When you have an excellent tech resource like Brendan around, you sometimes have to just lock him in a room with a bunch of superautomatics and force him to teach you his ways of diagnostics and troubleshooting! Okay, we really didn’t have to lock him in the room — he was more than willing to share his expertise with us — but we did spend an afternoon with him as he explained the Saeco Talea Giro’s test mode and errors for us.
As you may have learned from our other forays into Test Mode, this is a wonderfully helpful tool that you can use to run each functional element of your superautomatic separately, without making coffee, in order to determine what might be the cause of an issue with the machine. Is your machine not brewing because the pump isn’t working, or are you simply grinding your coffee too finely? You can find out by running the pump to see if water comes out of the machine, sans coffee.
After he guides us through Test Mode, Brendan then dives into the Talea Giro’s more cryptic errors and alarms — since it doesn’t have a display screen and only a series of symbols and lights to communicate any issues it might be having, it can sometimes be difficult to interpret. He gives us a few tips and tricks in understanding what the errors mean and how you might be able to easily resolve them.
While it’s true that the Saeco Syntia offers a display with icons and text that will signal to you when something is going wrong, we often hear from folks that aren’t clear on what’s going on with it. Is that a close up of a fly’s head or a symbol telling you to descale? Is it signaling that the tap is open a smidge or is it warning you that snakes are coming out of your espresso machine? These are the big questions, folks.
In our next series of Saeco superautomatic espresso machine troubleshooting, Brendan takes on the Syntia series. Using the SS model, he first guides us through Test Mode, which is the highly useful diagnostic tool that enables you to run each functional component separately, and without making coffee, so that you can deduce what might be going on with your Syntia. Then, we dive into interpreting the rather cryptic symbols that appear as errors or alerts on the machine.
Even though we used the SS model for this demonstration, much of this applies to the Syntia Focus and Syntia Cappuccino models, too. If you’ve wanted to learn more about the inner workings of your machine, these are your go-to videos!
Since the Saeco Intelia Focus features a pretty darn clear menu screen that will alert you specifically to any issues and errors, we thought that going over them was of very little import. Instead, we wanted to focus on its Test Mode, which is cool because it allows you to run each of the functional components separately and independently of actually making coffee. So if your machine is behaving badly (naughty machine!) and you want to find out what might be the source of its bad behavior, test mode can be a helpful deduction tool.
Watch as Brendan guides us through test mode — how to get into it, navigate through it and then use it to diagnose any functionality or performance issues with your machine. And while we did use the Saeco Intelia Focus as the demo machine for this troubleshooting video, this process applies its Cappuccino and SS counterparts, too.
The Saeco Incanto Deluxe has been around for a loooooooong time … and for good reason! It features a simple digital interface, volumetric programming, Saeco’s SBS brewing system and an easy to use panarello steam wand, all wrapped up in a metal case. If the Vienna is the workhorse of the Saeco superauto line-up, the Incanto may very well be the show pony!
It’s so reliable that even its Certified Refurbished counterparts have a long life after they’ve been re-homed with a new java family, so with a mix of both new and gently-used models on the market, we thought you might want a little guidance on how to troubleshoot, diagnose and possibly resolve some of its minor quirks.
In this duo of videos, Brendan does just that: He first shows us how to get into and then navigate the Test Mode on the Incanto, so that you can run each functional component independently and possibly deduce the source of any issues you’re experiencing. Then he takes us through a walkthrough of the alarms and errors your Incanto may throw at you during the course of doing business. These are as equally important to understand, leading to a speedy resolution (and more coffee!).
If the Incanto Deluxe is your partner in caffeinated crime — or you want it to be — get to know it a little better right now.
As the seasons change each year from splendid summer to austere autumn, so arrives the legendary Pumpkin Spice Latte. This year, Sam had had more than enough and attempted to launch a full-scale boycott against … with only very minimal success (sorry, Sam). But in deference to her cause, Brandi decided to take a little bit of a mad scientist approach to this favorite seasonal drink by incorporating both caramel (AKA Kat’s body lotion) and candied orange into it!
Watch as she uses the Saeco Exprelia Evo to produce this delicious twist on the Pumpkin Spice latte. Yes, we were surprised by how truly delicious it was! We highly recommend that you craft this gem yourself and surprise those around you with your unique re-imagining of a rather cliche beverage.
We had a customer come into the store a few years ago with his Saeco Odea Giro in tow. He loved the coffee that it made and wanted to have it tuned up by our repair team. While he had it in, however, he wanted to find out if his model had a particularly tender heart because he felt like the only way it would work each morning is if he started out by giving it a hug.
It’s true that the Odea series kind of got a bad rap because not only were its sensors particularly sensitive, it had limited tools with which to communicate its feelings to you. What does a slow blinking exclamation point mean versus a fast blinking or solid exclamation point?
In these two videos, Brendan demystifies the rather cryptic errors and alarms that the Saeco Odea series of espresso machines can show. Then, he shows us how to take the machine into Test Mode so you can run each functional component separately and diagnose what might be having an issue.
If you’re in need of a secret decoder ring for your Saeco Odea machine, check out these videos.
Recently, Brendan talked to us in detail about best practice in the care and maintenance of Saeco’s superautomatic espresso machine brew group. Because they have produced such a wide array of machines throughout the years, they have a few variations in their brew group designs, so it can sometimes be confusing on how to access the parts for cleaning and maintenance.
So we asked him to join us again and demonstrate how to take apart one of their newer iterations, which involves a rather tricky technique to release a few tabs and release the top of the unit. Once you have removed this, however, it’s super easy to access the brew screen to clean it thoroughly.
Watch him disassemble, give tips on care, then reassemble a brew group for models including those in the Odea, Talea, Syntia, Intelia, Exprelia and Xelsis lines, among others.
SCG Tech Tip: Saeco Superautomatic Brew Unit Disassembly
Possibly the hardest working superautomatic in the business, the Saeco Vienna Plus has a long and storied history of home espresso performance. It’s the machine that many people started out with, years ago, and it’s hung in there for over a decade (in some cases,) dutifully delivering your java.
But what it offers in a hard working focus on helping you make coffee you love, it lacks in bells and whistles. Some might argue that said bells and whistles are not necessary, and they might be right; but one of the missing bells and/or whistles is an easy-to-read user interface system that tells you what might be going on when the machine isn’t working properly.
So we asked one of our resident Vienna Plus lovers, Brendan, to guide us through two different diagnostic videos: First, he shows us how to put the machine into Test Mode, so that you can bypass functionality and test individual components. Then he talks us through the different alarms and errors that the machine may experience, and how to diagnose which means what.
If you own a Saeco Vienna Plus and have often wished there was a way to better interpret its rather cryptic blinking lights, these videos will serve as your secret decoder ring!
Prime numbers. Prime rib. Prime rate. Optimus Prime. These are just a few of the primes we know and love, but if you’ve ever spent some quality time with an espresso machine, priming is another prime that you’ll learn to appreciate.
The phrase ‘prime the pump’ is often used to describe things not quite so literal (it’s a particularly popular phrase used in reference to economics) but exists for a reason: By adding something to a system, you can facilitate action. In the case of today’s SCG Tech Tip, it’s adding water to a pump to force any air out of it and start the pump processing water from the reservoir or main line to the machine’s internal boiler and related waterworks.
Espresso machine priming occurs primarily with new machines, which don’t have any water in them, but a machine that has had its boiler drained (for shipping or long term storage) or machines that have sat awhile may also require priming.
To prime the machine, you open either the steam or hot water valve in order to encourage the pump to draw water from the reservoir and fill the boiler system. This is the tender way of doing it, but sometimes an espresso machine is a bit stubborn (read: It somehow got air pockets in its water lines, making it difficult for suction to occur) and you’ll have force the issue — literally. Using a tool like an ear syringe or turkey baster, you force water under pressure into the water intake area while engaging the pump; this gives the machine the extra oomph it needs to prime itself.
To learn all you ever wanted to know about espresso machine priming, we asked Brendan to break it down for us in the priming primer! He talks with us about what priming is, how and why you do it, then gives us a few tips and tricks to help the process go smoothly.
The new Saeco Minuto is the innovative answer to a very common problem: How does a household split between an appreciation for drip brewed coffee and a love for espresso-based drinks ever see eye to eye? Historically, the resolution to such an issue was found in one of three ways:
Completely separate pieces of equipment that yielded the best quality product for both preparations;
Selecting a single piece of equipment that favored one preparation while short changing the other; or
Engaging in an arm wrestling competition, wherein the victor gets to choose the home’s coffee setup.
Where the first option is concerned, you often have to give up considerable kitchen counter space to brewers, grinders and espresso machinery; not everyone has that luxury — in either kitchen or budget size — so collecting a variety of java accoutrement may not even be a viable option.
In regard to the second solution, implementing it means that you have to choose between lackluster coffee or less than stellar espresso. Combination drip brewer and espresso machines often utilize steam power for both preparations, which is just perfect for drip coffee but the fluctuating temperature of which wreaks havoc on espresso. Conversely, traditional espresso machines will produce delicious shots that can be mixed with water to approximate a drip coffee-style drink, but this is often considered not as rich or as smooth as some drip coffee aficionados adore.
Finally, putting everything on the line by competing in a feat of physical prowess may be preferable for those of you that rock especially enviable upper body strength, but the rest of us might not be as comfortable allowing our home coffee enjoyment to be decided by a session of biceps-roullette.
With the introduction of the Saeco Minuto, however, an effective compromise that doesn’t involve sacrifice or brute strength now exists! With the simple flip of a lever, the Minuto will adjust its pressure to either the traditional 9 BAR of espresso extraction or roughly 3 BAR for a drip coffee preparation. You can freshly grind and brew a single cup of rich coffee that tastes just like it was brewed in a high quality drip brewer, all at the single touch of a button. Pretty cool, eh?
So if you’ve been facing this coffee vs. espresso challenge in your own household, check out Gail’s review and demonstration of the Saeco Minuto; we go through its features, experiment with its different functionality and sample its delicious java. Might it be the one you’re looking for?