Category Archives: Saeco

Brewin’ with Brandi: Creamy Caramel Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

Pumpkin Spice Latte recipeAs 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.

Recipe: Creamy Caramel Pumpkin Spice Latte

Ingredients

Directions

Combine sauce and syrup together, add espresso and stir. Top with steamed milk and enjoy!

Tech Tip: Saeco Odea Test Mode & Troubleshooting

Saeco OdeaWe 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.

SCG Tech Tip: Saeco Odea Series Test Mode

SCG Tech Tip: Saeco Odea Alarms & Errors

Saeco Superautomatic Brew Unit Care

SaecoRecently, 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

Tech Tip: Saeco Vienna Plus Test Mode & Troubleshooting

Saeco Vienna PlusPossibly 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!

SCG Tech Tip: Saeco Vienna Plus Test Mode

SCG Tech Tip: Saeco Vienna Errors & Alarms

Espresso Machine Priming Primer

Espresso Machine PrimingPrime 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.

Espresso Machine Priming Primer

Crew Review: Saeco Minuto Automatic Espresso Machine & Coffee Maker

Saeco MinutoThe 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:

  1. Completely separate pieces of equipment that yielded the best quality product for both preparations;
  2. Selecting a single piece of equipment that favored one preparation while short changing the other; or
  3. 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?

Crew Review: Saeco Minuto Superautomatic Espresso Machine

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.

Brewin’ with Brandi: Chocolate Cake Shake

Yes, we’re serious. No, we can’t believe we are, either. We probably shouldn’t let Brandi choose her recipes on her own anymore after she brought this bad boy out to play. Who on earth blends up a slice of chocolate cake and then drinks it?! Probably the same person who blends up a donut.

We apologize in advance for any and all of the havoc this wreaks on your lovely figure, love. Ijole!

 Ingredients

  • 4 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 – 1 cup milk
  • (1) 8 oz. slice of chocolate cake
  • 2 shots of espresso

Directions

In a blender, puree the ice cream and the milk together. Add the cake and the espresso shot, continuing to blend and adding more milk (as needed) to get the right consistency. Serve with a straw and spoon in a pint glass, preferably away from any reflective surfaces.

SCG Tech Tips: Saeco Superautomatic Brew Groups

Saeco Superautomatic Brew GroupsThere are many things in life that have been attributed to such nebulous sources as ‘science’ or ‘engineering’ that are actually deeply rooted in magic. The chromatophores of cephalopods, gelatin-based foodstuffs, magnets — these are just a few examples of magic being passed off as ordinary. It’s unfortunate that their provenance isn’t more keenly celebrated, but we understand why: It’s far easier for people to get their head around these experiences if they disregard their obvious mojo.

And while it’s tempting to add the brew groups of Saeco Superautomatic Espresso Machines to this list, these are actually not operated by tiny magical beings inside your espresso machine; they truly are the result of some fine-tuned mechanical engineering. But don’t take our word for it! Learn all about them with Brendan — what they do, how they work, how to care for them, troubleshooting tips and more.