JerseyGuy Senior Member Joined: 2 Feb 2005 Posts: 13 Location: Freehold, NJ, USA Expertise: Just starting
Espresso: Saeco Incanto Sirius
Posted Wed Feb 2, 2005, 7:26am Subject: Saeco Incanto Sirius
I recently purchased a Saeco Incanto Sirius. Has anyone else purchased one and can you share your experiences? Here are some preliminary observations:
SETUP: This machine is sensitive to being parallel to the "floor". The double spout distributes the liquid coming into it by flowing on a flat surface and the liquid then drips from the two spouts. If the unit is tilted the liquid will come out one side more than the other. Mine was tilted and when I chose 2 cups more liquid flowed into the left side. When I adjusted the SBS to full clockwise I got NO liquid out of the right spout. So I have had to place a thin pad under the swivel on the bottom to adjust the tilt until there was none, a level helps.
CLEANING CYCLE: In setting up the machine, as the last step before making some espresso, I ran a cleaning cycle as described on page 20 of the manual. I emptied the drip tray. When the cycle ran, over 5 oz of water overflowed on the counter top.
Per Ryan at Saeco: "Just keep a larger container underneath the steam wand, as all the water is pouring out of that into whatever container you choose to keep under there, It makes it a lot easier than letting it run into the drip tray."
He also suggested: "You should descale about every 2 months on average. I always recommend making it a once a month thing to keep your machine up and running well."
LCD LIFE: When the machine goes into STANDBY mode, the LCD display stays on.
Per Ryan: "The LCD will not burn out, baring some totally random problem, but otherwise it should work fine. The only way to turn the display off is too turn the entire machine off. "
12g: The manual says the "Quantity of ground coffee" is "6 - 10g" (page 3) but is advertised as going as high as 12g.
Per Ryan: "I am not sure why the manual says only 10g's but it goes to 12'gs, which on the displays is all 3 of the beans lit."
FIRST ESPRESSO: I made our first espressos last night (fair amount of crema) and the good news is my wife thought the espresso was too strong. That is good news as I had the machines setting up near the maximum in all areas. I was using Illy medium espresso beans (provided by the store). At least this means I'll be able to adjust down to a brew that we both like. Now I will experiment over the next few weeks to fine tune the settings to get an optimal shot.
Has anyone else purchased one and can you share your experiences?
Here are some preliminary questions/issues/observations:
1) In setting up the machine, as the last step before making some espresso, I ran a cleaning cycle as described on page 20 of the manual. I emptied the drip tray. When the cycle ran, over 5 oz of water overflowed on the counter top. The manual says keep an additional container handy, but I don't understand how I can use that as the water spills out from the tray.
2) When the machine goes into STANDBY mode, the LCD display stays on. I am concerned that the LCD will "burn out" over time? Has anyone had any experience with LCD displays and if this is a concern?
3) The manual says the "Quantity of ground coffee" is "6 - 10g" (page 3) but this machine has been advertised as ranging from "6 - 12g" at this Saeco web site: Click Here (prodotti.saeco.it)
I have sent a query to Saeco to confirm the actual range.
4) I made my first espressos last night (fair amount of crema) and the good news is my wife thought the espresso was too strong. That is good news as I had the machines setting up near the maximum in all areas. I was using Illy medium espresso beans (provided by the store). At least this means I'll be able to adjust down to a brew that we both like. Now I will experiment over the next few weeks to fine tune the settings to get an optimal shot.
5) Anyone have suggestions on a good espresso bean that works in the Saeco machines?
It certainly seems the group ought to hold 12 grams, since this is a big selling point. What is the color of the crema coming out of the machine? Light brown/yellow or darker brown? (It will taste better (less strong) if it starts out darker). If "preinfusion" is turned on (pre-moistening of the coffee), I would suggest you try turning it off. Some feel (myself included) that while superauto preinfusion is good for Swiss Coffee, it tends to have a deleterious effect on the straight shot of espresso.
In my humble opinion, a great shot of espresso is never strong -- at least not in a bitter way. But to each his own. Often, the "strong" taste comes from a pour that is too fast and consequently underextracted. These machines often brew an espresso in 10-15 seconds. Everyone says that's just the way they are designed to work. My contention is that the grinders usually aren't set to grind fine enough. Nevertheless, every shot I've had under such circumstances tasted underextracted and consequently bitter. Good espresso should be a soft, oily, viscous drink with a sweet aftertaste. You might try leaving the amount of grinds the same and turning down the grinder until just before the pour becomes a drip. See if the drink still tastes too strong to your wife. It may actually be softer and more pleasant to the pallate. (Just an idea.)
I don't think you will find a whole lot of feedback on this machine. It is too new to the North American market. In fact, I think Williams Sonoma is the first retailer to offer the machine in the US... and just recently. Hopefully you will have good luck getting answers directly from Saeco.
As for good espresso beans, you might want to consider taking the next step and roasting your own beans. Lots of information here on CG to get you started. The I-Roast is a great starter machine for home roasting.
BTW, did you purchase from Williams Sonoma or from overseas ? I am thinking about buying the Sirius myself, and would appreciate knowing how you felt about your purchase experience.
"What is the color of the crema coming out of the machine? Light brown/yellow or darker brown?"
More towards a medium brown. I adjusted fineness to maximum and am getting a darker crema. Will continue to experiment over the next few days. The Incanto also has a dynamic "SBS" knob that allows control of the flow of espresso. I will also play with that adjustment.
I have preinfusion turned off, had it turned on yesterday.
I bought the first machine available in New Jersey yesterday (only store carrying it in the US is Williams-Sonoma) primarily because of the 12 grams so I suspect I'll have minimal feedback until others buy, but it is a high price.
Not sure what you mean by the buying experience. I called WS to find out what stores in NJ had the machine and there was only one. When I called the store Tuesday they had just received the shipment (I think 2) and had not even set one up yet, so I bought it before the person had time to set it up on display and "play" with it. The person in the store was very nice and wanted my feedback after I used it, but I don't think there was much more to expect. Of course it was list price.
As for roasting my own I think I'll take it one step at a time but thanks for the advice.
There are no instructions on brew group maintenance in the manual that comes with the Incanto but I received a reply from Saeco that included instructions. Basically all you have to do is look at the brew group and see where the lubricant is and clean and lubricate that about once a month.
There are currently no Incanto Sirius Brew Group Maintenance kits (lubricant and O-ring) available from Saeco US. They are pursuing getting them. The O-ring needs replacing in about a year (depending on use) so there is time.
But you will need to get lubricant. They sent me a kit, but it was the wrong one, so I did get a tube that I am using. That should last awhile.
doubleristretto Senior Member Joined: 8 Feb 2002 Posts: 273 Location: Seattle Expertise: Just starting
Espresso: Expobar Brewtus Grinder: Versalab M3 Drip: French Press
Posted Sat Mar 12, 2005, 8:21pm Subject: Re: Saeco Incanto Sirius
Generally speaking, espresso machines don't respond well temperature-wise to running lots of water at once (5 ounces through a thermoblock unit is quite a bit). Your results seem to indicate 1.5 would get you better/more consistent results.
Just my opinion...I don't have a Saeco Incanto Sirius.
The real test are the shots. Which tasted the best?
When looking at the 8 degree temp. difference of the blank shots I have to think the unit is still coming up to temp. Alex, perhaps a 40 minute warmup period is needed. Test 2 is showing the temp is stable at 180 degree between the First & Second cup pulls. This is pretty good since you dumped 5 oz. from the machine. 40 minutes sounds like a good warm up time for this machine. To Be Read: Program your machine to come on 40 minutes before you get up in the morning.
TEST 3 - ESPRESSO: - SBS unit on installed. - 1.5 oz blank and shots (SBS set full clockwise, TEMP set to high) - 10 minute wait after test 2
Blank shot --- 175 First shot ---- 185 (about 1 minute after the blank) Second shot - 185 (about 1 minute later)
This is a classix example why I think home superautos need to dispense a flush shot before actually brewing an espresso. Even though the machine was adle for ten more minutes the blank 1.5 oz. temp was very low at 175. There seems to be some leftover water somewhere between the boiler and the brew chamber, or even after the brew chamber, leaving a dose of cooler/stale water in the beginning of a real shot. Also, I think the flush would serve to preheat or temper all the plumbing between the brewhead/puck and the dispenser. I've noticed this on a Saeco Royal Pro., which is similiar to your machine.
There are some considerations when making multiple big cups. - How long to allow the unit to "reheat" between cups
From all of your tests data above a one minute mark with a 40 min warmup is working for you. SO experiment with the time to see what your min. will be. Do a bracket testcase. Example: Start with a 30 second delay. Is the temp stable? No, then increase it to 45 seconds. Is the temp stable? ... get the idea ... if the temp is stable then reverse the logic.
- Is the 5 oz. blank shot a good idea or should a smaller 1.5 shot be used.
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