The Saeco Classico follow-up

saeco0001s.jpgAt last, my very first espresso machine sits on my counter awaiting my very first personally made latte. The offer of a new machine to test was just too good to pass up.

With 4 new arrivals, the first thing to do is choose which machine to test ñ well the one that looks good, of course. The Saeco Classico is stainless steel, compact, has a flat top surface for those cups just waiting to be filled with the delicious brew, and it will fit nicely in my kitchen. Iíll be a doing latte art by the end of the week I told Colin

Iíve had a quick lesson from Colin and am sent off with this last instruction: READ THE MANUAL. As a first time user, I was happy to do this. I wanted to know exactly what was needed for a perfect shot of espresso. You get both a manual and an instruction video with this machine, but since I was staying at a home that was lacking a television, the manual had to suffice. All the controls and components are clearly marked and labeled and each step in the process is given detailed instructions. According to the manual, all I really need to do is supply fresh, cold water, finely ground espresso roast and the machine will take care of the rest. Sounds pretty easy for my first time user abilities.

Iíve filled the water reservoir; clear plastic making it easy to fill without over-filling. Now itís time to turn it on and prime it. There is an indicator light to let you know when the water is hot enough for use. The priming is easy ñ you simply turn the brew switch to on and turn the steam knob to let hot water flow though the steam wand. You can run about 4 ounces through into a cup. Next, heat up the cups by placing them under the empty filter basket, turning the brew switch to on and simply letting hot water flow into the cups.

Now, manual read, machine turned on and primed, cups warmed, Iím ready for my first fine coffee experience in the comfort of my own home. Iíve invited a friend to experience the heavenly taste with me, but decide maybe I should just have a little Americano here myself first just to make sure my abilities will match my confidence. Everything appears to go just as it should. Although it did come out a little faster than it should have, I have a lovely looking shot of espresso with its golden crema in my cup. Add a little hot water and I have my first Americano. Ahh, it tastesÖ horrible! What have I done wrong? The water was fresh and cold, the coffee was fresh and ground by a pro, the shot looked just as it should in the cup with a lovely crema on top, but clearly appearances can be deceiving.

saeco0003s.jpgI had been told that the filter is pressurized and would be very accommodating to variations in grind and tamping. However, the regular espresso grind from the local coffee shop had shots coming out a little too fast and weak. It was a little deceptive for me as a first time user, because while those first shots came out with a nice looking crema every time, the taste was a little weak. After experimenting with a finer grind of coffee, I was able to brew a shot that not only looked good, but also had a very satisfying taste. A nice looking shot did not mean having a great tasting shot.

The steaming part of the experience went perfectly smoothly. On the very first try I was able to steam some milk up to a desirable temperature within about one minute. Cleaning it afterward by running some hot water through was a little messy and it seems to have a bit more pressure than another one I have since tried.

In conclusion, I would say that the Saeco is ideal for the first-time home user. With very little trial and error you will have an excellent drink in the comfort of your own home.


Judy F. lives and works in Victoria B.C. Canada and is a regular contributor to the coffeecrew's growing resource of coffee information.

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