As noted in the introduction, the Quick Mill Silvano straddles the key distinction between entry-level and prosumer espresso equipment by virtue of its ability to steam and brew at the same time, albeit at a leisurely pace. Not surprisingly, its price also straddles the same divide, offering buyers another choice that may stave off upgraditus that so often happens to first-time buyers. This review is the debut of the site's streamlined format, which includes simplified 5 star ratings rather than the 10 point scale of the detailed Buyer's Guide. The Quick Mill ratings are as follows:
The Forgiveness Factor
rating captures how well the espresso machine tolerates minor errors in barista technique like uneven distribution of coffee in the portafilter basket. Especially for inexperienced baristas, this rating largely determines the expected quality of the espresso and cappuccinos they'll serve rather than the espresso machine's technical prowess shown in a specifications sheet. Thanks to its simple-to-master electronically controlled brew temperature and tolerance of minor dose variance, the Silvano merits an enviable 3½ stars.
The Espresso Performance
rating judges the espresso quality a barista with moderate experience should expect on a daily basis. In recognition of the ease of pulling even, consistent extractions and predictable temperature stability, the Silvano ranks above typical entry-level espresso machines with an impressive 4 stars.
In terms of price, the Quick Mill Silvano is midway between a top entry-level and prosumer espresso machine. Its Cappuccino Performance
reflects this price/performance tradeoff, earning 3 stars. For small milk drinks, first-time buyers will likely appreciate the slower pace since it offers plenty of time to finesse the development of microfoam during the stretching phase, possibly avoiding the creation of big bubbles. But for preparing lattes with 8 ounces or more of milk, the Silvano is slow, eking out a middling 2½ stars. If large lattes are your passion, you may be frustrated by the Silvano's greater than one minute steam time.
First-time buyers are often shocked to discover the cost of quality espresso equipment. Agonizing over the total budget, they'll struggle to choose between a single boiler espresso machine that cannot brew/steam at the same time and the next class of prosumer espresso machines with greater capabilities. Sometimes they'll choose to compromise on the grinder's budget, which countless forum exchanges confirm is the wrong place to cut corners. The Quickmill Silvano elegantly offers a solution to this tradeoff dilemma, earning it an Overall
3½ stars as a very good espresso machine choice for aspiring home baristas preparing a few espressos/cappuccinos in each session.Acknowledgements
Without the support of HB sponsors
, reviews such as this would not be possible. I would like to thank Chris' Coffee Service
for the loaner evaluation equipment. I would also like to thank Counter Culture Coffee
and Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea
for the test coffees used during this review.