Rancilio Silvia

If you’re going to make home espresso this is the minimum machine required. Anything lesser is going to make terrible coffee and will likely sit unused on your counter.

– Pretty, Italian made machine
– Best bang for your buck in the home espresso world


– Many enthusiast will outgrow this machine
– Temperature surfing required
– Requires ninja like skill to get great results every time

I bought my Silvia in December of 2006 from Chris’s Coffee it was my second espresso machine. Back in college I had owned one of those Starbucks Barista machines — a complete piece of junk. Actually that’s not fair, the Barista made decent milk drinks and it really impressed the college girls. But anyway, back to the subject at hand. The Rancilio Silvia.

The Silvia is the best machine in the under $500 range. It’s a handle style machine so it does require barista skills. You’ll also need a really good grinder to go with the Silvia. The grinder is actually more important than the machine, so definitely don’t skimp on this.

This machine requires temperature surfing unless you install a PID. Here’s a video that demonstrates this technique. I typically would wait about 30 seconds after the light went out on my machine. This would hopefully get me pretty close to ~200 degrees at the group.