Rancilio Group boasts a simple but ambitious slogan on their corporate website: “Coffeeing the world.” After recently having a go at their flagship Silvia espresso machine, I’m inclined to believe that they’ll one day achieve their ultimate goal.
This premium espresso machine offers professional-grade performance and reliability, and it looks darn good doing it. Constructed of top-notch materials, the Rancilio Silvia is a semi-automatic espresso maker that boasts exceptional durability and superior functionality.
Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine review
What I like
- Attractive steel design
- Very reliable
- Excellent engineering
- Makes delicious coffee
What I don’t like
- Slight learning curve
- Water reserve indicator
What are you buying?
Since the Silvia is a semi-automatic espresso maker, you will be the one to supply the ground coffee (the Rancilio Rocky grinder works great for this purpose).
The machine’s commercial-grade 58mm portafilter is made of chrome-plated brass, and it also features a 12-ounce marine-grade brass boiler that offers superior heat conductivity. Keep in mind that brass is one of the best alloys out there for resisting mineral buildup and corruption, which will help extend the lifespan of the machine.
With a 15-bar water pump, you will have plenty of pressure to force the hot water through those coffee grounds for maximum flavour extraction.
In addition, the machine’s internal components that make contact with water are comprised of materials that do not release any volatile compounds or toxic substances that could potentially compromise the quality of the finished product.
For the “tech geeks” among us, you will no doubt appreciate the fact that the Rancilio Silvia features a 3-way solenoid valve, which facilitates immediate release of pump pressure and reduces splatter from the portafilter for easier cleaning.
In addition, the Silvia features three different thermostats to monitor the status of the 12-ounce boiler, so that the espresso, steam and boiler heat are all in sync in terms of temperature.
The steamer wand is chrome-plated and commercial grade, and it allows you the option of steaming milk or boiling water, so that you can enjoy any number of milk-infused concoctions as well as a good old-fashioned Americano.
One of the coolest features that I really appreciate about the Rancilio Silva is the ultra-convenient cup warming tray located on top of the machine; it is generously sized, allowing room for six espresso-sized cups (or 12 if you stack them).
- Type: Ground coffee
- Pressure: 15 bars
- Ground coffee: Yes
- Coffee beans: No
- Capsules: Does not use capsules
- Size: 33.8 x 23.4 x 29 cm
- Weight: 14kg
- Steam or pump driven: Pump
- Espresso number: 2 cups
- Water capacity: 2.5l
How easy is it to use?
As with any other semi-automatic espresso maker, you will have to perform a handful of manual tasks to get the machine ready for brewing, including filling the boiler manually.
Another area in which I ran into a bit of a learning curve was achieving the optimal brewing temperature. While the temperature range for the Silvia is from 195 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, if you really want to pull some excellent shots, try setting it at 199 degrees Fahrenheit.
Discussion boards all over the Web are replete with threads about how to properly “temperature surf” with the Silvia, so this area is somewhat subjective, but I have found 199 degrees to be the best temperature for what I consider to be an excellent shot of espresso.
I like the feel and functionality of the toggle-style switches versus other coffee makers that offer only buttons, but again, this is largely a matter of personal preference.
The water tank has a capacity of 2.48 litres, and it is removable as well, allowing for convenient refills whether before, during or after the machine is in operation.
With professional-grade construction and fairly straightforward operation, the Rancilio Silvia is a workhorse that can deliver delicious coffee with very little hassle indeed.
What accessories are included?
The Rancilio Silvia is very much an all-inclusive espresso maker, so everything you need to begin pulling flavourful shots of espresso is on hand as soon as you open the box. All you need is the ground coffee, and you’re good to go!
Key features of Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
- Sturdy construction and attractive design.
- Excellent engineering.
- Outstanding reliability.
- Makes delicious coffee!
- Achieving the right temperature requires a slight learning curve.
- Water reserve indicator could be a little more accurate.
Anything else you should know?
I would definitely be remiss if I didn’t mention how well-built and elegantly designed this machine is. The Silvia boasts an iron frame for sturdiness, as well as a black-painted steel supporting structure and a satin-finished stainless steel casing and control panel. In other words, the Silvia is far from a flimsy machine, and it looks terrific on practically any kitchen worktop.
Another important point that I didn’t want to leave out is that the cup tray and drip pan are both easy to remove and clean.
Pound for pound, the Rancilio Silvia offers you quite a bit of bang for your buck, as it is one of the most durable and reliable professional-grade machines available to the home barista. If you’re ready to enjoy consistently delicious coffee from a machine that is built to last, definitely consider the Rancilio Silvia as one of your top picks.
Have a look at our reviews of best espresso coffee makers on the market.
Where to buy?
- Amazon UK: Click to check today’s price
Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine Review
Rancilio Silvia has been expertly designed and manufactured by the engineering gurus at Rancilio, and now being in its third iteration, it has consistently improved in quality and performance since its introduction well over a decade ago.