A common question that I often hear is what grinder will work well with my Rancilio Silvia? Or Do I need a grinder? In this video i will show you several different shots pulled from the Rancilio Silva. You will see an under extracted, over extracted, and a nice shot.
Rancilio Silvia Redesigned V3 Espresso Machine
|1x Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Espresso Coffee||$25.49|
|1x Rattleware Large Round Handle Tamper||$28.96|
OverviewBack to Top
Introducing The New Rancilio Silvia V3 - With More Commercial Quality Components
Previously available as an upgrade, the Silvia now comes standard with an ergonomic commercial portafilter. Another upgrade now made standard is the commercial articulating steam wand. It's what Silvia owners have been asking for! Adding even more style to an already sleek machine is the redesigned, contoured steam knob.
One of our best sellers, the Rancilio Silvia is a machine with a reputation that speaks for itself. With over five years of solid performance, the Silvia is one of the most highly recognized semi-automatic machines in the business. To ensure heat retention and lasting quality, the Silvia features a forged marine brass group head and boiler. The large 12-ounce boiler also allows for steam capacity that is unparalleled by other machines at this size and price. An iron frame, housed by brushed stainless steel, provides durability as well as sleek, Italian style. Miss Silvia takes a little bit of time and patience to master, but once you do you’ll never want to use anything else. As one of our customers said, "Superior performance, superior construction, superior period. This machine is worth it."
Being the classy lady that she is, Silvia is a little picky about the grind that you use with her. We highly recommend pairing this machine with a top-quality burr grinder such as the Rancilio Rocky or Gaggia MDF. Be sure to take a look at our Rancilio packages, and get some great deals on a complete espresso bar.
This Silvia comes with a 7 gram coffee scoop, a plastic tamper, and two filter baskets (single and double). Right now, this fine machine also comes with an extended warranty that provides you with two years of protection.
If all of these features weren’t enough, the Silvia is also ESE pod-adaptable! If you would like the option to use convenient Easy Serve Espresso pods with your Silvia, a pod-adapter kit can be purchased separately for you to install on your machine.
FeaturesBack to Top
Features & Benefits: Coffee
Commercial Size and Style Portafilter
Some of the most crucial elements for producing high quality espresso are influenced by the Style, Size and Construction of the portafilter. Style: This portafilter is designed like a commercial machine and works in the same way. The coffee is ground fine and is tamped (pressed) firmly into place. Size: The size of the portafilter is also the same as a commercial machine. Is has a large diameter (58 mm) so that the water is distributed evenly over a wide surface area. Construction: The portafilter is made up of two parts, the handle and the filter holder. The handle is made of high quality plastic. The heavy chrome plated brass filter holder keeps the temperature stable throughout the entire brewing process, therefore producing a quality cup of espresso.
Commercial Brewing Group
This is the portion of the machine that the portafilter locks into. It is made of chrome plated marine brass which provides a superior brewing environment through maximum heat stability and component longevity.
The Silvia's boiler is made of marine grade brass and has the largest volume (12 oz.) of any home machine in its class. This large volume produces the best steaming power and recycle time when brewing multiple espressos. The brass construction resists pitting and scale build up for long lasting durability.
3 Way Solenoid Valve
The three-way solenoid valve is a commercial feature that relieves the water pressure off the coffee when the brew switch is turned off. This serves two functions; it dries out the coffee to prevent dripping and makes it easy to knock the coffee out of the portafilter with one knock.
High Quality Controls with Temperature Ready Light
The Silvia has the same switches as their famed S20 series commercial units. There are four snap-acting rocker arm switches. The main power switch is located in the center by itself. When this is turned on the heating element is activated. A separate orange ready light will then turn on. When the light goes off the machine is at operating temperature. The top left switch operates the pump and is also known as the brew switch. Turn on to start the brewing process and off when you are done. The middle button on the left is for dispensing hot water. The bottom left switch activates the steam function. When this is turned on the boiler will heat up to steam temperature. Then turn the steam/water knob located on the side of the machine and start frothing.
Preheating your cups is very important. The Silvia has a cup warmer that will hold up to six espresso cups. It is a passive type heater which means it is heated from the residual heat of the boiler.
Features & Benefits: Frothing and Hot Water
Hot Water Dispenser
If you want hot water for any reason, be it hot chocolate, tea or Americanos it is very easy to do. Just turn on the pump (brew) switch and open the steam knob. Hot water will start to stream out.
New Articulating Steam Wand
The Silvia now comes standard with an articulating stainless steel steam wand, allowing a greater range of motion and making it much easier to use.
Features & Benefits: Care, Maintenance & Other
The large removable 2 quart reservoir can be refilled from the top any time during the operation, allowing for an endless supply of coffee or steam.
Thermostat and Safety Switches
The Silvia has three temperature controls. There are two thermostats and one high limit. There is one thermostat for maintaining brewing temperature and one for maintaining steaming temperature. The high limit will turn off the power to the boiler in the event of a malfunction. This prevents the boiler from overheating. The high limit switch can be reset and does not have to be replaced if activated.
The construction of this unit is second to none. The frame that supports the unit is made of heavy iron. The exterior casing, drip pan and drip tray are made of high quality stainless steel. Not only is the Silvia rock solid and easy to clean, it also fits in perfectly with today's high-end kitchen appliances.
Has anyone of you used the Rancilio Silvia 3 with the pod kit and if so are you satisfied with the quality of the espresso? Thank you.
I've had some hands-on time with a pod-converted Silvia, so I'll chime in. The positives of the setup were that ESE pods brewed better than they ever did prior the conversion; I didn't have any inconsistent or uneven pulls, no wobbly or out-of position pods, and had generally consistent extractions. The negatives were that the quality of the shot in every case was well below what I know the Silvia is capable of. The pods made for a convinent experience, but it was not consistent with the thick and syrupy quality that I know the Silvia can produce with a similar amount of properly ground, properly prepped coffee.
I have an old Rancilio Silvia and was wondering if the "new" steam wand on the V3 is available as an upgrade to my older machine?
Thanks Erik, but you didn't really answer my question . . . is this "new" steam wand available as an upgrade?
Yes. The steam wand is a much bigger, more powerful steam wand on this machine.
Sometimes the grounds from the portafilter stick to the top of the brew head. This makes for a messy clean up. Any ideas as to what would cause this and how to correct the problem?
If you're getting grounds consistently sticking to the shower screen, the portafilter is a little bit too full-take out a good-sized pinch or two from the portafilter before tamping, and that should clear it up!
Im going to perchase this machine before i do i need to get my grinder squered away. is there a reason you only wrote the Rancilio Rocky or Gaggia MDF as grinder options in the description do you recommend those over the Bartaza vario? as thats the one i was thinking on getting
Thank you for the question. What we listed were just the lowest grinders that you should think about getting with the Silvia. The Vario would provide a better grind and work better with the Silvia.
One of the rubber hoses on my Silvia broke off. Is there a replacement part?
Thank you for your post. We do have replacement hoses-please contact our Technical Support team at 1-888-411-5282, option 3, and they will be happy to assist you in placing the order.
We own a Silvia... love it... We are going to France for a year and would like to purchase a Silvia there, or purchase it here and take it... any suggestions?
I would honestly recommend looking into purchasing a machine there-the only machines we stock are meant for US usage, not the 220 volt power that they have in Europe. You could get a converter, but those usually are not meant to be used long-term.
Is the Silvia 110V only? is it 110-220V?
The machines that we sell on our website are 110V for the United States
I have a Baratza Vario and Rancilio Silvia I just purchased from WLL, but I am having trouble coming up with the correct grind...
Firstly, I am not using fresh roasted beans. I know this is not ideal but I have a huge bag of beans left over from my last espresso machine I want to start with. I understand there is a difference so let me know if this is the primary issue. It seems like the videos on WLL using Lavazza beans that I assume are also not fresh roasted are pulling adequately though, so I don't think this is the only problem or the only thing I'm doing wrong.
So, I set my vario on the finest setting on the right dial, and the coursest setting on the left dial, which is what the videos and references I have seen seem to prefer. I did test the calibration and it seemed okay (when set on the finest on the right and about midway on the left dial, the motor labors). When I grind 14g of this (measured on a kitchen scale) and load it into the portafilter, the machine doesn't seem to remotely be able to push anything through it. The Silvia just labors but not a drop of liquid comes through. I tried various tamp pressures, but even with a very light tamp it still could not penetrate.
I started making the grind more and more course. I seem to be getting about a 1 minute shot when the right side (course adjustment) is set to about a 4 (numbered from the top) and the left side is set to the coursest adjustment possible. This seems way off of what other people are seeing. What could I be doing wrong? Could it be that my pressure needs to be increased on the Silvia (I see instructions in the manual on how to do this but it says only service techs should attempt it)?
Sean, I am not personally familiar with the machines you bought, but there are common elements to getting good shots. How recently the beans have been roasted is not your biggest concern here, or even a concern. It sounds to me that you are proceeding properly, but maybe you will have quicker success if you reverse your course and start from a course grind, and work your way finer. I have often read that 30lbs is the ideal tamp pressure. For many people, specially men, that is a lighter tamp than you would think. I actually prefer a heavier tamp much of the time, and grind accordingly. That is the point. WLL videos are really good for information. Probably some of the best. But, that said, you are still finding your own personal route to the perfect espresso shot, so don't get too caught up in the numbers on the machines working out according to what is recommended in the manual or the videos. There are many variable, including water quality and condition. For example, everytime I move, I install an Easy Water system because it improves my coffee, showers, and my shaving a lot. It takes 6 months or more to become fully functional and I have to make several adjustments over that period. You have to consider that you have an unseen variable effecting the outcome, and you have to experiment to compensate.
The one variable that can be difficult to overcome are beans that are too oily. Whenever you buy beans from WLL, you can call and talk to someone about the suitability of the bean you are interested in, to the machines you own. In the past, before I finally convinced myself that it's worth paying for good beans, I purchased from Costco, Sams Club, and Trader Joes. Costco and Sams Clubs beans are very often oily. I feel as if the name brand manufacturers know this and are dumping unsatisactory product there, because of the lower prices. My personal opinion! Trader Joe beans, specially the French Roast, can sometimes be too oily as well (because of the darkness of the roast). You will find most Lavazza from WLL to be fine, but there is a roast (can't remember which) that is oily, and the staff will tell which ones are which. WLL has a vast selection of beans to try, and it's just fantastic working your way through the garden, so to speak. Good luck.
I am actually using some beans from Costco! They were some Kona Coffee beans, which I really liked when I was in Hawaii. :) I want to run through this bag, then I'll break open the Lavazza ones that WLL sent with the machine. I know there are mixed reviews of those, but I can't waste coffee! Then I found a place down the street that roasts fresh for only about $12 a lb (which amazed me, as most fresh roasted places around here want $20+). Then maybe I'll try some WLL variants. I have to try the Black Cat ones that everybody raves about at some point.
At any rate, I'll stop worrying about the numbers. It just seemed odd that my grind was so far off what I was seeing others using with the Vario. I was worried that maybe something was wrong with my Silvia.
I can't seem to get a great shot from the machine. I was told while pulling a shot that it should take 20-25 seconds. However, mine is running much faster, usually less than 10 seconds I'll have a double shot. I have the Baratza Virtuoso grinder, and a nice tamper, so there has to be something I'm doing wrong here.
Depending on the coffee you are using I would be using a grind setting of around 8 to start. The pressure on the tamper should be around 30lbs of pressure. If your still having problems. Please feel free to call me 1-888-411-5282 ext 5198(Shane) and I can help over the phone by your descriptions of what is going on with flow and so forth and get you where you need to be! Shane
Thanks for getting back to me. I have the baratza preciso grinder. So the macro should be set at 8, what letter for the micro would you recommend?
Can the tip of the steam wand be taken off so that hot water will come out faster?
Yes it can but in my opinion it is not necessary. The water comes out plenty fast.
do you provide the option to add on a PID an install it before shipment?
We do not sell the kit, they are available out there and can be purchased as a kit or can be installed for you . They certainly are worth looking into and many people like the benefit of consistent temperatures.
I bought an Auber for my Gaggia Classic and love it. They make one for the Silvia too. http://www.auberins.com/
so can this create great micro foam for latte art? Can you change tips such as get a 2 hole tip, etc.? How does the micro foam of this machine compare to lets say a $2000 machine such as the Gaggia TS?
It can create great microfoam if used by a skilled person. It does take some practice and a learning curve but it does have the potential. It is not made for steaming large quantities of milk one right after the other. That would be one of the bigger differences versus a $2000 machine . Also it is not going to be as fast or powerful as the more expensive machines. Many people are completely happy with this machine and the steam tips that come with it just as it is.
Is the Rancilio V3 a better machine than the new Breville BES840xl? Is the PID option on the breville a big deal? Does it matter if you brew the espresso first and steam the milk second?
The Silvia and the 840XL are two very different machines. Which one is best all depends on what you are planning on using it for, and what you expect out of it. The 840XL is very easy to use, forgiving, and looks nice. Whereas the Silvia is a commercial style machine shrunken down to fit on a counter top. It is more capable, but takes more time to practice with to get a great shot. Once you have it down though, the Silvia produces incredible quality shots. I know you can find on the internet people who swear by brewing then steaming, and people who swear by steaming then brewing. With a single boiler machine, I tend to steam first and then brew. The reason being that it is easier to cool a boiler down by expelling the excess steam than it is to heat up a boiler to steaming temperature. I am assuming you mean a PID on the Silvia which can be found in many places. I understand the idea behind it.The only benefit to it that I can really stand behind and say I absolutely agree with is that a PID will regulate the heating element, possibly prolonging the machines life depending on use.
I got my Silvia from you over 11 years ago and we've used it daily since, obviously very happily and with care. We've developed a steaming problem: she heats up normally, the light goes off after about 20-30 seconds, and I begin steaming - all normal. But the steam diminishes from full to nothing in about 15 seconds, at which point the light goes back on. If I then leave it for 60 seconds, the light goes off again and she steams perfectly. It makes no difference if I leave her heating up for steaming for over a minute to begin with, the sequence of diminishing steam then one minute to reheat is identical. I'm stumped.
Have you descaled the machine recently/frequently? If the machine is clean I would recommend replacing the thermostats. Given the age of the machine I would also recommend replacing the group gasket if you have not done so.
Brew thermostat: RA-34200059
Steam thermostat: RA-34200055
Group gasket: RA-36301030
I've happily owned the Rancilio Silvia for a couple years now but am in the process of upgrading to a double boiler model. I plan on eventually selling my Silvia but would like to know your recommended approach to storing the machine in the mean time- is there a need to drain the boilers? If so, how is this best accomplished? Are there other things I need to keep in mind?
Thanks in advance for your help!
I would drain the boiler and here is how-
Read and understand these instructions entirely before attempting to drain your boiler. Consult our Tech Department before continuing.
Only perform this procedure when your machine is COLD! If the machine has been used previously on this day, please make sure the heating elements are completely cool before continuing, or you run the risk of being burned.
With the machine unplugged, please remove the portafilter handle, drip pan, drip tray cover, water reservoir, water reservoir cover and any other loose parts that may fall when the machine is tipped over.
Lay the machine on its back.
With all buttons and switches in the off position, plug in the machine.
Find a tall-sided container that can hold about 20oz. or more.
Hold the container under the steam wand and tilt it slightly down so that the container is in a position to catch water that will be coming out of the steam wand.
Turn on the power switch.
Activate the pump.
a. This step will differ depending on the machine that you have.
b. If there is a hot water dispensing button, turn that on.
c. Turn on whatever buttons you normally would to receive water out of the steam wand.
Water should now be coming out of the steam wand and landing in your container.
Run the machine until the stream of water has dissipated.
Now tilt the machine on its head, following the steam wand with your tall-sided container.
The stream of water will most likely pick up pace again.
Once the water has stopped, rest the machine back down on its back and turn off your water and main power switches. The boiler is now drained.
Can I pre-infuse by pressing the single shot or continuous brew button and then stopping it when the first drop comes out?
You can pre infuse manually with the Silvia by pressing the brew button quickly and turning it off - I would say for less than a second. Once the water starts to flow from the portafilter, the actual extraction has begun, and it is going to effect your shot.
Can this machine steam and brew at the same time? I find that if I steam first, the foam rises and all comes out at the end in a blob. We have a Salvatore at work which does both simultaneously and I am spoiled. This machine would be my choice if it does both.
Because this machine is a single boiler, you cannot brew and steam at the same time. If you are looking for a great machine that is able to do that then I would suggest the Expobar Office Lever. I have included a link below:
It is a great machine it can not brew and steam at same time. It is perfect for brewing great shots. You may want to look at the Expobar Lever for a good machine with similar performance to the Salvatore.
My filter basket is leaking. While making espresso a little water is coming out on to the handle and dripping down on the counter. Anyone have any suggestions?
More often than not, a "leaking" filter basket isn't actually leaking. Rather, water coming out of this part of the machine typically stems from a poor seal between the filter basket and the group gasket.
A common cause of this in most espresso machines is simply an over-filled basket. As locking the filter in also raises it up slightly, the tamped grounds in a slightly over-filled basket would press into the shower screen before the rim of the filter basket can form a seal against the group gasket. With a weak seal, pressurized water can then slowly trickle out from any of the sides. A quick test for this is to attach an empty portafilter (with a basket in place) to the machine and tighten it firmly (making a note of how far it turns), then try again with normally tamped grounds. If you can turn the handle further to the right without coffee than with, you're over-filling the basket.
Similarly, a dirty or old group gasket can also lead to a poor seal where water can force its way through. This should be wiped down once a month and replaced once every one to two years.
I always wipe the bottom side of the brew group and in the grove where the seal is. This prevents accumulation of coffee grounds that can cause a bad seal, damage the gasket, and lead to early gasket failure.
can I just use the steamer without making the espresso (say for steamed milk for Chai Latte?)
Yes, you can use the machine just for steaming/frothing. There is no need to use the brewing feature to use the frothing feature. Just turn the machine on like you normally would, press the steam switch to heat to steam temperature, wait for it to show ready and froth away!
Should I backflush the machine with backflush detergent and how often?
If you use the machine daily I would recommend back flushing once every 2 weeks. You should use the detergent each time you back flush. You only need a small amount of the detergent. A teaspoon is enough.
SpecsBack to Top
|Dimension - Width (Inches):||9|
|Dimension - Height (Inches):||13.5|
|Dimension - Depth (Inches):||10.7|
|Housing Materials:||Stainless Steel|
|Drip Tray Material:||Stainless Steel|
|Drip Tray Cover Material:||Stainless Steel|
|One Touch cappuccino|
|One Touch Cappuccino:||No|
|Steam Wand Style:||Commercial Style|
|Usable Length (Inches):||3.5|
|Height Off Counter (Inches):||4|
|Number Of Holes:||1|
|Reservoir Or Plumbed:||Reservoir|
|Reservoir Capacity (Oz):||74|
|Type Of Controls:||Rocker|
|Passive / Active:||Passive|
|Material:||Chrome Plated Brass|
|Commercial Filter Baskets Included:||Yes|
|Pressurized Filter Baskets Included:||No|
|Ground, E.S.E. Pod And Capsule Compatible:||Ground Only|
|Bottomless Portafilter Available:||Yes|
|Tamper Size (Millimeter):||58|
|Material:||Chrome Plated Brass|
|Capsule / Pod Friendly:||No|
|Back Flush Capable:||Yes|
|Number Of Boilers:||1|
|Brew Boiler Data|
|Brew Boiler Type:||Small Volume|
|Brew Boiler Watts:||952|
|Brew boiler Volume (Oz):||12|
|Brew Boiler Material:||Brass|
|Brew Boiler Orientation:||Horizontal|
|Brew Boiler Heater Location:||Internal|
|Maximum Pressure (Bar):||15|
|Self Priming Pump:||Yes|
|Initial Heat Up (Seconds):||187|
|Recommended Heat Up Time (Seconds):||360|
|Time To Steam 8 Oz Milk (Seconds):||10|
|Hot Water Temp 8 Oz (F):||180|
|Hot Water Time 8 Oz (Seconds):||26|
|Hot Water Recovery Time (Seconds):||74|
|Sound Level - Brewing (Db):||70|
|Descaler Used:||Urnex Cleancaf|
|Rechargeable Water Softener:||Yes|
|Back Flush Cleaner Used:||Cafiza|
|Country Of Manufacture:||Italy|
|Repairs By:||Whole Latte Love|
Watch my video featuring the Rancilio Silvia Redesigned V3 Espresso Machine. In this video, I’ll give you a quick overview of the machine as well as explain some important features including the housing and internal components . Enjoy!
In the sales department, we get calls from customers who are researching machines, Most people have usually narrowed it down to a few machines that fit their needs. Those with budgets in the $1000 range for a machine, they inevitably consider the Rancilio Silvia and the Gaggia Classic. I love getting these calls, because whichever way the customer goes, I know they will be satisfied with the machine, whichever one they choose. Each machine has reasons it would be a slightly better fit for a particular customer, and I regularly talk to customers who have had either one of these models for 10 years plus. So what are the pros and cons of each machine, and which one fits you best? Gaggia Classic: Pros and Cons Let’s start off with the Gaggia Classic. It is a proven model that has been around for over 25 years. The Classic can compete with a number of machines, not just the Silvia. Pro- Small volumetric boiler – Gives you a quick heat up time. The machine will give you a ready light in about three minutes but it is really ready to rumble in about five minutes. Pro- All stainless housing, rocker switches, 3 way solenoid valve – All great features that really make the unit stand out. Striking looks with the stainless housing, durable rocker switches that almost never wear out, and the three way solenoid that makes for easy clean up and adds to the machine’s life-span. Pro- Includes pod, pressurized and non-pressurized baskets all in a commercial portafilter – The Classic is one of the most versatile machine that we sell. It can brew pods, pre-ground with the pressurized baskets or for the ultimate control, non-pressurized baskets. The chrome-plated brass portafilter also lends to a stable brew temp across the machine. Con- Small boiler – The double-edged sword of the smaller boiler is that if you need to steam a lot of milk, over 10 ounces, you will notice the machine’s boiler size, and inherent lack of ‘steam stamina’. Con- Aluminum boiler – This is a non-issue to some people. Others don’t like aluminum being the primary component of the boiler’s alloy. It’s actually because of the aluminum boiler that it is able to heat up so quickly. Con- Water reservoir placement – While refilling it is easy due to a funnel through the middle of the machine. But removing the reservoir for cleaning does require that you first remove the drip tray. Not a huge con, but it can become a nuisance. Rancilio Silvia: Pros and Cons The Rancilio is another proven machine that has been on the market for about 12 years and has a near cult following. So loved, this machine has a number of after market modifications for it, and we’ve heard back from people that they have had the housing anodized with other metals to completely “trick” their machine out. Pro- All stainless housing, rocker switches, 3 way solenoid valve – Like the Classic above, the Silvia also sports a stainless steel housing, with a nice black accent down the middle. The rocker switches are nice and durable. Silvia has the ever-important three-way solenoid valve. (check out my blog ‘A Three Way Solenoid? What is That?’ for a better understanding of this feature). Pro- Large 12 ounce boiler – The Silvia sports a beefier 12 ounce boiler, made out of brass. The Silvia benefits better ‘steam stamina’ from the larger boiler size. Pro- Commercial portafilter with non-pressurized baskets, and pod adaptability – The Silvia’s commercial portafilter made of chrome plated brass and works extremely well with the non-pressurized baskets, gives you great control over the shot with your grind and tamp techniques. And if you wish, there is a pod adaptor kit that is sold separately and allows you to brew pods. Con- Finicky of the grind – The Silvia is very particular of the grind fineness and consistency. You will need to buy a Gaggia MDF or Rancilio Rocky to brew at it’s best. Con- Larger 12 ounce boiler – Requires a longer warm-up time. About five minutes for the ready light to come on, but really ready to rumble in about seven minutes. Con- Pod adaptability – While pod capable with the adaptor, the machine is a one or the other machine. With the pod kit actually changing the group head, you cannot do ground on a pod-kitted Silvia and vice-versa. Both are Winners… If you need a machine that heats up quick, can brew out 2-3 long shots to fill your travel mug as you run out the door, the Classic may be more suitable. If you’re looking to have a latte for you and each of your family every night as you wind down for a moment together, the Silvia would fit better for you. But the floor is open to debate. Which machine do you have, and why does it fit you better?
Ok so you just received your new semi-automatic machine and are getting ready to make a nice cappuccino. You have watched the local Barista, done your online research and have quickly come to the conclusion that you are getting conflicting information on how to properly make a cappuccino or latte with your new machine. In some instances, you may have seen the drinks being made by brewing your espresso and then steaming and frothing your milk. Likewise, you may have also watched videos that show a latte being made in a glass cup where the espresso is being poured into the steamed milk. So which is it you might ask. "Do I brew first or do I steam first"? The consensus with our team here is that it is better to steam/froth your milk first and then brew your espresso. This especially holds true when using a single boiler espresso machine like the Gaggia Classic or Rancilio Silvia. This serves three main purposes: First, it is much more fast to make a latte or cappuccino by cooling the machine to brew after steaming then to wait for the machine to heat to steam after brewing. You can very quickly have the machine ready to brew simply by switching to the brew button and running hot water through the steam arm. The wand will change from producing steam to producing hot water very fast. Once you have hot water instead of steam you are ready to brew. This should take mere seconds with most mid level semis like the Gaggia machines. Second, it is better for the machine and its internal components to be at the cooler brew temperature then the hotter steam temperature. In fact, Rancilio states in their manual that the steps mentioned in point one is necessary in the normal operation to prevent the machine from burning out heating elements and boilers. Third, performing step one with the mid level semi-automatic machines is a great way to maintain a relatively consistent temperature when brewing. If you start brewing at about the same time after the steam turns to hot water you can maintain a consistent brew temperature with every shot. This is something known as temperature surfing which is a topic all of its own.