Breville Barista Express vs Rancilio Silvia: Home-use vs Commercial Espresso Machines

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Breville Barista Express vs Rancilio Silvia has been a curious debate because their target consumers are from completely different groups. While Barista Express is made for daily home use, the Rancilio Silvia is a commercial machine that shines best in restaurants or coffee bars. So which one is better?

Without considering the target group of users, Breville Barista Express is the machine that I would pick. It has all the features users need for a standard coffee experience without purchasing any other devices. In addition, I enjoy its robust and balanced espresso flavor and stable grinder operation. I highly recommend this model if you want an entry-level machine with good coffee quality.

As for Rancilio Silvia, this is a commercial espresso machine that can brew a large volume of espresso daily. 50 cups per day is not a problem with the Silvia line. If you are looking for a potent device for your restaurant, I recommend this model more. On the contrary, this is not the best pick if you don’t have to serve a large group of drinkers daily.

Breville Barista Express vs Rancilio Silvia: Comparison Chart

Image
THE WINNER (#1)
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, BES870XL
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels, 11.4 by 13.4-Inch
Model
Breville Barista Express
Rancilio Silvia
Dimensions (LxWxH)
12.5 x 12.6 x 13.1 Inches
9.2 x 11.4 x 13.3 inches
Capacity
67oz
67 oz
Color
Silver
Silver
Weight
23 Pounds
30.8 Pounds
Material
Stainless steel
Stainless Steel
Power / Voltage
1600W/ 110–120 V
1000W/ 110V
Beans container capacity
250g / 0.55 pounds
No bean container
Heating element
Thermocoil
Boiler
Built-in grinder
Heat up time
30s
2.5 to 3 minutes
Milk frothing method
Manual steam wand
Manual steam wand
Twin brewing
Suitable for pre-ground coffee
Cup warmer
Low Pressure pre-infusion
What I Like
Price
$599.95
$886.00
THE WINNER (#1)
Image
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, BES870XL
Model
Breville Barista Express
Dimensions (LxWxH)
12.5 x 12.6 x 13.1 Inches
Capacity
67oz
Color
Silver
Weight
23 Pounds
Material
Stainless steel
Power / Voltage
1600W/ 110–120 V
Beans container capacity
250g / 0.55 pounds
Heating element
Thermocoil
Built-in grinder
Heat up time
30s
Milk frothing method
Manual steam wand
Twin brewing
Suitable for pre-ground coffee
Cup warmer
Low Pressure pre-infusion
What I Like
Price
$599.95
More Info
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Image
Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels, 11.4 by 13.4-Inch
Model
Rancilio Silvia
Dimensions (LxWxH)
9.2 x 11.4 x 13.3 inches
Capacity
67 oz
Color
Silver
Weight
30.8 Pounds
Material
Stainless Steel
Power / Voltage
1000W/ 110V
Beans container capacity
No bean container
Heating element
Boiler
Built-in grinder
Heat up time
2.5 to 3 minutes
Milk frothing method
Manual steam wand
Twin brewing
Suitable for pre-ground coffee
Cup warmer
Low Pressure pre-infusion
What I Like
Price
$886.00
More Info

Last update on 2022-11-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Breville Barista Express vs Rancilio Silvia: Differences

Breville Barista Express wins 3-1 and ties with Rancilio Silvia in terms of milk frother and target consumers. No consumer group is “better” than the other, so I can’t rank that. Besides this category, the brewing features and convenient cleaning indicators exceed what the simplistic Rancilio Silvia offers.

Target consumers

No winner

Breville Barista Express is made for home use. It can’t and shouldn’t be put to extract a batch of over 10 double espressos per day simply because it’s not made to endure so much work daily.

As for Rancilio Silvia, given that this is a commercial machine, it can handle a much larger volume of work daily. It can extract around 50 double espressos daily without breaking down its pump pressure. Of course, I still recommend pulling only around 30-40 per day to keep the device durable. But if the workflows require, don’t hesitate to pull 50.

Heat up time

Winner: Breville Barista Express

Breville Barista Express is equipped with a Thermocoil heating system that is able to heat up in 30 seconds and get into brewing mode. This is the theory. But generally, I will wait 2-3 minutes or so so that the espresso is fuming hot. With Rancilio Silvia, it takes about a minute to heat up. But I generally have to wait about 15 minutes on average to ensure that the drinks come out hot as they should.

Breville Barista Express uses thermocoil and heats water in 30s
Breville Barista Express uses thermocoil and heats water in 30s

With the same water tank size and such a big difference in heat-up time, I don’t appreciate what Rancilio Silvia offers in terms of efficiency.

Espresso flavor

Winner: Rancilio Silvia

But what about its espresso flavor? Does the heat-up time affect it heavily? The truth is that the heat-up time relates to water temperature. And water temperature affects 60% of the espresso flavor (my math). The others are pump pressure consistency, coffee ground coarseness, and beans quality. So if an espresso machine doesn’t perform well in heating water to around 200°F, it’s not a good model.

This doesn’t mean that Rancilio Silvia brews less delicious cups of espresso. In fact, the espresso tastes much stronger from this one than Breville Barista Express. Only when I don’t allow the machine to be prime itself long enough does it brew unbalanced and bitter espresso with a watered-down texture.

Giving both machines the heat-up time that they need, I find myself attracted to the espresso quality of Rancilio Silvia. It’s bold, sweet, and refreshing. Who can say no to that?

 Rancilio Silvia brews bold, sweet, and refreshing espresso
Rancilio Silvia brews bold, sweet, and refreshing espresso

Grinder

Winner: Breville Barista Express

Rancilio Silvia isn’t equipped with a grinder, which is something common in commercial machines. For me, it’s not necessarily inconvenient. But the lack of an integrated grinder may be slightly annoying if you need a good old classic machine with all the standard home-use features. You will have to investigate for a separate grinder, which makes the real investment in your next barista experience higher than anticipated.

If you are willing to invest, I don’t think this is Silvia’s disadvantage. But if you prefer a jack-of-all-trades espresso machine, Breville Barista Express is the better pick.

Also, the grinder on Barista Express works like a charm. It’s quiet and can deliver even ground. There is nothing bad about it.

Utilities

Winner: Breville Barista Express

Breville Barista Express is a fully-automatic machine that can dose for users hands-free. On the other hand, Rancilio Silvia is a semi-automatic one that requires baristas to stop the dose when they find it sufficient.

Another point is that Breville Barista Express has various indicators for cleaning and hot water steam that needs purging before switching back to brewing.

All are small but not insignificant additional features that mark the Breville Barista Express as the superior device in terms of utilities.

Breville Barista Express has indicators for cleaning and hot water steam
Breville Barista Express has indicators for cleaning and hot water steam

Milk frother

Tie!

Regarding the milk frother and its resulting batches of steamed milk and foam, I enjoy what the pair has to offer. Can they froth microform? Not really. But the milk texture sure is dense enough for latte art. As for the temperature of the milk, I suggest using room-temperature milk to get the hottest 145°F cups that we need.

Breville Barista Express vs Rancilio Silvia: Similarities

These are some small similarities between Breville Barista Express and Rancilio Silvia. Make sure you check them out.

Water tank size

Despite being a commercial machine, Rancilio Silvia has the same water tank size as Breville Barista Express, which can hold up to 67oz of water. This detail has bothered me because I’m 100% okay with a standard 67oz water tank, but not for commercial purposes. That will require constant refills, especially if the users tend to brew and froth using the same device.

Rancilio Silvia doesn’t support users in hooking it up to a water supply, either. So it’s constant refills. The good thing is that we have access to the tank from the top of the machine, so we can pour water in without removing the reservoir. Overall, consider carefully if the water tank size is too small for you.

Cup warmer

Both models have a cup warming tray on top that uses the heat from the boiler/ heating element inside the brew group. To ensure that the beverages that you serve are hot and don’t cool off quickly, I suggest putting the cup warming tray to good use.

Also, even though Barista Express is bigger than Rancilio Silvia, half of its top section is occupied by the bean hopper. Therefore, the space the pair offers for cup warming is the same.

Quick Rundown Of Breville Barista Express

Sale
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, BES870XL
  • The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is part of the Barista Series that offers all in one espresso machines with integrated grinder to go from beans to espresso in under one minute
  • Dose Control Grinding: Integrated precision conical burr grinder grinds on demand to deliver the right amount of freshly ground coffee directly into the portafilter for your preferred taste with any roast of bean
  • Optimal Water Pressure: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup. Grind Settings: 16 precision grind settings
  • Precise Espresso Extraction: Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal espresso extraction
  • Manual Microfoam Milk Texturing: The powerful steam wand performance allows you to hand texture microfoam milk that enhances flavor and enables creation of latte art

Last update on 2022-11-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Offers a lot of control over your coffee
  • Uses a Thermocoil heating system
  • Precise espresso extraction through a digital temperature control system
  • Manual and potent milk wand
  • 6 one-touch beverages, including cappuccino
  • Modern design and stainless steel finish
Cons
  • Can’t brew more than 10 cups per day

Quick Rundown Of Rancilio Silvia

Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels, 11.4 by 13.4-Inch
  • Ergonomic porta filter handle same as the proven design of Rancilio commercial machines
  • Commercial grade group head for superb heat stability and extraction quality
  • Articulating steam wand offers complete range of motion and professional steaming knob precisely controls steaming pressure
  • Classic linear design fits most decors
  • Optional pod and capsule adaptor kit available

Last update on 2022-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Constructed with stainless steel
  • Good temperature control on a single boiler
  • Pods are compatible with adapters if equipped
  • Compact and simple design
  • Easily maintained and cleaned
  • Commercial machine that is built to serve 50 espressos per day
Cons
  • Simplistic design and isn’t ideal for home use
  • No integrated grinder

Product Video

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