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Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
Rancilio Silvia - How to
Step by step guide for easy brewing and steaming with the Rancilio Silvia
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MarkPrince
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Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,628
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Thu Jun 28, 2007, 11:00pm
Subject: Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
 

Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine

CoffeeGeek takes a long overdue First Look at the latest incarnation of that venerable home espresso machine iconery, the Rancilio Silvia. Not your normal kinda First Look!
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Tex
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Tex
Joined: 27 Apr 2006
Posts: 840
Location: Texas - That's God's country to everyone else!
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Bunn ES-1A (PID'd), Gaggia...
Grinder: Rancilio MD50
Vac Pot: Way too many vintage Silex...
Drip: Melitta Clarity
Roaster: TurboCrazy &...
Posted Sat Jun 30, 2007, 9:56am
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
 

I've had two Silvia's (one PID'd & one stock) that I used for varying lengths of time and concluded that they do make a good enough cup of coffee.

For $550 one gets a good, solidly built & reliable, single boiler espresso machine that can be difficult to master, but with diligent effort one can eventually produce shots of good enough quality. But like any single boiler machine, temperature stability is lacking. You'll have to master temp surfing or add a PID if you want to move up to producing the highest quality shots.

Add a PID to the Silvia if you want to eliminate temp surfing. This is not a cheap alternative; $150 - $350 will buy a kit for the do-it-yourself wrench-head or a turn-key system installed for you. This will get you a temp-stable machine capable of pulling the much fabled God shot.

So here's my take on the Silvia. It's a good (no better than that) espresso machine for the home barista. It produces a shot of quality espresso that is as good as, though no better than, what can be made with other single boiler machines. Price-wise I'd put it at the upper limit of middle tier home espresso machines, along with Gaggia, Saeco, etc. If one adds a PID then the Silvia is put at the extreme high-end of the scale of mid-tier machines.

Would I own another Silvia, or recommend one to a friend? No, Yes, & Maybe. No, I'd never own another one - I've moved on to HX machines & find single boiler machines too limiting at my current skill level. Yes, I'd recommend one to a friend - maybe - if a used one was priced right (~$325) and in like-new condition. Otherwise my advice is to hold out for one of the low-end home HX machines, like a Nuova Simonelli Oscar, Expobar, etc., that will be capable of meeting your needs as your experience & expertise expands.

That's my take on the Rancilio Silvia, based on my experiences.

Tex: Coffee-Print-C10055428.jpeg
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Tex
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Champagne_Powder
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Champagne_Powder
Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 74
Location: Haarlem, The Netherlands
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: PID'ed Silvia V2
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Roaster: Suggestions welcome!
Posted Sun Jul 1, 2007, 7:00am
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
 

Cheers for this first look. Now i know for sure im going to sell that 8 yrs old silvia and buy a new one : Love the ovp (cant get my valve to bump out any lower than 12 bar :( ). And finally my stock E61 Bottomless portafilter will fit! (it just doesnt fit right on the old silvia. Pretty weird tho. Looking forward to the detailed review!
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KanChan
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Joined: 26 Jun 2006
Posts: 16
Location: Malaysia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Baby D
Posted Sun Jul 1, 2007, 7:12pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
 

Not sure if this is true. The only distributor in my country says that they no longer carried the Silvia because too many users returned the product. The reason is because they do not realised that the water reservior was empty and burnt the machine.

I have seen one Silvia in operation and the steam power is excellent. Made my Gaggia Baby D looked so pathetic.
But one great thing about the Gaggia is that you can see very well the water level.

How's the new Silvia? Anyway to know when to refill the water?

Cheers,
KanChan
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CraigA
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CraigA
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 11,272
Location: Rexdale, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: PID/PressureMod 2001...
Grinder: BUNN FPG-2 DBC, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos manual, Yama 5...
Drip: Behmor BraZen, BUNN VPR-APS,...
Roaster: Refurb Behmor 1600, BBQ...
Posted Sun Jul 1, 2007, 7:17pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
 

Hi Kok,

Yes, take the black top off of the water reservior at the back of the machine & look inside. {;-D

CraigA: New Silvia.jpg
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MarkPrince
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Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,628
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Sun Jul 1, 2007, 11:34pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
 

KanChan Said:

Not sure if this is true. The only distributor in my country says that they no longer carried the Silvia because too many users returned the product. The reason is because they do not realised that the water reservior was empty and burnt the machine.

Posted July 1, 2007 link

While it's true that

a) the Silvia doesn't have autofill, and
b) it doesn't have any visual indicator of how much water is left unless you lift the reservoir lid off and peak

I gotta say, anytime I hear a vendor say "I don't carry xyz product any longer because it's got xyz problems", especially when it's a well respected product, I take what the vendor says with a grain of salt.

In many cases, vendors stop carrying *good* products not because of problems with the products, but because of problems with the people - ie, bad relationship between importer and distributor, bad importer, unresponsive importer, yada yada.

Mark

 
CoffeeGeek Senior Editor
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MarkPrince
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,628
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Sun Jul 1, 2007, 11:36pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
 

Hey folksies.

I did a rough and tumble video of the Silvia in action, including a quick and dirty tute on how to temperature surf the machine. Yep, I accidentally called "Kid-O" Black Cat in the middle. I was using Kid-O, which I find likes temps starting in the 202F range (BC is roasted pretty dark these days, and seems to like temps down around 198 or so).

Here's the vid.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhxvDusY3jk

Also edited into the First Look.

Mark

 
CoffeeGeek Senior Editor
www.twitter.com/coffeegeek www.flickr.com/coffeegeek, www.instagram.com/coffeegeek (you get the picture)
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KanChan
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Jun 2006
Posts: 16
Location: Malaysia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Baby D
Posted Mon Jul 2, 2007, 4:59am
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
 

MarkPrince Said:

While it's true that

a) the Silvia doesn't have autofill, and
b) it doesn't have any visual indicator of how much water is left unless you lift the reservoir lid off and peak

I gotta say, anytime I hear a vendor say "I don't carry xyz product any longer because it's got xyz problems", especially when it's a well respected product, I take what the vendor says with a grain of salt.

In many cases, vendors stop carrying *good* products not because of problems with the products, but because of problems with the people - ie, bad relationship between importer and distributor, bad importer, unresponsive importer, yada yada.

Mark

Posted July 1, 2007 link

You are of course right on these matters. The vendor says that due to "user problems", cannot really expect Rancilio to replace the parts. At the same  time, cannot fulfill customer satisfaction.

Sigh... I'll just have to get the best out of my Gaggia.

Cheers.
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1stline
Senior Member
1stline
Joined: 24 Jan 2002
Posts: 499
Location: Freehold, NJ USA
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Undisclosed
Grinder: Indisclosed
Vac Pot: Bodum Electric
Drip: None
Roaster: None
Posted Mon Jul 2, 2007, 3:40pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
 

Mark,

I have skimmed through the Rancilio Silvia First Look and thought maybe you should confirm a few things:

a) Aluminum drip tray reference in picture - the latest models I have seen have a stainless steel drip tray, not aluminum.

b) Green pod adaptable sticker on box - We have received two shipments of Silvias of the new pod-adaptable versions, and there were no stickers on the boxes.

c) Portafilter - these are similar, but I believe they are different from the commercial Rancilio ones in that the spout is of a home design  - whereby one small cup can be placed under the two spouts.

 
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Jim Piccinich
Business Partner
1st-line Equipment, LLC
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jsdp
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Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 31
Location: CT
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Marzocco GS/3, Rancilio...
Grinder: Compak K10 WBC, Rancilio...
Posted Mon Jul 2, 2007, 4:51pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
 

Great job with your first look on the new Rancilio Silvia.

I just realized that you added a video to your review and I think it is a great addition. It helps visualize the product in use as well as address the process of temp surfing, pulling a shot, cleaning, etc. specific to Silvia.

I appreciate your efforts and anxiously look forward to your detailed review (along with videos, hopefully).

Joe
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