Category Archives: Automatic

Crew Review: Saeco Nina Bar

What started out as pretty darn good in theory didn’t end up very nice in practice. Saeco’s attempt at an easy-to-use single boiler automatic, the Nina Bar, leaves much to be desired. We don’t love all the plastic, the low quality metal used in the portafilter (which doesn’t hold heat very well) or the steaming power. It’s nice, however, that you can program the shot timing and if you’re looking for something a little more stylized than the Aroma, you might dig the case and design.

Watch Gail as she goes over the Nina Bar’s features, pros, cons and demonstrates how to make a latte.

New Espresso Machine Reviews on Brown Bean

We’ve added a few more listings and reviews of several espresso machines to the Brown Bean Community.

If you own any of these machines, we’d love it if you could take the time to provide your own perspective on what you like and don’t like about it. We play around with and test them, but if you’re using one of these day-to-day, you have a much better feel for how it is to use this machine at home. Why not share those experiences with other coffee lovers looking for a machine?

Francis Francis! X7

Francis Francis! X7 Trio
Semi-Automatic Single Boiler
odea-giro Saeco Odea Giro
Superautomatic with Rapid Steam
odea-go Saeco Odea Giro
talea-giro Saeco Talea Giro
Superautomatic with Rapid Steam
starbucks-sirena Starbucks Sirena – Made by Saeco
Automatic Single Boiler (with Rapid Steam)

Nespresso Promotion – $50 in Free Coffee!

Looking for simplicity and convenience? You might want to try out one of Nespresso’s capsule-based espresso machines that feature an easy touch button interface and a wide array of pre-fabricated espresso capsules for you to choose from.

And this holiday season, Nespresso is offering a $50 Coffee Club credit on all machine purchases of $299 or more made between 11/19/09 and 1/17/10. This awesome rebate is available on machines purchased from any participating retailer, you just need to fill out the form available here.

Ask the Experts: What’s a PID?

Single and double boiler espresso machines can have greater temperature control if a PID is installed to more minutely manage the thermostat on the boiler. In this video, Gail talks about what a PID is and gives us the lowdown on why you might want one and how you can get one.

Comparing Single Boiler Espresso Machines – Round One

Continuing our series of general comparison videos between different machines in a class, we took a look at some of the lower cost options available on the market. In this video, Gail gives us the basic rundown — pros, cons, likes, dislikes — on a few different single boiler machines, including the Ascaso Dream, Gaggia Color, Francis Francis! X7, Saeco Aroma and Breville Die Cast.

Crew Review: Starbucks Sirena

We had a customer contact us over at Brown Bean, looking for some help with her newly purchased Starbucks Sirena. Well, since we can’t sell these fine ladies, we asked her if she’d bring it in so we could play around with it — and then we’d be able to help her!

Witness our first crew review video of a machine that we do not (and cannot!) carry. These machines were manufactured for Starbucks by Saeco, so we often see them in for a couple of issues during their warranty period. Watch as Gail discusses the machines features, talks about a couple of it’s easily fixed manufacturing defects and demonstrates making a latte.

New! Breville Non-Pressurized Portafilter Basket Upgrade

When we started carrying the Breville espresso machines a few months ago, arguably the most common complaint we heard was that the pressurized filter basket easily clogged and was difficult to clean. We looked into the construction to see if there was something we could change about that, but decided to go with a upgrade altogether by creating a unique, non-pressurized porftafilter basket specifically designed to fit Brevilles!

In this video, Gail talks to us about the baskets and pulls us a shot to show us how they perform. If you have a Breville, this is a highly recommended upgrade to your setup. You will need to be more in tune with your grind and tamp than if you’re using the pressurized baskets, however, but you’ll have the opportunity to¬† significantly improve your shot.