History of Rancilio Silvia Updates through 2016
We are now shipping the Rancilio Silvia M (or V5), which arrived in January of 2016. What is a Silvia M V5, Silvia E, V4 Silvia, or a V3 or Miss Silvia? Being our most common question about such a storied espresso machine, we felt it only right to explain. Rancilio officially recognizes only the name of Silvia (or Silvia-HSD), but Rancilio dealers have been classifying each major revision with a version number, such as V5. When the Silvia was first launched in 1998, Rancilio named her Miss Silvia, now referred to as the V1. With her cast brass boiler and brew group, heavy duty pump, and commercial-style brewing, Miss Silvia ushered in the era of home espresso enthusiasts. In fact, several owners of the original design are still using their machines today. In 2006, Rancilio released the Silvia V2. This model received an adjustable over-pressure valve for the pump, became pod-adaptable, and got a new chrome plastic cover for the brew group (no more burnt fingertips). The V3, launched in 2009, boasted Silvia’s first fully-articulating steam wand (the original just swiveled left to right) as well as new, ergonomic grips for the steam valve knob and espresso filter holder. The V4, arrived in late 2013. Her major updated feature is a redesigned boiler with a stainless steel-encased, and removable, heating element. Previous elements were encased in copper and were more prone to failure when the Silvia wasn’t used properly for steaming. Silvia is a leading lady, after all, and she deserves to be well cared for. The Silvia M (V5) is new for 2016 and now features an insulation-wrapped boiler for better efficiency. The other visible change is that the main power light and heating light are on the same panel. We have received a number of calls asking what the Silvia E is. That is a model meant only for Europe, and it has an automatic idle shut off to meet the requirements of European regulatory agencies. It is not slated for import to North America for the foreseeable future. Other improvements have been made over the years but were never enough to announce that something big had come from the Rancilio factory. Scratches, dents, and other superficial marks that do not compromise the use of the machine may be present. These Certified Refurbished Rancilio Espresso Machines come with a one year warranty.
Upgraded Milk Frothing
Rancilio has listened to its customers and made many improvements over the 17-plus year lifespan of the Silvia, but perhaps the most notable upgrade to the venerable Rancilio Silvia M V5 is the new commercial-grade and -length steam wand and its newly engineered single-hole milk frothing tip. The Silvia has always been a champ when it comes to steaming and frothing, but the new articulated, multi-directional wand makes the entire process even easier and even allows for larger milk pitchers. Additionally, the new ergonomic steam knob makes opening and closing the steam tap a breeze as it really lets you get a grip on the knob.
Commercial-Grade Portafilter and Filter Baskets
Just like the exceptional commercial espresso machines made by Rancilio, the Silvia M V5 uses a heavy-duty chrome-plated brass portafilter, which features a new ergonomic grip handle and weighs in at nearly a pound and a half. The Silvia M V5 also comes with two pressed stainless steel filter baskets (a single shot and double shot version) which both measure 58mm in diameter. Although the included baskets are designed for use with ground coffee, the Silvia can accept E.S.E. (Easy Serving Espresso) pods with the Rancilio Pod Adapter Kit (sold separately). Other 58 mm filter baskets can be used with the Silvia; however, either a bottomless portafilter or a triple shot portafilter is required for pulling triple shots.
Commercial Power in a Small Package
The Rancilio Silvia M V5 is one of very few home espresso machines to offer a commercial quality brewing experience. No other espresso machine at this price offers a heavy duty stainless steel body, a true commercial brew group and a marine grade brass boiler. The Rancilio Silvia M V5 employs a 3-way solenoid valve when brewing to prevent over extraction of espresso and to relieve excess pressure at the end of the brewing cycle. Silvia is Rancilio’s semi-professional machine. It offer excellent service to demanding connoisseurs of high quality coffee beverages, qualities for which, since 1927, the Rancilio company has been known and appreciated around the world. The Silvia is designed to be paired with a commercial quality grinder such as the Rancilio Rocky for the best gourmet espresso experience.
Commercial Brewing Group
The Rancilio Silvia group head (or the part of the machine that accepts the portafilter) is made of chrome-plated brass. Designed after the brew group on Rancilio commercial espresso machines, the Rancilio Silvia group head evenly distributes heat and reduces “hotspots” for temperature-consistent espresso. It has also been designed to evenly distribute water across the coffee grounds for a better extraction. The Silvia group head is easy to disassemble and clean for proper maintenance and uses a heavy duty rubber gasket to create the proper seal when brewing. This gasket is can be easily replaced as part of normal maintenance after many years of use.
Large Lead-free Brass Boiler
The Silvia’s boiler is made of marine grade lead-free brass and has the largest volume (12 oz./10.5 oz. minus heating element) of any home machine in its class. This large volume produces the best steaming power and recycle time when brewing multiple espressos. Made of heat-distributing brass, this boiler can quickly get up to coffee-brewing or milk-frothing temperature and stay there. Three thermostats are built into the Silvia; one controls the temperature for espresso, one controls the temperature for steam, and a third specifically monitors the boiler to protect it from overheating or building up too much steam pressure. Should the boiler overheat, the thermal protection thermostat can be reset.
Commercial Quality Pressure Release System
The Rancilio Silvia incorporates a 3-Way solenoid valve into the brew group to give you complete control over the espresso brewing process. Only high-end home and all commercial espresso machines feature a pressure relief system that helps reduce splatter if you should inadvertently remove the portafilter too quickly. The pressure relief system, featuring a three-way solenoid valve, also greatly reduces dripping after the brew switch has been turned off. Additionally, the spent coffee grounds are not soupy but instead comprise a “dry puck” of coffee grounds for easier cleanup.
Drip and Cup Tray
The Rancilio Silvia has a stainless steel drip pan and cup tray, both easy to remove and clean. A cup-warming surface on the top of the machine lets you keep your espresso cups at the right temperature so that the espresso isn’t cooled when it enters the cups.
One Tough Body
Brushed stainless steel construction gives the Silvia an industrial chic look; sleek, functional and unassuming. The housing is only part of the story. Inside the housing, you will find that Rancilio used a rust-resistant steel frame, stainless steel bolts, and screws, and only the finest tubing and fittings.
How it Works
After filling the Rancilio Silvia with water, and priming the machine for its first use, push the large central power switch. The adjacent orange indicator light turns on and stays on until the Silvia heats the water in the boiler to coffee brewing temperature. After the Silvia is thoroughly preheated, it’s ready to go! A column of three large professional grade rocker switches handles each of the machine’s functions: the top is for espresso, the middle for hot water, and the bottom is for steam.
Flip the espresso brew switch and a rich, hot, creamy coffee will start to brew, first flowing out black then changing to a golden tan. Switch it off when you have the amount of coffee you want.
Milk Frothing and Hot Water
For lattes and cappuccinos, flip the bottom steam button. When the orange light goes off, open the steam valve and start frothing milk. The Rancilio Silvia features a new commercial grade and length steam wand with 1-hole tip. In 1.5 minutes the Silvia will have enough milk to make the average size latte up to temperature. Simply put, the Silvia out performs every cappuccino machine under $700 in the steaming and foaming race. You’ll be up to your elbows in milk froth! For hot water, simply flip the middle switch, then open the steam valve knob and hot water gushes out from the steam wand. Great for café Americanos or hot teas!