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Breville Infuser (BES840XL) vs. Rancilio Silvia | What's Best for you?

Breville Infuser BES840XL vs. Rancilio Silvia, What’s Best for you?

Breville Infuser (BES840XL) vs. Rancilio Silvia

The Breville BES840XL Infuser and Rancilio Silvia are two of the top semi-automatic machines in their price range.

Both are constructed using commercial grade material, but designed to perform in the kitchens of consumers around the world.

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The Final Shot: For rookie and intermediate brewers, nothing beats the ease of the Breville Infuser, the intuitive tech settings and adjustments make it easy to learn and the auto-purge function keeps it hassle-free. More advanced espresso lovers will find the Rancilio Silvia to be a better choice for the commercial grade features and extra manual functions.

Rancilio inserted their commercial grade group head into the Silvia to make sure that the heat levels were balanced and the extraction quality was at its best. Traditional Italian engineering comes into play and allows users a good deal of control over the extraction process.

On the other hand, Breville is an Australian brand known for innovation and infusing their products with the best tech design on the market. Their foray into espresso makers has been met with rave reviews and seriously happy users.

In this head to head review, we are going to focus on the BES840XL Infuser and how it stacks up against the classic Rancilio Silvia. We will highlight the similarities as well as differences between these two and the key features so that you can decide which one is the best fit for your skills and preferences.

Rancilio Silvia vs. Breville BES840XL Infuser Head to Head

 
NameRancilio SilviaBreville Infuser

Size (L x W x H)
9.2 x 11.4 x 13.3 in12.5 x 10.25 x 13.25 in

Weight
30 lbs17 lbs

Pump Pressure
15 Bar15 Bar

Frothing Wand
NoYes

Water Tank Size
67 oz61 oz

Grinder
No GrinderNo Grinder

Programmability
NoYes

Similarities

With brilliant overall designs and stainless steel housing, these espresso makers offer a professional feeling appearance. They are sleek and aesthetically pleasing additions to any kitchen countertop.

One major similarity is they are both semi-automatic machines. This means you’ll need to cultivate a few barista skills and invest a little time for practice in order to yield a solid shot of espresso.

In the case of the Infuser, you will enjoy access to a few integrated automatic features, such as temperature settings and purging.

The swivel steam wands are designed on both machines for effortless milk steaming and frothing to create lattes and cappuccinos. Both wands are made of stainless steel and require user interaction.

The steam wand on the Infuser is great at microfoam and is nuanced enough to enable you to work on your latte art skills.

Both the Breville and Silvia also have warming surfaces on the top of the machines lets you pre-heat cups to keep the shot hot while you use the steam wand.

Neither machine includes a built-in grinder, so you will need to purchase a high quality burr grinder separately. We don’t recommend using pre-ground beans with either machine, even though technically, they will work. The shot quality just won’t be up to par.

Both The Breville and Rancilio also offer 15 bar pump pressure. The 15 bar Italian pump of the Infuser gives you a complete volumetric control of preset, manual over-ride and re-programmable volumes. While in the case of the Silvia, the 15 bar water pump provides you heavy duty power to thoroughly extract your shot. With either, you will be getting the most flavor extraction from your grounds as possible.

The water tanks in both the machines are also, offering an easy refilling and cleaning option.

sharedfeatures

Shared Features:
  • Brushed stainless steel body
  • Steam wands for milk frothing (stainless steel)
  • Semi-automatic
  • 15 bar pump
  • No built in grinder
  • Water reservoir capacity above 50 ounces
  • Tamper included

Differences

Flavor Infusion

When it comes to extraction and maximizing the flavor of the beans, the two machines differ in what they offer.

The Infuser, as it’s name suggests, uses a pre-infusion method. This means rather than starting off hitting the beans with a barrage of high pressure, the Breville starts with slow, steady, low pressure to gently swell the grinds, engulfing each granule. This facilitates the filling in of any cracks, gaps, or irregularities in the coffee puck just before full pressure is applied.

As a result, equal pressure is applied to all pieces of the coffee puck and best flavor is extracted.

This is not a feature the Rancilio offers. Instead, it hits the beans with full pressure from the outset and pushes the water through in one continuous burst.

colorDesign

In case of appearance, with an extremely powerful linear housing, the Rancilio Silvia has been proved long-lasting and generally durable. It also looks totally professional and minimalist modern.

The Infuser, on the other hand, is somewhat smaller than the Silvia and a little less streamlined. It isn’t quite as sleek and has significantly more hardware on it’s outer casing for the added programmability.

Portafilter

The size of the portafilter on these two machines is also a key difference.

The Rancilio developers designed a 58mm economical porta-filter to facilitate an optimal extraction. In fact, Rancilio inserts the same exact porta-filters on their commercial espresso machines as they do in this model. This is a great example of the serious professionalism of the Silvia.

The Breville, by contrast, features a smaller portafilter of 54mm. Breville uses this non-standard size for all its espresso machines. I also own a Breville (link to Barista Express article) and I haven’t ever experienced this as a negative.

The functionality of the portafilters also varies slightly.

The Infuser features a black plastic rim inside the stainless steel bowl of the portafilter that reduces heat loss experienced when espresso hits cold metal. The double wall pressurized filter baskets also prevent “splashing” and spilling, keeping the process a little less messy.

By contrast, the Silvia has a three-way solenoid valve to decrease splatter from any portafilter mis-pulls and post-brew drip, producing a commercial grade pressure release system that is extremely efficient, as well as neat & clean.

Boiler

The boiler on the two machines is another key difference.

The Infuser features a 1600 watt Thermocoil Heating System. This allows you to control the temperature of the machine with super precision, coupled with integrated stainless steel water coils. It’s a vital part of the espresso making process and produces even heat distribution.

In the Silvia, the boiler offset ranges from 15-18 fahrenheit above the brew temperature. This means that the boiler’s temperature increases well above the boiling point of water. When you draw water from the boiler, immediately after, the heating elements turn off. At atmospheric pressure, the leaving water will flash boil to steam. By flushing the boiler you can quickly cool down the overheated water in the boiler to brew temperature range. This is done manually and requires a little skill.

Water Pressure

The Breville Infuser applies low water pressure at the beginning of the extraction to gently swell grinds for an even extraction. The Silvia applies atmospheric water pressure which is somewhat less sophisticated in this mechanism.

Accessories

The Infuser comes with additional accessories to facilitate the brewing process, including single & dual wall filter baskets, cleaning disc & tablets, coffee scoop, cleaning tool, stainless steel jug, a magnetized tamper, and a water filter with holder.

The Silvia, on the other hand, comes with a Palo brew-group cleaner and some cleaning products, a La Marzocco double basket, solid steel or aluminum coffee tamper. It is necessary for the tamper to be solid and it should be flat. Having a curved bottom on the tamper is not a good sign.

The Silvia also features a 12-ounce frothing pitcher. This is the largest volume capacity of any home espresso machine in its class. The Breville infuser also comes with a frothing pitcher, but it has a slightly smaller capacity.

HeatHeating Technology

The Breville Infuser’s auto purge technology automatically adjusts the water temperature after steaming for optimal espresso extraction temperature so you can switch between foaming milk and pulling the next shot without a wait.

The Silvia, by contrast, requires manual purging before toggling back to shot pulling after a steaming.

Water Reservoir Size

The water tank size, if you’ve read my other articles, is something I always pay a lot of attention to because it is a convenience factor that I really appreciate when I’m making 2-4 lattes or Americanos a day.

The Silvia features a removable 67-ounce water tank that can be refilled prior to the operation or during and after operation.

The Infuser contains a water tank that has a slightly less capacity at 61 ounces. It does feature a nice maximum and minimum capacity indicator, which is absent in the Silvia and is a nice bonus add-on.

Ease of Use

The functions of Breville BES840XL the Infuser Espresso Machine are easier to master because they combine just the right about of user control with tech-savvy automation. It is well-suited to any rookie user or intermediate brewer with some barista knowledge.

On the other hand, the Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine has more manual inputs than the Infuser and as a result, it is not as well suited for beginners and is suggested for users that have prior experience with using espresso machines.

Summary

Both the machines in this match-up get top marks for efficiency and quality and offer the user a hands-on experience.

Of the two, the Infuser is significantly easier to operate with more automatic and adjustable features, while coming in at a slightly lower price point. If you’re a novice espresso brewer, this machine is a great fit.

For advanced espresso machine users, the Rancilio Silvia offers more commercial grade materials, manual features and a slightly more traditional experience.

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About the Author Michael York

I am a die-hard espresso fan. I love every form of the drink from straight espresso shots to lattes and cappuccinos. I currently use a Breville BES870XL Barista, it is an awesome machine. BUT, my dream machine is definitely an Italian Quickmill Andreja. Those bad boys make badass espresso. I love answering your questions, leave a comment or question below!

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