If you didn't already know, people who love their espresso and coffee drinks really love their espresso and coffee drinks. Their allegiance to machine manufactures is equally as strong as well. Best sellers become that way because they fit a need and a want for a broad range of people. However, once in awhile, a machine comes along that many people wouldn't consider, but those that do take the step to purchase it fall in love and continue to buy them as each new model comes into our hands. No machine proves this more than the Saeco Royal line of machines.
13.2x15x17.7 (L x D x H) seems like a large machine, and it is. There is no getting around the fact that this machine is one of the bigger residential Super One Touches we carry. At 33lbs, it's not a lightweight, either. The size alone is one of the primary reasons that this machine is attractive to a very faithful group of consumers. While you can find many smaller machines with a fair bit of options, the Royal HD8930 is so chock full that it would be an engineering miracle to make it any smaller (here's to hoping for a smaller size in the next redesign). Like those that came before it, the Royal maintains capacities that put most machines to shame. The bean hopper can hold 12.4 oz (nearly a pound) of beans, while the water reservoir holds just over half a gallon.
The Royal HD8930 is the first of the Royals to feature a true one touch system, allowing it to dispense the milk and coffee portions of a drink during the same brew cycle. The last model had a separate Cappuccinatore and steam wand to produce the froth and steamed milk. Just insert the frothing cartridge into the front of the machine and hook up the included stainless steel vacuum sealed milk carafe, and let the machine do the work so you can easily enjoy a latte or cappuccino. The carafe holds a substantial .5l of milk, and keeps it cold for a few hours. It also has a built in hot water wand for tea, hot cocoa, or to make your favorite soup quickly and easily.
With adjustments available to the grinder, dosage, volume, temperature and milk options, there are literally hundreds of different ways to make a drink. Everyone will be able to find a configuration that makes their perfect cup of coffee. The dosage options range from 7g of coffee to 11g of coffee, so that your drink will be as light or rich as you would like. The buttons for each drink are easily programmed. Like many machines, simply hold down the drink button to put it in programming mode, let it brew, and when the desired amount has been dispensed, press the same button again to have the machine remember the setting. From then on out, every time that function is used, it will produce the same volume unless stopped manually, or reprogrammed.
The conical burr grinder makes quick and quiet work of fresh coffee beans, while being able to be adjusted to 7 different grind levels – sure to be able to accommodate whichever quality beans you choose to use. One of my favorite features of the new Royal is that it can be set to grind a serving of coffee as soon as the current drink is finished. That way, there is no waiting for when you press the button for the next drink.
Its ability to produce over 100 cups a day means that it can find a home in an office or light commercial application as well. The large reservoir, bean hopper and giant drip tray allow numerous people in an office to enjoy café quality drinks with only an occasional need to refill or drain. It is not NSF approved, so if the Royal HD8930 interests you for a small café or restaurant, make sure to check with your local authorities before purchasing.
There is no way to argue that the Saeco Royal machines have always been incredibly capable and reliable machines. People absolutely adore them. The Royal Super One Touch machine is no different. With features found in higher priced machines, legendary performance, and near limitless customization of drinks, the Royal HD8930 is hard to beat.
I like to compare the Saeco Intelia Focus espresso machine to Jaguars… Like the Jaguar, the Saeco Intelia Focus is beautiful, shiny and smart, as you can see in any of these pictures. It also likes to keep itself clean (like the Jaguar).
The Intelia brews using a 15 bar pump and features a pre-brewing function (it pre infuses the coffee which means the coffee is wet prior to brewing to aid in extraction) to enhance the flavor of your favorite beverage whether it be latte, cappuccino, espresso or long espresso. This machine has a hot water option which dispenses out of the wand for tea, hot chocolate or oatmeal! The dispensing spouts on the brew head slide up or down from 2.5 through 4.5 inches. The footprint is rather heroic at approximately 10”W, 13.5”H, and 17.5” D. A grinder adjustment key & pre-ground coffee doser scoop, water hardness test strip, descaling solution, brew group lubricant and cleaning brush are all included in the box.
The coffee grounds drawer, water reservoir and drip tray are all located on the front face, they pull out for cleaning or refilling water. The grounds drawer holds about 10 pucks and the water reservoir holds 1.5 liters or just under 51 ounces. The right side of the machine opens up, which is where the brew group and residues drawer are found, they come right out and rinse off. The Intelia will need to be descaled regularly as all espresso machines should be. It's really a snap! Just push the Calc Clean button and the nice control panel will prompt you for all of the steps. The pannarello wand slides off and should be rinsed after each use.
The Saeco Intelia Focus is simply a wonderful espresso machine! It pre-brews, automatically cleans & descales, has an adjustable ceramic grinder and it is energy efficient. And, it sure does make drinks fast… Just like the Jaguar XKR-75!
What I Like About This Machine:
Compact Design – The machine is small in stature but great for making espresso. It is only 12 inches tall and 8 inches wide. It should fit in just about any size kitchen. The Saeco Aroma is almost small enough to travel around with or bring to a small intimate dinner gathering.
Pressurized Portafilter - This is the key to what makes this machine so easy to use. It allows you to use just about any grind and still produce a pretty good espresso. The portafilter allows you to build up the pressure to 9 bars before the coffee is allowed to flow. This means that the portafilter is creating all the pressure for you to extract an espresso. In my opinion, the Aroma has been built to be kind to newbie’s. Almost anyone should be able to brew a satisfying espresso with this machine.
Easy controls – The controls are very simple. You have an easy to find on/off switch. You also have two buttons – one for activating the steam, another button to brew with and a steam knob on top of the machine to start and stop the steaming.
Stainless Steel Boiler – This is one of the few machines in this price range that has a stainless steel boiler. This is important to many people and it also helps keep your boiler form building up mineral deposits. This type of boiler can help improve the longevity of your machine.
What I Would Change:
Portafilters- It would be nice if you could also use a non pressurized portafilter. Many semi-automatic machines offer the ability to use a pressurized or non pressurized. The Aroma only offers the pressurized version.
Pannarello Wand – You may want to get a Gaggia Latte Art Pannarello wand. This will fit on the Saeco and give you much more control over the steaming of your milk. You will be able to create perfect latte milk with some practice. The Panarello wand that comes with it will make great cappuccino foam but may struggle with Latte milk.
Recommended User: This machine is great for people just getting in to their first espresso machine or for people that have limited counter space. It can work in a small apartment to a vacation home quite well. I could even see it on a RV or a boat. The nice thing is with a little care and good soft water the Aroma should be a good friend for a long time.
Watch my video about the Aroma Stainless Steel Espresso Machine by Saeco. In this video I will go over the operation of this espresso maker as well as brew a wonderful shot of espresso. Enjoy!
The Saeco Aroma SS is a solid starter machine that’s designed to make brewing and frothing simple. In this video, I’ll walk you through all of the machine’s features and give a demonstration of how to pull a great shot of espresso with the Aroma SS. I hope you enjoy the video and, as always, feel free to post any questions or comments you may have about the machine.
In last month's article, we took a look at a few standout semi-automatic machines for every price range. This time around, we're exploring super-automatic espresso for every budget. If you're in the market for a new machine, take a moment to check out our top picks below.
The Saeco Vienna Plus, available in silver and graphite, is one of our most popular starter machines. While the Vienna Plus may not have all the bells and whistles found on higher-end machines, it is a solid super automatic suitable for daily use. Ideal for the value-conscious espresso lover, this machine is easy to use and maintain.
Surprisingly accommodating, the Vienna Plus can be programmed to brew 1-8 ounces of espresso. This model also features Saeco's famous OptiDose system to let you adjust the amount of beans ground per cup to customize the flavor and strength of your beverage. For full-flavored drinks, the Saeco Vienna Plus comes with a pre-infusion cycle that saturates grounds prior to brewing.
Don't let its price tag fool you; this machine has been outfitted with quality parts and features. Beneath the hood is a stainless-steel lined Thermoblock boiler, capable of quick and efficient operation. To the right of the control panel, you'll find an integrated conical burr grinder with 18 grind settings. A Pannarello wand makes for easy steaming and frothing; it can also dispense hot water for tea or an Americano. When it's time to clean your machine, the brew group pops right out. Just rinse it under a faucet, put it back in place and you're good to go.
A step up from the Vienna Plus is the Jura-Capresso Impressa ENA5. In addition to letting you customize beverage strength and volume, the ENA5 lets you program drink temperatures. It is also equipped with Jura's Intelligent Pre-Brew Aroma System, a two-step pre-infusion cycle that ensures maximum flavor and crema extraction. There is a digital display that acts as an indicator, letting you know exactly what is going on with your machine. Maintenance alerts and programming features are clearly displayed for your convenience.
The mid-grade ENA5 offers the additional option of brewing with pre-ground coffee. If you're an occasional decaf or flavored coffee drinker, the bypass doser will let you prepare drinks from pre-ground coffee and prevent cross contamination with your regular beans. Like the Vienna Plus, the ENA5 has a conical burr grinder, but with this model there are six grind settings to choose from.
A stainless-steel lined Thermoblock boiler minimizes warm-up time and accommodates on-demand water usage. The Impressa ENA5 also eliminates minerals and scale from your tap water using an advanced Clearyl filtration system. The result is great tasting drinks and reduced scale buildup. A dedicated alert will even let you know when the filter needs to be replaced.
Its frothXpress system is another big advantage the ENA5 has over the Vienna Plus. This user-friendly system will automatically steam and froth your milk and dispense it directly into the cup. You can also manually steam and froth using the dual frother plus wand. If you're looking for a well-equipped super-automatic machine, the Jura-Capresso ENA5 may just be the one for you.
Want to go all out? The Gaggia Accademia is a super automatic machine that's built to impress. This machine has been designed on a one-touch platform so you'll be able to make your favorite drinks with the push of a button. There are seven programmable drink buttons for espresso, caffe, caffe lungo, cappuccino, latte macchiato, and more.
The Gaggia Accademia lets you adjust coffee strength, temperature, and volume. Even the milk options are programmable with the Accademia; you can choose from normal, minimal and no-froth settings. The Milk Management System can add perfected steamed and frothed milk to your cup but since it functions on an external circuit, there milk actually never enters the machine. In addition, this one-touch machine has a stainless steel steam wand to let you manually steam and froth for lattes and cappuccinos; it also doubles as a hot water dispenser.
Gaggia's top-of-the-line machine super automatic has a built-in ceramic burr grinder with seven grind settings. As with the ENA5, the Accademia has a bypass doser to accommodate pre-ground coffee. This model operates on two stainless steel boilers, a vast improvement over both the ENA5 and Vienna Plus. With to boilers, you'll be able to alternate between brewing and frothing without any down time.
Best of all, the Accademia is exceedingly easy to clean and maintain. The milk system has an auto rinse cycle that cleans the circuit after each use to keep it free of residue and contaminants. Also, the brew group is removable so, like the Vienna Plus, the group can be rinsed under tap water. Dedicated maintenance alerts will let you know when the machine needs to be cleaned or descaled. The Gaggia Accademia is an investment that will deliver a world class brewing experience.