't think you'll need more than electricity, good coffee, very good quality water and in some time you may need de-calcification or a group gasket but nothing else. I really think this machine could last a lifetime.
One word about the water. The harder you water, the more maintenance it'll need so I also recommend the PurePro 6 stage Reverse Osmosis Water Purification System With Mineral Filter, 50 Gallons Per Day I have in my house to minimize calcification over the time and overall, to improve the quality of your coffee.
This is a precision machine that combined with a good bur coffee grinder gives you the ability to fine tune your coffee and that is all by itself, very interesting indeed and the difference between Coffee, Good Coffee, Very Good Coffee and Great Coffee. Right now I think I'm in the good to very good zone but I'm really looking forward to get into the great one.
By the way, don't forget the tamper. The plastic one included is useless at best and a tamping mat, knock box like Cafelat Tubbi Knockbox Espresso Grounds Bin a scale, a cleaning brush and maybe a iSi Mini Easy Whip, 1/2-Pint, White, Cream Whipper coupled with Creamright Ultra-Purewhip 50-Pack N2O Whipped Cream Chargers and you're all set.
Enough about coffee, now let's add some milk!
This is where things has been getting tricky for me. I may be between the good and very good coffee zone but I'm barely getting into the good latte here. I do have got into the very good zone twice and into the latte art just once of those two times I've just mentioned. I'm still trying to get there and for me, this has been the most difficult part. For now, foamy milk for capuccinos... no problem whatsoever but great lattes? not even close. This challenge, far from discouraging me from keep going just makes the whole thing more interesting :)
To use the milk steamer, just turn on the steamer switch, wait until is hot enough (a light will tell you so no worries there), open the steamer valve to an empty pitcher to get rid of water from the pipe and you're all set to start frothing your milk. One word of caution, Steaming means turning the water on the boiler to steam but the Silvia's water pump won't work in this mode, so you'll have to open the steam valve and turn on the water pump, to take water from the tank to the boiler either to protect the boiler heater from burning or overheating or to cool down the boiler to coffee temperature after steaming.
Take a look at the customer's images galleries to have an idea about how this setup looks and the latte art (so far the only one I've ever achieved) I mentioned before.
By the way, Even though I have the Rancilio HSD-ROC-SS Rocky Coffee Grinder I do recommend tha Rancilio HSD-ROC-SD Rocky Coffee Grinder doserless version because is far more easy to live with unless you're going to pull tens of shots daily.
Hope you found this info useful and thanks for reading!!!