Part of their newer series of machines, Saeco’s Intelia Cappuccino is both petite and, quite simply, gorgeous. Featuring an upgrade to their one-touch milk frothing functionality that produces hotter auto-frothed milk and a sleek case design, we love its simple interface and its hematite hue.
Watch as Gail takes us through its features and then demonstrates making a one-touch cappuccino in this video review.
One of the coolest things about the super lo-fi Saeco Vienna Plus is how easy it is to remove the bean hopper and clean out the grinder. This makes at-home care and maintenance incredibly simple — as long as you know how to get the grinder back together again!
To help you out, we’ve asked one of SCG’s techs, Brendan, to walk us through taking apart, calibrating and re-assembling the grinder on the Vienna Plus. Watch as he breaks it down for us.
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.
The Class is a two-toned version of the saucy Poemia espresso machine by Saeco and, like its stainless steel counterpart, it features a simple to use interface, small single boiler and a panarello wand for easy milk steaming. When you pair it with the Saeco burr grinder, you have an awesome starter setup with a relatively small footprint.
Watch as we walk through these two pieces of equipment, including features, specs and functionality, then demonstrate performance by making a cappuccino.
Specifically, a double ristretto is a double shot that has been calibrated to use the same dosage of coffee, extract in the same 20 – 30 second window and produce a powerful, condensed shot with a total volume of 1 – 1.5 oz (depending on your tastes). If you have an espresso-grade grinder, you can do this with any non-pressurized espresso machine by altering your grind and tamp.
You’ve probably all heard of the ‘cake in a mug’ trend going around. And, if you haven’t, you should really get in on this action.
Naturally, when I saw a brownie in a mug recipe, my brain replaced the word ‘water’ with ‘espresso’ and I was instantly in love! So, without further ado, I bring to you a gooey, chocolatey, espresso brownie in a mug!
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 shot espresso (I used Lavazza Super Crema from my Xelsis)
- Mug (My Bodum Bistro Latte Cup worked perfectly for the job!)
- Stir the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt into the mug.
- Add the oil and water to the dry ingredients.
- Mix thoroughly, being sure to eliminate any lumps of dry ingredients.
- Microwave for 1-1.5 minutes, until the brownie is only slightly moist in the center.
- Let sit for a few minutes before eating, as it will be very hot.
That’s right, my friends. You just made a mocha brownie and only dirtied one dish (unless you count a spoon as a dish but, let’s be honest, spoons are so small that they shouldn’t count!). You’re welcome!
Is there more than one coffee drinker at your place? How do you decide on an espresso machine that works for everyone? For this review I enlisted my significantly caffeinated other, Chris, to take a look at the superautomatic Saeco Xelsis One Touch for home use. [Ulterior motive alert! It’s holiday time and mama wants a new espresso machine.]
First off, Kat and Gail’s video covers how quick and easy it is to make drinks and to clean up on the Xelsis. I brought Chris into the Seattle Coffee Gear store in Lynnwood to show him the features and hopefully win him over with one-touch espresso.
The Xelsis is a really attractive machine, something we wouldn’t mind leaving on the countertop. Our upper cabinets are 18 inches from the counter and the Xelsis is 15 inches tall, which means I’d have to scooch it out to refill the water tank. It has a good size water reservoir, but I use fresh filtered water each time as Gail has mentioned for best shot flavor.
We turned it on and the Xelsis menu buttons were easy to navigate. I placed a cup under the spout and turned the milk carafe spout to point into the pre-warmed cup as well. After pushing the cappuccino button, hot frothed milk filled the cup and then, after a brief pause, the espresso followed. I like mine a bit stronger so I added an extra espresso shot — at the push of a button!
Next, we used the attached steam wand and a frothing pitcher to see if we could get a latte with hotter milk and a finer microfoam than the milk carafe provides. This produced the type of latte we prefer but took more time and effort. There are also ways to dial in the shot flavor to your preferences on superautomatics, which Kat and Gail explore here.
We sipped our drinks and considered what factors were important to us. We have a small semi-automatic at home now, which is not as quick to make drinks. This comes into play because Chris works early and does not always have time in the morning for a mid-week latte. Also, there is a little bit of ‘Keeping Up with the Joneses’ since Kaylie has an Xelsis espresso machine at home.
What is important to you? For us it boils down to budget, time and milk foam quality. Your needs may vary. How does the Xelsis compare? It’s got stylish looks, a high quality build, an easy user interface that remembers how you like your favorite drink, great coffee quality and push button convenience. For us, a mid-level semi-auto and espresso grinder is more budget-friendly, though. Perhaps one that is compatible with E.S.E. espresso pods to save time on weekdays. As much as I really really really want a superautomatic, I will reluctantly — and with much complaining — continue pulling my own espresso shots (for now!).
It’s hard to believe that, after all these years, we’ve never produced a crew review video dedicated to one of our favorite little dudes on the market: The Saeco Aroma! But it’s true, we’ve been remiss.
Time to rectify that oversight with this review and demonstration video by Gail.
Known around SCG as the superautomatic version of the ‘lil workhorse,’ the Vienna Plus is a very simple, very easy to use espresso machine. In fact, it’s so simple, it’s rare for anything to go wrong with it — no touchscreen interfaces, programmable buttons or one-touch cappuccino functions to bite the dust. It’s kind of like the superauto version of a 1973 Volkswagen beetle.
Watch as Gail takes us through its features and function, then demo how it works.