The Rancilio Silvia espresso machine comprises everything you need to make the perfect espresso. Included is a portafilter (also known as a group handle), single and double filter portafilter baskets, tamper and a coffee scoop. Combine it with the Rocky Grinder which is sold separately and you have everything you need to create perfect coffee. Just add your favorite beans.
This machine is the ideal combination of quality, durability, and ease of use for a manual home espresso machine under $700. It will make espresso to rival any you can buy at a coffee shop.
I’ve been using home espresso espresso machines for over 15 years and have used several different machines of various quality and price none of which produced coffee anywhere as good as the Silvia. This machine is practically bullet-proof. I’ve had it for almost 5 years and it is still running like new.
Espresso Machine Functionality
The control buttons and an element indicator light are located on the front of the machine. The functionality is kept simple with a main power switch, the coffee brew switch, the steam temperature switch and hot water switch. These few buttons allow you to create a variety of coffee drinks including espresso, cappuccino, latte, or dispense hot water for tea. Being able to manually control the machine enhances the espresso experience.
The Rancilio Silvia espresso machine also includes a very effective steam wand. You’ll need to learn how to use this knob to successfully steam milk to a fine froth. Open the steam knob too much and you could burn the milk; not enough steam will result in less frothy milk. It may take a little time to get the hang of it but once you do you’ll create perfect froth for a cappuccino. This is the only home espresso machine where I’ve actually used the steam wand. On other machines I’ve had to resort to warming milk in the microwave and using a manual milk frother.
How To Brew Espresso Like A Barista
Turn on the main power switch and wait for the indicator light to turn off – this will let you know the machine is ready for use. Insert the single or double portafilter basket into the portafilter. Add freshly ground coffee to the portafilter. Use the tamper to pack down the coffee firmly. Insert the portafilter into the group head of the Rancilio Silvia espresso machine and turn on the brew switch.
Learning how fine to grind your beans and the length of time to extract the coffee is part of the coffee making experience. It takes time, practice and patience. Extracting the coffee may take between 20 and 25 seconds depending on the beans, the grind and how strong you like your espresso. There are some instructional videos on YouTube about using the Rancilio Silvia espresso machine that are helpful to learn more about brewing great espresso. Unfortunately, the user manual is extremely limited.
Praise from Other Rancilio Users
Here’s what other users have to say about this machine …
“This is a beautiful machine! I started learning about brewing espresso at home with a Gaggia Coffee. I’ve since stepped up to the Silvia and I wish I had bought it right away. The espresso I produce with it is far superior, never sour or bitter if I use the right amount and tamp it properly, and I can make microfoam. I also appreciate its heaviness, good looks, quiet operation and metal steam wand.” – MM, Minneapolis
“Although I can’t exactly remember which site I bought this machine which is about 5 years old now, it is still running strong making about two cups daily. This machine while a bit finicky on grind is very good and tough for the long haul. Prior to this investment, I was buying a machine every 2 years or so from majors like Krupps that were making their junk in China.” – HD, Amazon.com
“Rancilio makes automatic and super automatic machines costing thousands, they made the Silvia as a gift for it’s distributors, it proved so popular that they decided to make it and sell it to consumers. I’ve had 4 pump driven machines over the years, and purchased the Silvia this year. With a little effort, this machine is the perfect home machine, simple as a rock, user serviceable if you’re handy, and makes damn good coffee.” P, Amazon.com
Learning how to make a quality espresso on a manual espresso machine like the Rancilio Silvia may take a little time, for true coffee aficionados it will be worth it. Once you have mastered this machine you’re unlikely to want to use an automatic espresso machine.
The Final Word
There are many reasons to purchase the Rancilio Silvia espresso machine, from the quality and durability of the machine to the taste of the coffee it produces but in the end it is your passion for great coffee that truly matters.