Articles From Whole Latte Love

Product Spotlight: Saeco Talea Ring Plus

Posted: 05/23/07
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Saeco Talea Ring PlusThe word “vacation” means something different to each person. Some people choose to visit destinations with many choices for sports, traveling or entertainment. Others prefer a peaceful retreat where pampering and leisure are the only orders of the day, every day. For espresso lovers looking for that type of pampering in the comfort of their kitchen, the Saeco Talea Ring Plus is your espresso vacation. Whether you want a machine with a huge list of flexible features, or one that makes espresso at the simple touch of a button, this machine is for you.

The Talea Ring Plus is a super automatic that can make coffee any way you want it—from straight espresso to lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos and more. Even with so many choices, the Talea Ring Plus doesn’t overwhelm you with complex programming and cleaning regiments. You can vacation worry-free from complicated steps or reading through ambiguous instruction manuals, because no matter how you choose to prepare your coffee, the Talea Ring Plus is ready to serve you.

Saeco designed the Talea Ring Plus with convenience as the top priority, incorporating a click-wheel and a bright orange digital display screen to be your concierge for almost everything. The click-wheel menu lets you scroll through the beverage settings easily, so selecting your drink settings is as straightforward as possible. By moving your finger around the click-wheel, you have complete access to the strength, size, and consistency of your coffee. In addition, the Talea Ring Plus includes the patented Saeco Brewing System, managed by a knob on the front of the coffee spout to let you adjust coffee strength at any time—even while brewing. Just like the full-service staff at an all-inclusive resort, the Talea Ring Plus takes care of all the hard work. After choosing your drink settings on the click-wheel menu, place your cup on the automated touch-lift drip tray and press the button. The Talea Ring Plus will grind, dose, tamp, and brew your drink automatically. The machine even notifies you on the digital display when it’s time for routine cleaning cycles.

Click-Wheel and Digital DisplayIn addition to automatic brewing, the Talea Ring Plus can steam and froth milk automatically with the included Milk Island. Easy to use and easy to clean, the Milk Island prepares creamy foam in a matter of seconds, and you won’t have to wait for that steam, thanks to the Ring Plus’ Rapid Steam technology. The double boiler system—one for coffee, one for steam—means you don’t have to wait for the machine to adjust temperatures, so steam is always ready to go. And, if you prefer to froth your milk yourself, the built-in Pannarello wand gives you that freedom. Use it to froth and steam your milk by hand, or dispense hot water for tea.

With the Talea Ring Plus, making a great cup of coffee is just the beginning. The machine features a huge assortment of features to simplify operation and impress your guests. The Touch Lift drip tray is motorized, so you can move it up and down by lightly touching the front button. You also can set up the machine to turn on and off automatically at preset times any day of the week. There’s even an energy-saving setting to turn off the machine after long periods of inactivity. They should classify the Talea Ring Plus as a “super-easy automatic,” since no matter what you want to do, the machine’s design makes it easy for you. Even the cup warmer is programmable. Most super-automatics have a cup warmer so that your drink does not lose heat and thus flavor. However, not many give you a choice to disable the warmer. Though I prefer to have my cups always warm and ready for my espresso, I know others who prefer to turn off the cup warmer. Having the option is a nice touch.

Getting Started: Destination please

Setting up the Talea Ring Plus is easier than you might think. The machine is ready to go right out of the box, but be sure and follow the instructions to attach the Milk Island before filling your machine. Then you won’t have to tip over the Talea Ring Plus with water in the reservoir or beans in the hopper. But once you have the Milk Island locked in place, the rest of the work is effortless. Even though setting up the machine is simple, be sure to read the user’s manual, which is loaded with graphics and step-by-step instructions to help you with everything from startup to cleaning. Often the user’s manual for machines like this don’t offer so much insight, but Saeco even took the effort to put in photos to illustrate how to use the click-wheel menu for each function.

The Talea Ring Plus performs brilliantly, and it has the looks to match, with polished silver and graphite housing that blends with the décor of today’s refined kitchens. The machine sits on a swivel base—a feature that is quickly becoming a staple in the Saeco family. And, of all the noticeable and striking features of the Talea Ring Plus, one of the most impressive features of this machine is what’s missing: noise. The ceramic grinder, an upgrade found in the Talea line of coffee machines, grinds considerably quieter. And since the grinder is ceramic instead of metal, it doesn’t absorb the flavor of the coffee, leaving you with a consistent grind without altering the flavor of your drink.

Programming: Your wish is my command

Scrollable Options in the Drink MenuHow can one espresso machine be so efficient, yet offer you a treasure chest of brewing options? The answer lies in Saeco’s programming design. Similar to the interface of an iPod, the click-wheel on the Talea Ring Plus lets you scroll through the machine’s functions with your fingertip. The four large buttons located around the click wheel are clearly labeled as the shortcuts to the menu, steam, coffee quantity, and hot water dispenser. You can even control the Milk Island from the click-wheel menu. No matter how you program your machine, the display screen will guide you through every setting with helpful icons and clear wording to make it easier than ever to customize your espresso.

The Ring Plus has a variety of scrollable options in the drink menu, including coffee quantity, liquid volume, temperature, and even pre-infusion time. You can modify these settings to suit your taste, or stick with the original settings from Saeco. Once you’re ready to brew, just press the center of the click wheel, marked by the cup icon, and the Talea Ring Plus grinds your preset amount of beans, tamps, brews, and dispenses your drink right into your cup. You can even save your settings by using the “self-learning” feature of the Talea Ring Plus, so the machine won’t forget your presets. Thanks to the machine’s convenient design, making a great cup of espresso is about as Bean Hopper and Bypass Dosereasy as having a smiling server bring it right to your seat.

But what if you don’t always want the same drink every time? Or someone else wants to have a tall cappuccino or a decaf coffee? As they say in Jamaica, “No worries, man.” The Talea Ring Plus features a bypass doser to let you brew a quick cup of preground coffee. Just press the coffee strength button on the bottom left of the control panel, pour in a scoop of your favorite preground coffee and brew as you normally would.

Steaming and Frothing: Sit back and relax

As its name suggests, the Milk Island sits independently off the coast of the Talea Ring Plus. Simply pour your milk into the carafe and turn the knob on the top left of the Talea Ring Plus to the Milk Island icon. Since the Milk Island is electronically connected to the Talea Ring Plus via the power strip underneath the base machine, you have control over the frothing cycle from the same digital menu that directs your coffee brewing. The automatic frothing cycle is timed to create consistent froth every time, with just the turn of a dial. When the cycle is complete (or sooner, if you prefer), just turn the steam knob to the Milk Island and Pannarello Wandoff position, lift the carafe off the island, and pour the steamed, frothed milk into your cup.

Since the Milk Island is self-contained, you can remove the milk container from the island and store it in the refrigerator, and your milk stays covered and cold. When you’re ready to make a macchiato, cappuccino, or latte, just take the milk carafe out of the fridge, pop it onto the island base, turn the knob, and watch the magic happen all over again.

One thing that sets the Talea Ring Plus apart from the competition is how easy it is to clean the automatic frother—a feature that is not all that common in super automatics with built-in milk systems. Since the Milk Island is a separate unit from the Talea Ring Plus, you don’t have to clean any tiny hoses that feed the milk through the machine. And, because Saeco made the entire milk carafe dishwasher-safe, this machine really puts the “super” in “super automatic.”

For those who appreciate the art of frothing, the hard-working Talea Ring Plus can take a break if you want to you use the Pannarello wand. The wand is powered by Saeco’s Rapid Steam technology, so the wait-time between brewing and steaming is reduced from minutes to seconds. The stainless steel wand can also deliver hot water for tea, hot chocolate, or even instant soup. And there’s no fancy programming needed for pouring the hot water — place your cup under the steam wand and turn the steam knob to the hot water icon.

Cleaning and Maintenance: Bring in the butler

The Talea Ring Plus comes with its own cleaning crew, hard at work so you don’t have to spoil your espresso vacation. The machine features a hot rinse cycle that heats up your brewing components upon startup, and it also cleans out residual coffee to ensure your first cup is hot and fresh. The drip tray, dump box and brew group are all removable, so you can empty and clean these quickly and easily.

And, to keep your machine’s brewing components clean, the machine’s digital display will prompt you to run a routine cleaning cycle periodically. Like everything on the Talea Ring Plus, cleaning cycles are automated, and the machine will ask you to place a cleaning Removable Parts Provide Easy Cleaningtablet in the bypass doser, press a button, and the cleaning cycle will run automatically. The Talea Ring Plus will also alert you when you should change your water filter and descale. The machine even has a counter so you can see how much water can be used until the next descaling cycle.

As mentioned earlier, cleaning the Milk Island is a snap. Just remove the carafe and top cover as instructed in the product manual, then rinse them with soap and water or clean them in the dishwasher. We recommend cleaning these parts after every use, and if you’re using the steam wand, you should be sure to clean it with a damp cloth after every use.

Welcome to paradise

Thanks to Saeco’s design expertise, the Talea Ring Plus is a unique combination of performance and modern style.  It has a huge range of features to brew great tasting espresso along with an elegant, creative style that will impress your guests. The Ring Plus is as breezy and effortless as it can be without sacrificing quality or control. With the ability to make virtually any espresso drink with ease, the Talea Ring Plus is the definition of a high-end super automatic machine.