Breville Barista Pro Vs Rancilio Silvia: A Head-To-Head Comparison

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When comparing the Breville Barista Pro vs Rancilio Silvia, it’s not hard to decide that the Barista Pro is superior in many factors, although they have similar price tags.

Right off the bat, the Breville Barista Pro has a built-in grinder with an impressive 30 settings, so you can temporarily forget about buying one separately. It allows you to adjust a couple of settings, enabling you to fine-tune your brew to your exact liking. Additionally, it also heats up quickly with its ThermoJet heating system.

The Rancilio Silvia is also a great coffee machine for home use and can brew delicious espresso, but it comes with some big limitations. One notable absence is a PID controller, meaning you’ll need to get the hang of temperature surfing to consistently pull a good shot. You also don’t have the option to tweak and fine-tune settings like you might with Barista Pro.

Breville Barista Pro Vs Rancilio Silvia: Specs & Features Comparison Chart

Image
THE WINNER (#1)
Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine BES878BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machinet,0.3 liters, with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels, 11.4 by 13.4-Inch
Model
Breville Barista Pro
Rancilio Silvia
Dimensions/Weight
13.5 x 16.1 x 16 inches/27.5 lbs
13.3 x 11.4 x 9.2 inches/30.8 lbs
Interface
Non-Touch Screen
Button-Operated Interface
One Touch Drink Options
2
2
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
30
Heating System
Single ThermoJet
Single Boiler
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Manual Steam Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Dual/3 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2 L/0.25 Kg
2 L/None
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$849.95
$900.00
THE WINNER (#1)
Image
Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine BES878BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Barista Pro
Dimensions/Weight
13.5 x 16.1 x 16 inches/27.5 lbs
Interface
Non-Touch Screen
One Touch Drink Options
2
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
30
Heating System
Single ThermoJet
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2 L/0.25 Kg
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$849.95
More Info
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Image
Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machinet,0.3 liters, with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels, 11.4 by 13.4-Inch
Model
Rancilio Silvia
Dimensions/Weight
13.3 x 11.4 x 9.2 inches/30.8 lbs
Interface
Button-Operated Interface
One Touch Drink Options
2
Built-in Grinder
Grinding Settings
Heating System
Single Boiler
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/3 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2 L/None
Filter
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$900.00
More Info

Last update on 2024-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Breville Barista Pro Vs Rancilio Silvia: Differences

The Barista Pro clinched a victory over the Rancilio Silvia with a score of 4-0. Let’s read my detailed comparison for more details and information.

Coffee Flavor & Brewing System

Winner: Breville Barista Pro

Built-in Grinder 

Alright, let’s start with the big deal. The Breville Barista Pro comes equipped with a built-in burr grinder, while the Rancilio Silvia doesn’t. So if you go with the latter, you’ll need to spend extra bucks on a standalone grinder.

the barista pro's stainless steel conical burr grinder
The Barista Pro’s stainless steel conical burr grinder

The Barista Pro’s stainless steel grinder has up to 30 different size settings, which is a whole lot more than what you usually get with built-in grinders on espresso machines. Having a ton of grind size options is always a plus since your ideal grind size can change day by day.

Of course, even if you choose the Barista Pro, there’s always the option to level up with a top-notch standalone burr grinder that empties directly into its portafilter. But keep in mind that we’re then venturing into a higher price bracket.

Dosing & Tamping

The Rancilio Silvia is fitted with a 58mm portafilter, and honestly, it’s something I kind of wish the Barista Pro had. Still, the Barista Pro goes with a slightly smaller 54mm portafilter instead. But temporarily ignoring the size issue, both portafilters are solidly built and add a real touch of premium quality to the machines. 

You can buy a bottomless portafilter to get a closer look at your espresso extraction process. That way, you can fine-tune your technique to barista-level precision.

The Barista Pro has four filter baskets, both pressurized and non-pressurized. Meanwhile, the Silvia Pro ships with two non-pressurized baskets so pressurized ones need to be purchased separately.

the rancilio silvia comes with single-wall filter baskets
The Rancilio Silvia comes with single-wall filter baskets

If you’re feeling confident in your espresso-making skills, non-pressurized baskets are your ticket to consistently nailing those barista-standard espresso shots. But if you’re just a beginner or if pre-ground coffee is also your go-to, pressurized baskets are a great starting point since they leave more room for error.

By the way, I would like to express my joy that these machines come with heavy-duty stainless steel espresso tampers, not disappointingly flimsy plastic ones. The Barista Pro tamper feels a bit lighter, but there’s a reason for it: It’s designed to be light enough to attach magnetically to the machine for easy storage.

The Barista Pro also comes with a nifty feature called the “grind pause” function, allowing you to pause right in the middle of grinding. This cool feature helps you avoid that all-too-common problem of ending up with a mountain of grounds on the drip tray, meaning less cleaning up.

Heating System

These machines may both be single-boiler types, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. The Barista Pro is equipped with a ThermoJet heating system, while the Rancilio Silvia opts for a traditional brass boiler. And trust me, this difference is more significant than it might seem.

The Barista Pro, with its ThermoJet system, gets up to the ideal operating temperature in just about 3 seconds, which is a real time-saver when you’re eager for your morning coffee. It is also super handy for quickly getting hot water for other needs, like a cup of tea, without waiting around for a kettle.

It’s true that the Breville Barista Pro heats up very rapidly, but you’ll want to make sure the brew head and portafilter are properly preheated for the best coffee extraction. To do that, you need to pull a couple of empty shots, and by empty, I mean without any coffee grounds. 

The Rancilio Silvia takes longer to heat up and be ready to go. Another thing to note is that it doesn’t come with a PID controller, meaning you’ll need to get familiar with temperature surfing to really nail convincing espresso results. 

If you’re up for a bit of DIY, there’s the option to buy a PID kit and modify the Rancilio Silvia yourself. Alternatively, if you’re willing to invest a bit more, you can opt for the PID-already-installed version or even the excellent Rancilio Silvia Pro.

Brewing System

It’s a well-known fact among coffee lovers that gently soaking ground coffee under low pressure before the main event of brewing really enhances the quality of an espresso shot. This crucial pre-brew process is known as pre-infusion.

Pre-infusion is an adjustable feature on the Barista Pro. So if the factory-set pre-infusion time of 10 seconds feels a bit too lengthy for your taste, you have the power to step in and tweak that setting.

The Rancilio Silvia doesn’t come with a pre-infusion feature, but don’t worry, there’s a clever workaround. Just give the steam wand valve a quarter turn before hitting the coffee switch. Then, after you’ve waited for your preferred pre-infusion time, simply close the steam valve, and full-pressure extraction begins.

Design & Convenience

Winner: Breville Barista Pro

Dimensions & User Interface

Breville Barista Pro Rancilio Silvia
Dimensions16 x 13.5 x 16.1 inches13.3 x 11.4 x 9.2 inches
Weight27.5 lbs30.8 lb

The Breville Barista Pro is just another gorgeous addition to Breville’s lineup. When you turn the Barista Pro on, the blue backlit LCD screen gives the machine an extra luxurious feel. My version is Damson Blue, but it also comes in a variety of other colors, like Red Velvet Cake, Sea Salt, and Smoked Hickory. The color names sound like they’re straight out of a fancy restaurant’s menu. How interesting!

the barista pro's lcd panel
The Barista Pro’s LCD panel

The Silvia is built like a tank with a stainless-steel, boxy exterior that’s pretty rare in its price range, and I’m totally smitten with it. Its control panel keeps things straightforward with just four switches. These switches don’t come with text labels, so you’ll need to get familiar with what each symbol represents. But don’t worry – with only four switches, it’s not a steep learning curve.

the rancilio silvia's panel
The Rancilio Silvia’s panel

Spout Type & Cup Clearance

Breville Barista Pro Rancilio Silvia
Spout TypeDualDual
Cup Clearance4 inches3 inches

Under their portafilters, there is ample room to fit most espresso cups comfortably. And, as always, if you find yourself needing a bit more space to brew directly into something larger, like a coffee thermos, simply slide out the drip trays and voila! You’ve got all the room you need.

Water Reservoir & Bean Hopper

Breville Barista Pro Rancilio Silvia
Water Reservoir2 liter2 liter
Bean Hopper0.25 kilogramNone

Their water tanks are generously sized for home use. Both are removable, but you can simply lift the lid and pour water in directly to avoid any water spillage around your place. 

And here’s where the Barista Pro gets extra points: it includes a water filter. This feature is a game-changer as it not only makes your coffee taste better by purifying the water, but it also reduces the need for frequent descaling and cleaning cycles.

Milk Frothing System

Winner: Breville Barista Pro 

These machines use manual steam wands for steaming milk, which require practice to master. But if you like milk-based drinks, it’s absolutely worth putting the time and effort in. Auto frothing systems make it easier to develop foam, but you’re not usually going to be able to develop the fine textures needed for something like a latte. 

the rancilio silvia's one-hold steam wand
The Rancilio Silvia’s one-hold steam wand

Both of these machines feature steam wands with a ball-joint design, so you can maneuver them with ease, getting just the right angle for perfect milk texturing. And when it comes to power, they’ve both got plenty to create that beautifully textured microfoam we all love.

Time-wise, the Barista Pro takes about 30 seconds to steam milk, while the Rancilio Silvia is slightly slower at 36 seconds. What’s more, the Barista Pro’s wand has a four-hole tip compared to the Rancilio Silvia’s one-hole wand – more holes translate to a more even distribution of steam, which means better aeration and, ultimately, superior microfoam milk.

the barista pro's wand features a 4-hole tip
The Barista Pro’s wand features a 4-hole tip

Another reason the Barista Pro deserves a bit of extra love is its inclusion of a stainless steel milk jug right in the box. With the Rancilio Silvia, you’ll need to grab the milk jug separately – it’s not a huge expense, but it’s slightly disappointing that it doesn’t come as part of the package.

Drink Options & Programmability

Winner: Breville Barista Pro

Drink Options

Breville Barista Pro Rancilio Silvia
Espresso
Hot Water
Espresso
Hot Water

If you perked up at the thought of a one-touch specialty drink menu, I hate to burst your bubble, but these machines don’t come with that convenience. So, if you’re craving a cappuccino or latte macchiato, you’ll be channeling your inner barista and doing it the traditional way.

Both machines do feature a hot water function, which is definitely a plus. But I love that the Barista Pro has a dedicated outlet for hot water, in contrast to the Rancilio Silvia, which uses its steam wand to dispense hot water. Just ask the tea lovers out there and you’ll know that the last thing they want is even a hint of milk residue in their freshly brewed tea.

the rancilio silvia's steam wand can also double as an outlet for hot water
The Rancilio Silvia’s steam wand can also double as an outlet for hot water

Programmability

Adjustable SettingsBreville Barista Pro Rancilio Silvia
Coffee StrengthYesNo
Coffee TemperatureYesNo
Milk Foam TemperatureNoNo
Milk Foam TextureNoNo

Unlike the Rancilio Silvia, the Barista Pro allows you to play with several ettings to personalize your drinks. Let’s see, you can easily adjust the brewing temperature right on the screen. This is a breeze compared to some non-screen Breville machines, where adjusting the water temperature involves navigating through a bunch of steps to access hidden advanced settings. You can also modify the dosing amount, shot length, and even the pre-infusion time – all of which are clearly displayed on the screen.

the barista pro features 5 levels of brewing temperature
The Barista Pro features 5 levels of brewing temperature

Quick Rundown Of Breville Barista Pro 

Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine BES878BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
2,893 Reviews
Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine BES878BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Item Package Dimension: 17.39L x 16.59W x 16.09H inches
  • Item Package Weight - 27.20 Pounds
  • Item Package Quantity - 1
  • Product Type - COFFEE MAKER

Last update on 2024-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Built-in burr grinder with 30 different settings.
  • Adjustable pre-infusion.
  • ThermoJet fast heating system.
  • Affordable price.
  • Ease to use.
Cons
  • On the heavy side.
  • One boiler.

Quick Rundown Of Rancilio Silvia

Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machinet,0.3 liters, with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels, 11.4 by 13.4-Inch
604 Reviews
Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machinet,0.3 liters, 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 2024-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • High-quality build.
  • Compact footprint.
  • Powerful steam wand.
  • Large water tank.
  • Easy to use.
Cons
  • No PID controller.
  • One boiler.

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References

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