Category Archives: Superautomatic

Stefan’s Iced Tonic Espresso Recipe

We’ve got another delicious Coffee Collaboration recipe we just had to share: Iced Tonic Espresso with a dash of orange! We’ve received a lot of orange recipes that have and haven’t gone so well (hint: this crazy disaster with the AeroPress) and luckily this drink’s incredibly easy to make. All you’ll need is an espresso machine to make your shot and voilà—Iced Tonic Espresso à la orange.

Here’s a suggestion for picking out your coffee for this drink: We’ve sampled lots of coffees with citrus notes and that got us thinking we should pick a blend with balance. Zoka Coffee’s Zoka Java combines bright fruits with chocolate and nutty flavors.

Equipment:

Ingredients:

  • 1 orange slice
  • 6 ounces of tonic water
  • A couple ice cubes
  • 6-8 grams of coffee for a single shot
  • Squirt of orange (optional—but totally recommended)
  1. Prep your ingredients: slice up an orange and have your tonic water on hand.
  2. Add a couple ice cubes to a 10-ounce glass. Place the glass under the brew head of your espresso machine.
  3. Grind 6-8 grams of coffee into your portafilter. Brew directly into the glass. Aim for 20-30 seconds (you’ll want to dial in your shot and grind for balance between sour and bitter flavors)
  4. Add 6-ounces of tonic water and a slice of orange—and an extra squirt of orange if you’d like! Enjoy!

Pro Tip: The tonic water will fizz on contact! Add in more or less tonic water to taste.

Crew Review: DeLonghi Gran Dama ESAM 6600

How Does It Compare?

There’s something about finding a good deal that’s just so satisfying. You lock eyes with that bright red sign that’s yelling “SALE” and you instantly know you’re getting a super sweet steal. The Refurbished DeLonghi Gran Dama ESAM6600 is one of those deals that you can’t pass up. With all the nuts and bolts of a new machine, the refurbished Gran Dama is just that—refurbished. Compared to the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3500, which has the same features and functionality, the Gran Dama has only one lid for the milk carafe that can be adjusted to control the milk froth.

Delonghi6600_1

Shot

DeLonghi has built a reputation for making hot shots. The Gran Dama lives up to the family legacy and creates enjoyable hot espresso just the way you want it. Choose from four pre-programmed settings or customize it as you go! Down the right side of the Gran Dama, you have different volumes for espresso and your coffee or lungo. We sampled the factory settings for the double shot and, you know what, we thought the refurbished Gran Dama held up in the espresso’s crema and flavor.

Delonghi6600_2

If you’re looking for a stronger cup, push the “coffee strength” button (which has two beans and a scoop icon) and change your strength from extra-mild all the way to extra-strong. We appreciate how intuitive the system is, but it’s hard to know what’s “mild” coffee versus what’s “strong” coffee. We suggest trying your favorite blend (not dark, oily roasts, of course) and seeing how you like the taste. Like most machines, it’s a lot of trial and error before you get it just right.

Alternatively, you can switch the grind of your bean. The grind setting is located in the bean hopper and adjusting the settings from one to five will change how it brews. We’ll mention too that like other superautomatics, the grinder of this machine is loud. Of course, you can always skip all that grinding and use the bypass doser for your pre-ground coffee.

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Steam

Then you have your dreamy milk-based drinks, courtesy of the machine’s steaming power. There’s no steam wand here, though. Instead, the DeLonghi Gran Dama has an integrated milk carafe which delivered incredibly hot and foamy drinks in a matter of minutes—and we mean hot. We ordered a latte and it delivered! The Gran Dama first dispensed milk, which we liked because it means our espresso won’t lose heat sitting in the cup, and then espresso. The heat met our expectations for a one-touch machine and the separation of milk and espresso was a beautiful sight.

The Gran Dama offers three milk-based drink options: latte, cappuccino or Italian macchiato. This machine is super smart and the digital screen will guide you through your cup such as asking you to adjust the carafe’s the frothing level—the say what now? We were surprised to find that the Gran Dama’s carafe features a switch with one and two levels to change the foaminess of the milk. Move the pointer towards “1” for dense froth or “2” for less dense. When you’re done, clean out the carafe by pushing the button located near the handle and let the machine clear the milk pipes. Pull the carafe with the rest of your milk out and store it in the fridge.

Delonghi6600_4

The drawback we have for the steam feature is the big, ole carafe. The handle sticks out awkwardly and takes up space when not in use. And if you want an Americano, you’ll need to insert the hot water spout where the milk carafe is—sort of killing the one-touch love. Then you’ll have to store that carafe or spout away when it’s not in use and hope you don’t lose it.

Style

What we thought really made this machine grand is the intuitive interface. As you press the different buttons the screen guides you swiftly to your cup of coffee such as adjusting the “coffee strength” the screen changes from extra-mild, mild and so on. It also features a “program” button to set the auto on and off time or change the time on the clock. Intuitive and easy-to-use? That’s our cup of coffee. Even with such an intuitive interface, the Gran Dama doesn’t utilize it to its full potential and that was a disappointment. Instead, it relies on tons of buttons which clutter the front of the machine.

Delonghi6600_5

The refurbished Gran Dama takes up a small amount of kitchen counter and thanks to the front accessible components, you don’t need to worry about extra counter space off to the side. You will need some extra clearance on the top for opening the bypass doser and bean hopper so be aware if you’re purchasing this machine to place under your cabinets. The ambient heat also got pretty toasty, so we recommend giving some space between the Gran Dama and your other appliances to avoid any damage.

The industrial-inspired design with brushed stainless steel casing complements modern kitchen appliances. The rest of the machine is mostly plastic with the exception of the drip tray. The drip tray’s heavy metal will stand up to dropped mugs and milk carafe’s shoved into the Gran Dama. Whenever there’s a machine that requires pieces to be taken on and off multiple times, it increases the chance of something snapping.

Conclusion

When it comes to making hot, delicious espresso the Refurbished DeLonghi Gran Dama ESAM6600’s got it going on! Its intuitive interface makes getting your morning cup of coffee a breeze but also leaves something to be desired. If industrial-style complements your kitchen, it’ll be a welcomed addition to your home. We recommend storing the carafe away when it’s not in use to solve that unsightly problem. For us, the most important thing for us that the Gran Dama makes espresso right: piping hot and full of flavor.

Crew Review: Saeco Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino

The Intelia—part two? That’s right, folks! It’s the newest addition to the line: the Saeco Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino Espresso Machine. Not to be confused with the Saeco Intelia One Touch Cappuccino, the previous model, the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino is an upgraded coffee-making machine with more programmable options and updated style. Check out our video Crew Review below and tell us what you think of the new Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino in the comments below!

How Does It Compare?

The biggest difference you’ll notice in the new model is the features. Sure they look the same (with some minor flashy additions) but the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino features new intuitive buttons such as the carafe quick clean and “OK” button or aka the “Aroma Strength” button. The menu is considerably cleaned up and the word-choice is far more obvious than the previous model. These additions made navigating the interface a snap and while we’re talking about snappy, could we get coffee any quicker? In 33 seconds we had the machine warmed up and ready to brew espresso. The Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino has all the improvements you’d expect from Saeco and more.

saeco-intelia-deluxe-cappuccino-side-view-withcups

Shot

This guy’s a hot shot—literally. We were impressed by the temperature of our shot and how much customization you could do with the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino. Each button can be double tapped for twice the volume and it’s easy to adjust the temperature and volume of your cup. And you set your customized cup at any time by pressing the button again. If you’re looking for a robust cup, the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino’s got you covered. It has five dosage levels and 10 grinder settings to make your taste buds holler. 

Looking for a special cup of joe? The Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino isn’t called that for nothing—order the Baby Cappuccino for a pint-size cup that’ll complement a mid-afternoon caffeine craving (this guy is located in the specialty menu). Of course, if you’re ready for some shut-eye and caffeine is the last thing you need, use the bypass doser for your decaffeinated beans.

Steam

Piping hot milk is exactly what you need with you hot shot. The Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino has a milk carafe on the side ready to disperse hot, foamy milk into your latte or cappuccino. There is no other option to add a manual-type steam wand, so you’ll need to be satisfied with the carafe controlling the milk for you. No need to worry about the milk chilling your drink, though. We found the milk temperature to be hot enough to complement the espresso without degrading the milk’s flavor. Customize the amount of steamy, creamy goodness in your cappuccino by simply pressing the “OK” button indicated on the digital display.

When it comes to foam, though, what you see is what you get. Without a manual steam options, you’re unable to customize the froth yourself. This is great for people looking to get a quick drink to-go since the carafe dispenses milk right into your cup. When you’re done with the carafe, it conveniently stores into the fridge for tomorrow’s coffee.

While this one-touch wonder does a great job at making milk based drinks if you wanted an Americano, you’ll need to move the cup over to get hot water. Where are you getting hot water, you ask? The Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino comes with a removable hot water spout that is inserted in the same place as the milk carafe. This feature takes away from the one-touch functionality, but not enough to call it an inconvenience.

Bonus: Before inserting the carafe into the machine, you’ll need to pull out the milk spout. Fortunately for you, coffee-lovers, the carafe won’t fit into the machine otherwise, eliminating the potential annoying mess. Also, you’ll need come in at an angle with the carafe to get it in just right. You’ll know when it’s in when it clicks into place.

Style

Brushed stainless steel is the go-to, eye-catching look for kitchen appliances and we’re definitely pleased the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino will complement our stainless steel oven and fridge. The milk carafe went from a plastic handle on the previous generation to a sleek stainless steel finish on the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino. The sides are plastic, however, but you can cozy this machine up to the microwave because the water tank and dump box are accessible from the front. You’ll only need to access the side to clean off the brew unit every so often.

The digital display menu is easy on the eyes not just for looks, but for functionality as well. The light blue display looks cleaner and makes navigating the different menus effortless. The intuitive naming and buttons will make learning this machine’s inner programs a breeze. Error messages will also pop up when something is amiss, such as a low water tank or missing dump box, and make it so you can’t use the machine and potentially damage it. There’s definitely a learning curve even with the more intuitive display but with some patience and the trusty menu (don’t throw that bad boy away) you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

Pro Tip: The “Aroma Strength” button is also the “OK” button (indicated by the checkmark in the top right corner). The OK button will be used often to adjust different settings such as volume. A cool addition on the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino is that the display will have the checkmark in the left hand, lower corner when it can be used. It’s conveniently located right next to the OK button, too. We highly recommend going through the manual and reading up on the display section and learning the different symbols. 

Crew Comparison: Saeco Xsmall vs. Xsmall Vapore + Xsmall Chrome!

The Saeco Xsmall is retiring to the Bahamas and handing down the family legacy to the juniors—the Saeco Xsmall Vapore and Xsmall Chrome! There’s a striking family resembles—but don’t be fooled, these juniors come equipped with the skills to make one amazing cup.

The Xsmall Chrome and Xsmall Vapore are one and the same but in different colors. The Chrome resembles the original Xsmall with sophisticated two-tones of silver and black while the Vapore is a rich black. Because we want your machine to complement your kitchen, we have two different reviews on our YouTube channel for the Xsmall Chrome here and the Vapore here. Take a peek at the colors and tell us what you think in the comments below!

x-small_chrome

The improvements Saeco made to the Xsmall Vapore and Chrome are mainly aesthetic. The original Saeco Xsmall’s all plastic body might have turned people away, but the new machines come with metal drip trays that sparkles and shines against your cup. While the body of the machines are still plastic, there’s a nice sheen to the black and chrome that make up for the fact that they’re still, well, plastic. The plastic does cut down the cost on a machine at this caliber and makes the price tag affordable and well worth the purchase for the features you get on this superautomatic.

x-small_vapore

OK, so feature-wise you’re getting the same deal—and why wouldn’t you when their predecessor did it so well? Latte, cappuccino, Americano…you get the idea! This tiny bot can handle a variety of drinks without all the buttons and icons some other machines have. The Saeco Xsmall features one dial to rotate between espresso, hot water or steaming and buttons for two espresso options.

Are you feeling like an Americano? The panarello style steam wand dispenses hot water using the quick-heating Thermoblock. After it’s done, simply switch it make to espresso (the bean icon), press and watch your coffee come together! Latte, anyone? The wand is also great for steaming and requires no skill to get frothy foam. Make sure to keep the steam wand’s air intake clear and you’ll be making hot lattes for everyone.

Check out the full comparison between the original Saeco Xsmall and Xsmall Vapore and Xsmall Chrome. Drop us a comment if you’re loving the new Saeco Xsmall!

Ask Gail: What Is My Superautomatic Bypass Doser Scoop Size?

“Help! I lost my bypass doser! What do I do now?”

Don’t worry, Gail is here to save the day! Check out the full video below and drop us a comment on our YouTube channel if you got a question for the next episode of Ask Gail.  

The quick and easy answer is to buy another scoop. Or, if you’re in a pinch, you can use a tablespoon to replace your missing scoop!

coffee_espresso_scoop_dual

On most superautomatics, like Saeco and DeLonghi, you want to put one tablespoon or 10 grams of pre-ground coffee into the bypass doser. On a Jura, it’s about two tablespoon or 14 grams of pre-ground coffee. Make sure to only put one scoop in for each brew! Too much coffee will clog up your brew unit.

The beauty of the bypass doser is you can quickly switch coffee types and specialities without having to remove all the beans from the hopper. Need decaf in the evening? Use decaffeinated pre-ground coffee or even grind whole beans for a quick decaf espresso.

If you’re grinding whole beans, make sure to use an espresso grind setting. If you’ve never used a bypass doser, the brewing process is the same but without using the built-in grinder on your superautomatic. Pro tip: Even though you’re skipping the built-in grinder, you still don’t want to use a dark, oily bean. The bypass doser still drops the grounds into the brew unit and that can get clogged up with oils.

Tune Up For What: DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3300 Espresso Machine Water Light Issue

We’ve heard from new owners of the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3300 Espresso Machine that there is an issue with the machine registering the water in the tank. We’ve tested it out and figured out the problem for you!

Turns out, most of the time it’s a little problem with the wiring in the back (don’t worry, it’s an easy fix). Grab a screwdriver and flat head and watch this quick and easy guide on how to fix the DeLonghi Magnifica!

For more videos on tuning your machines, subscribe to our YouTube channel!

If you’re experiencing problems with your machine, feel free to contact our support team:

  • Hours: Monday – Friday, 7am – 6pm | Saturday – Sunday, 9am – 6pm (pacific)
  • Phone: toll free – 866-372-4734 | 206-774-3164
  • Email: support@seattlecoffeegear.com

Crew Comparison: Saeco Intelia Deluxe vs Incanto Deluxe

The one thing we look forward to each year (because let’s face it, we’re not all looking forward to our birthday) is that we’re sure to have a new or improved machine! Sure enough, we have the new kid from Saeco, the Intelia Deluxe, partnered with the good ole Incanto Deluxe ready to see  Saeco’s machines at work.

Intelia Deluxe

As the new kid, you got to come with some new kicks. The Intelia comes with a cappuccinatore with the option to purchase a panarello style steam wandIf you’re wondering what in the world a cappuccinatore is, it goes in place of the steam wand and froths your milk for you! Lookin’ good, new kid.

The Intelia is also outfitted with a new design—and we’re not just talking about that shiny new look. What we didn’t like about the Incanto was it’s leaky coffee spouts. When we went to remove the brew unit, the disconnection from the unit and spouts created lovely coffee dribbles on your counter…or, more likely, on your shirt. Thankfully, the Intelia’s spouts stay in place, so it’s always dripping over the tray!

We’re not saying that looks are everything, but the Intelia does look better with a brushed stainless steel front.The stainless steel tray is also more heavy-duty and doesn’t have a plastic rim like the Incanto. The digital display on the Intelia is also crisper and performs better, such as warning you when pieces of the machine are missing.

As those still celebrating aging would say, peace out, Incanto! You can still find this discontinued machine refurbished, but if you’re itching for something new and improved, then the Intelia is right for you! Check out our full review below and let us know what you think.

Crew Comparison: Xelsis Evo vs Exprelia Evo

Today we’re bringing you two superautomatics that rival in appearance, performance and programmability—the Xelsis Evo and Exprelia Evo from Saeco. Just looking at both robust machines, it’s hard to notice the difference. Both are outfitted with a sleek stainless steel body, steam wand, milk carafe and that oh-so-nice one touch function. With so many similarities, how can you decide which one’s for you? Let’s make picking one of these top-of-the-line Saeco’s easier.

Xelsis Evo

Side-by-side the Xelsis Evo is a bigger machine. At 15 inches high, 11 inches wide and 16.5 inches deep the Xelsis clears the slightly smaller Exprelia. Both have a 54-ounce water reservoir, but the larger Xelsis fits 12 ounces of beans over the Exprelia Evo’s 10 ounces. The Xelsis steam wand swings out further and is longer, too, but not by much.

Here’s the real deal sealer, the Xelsis Evo has six profiles and—drum roll, please—each profile can program up to five different drinks. You can customize the temperature of your morning latte, adjust the strength of your afternoon macchiato or the amount of foam in your cappuccino—need we say more? Yes, we do! The Xelsis also has an automatic timer you can set up to start up your machine in the morning for the hottest and freshest cup of coffee. The active cup warmer on the top will also heat up your mug before you brew.

So, why would you enjoy the Exprelia Evo, you ask? It has pre-programmed drinks that can be customized for temperature, espresso strength, the amount of milk and foam. If you’re usually up making breakfast in the kitchen, getting the Exprelia up and brewing is a cinch. While there aren’t profiles, you can stop the amount of milk on your drink if you don’t have time to set it up to your preferences.

The clear crowd-pleaser here is the Xelsis (and we mean this literally). The Xelsis is a great machine for people who entertain guests, have large families or for a small office setting. The six different profiles and customized drinks mean there’s going to be a cup for everyone. If you’re still unsure of which machine is for you, check out the comparison video below and the Xelsis Evo and Exprelia Evo on our site for more information!

Crew Review: Breville Oracle

Who says you can’t have it all? If you want the control of a semi-automatic and the programmability of a superautomatic, then you’re in the right place! We have the Breville Oracle here ready to change the name of the game for semi-automatics.

Breville_Oracle

Let’s walk through making your morning cup. The Oracle has a built-in grinder and tamper—you heard right, this machine tamps for you—that are both adjustable using the beautiful digital display. What makes the Oracle a hybrid machine are the automated features. You don’t see this sort of programmability in a semi-automatic and that makes it easier to brew a quality shot and spend less time dialing it in.

Are you an Americano drinker? Behind the brew head, you’ll find the hot water dispenser ready to deliver a piping hot Americano (programmable, again, for a shot and amount of water at the same time!) or hot chocolate for the kids.

Like everything else on this machine, the steam wand impressed us with its programmable milk temperature and texture. The display makes it easy to choose and achieve that quality cappuccino foam or perfect temperature for steamed milk drinks. Don’t feel like steaming yourself? No problem! The steam wand has an auto steam option that’ll do all the heavy lifting for you. After steaming, the steam wand will auto-purge to keep your machine nice and clean!

Breville really thinks of everything for home brewers and that’s why we highly recommend this machine. Check out the full review below to see the Breville Oracle in action!

Comparison: Xelsis Evo vs Gran Baristo

We compared two of high end superautomatic espresso machines from Saeco. The Xelsis Evo and the Gran Baristo, the Xelsis Evo being the top of the line machine! Be sure to watch our full Crew Review Comparison video below to see these machines in action.Xelsis Evo

The first thing we noticed when comparing these two machines was the difference in size. The Gran Baristo is a slim machine, coming in at only 8.25 inches wide. The Xelsis Evo sits a little taller and about 3 inches wider. So if counter space in your kitchen is limited, it would be best to measure! The looks of both of these espresso machines are sharp. Stainless steel galore!

The Gran Baristo model that we compared comes with a removable bean hopper. This is a feature you just don’t find on superautomatic espresso machines, but is great to have! Swap out your beans with ease (a decaf in the evening perhaps?)

The Xelsis Evo features some great programability. In the easy to use interface, you can program up to 9 customized drinks for up to 6 different users! Everyone in your family (or office) can have the drink just how they like it, from the amount of milk used for a latte to the temperature of the espresso. What really sets the Xelsis Evo apart from the Gran Baristo is the available customization. The Xelsis Evo even has a traditional steam wand so you can froth the milk yourself to your desired temperature and texture.

Gran BaristoThe Gran Baristo only features an automatic milk option, and to be honest, we were not terribly impressed. The process as a whole was louder than other auto milk forthers and quite a bit messier. For this reason we feel the Xelsis is a better option for those who like to drink milk based espresso drinks daily.

Check out the full Crew Review Comparison below before heading over to our YouTube channel for more on both of these espresso machines.

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