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Rancillio Silvia Espresso Maker

I bought this machine several years ago since it was THE classic home espresso machine. It has been really reliable so far and I haven’t had any mechanical problems with it. It is made in Italy and the build quality is fantastic, almost everything is attractive stainless steel- no cheap plastic toys here.

I also think that it looks great- some people comment that it looks boring and utilitarian but I find it quite timeless and beautiful (as only a coffee geek would describe a coffee machine!). The portafilter handle is very heavy and solid and is a commercial grade 58mm, so it has high thermal stability and you can use aftermarket filter baskets. This is a big advantage for any half-decent barista.

Pulling quality espresso shots takes practice, although the good thing is there is a treasure trove of tips and articles about the Silvia online. For the serious coffee fanatic, there exist many guides for modding your Silvia to include things like a PID controller and temperature display, which apparently brings it to a whole new level of performance. Since this is a single boiler machine (brew water and steam come from the same tank), you need to wait about a min or two after you pull a shot before you can steam your milk.

However, this is a pretty standard setup for this price range. You need to double your budget if you want pro-summer heat exchange machines that let you pull shots and steam at the same time. Steam power is decent on this machine and its not hard to produce nice velvety micro foam, suitable for latte art. All in all, I think this machine is a timeless classic for a reason... its reliable, good looking and makes great espresso shots.

- Built like a tank
- Reliable

- Shallow drip tray
- Need practice before pulling good espressos

4.5 out of 5

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