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Franke Saphira: All in the Family

Posted: 04/26/07
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Franke Saphira

Certain traits are passed along from generation to generation. They can be physical, like hair and eye color, or they can be characteristics, like tenacity and perseverance. Well the Franke family is no different, because they’ve passed along some of the best characteristics to the Saphira.

Franke has always been known for taking super automatic technology to the next level, with machines that can brew for a crowd, and froth with the best. The Saphira carries on that tradition, delivering commercial performance at an affordable price. With its oversized 5.5-liter water reservoir, dual bean hoppers, an automatic steaming and frothing system, and the ability to program just about anything using the LED digital display, the Saphira has taken the greatest features from the Franke gene pool and run with them. Add an integrated MilkMate refrigeration system and a complete supply of accessories, and it’s tough to beat the Franke Saphira.

Setup: Those were the days

Getting the Saphira up and running might be considered old hat, only because it’s so similar to the Franke Flair and requires nothing more than plugging it in. The Saphira uses a standard kitchen outlet, 120v, 15amp plug, so there are no electrical modifications or plumbing requirements like some other commercial machines.

You can have the Saphira up and brewing just by adding water to the 5.5-liter water reservoir, located on the right side of the machine, and then adding beans to the two top-loading half-pound bean hoppers. To make cappuccinos and lattes, attach the Saphira’s external milk hose to the included MilkMate System, which keeps a gallon of milk refrigerated at all times. So, make sure to stock up on milk once the Saphira arrives – because you’ll be experimenting quite a bit.

Programmability: One of the gang

Like its cousins in the Franke family, the Customizable Drink OptionsSaphira features completely adjustable brewing buttons to program espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, americanos and even a full pot of coffee for one-touch operation. The Saphira has five programmable buttons, and each one can be set to make your perfect drink, right down to the temperature of the water and the consistency of the milk. You can also set the machine to turn on and off at certain times, and it has a built-in cup counter, called an “Audit trail,” to monitor use levels—a feature especially important for business owners.

Now, having the option to fine-tune every part of your drink may sound a little intimidating, especially since this puts all of the controls into your hands. Let me relieve you of those worries right now. Separate Programming Control PanelGranted, getting your favorite drinks just right may take a few test shots, but the navigation is so straightforward that you really can’t go wrong. The machine guides you through every step with the easy-to-read display screen, and the Saphira has a separate control panel for programming. Hidden behind the steam/hot water panel, the programming menu gives you a new set of buttons to adjust your settings—each one labeled clearly for ease-of-use, and set apart safely from the brewing controls so that customers and co-workers will not tamper with the settings.

If you’re like me, you’ll want to stray from the manufacturer’s drink settings with a creation that is all your own. To customize your own drink, first hold down the “PROG” key until the machine beeps and asks you to “SELECT PRODUCT.” From here, choose the brewing button you want to customize and the machine will begin walking you through your options. You’ll use the “+” and “-“ keys to increase or decrease your coffee, milk and water quantities, temperature settings, which grinder to use, and you can even mix your coffees, setting a percentage to use for each grinder.

Dual Grinders: You two grind my gears

Dual Grinders & Bean HoppersLike the Franke Flair, the Saphira features two direct drive burr grinders that are preset by the manufacturer to the medium fineness setting.  However, if you’d like to experiment with the grind fineness, the bean hoppers are designed to make grinding adjustments simple, without using any tools or opening up the machine. Just give each bean hopper a turn–clockwise for a finer grind and counterclockwise for a coarser one.

Thanks to Franke’s streamlined design, you can turn each hopper one notch at a time, allowing you to adjust your grind settings quickly and easily. Keep in mind that as you experiment with this, you’ll need to go through two brew cycles to allow new grind settings to take effect. Not only do the Saphira’s bean hoppers make grind adjustments simple, they also add a stylish touch to the sleek black and silver exterior of the machine. Each of the half-pound bean hoppers is made from clear plastic, with a black removable top.

Steaming and Frothing: Make me a cappuccino huh?

The Franke Saphira is designed for convenience, and making your favorite drink from start to finish is what super automatics are all about. Built-in Frothing WandThe included MilkMate is the perfect match for a machine with this level of capabilities, allowing you to have a gallon of fresh, refrigerated milk ready at all times. The Saphira has an external hose that you just insert into the milk supply in the MilkMate. Once you’re connected, the milk system is self-explanatory—press the cappuccino button, for example, and the machine brews, froths and steams automatically. The spout on the front of the machine is fully integrated, dispensing steamed milk, frothed milk and coffee directly into your waiting cup. With a dedicated thermoblock boiler for steaming and frothing, the Saphira can make cappuccinos, lattes, macchiatos and anything in between without missing a beat.

Its independent boiler system and easy-to-use controls make the Saphira ideal for break rooms and offices, and its built-in frothing wand is a great option if you want to froth or steam your milk by hand. The stainless steel frothing wand pivots for ease-of-use, and the dedicated thermoblock can provide continuous steam when you’re busy and you need it most.

Cleaning: Would you get out of here with that!

Like all Franke machines, the Saphira is a self-cleaning unit. Super automatic machines with milk systems require a bit more attention than typical coffee centers, but thanks to Franke’s intuitive design, the Saphira is among the easiest commercial machines to clean. Removable Head Provides Easy CleaningTen minutes after the milk system has been used, the machine will beep, and automatically run a brief rinse cycle to clean the milk out of the internal components.

For more thorough cleaning, the Saphira has several sophisticated cleaning features, with automatic cycles for the coffee system, milk system, or both. The cleaning cycle for both milk and coffee should be run at the end of each day, and if it is not done after 220 brewing cycles or 180 rinse cycles, the Saphira will prompt you do so with the “CLEAN UNIT” message. The cleaning cycle is a quick 20-minute process to clear out milk and coffee residue inside your machine. We recommend Urnez Rinza Milk Frother Cleaner and Urnex Cafiza Cleaning Tablets for this, and both are included when you purchase the Franke Saphira.

The front coffee spout on the Saphira should also be cleaned daily, and the cover of the spout slides right off by pressing a small button on the underside of it. Simply remove it, then disconnect the hoses from the spout underneath, rinse both pieces out with hot water and replace them. If you or your customers and employees use the manual steam wand to froth or steam milk, it’s important to wipe that down with a damp cloth too.

In addition to the daily cleaning of the Saphira’s milk and coffee system, Franke has integrated an automatic descaling program that runs every few months.  The Saphira will automatically alert you when the process should take place on the LED digital display.  It will take about 40 minutes from start to finish.

Altogether now

Making great coffee is always the goal, and the Franke Saphira is sure to please. It features state-of-the-art technology to create the high quality drinks you expect from fine coffee shops. Its size and design make it a versatile machine for a wide range of environments, from home kitchens to offices and restaurants. For years, the Franke family has built some of the best super automatic espresso machines in the industry. They’ve got plenty of experience and expertise when it comes to quality construction and performance, that’s why they’ve been so successful around the world. It must be in the genes.