Descaling the Rancilio Silvio


Descaling is an important part of the maintenance of the Rancilio Silvia.

Calcium/scale buildupĀ  is perhaps the one thing that causes most problems on the machinery as heat valve leakage and pump failures.

Usage of a water softener filter doesn’t mean that you don’t have descale the espresso machine from time to time.

Descaling process

It is straight forward:

  1. Buy a normal descaling product for coffee machines
  2. Take the water container out of the Rancilio Silvia, clean it and fill it three quarter with warm water from the hot water tap. The warm water makes it easer for the descaling product to dissolve in the water.
  3. Put the descaling product in the water and stir
  4. If you use a water softener filter: take it off, while descaling
  5. Place the water tank in the espresso machine and lay the two water tubes in place
  6. Attach the empty portafilter to the machine
  7. Open the steamer tap
  8. Put a suitable bowl below the portafilter and the steamer tap
  9. Turn on the espresso pump by pressing the espresso button (top-left)
  10. Let the machine run until one third of the water in the water tank has run through down in the bowl. (both through the portafilter and the steamer tap).
  11. Wait 20 minutes and repeat. Let another third of the water run through
  12. Wait another 20 minutes and repeat
  13. Wait 20 minutes.

And now the cleaning up:

  1. Take out the water tank and wash it. Fill it with water and place it back in the Rancilio Silvia
  2. If you have a water softener filter: regenerate the filter and put it in place.
  3. Take off the portafilter and clean it. Place it back on the machine
  4. Put again a bowl below the portafilter and the steamer tap. Keep the steamer tap open
  5. Press the espresso button(top-left) again and let the machine pump all water in the water tank through for rinsing out any residues of the descaling product.
  6. Take off the portafilter and clean it.

Now the machine should be ready to use again. If you are afraid of any residues left: make one espresso and throw it out; and enjoy the next cup!

4 Responses to “Descaling the Rancilio Silvio”

  1. This process is as important as back-flushing. Don’t do it and the quality of your coffee drops rapidly.

  2. Cukal

    What is the approximate time interval for descaling?

    • erik

      Unfortunately there is no general answer to this – it depends on how hard your local water is, and of cause how much you use your coffee machine.
      I do it once a month, or when I experience the coffee to taste more ‘flat’ than expected. So my only advise would be to do a full cleaning and descaling, and try to remember how the coffee is after that. Wait a month, make a cup of coffee (and memorize the taste) and then do the descaling. If the coffee improves after that – it was in time :-)

  1. Water softener for the Rancilio Silvia | The joy of espresso coffee
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