Category Archives: Superautomatic

SCG In Portland: Saeco Machine Lineup

Saeco MachinesContinuing our trip to the Portland Seattle Coffee Gear store, Gail thought it would be helpful to show everyone the current Saeco Machine Lineup. There are a ton of options out there, each one better suited for a different home barista! So without further ado, the current Saeco machine line up:

The Xsmall is just that! With the smallest footprint in the lineup, this little soldier delivers the solid bean-to-cup functionality you would expect from Saeco. A great entry level machine for those with limited counter space but an unlimited thirst for espresso!

The Saeco Syntia gives you the ease of one-touch espresso but also the control of frothing your own milk using it’s easy to master panarello wand. And let’s not forget the ability to store your favorite drink preferences for easy replication!

Featuring an ergonomic case style, easy to use interface, and Saeco’s integrated cleaning and descaling cycles, the Intelia couldn’t be simpler to operate. Easy operation makes for delicious espresso anytime!

The Intuita is for those who like their coffee ritual simple. Select one of three dosage settings using the dial above the brew head, and push either the espresso or coffee button depending on your desired volume. It is that easy!

The Minuto Pure is for the espresso enthusiast. This machine brews at an ideal 15BAR pump pressure, producing a smooth shot of espresso (or lungo!) every time.

The Minuto manages to be a superautomatic espresso machine and coffee maker, without sacrificing anything for either option. A clever lever on the adjustable spout allows you to switch pressure settings to provide optimal extraction for both coffee (3 bar) and espresso (15 bar). Some call this a win win!

Hot and frothy lattes and cappuccinos with just a touch of a button. Need we say anymore? The Energica Focus will surprise you with it’s efficient double boilers to reduce wait time between frothing and brewing.

With its automated milk frothing and programmability, the Exprelia Evo helps you make the perfect beverage every morning. Just hit one of the pre-programmed buttons, which can be customized to meet your specifications, and watch it go to work. It even cleans up after itself!

Program your favorite drink for one-touch capability or manually froth milk on the handy steam wand. With the Xelsis Evo, the choice is yours! Perfect your favorite drink and save the settings by creating your own user profile.

Continually improving the bean-to-cup experience, the Gran Baristo now makes cleaning and maintenance an effortless task with their one-finger removable brew group. Auto-cleaning and descaling cycles now require 80% less water than other Saeco superautomatics. Reduced water consumption helps save water for the fishes, creates a ‘greener’ machine and less tank refilling for you!

Whew! While there is a lot to choose from, Gail makes the choice (a little) easier in the video below! Be sure to watch below and subscribe to our channel for more!

 

Comparison: R58 vs. Oracle

Because two boilers are better than one, that’s why! Yes we are talking about the double boiler machines, and specifically we are going to take a closer look at the Rocket R58 and the Breville Oracle.

So ring the bell referee, it’s the R58 vs. Oracle.

While these two machines have a few things in common they truly are very different, each one catering to a different type of  home barista.

The Breville Oracle sits in class almost to it’s own; somewhere R58 vs. Oraclebetween a super-automatic and a semi-automatic.  It has a grinder and a tamper built right into the machine. The internal clock allows you to have the machine auto start in the morning, which can make waking up that much easier! The auto frothing steam wand allows for easy cappuccino creation. The Breville Oracle has many menu features allowing you to tinker until you get the perfect drink. However, automation always comes at a cost. Even with all the menu features, measuring exact amounts of coffee grounds, for example, is not possible.

The Rocket R58 sits up at the top of it’s semi-automatic class. It R58 vs. Oraclefeatures a dual PID temperature control system, allowing you to program both the steam and brew boiler temperatures. The commercial grade rotary pump is quieter than most and allows for pump pressure adjustments and monitoring. The R58 is also plumbable, which means you can say goodbye to refilling the water tank by directly connecting this machine to your water supply. Of course, you can’t talk about any Rocket machine without mentioning its beautiful design. A lot of care is put into each of these handcrafted machines, you can be sure it will look great on your countertop.

Be sure to watch the full comparison video below! If you found this comparison helpful, subscribe to our YouTube channel for more by clicking here.

 

 

Ask Gail: Espresso Shot Quality

espresso shot qualityAs with everything in life, when you choose one thing you will always have give up a little something elsewhere. And that’s not always a bad thing! But in order to make an informed decision you should know what it is exactly that you will be gaining and losing. When it comes to espresso machines, a lot of what you will be gaining and losing is espresso shot quality.

Let us preface by saying that there are a lot of factors that need to come together in unison in order to create the perfect shot of espresso. Everything from the grind, to the tamp, to the humidity in your environment need to be just right for that espresso to make the ultimate list of all things delicious. So one machine simply can’t make all things come true. But it certainly can get you close.

When it comes to espresso machines you have essentially three families: manual, semi-automatic and super-automatic. We are going to focus on the semi- and super-automatics since they tend to be the most popular. The super-automatics are the one stop shop machines. Espresso at the push of a button. Super convenient for those who want it. The semi-automatics give you a little more control over your espresso shot. You have the ability to fine tune your grind and tamp pressure to just how you like it. That is not to say that super-automatics don’t give you options, but there will inherently be less.

As a result, your shots will vary from machine to machine. We think that you can pull better shots on a semi-automatic but that comes at a cost. You will be required to hone your craft in order to get that sweet nectar just right. While a super-automatic will get you close enough with little to no effort. It all comes down to what you want! That’s really the best part of it all.

Watch the video below to hear Gail’s full explanation of espresso shot quality from machine to machine. And be sure to check out our YouTube channel as well for more information and Crew Reviews!

 

Crew Review: Saeco Gran Baristo Update

Saeco Gran Baristo In case you didn’t already know, we love our Saeco Gran Baristo with Removable Bean Container. In fact, we love it so much that we made an updated Crew Review just for kicks! Well, we actually wanted to showcase this machine again because we found the more we used it the better our experience was.

What are some of our favorite features of this machine you ask? Well the first one is in the name, “removable bean container”! This comes in handy if you find yourself with a couple types of coffee just waiting to be brewed. Perhaps something different for the evening? We also love the programmable user profiles. Since everybody likes their coffee a particular way, the Saeco Gran Baristo makes it easy for up to 6 different users to customize and save their drink preferences. Another feature that really rocks our world is the adjustable spout. You are able to adjust the spout so you can have up to 6.5 inches of cup clearance. Quad-shot cappuccino anyone?

We did few tests as well to see just how well the Saeco Gran Baristo functions in real world environments. The results of our temperature tests are as follows:

  • Espresso – During testing we were able to get both of these drinks up to 171°F on more than one occasion.
  • Milk – After three rounds of automatic milk frothing we were able to get the temperature to 144°F.
  • Hot Water – The hot water generally stayed around the 160°F mark.

We give this machine a thumbs up for functionality, performance, and quality of the drinks it makes. Watch the updated Crew Review below and then head over to our YouTube channel to see what else Gail has been up too.

 

 

Ask Gail: Superautomatic Espresso Machine Care

Superautomatic espresso machine careWe all love our superautomatic espresso machines. And why wouldn’t we? They make us our espresso drinks with just a push of a button and for that we are grateful. Superautomatics are so good at what they do that we sometimes forget that they too need a little love and attention every so often.

So we asked Gail to give us a run down on what we should be doing to keep the espresso flowing morning after morning.

Watch this new installment of Ask Gail to find out the steps to proper superautomatic espresso machine care.

 

 

 

Ask Gail: Can I Use Oily Beans in a Superautomatic Espresso Machine?

If we had a nickel for every time we heard this question, or a dime for every time a superautomatic was decommissioned due to this, we’d be rich (okay, maybe not rich, but we’d easily have a couple of dollars). However, we’d much rather save some machines then have the extra change jingling around!

The short answer is, unfortunately, that you cannot use oily beans in a superautomatic. Very dark and oily roasts clog up grinders and brew units over time, eventually leading to one very unhappy coffee robot. In superautomatic espresso machines, this is quite problematic, as you cannot take apart the grinders to give them a good, old fashioned cleaning. Eeeks!

If you’re looking for more info, and we know you are, Gail and Miranda have the lowdown for you. Take it away, ladies!

Ask Gail: Soupy Pucks

Nine out of ten home baristas agree, soupy pucks are a coffeehouse sin. Well, maybe not a sin, but in our experience it’s pretty close! What causes a soupy puck and why exactly is it so bad? When it comes to the hard questions, we like to ask Gail!

Gail and our excellent customer service team are always reiterating how important it is to dial in your grind – and this Ask Gail session is no exception! Having your grind too fine can cause soupy pucks, as a super fine grind will hinder proper water flow. The water is then “trapped” on top of the puck and released into the dredge box with the under-saturated puck, causing a sour or bitter espresso shot and the undesirable soupy puck.

If you think there could be more to your soup-tastic pucks, check out our first edition of Ask Gail!

Crew Review: Jura Impressa F8

Jura Impressa F8Jura has been busy designing a lot of new machines, and this latest model is sure to impress all of your friends! The Jura Impressa F8 contains a mix of some of the best features from the brand’s new and older machines. However, in our opinion the nicest part about this machine is its software and all of the programmability it has.

One of our favorite settings on the Impressa F8 is the “Expert Mode,” which allows you to be the authority and change the settings (shot volume, shot strength, shot temperature and amount of milk used) for all the drinks that are programmed on the machine. Likewise, the F8 gives you the option of changing the volume of your shot once the machine starts to brew, allowing you to customize and play around with your drinks on the fly. Finally, the machine also has a counter so you can keep track of how many shot you’ve pulled and how many drinks you’ve made, and use that to help calculate when your machine is due for a cleaning.

Speaking of cleaning, while Jura doesn’t provide you with access to the brew unit, which is the case on all of their superautos, they do provide you with some pretty efficient automated cleaning tools. These tools can be found and accessed in the maintenance section of the machine’s programming. For instance, you can program the Jura Impressa F8 rinse both your coffee and milk system to ensure your machine doesn’t get gunked up with coffee residue or old milk.

The Jura Impressa F8 is ideal for someone with a lot of users in their home, such as roommates or large family, that enjoy making a variety of coffee drinks. While we wish Jura had incorporated a little more stainless steel into the casing of the machine, we like that it has features like a bypass doser and digital screen as well as a ton of functionality. Watch as Brendan and Gail play around with the settings for making a cappuccino on the Impressa F8, and attempt Gail’s famous superauto latte art.

Crew Review: Jura Impressa F8

Crew Review: Saeco Pure

Saeco PureWe are excited to announce a new addition to the Saeco family. Part of the Minuto class of the machines, the Saeco Pure is the second machine that is in this category that we know of, but the brand claims that they are going to add at least one machine to the family and possibly more.

The release of the Pure couldn’t happen at a better time as one of Saeco’s other beloved machines, the Vienna Plus, has recently been discontinued by the brand. However, the Pure is an excellent replacement. Like the Vienna Plus, the Pure’s simplicity and wallet-friendly price point make it a great option if you are just getting into the world of espresso. This machine is a great option even if you consider yourself an old pro when it comes to superautomatic machines, but just want just the basics and not all of the fancy and sometimes complicated settings that come with higher end superautos. Keeping on up your maintenance is also a breeze with the Saeco Pure. Just like the Vienna Plus, the Pure has a removable brew group, so you can pop it out of your machine whenever it is due for a cleaning. If you want to speed up the process, you can put the brew group in your dishwasher. We just recommend that you put it in the top rack of the dishwasher so it doesn’t melt.

While the Pure is part of the Minuto family, this model does have three major differences from the first Saeco Minuto. First, the Pure doesn’t have a coffee lever that allows you to brew drip like the Minuto does. However, there is a button to press that will brew a lungo (long espresso) so you can get something close to drip coffee. Second, you can’t adjust the strength of your shot (also known as the aroma). As such, you’re best option from regaining some control over your shot is to cut back on the amount of water that is going to be dispensed, which will make the coffee stronger. Third, the burrs inside the Pure aren’t ceramic like on the Minuto, but are stainless steel. Keep in mind these differences don’t make the Pure not as good of an option as the Minuto, just a different one. With the Pure, you are provided with some programmability with the bypass doser, the ability to program the length of your shot or the option to brew a double shot.

If you’re looking to add this machine to your family of appliances decorating your kitchen, check out Gail and Brendan’s demonstration of the Saeco Pure. They’ll go through the features, compare them with the machine’s almost twin, the Saeco Minuto and brew up Gail’s famous wet cappuccino. It’s so good; we’ll never get tired of it! If you listen carefully you can even pick up some pro-tips for milk frothing with a panarello from Gail.

Crew Review: Saeco Pure

Crew Review: Jura Impressa C60

Jura Impressa C60Like many of our other favorite brands, Jura is always working on innovating their machines, and the latest edition is pretty easy on the eyes. The Jura Impressa C60 has the same sleek styling as its predecessor the Impressa C5, but many of the features on the machine have been enhanced. In fact, it almost seems as if Jura took a look at our list of areas that had room for growth and improved upon these items.

One of the more common complaints about the C5 was that users did not have much control over the functions on the machine. You had programmable control over the water volume, but not over the temperature or the shot volume. However, Jura has remedied this on the Impressa C60 by allowing you to adjust the volume, dosage and strength of the shot on the fly so you can make important last minute changes to your drink right before you brew. While you still don’t have the option to change your brew temperature on the fly with the C60, you can select it to be either “high” or “normal” in the machine’s menu.

Another drawback of the Impressa C5 is that while it would brew your coffee at one touch of a button, there was no automatic milk frothing option. This may not have been an issue for budding baristas, but we have found a lot of superauto users enjoy having the machine do the work for them and wished the C5 would do the same. Well, you no longer have to dream, as this wish has been granted. The C60 is equipped with Jura’s Fine Foam Frother, so you can make light and fluffy milk for cappuccino with just a touch of a button, no barista school required!

Ultimately, the biggest pro of the Jura Impressa C60 is the really inexpensive price of the machine, considering all of the options it has. We also like the programmable auto-shut off, since it allows you to go about your business around the house, and elsewhere, without having to worry whether you left your machine on. Do-it-yourselfers may not like being able to access the brew unit on the machine for cleaning, which is an issue on all Jura superautos, but we haven’t heard any complaints as they have tablets that do the job for you.

To see what exactly has been upgrade on the Jura Impressa C60, watch as Brendan and Gail explore the new functions on this machine. Of course, this test wouldn’t be complete without rewarding all of their hard work by making their signature cappuccino.

Crew Review: Jura Impressa C60