Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine Review: A cut above the rest

Rancilio Silvia review

Are you an avid coffee lover who wants to brew your own espresso a-la-Barista? But if you have a hard time doing this, maybe a semi-automatic espresso machine like the classic Rancilio HSD-Silvia Espresso Machine (aka Rancilio Silvia M V5) can do wonders.

This Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine review will do you some favors of knowing what the Silvia espresso machine can do to realize those Barista-like brews in the comfort of your home.

You can also know what lies within this Rancilio espresso maker and why it is so popular across the globe.

However, the Rancilio Silvia espresso brewer is not designed for everyone.

But don’t say that we didn’t warn you about this classic espresso machine. This coffee maker workhorse requires finesse but not-so-special skills to brew the best espresso in town.

There are easy ways that you can learn from this review where you can master the use of this Rancilio home espresso machine.

Overview 

Rancilio is an Italian company manufacturing espresso machines and was founded by Roberto Rancilio in 1927 in Parabiago, Italy.

Introduced in 1998, the Rancilio Silvia, also known as ‘Rancilio Miss Silvia’, is a semi-automatic espresso machine which had underwent several revisions and innovations since its introduction. 

The current model is called the Rancilio HSD-Silvia M, nicknamed ‘Miss Silvia’ or ‘V5’ and was out in the market in 2016. This latest version is made with an iron frame and stainless steel side and features an insulation-wrapped boiler for better efficiency and other worthy improvements.
Rancilio HSD-Silvia M

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Distinguishing Features, Footprints, & Qualities

The Rancilio Silvia V5 is a high-end espresso machine with a small footprint that is why it is ideal for home use. It has a dimension of 9.2” X 11.4” X13.3”. 

The Silvia coffee machine has a commercial appeal because of its meticulously polished stainless steel construction while it is completely dressed in silver. Its traditional design and appearance may not be more appealing on your kitchen countertop, but the appliance is built to last and serve you better.

Although small in build and appearance, the HSD Silvia is heavier than other portable espresso makers. The Rancilio Miss Silvia weighs about 30lbs. and it is not meant to move around frequently within your house.

Water Tank Dimension and Filling System

To make a rich and flavorful espresso using the Silvia espresso maker, you got to have a water reservoir to feed its boiler. While other espresso machines of this type have an average water capacity of 60 ounces, the Silvia has exceeded this mark as it has a 67-oz. removable water tank.

However, the water tank needs to be filled manually as it has no water line running through it. You can use distilled water or tap water.

But tap water may form some scales on the tank if your water from the faucet is filled with mineral. Better use distilled water which you can easily buy on the neighborhood stores.

Heating system: The Boiler

One of the highlights of the Rancilio Silvia V5 espresso machine is its boiler. This heating element is a dual-purpose large and lead-free brass single-boiler with insulated copper and has a capacity of 12 ounces.

This powerful boiler heats up the system more rapidly (about 3 minutes) compared to stainless steel boilers.

But there is a catch. There are no electronic controls that you can know the boiler’s temperature. 

To offset this bottleneck, most Silvia die-hard fans resort to ‘temperature surfing’. There is a light indicator that tells you the boiler is ready to give steam.

When this light turns off (automatically) it means that the steam is ready for use. But prior to heating, you can flush out the cold water that may accumulate in the spouts and the steaming wand.

Want to learn more about ‘temperature surfing’ on Rancilio Silvia? Watch here

Also, here’s a video on how to use a Rancilio Silvia V5 Espresso Machine

Rancilio Silvia with a PID

Without the modern PID system, the Rancilio Silvia can’t monitor its heating system. In other words, it has no brew thermostat.

This thermostat will tell you what the temperature of your espresso or shot is when the brewed coffee hits the cup. But once you have mastered the set-up, everything will be as easy as A-B-C.

However, if you don’t have time mastering the art of temperature surfing’ you may want to purchase a more high-tech Silvia.

That is if you prefer a Rancilio Silvia with an installed thermostat and you can afford it, you can consider this variation of the Silvia

 Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine w/ PID Installed

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Other Outstanding Features of Rancilio HSD-Silvia V5

The Rancilio Silvia is a unique espresso machine that’s been the perennial favorite of most coffee gurus around the world. Its recent notable upgrades are the new commercial-grade and long stem wand and the newly innovated single-hole milk frothing tip.

Moreover, some of the most noticeable change is that the main power and heating lights are located on the same panel. Now, the Silvia V5 has an industrial-grade chrome-plated brass porta-filter featuring a well-designed grip handle.

The new porta-filter weighs about 1.5 lbs. which comes with two pressed stainless steel filter baskets, for the single and double-shot versions. These baskets have a diameter of 58mm each.

Furthermore, aside from the stainless steel body, the Silvia has an indestructible iron frame.

More Pros & Cons about Rancilio Silvia

Pros

  • Compatible with ESE pods with an adapter.
  • Barista-style knob precisely controls steaming pressure.
  • Composed of a commercial brew group.
  • Integrated with a 3-way solenoid valve into the brew group.
  • With a pressure relief system for tidy settings.
  • Used coffee grounds are a ‘dry puck’ for easy disposal.
  • Rugged and tough construction may last for decades.
  • Consistent extraction unlike any other.
  • With a cup warming tray.

Cons

  • Coffee spouts are fixed and can’t be moved. 
  • Has a shallow drip tray.
  • More expensive than other brands.
  • The Rancilio Pod Adapter Kit is sold separately.
  • No PID control.

Best Espresso Maker & Grinder Combo

If you ever decide to purchase a Rancilio Silvia espresso machine, most coffee connoisseurs suggest that it is better to accompany the brewer with an excellent grinder. One of the best grinders is also a patented Rancilio, called the Rancilio Rocky coffee grinder.

Rancilio Rocky coffee grinder

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Nevertheless, the duo comes in a combo. It could be cheaper if you buy them combined.

The pair also looks terrific on your kitchen!

Conclusion

Most Baristas will find the Rancilio Silvia M V5 more as a challenge than an adversary. But why is that so?

Look, the Silvia is a solid coffee machine that needs no further maintenance than other coffee makers. It is made from durable stainless steel with an iron frame.

The V5 is a living masterpiece of specialty coffee of the past. It also brews the best espresso.

This Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine review is an eye-opener for those who are refuting the capability of the machine on brewing one of the most popular coffee drinks in the world.

Despite its high price tag, we still give this classic Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine 4.8 Stars out of 5 Stars. The downsides are easily overwhelmed by the positive traits.

Moreover, with construction like the Silvia, you might end up using the machine for decades.

You may want to read about our other semi-automatic espresso product: BREVILLE ORACLE REVIEW

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