Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
Rancilio Miss Silvia: Pros and Cons
Rancilio Silvia espresso machine is very popular with home users. Why is it the case? What are the pros and cons? And how does the new version 3 compare to the earlier models? Read on to find out...
The Rancilio Company was founded in 1927 in Milan, Italy, and has been known for producing professional-grade espresso machines ever since. During the early years of its existence, Rancilio concentrated on becoming a leader in the Italian market, and since the 1960's has expanded around the world. In 1981, a line of espresso machines for the home was introduced, and met with acclaim.
The Rancilio Silvia now claims to be "one of the best single boiler machines in production." Many of its parts are made of brass including the boiler, lines, and the brewing head, which is chromed brass. These top-quality components, similar to those in Rancilio's commercial machines, help the Silvia to maintain optimal temperature and heat distribution so that you can produce a nearly perfect espresso drink.
In addition to its sleek, stainless steel exterior, Miss Silvia has a 15 bar heavy-duty pump that has plenty of power to force water through your coffee grounds for the fullest flavor. The water tank holds 67 oz. and can be removed and filled at the sink, or left in place and filled while the machine is in use. Its commercial-grade pressure relief system reduces splattering if you should mistakenly remove the portafilter too quickly, and it also reduces dripping after brewing stops. The machine produces a dry puck of grounds that is easy to clean up.
Rancilio Silvia version 3
Rancilio Silvia version 3 was released in 2009 and it differs from earlier models in a few ways. The portafilter handle has changed in shape and now resembles those used on the commercial Rancilio machines. The new steam knob has a sleek, modern look.
The biggest upgrade made to version 3, however, concerns the steam arm. It is longer than on previous models and allows users to purchase a couple of different tips as options. Customers will be most pleased with the new way the steam arm moves. Instead of merely swinging from side to side as it did on version 2 machines, the arm now swivels from a ball and socket structure, allowing for greater ease of use.
Pros and Cons of Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
Purchasers who have used this machine have been pleased with its performance for the most part. Here are some of the positive points mentioned by reviewers:
- It costs around $600, yet has many features of machines in a much higher price range.
- The three-way solenoid allows for pressure release and that all-important dry puck.
- Parts and service are readily available.
- It produces creamy, delicious steamed milk.
- It feels solid and well built.
- With practice, owners of the Silvia say they can create drinks that are better than those they buy from their local coffee house.
Criticisms by users of the Rancilio Silvia espresso machine include:
- It requires the user to open the water tank to check on the water level.
- Its single boiler construction means that you must wait every time you want to change from making espresso to steaming milk and back. The Silvia is therefore not ideal for a party or any occasion where you want to make several drinks in a row (unless all the drinks are straight espresso).
- It requires a good burr grinder and some experimentation to get the perfect brew. The learning curve is quite steep, so you should not anticipate producing the ideal beverage the first time you use this machine.
- Some folks find Silvia a bit too expensive and feel that other models, such as Gaggia Classic, may be better value for money.
On the whole, most owners of the Silvia are pleased with their purchase. It is one the espresso machines that has excellent reviews. Users enjoy the high-end features and are willing to work at perfecting their brewing method to produce a drink they love. The majority of users consider the Rancilio Silvia espresso machine a good value for the money, and it may well be the best appliance for you if you want professional quality at an affordable price.
Further ReadingEspresso Grinder