If you want to learn the differences between the Breville Barista and Rancilio Silvia, read our side by side comparison. Both are excellent espresso machines, but they do their job totally different from each other.
Breville Barista Express
Spec Comparison of Breville Barista Express and Rancilio Silvia
The Breville Barista Express is maybe the most-popular semi-automatic machine espresso machine for beginners. It is very similar to the Breville Infuser but has a built-in grinder which is a plus. The grinder saves you from buying a separate grinder and speeds things up.
The machine has both pressurized and non-pressurized portafilter baskets, which is excellent for beginners. The programmable PID feature allows you to set the water at the perfect temperature.
Other features we love are the pressure gauge which shows what pressure the machine is operating at, the pre-infusion system and the manual steam wand. With the pre-infusion system first some low-pressure water applied before ramping up to full brewing pressure, this produces a more consistent shot, by expanding the ground coffee.
You basically need three things in a good espresso machine: precise water temperature, optimal water pressure, and sufficient steam pressure. The Breville Barista Express provides all.
If you prefer a semi-automatic espresso machine that will last a lifetime the Rancilio Silvia is for you. It is made of top-quality materials, housing is constructed of an iron frame and has stainless steel side panels. In terms of build quality, this entry-level espresso machine has only one competitor, the Gaggia Classic.
It does not have a PID temperature control and the process is more manual than modern machines. There are three thermostats to check to ensure that the steam, espresso and boiler heat are all ok. Like the Gaggia Classic, it is a great machine for beginners if you like to be more involved in the process.
As we pointed out above the build-quality is great and it has many parts that are commercial-grade, like the chrome-plated steamer wand and 58mm ergonomic porta-filters.
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