Category Archives: Automatic

SCG How-To Guides: Packing Your Espresso Machine for Shipping

Packing an Espresso Machine for ShippingDoes your Saeco Via Venezia need to be repaired but you don’t have a repair center in your area? Did you try on a DeLonghi Magnifica for size and it didn’t quite fit? Will that Rocket Espresso R58 see more action at your vacation home? Regardless of your reason for shipping your espresso machine — repair, return or simple transit — ensuring that it’s packed properly to limit damage is key.

In this series of videos, we asked a member of our shipping crew, Spencer, to guide us through the best practices for three general styles of espresso machines: Small (under 35lbs), large (over 35lbs) and superautomatics (watch those drip trays!). Check out the video that most closely matches your style of machine to learn how the pros do it.

Episode One: Packing a Small (Under 35lbs) Espresso Machine

Episode Two: Packing a Large (Over 35lbs) Espresso Machine

Episode Three: Packing a Superautomatic Espresso Machine

How-To: SCG’s Tune-up Kit for the Starbucks & Saeco Sirena

Sirena by Saeco for StarbucksWith its volumetric dosage, convertible portafilter (pressurized or non-pressurized, depending on how you roll) and high cup clearance, there was a lot to love about the Sirena. Originally produced for Starbucks by Saeco, it also had a long and glorious life on the market as a refurbished espresso machine once it was discontinued. If you were lucky enough to get your hands on one and it met your needs, you might want to take extra special care of it as there’s no way to pick-up a replacement.

Part of that care is a regular tune-up — a thorough descale and the replacement of some of the parts that see a bit more wear and tear. Because this was such a popular machine, we produced a Tune-Up Kit especially for it, which includes descaler, the recommended replacement parts and step-by-step instructions.

Interested in performing this tune-up but want to find out what you’re getting yourself into first? Check out Brendan’s walkthrough of the process in this how-to video.

Maintenance Tip: Steaming with Rinza

RinzaLooking for a quick and easy way to keep the milk-residue at bay on your espresso machine’s steam wand? If you can take it apart and soak the components in a solution like Rinza or Full Circle’s Milk Cleaning Solution or Milk Wash, that’s a great idea, but what if there’s a leetle bit o’ milk hanging out in the internals of your wand?

Check out Gail’s super simple tip for keeping your steam wand super clean, even if you can’t easily take it apart to clean separately.

Rancilio Classe 7 E Commercial Espresso Machine: Crew Review & Internal Tour

Rancilio Classe 7 E Commercial Espresso MachineWhen people outside of the Pacific Northwest come to visit our neck of the woods, they are somewhat surprised — albeit a tad humorously — that there really is a coffee business on nearly every corner. Drive through espresso stands are the way of the world around here — you see a few on every block and they’re always busier than you’d think could be supported by the population.

If a drive through coffee business is in your present or future, planning for high volumes of coffee production in an often fast-paced and hectic environment is essential. After all, there’s a reason that folks are staying in their car while ordering their coffee from you: They’re on a schedule and may very well be pressed for time. But that doesn’t mean you should serve them inferior java!

Investing in a machine that will more than keep up with your business is going to be the best decision you ever made. Up for consideration is the Rancilio Classe 7 E, which is an automatic commercial espresso machine available in multiple group styles. This machine is a heat exchanger that will recover so quickly from the repetitive 16 oz lattes you’re whipping up that you won’t ever notice a dip in performance.

Want to find out if its the machine for you? Learn all about its features, functionality and performance and then go on an internal tour to see how it works in these videos with Brandon.

Crew Review: Rancilio Classe 7 E

Internal Tour: Rancilio Classe 7 E

The Reluctant Barista: Finds Out the Saeco Intuita is a Super Hot Superauto

Saeco Intuita superautomatic espresso machineEveryone’s caffeine requirements vary. Coffee can be highly customized to your specific taste, which is one of the reasons why there are so many variations of coffee makers and espresso machines available today. In fact, there are so many, it is hard to know how to narrow the options to find the right machine for you.

When I’m considering the right machine for my personal needs, I like to start with my drink of choice: Not every espresso machine will accommodate my predilection for a hot hazelnut latte. Some superautomatic machines do not offer milk-steaming capability, which is great if your drink is an Americano, but you are out of luck if you want a Macchiato.

Next, I enjoy hot milk in my latte, around 160 degrees to be more precise. A common drawback to one-touch superautos is that often the milk does not get this hot. This works fine if you aren’t picky about your milk temp, but disappoints if you like your lattes hotter than the center of the sun (like me).

We just got the new Saeco Intuita superautomatic espresso machine in last week and I was curious to investigate where it fell in the spectrum of taste and versatility. Would the features meet my latte-making needs? At first glance the Intuita has a nice small footprint, a satin black retro color reminiscent of a 1980s tape deck and a selection of 6 backlit buttons to match. Fast forward to the good stuff: It also has a powerful panarello.

The cup clearance is such that I was able to steam milk and brew into my double wall glass mug. The panarello was so powerful I got a little out of control with milk splatters until I got the wand to the right depth in the cup. I stuck a drink thermometer in at the end and it measured a perfect 160 degrees. Then I set my cup under the spout and selected a double shot of espresso. With a splash of Monin Hazelnut Syrup I was able to craft my favorite beverage from start to finish in less than three minutes. Better yet, there was no clean up required except to wipe down the panarello with a damp cloth afterwards.

The Intuita is versatile enough to make a variety of beverages. With the combination of buttons you can have a single espresso, a double espresso, hot water for tea and milk-steaming with the panarello. This covers the basic elements needed for most drinks you’d care to make, and it does so with ease. While this machine lacks the high tech level of programmability and an LED screen others offer, the six buttons really do make the Intuita more intuitive. Consider this if you like the convenience of push button espresso with minimal cleanup and maintenance.

Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II Volumetric: Review, Internal Tour, Care and Maintenance

Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II VolumetricAn incredibly popular machine for high production cafes, the Aurelia II Volumetric by Nuova Simonelli is built to keep up with long lines of latte-lovin’ customers. In this series of videos, our commercial sales manager, Brandon, guides us through everything from a straight-up functional and spec review to a detailed internal tour of the machine to best practice around maintenance and care. If you’re in the market for a machine for your business, the Aurelia II is definitely worth your consideration, and these videos lay down the groundwork for your research.

If you have more questions about these videos or need some guidance regarding the right equipment for your business, drop us a line!


Crew Review: Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II Volumetric

Internal Tour of the Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II Volumetric Espresso Machine

Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II Volumetric Care & Maintenance

Crew Review: Breville Barista Express BES870XL

Breville Barista Express BES870XLWhen we heard that Breville was going to soup up one of their more popular — and unique — espresso machines, the Barista Express, we were a little bit excited. Some of the things we didn’t dig about its predecessor were going to be addressed, such as improved temperature control, an improved grinder and the addition of a hot water spigot. They even threw in some cool new toys (a Razor, anyone?), an improved hopper for easier bean feeding and the ability to tweak your brew temperature with a simple PID interface.

Enough talk — let’s show it off, eh? Watch Gail talk about the features of the new Barista Express BES870XL, give us a tour of all the goodies it comes with and then demonstrate making a latte.

SCG Crew’s Favorite Gear: Single, Hx and Dual Boiler Espresso Machines

Next in our series of the crew’s favorite picks covers the world of traditional espresso machines. Find out which single, heat exchange and double boiler machines the team digs.

Single Boiler Espresso Machines

Heat Exchange Espresso Machines

Dual Boiler Espresso Machines

The Reluctant Barista: Making the Case for Office Coffee Upgrades

Saeco InteliaPick a Wednesday, any Wednesday. How much coffee do you need at work today to get over the hump? How many meetings do you have? Presentations to give? Deals to close? Sure, you can drink whatever office coffee sludge is sitting on the warming element as you pass from your desk to the conference room, but you deserve better, work friend. And so do your work compatriots!

Let’s cut to the chase, business people. Let’s get down to brass tacks and find the win-win and the net-net and the synergy for you all within one superautomatic espresso machine.

Two words: Saeco Intelia. This superautomatic espresso machine will boost employee morale and caffeination levels to previously unimagined heights. With one well-timed capital expenditure, the Saeco Intelia Focus will beat forking over $967 average annual expense for a latte-per-day habit. Take my word for it, or make your own Excel spreadsheet. With a 10”x17” countertop footprint, it is smaller than a paper cutter and much safer to have around the office.

Here’s what to expect: Push the small button for an espresso shot (ours is set to 1.5 ounces) made just for you and poured into your favorite Dilbert coffee mug in 30 seconds. Milk frothing took an additional 60 seconds with the panarello. There you have it, synchronization optimization with steaming and brewing for a latte in under a minute and a half. Don’t dig lattes? Push the big button for a programmable Cafe Lungo (ours is set to a hefty 8 ounces) in your cup or get hot water from the panarello for an Americano coffee in the same time or less.

Here’s a real world case study: I have a meeting regarding commercial equipment (yes we sell coffee and espresso machines for home, office and café!) and I will need a latte. I can pick any espresso machine. Semi-automatics take longer to prepare and one-touch coffee centers don’t get the milk hot enough for my taste. The Saeco Intelia, on the other hand, offers push-button espresso convenience combined with the control of a panarello to get the milk as hot and foamy as I want it. I leave my desk, whip up a piping hot latte and Bam! I’m in the conference room faster than you can recite the “Glengarry Glen Ross” speech.

We’ve got a winner here, send the requisite requisition forms to the purchasing department. Any way you slice it, the Saeco Intelia leverages price and performance to hit the sweet spot for office coffee. It is easy to clean, easy to maintain and so easy anyone can intuitively use it without a PowerPoint presentation. Sometimes the easy choice is the right choice.

Compare: Espresso Machines under $300

You don’t actually have to break the bank to pick up an espresso machine, love. In fact, there are several great options under the $300 mark that will produce great shots and steamed milk so that you can easily craft your favorite espresso drinks at home.

We asked Jess and Teri to choose a few of their favorites within this price bracket and they selected DeLonghi’s EC155, Saeco’s Poemia & Aroma and Krups’ XP5280. Watch them discuss the features and specs of each of these machines, how they compare and what they do and don’t like about them.