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Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels, 11.4 by 13.4-Inch
|Price:||$685.00 & FREE Shipping|
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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.
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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.
So, 4 years later (hat tip to the the DeLonghi for still going strong in 2018 btw!) I felt it was time to invest in something a little better. With an upper limit budget of $1000 and a LOT of research, I settled on the Rancilio Silvia. I understood the learning curve was steep but I wanted good coffee, darnit, and I was willing to work for it.
Well, I've had the Silvia for a little bit over a month now, and I couldn't be more pleased. I purchased both the Silvia and Rocky doserless grinder at the same time from Cerini Coffee and Gifts in the Bronx (great seller!) and it arrived promptly and excellently packaged with a bonus lb of beans to get started! I now buy my beans from a local coffee roaster, and the Rocky grinder allows me to grind the freshest beans which I'm sure play greatly into the taste of the coffee. It took me some time to figure out the correct grinder setting that would get me the 2oz shot in 20-30 seconds with the right flavor, but once I got it 'dialed in' (coffee aficionado lingo for finding the right settings) it makes amazing coffee. My microfoam steaming skills are still under development, but I can make some great, thick cappuccino-style foam, which I generally dump on top of the finished product to generally delicious effect.
Initially I considered getting the PID add-on for the machine, but honestly, after following the temperature surfing guidelines and paying attention to the lights, I've got it down to a pretty good system. Yes, the PID would probably satisfy my latent perfectionism, but I'm honestly getting a great cup of coffee without it. I just try to be as consistent as possible in terms of dosing, tamping and brew time and found this is a good combination. So, my vote is that the PID add-on is optional, a convenience but not essential.
Note: For all you non-dairy drinkers out there, there's an additional learning curve to master: steaming non-dairy milk! Yay! But hang in there. After repeated practice, I find that I can get pretty good results with soy milk and most almond milks. Oat continues to be a challenge but one I'm committed to mastering because have you ever tried oat milk in a latte? (hint: it's delicious) For those who do prefer dairy, I've gotten the best results with cold 2% milk; however whole milk works too.
Since this is already a significant financial investment in the machine, I would suggest also purchasing both a heavy tamper and a stainless steel milk foaming cup to complement your purchase. The tamp provided by Rancilio is plastic, and doesn't give the adequate pressure needed. The milk foaming pitcher helps you properly measure out and steam the right quantity of milk.
In conclusion, I'm really happy with this machine. I only visit the coffee shop now to buy beans, and I enjoy making coffee for family and friends too! Yes, the initial outlay is expensive, but at $5-6 at the coffee shop, this is an investment that will pay for itself over time.
Final note: For those on the fence about spending this money with no prior experience in coffee making - let me suggest starting with a lower-priced machine like a DeLonghi or similar and then getting a really good grinder. As a fun experiment, I made a latte on my old machine using the Rocky grinder, and it was pretty tasty! So, if you're not sure about spending a bunch of money on a machine, start with the grinder along with a lower-priced machine. The fresh-ground beans really make all the difference on any equipment.
Most recent customer reviews
Disappointed by the knob for the steamer, it is made of what seams to be cheap plastic material which...Read more