Saeco

  • Top 3 High-End Superautomatic Espresso Machines of 2020

    This is it! The last in our series of Top 3s articles for 2020. We’re closing it out with a particularly fun category: High-end superautomatic espresso machines! These three machines represent our picks for sky’s the limit automatic home espresso. We’re not worried about budget or value here, just the most feature-filled machines on the market. Let’s get started!

    Saeco Xelsis

    We know, we talk about the Saeco Xelsis a lot. But it’s for good reason! For many of us here at SCG, this is the machine we’d pick even if you offered us one that was twice the price. The Xelsis really is a cafe lover’s superautomatic because of the range of options it includes, it’s stylish looks, and of course, its performance.

    Let’s talk about control. The touch screen interface on the Xelsis is truly remarkable, giving you careful control over drink parameters. It’s also easy to use and intuitive, something that isn’t always the case with coffee equipment. Using the Xelsis, you’ll be able to dial in the perfect latte, cappuccino, or other espresso drink and then save it to a preset to pull again and again.

    Then there’s the performance. With hot, delicious espresso that lives up to the Saeco name, you won’t be disappointed. Where this machine really takes performance to the next level is with its milik steaming. We’ve been hard pressed to find a superautomatic with milk production on par with semi-auto steaming. The fact of the matter is that there’s a degree of finesse and control needed during steaming that superautos have a hard time reaching. While the Xelsis isn’t quite on the level of a well trained barista, it’s as close as we’ve seen from a superauto. Our latte art gurus have even managed to pour art with the latte milk from this machine. With foam level being one of the parameters you can control on the Xelsis, you can even fine tune this as well!

    Finally, there’s the convenience features. The Xelsis has a self cleaning steam wand, front loading water tank, and is AquaClean filter ready, which all makes it as easy a machine to own as it is to use. It’s an easy choice for us as one of the best superautos you can buy.

    Miele CM6350

    Miele is known across the world of appliances for delivering high performance and high quality. Their superautomatic espresso machines are no different, and the CM6350 is at the top of that line.

    Th CM6350 is on this list because it is one of the top performing superautos on the market in terms of drink quality. Period. The espresso that this machine brews is fantastic, and the built in hot water spout allows you to make brilliant americanos as well. What’s more, this machines’ automatic milk steaming is the real deal, giving you near cafe quality lattes and cappuccinos. 

    Miele also makes maintaining this machine easy, with a high contrast guided interface for cleaning and maintaining. This interface also aids in drink parameter programming, which isn’t as robust as the Xelsis, but still more than adequate.

    If there are any complaints to be made about Miele superautos, it’s in the temperature department. This machine brews espresso at 200 degrees fahrenheit as needed for espresso, but there’s not much you can do to increase the temperature of the coffee or milk beyond that if you really need a scalding hot drink. We don’t feel this is a major issue with this machine, but it’s worth noting in case you drink coffee at burn-your-mouth temperatures!

    When you put together the quality, consistency, and ease of use with Miele superautos it’s not hard to understand why we hold them in such high regard!

    Breville Oracle Touch

    This last one is interesting. If what you want is a superautomatic machine that gives you your morning drink with just a button press, the Oracle Touch might not be for you. The reason we include it here is because it represents such an interesting crossover between semi and superautomatic machines.

    The Oracle Touch brews using a portafilter like you’d find on a semi-automatic espresso machine. It also uses a steam wand that works similarly to those found on semi-autos. The difference is that it automates the process of grinding, brewing, and steaming by combining a grinder and auto tamper and programming a number of preset drink options. All you have to do to use the Oracle Touch is select your drink on the color screen and move your portafilter to the grinder and back to the group head. The machine does the rest. 

    While this added step may seem counterintuitive, the benefit is you get flavors that are closer to a semi-auto machine using a traditional portafilter. You’ll also have more direct control over your brew since there are some more manual steps you can take as you work through the brewing process. 

    We think this machine is the perfect choice for someone looking to learn more about espresso as they enjoy automated brewing. That makes the Oracle Touch quite unique, and well worth including on this list!

    That’s a wrap for our 2020 best ofs! We hope you’ve enjoyed these articles and we can’t wait to bring you all sorts of holiday fun as we close out the year!

  • 2020 Holiday Shopping Guide: Superautomatic Espresso Machines

    If you’re looking for a fast, simple way to brew delicious espresso, you can look no further than a superautomatic espresso machine. These machines combine a brew unit, grinder, and a milk steaming unit to craft incredible coffee drinks. Even better? With simple touch based interfaces you’ll be able to brew these drinks with just a few button presses. A unique thing about superautomatic espresso machines is how little you need to purchase with them to get brewing. That’s why today we’ll take a look at a few different machine options for differing budgets and tastes.

    Philips 1220 Carina

    The Philips 1220 Carina arguably represents the best value in home espresso machines. With great performance, easy maintenance, and ease of use, it’s hard to find a more convenient way to get a great morning coffee drink. First, let’s talk about performance. With a built in burr grinder, you just need a couple of button presses to go from whole bean coffee to delicious espresso. This convenience is great, and with AquaClean water filtration maintenance is as easy as following the guide lights on the touch panel.

    The one area of compromise you’ll make with the Carina is in milk steaming. This machine features a panarello steam wand that requires holding a pitcher up to it for steaming. With that in mind, it’s still quite easy to use, and does give you fine control over your steaming. This way you can get milk that is as hot as you like!

    Overall the Carina is an easy recommendation for your first superauto, or a replacement for an older machine. Looking for something on the higher end of the pricing spectrum?

    Saeco Xelsis

    The Saeco Xelsis represents a real luxury superauto. This is a machine that offers exceptional performance and quality drinks, as well as a fine degree of control. The Xelsis has all of the features you’d expect of a high end superauto: great espresso, easy cleaning and maintenance, and automatic milk steaming. What really sets it apart is its interface and its milk quality.

    The Xelsis features a touchscreen interface similar to what you might find on a smartphone. Using this interface you can control everything from temperature, to strength, to milk texture for your lattes and cappuccinos. This is the sort of control you don’t get from similar machines, usually only from semi-automatics where you’re manually setting those parameters. It means you can craft your perfect latte or espresso shot and return to it every morning. 

    Also of note is the Xelsis’ high quality milk steaming. With a simple siphon system the Xelsis can create some of the best milk texture we’ve seen in a superauto. We’ve actually had success pouring latte art with the milk out of this machine (though you’ll need a steady hand and plenty of practice!

    The big prohibitive difference between the Xelsis and the Carina is price. While we truly believe that both machines are worth their price, we know that’s a decision only you can make!

     

  • Brewing in Style!

    We would always say the most important part of your coffee equipment is performance. You should always be striving to get a better cup of coffee. With that in mind, some of us are style conscious too! Slick machines that also perform are a great way to add a little engineered art to your kitchen. Here’s some of our favorite machines from a looks perspective

    Rocket Espresso Appartamento Nera

    The Appartamento was already a gorgeous machine before the Nera, but the Nera really kicks things up a notch more. The signature cut out side panels on the Appartamento give it a unique look even among stainless steel Italian machines. Beyond that, the tactile controls and gorgeous lines on this machine make it a wonderful addition to your countertop. What’s more, the stainless steel finish will add some shine to your mornings. The Appartamento Nera features black sides, allowing for an even more inviting color combinations through the cutouts. No matter what panel color you go with, it looks great with the Rocket Espresso Appartamento Nera.

    Saeco Xelsis

    The Saeco Xelsis is a superautomatic espresso machine that really does brew in style. Many superautos are just big “coffee boxes.” Machines with simple case designs that elevate function over form. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing - the challenge for superautos is space limitation. With a grinder, brewing unit, water tank, and steaming system all built in, a boxy design is better for workflow. Then there’s the Xelsis. We love the way the Xelsis uses its curved front plate to house the water tank. The design of the interface and the Chrome accents also give the Xelsis a smart look. Finally, the Xelsis features a bright, vibrant touch screen that looks and feels lovely to use.

    Ratio Six Coffee Brewer

    For some delicious and beautiful drip coffee, look no further than the Ratio Six. This strikingly modern drip brewer is a sight to behold on the countertop. It’s big and beautiful and features smooth lines, a shiny finish, and striking features. We love the way it puts form and function together with its filter basket. Almost looking like a second pot, the filter basket sits above the pot, integrating it with the rest of the machine visually. With the rubber gasket at the bottom, it also seals to the pot to maintain higher temperatures as coffee drips into the carafe. This machine is definitely on the higher end of cost for drip brewers, but it certainly stuns in terms of appearance.

    We'll continue to share some stylish brewers, grinders, presses, drinkware, and more in the future!

  • Gail's Picks: Best High-End Superautomatic Espresso Machines of 2019

    Welcome back to our Gail's Picks series for 2019!

    Today it's time to take a look at our picks for the best high-end superuatomatic espresso machines in 2019. These machines have so much programmability and tech in them that it's almost like having a personal barista. But what sets these three apart from other expensive superautos? Read on to find out!

    Miele CM6350

    The Miele CM6350 is a powerful brewer that offers a pipe based system that connects to a carafe for milk steaming, and four customizable profiles. This machine set a standard for high-end superautos and still is one of the best you can buy. The menus can take some getting used to, but there's no denying the quality of coffee and milk that comes out of a miele superauto. Add to that a hot water spout, large hopper, and a removable reservoir and you've got a compelling option at its price point. Those four profiles allow you to set elements of drink creation for multiple users, so that the whole family can dial in their perfect latte.

    Miele is also the only superauto maker to offer carafe based coffee brewing. While the "coffee" from a Miele isn't truly drip coffee, it's about as close as you can get from this style of machine. With carafe brewing, you can brew a whole pot of this lungo pulled espresso at once to serve multiple guests. It all combines to make the CM6350 one of the best machines you can buy for families.

    Saeco Xelsis

    Last year the Xelsis got a major re-launch and totally blew us away. We declared it one of the best machines of 2018, and it maintains that this year. The new Xelsis redefines programmability, user interface, and milk quality for superautos. The touchscreen on the face of the machine gives you full control over multiple pages of drink parameters. Things like volume and strength are standard, but being able to adjust temperature, milk foam, and specific ingredient volumes is a great addition. All of it is extremely easy to understand and read as well. This extends to the AquaClean filtration and HygieSteam system as well. Both of these components are easy to understand and manage, and make maintenance of the machine a breeze.

    The front access water tank, general look and feel of the machine, and sturdy construction drive home the premium nature of this machine. Then there's the milk quality. Xelsis' HygieSteam system really nails one of the hardest aspects of drink creation. Professional baristas spend hours learning techniques to get just the right amount of foam for lattes and cappuccinos. The Xelsis still can't quite match a real, human pro, but it gets as close as we've seen. All of that makes it one of the best superautos you can get!

    Jura Z8

    Reaching for the highest of the high end machines, the Jura Z8 is like an espresso supercomputer. Its massive 4.3-inch touchscreen delivers a glorious user experience that offers programmability and simple one touch recipes. 21 of these recipes are built in, and brewing them is as easy as can be. Adjustable milk temperature and texture provide an exquisite set of options for lattes and cappuccinos as well, really living up to that "cafe in your kitchen" concept. Plus, this machine makes some of the best espresso available in the superauto category. This is achieved with Jura's exclusive P.E.P. brewing system, which teases out more of the depth in the brew method that you can normally only get by manually pulling shots.

    On top of being one of the best in the business in terms of drink quality, the Z8 offers looks and easy maintenance as well. CLEARYL smart filtration keeps you informed on when you need to change the filter and clean the machine. On the case side, thick plating and solid construction provide a visually appealing and high quality feel to the machine. While this is one of the more expensive machines on the market, it justifies this with its high performance.

    Conclusion

    And there you have it, our three favorites in the high-end market for superautos. We love these machines, and feel they represent some of the best options available for your kitchen. We're pretty sure you'll love them too. We're not done yet though, check back for more of Gail's Picks in the next week!

     

  • Philips 1220 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, and learn more about the Carina on our spotlight page!

  • Crew Review: Saeco Moltio Carafe Superautomatic - Certified Refurbished

    How Does It Compare?

    If you’re on the hunt for a superautomatic, look no further than the Saeco Moltio Carafe Superautomatic - Certified Refurbished! The Moltio Carafe (model HD8869/47) is certified refurbished, so it’s easy on the wallet but always tested and approved by us before it’s sent to you. As the name suggests, this superautomatic uses a removable carafe to make one-touch lattes and cappuccinos or you can switch it out for the hot water spout to make Americanos.

    But what’s the icing on top of this machine? The removable bean hopper! And there are two hoppers for twice the beans—we don’t see removable bean hoppers on superautomatics often, let alone two. But there is another machine with a removable bean hopper, the Saeco Gran Baristo Hd8966/47. The Gran Baristo seals the deal with six user profiles; however, it only has one bean container. What’s the benefit of a removable bean hopper for coffee lovers? You can change out your beans from a morning blend to an afternoon decaf! If you enjoy lots of different coffee, the Moltio Carafe has two hoppers to get the job done.

    The Saeco Moltio Carafe Superautomatic - Certified Refurbished features a sleek body and intuitive interface. The Saeco Moltio Carafe Superautomatic - Certified Refurbished features a sleek body and intuitive interface.

    Shot

    Grab your favorite mug and enjoy hot coffee at the touch of a button. The Saeco Moltio Carafe Superautomatic - Certified Refurbished dedicates four buttons for classic drinks like espresso or latte macchiato. The intuitive press and hold programming is an effortless user-experience—we give it the thumbs up. To program, hit stop in the left-hand corner and the Moltio Carafe will remember the volume until it’s programmed again.

    Pro tip: Program this machine for one-ounce espresso shots if you like it strong. We love our espresso, so naturally we programmed the Moltio for two-ounce shots and it was weaker than we wanted. That's because even at the strongest dosage, (five beans under the Aroma button) the brew group is better designed for a single shot.

    The Moltio Carafe features two removable bean hoppers. The Moltio Carafe features two removable bean hoppers.

    That said, you can control the strength of your espresso using the Aroma button. There are five settings that add more grams per shot for the best cup every time. Another nifty trick for brewing coffee is choosing the bean species. Under the Menu button, select from arabica, robusta or a mix blend. Last but not least, like other superautomatics, you can change up For the price point, the Moltio Carafe offers us several ways to make coffee we’ll love.

    Steam

    Want a cappuccino to-go? The name says it all— the Saeco Moltio Carafe Superautomatic - Certified Refurbished features a one-touch carafe system that steams milk right into your mug. Dual thermoblocks for brewing and steaming work separately so you're sipping a full mug in a matter of minutes! Similar to other carafes you cannot control the froth, which is why we see drinks like the latte macchiato. Our latte macchiato was foamy and the factory settings pleased us with a stiff shot and lots of milk—just how we like it!

    Style

    Encased in a sleek gunmetal casing, unboxing the Saeco Moltio Carafe is like driving a new car off the lot. The metal bezel on the side adds an unexpected touch. The minimalist interface finishes this streamlined design that makes you skip the test drive and sign the paperwork. But like every new car, you unearth something after the honeymoon cruise is over. For the Moltio Carafe, the polished interface with buttons carved out of the panel starts to creak under your fingers. And that creak makes you realize these buttons could break. It hasn’t happened to the Crew, but—as you would with most electronics—use a gentle touch.

    The Moltio Carafe features metal bezel sides that create a sleek body. The Moltio Carafe features metal bezel sides that create a sleek body.

    The Moltio Carafe continues its minimalist style with an intuitive and sophisticated menu. It features a controlled auto-off and maintenance functionalities like a descale mode, which is vital to the life of your machine. The only feature we’re missing is a manual rinse cycle on the Moltio Carafe. After a few lattes, it’ll prompt rinsing the carafe again. Or if you’re impatient, the hot water tap had the carafe spick and span!

    The intuitive button and digital display interface make programming the Moltio Carafe a breeze. The intuitive button and digital display interface make programming the Moltio Carafe a breeze.

    Conclusion

    If you’re looking for a budget-friendly machine with all the bells and whistles, check out the Saeco Moltio Carafe Superautomatic - Certified Refurbished. The Moltio Carafe whips up classic drinks at the touch of a button. And best of all, this machine has style that complements the kitchen. What do you think of the Saeco Moltio Carafe? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

  • Crew Comparison: Saeco Intelia Deluxe vs Xsmall

    How Does It Compare?

    It’s a Saeco showdown! We paired two of Saeco’s most popular entry-level superautomatics, the Saeco Intelia Deluxe and the Saeco Xsmall, to show you what each has to offer; espresso at the touch of a button, removable brew unit, easy steaming options—we’ll get to the differences in features and functionalities. Right off the bat, you’ll notice the Intelia Deluxe’s digital display is packed with more customizable options such as coffee temperature and stand-by mode! If you’re a big latte drinker, the Intelia Deluxe features a cappuccinatore to automatically froth milk right into your glass and, of course, programmable espresso buttons. The Xsmall can also offer you two programmable espresso options, but it’s all manual steaming with the panarello! Honestly though, we think the Xsmall’s simple controls and smaller footprint offers more appeal to the casual coffee drinker. Both machines offer the convenience and ease-of-use you’d expect from a superautomatic—find out which one best suits your coffee needs!

    The Saeco Intelia Deluxe comes with an interchangeable cappuccinatore that can be replaced with Saeco's panarellos. The Saeco Intelia Deluxe comes with an interchangeable cappuccinatore that can be replaced with Saeco's panarellos.
    The Saeco Xsmall Vapore features two programmable espresso buttons.

    Shot

    Waking up in the morning just got easier with the Saeco Intelia Deluxe! Equipped with customizable brew options, it’s easier to find that perfect sip. Does your morning coffee taste weak and need a boost? Try adjusting the Aroma Strength button from one bean (mild) to five beans (extra strong)—a quick trick to increases the amount of coffee per shot. You can also adjust the grinder settings located in the 10.5-ounce bean hopper, or manually dose through the bypass doser! For extra customizability, you can even adjust the brew temperature to one of three pre-set levels. While we’re still limited to what Saeco allows in each setting, we adore how easy it is to find a brewing sweet spot.

    If you want a double shot, rapidly push one of the espresso buttons. If you want a double shot, rapidly push one of the espresso buttons.

    On the other hand, the Saeco Xsmall is simplicity at it’s finest. This little machine features two programmable time-based espresso buttons that adjust the water volume. We set up our Xsmall as a single shot and lungo since there’s option for a double shot—or is there? Push either button in rapid succession and you’ll get a double portion! We can’t call it a true double shot since it will grind, brew and repeat, but it’s pretty close! While we can adjust the coffee strength on the Intelia Deluxe, the Xsmall doesn’t have aroma settings or a bypass doser. We can, however, manually tweak the grind setting to one of five options! It doesn’t take long to find a decent shot from the Xsmall for those who need a quick jolt of java in the morning.

    Steam

    The Saeco Intelia Deluxe features a cappuccinatore that makes steaming a breeze. Simply add the hose to any container with chilled milk and it’ll froth it right into your glass. Unlike a fully automatic one-touch system, you get manual control over your steamed milk length. Still not enough customizability?, Saeco’s made the cappuccinatore interchangeable with their panarello wand attachment—putting your milk’s temperature and texture under manual control.

    Want to practice frothing your milk? Switch the cappuccinatore for the panarello! Want to practice frothing your milk? Switch the cappuccinatore for the panarello!

    That said, the controls on the Saeco Xsmall are definitely more natural to use. The turn style knob turns left for steam or right for hot water and is a style we see more often for manual steaming. The only downside is the Xsmall’s tiny 33-ounce water reservoir. It runs out of water much quicker than the Intelia Deluxe—which sports a 53-ounce tank—and no one enjoys refilling a water tank multiple times. The Xsmall is suited for a small environment with light traffic like an apartment or small studio.

    The Xsmall features a 33-ounce water tank. The Xsmall features a 33-ounce water tank.

    Style

    The Saeco Xsmall’s rounded corners create a smaller footprint and make it easier to slip onto counter spaces or even an office desk (we dare you to)! But surprisingly the Saeco Intelia Deluxe isn’t that much bigger! If you measure from corner to corner, the Intelia Deluxe is only about two inches taller and an inch wider than the Xsmall. The Intelia Deluxe’s extra inches give it more room for a larger drip tray, water tank and a cup warmer.

    Surprisingly, the Xsmall isn't that much smaller than the Intelia Deluxe! Surprisingly, the Xsmall isn't that much smaller than the Intelia Deluxe!

    The Intelia Deluxe also looks sharper with the stainless steel face and digital display. The Xsmall’s different models offer more color options, but none have the digital display or the option to customize your coffee, which is honestly enough to get us excited about the Intelia Deluxe. At the end of the day, these machines offer different features that coffee lovers will have to decide what they can and can’t live with for themselves.

    The brushed stainless steel casing looks nice against the matte black side panels and panarello. The brushed stainless steel casing looks nice against the matte black side panels and panarello.

    Conclusion

    If you’re looking for more control over your espresso and lattes, then look no further than the Saeco Intelia Deluxe! This superautomatic features the basic programming you’d need to dial in your espresso. The Saeco Xsmall is the ideal caffeine companion for those craving a quick cup with minimal effort. And with the option to add a panarello to the Intelia Deluxe, both machines are capable of frothing milk the way you want it.

    Check out these Saeco superautomatics and tell us what machine you’d take home in the comments below!

  • Crew Review: Saeco Intelia Deluxe

    How Does It Compare?

    Currently brewing in the Crew’s kitchen is just one of Saeco’s many superautomatics—the Saeco Intelia Deluxe. Equipped with programmable espresso, a tactile button interface and a cappuccinatore attachment, the Intelia Deluxe is built to simplify making great coffee at home. What’s the cappuccinatore, you ask? It’s an automatic milk frother that's featured on the Intelia Deluxe’s steam wand stem. The cappuccinatore is interchangeable with Saeco’s line of panarello steam wands—there’s black, stainless steel—offering more ways to customize your machine. Compared to other superautomatics, like the Saeco Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino (don’t let the names confuse you, the Intelia’s are different models), you have fewer options to customize your steam wand. The Deluxe Cappuccino, for instance, only has a carafe. We’ve heard a lot of home brewers aren’t a fan of the milk temperature that the carafes produce.

    The Saeco Intelia Deluxe comes with an interchangeable cappuccinatore that can be replaced with Saeco's panarellos. The Saeco Intelia Deluxe comes with an interchangeable cappuccinatore that can be replaced with Saeco's panarellos.

    Shot

    With superautomatic espresso machines, the name of the game is simplicity and the Saeco Intelia Deluxe doesn’t disappoint! It features a dedicated espresso and lungo button with programmable shot time. To program, simply press and hold the button you want to program and release when you have the desired volume (just remember it’s time-based). The Intelia Deluxe also allows you to customize coffee temperature and water hardness to help you determine when it’ll need maintenance—keeping your espresso tasting fresh.

    The Intelia Deluxe features a user-friendly interface. The Intelia Deluxe features a user-friendly interface.

    If your coffee is a little lackluster, the Intelia also has an adjustable coffee strength (from one to five) and grinder settings (from one to 10). It’s also equipped with ceramic burr grinders that retain less heat so you can continue to pull shot after shot without burning your beans. And with that whopping 10.5-ounce bean hopper and 53-ounce water reservoir, why wouldn’t you make multiple cups?

    The bean hopper holds 10.5-ounces of beans! The bean hopper holds 10.5-ounces of beans!

    Steam

    We know what you’re thinking, “Where's the cappuccino button?” Well, there isn’t one and that’s actually better for you, coffee friends. With the panarello add-on, you can use the Milk Froth button to manually control the amount of milk and, with a little finessing, the froth. The cappuccinatore won’t offer the same control over froth, but it makes a mean cappuccino foam.

    Want to practice frothing your milk? Switch the cappuccinatore for the panarello! Want to practice frothing your milk? Switch the cappuccinatore for the panarello!

    The steam on the Saeco Intelia Deluxe is pretty mean as well. Inside this machine, you will find a thermoblock heating element which heats the water for brewing and steaming on the fly. The benefit of a thermoblock is that it doesn’t take as long for your machine to heat up, however, the drawback can be that your temperature for brew or steam is not quite as consistent as you might like. That being said, we were very impressed with the temperature of both the coffee and milk produced on the Intelia Deluxe (something that is hard to say for most superautomatics)!

    Style

    The brushed stainless steel casing is here to stay and we can’t complain. This look appeals to modern taste and, of course, will complement your kitchen appliances—it’s beneficial to keep the machine clean cut for a wider audience. That said, the cappuccinatore protrudes awkwardly from the machine. Perhaps it’s the pencil-thin wand or the unusual shape of the frother. Whatever it is, the panarello add-on feels complete and with the manual frothing button, it feels like it was made for the Intelia Deluxe. The wand stem has space to pivot left or right— thankfully or else it would be blocking the water tank—and enough clearance to accommodate a tall glass, which is great for a frothing with a panarello. If you were to use the cappuccinatore to froth directly into your mug (the best for early mornings before work), just keep in mind that the espresso spouts can only clear a five-inch mug.

    The brushed stainless steel casing looks nice against the matte black side panels and panarello. The brushed stainless steel casing looks nice against the matte black side panels and panarello.

    Daily maintenance is incredibly easy thanks to the front-accessible water reservoir and coffee ground bins. If you did need to access the removable brew group, take out the coffee grounds bin and make room to open the side door. The Intelia Deluxe automatically rinses the brew heads when it turns on and off, and even alerts you when the water runs low. The only downside we see with maintenance is that there’s no automatic rinsing for the steam wand, so you’ll have to remember to properly clean the cappuccinatore or panarello. We recommend using a glass of water and using the steam function to rinse. When you’re done, you can program your machine into energy efficient standby mode, which saves on electricity and puts your mind at ease knowing that your machine will automatically turn off.

    The removable brew group makes cleaning a breeze. The removable brew group makes cleaning a breeze.

    Conclusion

    The Saeco Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino features intuitive programming and sufficient drink options to make coffee you love easily. While some might miss the convenience of a dedicated cappuccino button, the manual steam design allows you to add a panarello and gain more control over your milk. Of course, you can always use the cappuccinatore to have that one-touch frothing experience. If you’re looking for simplicity in your espresso, then check out the Intelia Deluxe and tell us what you think.

  • Crew Reviews: Saeco Gran Baristo Avanti

    How Does It Compare?

    The Gran Baristo line just keeps getting better and better. Built with a dedicated smartphone app, coffee is only a tap away with the Saeco Gran Baristo Avanti. The app features an impressive drink menu and a “Help & Manuals” section to provide an extra helping hand. Even with the app, you can still program your drink preferences with the Avanti’s digital display. We have to say, we’d happily take this machine home. If you’re already looking at the Gran Baristo, it might be well-worth the extra expense to purchase the Avanti for the added functionality.

    The Saeco Gran Baristo Avanti features an app that makes grabbing a cup of coffee a snap. The Saeco Gran Baristo Avanti features an app that makes grabbing a cup of coffee a snap.

    Shot

    With 18 customizable drink options, the Saeco Gran Baristo Avanti makes it feel like the possibilities are endless. Choose from favorites like a flat white, latte macchiato (or even an espresso macchiato), espresso, etc. There’s even an “energy coffee,” which seems to be a very potent Americano (also known as a ‘shot in the dark’). With each of these drinks, you can customize the aroma from very mild to extra strong as well as adjust the volume of coffee and milk. In the “Expert Settings,” you get more specific by adjusting the temperature and taste. Once you’ve got the ideal drink, hit the “Favorite” button near the drink picture and it’ll be saved to “My Coffees” for you to brew again and again.

    Use the Saeco Avanti app to customize your espresso and milk preferences. Use the Saeco Avanti app to customize your espresso and milk preferences.

    We took Saeco’s standard latte macchiato sizing and increased the milk to fit a 10-ounce cup. The only annoyance we—to clarify, some of the Crew—had with the settings is the amount is in milliliters and you can’t change it. For those of us who order from the local coffee shop, we intuitively know sizing in ounces. Luckily, you’re already using your phone, so it’s just a matter of consulting the internet to convert milliliters to ounces. Better yet, you can program your espresso using the machine’s interface; simply press and hold the espresso button, release and then press once you have the amount you want. You can also program the amount of milk for milk-based drinks.

    GBAvanti_espresso

    One of the overlooked features on the Avanti is probably our favorite—the removable bean hopper. With a fairly large 9.3-ounces, it’s easy to fill it up with beans and later change your mind. In front of the hopper, you simply slide it to unlock and then pull it out. This feature is especially great if your beans have gone stale. Underneath the hopper is the adjustable grind setting, so you can customize your espresso even more! If you have pre-ground coffee, the Avanti also has a bypass doser.

    The Avanti features a removable bean hopper and adjustable grind setting. The Avanti features a removable bean hopper and adjustable grind setting.

    Steam

    The Saeco Gran Baristo Avanti features a carafe to create that one-touch brew you can’t help but love. Select your favorite milk-based drink and it’s made directly into your cup. The carafe holds up to 500 ml (nearly 17-ounces) of milk, which you can remove and store in the fridge for tomorrow's cup. One thing we’re missing on the Avanti is the ability to customize the milk temperature and frothiness. You can choose the amount of milk in each drink—an awesome feature—but you’re limited to the preprogrammed foam of each drink. Although, if you want to experiment, you can tweak the milk amount to achieve something new.

    The carafe holds nearly 17-ounces of milk. The carafe holds nearly 17-ounces of milk.

    Style

    One-touch brewing is definitely improved by Bluetooth connectivity. The Saeco Avanti app is intuitive and easy to use—we give it a thumbs up! We also appreciated how easy it was to install the app on the Crew’s iPhone and Android devices. While we love the idea of never needing to get out of bed, you’ll still have to get up to put out fresh, cold milk. Another reason to get up is the Avanti auto-rinses when it turns on and off, so your cup will be full of rinsing water. But, hey, the app allows you to multitask more than ever!

    The Saeco Avanti app features a "My Coffee" section that saves your favorite drinks. The Saeco Avanti app features a "My Coffee" section that saves your favorite drinks.

    In the app, there are three main coffee tabs (color coordinated like the Italian flag) for your coffee: Classic Coffee, My Coffee and Recent Coffees. The beautiful, illustrated coffee icons make it easy to see what you’re getting—in the iPhone app version, when you adjust the espresso or milk volume, the picture will change. The straightforward icons and settings make it easy to get down to business and brew yourself a cup of coffee.

    Even with the app, the Saeco features a intuitive digital display. Even with the app, the Saeco features an intuitive digital display.

    The Saeco Gran Baristo Avanti certainly has the style to match its enhanced interface. The brushed stainless steel casing appeals to modern taste and integrates well with modern kitchens. The sleek, rectangular body easily slips onto counters but watch out for it’s deceptive depth—it’s more than 19 inches long! It’s definitely not the biggest machine we’ve seen, but the length might leave the drip tray hanging off the counter. We do like how narrow the Avanti is and thanks to the front-access into the machine we can easily squeeze it next to other appliances. While you can place the Avanti under a cabinet just don’t forget that the water tank and bean hopper will need extra clearance to be removed.

    The Avanti is more than 19-inches deep. The Avanti is more than 19-inches deep.

    Conclusion

    The Saeco Gran Baristo Avanti is built with an intuitive app that makes grabbing a delicious cup of coffee a snap. We already enjoy the conveniences that one-touch superautomatics offer, so the addition of an app sweetens the deal even more. The app makes it incredibly easy to adjust your shot temperature, volume and strength to find that ideal espresso—and let’s not forget, you can also adjust the milk amount for an extra rich latte. The Avanti’s definitely on our wish list! What do you think of the latest superautomatic from the Gran Baristo lineup—would you take the Avanti or a different Saeco machine home? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

  • Crew Review: Saeco Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino

    How Does It Compare?

    The Intelia—part two? That’s right, folks! It’s the newest addition to the line: the Saeco Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino Espresso Machine. Not to be confused with the Saeco Intelia One Touch Cappuccino, the previous model, the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino is an upgraded coffee-making machine with more programmable options and updated style.

    The biggest difference you'll notice in the new model is the features. Sure they look the same (with some minor flashy additions) but the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino features new intuitive buttons such as the carafe quick clean and "OK" button or aka the "Aroma Strength" button. The menu is considerably cleaned up and the word-choice is far more obvious than the previous model. These additions made navigating the interface a snap and while we're talking about snappy, could we get coffee any quicker? In 33 seconds we had the machine warmed up and ready to brew espresso. The Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino has all the improvements you'd expect from Saeco and more.InteliaCap_Front

    Shot

    This guy’s a hot shot—literally. We were impressed by the temperature of our shot and how much customization you could do with the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino. Each button can be double tapped for twice the volume and it’s easy to adjust the temperature and volume of your cup. And you set your customized cup at any time by pressing the button again. If you’re looking for a robust cup, the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino’s got you covered. It has five dosage levels and 10 grinder settings to make your taste buds holler.

    Looking for a special cup of joe? The Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino isn’t called that for nothing—order the Baby Cappuccino for a pint-size cup that’ll complement a mid-afternoon caffeine craving (this guy is located in the specialty menu). Of course, if you’re ready for some shut-eye and caffeine is the last thing you need, use the bypass doser for your decaffeinated beans.

    The Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino features an intuitive menu with a digital display. The Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino features an intuitive menu with a digital display.

    Steam

    Piping hot milk is exactly what you need with you hot shot. The Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino has a milk carafe on the side ready to disperse hot, foamy milk into your latte or cappuccino. There is no other option to add a manual-type steam wand, so you’ll need to be satisfied with the carafe controlling the milk for you. No need to worry about the milk chilling your drink, though. We found the milk temperature to be hot enough to complement the espresso without degrading the milk’s flavor. Customize the amount of steamy, creamy goodness in your cappuccino by simply pressing the "OK" button indicated on the digital display.

    When it comes to foam, though, what you see is what you get. Without a manual steam options, you’re unable to customize the froth yourself. This is great for people looking to get a quick drink to-go since the carafe dispenses milk right into your cup. When you're done with the carafe, it conveniently stores into the fridge for tomorrow’s coffee.

    The Intelia Cappuccino features a one-touch milk frothing carafe. The Intelia Cappuccino features a one-touch milk frothing carafe.

    While this one-touch wonder does a great job at making milk based drinks if you wanted an Americano, you’ll need to move the cup over to get hot water. Where are you getting hot water, you ask? The Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino comes with a removable hot water spout that is inserted in the same place as the milk carafe. This feature takes away from the one-touch functionality, but not enough to call it an inconvenience.

    Bonus: Before inserting the carafe into the machine, you’ll need to pull out the milk spout. Fortunately for you, coffee-lovers, the carafe won’t fit into the machine otherwise, eliminating the potential annoying mess. Also, you'll need come in at an angle with the carafe to get it in just right. You'll know when it's in when it clicks into place.

    Style

    Brushed stainless steel is the go-to, eye-catching look for kitchen appliances and we’re definitely pleased the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino will complement our stainless steel oven and fridge. The milk carafe went from a plastic handle on the previous generation to a sleek stainless steel finish on the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino. The sides are plastic, however, but you can cozy this machine up to the microwave because the water tank and dump box are accessible from the front. You’ll only need to access the side to clean off the brew unit every so often.

    InteliaCap_watermilk

    The digital display menu is easy on the eyes not just for looks, but for functionality as well. The light blue display looks cleaner and makes navigating the different menus effortless. The intuitive naming and buttons will make learning this machine’s inner programs a breeze. Error messages will also pop up when something is amiss, such as a low water tank or missing dump box, and make it so you can't use the machine and potentially damage it. There’s definitely a learning curve even with the more intuitive display but with some patience and the trusty menu (don’t throw that bad boy away) you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

    Pro Tip: The “Aroma Strength” button is also the “OK” button (indicated by the checkmark in the top right corner). The OK button will be used often to adjust different settings such as volume. A cool addition on the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino is that the display will have the checkmark in the left hand, lower corner when it can be used. It’s conveniently located right next to the OK button, too. We highly recommend going through the manual and reading up on the display section and learning the different symbols.

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