Compare: Rancilio Silvia vs. Breville Infuser

When discussing small home espresso machines that can produce a great shot despite their diminutive frames, the well-known Rancilio Silvia is often compared against Breville's newer upstart, the Infuser.

While the Silvia features several commercial-grade components backed by a design that is sometimes equated with a tank, the Infuser has features to spare and excellent temperature control. Choosing which one that is right for you is largely a virtue of longevity vs. precision -- and price tag. While they'll produce similar shots at the end of the day, the Infuser is more than $100 cheaper than the Silvia, so if you're looking for something under $500, it may meet your budget a bit better.

In this video, Gail runs through their features and compares their functionality. Then she demonstrates making a latte on both so you can watch them in action.


2 thoughts on “Compare: Rancilio Silvia vs. Breville Infuser”

  • George Givens Jr
    George Givens Jr January 20, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Hello, i really enjoy your videos on making espresso and your machine demonstrations. i HOPE YOU DON'T MIND BUT i HAVE COUPLE QUESTIONS. i COULDN'T FIND ANYWHERE ELSE TO POST THE QUESTIONS.dUE IN LARGE PART TO WATCHING SCG VIDEOS I PURCHASED A BREVILLE SMART GRINDER AND INFUSER. JUST TO GIVE YOU SOME CONTEXT, I PREVIOUSLY USED A COMBINATION STEAM ESPRESSO & DRIP COFFEE MAKER WHICH I HAVE USED FOR ABOUT 3 YEARS. I AM NOT A BIG ESPRESSO DRINKER AS ALL ESPRESSO, INCLUDING SHOTS PULLED AT COFFEE SHOPS BY A PROFESSIONAL BARRISTA TASTE BITTER UNLESS I ADD SOME SWEETNER. I EVEN USE SWEETNER IN MY DRIP AND FRENCH PRESS COFFEE. I ONLY USED THE ESPRESSO FOR MAKING CAPPUCINO, LATTE, AND AMERICANA DRINKS.NOW THAT I HAVE TOLD YOU ABOUT MY COFFEE EXPERIENCE HERE ARE THE QUESTIONS.1) SINCE I PURCHASED THE BREVILLE MACHINES I GOT RID OF MY COMBINATION STEAM ESPRESSO & DRIP MACHINE. SO I NO LONGER HAVE A WAY OF SERVING GUEST COFFEE UNLESS I USE MY 4 CUP PRESS OR OF COURSE IF THEY LIKE ESPRESSO DRINKS. MY WIFE SAYS I NEED TO GET TO GET A DRIP COFFEE MAKER. I KNOW THIS SOUNDS LAME BUT I WOULD LIKE TO GET A GOOD BUT NOT EXPENSIVE DRIP COFFEE MAKER THAT WILL COMPLEMENT MY BREVILLE MACHINES BUT WON'T TAKE UP LOTS OF SPACE BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE A LOT MORE SPACE. I ALSO NEED IT TO MAKE AT LEAST 8 5OZ CUPS AND PREFERRABLY USE MELITTA #4 STYLE CONE COFFEE FILTERS SINCE I HAVE LOTS OF THEM LEFT. I HAVE BEEN EYEING THE bonavita with the stainless carafe because i like a carafe and it seems like a good machine for the money but i am not sure space wise esthetically if it is a good choice. I saw a cuisinart DCC1200 that has a stainless steel case and that is compact that i think would look good but i am not sure if it is a good machine, it doesn't have a stainless carafe and it makes 12 cups instead of 8. I know the obvious choice is the breville "you brew" but do i really need another grinder and it is pretty expensive? the flip side to that is how convenient is it going to be to switch out beans in my smart grinder? I am in stumped. Please help me. do you have any suggestions?2) my second question is concerning making espresso. since all espresso without sweetner taste bitter to me, is there another way to tell besides taste if i am pulling a good shot?3) oh, one last quick question. i saw a video with gail and kat where they were showing the different types of portafilters. they did not show or mention the portafilter used by the breville infuser which has a black plastic piece at the bottom. i assume the portafilter is not pressurized since the machine comes with single and double wall baskets. is my assumption correct?Thanks in advance for all your help.sincerely and best regards,George

    • Kat

      Hi George -

      Thanks for writing! For your purposes, the Bonavita would be a great choice. Since the Smart Grinder is a stepped grinder (and, therefore, has reference points for the grind) you can easily switch it back and forth between grinds for your espresso or your coffee. Just remember to run the grinder as the burrs are brought closer together so that you don't compact beans and possibly damage the burrs. I can't speak about the Cuisinart's quality, etc., because we don't carry them and I've never played with them to see how they perform, so if you want to go in that direction, I'd recommend checking out customer reviews on Amazon, etc., to see what the consensus is.

      You can dial in the shot by time -- that's actually preferable if you're using the non-pressurized baskets in your portafilter. You want the double shot to extract 2 oz of volume within 20 - 30 seconds. If you use the pressurized baskets, then you can only dial in really by flavor as you can't time the shots with the pressurization in play. Bitter is usually a sign of overextraction -- either due to too fine a grind, too firm a tamp or too hot water. Sour, on the other hand, is indicative of underextraction -- conversely, too coarse, too light or too cold. Bitterness can also be due to the roast; Starbuck's coffee, as an example, is roasted to balance a lot of milk, so they have developed and choose coffees for their espresso blends that offer a stronger taste so that you can still taste them in a 20 oz. drink with syrups, etc. In my opinion, they're not great for solo shots (in fact, I only drink it when I'm on the road and desperate and then I do it as a con panna -- shots with a bit of whipped cream on the top, which totally balances it).

      Your portafilter is standard and the pressurization does take place in the baskets; since you are using a grinder, try to use the non-pressurized baskets.

      - Kat

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