One dark and stormy night, a lone member of the Saeco product development team sat in an otherwise vacant laboratory making sure their newest creation was ready for public consumption.
"Latest technology? Check. Rapid Steam? Check. Sleek stainless steel housing? Check." Thunder rumbled in the distance. "SBS brewing system? Check. More menu and programming options than you can shake a stick at? Check. LCD touch-screen display that was originally developed for use on mobile phones?" Lightning crashed outside, illuminating the entire laboratory. "Check."
And with that, the Saeco Incanto Sirius was born.
Okay, so the above may be a slightly over-dramatized version of the events that transpired that night (only that lone Saeco employee really knows…), but one thing is certain - everyone at Saeco knew they had something special on their hands with the Incanto Sirius.
One Sirius Display
Although it’s covered in a beautiful stainless steel housing, the first thing about the Incanto Sirius that 99.9% of people are intrigued by is its LCD display. Not only is it significantly larger than the displays found on comparable machines, it features 6 surrounding touch screen buttons, whose functions are clearly marked using icons on the display itself. What makes this appealing as well as incredibly functional is that when you enter the menu options, for instance, these icons change to reflect what that button’s current purpose is. There’s no guessing and no referencing the user manual to check what the button’s function is when you’re in the programming modes - the Sirius simply shows you in black and white the tools you’ll need to complete the task at hand.
When the Sirius is ready to brew, the 3 buttons across the top of the display act as your brewing buttons. Pressing any one of them will start the Saeco Sirius’ ceramic burr grinder and result in the perfect cup of espresso or coffee in a matter of moments. Each of these buttons is preprogrammed to produce a specific liquid volume of coffee, but can easily be reprogrammed to reflect your personal tastes. Just press and hold the button you’d like to program until the amount of coffee you’d like has been dispensed, and then let go. From then on, pressing that button will produce the same amount of coffee every time.
Of the 3 buttons that sit below the display, the one in the center allows further customization of your coffee. Press this button to select if you’d like a mild strength coffee (the display shows 1 bolded coffee bean), normal strength brew (2 bolded coffee beans), or strong cup (3 bolded coffee beans) using the whole beans in the 10.5oz bean hopper, or to brew using preground coffee in the bypass doser (the display shows a bolded coffee scoop).
When you’re ready to add hot water to your coffee for an americano or top off your brew with some creamy froth, you’ll use water/steam selection button that sits to the left of the strength setting button. The steam cloud icon tells you that the machine is in steam mode, while a water droplet icon tells you the machine is ready to dispense hot water. Thanks to the Sirius’ 2 stainless steel-lined boilers that provide Rapid Steam, the hot water/steam button simply tells the machine which you’d like to dispense - you won’t need to wait for the machine to heat up or cool down. Once you’ve made your selection, just turn the steam knob on the right side of the machine to dispense what you need. And to make frothing as easy as can be, Saeco included their patented stainless steel Pannarello wand to take the guesswork out of frothing your milk.
The final button in this set provides one-touch access to the menu and programming options - a part of the Incanto Sirius with so many goodies, it’ll need its own section in this spotlight.
One press of the menu button provides a world of possibilities. It provides more options for drink customization by allowing you to select an independent brewing temperature for each of the brewing buttons - you can choose from low, medium, or high. It gives you the ability to fully control the display panel, letting you decide whether or not you want a clock to be visible on the screen, which of the 9 available languages you’d like display messages to appear in, and giving you the power to adjust the contrast of the screen itself. You can set the internal clock, program auto on and auto off times, or simply set the auto off timer to shut the machine down after not being used for 3 hours. Check to see the number of cups that the machine has brewed. Turn the actively heated cup warmer on or off. Activate the Aqua Prima filter. Enable, disable, or set up an extra long preinfusion step. If you’re so inclined, you can even turn off the acoustic "beep" that each button makes when you press it. Do whatever you want - the Sirius gives you all the power. And if you make a whole bunch of changes and then can’t remember what you did or why you did it, just choose the "return to factory settings" option and all is well.
Siriusly - There’s More
Beyond all of the programmable features that the Saeco Incanto Sirius offers, there are a ton of other things that qualify this espresso maker for a second look - starting with even more brewing customization. Allowing you to brew everything from espresso to café crema with ease, the Sirius has a 7-setting grind fineness knob in the bean hopper that can easily be adjusted by pressing it down and then turning it clockwise for a finer grind or counter-clockwise for a coarser grind. The Incanto Sirius also features the Saeco Brewing System (SBS), a knob on the front-mounted dispensing unit that restricts or increases the flow rate of your coffee as it’s dispensed to alter not only the amount of crema you get, but also the brewing time - thereby affecting the overall flavor.
The flavor of your coffee can also be fine-tuned by using the built-in Aqua Prima water filtration system. Once you’ve installed the filter into the 68oz removable reservoir and activated it through the programming menu, this filter helps to remove impurities and particles in your water that can negatively affect the flavor of your coffee. It also reduces the amount of limescale build-up in the stainless steel-lined boilers, to keep your machine running healthily for years to come.
For further ease in maintenance, the Sirius has been built with a removable brew group that you can access by opening the service door on the front of the machine. This door is also used to reach the dump box for emptying when the Incanto Sirius’ LCD display alerts you that it’s full. And don’t worry about marking your calendar in advance so you don’t forget to descale - the Sirius’ LCD will remind you about that too.
A Sirius Espresso Machine
The moral of this story is that the Saeco Incanto Sirius isn’t just a heart-stopping beauty with nothing below its stainless steel housing and eye-popping LCD display. It’s also got a multitude of useful features, a brain as big as Wisconsin, and a simple set of controls that make it easy for anyone to use. This isn’t your fly-by-night, here-today-gone-tomorrow steam toy - this is one serious espresso machine.
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