Opening a coffee shop isn’t the easiest task, especially when you don’t know what to buy at first. This is why we created this category. We’ve asked around more baristas than we’d like to admit about which was their favorite machine to work with and had the best value for its price tag. The answers were somewhat split between the Breville Barista Express and this thing which we got in front of ourselves. The “Ms. Silvia” as people refer to her, is pretty much a professional level espresso machine with a decent price tag. It generates exceptional quality, but at the same time requires a trained hand to operate it.
The perfect espresso is a matter of machine calibration and customization, and boy does this model does that. It is fully customizable and lets you be in charge of every little step in the process of making the perfect cup of espresso, cappuccino, or any other type of coffee. You can adjust the grind size, the shot length, etc.
If you want to work in your own coffee shop at first, skip this one and go to the more easier coffee shop alternative – the La Pavoni PA-1200 Napolitana. If not, this is perfect for your newly hired barista.
Features That Make Rancilio Silvia Stand Out
Apart from the fact that you are getting exceptional Italian quality for a somewhat low price, you also get a ton of other features. Let’s check out some of them.
All around the machine you will find solid materials such as stainless steel and chrome. For instance, the steamer wand is chrome-plated. It is also commercial grade, meaning it easily steams milk and boils water. That makes it the perfect attribute not only for espressos but for the classic “Americano” as well.
Thanks to the brew group brassing you get even heat distribution in the whole machine. Furthermore, there is a three-way solenoid valve which reduces the splatter which typical portafilters make when you pull them the wrong way. There is little to no post-brew drip as well, which makes the whole thing clean and efficient. It might keep itself somewhat clean, but cleaning it is a whole other thing. From most of the units we tested, we found that The Rancilio Silvia was the hardest to clean up.
The water pump provides a great water pressure of 15 BARs which is more than enough for the perfect cup of coffee. Another thing you might love here is the removable water tank. It can be removed at literally any moment of the machine’s operation.
Finally, the boiler is made out of brass. This is kind of extraordinary, as brass is a material used in the far more expensive models. It is 12 ounces and is monitored by three thermostats, which ensures consistency in your workflow.
Another thing. If you are a fan of old-school toggle switches, you’ll love those here. Other companies add simply tons of buttons, but not Rancilio. They’ve managed to make it all simple when it comes to buttons and kept it classy.
A possible downside is that there is no built-in coffee tamper, so you’ll have to buy one separately. We recommend getting this one, as it is dual-sided and a great deal in terms of price.
The temperatures available here range from 195 to 212 Fahrenheit. Getting the right temperature was a bit tricky, even for us, but after a while, we found out that it works best (and makes the best espressos) at around 199 Fahrenheit.
Speaking of cleaning, make sure you check out our Buyer’s Guide article, in which there is a whole section dedicated to maintaining your machine.