Tag Archives: Semi-Automatic

The Great Saeco Semi-Automatic Battle: Aroma vs. Venezia vs. Poemia

In search of a small single boiler espresso machine? Check out how these three models from Saeco stack up.



Saeco Aroma

Saeco Via Venezia

Saeco Poemia

Casing ¬†Cased in a steel casing, this compact machine won’t take up too much space with it’s boxy figure. Internally you can call this bad boy and the Aroma twins, but externally it’s a little more of an upgrade. Cased in the same steel material, the Venezia’s curves do more of the talking.
Like triplets on the inside, it’s the Poemia that physically stands out from the rest of them by far. Modeled after the Saeco Xelsis and Exprelia, it has a compact metal and plastic casing.
Footprint 8.25″ W x 9.75″ D x 11.75″ H 9.63″ W x 11.5″ D x 13″ H
7″ W x 9.5″ D x 11.5″ H
Steam Wand Making life a little easier with the panarello wand, you’ll be able to get foamy milk in no time. However, this wand will only move left to right making it a little more difficult to fit bigger frothing pitchers underneath. With the ease to foam your milk into velvety goodness, this panarello wand gives you a little more clearance with your frothing pitcher. Its ability to swivel also makes for easier clean-up.
Taking a cue from its superautomatic cousins, the Poemia’s panarello wand has their design and will allow you to easily create milk with microfoam. However, like the Aroma, its right to left motion makes fitting larger frothing pitchers underneath more difficult.
Drip Tray This may be a little messier than most. But with a more compact machine comes smaller parts. You’ll find yourself having to lift the tray out of the casing to empty out a lot more often than not.
With more room and accessibility to slide the drip tray out when it’s time to empty, the Venezia gives you less of a mess. It also sports an accessory drawer underneath that is removable to provide more room for larger cups.
¬†Ridged (baffled) that will prevent messes and sloshing, you’ll find it easier to empty out your drip tray when it’s time, no matter how full it is.
Water Reservoir 80 oz.
98 oz. 34 oz.
Portafilter Equipped with a pressurized stainless steel with plastic cased portafilter, it will help you pull ideal shots no matter what grind you use. However, the quality of this portafilter is more basic than the sleek portafilter that comes with the Black Via Venezia. The Black Via Venezia comes with a sleek upgraded look to the heavy metal portafilter, however you’ll find the stainless steel version to have the same basic portafilter as the Aromas.
Functions as well as both the Aroma and Venezia portafilters, you’ll find that the quality of the Poemia is not as sturdy. Made of aluminum wrapped in a plastic case, it will still do the job.
Pods/Grounds Both Both Both

Crew Review: DeLonghi EC860

As you know, it doesn’t take much to make us happy, but something we love more than anything is when a manufacturer gets a little bit crazy with its bad self and releases a piece of equipment unlike others we have tested. DeLonghi’s new EC860 is a sort of hybrid between traditional espresso machines and their robotic counterparts, featuring standard espresso extraction with the option to automatically froth the milk.

Watch as Gail talks to us about its features, then demonstrates shot extraction, frothing with the wand and making a one-touch (aside from all the touching involved with grinding and tamping, of course!) cappuccino with its automatic frothing option.


Compare: Entry Level vs. Prosumer Coffee Gear

If you drop serious coin on your home espresso setup, will there be a practical performance difference? What if you spend more on your espresso machine than your grinder or vice versa?

We asked Gail to test out an entry level (Capresso Infinity) and a prosumer (Mazzer Mini E) grinder with an entry level (Krups XP5280) and prosumer (Rocket Giotto Evoluzione V2) espresso machine to see how they compare. Do you get a better shot using a high end grinder with an entry level machine? What about an entry level grinder with a high end machine?

Watch and find out!

Crew Review: Saeco Poemia

It’s the little espresso machine that could! Saeco’s newest small single boiler espresso machine takes design queues from their Xelsis-era of machines and functional queues from the tried-and-true Via Venezia and Aroma.

Watch Gail take us through features, show us how it works and then talk to us about how it compares to its predecessors.

The Race is On!: Rancilio Silvia vs. Crossland CC1

Time for a side by side grudge match with two of our favorites! We’ve collected some basic feature information on the Rancilio Silvia and Crossland CC1 so you can see how they measure up against each other.

For the Rancilio Silvia, we noted the stock functionality as well as the functionality you’ll gain if you upgrade it with a PID (a roughly $200 additional expense).


Feature Rancilio Silvia Crossland CC1
  • Stock: Semi-Automatic. You’ll need to dial in the grind & tamp, then manually start and stop the shot.
  • With PID Upgrade: You can turn this into an Automatic with the PID by leaving the coffee button on and using the PID to start and then automatically stop the extraction.
  • Automatic
  • You’ll need to dial in the grind & tamp, but you can program shot infusion and duration for three different settings.
  • Single Boiler
  • The 12 oz. brass boiler evenly distributes heat, so it will reach the desired temperature quickly. It will also maintain the temperature throughout multiple extractions and steam wand uses.
  • It has three thermostats to monitor the espresso, steam and boiler heat to maintain the ideal temperature for your caffeinated drinks.
  • Single Boiler + Thermoblock
  • In addition to the stainless steel boiler that is controlled by the PID interface, the CC1 features a thermoblock-enhanced steaming.
  • Rather than wait for the entire boiler to heat up to steam temperature, the thermoblock heats up the boiler water on the fly. This results in nearly endless steam (as long as you have water in your reservoir!) and no need to flush the boiler after you steam and before pulling your shots.
Solenoid Valve
  • Yes
  • The commercial-grade pressure relief system uses the three-way solenoid valve for easier clean up.
  • Yes
  • You won’t get mucky pucks from this machine, as it’s three-way solenoid valve sucks up any extra moisture and leaves you with a dry coffee ground puck every time.
Water Source
  • Reservoir / Internal Tank Only
  • The Silvia cannot be plumbed but has a 67 oz. removable water reservoir. Access is on the top of the machine and you can remove the tank or fill it while still in the Silvia. Without removing the reservoir’s lid, you can’t see how much water is left in there, so you’ll need to remember to check that regularly.
  • Reservoir / Internal Tank Only
  • The CC1 cannot be plumbed but has a 2 liter internal water reservoir. Access is on the front of the machine, as you pull the reservoir out and to the side to refill. This enables you to keep an eye on how much water you have left in the reservoir.
  • Stock: No. The stock Silvia doesn’t have any pre-infusion capability, save for your manual switch on / off of the brew button briefly before beginning your full extraction.
  • With PID Upgrade: Yes. You can program pre-infusion time for one setting.
  • Programmable
  • The CC1 offers programmable pre-infusion and wait time for three different settings. This duration will be included in the overall shot time.
  • Stock: No. The Silvia has a more simple interface controlled by manual switches. It gives you a little less to tinker around with and is fairly easy to use.
  • With PID Upgrade: Yes. You can select the temperature, pre-infusion, wait time and overall extraction time for one setting.
  • Yes
  • The Crossland CC1 integrated programming interface enables you to select temperature, pre-infusion, wait time and overall extraction time for three separate settings.
Digital Interface
  • Stock: No. Plain and simple, the Silvia does not have a digital interface or display and takes you back to it’s roots of relying on the machine itself without you adjusting it to give you your ideal cup o’ joe.
  • With PID Upgrade: Yes. You’ll have a digital read out of the temperature on the outside of the boiler, pre-infusion and shot time.
  • Yes
  • The digital interface displays your machines brew temperature, shot timer, boiler temperature and your programmed settings.
  • Stock: Standard, bi-metal thermostat, which can have up to a 20F degree differential, depending on where it’s at in its heating cycle. To work with this, temperature surfing is essential for brewing your espresso at the ideal temperature.
  • With PID Upgrade: Electronic. This will override the stock thermostat and maintain the boiler at the temperature you have selected in the interface. Note that it reads the outside of the boiler, so the set temperature should be roughly 20 degrees higher than your target shot temperature.
  • Electronic
  • The integrated PID allows you to set the temperature for three different settings. Additionally, it display actual boiler temperature vs. the temperature at the outside of the boiler.

Crew Review: DeLonghi EC702

No muss, no fuss! DeLonghi’s entry level semi-automatic espresso machines offer great features and good value. Sure, they’re not going to win any awards, but did you expect them to? Probably not.

Watch as Gail takes us through the features and functionality of the EC702, a single boiler with a simple interface and metal case.

Crew Review: Rocket Espresso R58 Dual Boiler

Our long love affair with Rocket Espresso has been taken to a higher level with their newest addition, the R58 dual boiler espresso machine. Featuring separate, insulated copper steam & brew boilers and a removable PID interface to control the steam boiler on/off, brew boiler temperature and the water source (either the internal water reservoir or plumbed-in), the R58 also has a dashing case design and a beautiful stainless steel cup surround.

Seriously, we’re not sure if it can get much better. We need a moment. While we collect ourselves, check out Gail’s from box-to-cappuccino introduction to the R58.

Crew Review: Rancilio Bottomless Portafilter

While we have carried a bottomless portafilter for E61 brew heads that also did work fairly well in the Rancilio Silvia’s brew head, it didn’t seal quite as we might like and so there was often a little bit of water leakage over the top that really was just gauche.

Rancilio released their own version for their commercial machines that fits the Silvia, so we gave it a test drive. We did notice a bit of water leaking over the top, but nothing like the former model. And the spurting/spraying/mini-geysers? There were a few present in Gail’s extraction — more of a fine mist — but that’s just a result of channeling, baby.

Wanna see it in action? Watch Gail demonstrate it on our store’s PID-enhanced Silvia.

Crew Review: Rocket Espresso Machines – V2

Rocket Espresso has souped up their popular machines with a couple of cool new improvements:

  • Premium Plus — both the Giotto and Cellini models will now have dual manometers, one for the steam boiler and one for the brew head. The boiler has also been insulated to decrease recovery time between shots or steaming.
  • Evoluzione — since the Giotto and Cellini versions already had dual manometers, their background color will be changed to differentiate them from their PP counterparts and the boilers will also be insulated.

Both models will also feature an upgraded stock tamper, as well.

Watch Gail walk us through these new models and demonstrate making a latte.

Compare: Double Boiler Espresso Shots – Izzo, La Spaziale & Breville

For folks that dig precision, a dual boiler espresso machine with PID temperature control of the brew boiler is hard to beat. While we tend to shoot from the hip in general around here, that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate a shot pulled from one of these beauties!

We asked Gail to pull shots from the Izzo Alex Duetto II, La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi and Breville Dual Boiler so that we could see how they compare. No science at work here, friends (hey, old habits die hard!), but we did use the same grinder for each machine (the Nuova Simonelli MCI), coffee (Lavazza Super Crema) and brew temp (199F) to try to nail down a few of the variables.

Watch as we taste and discuss the shots from each of these machines, then rank them in terms of our favorites, flavor-wise.