Who would have known that an espresso machine from 2009 would be giving a hard time to some of the latest & greatest espresso machines that money can buy in 2022? The Silvias have surely impacted the espresso-making machine market for more than two decades!
Keep reading to find out if this espresso-brewing machine is worth your time and money or just another piece of rusting scrap lost in the sea of countless espresso machines.
Rancilio Silvia V2 – Pros & Cons
|Very user-friendly and simple controls. Modern espresso machines, unlike ALL Silvias, have way too many switches & buttons, which can make life a living hell. |
Parts are widely available & can easily be sourced. Very durable bodywork.
The framework is built like a tank and made to last.
It produces top-notch froths.
The steam wand is the main highlight that makes it stand out from the competition.
Simple & straightforward design. Since there are no electronics to die, it can be easily disassembled, allowing you to change parts without professional guidance.
Early Silvias hold an immensely good resale value. It’s very rare to find a V2, in perfect condition, because of their limited numbers.
A very ergonomic design. The petite size & design of the machine fit perfectly in any household kitchen.
|It catches rust easily. Because Silvia’s body is not made of stainless steel, it can easily rust, which may be the last thing you want. |
Parts are expensive. Potential owners should be ready to bleed money…
The drip tray is too small. You will require frequent cleaning if you happen to own a Silvia V2. It can be a very frustrating task.
PID doesn’t come pre-installed. Unfortunately, this is bad news for PID-lovers, as the installation is very costly.
Temperature variances because of no PID. After brewing a couple of coffees, the boiler reheats, so you have to wait for it to cool down. This can really test your patience level.
No Silvias are stylish by any means. Instead, it feels like the design department has been pushed back to the 1900s. This is a huge turnoff for many, including me.
The steam wand can only move left or right, unlike later versions which are free to move. As a result, you may face difficulty brewing froths in large pitchers.
Buying A Used Rancilio Silvia V2 – What To Look For?
If you ever happen to be in the market for a new Rancilio Silvia V2, chances are you won’t find one. At this stage, price is not the question. The question is its availability.
Below is the Rancilio Silvia model available on Amazon, not the V2 though.
They’re exceptionally rare, with just a handful of them going for sale every year on sites such as eBay & Craigslist— and that too in used condition.
However, if you managed to find one, luckily, you should take the following measures:
- Take it for a test run and go for a couple of shots. Check for any possible leaks.
- Take out the drip tray and look for rust. All V2s have a small hole through which water can seep, which can cause frame rust. This is the last thing you’d want
- Next, check for any leakages around the portafilter. A 58mm portafilter can set you back by $60-$90. Worst case scenario, if there are any leakages, ask the owner to get it replaced.
- Check the condition of the steam wand by running water through it. If it can produce a steady flow of steam, then the wand is good to go. Also, it is important to know if the owner cleaned the wand after each use. A leaking wand can overheat your milk & ruin your froth.
- Check for any signs of deterioration in the boiler. An eroded boiler means that the owner did not backflush the machine enough. This indicates the existence of putrid acids in the machines’ system.
- Inquire more about the owner’s use of the machine like:
- Its usage patterns.
- How many shots did the owner make every week?
- When was the last time anyone descaled the machine?
- How often was it backflushed?
- How often did anyone clean the drip tray, steam wand, and portafilter?
- Any spare parts that were replaced recently.
Rancilio Silvio – History
The Rancilio company, originally founded in 1927, entered the espresso machine market in the early 2000s and late 1900s. Before 1997, they didn’t even know they would become one of the finest & greatest manufacturers of the espresso machine to exist.
It all began in 1997. The prototype, Rancilio Silvia V1, was introduced & given as a gift to some of Rancilio’s most trusted vendors and importers. From there onwards, it gained massive popularity – among households – which just kept spiraling upwards and upwards.
The Italians would then go on to make 6 more versions of this machine throughout the next 15-20 years, making it evident to the industry that they were here to stay.
Rancilio Silvia V2 – How to Brew Espresso (espresso-brewing guide)
Say that you’ve somehow managed to acquire a Silvia V2, and in perfect condition; however, you still don’t know how to operate this machine. After all, functioning a fully manual machine is not everyone’s cup of tea… or coffee.
No need to worry as we have here a detailed guide that will help you make your perfect cuppa joe.
- Fill the water reservoir with 2 cups of water. Turn on the switch and take the machine out for a little test run. Cycle the water through the system until the yellow light comes on. This helps in temperature surfing which is a common issue among all Silvias.
Moreover, the yellow light indicates whether the machine has heated (the water) to its top-most temperature.
- While the machine is preheating, grind the whole beans using a coffee grinder. We’ve gone the extra mile to find the best coffee grinder for you. Pour the ground coffee into a CLEAN portafilter. Make sure to use a tamper to press down the ground coffee to the portafilter.
- Upon locking the portafilter into the machine, run it, all the while enjoying the fresh aroma of the coffee being brewed.
- (Optional) After running through the portafilter, your coffee is good to go. However, it’s still missing that cherry on the top, the last missing piece: a good, steamy froth.
- To make espresso, first steam the milk using the steam wand. However, we’d strongly recommend testing out the wand and running water through it a couple of times until it starts producing steam. Now, you can sit back & enjoy while the wand heats the milk.
- After you’re done with your latte, you have to clean the machine for your next use. I can’t lay enough emphasis on the importance of cleaning your espresso machine, especially the Rancilio Silvias. After all, you would not want to spend money hand over fist in the long run.
You can start cleaning by taking out the portafilter & dumping the puck (ground coffee remains). Then you can dispose of the water in the drip tray. However, you’re still not done. You still have to clean the steam wand and backflush the machine to eliminate any harmful acids in the system.
Rancilio Silvia V2 – Is It worth It? Who Is It For?
Simply put— yes. For true coffee lovers, who know what they are doing, this old-school machine can do wonders if, and only if, you can find one in good condition. Unfortunately, most of the owners I have seen have the V2 in their possession for more than 15 years, which they are most certainly not willing to let go.
Most owners complain about the complexity of brewing their ideal espresso on a V2. It can take several attempts before perfecting the brew because of the temperature variances. But, just like for every problem, there’s a solution. In this case, if you follow the correct procedure, you’d definitely be rewarded.
I’ve been on the lookout for a Silvia V2 in good condition on the web. Safe to say, I’ve found some in good condition. I have provided the links below for people who are considering buying one.
But for people looking for a normal cup of espresso, you should skip this and find other similar machines like the Gaggia or the Breville. They can do just the job for you. If you require quantity over quality, you should avoid the Silvia because a Silvia usually heats up after brewing like 3 cups.
Rancilio Silvia V2 – Conclusion
While the Silvia may have minor flaws like a small drip tray, rust, brilliant yet impractical steam wand, and the infamous temperature variance issue, it is still a great machine.
All the problems have a workaround and can easily be avoided. But the big question is what type of person you are. If you handle things with complete care, you can easily avoid the above-mentioned problems.
Too much rust? Clean the machine after each use and make sure there are no leaks.
Temperature Variance? Learn the correct brewing procedure. Worst case scenario, buy yourself a PID.
The thing is that there are no sensors in the Silvia. You are the sensor that has to detect what’s wrong. Unless and until you know what you’re doing right, you’ll fight yourself out of any problem, for sure.