All About the Rancilio Silvia Pro

Our Silvia Pro details page, with our thoughts about the machine, Specifications, Pros and Cons and a Silvia Pro FAQ

We were excited when we heard the venerable Silvia home espresso machine was going to have a new big brother, the Silvia Pro.

We love the Miss Silvia, and have offered it for many years, as a good basic home machine, with that charming boxy look. Nobody would call the Silvia gaudy or over-embellished. It’s not trying to look like retro chic or bespoke wood and gold accents. It’s not the final touch to a McMansion kitchen. The Silvia is a very functional and basic metal box that brews good espresso.

But admittedly the Miss Silvia is so basic it starts to require extra work to get good results. Fanatics find that charming. I do! I think of it as similar to trying to get my boxy ’91 VW Westie camper van up a hill. I love that car but … well it’s definitely something you have to love when you are going 45 mph. The old Silvia too is hard pressed in some areas of performance.

The Silvia Pro maintains the look of the basic Miss Silvia but it’s a whole different beast. It’s hard to underscore the functional differences between the machine … The Pro is like a supercharged Silvia with performance of commercial components and specifications.

Highlights of the Silvia Pro

  • Steam power for milk drinks: As a Dual Boiler machine, this hefty block of metal can steam milk all day long. Dual-boiler machines are pretty much the unanimous choice for those who steam milk over heat exchanger type machines.
  • Digital temperature control: You can control most aspects of the performance with the simple, minimalistic PID on the front. Water temperature, steam temperature, stream pressure.
  • Fast and Responsive: The machine reaches temperature fast, and has a customizable power-down setting too. While it’s best to wait 10-15 minutes for first warmup, it’s actually at brew temperature in under 5 minutes in my experience. (Once it has gone into auto power-down mode, I found it comes back to temp in 2.5 minutes)
  • Compact: The Silvia Pro maintains the slim width of the basic Silvia, and packs a lot of performance into a small footprint compared to other dual-boiler home machines. The Silvia Pro is quite deep though, so you want to check measurements for your counter space. Footprint: 9.8 x 16.5 x 15.3 Inches = 25 x 42 x 39 cm (w x d x h)
  • Simple: Any espresso machine has a learning curve, but the Silvia Pro keeps to the basics, yet has all the controls that matter, we believe.
  • Thermal Stability: Using the WBC test for temperature stability at group head water delivery, there is .6 degrees fahrenheit temperature range. Commercial machines using the same test can range 1-2 degrees F !

In other words, this machine that bears so much resemblance to the basic Silvia is really operating at a whole different level in terms of control and performance.

Additional Silvia Pro Views

What is the basic description of the Silvia Pro Model?

The Silvia Pro is an espresso machine for home or office, but we see it being great for some light commercial setting too. It features a single group, saturated head made of brass, and takes a standard commercial 58 mm portafilter. It has two separate PIDs, one to control the steam boiler and the other for the coffee boiler. With this digital control and commercial components it has great temperature stability.

The insulated stainless steel steam wand delivers enough powerful steam to create cafe-quality microfoam in a short period of time. The machine has a 2 liter water reservoir that refills from the top, and has a lower water alert. (The Silvia Pro is not designed to be plumbed in to a water source). Ease-of-use functions like simple heat controls, integrated shot timer, ergonomic handle, and adjustable drip tray height enhance the user experience. It’s an easy machine to clean and maintain.

Our Overview Video of the Silvia Pro

Rancilio Silvia Pro Video Review from Sweet Maria’s

Accessories and More Details of the Silvia Pro

Detailed Specs of the Rancilio Silvia Pro

These are the factory specs and descriptions for the Silvia Pro from Rancilio literature:

  • Espresso Technology
    • Dual Boiler
    • Dual PID
    • Energy-saving insulated boilers
    • Multi-directional stainless steel steam wand
  • Build Features
    • Stainless steel body
    • Brass brewing unit
    • Adjustable height cup tray
  • Digital Control
    • Digital display with buttons (+ and -), shot timer, temperature indicator, water alert
    • Programmable wake-up mode
  • Clean-up
    • Stainless steel drip tray, cup tray, built-in 2-litre water reservoir.
    • All easy to remove for cleaning.
    • Group head cleaned by backflush
  • Included Materials
    • Shower cleaning brush, water softener
    • double spout portafilter, rubber backflush disk
    • cleaning tablets, coffee measuring plastic spoon
    • professional black wood tamper with stainless steel 58 mm flat base.
  • Capacities
    • Brew boiler: Stainless Steel, 0.3 L
    • Steam boiler: Stainless steel, 1 L
    • Water Reservoir: 2 L, BPA Free
  • Pump Specs
    • Vibratory Type Pump
    • The machine is set to 9 bars
    • We have checked our test machines- they are a hair over 9 bars in our tests.
  • Size and Weight
    • Height : 15.3 Inches /  39 cm
    • Width: 9.8 Inches /  25 cm
    • Depth: 16.5  Inches /  42 cm
    • Weight: 44.1 lbs. w/o water
  • Electrical
    • 120 Volt
    • 1200 Watt
    • 15 Amp

Miss Silvia and Silvia Pro Side By Side Images

Pros and Cons of the Silvia Pro?

Okay … what are the Pros of the Silvia Pro (!). What are some of the shortcomings we see?

I find it incredibly easy to use and adjust the temperature of the espresso extraction. The integrated shot timer is very welcome. Missing is a programmable pre-infusion for the shot … but I realize this is not an automated machine. That’s a feature that would come with something less manual (and less straightforward) than the Silvia Pro. But those who want more settings might find the controls limited. Also, if you want to program a pressure profile for each shot, this machine isn’t for you!

I have read that some people, ex “pro-baristas” basically, praise the steam power and ability to make true microfoam, but find that the range of motion of the insulated SS steam wand means some milk pitchers don’t work. It’s about the angles I think … the ex baristas at our warehouse have not had this issue.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Silvia Pro has no aids or crutches for helping a person steam milk … again that’s something you see in more automated machines. Silvia Pro ownership assumes you want to learn how to steam as you would on a pro machine, if you don;’t know already. (I rate myself 5 out of 10 on getting good silky textured milk … not my strong suit!)

I have read that the vibratory pump is loud, in one online post. All vibratory pumps make noise for sure, and this did not stand out in my experience. I did not find it especially loud (nor exactly quiet). The pump has rubber mounts to isolate vibration and noise and I imagine the pump in that case could be touching something else? The review was very positive but this was an issue for them. There was a different, short post online that was clearly about a defective unit. In the case of a defect unit we simply replace it, and the problem unit goes to Rancilio. Rancilio backs up the Silvia Pro with a 2 year warranty.

Rancilio Silvia Pro Espresso Machine FAQ

If you have any questions or comments, please submit them at the bottom of this page and we will incorporate them into our FAQ! This FAQ section is under construction!

What are the specs on the coffee handle / portafilter?

The machine comes with 1 brass coffee handle with 2 spouts, and 2 filters for single and double. They are called 8 gram and 16 gram baskets by Rancilio. I feel the single is a bit on the small side, like 7 grams, but I don’t use it. I think the double filter can hold 18 grams, but does seem to be less capacity than a VST 18 gram portafilter. The VST 18 does fit the handle, but is a bit tight. While the handle isn’t some bespoke exotic hardwood (!) or old classic round handle, it sure is easier on the hand/arm.

How much does the Silvia Pro weigh?

The Silvia Pro weight 44.1 Lbs. ( machine weight without water) versus the 30 Lb Silvia basic model. I was actually surprised it wasn’t a greater difference because the Silvia Pro is a heavy chunk! I was sweating carrying this up a site of stairs. But in a way the weight of this beast speaks to it’s quality. The Silvia Pro arrives in a box that is 52 Lbs. Use those knees to lift!

Does the Silvia Pro have programmable pre-infusion or temperature profiling?

It does not have either of these features. For shot control you have water temperature control via the digital PID. I would say the way the pressure hots the group head from the vibratory pump is “soft” – it ramps up to a tad over 9 bar in the first seconds. So in a sense this preinfuses: It doesn’t hit the coffee at 9 bars straight off! But no, no true user-controlled pre-infusion

I see you choose 110 or 220 volt when you set it up. Is the machine dual voltage?

No it isn’t! The controls are made for either voltage but the power supply and other key internal electric components are not. We sell only the 110 volt version.

What capacity is the stock double portafilter?

Information from Rancilio and others is conflicting. Rancilio states it is 16 gram, and that is my experience too. You run out of head space with more than 16 grams, but of course this depends on the coffee and roast level! I did fit in a VST 18 gram but it does not seem to hold as well in the handle as the stock 16 gram basket. Rancilio does not claim the handle works with other baskets so I wouldn’t count on interchangeability on this. To use large baskets, like triple shot ones, you would really have to get a Rancilio bottomless portafilter handle. We don’t have them but they are widely available.

Does this have the ability to pull back to back shots?

For me, yes – but I am also not the fastest operator in the world. I also don’t pull super long shots that would require more water for the brew boiler to refill. That said, I think for most users there would be no issues on the machine needed to recover – that’s what’s great about a dual boiler machine!

Can I adjust the vibratory pump pressure?

There was some conflicting information in the Rancilio material on this, so I was initially under the impression it was easily user adjustable. It’s not! When I looked into how this would be done I could not find any actual support material!
That said, the machines are delivered with 9 bars of pressure and I have checked them with my portafilter handle that has a pressure gauge. it consistently tests at a hair over 9 bars. It may be possible to change this as people do with the standard Silvia using the OPV – over pressure valve – modification, but why? You want to brew at 8 bars? or 10 bars?

4 Responses

  1. Adjusting the pump pressure? Where does one find that? (A page number in the enclosed pamphlet would be fine)

    1. Hi Michael – steam pressure is adjustable (rancilio addresses it in a good FAQ video ) but vibratory pump is shipped calibrated to 9 bars. I have actually checked them on the test unit and 3 others using a pressure gauge mounted on the coffee handle and they were consistent at a hair over 9 bars. But I am not seeing any easy way to get in there and adjust the pressure. Are you concerned the machine isn’t performing at 9 bars? or want something else?

  2. I have a classic Silvia with a self-installed PID that I have loved for over 15 years. One of the reviews I saw of the Pro X model pointed out the drip tray design as troubling. What are your thoughts?

    1. I havent had any issues with drip tray… so I am not sure. It is easy to empty, pretty good capacity, and adjustable vertically. The adjustment range is not huge … actually I hadn’t tried it but I just went over to the machine – it raises about an inch, pretty straight forward. I have heard more comments on the tank. People wish it was larger and that the notches for the hoses mean you cant fill it to the top. But thats pretty standard on all machines (notches), and I find the volume of the reservoir pretty good actually…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.