Top Three Single Boiler Espresso Machines
The Round Up
Single boiler espresso machines are a great choice for your home, and we have the right machines to get the job done! Today’s top three machines are the Capresso EC Pro, Rancilio Silvia M and Crossland Coffee CC1.
Single boiler espresso machines are more affordable than heat exchanger or double boilers, while still providing better steam pressure and thermal mass than comparable thermoblock models. Not to mention great for straight espresso drinkers, too! So, what’s the tradeoff? Single boilers require more attention to detail. For instance, temperature surfing is a technique used to bring the boiler down from steam to brew temperature—you don’t want to burn your espresso!
For baristas new to espresso machines, these machines are the perfect introduction into espresso. That said, on today’s roundup even experienced hobbyists will find an espresso machine they’ll love without breaking the bank. Check out our top three machines and let us know what you think!
If you’re new to using semi-automatic espresso machines, check out the Capresso EC Pro. It's small, but looks can be deceiving—the EC Pro has all the essentials you need to make creamy lattes! This novice machine offers baristas the opportunity to hone their techniques. The pint-size boiler offers slower and steadier steam power so you can learn how to texture milk at your own speed! This makes perfect, silky milk for latte art easier to achieve than on quick-steaming commercial-rated machines.
Even though it’s a novice machine, the EC Pro includes a non-pressurized bottomless portafilter so newbies can see the flow of espresso and improve their extraction—you don’t see this feature on machines in this price range! And it also comes with a pressurized portafilter—a super sweet cheat for baristas who want delicious espresso but haven’t gotten the extraction just right. The downside to this tiny machine is it’s small 42-ounce water tank and inarticulate steam wand. All-in-all, these cons don’t overshadow the EC Pro’s affordable price and introductory design.
While producing fantastic espresso machines for cafes, Rancilio paused and gifted home baristas with a home machine, the Rancilio Silvia. Since then, home baristas have been going nuts for it! The Rancilio Silvia is a tried-and-true single boiler espresso machine that hasn’t changed much since its creation. However, the improvements that have been made have created today’s model, dubbed the Silvia M.
The Rancilio Silvia M requires solid technique and skills to operate well. It comes with a 58mm non-pressurized portafilter—one of the most common commercial portafilter sizes—and a traditional steam wand. This classic single boiler, while impressive, has finicky temperature stability, so naturally, we included a fix—a built-in PID. We offer the Rancilio Silvia M with PID give you control over temperature to the degree. This makes coming back up to brew temperature after purging steam from the boiler much more accurate than classic 'temperature surfing'. That said, this single boiler espresso machine, with or without the PID, can produce impressive pressure for powerful steam and perfect espresso.
With the Crossland Coffee CC1, you can customize your coffee to your heart’s content! It features programmable espresso, pre-infusion and wait time that you can save to three profiles. Bonus: The CC1 also has a built-in PID for the same price point as the Rancilio Silvia M without the PID. Awesome.
While the CC1 features user-friendly programmability, it still requires practice to master. The CC1 comes with a 58mm non-pressurized portafilter and a traditional steam wand (like the Silvia M). And with a single boiler, we want to steam and then brew, which means you’ll temperature surf to get the boiler back to brew temperature—but wait! There’s more.
So, we’ve told a little white lie about this machine—it’s not a true single boiler. While the CC1 does have one boiler, it has an extra feature—a thermoblock for steaming! The thermoblock lessens the time between steaming and brewing by not bringing the boiler up to full steam temperature. We still consider the CC1 a single boiler, but with an extra trick up its sleeve—hey, we’ll never complain about getting our lattes faster!
Our top three single boiler espresso machines are the Capresso EC Pro, Rancilio Silvia M and Crossland Coffee CC1. For home baristas looking for their first classic espresso machine, check out one of these single boilers. Single boilers offer more control over espresso and these three picks have different features for every user level. Tell us what you think of these three single boiler espresso machines in the comments below.