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Saeco Magic Deluxe - Marc Gagne's Review
Posted: May 26, 2007, 8:44am
review rating: 8.0
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Saeco Magic Deluxe
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Arrow The Saeco Magic Deluxe has 20 Reviews
Arrow The Saeco Magic Deluxe has been rated 8.03 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Saeco Magic Deluxe reviews have been viewed 125,326 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Marc Gagne 8.00
Rod Whiteley 8.00
Chip Scardo 7.00
Jim Pellegrini 6.88
John Geddes 6.66

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 6.8
Manufacturer: Saeco Quality: 5
Average Price: $800.00 Usability: 9
Price Paid: $550.00 Cost vs. Value 7
Where Bought: Rich's Aesthetics 7
Owned for: 3 years Overall 6
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned: Saeco Magic Comfort+
Bottom Line: Great machine if you care about convenience and ease-of-use. Not so great if you're after a fine shot.
Positive Product Points

Easy to use, good steam, fast, decent crema, truly super-automatic.

Negative Product Points

Coarse grind, essentially non-variable dosing, mediocre espresso, some internal design and reliability issues.

Detailed Commentary

This is a good machine for those who want a quick, easy latte before work. The machine produces good steam. The crema is decent, but underextracted. The extraction time is very short - only 5 seconds after pre-brew for a small shot. The grind on my machine is too coarse and the tamper is too weak to produce strong, flavorful espresso. Some types of coffee (like an Indian Sitara I bought recently) will choke the tamper. The machine tends to make painful noises during the tamping and extraction processes. The extraction noises die down after descaling and cleaning. The tamping noises can be reduced by using a darker, dryer roast. I find that the grind and dosing controls have little dynamic range. In the small cup, high-dose is hard to distinguish from low-dose. All the grind levels are too coarse. From an automated design standpoint, this is understandable. A fine grind or a large dose could clog a super-automatic machine. But when you've had a properly ground shot through a solid performer like a Rancilio Silvia, it's hard to enjoy a small cup from the Saeco Magic.

There is a reliability issue as well: the power supply is located directly under the water tank. Dripping water from the tank can trickle into the machine through the screw holes, shorting out the power supply. I disassemble the machine about once a year to replace the hard-to-reach fuse. After I eventually diagnosed the problem, I found a box of compatible slow-blow fuses at an electric supply store.

Buying Experience

We bought the Saeco Magic at close-out pricing from a department store. So, we got no support to speak of from the store. Servicing requires shipping the unit to MD. Saeco servicing in the US is expensive if you can't fix the machine yourself. A one-year warranty and poor customer service on such an expensive piece of hardware is not very satisfying.

Three Month Followup

N/A

One Year Followup

Though I was a little critical of my Saeco Magic Deluxe a year ago, I have to say that it is chugging along. However, the latest problem has been difficult to repair: low steam pressure. The problem is caused by steam leaks at the valves and fittings inside the machine. I have not been able to tighten those fittings myself. I estimate that approximately 25% of the steam does not exit the steam wand. Needless to say, the other problems (grind quality, rapid extraction) continue. Because I would like to pull a better shot and am irritated now with the steam pressure, I would not buy this machine again. But for a casual latte drinker who wants a fast, easy-to-use super-automatic, this may be a good choice.

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review rating: 8.0
Posted: May 26, 2007, 8:44am
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
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