One of the best <$2K super-autos on the market right now; still has the limitations of similar priced superautos
Positive Product Points
+Dual thermablock heater so essentially no lag between brew and steam(but still cannot brew bean and steam milk at same time) + removable brew group +Steel exterior +compact (relative) compared to other superautos +Electronic interface & flat touch sensitive pad (e.g. machine tells you when to change water filter; tells you when to empty knockbox) +ceramic grinder +cheaper (relative) than other superautos + SBS (this allows you to restrict flow from the brew group - allows more ristrettro-like taste (for a super-auto) if turned to max restriction
Negative Product Points
- instruction manual too basic (e.g. no mention how to lubricate brew group) so must contact Saeco for supplement - do not expect same level of espresso compared to semi-automatic (I do not think any superauto <$5K will compare) - oily beans will clog the machine - cannot brew as fine grind as I would like - drip tray is rather shallow
This is my first super-auto (and for that matter my first espresso machine). This first foray into coffee/espresso world (or is it obsession as wife would say) is after years of going to small coffee shops. After hours of research, I did not think I was ready to learn the intricacies of heat-exchanger or other semi-auto machines. Also I need machine to ease wife into passion.
I narrowed my search down to two machines - Saeco Incanto Sirius and the Jura Capresso Impressa S9. Both machines are great. Please see detailed review of the S9 by Mark Prince on this site. The reasons I did not choose the S9 (in no particular order) : tastes no better than Incanto Sirius (I demoed both with many sample of same bean at Williams and Sonoma; I loved the look on the face of the salesperson after the 3rd cup each from each machine), more expensive, not removable brew group, bigger footprint, no touch screen interface; awful lot of plastic for something over $2K).
POSITIVES There is about 3 sec lag when switching from brew to steam. Still it would be great if could brew and steam at same time.
The electronic interface is one the the highlights for me. I also like that it is touch sensitive (adds to the sleekness of the machine). So far after six months no reliability problems. The screen also has big icons and print when compared to the text of the Jura S9.
This thing has steel on its exterior. Not to the level of say ECM Giotto, but its got alot of steel; inside is all plastic though.
Ceramic grinder is nice. Still no match for my Rancilio Rocky.
I like the fact the Saeco Incanto Sirius' brew group is removable. Thus I can manually clean it and lubricate it (you will need to call Saeco customer service to get supplemental instructions on exactly where to silicone grease it- the original owners manual makes no mention how to). Also, no need to buy chemical solvents to clean the brew group.
Price (full list) is $1500 which is less than the >$2200 of the Jura S9. Still I cannot help but feel this machine should be ~$900. It would be great if consumer super-auto of this quality could be sold for$700 to $1000. It is somewhat strange that this machine costs more (or nearly as much) as Spaziale Vivaldi II, ECM Giotto, Expobar BrewtusII which all would agree makes a better cup of espresso and froths better. Ahh... the consumer markup factor and market demands.
NEGATIVES Microfoam from steam wand nothing to write home about.
Cannot brew and steam simultaneously.
Oily beans will clog the machine. Also fine grind will clog the machine. I suspect that ANY super-auto <$5K will get clogged with oily beans/fine grind. (e.g. Intelligentsia Black Cat 8 grams ground on Rancilio Rocky setting at 14 and this fed into Sirius via bypass doser clogs the Sirius).
Drip tray really needs to be deeper (holds only 16 ounces and you better not have an intention tremor with this amount or you will spill it).
SUMMARY All in all, I am happy with this first foray into espresso machine. I think with this machine and good beans (e.g. Intelligentsia Black Cat, Lavazza Cream e Aroma), good water, preheated cups, SBS setting to full clockwise setting has given me ~<=80% of the espresso I have tasted at usual local cafe. Make sure to rinse brew group (running blank shot is not enough) after every 2-3 brews as often used beans still caught in brew chamber. I tried some espresso from a commercial Franke (? spelling) super auto at a cafe and it clearly had more body, etc. But that superauto is >$10K per cafe owner).
P.S. I finally got my wife comfortable grinding own beans with Rocky Rancilio. Next step is semi-automatic (e.g. ECM Giotto or Expobar Brewtus II or Spaziale Vivaldi II).
Thanks for reading this review.
I can find no information on long term reliablility of super-auto (Incanto Sirius out of <2 years; and cannot find info on Jura superauto long term reliability) thus I bought mine at Williams and Sonoma which reportedly has lifetime (with original receipt) return/exchange policy. Any others here tried to have them honor this policy (seems too good to be true)?!