How to Choose the Right Espresso Machine or the Coffee Maker? Expert's Blog.

Saeco/Gaggia vs. Delonghi. Quick guide to super-automatic espresso machines on North American Market + Comparison

My independent advices are based on 6 years of experience in coffee machines sales. 41 comments

In this article, I will give general information (similarities, differences, pros, cons) about Saeco and De’Longhi machines and a brief model-to-model comparison. For more detailed information please read my reviews.

Please note that this review covers only super-automatic espresso machines with a built-in grinder, which can make you an espresso in one touch. For manual espresso machines comparison click here.

Saeco vs Gaggia – there are no differences between the two brands

Gaggia and Saeco are subsidiaries of Philips. That’s why all three brands use the same parts and technologies in their home espresso machines. The only exception is Saeco Granbaristo which has a slightly different brewing unit with enlarged capacity – up to 16 grams/0.56oz of coffee beans per serving compared to 11 grams/0.38oz in any other Saeco or Gaggia model. De’Longhi, by the way, can use up to 14 grams/0.5oz of beans for one espresso.

Moreover, there are identical machines sold under both brands. The price tag and warranty conditions being the only difference. Here is a great example – Saeco Intelia HD8771/93  and Gaggia Velasca RI8263/47:

Cheap vs Expensive Models – the same espresso on default settings

The ‘chassis’ – main parts and general construction scheme – is the same in any model within brand range. That’s why the cheapest Saeco’s X-Small espresso machine will make you the same espresso on default settings as top-notch Saeco PicoBaristo HD8927 (Granbaristo is an exception again).

The differences will be in automatization, manual or automated milk frothing, materials used, programmable settings and other extra functions.

Saeco's and Gaggia's ceramic burr and brewing unit (group)It is the situation when the manufacturer limits the functionality of cheap models for marketing reasons. For example, any Saeco/Gaggia automatic espresso machine has:

  • The same grinder with flat ceramic burrs, however, cheaper models have intentionally limited settings of:
    • grind levels (for example, 5 in Saeco Incanto/Gaggia Anima vs 10 in Saeco PicoBarista);
    • coffee strength adjustments, it’s the amount of coffee beans used per one cup, which I mentioned above. Cheaper models can have no or only two settings, while more expensive ones have up to 5 from very mild to very strong.
  • Identical removable brew unit, however, some model doesn’t have temperature settings, while others – do. Some models do have a bypass for ground coffee, some don’t  – you can use only beans (actually, both have that bypass, but on cheaper models, it’s sealed and there is no program to activate it).
  • The same heating element (Saeco/Gaggia uses boiler system).

The same applies to De’Longhi machines. Any Delonghi machine has the same conical metal burr set in the grinder (the grinder itself could be different), the same brew unit and thermoblock as a heating element within ESAM, ECAM or ETAM series range. However, they don’t differ much:

  • ESAM is the “old” system. Last models available on the American market are ESAM 04.110.S and ESAM 3300/3500. Any ESAM machine will be bigger and a bit louder than Delonghi machines of other series. It usually makes a bit colder coffee than ETAM and ECAM series.
  • ECAM is a new generation of ESAM with some bigs fixed – mainly, the temperature settings were improved due to different thermoblock used. Thus, Delonghi now can make hotter coffee on maximum settings if compared to Saeco. The “new” ECAM platform also allowed to make more user-friendly machines – water tank is easier to access, for example.
  • ETAM machines are similar to ECAM series but compact. They are not sold in the US so I will not mention them anymore in this review.

⚖️ Key differences between Saeco/Gaggia and De’Longhi

Choosing between any De’Longhi model and any Saeco (or Gaggia) model you can rely on the following facts:

  • Delonghi's burr set

    Delonghi’s burr set

    The Saeco (Gaggia, Philips) will have flat ceramic burr set in the grinder, while De’Longhi uses metal conical ones. This doesn’t really matter. Yes, I know that it’s considered that metal grinder can ‘burn’ coffee beans, which can result in a bitter taste. And that’s ceramic burrs, on the other hand, can easily crash if there would be a small stone in the beans. However, for home users it really doesn’t matter, believe me. You are not making 10 espressos in a row to heat the beans up and there is almost no chance to find a solid piece of stone or something like that in the beans from the supermarket. The only practical difference is that De’Longhi can grind a bit faster due to conical burr set.

  • De’Longhi can make hotter coffee. My own experiment shows that on factory settings and using the same coffee beans De’Longhi’s espresso can have a temperature of 74°C/166°F, while Saeco makes 71°C/160°F at maximum.

Saeco vs Delonghi Temperature Test

I would also appreciate your starred review at the end of the article

  • Bitter vs Sour Taste. De’Longhi will deliver a bit bitter espresso than Saeco, which usually makes it a bit sourer. That’s if all other things being equal (grind settings, coffee beans itself etc). Even on Saeco, you can make bitter Italian-style espresso if you will use dark roast beans with some robusta.
  • Cappuccino-related differences:
    • Fully-automated machines (with automated milk frothers) by De’Longhi have a “less foam/more foam” selector. While Saeco always froths the milk with the same efficiency and you can only regulate the amount of milk used. This feature by De’Longhi can be useful when you are making a latte (cafe au lait, coffee with milk). There is no difference for a classic cappuccino.
    • Delonghi always uses a built-in milk carafe as a frother, Saeco in most models do the same. However, some models (examples: Saeco PicoBarista HD8924 and Gaggia Anima Deluxe) have a milk frother with a tube that sucks the milk directly from the bottle (or any other container). They call it cappuccinatore.
    • The “tube system” requires easier cleanings if compared to carafes and it is, overall, more comfortable to use if you make cappuccinos rarely. However, a machine with tube system usually can’t make cappuccino in one touch: you need to make an espresso, move the cup under the milk dispenser and manually start milk foam program.

Saeco Picobaristo: tube vs carafe

  • Special programs for lovers of classic American coffee (not tiny and strong espresso). This fact is usually underestimated, however, I think it’s very important. Some De’Longhi models (Magnifica S ECAM 23.260.SB, Eletta ECAM 23.260.SB, Eletta ECAM 45.760.B) have a special LONG (aka BREW) program for imitating the filter brewing using a lower pressure. Saeco does have similar technologies called Coffee Switch, however, for some reason they sell espresso machines with this function only in Europe, but don’ sell them in the US, where more people prefer classic coffee.

Delonghi's BREW functionThis is important if some of your family members get used to classic coffee in mugs (cafe americano). Both Saeco and De’Longhi are engineered in Italy, where people prefer 2oz shots of strong espresso. Trying to make an extra large lungo (letting too much water through one coffee puck) will lead to over-extraction and the taste will be spoiled. That’s why this special mode for American coffee merits attention.


💰 Model-to-model comparison: budget home espresso machines

The cheapest automatic espresso machines by both brands have many cons in common:

  • They require more counter space in the kitchen in terms of width and depth, the height usually is not a problem
  • You can’t use tall glasses for latte macchiato – maximum cup height is limited
  • They have not so fancy design and produce more noise while brewing (especially during grinding cycle)
  • Nor DeLonghi, neither Saeco doesn’t make cheap models with automated milk carafes. This means that espresso is made automatically, but for a cappuccino you will need to use a panarello wand (steam wand) to froth the milk

However, they both have a great a strong point:

  • They are cheap and you just need to push one button to brew espresso of the same quality as more expensive models.

Saeco is represented in this class by XSmall HD8645 and De’Longhi’s cheapest model is ESAM3300. I have more detailed reviews of both machines here and here. So I will briefly compare them below:

Link to detailed review My Saeco X-Small Vapore Review My Delonghi ESAM3300 Review
Width x Depth 11.5 x 16.5 inches 11 x 15.75 inches
Machine Height 12.8 inches 14.2 inches
Max Cup Height 3.7 inches 4.1 inches
Temp settings no 4 levels
Strength settings no yes, stepless
Burr sett flat ceramic conical metal
Grind levels 5 13
Uses ground coffee no yes
Taste profile more sour taste more bitter taste

Being very similar in general, they have one difference, which really matters. It’s temperature and strength settings, which Saeco’s model doesn’t have at all, while DeLonghi offers stepless strength adjustment (approx. from 0.2 to 0.5 oz of coffee beans for one drink) and 4 temperature settings. Moreover, XSmall has only 5 grind levels, while on the ESAM3300 you can choose among 13.

Although people rarely use all these settings, I believe that Saeco’s marketing division had limited too many functions in order to create marketing distinctions between XSmall and more expensive models. As I already mentioned above, it’s fully artificial limitation. That’s why in budget class I would prefer to buy the Delonghi ESAM 3300, not the Saeco.

 

💰💰 Model-to-model comparison: middle class with manual frother

For $150-$200 more both brands offer espresso machines, which are characterized by:

  • Fancier controls: LCD display with push buttons (Saeco/Gaggia) or buttons&icons (Delonghi) instead of simple buttons and lights, that we saw on budget machines.
  • Both still have a manual steam wand for milk frothing (cappuccino recipe is not fully automated)
  • More narrow body in terms of width, which is the most critical factor in any kitchen
  • Nevertheless, more expensive models become a bit taller and deeper. This makes them more comfortable to use:
    • Slightly larger reservoirs for water, beans, and waste (spent coffee pucks)
    • Higher maximum cup height, which allows you to use tall glasses for latte macchiato, for example

Saeco and its sister-brand Gaggia are represented by Incanto HD8911 and Anima machines, respectively. And this is one more example of identical models sold by different brands for different prices:

All the main parts are the same as in any cheaper Saeco model. However, Incanto and Anima gives much more controls and adjustments, which were strictly limited in budget class.

Delonghi, on the other hand, already had wide adjustments in its cheaper models, so there is less functional difference between Delonghi ECAM22110 and cheap ESAM3300 (see above). However, different thermoblock that is used in ECAM machines allows them to brew hotter coffee on maximum settings.

Delonghi is represented in this class by ECAM22110 Magnifica XS and various very similar models. I described all of them in this review. The most interesting model among them is ECAM23120SB (check it on Amazon), because it has the special function for classic drip style coffee brewing. However, since it’s a rare model, I choose the ECAM23210B as the most popular one to be compared with Gaggia Anima (however, keep in mind that it’s the replica of Saeco Incanto HD8911):

Link to detailed review I don’t have on yet My Delonghi ECAM Series Review
Width x Depth 8.7 x 17 inches 9.5 x 17 inches
Machine Height 13.4 inches 13.5 inches
Max Cup Height 5.9 inches 5.75 inches
Temp settings 3 levels

with less hot coffee on maximum

4 levels

with more hot coffee on maximum

Strength settings 5 levels 5 levels
Burr sett flat ceramic conical metal
Grind levels 5 13
Uses ground coffee yes yes
Taste profile more sour taste more bitter taste
Classic coffee recipe no no (but similar ECAM23120 model has it)
Display&controls LCD display and push buttons Icons and push buttons

I think that Saeco/Gaggia offer better value for money in the middle class. However, pay attention to the special long mode in some Delonghi models and to the fact, that it brews hotter coffee.

In other words, if you are looking for the machine to drink classic espresso and cappuccino, then it’s better to choose among Saeco’s models. If you prefer really hot coffee and/or drink mainly big cups of coffee, then it’s reasonable to choose among Delonghi’s models.

💰💰💰 Model-to-model comparison: middle class with a carafe

Both models described in the previous paragraph have modifications with automated milk jar (carafe).

Integrated milk frother allows you to make cappuccino in one touch. And this is what you overpay for. There is no need to practice barista skills to make milk foam with a steam wand. 100% no mess around – just place a cup, press the button and the machine will do everything. However, you will need to run a cleaning cycle. But it is also automated.

Delonghi's more or less foam regulator, which Saeco/Gaggia doesn't have

Delonghi’s more or less foam regulator, which Saeco/Gaggia doesn’t have

Everything else is the same as in earlier models: dimensions, taste and temperature profiles, all black coffee adjustments including exclusive Delonghi’s LONG/BREW mode for drip style coffee. The distinction between Delonghi ECAM23120 and Delonghi ECAM23260, Anima and Anima Prestige, Incanto HD8911 and Incanto HD8917,  is only the integrated milk frother (and slightly different design of control panel).

Nevertheless, milk carafes are different. Delonghi’s one is called LatteCrema and it allows you to adjust the foam height. Saeco’s milk carafe doesn’t have such adjustment.

This adjustment works only for making less foam. It means that Delonghi on the maximum settings makes approximately the same amount of foam as Saeco does. However, on Delonghi, you can minimize frothing and get the hot milk or flat foam.

This also means that the difference between latte macchiato and cappuccino in terms of Saeco is only the amount of milk and coffee. While on Delonghi you can regulate both the amount and the height of the milk foam. Thus Delonghi ‘knows’ more recipes (don’t forget the special recipe for classic coffee).

I still prefer the taste of espresso made on Saeco (a bit less bitter and a bit less hot), however, in the class of fully automated machines with milk carafes Delonghi is definetely offers more value for money.

💰💰💰 Premium models: Eletta vs PicoBaristo

 … to be continued …

💰💰💰💰 Flagship models: PrimaDonna vs GranBarista

 … to be continued …

Outaged series (old premium): ESAM3500 vs Saeco Inetlia Deluxe

 … to be continued …

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Author: Dmitriy

18/10/2018

Ask me!

41 comments:

  1. Great article. Looking between Saeco Incanto and Delonghi Magnifica XS. Read and seen on YouTube that the beans get stuck in the grinder a lot on Delonghi models. Aiming more towards the Saeco Incanto.

    Sam

    17 Feb 19 at 3:34 am

    Reply

    • Thank you, Sam. Yes, I can admit that there are some reviews from customers (usually from the US) about the “beans get stuck” problem. However, when I tested it – even with oily dark roasted beans (people usually refer to that kind of coffee) – I did not face that problem or something similar. So, may be there is some popular espresso blend in the US, which is “not compatible” with Delonghi’s machines? Don’t know, but I’m sure that if you use regular beans (Lavazza, Illy etc) it would be ok.

      Yes, Incanto is a good choice. I personally prefer taste profile of Saeco/Philips/Gaggia, by the way 🙂 If you are from Noth America then check Gaggia’s ‘clones’: Incanto HD8911 = Anima, Incanto HD8917 = Anima Prestige. If you are from Europe then check Philips 5000 Series – it’s the same machine with two new functions: 1) additional milk recipe, where coffee goes first, then milk is added; and 2) new Americano recipe.

      Dmitriy

      17 Feb 19 at 7:27 pm

      Reply

  2. Hi Sam,

    Thank you for this very informative review and explanation. We have had our Saeco Viennaplus for 8 years and it seems to be ready to retire. I like the idea of having a bypass for decaf beans at night. I’m not sure which machine to get and prefer to keep it cheaper and simpler. I am looking at the following three models:
    https://www.wholelattelove.com/collections/outlet/products/refurbished-delonghi-ecam22110sb-magnifica-xs-espresso-machine

    https://www.wholelattelove.com/collections/outlet/products/delonghi-gran-dama-6700-espresso-machine

    https://www.wholelattelove.com/products/gaggia-velasca-prestige-one-touch-coffee-and-espresso-machine?utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=Google%20Shopping&gclid=Cj0KCQjwh6XmBRDRARIsAKNInDFcgGvoE_m8CNJnyQgyqD-C9upzlA1IaJ9yTZUKyW3W7XP1wFhpDNUaAn7sEALw_wcB

    Which do you think is the best of these three? I’m learning toward the Magnifica based on price. However, with the sale, we can get a refurbished Gaggia Prestige for $700 and a new one for $750.

    I welcome your advice if you have the time to share it!

    Thank you,

    Wendi

    Wendi

    1 May 19 at 3:01 pm

    Reply

  3. great site, thanks for putting this together, i certainly appreciate your insight. I have a 11 yr old Jura Impressa F7 that I’ve babied since purchasing. It’s been a great machine but it’s time for a replacement. I don’t find that I drink many lattes or cappuccinos in general, I mainly use the Jura to make an American sized coffee. I add some creme and sugar, and off I go.

    At the moment, I’m trying to decide between the ECAM23460S and the ECAM22110B. Not looking at the price difference, and as you make mention, The ‘chassis’ – main parts and general construction scheme – is the same in any model within brand range. Is there any other benefit to purchasing the ECAM23460S over the ECAM22110B outside of the fancier controls and the integrated milk frother?

    Tom

    17 May 19 at 8:40 pm

    Reply

    • No, there no other benefits except cup lights and statistics (to see how many cups of coffee are made on the machine).

      Dmitriy

      18 May 19 at 9:40 am

      Reply

  4. What is your opinion of the Gaggia Brera?

    Ann

    18 May 19 at 1:44 pm

    Reply

  5. Thank you for all your hard work and reviews! Came across your website when researching automatic options. Been debating and cannot decide – one factor is something you mentioned with the comparison of all the De’longhis – the ability to make a more “american” style long coffee. I generally am not utilizing the automatic milk options and generally prefer to manually steam (we are mainly Espresso, Lungo and Americano/Long Coffee drinkers, not Caps/Lattes). I cannot find the ECAM 23.210.B in the states (only UK). Does Gaggia or any other makers offer products with that option? I love the Gaggia Anima but no long coffee. I’ve looked at some of the Jura’s (A1, D6, E6 and old C65) and cannot seem to figure out if they do the “long” coffee either. I used to have the Krups EA8250 (wedding gift) which wasn’t amazing from a quality perspective but did make both espresso, lungo and long coffee (8 oz). Just hoping for your thoughts! Really appreciate all your hard work and website.

    Michael J. Siegel

    22 May 19 at 3:04 pm

    Reply

  6. Hi! I found your comparison to be one of the most helpful I’ve read comparing De’Longhi to Gaggia – thank you! If given the choice, would you go for the ECAM23260 or the Gaggia Anima Prestige (also considering the Accademia)? Sounds like you might prefer the Gaggia…

    Celine

    2 Jun 19 at 8:41 am

    Reply

  7. HI
    what do you know about
    Gaggia 90500 Titanium Super Automatic Espresso

    what other machine would this compare to?

    THANKS
    pj

    patsy

    2 Jun 19 at 7:08 pm

    Reply

  8. This information is very helpful. Thank you for the thorough overview. I am looking for a one touch machine to make a flat white as well as a simple cup of coffee. Would you recommend the Delonghi Magnifica or is there another machine that could do both at a lower price point? Also, I am concerned with the amount of maintence and clean up that is needed after each cup. Is there one machine over another that you would recommend for us lazy caffeine imbibers?

    TJ

    23 Jun 19 at 7:38 pm

    Reply

    • Thank you, TJ, and sorry for my late reply.

      Yes, if you are OK with a manual frother, then simple Delonghi’s could do both. Hoewever, if you mean old Magnifica (ESAM series) then pay attention to a slighly inconveniently located steam wand.

      Dmitriy

      18 Jul 19 at 2:52 pm

      Reply

  9. Thank you for going into such great detail about the different machines. It’s extremely helpful and your expertise is very much appreciated. I’m on a very limited budget so most of the machines are not affordable for me, but I love espresso and cappuccino coffees when well done. Currently have a low-end Capresso semi-automatic and a good bean grinder so am not suffering, and I mostly drink pour-over coffees anyway. But someday (!) I’d love to have the convenience and consistency of the Saeco Xsmall Vapore. Appreciate your reviews!

    Jill

    17 Jul 19 at 10:30 pm

    Reply

  10. Thanks for your comparisons. I now have a Saeco Moltio with milk caraffe, mine was still made in Italy. It’s working but starting to make sort of crackling noises, I think from the brewing unit, and I am considering to upgrade. From your comparisons it’s very likely that the newer Philips 5000 machines are technically the same? As far as I can see the new Philips/Saeco machines don’t have front accessable water compartments? A dealbreaker for me, because where it must stand there’s not a lot of space above it. You mention the delonghi machines brew a hotter cup, is it not possible to adjust that? On my Moltio I can adjust temperature in the menue, I have it on the hottest setting though.
    I am interested in the Delonghi Dinamica Ecam 350.75, do you have any knowledge on this machine? Sorry this became quite a long post…

    Dennis.

    Dennis Lichtenveldt

    23 Jul 19 at 11:59 am

    Reply

    • Hi, Dennis.

      1) Yes, the brewing units are the same, just connecting soccets could be different.

      2) Yes and not. You Minuto was indeed the last (or one of the last) model before Philips/Saeco switched to the water tanks with access from top. However, new EP1200, EP2200 and EP3200 series that is already on market in Europe, have the front access again.

      3) Sure you can regulate the temperature. The Delonghi is hotter in terms of maximum settings.

      The Delonghi ECAM 350.75 is a good machine, some cons to pay attention to:
      a) 350.75 costs more than 350.55 but the difference is only 2 extra recipes (just a memory cell in fact, because you can reprogram any recipe) and 2 more buttons (two more recipes you can start in one touch without navigating the menu). For me personally the price difference is not fair and the 350.55 is better in terms of price/functions (depends on the price in your countru of course)
      b) the delonghi machines of ecam 350.xx series have one well know problem – sometimes the milk frother brokes after the decalc cycle (produce no steam => no milk foam). It can be fixed by your self in 9 out of 10 cases (just make 2-3 more decalc cycles again with pure water withoud decalc liquid), but still a fact…

      Overall. If you are from Europe and the new EP3200 is already available in your country, I would probably reccommend to stick to Saeco 🙂

      P. s. Yes, cracking noises is a brewing unit. Have you lubricated it and/or changed gaskets? They have a repair kit on amazon for example https://amzn.to/32Y7IAz

      Dmitriy

      28 Jul 19 at 1:58 pm

      Reply

  11. Gaggia RI8263/47 Velasca Prestige
    vs. Delonghi ECAM23260SB Magnifica.

    They both seem very similar in price & also features, but unsure which one i should buy? this would be my first time buying an espresso machine.

    isabel

    5 Aug 19 at 2:18 am

    Reply

    • Hi, Isabel. ECAM23260 has a bit wider functionality: mainly, it is a special “long” recipe for Amercicano (on lower pressure) and two recipes for milk&coffee drinks (called ‘cappuccino’ and ‘latte machhiato’ by default, but you can reprogram it). So I would recommend Delonghi if you/your family drinks americanos, cappuccinos, not only espresso.

      However, if you mainly drinks espresso, and makes cappuccino only occasionally, then I would go with the Velasca Prestige, because I like taste of espresso more on Saecos/Gaggias.

      Dmitriy

      5 Aug 19 at 8:17 am

      Reply

  12. Hi ,

    we are debating between the delonghi magnifica XS or the Jura D6.
    We equally like to make coffee and espresso and a very hot cup of coffee is important to us . We also want a good brother.

    Thoughts?

    Lisa

    Lisa Robinson

    9 Aug 19 at 12:52 am

    Reply

    • Hi, Lisa. That’s quite an unusual pair to compare. No only because the price for Jura D6 is almost twice as big as for named Delonghi, but also because the machines are very different: D6 goes with an automated frother, Delonghi comes with panarello.

      I believe, you should first decide what kind of frother do you need (manual or automatic) and what is a price limit. Because for the price of D6 you can afford much more functional machine, just an example – Kurps Evidence EA89 https://amzn.to/2YTFNyu , which has both automatic milk frother and special recipe for American coffee.

      Anyhow, Delonghi can brew hotter espresso shot, but there is no temperature difference for coffee. Both machines can’t make right Americano in one touch, by the way. You will need to do it manually in two steps: espresso + hot water. Jura makes stronger and tastier espresso, but it comes with unexctractable brewing unit which makes it pricier in maintaince. I may say that Delonghi Magnifica XS is better in terms of price/functionality ratio, while Jura D6 is better overall.

      Dmitriy

      9 Aug 19 at 9:27 am

      Reply

  13. great article, kudos!
    any thoughts on a DeLonghi La Specialista, or similar?
    Thanks for your advise
    Andreas

    andreas meinhold

    13 Sep 19 at 2:46 pm

    Reply

  14. Thanks again Dmitriy, I have one more question, (also asked in your thread about the LatteGo carafe). That is, can the LatteGo carafe be interchanged with the previous Incanto carafe. The added maintenance of the Incanto seems to be the one downside which would be remedied if and when this alternate, tubeless carafe could be substituted, especially when a lower volume of milk is needed.

    For some reason the prices for Saeco have be fluctuating, dipping and rising on different days. I think they’ll all level off to meet the 3200’s new price point.

    Charles

    9 Oct 19 at 3:27 pm

    Reply

    • Charles, I left reply there, probably notification didn’t worked: http://101coffeemachines.info/lattego/#comments

      None of Saeco’s milk frothers are interchangable, sockets are different. They don’t want you to buy a cheaper machine and then upgrade it with a spare part 😉

      Dmitriy

      9 Oct 19 at 6:10 pm

      Reply

  15. Ok, thanks for that observation. Just IMHO it seems it would benefit them to allow interchangeable attachments to the steam outlet, (carafes and wands, etc). That would only simplify their manufacturing and parts inventory, and not really cannibalize their more expensive products because the cost is in the control system and other internal mechanisms that couldn’t be replaced.

    Frankly, I hesitated on the Incanto because of the better carafe on the 3200, so I would have bought the cheaper 3200, except that we happen to need the froth milk option. It doesn’t look like there’s any engineering obstacle to using the same steam socket on all models. Hopefully they’ll recognize that interchangeability of steam attachments would only increase their extra parts sales without deterring higher price purchases. Thanks

    Charles

    9 Oct 19 at 6:44 pm

    Reply

    • It was only my assumption, why Saeco doesn’t unify parts… I think as you do, that more unification = better.

      Charles, can I ask you for a comment please? In my review I cover mainly tech cons/pros, functions and price levels. However, since I never lived in US, I can’t compare Saeco’s, Gaggia’s and Delonghi’s warranty conditions. I mean all these extended or limited warranties, ability to upgrade the warranty etc. Could you please comment what is important for you personally and how you compare these three brands in terms of after-sale support?

      Dmitriy

      9 Oct 19 at 8:29 pm

      Reply

      • Glad to help since I’ve found your research useful. It may vary by country since, on the Philips direct site for example, where they don’t seem to direct sell to the US, the 3200 shows a 2 year warranty. For the US, they sell through seattlecoffeegear.com, (nice people), and Amazon, and I’ve also seen them listed at Williams-Sonoma and BestBuy, (claimed to be in stock), where the 3200 has a 1 year warranty.

        Apart from the extended warranties that most retailers offer, I don’t think any of the Philps/Saeco/Gaggia or Delonghi products have more than a 1 year manufacturer’s warranty. The extended warranties add from 1 to 4 more years to the coverage. Some of the reviews allude to getting repairs through those providers. Not always to their satisfaction, but those without complaints don’t often write. After the range of issues I’ve read about on all of these machines, (there isn’t one without at least a few scathing complaints), I wouldn’t purchase without at least 3 years of coverage. I’d think 2 years is my actual ROI, but I’d like to do better than break even.

        It’s early for me to tell what their after-sale support is like, and I hope I don’t have to test it. If pre-sales is any measure, unless I didn’t happen to catch the right person, none of them have good support. That’s why I’ve had to rely on your site, along with seattlecoffeegear and wholelattelove along with Amazon reviews to find out enough about the strengths and weaknesses of these models to even make a choice. Since I couldn’t find the Philips 5000 in the states, I’m trying my luck with the Incanto, hopefully without issues.
        Thanks

        Charles

        9 Oct 19 at 10:31 pm

        Reply

        • Thank you very much, Charles!

          Dmitriy

          10 Oct 19 at 1:23 pm

          Reply

          • Hi Dmitriy, speaking of support, while I’m sure there are knowledgeable people on the Philips/Saeco support staff, they don’t seem to be the ones answering the phone, so I thought I’d run this question by you. Just starting to use the Incanto, and I’m finding the coffee stream starts out at the set brew strength, (in this case full), but becomes progressively more watery towards the end of the stream. Their trouble shooting suggests that it’s normal for a new machine to be watery, and the whole stream was dilute for the first few batches. But after nearly 12 oz, (.3 liters) of beans, it starts out fine, but trails off near at at about half way through the stream. It’s the first use, so the brew group isn’t likely the problem. Have you seen this before?

            Charles

            10 Oct 19 at 4:19 pm

            Reply

            • Charles, congrats on the purchase. What volume do you use (in other words how long is the stream)? And how does the coffee puck in the trash looks – does it keep its shape or they it’s also watery?

              Dmitriy

              11 Oct 19 at 8:53 am

              Reply

              • This is at the factory setting for Espresso and Longo. The pucks look pretty solid. I haven’t poked them, but I’ll check to see how dry they are.

                I did reach someone at Saeco who would talk about it. They claimed that was to be expected, and it always happens as the grounds get spent towards the end. But that doesn’t seem right, especially for a highly engineered process, since that also means that the strength would change if the volume is cut off at any time. I’ve only seen videos of these in operation, and few of them show the full duration of the stream. The review from SCG does show it, and maybe their is also thinner. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=508&v=Rzaz1M-c_Fc. Have you had hands on experience with the stream getting diluted towards the end on any or all of the machines you’ve tried?

                Charles

                11 Oct 19 at 2:05 pm

                Reply

                • Hi, Charles.

                  Just to clarify – you are talking about the situation when the coffee stream is deep brown in the beginning and then becomes more pale, right?

                  If so, it’s totally normal. And yes the first part of any espresso shot (which is ristretto basically) will always be stronger both in terms of taste and color if compared to the second part of the same shot.

                  Full strength (=amount of coffee used per serving) is not the only option that you can regulate to neutralize this effect. Try adjusting the gring to the finer/finest setting (don’t forget to do it only when the grinder is working, like is written in the manual!). This will help to get stronger espresso and the coffee will be less watery/blond stream in the end.

                  But anyway there would be this gradient effect – when the stream is loosing it’s intensity during the exctraction. Even on the professional machines, example: https://www.youtube.com/embed/oefz8JSnnrM?start=50

                  P. S. Charles, in case you will need it… I moved our comments about Series 3200 under the corresponding article. Here they are now: http://101coffeemachines.info/philips/ep1200-ep2000-ep3200/#comments

                  Dmitriy

                  11 Oct 19 at 5:35 pm

                  Reply

                  • Dmitriy, Thank you for precisely answering my question. It also helps that there’s a video demonstrating what I now understand to be the aptly named gradient effect. The resulting cup tastes fine, but I was only concerned that it indicated a defect that might have later consequences. It then appears that all systems are go and, if you don’t have one handy, I can answer and Incanto, (or Anima) specific questions that pop up.

                    BTW, since it seems there’s no way to stop the spurt of water that precedes the milk output, I’ve found that intercepting it with a small glass above the target cup for the first few seconds of frothing is effective.

                    Also, on the grinder setting, since the US version stops the grinder when the lid is opened, and needs a magnet to fake out the shut off sensor to dial while running, I asked Saeco how it’s supposed to be done. He said, contrary to what everyone else says, that you can dial the setting when the grinder is off. I’ll assume that was incorrect.

                    Charles

                    11 Oct 19 at 6:28 pm

                    Reply

        • Haha, “gradient effect” – it’s just my awkard English 🙂 There is no such term, of course.

          The solution to the sprut of water issue is aboslutely correct. And that’s exactly the way as baristas do it on professional machines.

          About the lid opener magnet and the grinder adjustments. Then just do it when the grinder is empty. Grind until the beans run out and a little bit more.

          The meaning of that warning is following. When you are moving burrs in the finer direction you tighten the burrs. And if there is relatively big/solid coffee particle left between two burrs it will hamper (correct word?). So, either the coffee particle will crack (which is more likely of course and mean no harm to the machine) or the burrs (which are ceramic on Philips). The latter is less likely, but much more costly 🙂

          P. S. Thanks for offering a help with Incanto/Anima specific questions. I’ll keep it in mind.

          Dmitriy

          11 Oct 19 at 6:48 pm

          Reply

  16. Hi Dmitriy, Thought I’d check with you for an opinion on a subject with differing advice. When cleaning the brew unit, (any I suppose, but I’m referencing the Incanto), some say you can put it in the dishwasher, some say you can’t. I’m thinking that risks the heat deforming the plastic.

    Then after hand washing, some say you have to air dry it, others say it can be cloth dried. I get that you don’t want fibers in the unit, and there’s also the risk of rubbing off some lubricant. But if the lubricated paths are avoided, it seems like it would be ok to cloth dry.

    Otherwise, if air dries, for how long? Does it need to be completely dry before putting it back in?
    This subject seems to be glossed over in all of the tutorial videos, only showing a few seconds of rinse, then a few seconds of air drying, (or cloth drying), but not really detailing a procedure.

    Finally, does anyone make a brew unit that is fully dishwasher safe? Since cleaning this is at least a weekly procedure, it would take a lot of the overhead of using these if the brew unit could just be popped in and out of the dishwasher. I know it uses some rubber gaskets, but there should be a grade of rubber that can stand up to dishwasher heat. Just looking for ways to minimize the maintenance time for these otherwise very handy systems. Thanks

    Charles

    22 Oct 19 at 6:21 pm

    Reply

    • Hi, Charles. And first of all sorry for my late reply, was on vacations.

      The main problem of brewing unit in dishwaher is that it removes very quickly all the lubrication. That’s why I wouldn’t do it on any machine. If you worry about small coffee particles left somewhere inside the unit then it’s OK, it shouldn’t be super-super clean after weekly washings.

      Dmitriy

      8 Nov 19 at 10:52 am

      Reply

    • P. S. About drying. Yes, it’s better to dry it. Like, let it overnight uninstalled.

      Dmitriy

      8 Nov 19 at 10:59 am

      Reply

  17. Dear Dmitriy

    We need to replace a Saeco coffee machine after 14 years of use. It was so great because although we are only 2 people at times we have events where 20-30 coffees need to produced at a time. It is important that we can take the brew unit out to clean, of course that the espresso/ the classic Swiss “coffee cream” taste good (so we can adjust the bean grind) and that there is some kind of auto cleaning help – at least a reminder to descale.

    What would you suggest? We were looking at DeLonghi, but were concerned that with more than 20 coffees at a time, the metal grinder would not be good.

    Christina

    12 Nov 19 at 1:12 pm

    Reply

    • Hello, Christina.

      Generally, all modern Philips or Gaggia or Saeco are very similar to what you had (to old Saecos). Except the SBS system (rotating knob, which adjust the crema). Now this feature is installed only on Gaggia Accademia, Gaggia Babila, Saeco Exprelia, Saeco Xelsis. They are pricey, cheapest one is Saeco HD8943/11 https://amzn.to/2X7LdGO . However, in 99% of cases people don’t use it, so don’t pay attention to this feature if you’re not very into coffee.

      This means that if your old Saeco perfectly suits your needs you can go with any Saeco/Gaggia/Philips except the cheapest ones (e.g. XSmall) where they limited grind settings. There would be more electronics, of course, which can affect the durability, but all the main parts and productiveness is similar.

      The new EP1200/2200/3200 Series seems to be very good choice in the budget class: http://101coffeemachines.info/philips/ep1200-ep2000-ep3200/ I can name you other models, if you write me what is worng with your current Saeco except the age…

      P. S. About Delonghi. Metals burrs wouldn’t be a problem even for 20 coffee cups, however, I would rather recommend you to stick to the brand. Delonghi really gives different taste profile, you may be dissapointed if you get used to Saeco.

      Dmitriy

      13 Nov 19 at 1:58 pm

      Reply

  18. Dear Dimitry

    Thanks so much for your detailed response! The saeco is just dead – the repair folks say they can not get the parts anymore. Or rather, they can get the part but in their experience it dies within 1 year and it is not worth the investment. The Saeco was perhaps a bit slow in making coffee, but it lasted through a house construction project and many events as well as regular house use. So the issue of longevity or durability is important. We do not make milk style coffees at all with the machine – we have a separate milk frother when needed. And we like to be able to stack/warm cups on top. Perhaps a water filter option would be great but the last one did not have one so …Being able to have up at least 1.7 or so L water and 300 – 400 g coffee would also be nice. And it would be nice if the coffee ground container was bigger vs smaller.

    Christina

    13 Nov 19 at 9:21 pm

    Reply

  19. Oh and crema is really important here in switzerland.

    Christina

    13 Nov 19 at 9:23 pm

    Reply

    • Hi, Christina.

      1) “crema is really important here in switzerland” – yes, I asssume 🙂 But the this SBS knob allows you to adjust the crema, withoud the SBS the default value give a decent crema. So I wouldn’t probably focus on the machines with SBS if above mentioned models (Gaggia Accademia, Gaggia Babila, Saeco Exprelia, Saeco Xelsis) are higher than your budget. Without SBS i also good crema.

      2) “e do not make milk style coffees at all with the machine” Unfortunately it’s not the point when you can save money. Becuase machines with no milk frothers at all are usually where rare. And most commonly it’s cheper to buy a popular model with simple manual frother and just don’t use it)

      3) “able to stack/warm cups on top” this point needs some comment. Most of the machines now do have a cup warmer stand, however they are passive, which means they become warm by heat of the boiler underneath. Thus, they are efficent only when machine is always on or when machine warmed up (~10 minutes after switching it one). Active (electric) cup warmer are more rare and more pricey.

      Overall, the Gaggia Titanium seems to perfectly fit all your needs and it has a good price/functions+durability ration. But I’m not sure it’s still in stock in Switzerland.

      If we put apart the active/electric cup heater, then I can only repeat my recommendation on EP1200/2200/3200 Series in the budget class and the Saeco HD8943/11 in the higher class.

      Dmitriy

      15 Nov 19 at 2:00 pm

      Reply

  20. Dear Dimitry

    Thanks again for providing us with really great information. In comparing the different Philips machines, I realize that the 3200 series is for us better in terms of being able to adjust the “volume” as you say of the g of coffee beans and water amount. Our Saeco was great because you could adjust the amount of water with a turn knob. We will miss that since the machines with touch screens are so limiting by making “types” of coffee instead of just letting us turn a knob for the amount of water. At any rate, the 3200 series is the closest to proving us that same feature. Do you know of any other machines that allow for such adjustments? Thanks again you are really “the Guy” for automatic coffee machine info!!
    -christina : )

    Christina

    20 Nov 19 at 8:16 am

    Reply

  21. Have some doubts which model to choose? Ask me!