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Saeco Classico - Bill Way's Review
Posted: September 15, 2002, 7:13am
review rating: 5.5
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Saeco Classico
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Arrow The Saeco Classico has 29 Reviews
Arrow The Saeco Classico has been rated 8.32 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Saeco Classico reviews have been viewed 196,955 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Steve Zlatev 8.50
Dave LaFollette 8.44
Mark Bounds 8.00
Mark Johnston 7.50
Tricia Walker 7.00

Previous Review Next Review
Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.2
Manufacturer: Saeco Quality: 8
Average Price: $250.00 Usability: 8
Price Paid: $200.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: eBay - Aabree Coffee Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 3 months Overall 8
Writer's Expertise: Advanced Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Capresso cheapie
Bottom Line: Beautifully built and designed, makes a great shot or cappucino, and likely to work well for the long haul.
Positive Product Points

Excellent build quality, good design, makes a great shot. Some unusual features some will like and others won't.

Negative Product Points

Some won't like the pressurized portafilter or the design of the steam wand.

Detailed Commentary

Overall
The Classico is very similar in design and build quality to the Rancilio Audrey. Stainless everywhere, good switches, nothing flimsy. It makes a great shot or cappucino, and I suspect it will hold up under daily use for many years.

Results
With a good grind, it makes a shot with perfect crema and a nice, rich, nutty taste. Cappucinos are rich and creamy.

Using It
Because of the pressurized portafilter, you don't tamp the coffee to achieve the pressure. If the coffee is evenly distributed in the portafilter you are ready to go. I use a flat coffee scoop to gently tap the coffee so it's even. The portatfilter and brew head are rugged castings, and should last forever.

Controls are simple: an on/off switch with a green LED indicator, and a pump switch, also with an LED "NOT ready" indicator. After turning on the power, the "not ready" light goes out in a few minutes.

Turning on the pump, water is pumped into the portafilter and held there until its pressure valve opens up. In theory, this should make a better shot than tamping, as *no* water passes through it until it is correctly pressurized. In practice, it makes a very good shot every time, with a perfect nicely marbled crema. My only concern with the design are all the little plastic parts hidden in the bottom section of the portafilter that make up the pressure valve. After a couple months of use, they are dark brown with coffee stains, and I wonder if eventually all that un-cleanable plastic will give an aftertaste, or bitterness. Time will tell, and it has certainly done a fine job with the first couple hundred shots or so. I see nothing in the design of the valve that would suggest that wear over time will make the valve less accurate -- it's a failry ingenious design. I set my coffee grind for a brew time of about 25 seconds for a single shot.

Because of the pressurized portafilter, there is no puck: the coffee left there is soupy and washes out instantly under running water. This is not a criticism -- it's the way it spozed to be.

For cappucino, if you steam the milk first as recommended, the "ready" light comes back on for the brewing in just a few seconds. The steam wand takes some getting used to. Open it into the catch tray for a couple of seconds to purge a little water from it. When steaming, it seems anemic, and until you are used to it, you may be splattering milk around. Many people order replacement wands of a different design. I've found that if you start with cold milk, insert the wand deep at first, them bring it near the surface where its side holes draw in air, you will get a perfectly steamed cup with thick micro-bubbles. After hating it initially, I've grown to love it, and can produce a much better cappucino than on the Audrey, which I use often at a friend's home.

If you steam the milk first, the 'ready' light comes back on for the brewing in a few seconds.

Problems
Steam failed one day. I suspect scale build-up, as this machine was bought as a reconditioned unit. The de-scaling process takes a *very* long time: a couple hours to do it properly, but you are only actually doing something every 15 minutes during that period, so you can go through this process while doing other things at home.

In Sum
We are thoroughly satisfied and happy.

Buying Experience

This was a reconditioned unit bought on eBay from Aabree. It arrived in "as new" condition, promptly shipped. Warranty service is provided by Saeco America, who returned my one call (about the steam problem) in two days, so be prepared to be patient if you need service.

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review rating: 5.5
Posted: September 15, 2002, 7:13am
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
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