Some folks have tales about their first automotive, a fondly remembered bucket of bolts that carried them via highschool, throughout the nation to school, and to their first actual job interview. I don’t drive, so I had an espresso machine. She noticed me via highschool, faculty, and past. I would additionally say she introduced me much more pleasure than grief, nevertheless it was shut.
It was a Starbucks-branded single-boiler espresso machine, like this one. It had a easy, simple design, however a number of plastic elements that cracked as they aged. Nonetheless, the slim, basic design made it a terrific selection for at-home espresso. The Rancilio Silvia Professional is the non secular successor to that machine. They’ve quite a bit in widespread, however the Rancilio delivers a professional-grade espresso that outclasses even a number of the costliest machines in the marketplace.
Ghost within the Machine
After I noticed the Rancilio Silvia Professional within the background of a YouTube video, my jaw dropped. I paused the video and scrolled again years via my pictures. There it was. This thriller machine seemed like a contemporary refresh of my beloved and long-dead single-boiler espresso machine. It wasn’t till months later, once I was unboxing the Silvia Professional, a dual-boiler machine, that I spotted simply how deep that resemblance ran.
To be clear, my outdated devoted featured a fairly normal design and construct for mid- to high-end espresso machines. It’s miles from distinctive, nevertheless it’s a design that has fallen out of favor during the last decade or so in favor of wider, extra café-styled espresso machines just like the Breville Barista Professional.
The profile is good and slim. It matches effectively on a small condo countertop with out taking over an excessive amount of area. Sadly the ft did mark up my countertop each time I moved it. That’s partially as a result of they slipped and slid each time I levered the portafilter again into place, except I steadied the machine with my free hand. It is not an enormous deal, although, and it’s an issue the Silvia Professional shares with virtually each different espresso machine of this approximate dimension and weight.
It is a hanging, black and chrome steel espresso machine with a professional-grade steam pump. In your counter, it’s understated however highly effective. It seems like a panther primed to pounce—and while you flip it on, it even growls like one because it slurps the water up and heats it.
The buttons on the entrance are all mechanical buttons or switches: an influence change, a handbook brew change, one for heating up steam, and one other for decent water. There’s a small LCD show for adjusting the temperature, and that is it. The Silvia Professional pares away all the things however the naked necessities, so there’s nothing standing between you and the right extraction however your self. It’s daunting, in a approach. Each time I pulled a watery shot, it was as a result of my grind or my tamp was off, not as a result of the machine had erred ultimately. That’s true of all handbook espresso machines, however right here the spartan design and knowledgeable engineering simply emphasizes it.
My outdated machine taught me quite a bit about make nice espresso within the face of lengthy odds. Does this shot style humorous as a result of the grind is a bit off, or as a result of I must scour the rubber tubing inside once more? Does this style burned due to my beans, or as a result of there’s one thing bizarre occurring with the portafilter? Making espresso with that outdated machine was a little bit of a minefield, nevertheless it taught me quite a bit.
That’s why I can respect the Silvia Professional’s knowledgeable engineering. I do know what it seems like when a machine with this basic design is giving me a tough time, or when it’s throwing errors. Early on, I had a couple of poor extractions and realized a few the Silvia’s quirks. The portafilter was a bit shallower than I used to be used to, so ensure you don’t overfill or over-tamp. It’s simple to over- or under-tighten the filter while you’re locking it in, so ensure you’re not pulling too onerous. Use simply sufficient drive to get the portafilter again to its beginning place, pointing straight at you—don’t attempt to muscle it as tight as it should go otherwise you’ll find yourself with a skinny, bitter shot.