Saeco Xelsis Evo Espresso Machine Review

by Marc Buckman August 18, 2016

 

The Super-Automatic is Evolving

The “Evo” in Xelsis Evo stands for evolution. Saeco listened to user feedback and made a couple of improvements since the last version. Most notable is the milk carafe. A comment we hear often is users want their milk froth hotter, so Saeco redesigned the carafe to do just that.

Multi-user

The Xelsis Evo is a multi-user machine, which means up to 6 users can program their drink preferences for 7 drinks. Users are identified by a symbol so you’ve got a heart, flower, moon, star and so on to identify each user. A user can selects their symbol and then use the dedicated one touch buttons for their preference of espresso or espresso lungo on the left of the touch screen and cappuccino, latte macchiato or cafe latte on the right. The other 2 drinks are accessed using the special button, press that and you get access to steam and a programmable amount of milk as well as American coffee and an espresso macchiato which are programmable as well. When you choose the American coffee, the machine brews it differently, instead of using the espresso brewing process which forces water through the coffee under constant pressure; it uses a lower pressure pulse brewing process to produce a drip style coffee. The cool thing is it’s so much better than your average drip coffee because the beans are ground right before brewing; the flavor just blows away any drip coffee made from pre-ground beans.

Saeco Xelis Evo.

Milk Carafe

The Evo uses an attachable carafe to supply milk. It is convenient, just pull the carafe out of the fridge, and attach it to the machine, then the top of the handle slides over to deliver the milk. Some machines only do one style of milk and that’s a limitation because the density of the milk you want for latte and cappuccino are not the same. The Xelsis Evo can be programed for each milk-based drink to use any of 4 different styles of milk; no froth, so the milk is just heated or three different levels of froth which range from a light froth for a latte up to a very airy froth for a cappuccino. The Evo is known to keep itself clean in the milk system; this carafe will do it for you. No milk will ever enter the machine since the carafe handle is the spout there are no tubes to connect to anything; after it’s made a milk drink a blast of steam goes through and when you’re done, push the spout over and the carafe gets a deeper steam cleaning that runs through the spout, down the handle and into the drip tray.

Programmable Drinks

All the drinks the machine makes are fully programmable. Using the menu, you can program one of 3 strengths and 3 temperatures for each drink and you can turn pre-brewing on or off for coffee drinks. The volume of milk and coffee delivered to your cup can be set in the menu or you can do it by sight by pressing and holding a drink button, the memo appears in the display so when you’ve got the amount of coffee or milk you want press the stop button and that amount will be programmed. Another control is Saeco Brewing System dial. This dial affects the flow rate of coffee brewing. Typically you will turn this to restrict flow and create more crema when brewing espresso and turn it to increase flow when doing longer coffees to avoid over extraction. On top of the Xelsis are doors for access to the water reservoir, the bean hopper, and the bypass doser for using pre-ground coffee. The water reservoir holds 54 ounces. The machine comes with a water filter. You’ll also get a water hardness test strip to enter the info from the test into the machine and tell it about the water filter; this information helps the machine tell you when it should be descaled using an included descaling solution.

Internal Grinding

The bean hopper feeds a ceramic disc grinder and has 8 grind settings allowing you to adjust the grind based on the type of beans and the drink being made; coarser for darker beans and longer beverages and finer for lighter roasts and shorter drinks. The top surface of the machine is actively heated for cup warming. If you don’t use it, the cup warming feature can be turned off in the menu. The machine has 2 boilers, one for brewing and the other for steaming milk; with the dedicated boilers there’s no waiting when making milk based drinks. The Evo has an Ecomode to save power; you can turn on the machine’s Ecomode which cycles down the boilers. With it enabled, you’ll wait a little longer when making drinks, but you’ll save power. There’s a wand on the front of the machine allowing a user to manually steam milk and dispense hot water. The spout height is adjustable for small espresso cups, or the dual spout adapter can be removed for the clearance of tall travel mugs.

Saeco Xelsis Evo hopper

Drip Tray

The front of the machine swings open on substantial hinges to reveal a large internal drip tray and grounds bin. You’ll get a message in the display when it’s time to empty these compartments. There is also a brew unit behind the door that swings open, once every week or so you’ll pull this out and give it a rinse at the sink. The exterior of the machine is wrapped in a brushed stainless steel. It’s easy to clean and does not show fingerprints like a polished surface typically does. There’s a cover over the spot where the milk carafe attaches that gives a nicer look when the carafe is in the refrigerator or off of the machine. When the carafe’s in use this cover fits on top of the water reservoir and a magnet on the back side holds the cover out of the way when you open the door to add water to the machine.

Summary

The Xelsis Evo is top of the line. It’s got an easy to use carafe with automatic cleaning and it’s wonderful if you’ve got more than a couple users with the ability to fully program all drinks for six users. I really like the milk system since it’s been redesigned to produce a hotter froth and a key feature is being able to program the density of the milk from one of 4 levels.  The American coffee low pressure pulse brewing is very handy for those who want a drip style cup. 

Marc Buckman
Marc Buckman

Marc is Whole Latte Love's resident videographer and expert on everything coffee. He built our YouTube channel from the ground up in 2009, demystifying the world of coffee for upwards of 100k subscribers by producing over 1000 in-depth videos. Marc enjoys hiking, scuba diving, and saving the lives of his coworkers when the kitchen runs out of coffee by sharing some of his own.