Tag Archives: superautomatic espresso machine

Crew Review: Saeco Syntia – Certified Refurbished

What happens when someone picks up a new espresso machine and, after using it for a few weeks, decides it’s just not the right model for them? It is magically transformed into a Certified Refurbished version of its former self! Okay, maybe it’s not magic — there’s a lot of hard work that goes into testing and cleaning these machines — but their transformation does result in an excellent choice for anyone on the lookout for a superautomatic espresso machine that won’t break the bank.

Watch Gail talk to us about what to expect with a machine that is Certified Refurbished by Seattle Coffee Gear. Then she shows us the Saeco Syntia‘s standard features, demonstrates how to set up the machine and then makes us a lovely cup of coffee.


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.

Field Trip: Zipwhip’s Textspresso Machine

Let us introduce you to the hardest working robot in the business: Zipwhip’s Textpresso!

This super-modified Jura Impressa XS90 shows off Zipwhip’s cloud-based texting service by allowing you to text an order to the machine and have it automatically craft it for you. Without leaving your desk/couch/hot tub, thankfully. If you needed a one-touch superautomatic espresso machine that is even more automated, then this little number will make all your dreams come true.

Watch as Gail and Allison visit with Zipwhip’s John and Kelsey, who walk us through how they modified the machine and then craft two drinks at the touch of Gail and Allison’s cell phones.



If you want to learn more detail about how they created the Textpresso, check out their blog; or if you’re interested in making your own little java robot powered by text message, it’d probably be a good idea to start by signing up for Zipwhip’s service.



Crew Review: Saeco Maintenance Kit

Keep your Saeco superautomatic squeaky clean and well cared for with Saeco’s new upgraded maintenance kit. It now includes Intenza filters, Saeco-branded liquid descaling solution, brew group lubricant and a cleaning kit that includes O-ring replacements for your brew group.

Watch as Gail walks us through all of the lovely goodies included in this kit. Joy!


Crew Review: Saeco Odea Cappuccino

Superautomatics can’t be beat when it comes to ease of use and convenience. Saeco’s recent addition to their Odea series not only brews up your shot at the touch of a button, it also provides you with an optional cappuccinatore for auto-frothing on the side.

Watch Gail take us through the features and functionality, then demonstrate how this lil dude works.

Brewin’ with Brandi: My Sinful Valentine

Everyone has a different definition of sin — that’s what gives the world all its lovely shades of gray, right? Right.

Up in these parts, we asked Brandi to revive our Valentine’s Day 2011 recipe to showcase one of our definitions of sin: Lots and lots of chocolate. This mocha incorporates a touch of strawberry and amaretto, giving it a rich, sumptuous flavor that will have you running to the nearest confessional.




Crew Review: Rancilio Egro Commercial Superautomatic – Redux!

When Gail first met this sophisticated robot about 18 months ago, they had a brief and fleeting affair, enabling her to get just a minor taste of its capabilities. We brought in a demo model a few months ago and Gail has now had the time to get up close and personal with Rancilio’s commercial superautomatic masterpiece, the Egro — so we decided it was time for a redux!

While she’s definitely bummed that it still won’t do her laundry, take the cat for a walk or read to her, she does dig it’s programming functionality, one-touch features and flexibility in formats! Watch as she walks us through all the features and specs, then demonstrates making a few different drinks.

Crew Review: Saeco Syntia Cappuccino

Yet another gauntlet laid down, yet another petite one-touch superautomatic added to the fray. If we are honest, we will admit that we wish these really were robots and that we could pit these tiny superautomatics against each other in a brew to the death! But we are not honest; doing so would be too difficult to bear … so instead, we have to attempt to assuage our battery acid lust with viewing after viewing of robot camel jockeys.

Back in coffee world, Gail shows off Saeco’s Syntia Cappuccino — all clean lines and serious auto-frothing business. Watch her explain features, functions and craft herself a very tasty, enviable latte.