A super strong entry-level semi-automatic with more features than you’d expect, given its modest price.
Recommended for: Coffee purists, power drinkers, medium to large households, and newbies. This model would be easy to learn on, and as such, would make a great first machine.
Table of Contents
- 1 An Overview of the Silvano EVO by Quick Mill
- 2 Surprisingly Easy to Use and Clean
- 3 Pros & Cons of the Quick Mill Silvano Espresso Machine
- 4 Quick Mill Silvano Review Conclusion
An Overview of the Silvano EVO by Quick Mill
Are you an aspiring Barista, looking for a great, entry-level machine to help you burnish your budding skills? Do you value quality craftsmanship and durability as much as raw functionality?
If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you’re going to love our detailed Quick Mill Silvano review. While by no means perfect, it’s rugged, durable, and well-designed, and it gives you all the tools you need to create any specialty coffee drink you can imagine.
Form Factor, Footprint & Aesthetic
The first thing you’ll notice as you take in the sight of the Quick Mill Silvano EVO is its rugged, industrial appearance. This machine looks and feels like it belongs in a coffee shop, and in truth, with the capacity to pull up to 20 shots an hour, it could theoretically keep pace in such an environment, although this model was made for home use.
It's not an excessively large machine, though it is bigger than average, measuring 13” x 10.5” x 16” and weighing in at a hefty 35 pounds. Given these dimensions, unless you’re just incredibly short on counter space, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding this device a permanent home.
It’s a sharp looking, old-school machine, although, given its industrial aesthetic, it may not mesh well with your existing kitchen décor. That’s not a deal breaker for most people, but it’s worth mentioning.
This is a crucial part of our Quick Mill Silvano review. As power drinkers who consume oceans of coffee on a daily basis, there’s no such thing as a water reservoir that’s too big as far as we’re concerned.
This is an area that entry level machines tend to skimp on, but that’s not the case here! We were impressed by the 67-ounce, side-loading water tank!
Note that this reservoir does not have, and was not meant to accept a water filter. We’re okay with that, but we know that some people like the feature, so we wanted to make sure you knew it wasn’t an option with this machine.
The chief advantage of a tank filter is the fact that it cuts down on maintenance by reducing the frequency you have to descale. The problem though is that it dramatically increases your total cost of ownership of the machine, because those filters are expensive!
In any case, it’s not an option on this machine, but if you want to achieve something close to the same effect, just fill the tank with distilled water, or water that’s been filtered via some other method (say, if you have a filter on the tap at your kitchen sink, for example). Gives you the same benefits, without the ongoing expense.
Pro Tip: Given the size of the reservoir, and the fact that the machine is capable of pulling twenty shots an hour, this machine is probably overkill for a casual coffee drinker. Some other machine would almost certainly be a better fit for you!
This will be a fairly short section because as a semi-automatic machine, the Quickmill Silvano does not come with an integrated grinder, so you’ll have to buy one separately. When looked at in a certain light though, this is actually a good thing!
The problem with super automatics is that you don’t get to pick the integrated grinder. You’re stuck with whatever grinder the manufacturer decided to put in the machine, and quite often, the selections they make are underwhelming, to say the least. By separating that piece of equipment out, you can get exactly what you want.
Flat Burr Grinder
Conical Burr Grinder
If you purchase the Silvano, it wouldn’t make sense to pair it with a low-end grinder, so steer clear of Bladed and Stainless-steel Burr grinders. Get the best Ceramic Burr Grinder your budget will allow.
Pro Tip: There’s another hidden advantage to buying a standalone grinder. Most super automatics warn you against using Dark Roast beans, which have a high oil content, as these can gum up the inner workings of a super automatic. You don’t have that restriction if you buy a standalone, especially if you opt for a manual grinder!
The Boiler System
This is one of the most intriguing aspects of our Quick Mill Silvano EVO review. It’s a single boiler system, and yet, paradoxically, it allows you to simultaneously steam milk and brew coffee, which is the whole point and purpose of buying a more expensive double boiler system.
How is this magic trick accomplished?
By the ingenious use of a pump, paired with a Thermoblock!
The pump passes water from the reservoir over the Thermoblock to provide rapid heating. This pump and Thermoblock are exclusively dedicated to the production of steam. In fact, the Thermoblock has its own power switch on the front face of the unit, so if you’re not making a milk-based drink, you can simply leave it powered down when you’re pulling your shot.
It’s a brilliant bit of engineering, but it does have one drawback that we’ll talk about in the section on milk frothing.
As with Quick Mill’s other models, the Silvano’s boiler is old school, being insulated copper, where most other manufacturers are using aluminum, lined with stainless steel.
Telescoping Coffee Spigot
This will be another relatively short section because the Quick Mill Silvano EVO espresso machine doesn’t have coffee spouts that move up and down. On a semi-automatic, they’re located on the bottom of the portafilter, which has a fixed position when mounted to the machine.
This, however, is a good place to mention that when you make your purchase, you’ll get a single portafilter with two different fill baskets (one for a single, and one for a double shot), as well as a backflush basket to use when cleaning the machine.
Also included are water hardness testing strips, but of interest, there’s no tamper included, so you’ll need to pick one of those up separately.
The Brew Unit and Control System
The Quick Mill Silvano espresso machine is a lesson in simplicity. All but one of its components are old-school, so you’ll be working with levers, buttons, switches and knobs. There are no complex menus to navigate, no settings to have to learn to adjust, or the like.
In fact, the only computerized component on the whole device is a simple PID on the front face that gives you a readout of the water temperature, with buttons on either side that allow you to precisely control the temperature up or down, so your drinks are always exactly the temperature you want them.
By the time you finish running through the initial setup of the machine, you’ll be comfortable with its controls, and it’s fairly forgiving to operate, so while it may take you 3-4 tries to master the steam wand, the very first shot of espresso you pull will probably be a world-class creation.
Note that there’s also a pressure gauge on the front face of the device that measures your pump pressure. When brewing, your target is 9 bars for espresso, but the Silvano’s pump is rated for a maximum output of sixteen bars.
You can adjust the pump pressure without having to open the machine’s case and can experiment with different extraction techniques at higher or lower pressure if you’re feeling creative. A very nice touch!
The Milk Frothing System
If the Silvano espresso machine has one weakness, this is it. The steam function isn’t horrible; it’s just slow. If you’re not big on milk-based drinks, you’ll barely notice this shortcoming, but if those are your favorite kinds of specialty coffee creations, this feature is going to leave you underwhelmed.
It was something of a tradeoff. Adding a second boiler would have made the machine markedly more expensive, so Quick Mill opted for a Thermoblock dedicated to the steam function. That works well enough, but it’s underpowered.
If you don’t mind taking a little extra time to get your froth and steam your milk, it does an admirable job, so mostly it comes down to how patient you are.
The (potential) silver lining is this: If you’re new to the world of specialty coffee, you’ll get more practice using the wand, and since it’s relatively slow, it’s easier to make on the fly corrections, which adds to the user-friendliness of the design.
Cup Warming Tray
There’s not much to say here, except to note that the Silvano Quick Mill does indeed have a cup warming tray, and new users will be surprised at just how handy that is.
In many ways, the cup warming tray is the unsung hero of the specialty coffee world, and it doesn’t get nearly as much credit as it deserves because it has a major role to play in crafting an excellent specialty coffee drink.
Its main function is to mitigate heat loss. That matters, because specialty drinks were meant to be enjoyed at temperatures somewhat lower than most Americans like to drink their coffee.
One of the most common and pervasive complaints we see from the American market is the fact that most espresso machines simply don’t get the drinks hot enough, particularly when milk-based drinks are concerned, and when you dispense your creation into a cold cup, the heat problem gets worse.
Here’s a simple experiment you can try to demonstrate just how important this feature is: Make two of your favorite drinks. Dispense one into a cold cup, and the other into a cup that’s been warming on the tray for a while. You’ll be amazed at the difference that simple change makes, and it will totally sell you on the value of the feature.
Surprisingly Easy to Use and Clean
The Quick Mill Silvano espresso is an old-school style machine. As such, you won’t find a lot of complicated electronics here, so there are no menu systems to learn how to navigate or anything like that.
The truth is that by the time you finish running through the initial setup of the machine, you’ll have mastered its basic operation, and by the time you’ve made your third or fourth drink, you’ll be making coffee magic with confidence.
Cleanup is likewise a snap, although here, the caveat is that as a semi-automatic, nothing is done for you. Even so, none of the maintenance tasks are difficult or even especially time-consuming.
Broadly speaking, your routine maintenance items will include:
If you’re new to semi-automatics, then this last item bears a bit of further explanation. Backflushing is to a semi-automatic what cleansing tabs are to a super automatic. That is to say; it’s the means by which you keep the brew group clean and ready to work at a moment’s notice.
About once a week, you’ll want to slide the backflushing disc into the portafilter, having filled it with a mild cleanser, expressly designed for espresso machines, and cycle the pump on and off a few times to work it through the system.
Do that, and you’re all set!
Pros & Cons of the Quick Mill Silvano Espresso Machine
There’s a lot to like about the Silvano EVO, and we were impressed with the machine’s capabilities.
Our only quibble was with its milk frothing capabilities. While adequate, if you’re a fan and heavy drinker of milk-based specialty coffee drinks, you’ll find yourself frustrated at the time it takes to get milk foam in quantity. If you’re a fan of straight espresso or ristretto, this limitation won’t trouble you in the least.
Anything else we could think to add or change would take the model away from its core design principles, and either make it more complex (and thus, less user friendly), or more expensive, and thus, no longer an entry-level machine, so other than the steam wand, we’re fine with the machine as is.
Quick Mill Silvano Review Conclusion
And that wraps up our Silvano by Quick Mill Review. An excellent, entry-level semi-automatic that defies easy description. It is, however, a full-featured option with more extras than you might expect on such a modestly priced machine.
Recommended for all, except for casual users, for the reasons we’ve talked about earlier.
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