Have a Saeco superautomatic with the Saeco Brewing System (SBS) functionality? If so, this tip is for you!
We occasionally have customers calling with the following issue: They haven’t used the machine for awhile and now, when they try to use it, it’s grinding and tamping and everything but it’s either not brewing at all or giving an error. The cause? Well, if you let the machine sit unused for a few days, the coffee can dry in the SBS system, harden and clog it with a little coffee plug. This could even happen as quickly as overnight if you use dark roasted/oily beans in the grinder or if you use pre-ground flavored coffees (that sometimes have sugar in them) in your bi-pass doser.
How to resolve? Simple: Start brewing a shot and twist the SBS knob back and forth repeatedly. This combination of actions should break the hardened coffee free and coffee should start to flow.
March 2010’s version of Seattle Coffee Gear’s monthly newsletter, The Grind, is live and direct in someone you love’s inbox. Is that someone you? Well, it should be. We should all love ourselves — truly, madly, deeply.
So give yourself some sugar and, while you’re checking out this month’s newsletter — which features a yummy mint & Irish cream latte recipe, tips on the Baratza Vario display panel upgrade, a blog showcase and info on some of the new products we’ve got — sign up to receive next month’s missive. What you won’t find online is our Grind Special, available only via the email version of the newsletter, and we know how much you love a good deal, baby.
Recently, Saeco re-worked their Talea Giro superautomatic and released the ‘Plus’ version in the US. This new model includes a bi-pass doser, an upgraded grinder and some other minor functional improvements.
Watch Gail talk to us about this new version, brew some coffee and steam up some milk. Whoopee!
With a little more sass than the Aroma — like a steam wand with more range of motion, buttons located on the front of the machine and a little drawer under the drip tray — the Via Venezia is an excellent semi-automatic that is simple and easy to use. Watch as Gail takes us through its features, brews up some coffee and froths some milk for us.
If you have an Incanto Classic superautomatic espresso machine and you find that the coffee’s strength just isn’t doing it for you, it may be that the machine isn’t dosing as much coffee into your shot as you’d like. These machines can dose up to 10 grams of coffee per extraction, and you can specify the dosage range between 7 – 10 grams within the machine’s programming. Gail shows us how to do this little trick in this video.
Seattle Coffee Gear’s monthly newsletter, The Grind, landed in an email box near you today — and if it wasn’t near enough for you to actually read it, you can do so here on the site or make sure you get up close and personal next month by signing up for future editions.
This month, we talk about the different functional types of espresso machines, include a recipe for Indochine Lemon, point you to our manufacturer manual resource on Brown Bean and introduce you to a few new products we have in the store. What you won’t see, however, is The Grind Special, which is for subscriber-eyes-only. Sign up to get that little bit o’ goodness every month.
Navigating the available options in the world of home espresso machines can sometimes be a little overwhelming. Functionally speaking, there are a few different basic variations:
Manual/Lever: With these machines, you are the pump. You grind, tamp and control the pressure during the extraction. You also manage the whole steaming process.
Semi-Automatic: Semi-automatics have 15 – 17 BAR pumps involved, which will settle down to about 9 BARs of pressure if your grind/tamp is accurate. You will grind & tamp, then initiate the shot on and off. Steaming is also up to you.
Automatic: Still grinding, tamping and steaming on your own, but you can program these machines to dose out a specific amount of water, so it will automatically end the shot.
Pressurized Portafilters: Automatic and semi-automatic machines can have a variation that includes a pressurized porftafilter. This makes the machine a little bit easier to use because you don’t have to be super particular about your grind and tamp.
Pod-Friendly: Another variation of semi-automatic and automatic machines are those that allow you to use what is basically a ground coffee version of a tea bag. These single serving pods make for easy, mess-free brewing.
Superautomatic: These machines manage the whole grind and tamp process for you, but on most of them you will still be required to steam your milk. Some of them (usually called ‘One Touch’) provide automated frothing and shot extraction into your cup at the touch of the button; others have an automated frothing system that will froth the milk separately and you can pour it into the cup after it’s automatically extracted.
Capsule: Probably the most simple machine in terms of materials and labor, these guys use a proprietary capsule filled with pre-ground coffee and extract it at the touch of a button — no grinding and tamping. Some of them have automatic frothing options.
We asked Gail to talk to us about these different machines, why someone would want to buy a specific type and why perhaps they wouldn’t want to buy it. Hopefully, this video will function as a good primer for learning the basic functional differences and help you as you research which machine best suits your needs.
As we wrote about last week, the “new” Saeco Incanto Classics have hit the street and are making a name for themselves. Watch Gail as she talks to us about the features, pros and cons plus shows us how the Incanto works by making us a latte — with polar bear!
Would it be glib to say it’s called Classic for a reason? Probably, but we’re going to go with it anyway! The Incanto Classic is basically the newest, freshest version of the old Saeco Incanto SBS machines that we were refurbishing during much of 2009. They were so popular that we worked with Saeco USA to import a batch of the new Classics and we have them up for sale.
More reviews and a video to come, but definitely worth checking out. The steel construction is an anomaly in the superautomatic world, so that merits a second look in and of itself. With the same programming features/interface as the SBS and the Saeco Brewing System functionality, it gives you a lot of flexibility, but doesn’t require you to be a computer programmer to get a cup of coffee in the morning. And if you are a computer programmer, they do provide a great instruction manual that’s easy to follow.
So, watch this space for more reviews/videos on the recently revamped Incanto Classic!
DIY lovers are all into the idea of using lemon juice or vinegar to descale their machines, but while the latter will leave a nasty residue and we don’t recommend it for that reason, the former just isn’t concentrated enough to do as an effective job in as an efficient manner as a concentrated citric acid solution like Dezcal. This is what we find out from Gail, plus she makes freaky faces and it’s worth watching just for that.