Posted on 29 December 2010 by Nate
As anyone who has spent any amount of time poking around the internet looking for information on the Rancilio Silvia has found, Miss Silvia could possibly be the best espresso machine for tinkering with and making modifications. And if you have any degree of geek in you, you’ll be able to spend a lot of time (and money) “modding” your Rancilio Silvia. Listed here are some of the popular modifications for getting the best espresso machine experience from Miss Silvia. I’m not going to go into the technical details regarding how to perform these modifications and please understand that there is risk associated with some of these alterations (ie. you’re likely voiding your warranty). However, this article will simply introduce you to just a few of the options available for further research.
Perhaps the most popular modification that Rancilio Silvia owners have gravitated toward in recent years is the temperature control mod. If you’ve spent any amount of time with Miss Silvia, you’ll know that there’s quite a variance between the top of the machine’s temperature cycle and the lower end. While the boiler in Miss Silvia is extremely capable of holding steady temperatures and rivals some of the best espresso machine alternatives, some folks claim that the stock thermostat can produce temperature variances of up to 40 degrees. We all know this is not the way to get great espresso.
In an attempt to regulate and maintain a more consistent brewing temperature in the Rancilio Silvia boiler, many users are installing digital temperature controllers (known as PID’s). By utilizing a temperature probe and a solid state switch, the temperature controller can reduce the temperature variance in the Rancilio Silvia boiler to nearly 1 degree, allowing you to produce much more consistent espresso.
As we all know, the essential physics of espresso require suitable pressure for proper extraction. Older versions of the Rancilio Silvia incorporated adjustable OPV’s (over pressure valves). By making some minor adjustments to the OPV, it is possible to adjust the amount of pressure utilized in producing your shots. While many newer versions of the Rancilio Silvia don’t have the adjustable over pressure valve, it’s possible to order one for around $45 online and install it yourself.
Steam wand modifications
The Rancilio Silvia comes with a standard one-hole steam wand. Aftermarket parts are available to modify the steam wand, of which the most popular is the three-hole steam want that can be found at some online Rancilio Silvia retailers. This is a relatively simple modification and owners who have carried out this one have some pretty mixed reviews about whether or not it’s effective. Unless you’re serious about creating milky espresso drinks such as lattes or cappuccinos, you’re probably better off sticking to temperature and pressure related mods to get the best espresso machine experience from your Rancilio Silvia.
Not only is the Rancilio Silvia widely considered the best espresso machine for the home enthusiast, but as discussed in this article, it’s great for anyone who likes to tinker and is mechanically inclined.