Philips

  • Buying Guide: Superautos

    Interested in espresso? Looking to cut pod coffee out? Still want the simplicity of push button operation? It sounds like you need a superauto!

    We've talked about superautomatic espresso machines at length here. So much so that you probably already know what these machines are. As a refresher, a superautomatic espresso machine is a machine that uses whole bean coffee to deliver delicious espresso based drinks. They are sort of like "cafes in a box." The trade-off is that no automated process can truly outdo a skilled barista on professional equipment. With that said, a superauto machine on your kitchen counter is an incredible convenience that can still provide a tasty morning does of caffeine. Superautos also cut down on the waste generated by pod machines, though they don't make drip coffee. There are a number of factors to think about when selecting a superauto. We'll touch on these things as we go through this guide to buying your first machine, or upgrading!

    First Machine

    For your first machine it's hard to argue against the Philips Carina. Getting into espresso for the first time is an expensive endeavor that the Carina makes a lot less scary. This is a simple to use machine that may seem light on features, but is actually a fantastic value. You can control dose (the amount the machine grinds for each shot) volume, and pull shots of espresso, long, coffee style lungo shots, hot water for americanos, and steamed milk. These are the core functions of any superauto espresso machine, so to have them surfaced like on the Carina is a boon. Add to all of this the easy to use AquaClean filtration system, and you've got an affordable winner of a beginner machine. Just remember to buy a filter with the machine!

    One thing that is important to note about the Carina is its panarello steam wand. This means that you'll need to manually hold a pitcher of milk up to the wand to steam it, like on a semi-auto machine. For many, the promise of automatic milk steaming is why they want a superauto in the first place. If auto steaming is a make or break feature for you, consider checking out the Philips 3200 Latte Go. This machine is just like the Carina in many ways, but includes a carafe based steaming system for automatic steaming.

    The other great thing about the Carina is it'll help you understand exactly what you want out of your next machine. Maybe you'll settle on the idea that more control over the shot is key for you. In this case, you may want to upgrade to a semi-auto machine. Maybe you like the superautomatic nature of the Carina, but you don't need the milk steaming. In this case, upgrading to something like the Jura A1, which brews espresso only, may be the perfect solution.

    Upgrading to a New Machine

    If you're looking at upgrading from an older machine and have a budget of over $1,000, consider the Jura E6. The E6 produces some exceptional espresso thanks to Jura's P.E.P. brewing system and is a definite upgrade from an interface perspective. Using its vibrant screen and simple button system you'll be able to set dose, temp, shot length, and milk volume for your drinks. One-touch cappuccinos with the E6's automatic siphon system are a delicious option as well. Finally, the maintenance tools on the E6 are really something. The comprehensive software is great at reminding you to rinse, clean, and descale the machine.

    The only real negative on this machine is the lack of milk control that you get. While the cappuccino foam that the siphon system on the E6 creates is decent, it just can't do lattes. This may be a dealbreaker for some folks. If that's you, then it's worth taking a look at the Miele 6350.

    The 6350 offers great milk texture for lattes and cappuccinos, delicious coffee, and is easy to operate. It's expensive, but justifies its price with extra features like a hot water spout, brew group light, and a a spill-proof drip tray. It's an easy recommendation for anyone looking at buying the last machine they'll need.

    Stay tuned for more buying guides focused on drip brewing and semi-auto espresso machines!

  • Philips Carina Tips and Tricks

    The Philips Carina is one of the most affordable ways to get into superautomatic espresso machines. You've probably heard us gush about the features of this machine, but there's some tips and tricks that'll help you get the most out of it. Read on to learn more and get brewing!

    • Warmup time
      • The Carina features pretty fast warmup times. With that said, we recommend turning the machine on first thing, so that it'll be ready to brew when you're ready for coffee!
    • Water tank, bean hopper
      • A quick check of the water and bean levels each morning will help you to avoid any delays in getting your drink in the morning.
    • Waste bin
      • Similar to our last tip, consider dumping water from the drip tray in between clearing the waste bin. Otherwise you can end up with an easily spilled drip tray when trying to dump the waste bin!
    • Brew volumes
      • By pressing the drink button for your drink a second time, you can double the volume of the brew. By combining this with the volume "slider" button you can brew larger drinks.
    • Milk steaming
      • The Carina's panarello steam wand makes steaming easy, but by checking out some general milk steaming tips you can up your milk game.
    • Use less oily beans
      • More of a general superauto tip, but using beans that aren't too oily can keep your machine's grinder in tip-top shape.
    • Experiment
      • Try out a variety of drink options to really put your new machine through its paces!
    • Dial in your machine
      • The dial inside the bean hopper is used to dial in your machine, something you should definitely do! From there it can take a dozen or so drinks for the machine to produce its best coffee.

    So there you have it! Using these tips you can really get the very best usability and coffee from your Carina!

  • Philips Espresso Machine Giveaway!

    Hey friends!

    If you follow us on social media you know this week we launched a giveaway for 3 fantastic new Philips espresso machines. The machines up for grabs are the Philips Carina, 3200, and 3200 LatteGo. Each of these machines is super easy to use and makes great coffee and milk drinks!

    We've partnered with Gleam to make this giveaway simple to enter. All you need to do is head over to this page and click each item in the list. To get every entry opportunity you'll need a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram account, and an email to use for our newsletter! Each list item will ask you to log into your accounts to complete the action, or it will ask for your email address in the case of the newsletter signup. We have tried to make this process as useable as possible, but if you run into issues feel free to contact us. We can't wait to announce the winners after the giveaway wraps up!

  • Philips Saeco Carina Superautomatic Espresso Machine Review

    If you follow us here, we're guessing you're familiar with Philips Saeco's prowess in the superauto market. From past machines like the Vienna, through the modern Incanto Line, to the best in class Xelsis, this is a proven manufacturer. New on the scene is a full line of Philips machines, and with it, a new Seattle Coffee Gear exclusive. We wouldn't sell you this machine if we didn't believe in it, so it's high time to put it to the test!

    Appearance and Usability

    The new Philips line uses case stylings similar to the Xelsis. This gives all of these machines a sleek, stylish look that fits into any kitchen easily. Carina's faceplate a simple glossy black, keeping the buttons readable. Front access water is a huge plus, thought beans are still top-loading, with a grind setting dial in the hopper. The drip tray is simple and functional, though it can be a touch finicky to slide in and out at first as you get used to it. Simplicity is the name of the game for Carina's interface. On the front you'll find buttons for espresso, coffee, hot water, and steam. At first this can seem like a limited set of options, but combined with controls for strength and water volume, and the panarello steam wand, there's a lot you can do here. With a few button presses you'll be pulling shots, pouring americanos, and whipping up lattes. As with most superautos, the coffee button pulls a long shot rather than true drip. This means you won't quite get drip coffee, but something somewhere between an espresso and an americano.

    Also present are simple rinse and AquaClean. The latter is one of our favorite parts about the Carina - it uses Saecos current AquaClean filtration. This means you'll get guided alerts on when to change the filters. This filtration system makes cleaning and maintaining your machine incredibly easy.

    Another note here is the panarello steam wand. Sometimes these devices get a bad rap in the superauto world because they're less "auto" than cappuccinotores and carafes. This is true, but panarellos also give you full control over degree of foam, and temperature. Sure, it takes a little bit of extra effort, but you save yourself from being stuck with milk that isn't hot or foamy enough for you.

    Performance

    This machine uses the same brewing hardware as the higher end machines in the new Philips line. This means you'll be getting the same quality of espresso machines double the price, and it's far better than pod-based machines at this price point. You also get to bring your own beans. It's true - the Carina isn't quite at the level of the Xelsis, but for a fraction of the price, it's impressive. Impressive enough to recommend even to someone replacing an Incanto or Pico. Dialing in grind, strength, and volume will let you get the coffee tasting just how you like it too. Carina also heats quickly, going from off to ready to brew in under a minute. Steaming requires a bit of additional heat up time, and we recommend starting with your milk and then pulling your shot.

    The AquaClean filtration performs as well as you'd expect, and as noted above, the panarello works great. It's not quite as convenient as a carafe or cappuccinotore, and it's slower than a more expensive semi-automatic, but it still heats up and works quickly.

    Conclusion

    The biggest strength that the Carina has is its price point. This is definitely not a "cheap" machine, as it has features, performance, and style well beyond its price point. That price point is, however, an extremely attractive piece of the puzzle. The Carina is one of the lowest price superautos on the market, and that's with few compromises. We absolutely recommend this machine for any new superauto customer. It's even a great replacement if your Incanto is getting a little long in the tooth! Check out the Carina exclusively at SCG here.

  • In-Depth Look: Philips Airfryer

    You may have noticed recently that our website has been sporting a new addition that doesn't quite fit in with our normal caffeine-centric product lineup: The Philips Airfryer!

    How did this little marvel of cooking technology make its way to SCG? The answer lies in our Philips Airfryerawesome refurbishing department! We've worked with Saeco for years as their main refurbishing partner, decreasing the amount of sweet caffeine-producing machines that make their way to landfills - we love the environment! - and passing on slashed prices to the masses.

    As such, Philips, owner of Saeco, approached us recently to do the same thing for their new Airfryer. Once we tried it, we knew we couldn't resist adding these fellas to our refurbishing line. I mean, the fries that come out of this thing are insane(ly good)!

    So, how does it work? Simply place your food in the basket, set the temperature and timer, then wait. Depending on what you're cooking up, you may need to shake the basket about halfway through to ensure evenness, but it's pretty darn foolproof! Also, if you're using frozen fries, oil actually drips off of them during the cooking process, so...you're kind of making them healthier for you. (And yes, this is how we justify using it several times per week.)

    You can even make grilled cheese, fish and cakes in record time. We're talking 10-15 minutes for a cake! We haven't made every dish on it yet, but the recipe book is pretty mouth watering, and we'll be posting some coffee cake videos just as soon as we can find the flour and sugar.

    We know you're at least a little, if not a lot, interested at this point. So what are you waiting for? Go check the Philips Airfryer out!

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