Here is my 1 week review of the Rancilio Silvia Pro X.
Now I’m not a professional reviewer by any means. Just an avid home ‘wannabe’ barista 😆
To some up this machine… its fantastic quality and just ‘EASY’ with making great tasting espresso with minimal effort. I use a Niche Zero grinder and always WDT.
It comes with just over 9 bars of pressure on a ‘blind shot’ stock out of the box. No need to open the machine and fiddle around with any OPV’s etc. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but in reality is a lifesaver to a novice user. As its much easier to dial in coffee and shots taste sweeter. I don’t know why more manufacturers with machines in the price range don’t set the OPV out of the box like this.
If you’re comparing this machine to its direct competitor the Lelit Elizabeth… here’s what i found .. (since i already used to own the Elizabeth previously but returned it for a refund due to the faulty OPV overshoot issue)… so i can compare the 2 directly.
The startup times between these 2 machines is about the same. The automatic backflush procedure is about the same on the 2 machines, although the Silvia does have longer holding times between flushes, so no need to do a hybrid flush like on the Elizabeth.
I’m also using an ECM Bottomless portafilter with 18g VST basket. The same setup as i used on the Elizabeth. The Rancilio stock spouted portafilter that comes in the box feels weighty and nice quality, but i only use it for backflushing. Similar thing when i had the Elizabeth, i only used that portafiliter when backflushing.
The Elizabeth is BETTER at the following:
- Elizabeth has more pre-infusion settings compared to the Silvia’s simple ‘6 second soft infusion’
- The Lelit LCC is better than the Silvia’s calculator like display and primitive menu
- The Elizabeth does have ‘time based’ shot clock buttons that stop the shot after a certain time, the Silvia you have to manually stop the shot. (but actually my preference is manually stopping the shot myself)
- Cool touch steam wand - when i used to have the Elizabeth, i took it for granted touching the steam wand and not getting burnt. The Silvia does not have a cool touch steam wand and have to remember to handle it using the rubber section.. i have been burnt a few times with the Silvia’s steam wand. haha.
- The water sensor in the Elizabeth is better than the one in the Silvia. Elizabeth can sense before a shot if you’re going to run out of water before making the shot. The Silvia cannot … if you pull a shot on the Silvia and you’re low on water in the tank, it will stop half way and you’ve ruined your shot. Then it will tell you to fill up with water afterwards by displaying ‘H2O’ on the display
- The Elizabeth has a 2.5L water tank, the Silvia only has 2L
- Larger drip tray and easier to pull out for cleaning. The Elizabeth can hold more water in the drip tray than the Silvia, and is also easier to remove.
- The Elizabeth is slightly quieter than the Silvia… (although not by much)
The Silvia Pro X is BETTER at the following:
- Build Quality. This thing is a tank. The metal is thick on the outside. I also opened up the inside and everything is neat and tidy, solidly built. The grouphead is solid, and when you lock in the portafilter, you can just feel it is of high quality. Its hard to explain, but i remember every time locking the portafiliter into the Elizabeth, it felt a bit flimsy and cheap. That is just my personal opinion. Please don’t hate on me for this 😆 . Also i love the feel and click of the ‘rocker’ switches on the Silvia. This is subjective.
- There is no rattling of any kind. I remember with the Elizabeth things used to rattle all the time.. whether it be the drip tray, the plastic funnel in the water tank, or sometimes the boiler? … with this thing. There is no rattling. It sounds like a small thing, but in reality its so nice to have no rattling out of the box.
- Milk Steaming - this thing is powerful ! … i usually steam 150ml of milk and it is so quick. i haven’t timed it but it would be around 20-30 seconds. It is a bit of learning curve to steam milk on this and i’m still getting the hang of it.
- Filling up with water - the Silvia has a massive opening to easily refill the tank with water. The Elizabeth has a small hole to fill it up with. I remember with the Elizabeth i had to get a funnel and often i would spill water around it.
- The 1 second quick flush feature. This may seem like a silly thing, but if you hold down the rocker switch for over a second, the display will show “F” for flush ..which flushes the grouphead for 1-2 seconds to saturate it. Now i know the Elizabeth has a similar thing where you hold down the 2 buttons.. but the workflow on the Silvia for this feature to me is so much better/easier and i end up using this all the time before i pull a shot.
- Better quality Espresso - now i know this is subjective and depends on beans and grinder etc. I use a Niche grinder and am using the same beans as i used when i had the Elizabeth. Now possibly because i had a faulty OPV on the Elizabeth this may be biased, but the Silvia Pro X shots just taste sweeter, so much easier to dial in and my shots are ALWAYS on 9 bars when looking at the gauge. To sum it up, its just .. ‘easier’ to get the shot you want. I always use the 6 second ‘soft infusion’ and i very rarely get any noticeable channeling. (i WDT then use distributor tool) The splashback is always clean.
- Consistency - man is this thing consistent! .. shot after shot the Silvia makes the same quality espresso that you dialed in. I remember with the Elizabeth i just noticed it was not very consistent … for instance i would get a great tasting espresso, then the shot afterwards, something was off and the timing was off. Now as i said i did have that weird OPV overshoot issue with the Elizabeth, but that was only on the 1st shot of the day where i would have that problem.
Overall I’m very happy with my purchase of the Silvia Pro X. There are pros and cons comparing this to the Elizabeth and will all come down to personal preference. If you are going to purchase an Elizabeth, just make sure you don’t get a faulty OPV and notify you’re retailer about the OPV overshoot issue before purchasing so they are aware of that problem incase you get a faulty OPV.
In summary… if you want all the bells and whistles that an espresso machine has to offer and are prepared to sacrifice a bit of quality, go with the Elizabeth. If you are prepared to have a few less bells and whistles and just want the best tasting espresso, super powerful steaming capabilities and magnificent quality and reliability of Rancilio… then get the Silvia Pro X.. preferably in BLACK ! :) if you have any questions let me know.