Quick Mill Silvano Espresso Machine Review
If you’re serious about lattes and cappuccinos, you’ll want an espresso machine that can pull a shot and froth milk at the same time. But these tend to be expensive and take up a vast amount of space. Is there any hope for an espresso lover with a small home and budget?
There is! It’s the unique Quick Mill Silvano Evo espresso machine. This beast manages to deliver the functionality of a double boiler at the price and size of a single boiler. How is this possible? Keep reading to find out!
Summary: The Quick Mill Silvano Evo
- Semi-automatic espresso machine with PID temperature control
- Can brew and steam at once thanks to a boiler and thermoblock with dual vibratory pumps
- High-quality Italian manufacturing with quality stainless steel construction
This espresso machine does what it promises to do – but you’ll have to invest a little time and effort to get it right. I love the fact that I have control over pressure and temperature.– Customer
The Full Quick Mill Silvano Review
The semi-automatic Quick Mill Silvano Evo is an amazing machine unlike anything else on the market. Its price suggests it’s built to compete with other entry level prosumer espresso machines like the Rancilio Silvia or the ECM Casa V. However, its unique design sets it apart from these models in a very important way, and that’s what we’re here to discuss.
In this detailed review, we’ll look at what makes the Silvano Evo home espresso machine so special and whether it’s the best option for you.
Brewing Capacity – 4/5
It’s in the area of brewing capacity that the Quick Mill Silvano espresso machine really stands out from the crowd. Though priced to be competitive with single boiler dual use machines — it’s actually cheaper than many of them — you can, in fact, steam milk and brew coffee at the same time with this semi-automatic machine!
How is that possible?
Quick Mill employs a system unlike any I’ve ever seen in a prosumer espresso machine. Inside the Silvano Evo, a 0.4 litre dedicated copper brew boiler is paired with a vibration pump to generate the necessary 9 bar of pressure for pulling espresso (1). But instead of relying on this same boiler for steam, a thermoblock heater, also known as a steam bank, has its vibration pump.
Because of the separate vibratory pumps, the Silvano allows for brewing and steaming simultaneously, which is remarkable at this price. Of course, there are pros and cons to using a steam bank versus a steam boiler, but I’ll discuss those further in the Milk Frothing section below.
Along with being much more compact than a dual boiler, the boiler-and-thermoblock system has another big benefit. This machine can reach the ideal temperature and stabilise much faster than a typical prosumer machine. It only takes about 10 minutes from turn-on to ready to brew.
This is excellent news for anyone with a rushed morning, as experts like professional barista Evangelos Koulougousidis agree that taking an extra minute or two to savour your espresso really lets you appreciate it (2).
With espresso, we have it in our mind that it’s something you [drink quickly] and go to work. You never spend the time to fully enjoy it, have the full experience.
If you’re investing your time and money into quality home espresso, you owe it to yourself to properly enjoy the results!
Yes, the PID is incredible too.
Another huge selling point of the Silvano for serious espresso enthusiasts is the PID temperature control. And I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but it is also an imposing addition at this price. Most entry-level machines rely on a pressure stat to control boiler temperature, but a PID controller delivers better temperature accuracy with fewer fluctuations.
Using the digital PID display, it’s quick and easy to adjust brewing temperature. You can raise or lower the brewing temperature as you change beans, which specialty coffee lovers will know is crucial for optimising extraction and making the best espresso (3).
On the front of the Silvano, along with the operational switches, you’ll find a pump pressure gauge. As with the PID temperature controller, this is no guarantee in a low-priced model, so I’m happy to see it here. Monitoring the pressure as you pull a shot of espresso lets you see what’s happening inside the group, so you can better dial in your espresso and achieve reproducible results.
User Friendliness – 4/5
Overall, the Quick Mill Silvano espresso machine is a very forgiving machine to use, with a short learning curve appropriate to its entry-level status. In many ways, this model’s unique single boiler design makes it easier to operate than more traditional double boilers or heat exchangers.
The operation of this machine is carried out with three switches. First, the three-position power switch can be either on, off, or in a middle position for refilling the boiler. Below that, there’s a switch for brewing. And the bottom of the three switches starts and stops steaming milk. It’s all very straightforward. An indicator light accompanies each switch to keep you updated on the machine’s status.
A nice feature from this machine’s design is that it is effortless to switch the steam bank on and off when not in use, a great energy-saving strategy. While many dual boiler machines offer this same functionality, the thermoblock is unique in that it only takes two minutes to come back to temperature. No steam boiler can heat up even close to that fast!
Impressively, the PID display doubles as an automatic shot timer. As soon as you flip the switch to start your shot, it begins counting up.
This is a handy feature that is starting to be incorporated more and more into higher-end models, but it’s great to find it on this entry-level machine as well.
The only real challenge when it comes to the Quick Mill Silvano Evo operation and its minor is that it is relatively slow to recover between shots compared with some others in its price range. You can expect to wait around two minutes for the boiler temperature to restabilise.
Milk Frothing – 3/5
Milk frothing with the Quick Mill Silvano is good but not great, an inevitable consequence of using a thermoblock rather than a steam boiler.
However, the steam bank system does have advantages. As I already mentioned, it heats up super fast, quickly ten times faster than a comparable double boiler. But that’s not all. With the thermoblock, you have essentially unlimited steam. If for some unfathomable reason you need to froth a gallon of milk, you can.
The main downside to the thermoblock is that it is slow. It will take a long time to froth that gallon of milk. In tests, it takes the Silvano Evo about 75 seconds to steam 8 ounces of milk. This is compared to about 45 seconds for the Rancilio Silvia, one of its main competitors, or 25 seconds for something top-of-the-line like the La Marzocco Strada. But remember that Silvia can’t brew coffee simultaneously, so your overall drink preparation time will be similar.
You may have also heard that thermoblock steam tends to be wetter than steam from a boiler. While that is often the case, the Quick Mill Silvano Evo seems to have avoided the problem, as the steam is just as dry as others in its class (4).
The stainless steel steam wand comes with a two-hole tip that is well balanced with the steaming pressure. The steam wand is on a smooth swivel joint, so it’s easy to position regardless of the size of your pitcher. Do be aware that with the switch, the steam is either full on or full off.
If you’re coming from a machine with knobs, this might take you by surprise.
Like most espresso machines of this size, the Silvano Evo doesn’t have a separate hot water tap. But it also doesn’t have a means of using the steam wand as a hot water supply. So if you’re an Americano drinker, be prepared to heat water in a separate kettle.
Build Quality – 3.5/5
Quick Mill espresso machines are known for being durable and long-lasting. Despite their very English-sounding name, all Quick Mill machines are designed and manufactured in Northern Italy, a global center for high-end home and commercial espresso machines. The area is brimming with world-class expertise and competition, so you can undoubtedly trust a brand like Quick Mill that has stood the test of time (5).
The Silvano Evo is a very compact design, especially compared with a standard dual boiler.
It measures 16” tall by 10” wide by 13” deep. The height is low enough to fit comfortably under upper cupboards, even allowing extra space for storing your mugs on the topside cup warming tray. The very short depth is even more unusual, with few other machines taking up so little counter space. This is a great option for anyone with a narrow, galley-style kitchen.
The exterior of this home espresso machine and the drip tray are mirror-finish stainless steel. This gives the Silvano an elegant look that will add class to any kitchen. And perhaps more importantly, it ensures that it’s durable and easy to keep clean. That said, mirror-finish stainless steel does tend to show scratches more than brushed stainless, so treat it with respect.
The accessories with the Silvano Evo are a mixed bag when it comes to quality. It only comes with one portafilter, a double spout version, but it does come with single and double baskets. It’s a commercial-grade chrome-plated brass portafilter with a good, hefty feel and the standard 58 mm diameter. On the other hand, the tamper is a cheap, plastic option that you’re going to want to replace with something weightier as soon as possible.
Cleaning and Maintenance – 3.5/5
Keeping the Silvano Evo clean and in good working order is no more complex than any entry-level prosumer machine. As with all espresso machines of this caliber, it’s always better to prevent problems before they arise.
To avoid build-up of scale and other contaminants in the boiler and plumbing, always use filtered water in your water reservoir or purchase a compatible filter to install. After pulling each shot, it’s also worth taking a second to flush a bit of extra water through the group to rinse off the shower screen. This is an easy place for coffee grounds and oils to build up.
Backflush the machine regularly with filtered water and backflush with cleaning solution according to the manufacturer’s schedule.
Because the Silvano uses a PID rather than a pressure stat, you have one more minor fault point to worry about. Mechanical pressure stats, even the best ones, are eventually bound to fail and need replacement, whereas the solid-state PID should last as long as your machine (6).
The Silvano Evo is equipped with a three-way solenoid valve, which is always a welcome addition, especially on a lower priced model. It diverts excess water and pressure out of the group head and into the drip tray after pulling a shot. No need to worry about that nasty spray of coffee sludge when you unhook the portafilter, and your used coffee puck should be dry and easy to knock into a knock box.
The Silvano has a 2 litre water reservoir, which is a reasonable size but by no means the largest in its class. Keep this in mind, especially if you’re doing a lot of flushes, because it will need regular attention.
The drip tray is a good size in terms of overall volume, but in keeping with the small overall depth, it is only 4″ from front to back. That makes it very difficult to avoid unwanted splashes on your countertop. Keep a microfibre cloth on hand for managing spills and wiping down the machine’s exterior regularly.
Don’t Buy the Quick Mill Silvano If…
- Steam pressure is important to you: Steaming with the Silvano is slow and steady. If you’re looking for something with a bit more oomph, check out either the Quick Mill Andreja heat exchanger espresso machine, which can crank out a ton of pressure with its 1.8-litre boiler. Or opt for the slightly less expensive Anita, with a 1.6-liter boiler.
- You don’t care about milk-based drinks: The steam bank on the Silvano is great, but if milky drinks aren’t your thing, opt for a more traditional single boiler instead. You’ll get a better bang for your buck. For example, the similarly priced Quick Mill Alexia features a PID controller for temperature and an E61 group head. Or you can save money by opting for a more traditional single, boiler entry-level model like the Rancilio Silvia.
- Programmability is a priority: If you prefer your espresso making to be a little more hands-off but would rather not go all the way to a super-automatic, take a look at the unique Quick Mill Evolution 70. The front of the machine is occupied by a massive touchscreen that makes it quick and easy to program your favorite drinks.
If you’re limited by space and budget but still want to be able to brew espresso and steam milk at the same time in the quest for that perfect latte, the Quick Mill Silvano Evo espresso machine is the machine for you. Its unusual combination of a brew boiler with a steam bank gives it the functionality of a dual boiler with a single boiler’s price and small footprint.
- Kilbride, D. (2017, June 8). How Does Pressure Affect Espresso Quality? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2017/06/how-does-pressure-affect-espresso-quality/
- Yew, S. (2021, April 12). Aroma, body, flavour, & finish: A beginner’s guide to tasting espresso. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2021/04/aroma-body-flavour-finish-a-beginners-guide-to-tasting-espresso/
- Bryman, H. (2021, January 13). David Schomer Launches Video Seminar on ‘Espresso Perfection.’ Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2021/01/13/david-schomer-launches-video-seminar-on-espresso-perfection/
- Makela, K. (2020, July 21). Steaming Milk – Theory Behind Microfoam. Retrieved from https://www.baristainstitute.com/blog/karoliina-makela/july-2020/steaming-milk-theory-behind-microfoam
- Guerra, G. (2018, August 31). Discovering the History of the Espresso Machine at MUMAC, Italy. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2018/08/discovering-the-history-of-the-espresso-machine-at-mumac-italy/
- Partida, V. (2017, December 5). PID vs. Pstat. Retrieved from https://coffeetechniciansguild.org/blog/2017/11/21/pid-vs-pstat