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Saeco XSmall HD8645/8745/8651 independent review. A smart buy?

Comments: 4↓ specifications & manual ↓

Saeco X-Small (sometimes called Philips Saeco X-Small since Philips and Saeco are the same company now) is the cheapest fully automatic beans-to-cup machine on the U. S. market. However, the low price did not affect the quality. I highly recommend it for home use when you are on a low budget. It is suitable for one or two persons.

There are the two machines that are sold under the XSmall name: HD8645/47 and HD8745/57. They are very similar, the only difference is colors and some body details, which I will explain further in my review. The prices are also approximately equal.

Water and Waste tanks are limitedXSmall Superautomatic Espresso Machine is compact (11.5 x 16.5 x 12.8 inches), especially in terms of its height (12.8 inches) it is less than average in its category. Originally designed for home users, it’s very easy to use. All you need is to put coffee beans in the hopper on top, fill the water tank, which is accessed through the front left section, and run one of two programmable recipe by pressing a button on the front to make a cup of fresh black coffee.

Once you loaded the hopper with beans (6.5oz max), you will be able to make up to 20 cups of espresso or lungo. Therefore, there is no need to add coffee every time, as it is the case with usual drip coffeemakers. Nevertheless, 1L/33oz water tank is only enough for 8 cups on average. The waste container (it’s where the used coffee is put by machine) and the drip tray feature the same dimensions. Drip tray is mainly needed for water that machine uses for self-cleaning that happens every time before switching on and off.

Thus, average you will have to empty or fill reservoirs for every 6-­8 cups on average. That’s why Phillips Saeco HD8645/47 and its sister models is suitable for the families with maximum 2­-3 coffee drinkers. Please, consider it.

The pre­brewing function and ceramic built-in grinder gives espresso the perfect taste and aroma. The pressurized filter crema makes it good looking. Nevertheless, it’s only the imitation of real crema. You will notice it on gourmet espresso made on professional espresso machines by a professional barista.

Please do not believe anyone who tells you that some other Saeco, Philips, or Gaggia coffee machine makes espresso better. All those brands use the same 15 bar pump, removable brewing group, stainless steel boiler, and filters almost for any home-use models. Really, the parts are identical.

That’s another reason which makes Saeco HD8745/57 a reasonable buy if you drinks black coffee. The things that have been downgraded in that model compared to other Saeco coffee makers are:

  • Only 5 different grind settings. However, in this case, only the adjustment mechanism is different, the grinder itself is the same and is made of ceramics. That material is traditionally used in Philips/Saeco machines. If compared to stainless steel grinders used by the majority of other brandsuse, ceramic is better because it can’t overheat the beans. On the other hand, it can easily break if there is a small stone in the coffee beans. However, it rarely happens and only if you buy very cheap coffee. You can find adjustment knob inside the bean container, but remember to adjust the grinder settings only when the machine is grinding.
  • In addition, X-Small Fully Automatic Espresso Machine has no control of height under the dispensing spot. It’s always 95 mm or 3.7 inches, which sometimes is not enough for high latte macchiato glasses.
  • There is no bypass for preground coffee. You can use only beans. However, seriously, are you really going to use one-year-old ground coffee from supermarket since you have an automatic coffee machine with a good built-in grinder?
  • No strength adjustment. The machine will always use approx. 0.3 oz. (8 g) of coffee for one cup. That’s  classical proportion.
  • No water hardness setup. That means that the machine will ask for descaling based on average hardness of water in the US. Therefore, if you live in an area with really hard water, it’s better not to wait for an alarm to go off and to run a descaling cycle every month or two. If you have good water in your household, you can skip every second alarm. However, that’s no harm to run descaling too often.
  • There is also no temperature control. That’s why some people complain about the Philips HD8645’s coffee temperature in their reviews. However, I believe that X-Small’s standard configurations are just ideal for espresso. In fact, espresso should not be too hot, as you suppose to drink it right after making.

Check current prices and deals @ Amazon for Saeco X-Small (any above-mentioned models).

If you got used to really hot coffee and do not want to change your preferences, it could be a problem. Double wall espresso cups can help, but not much. In that case, consider buying more expensive Saeco’s model with temperature adjustments (Philips Saeco Expelia, for example) or any coffee machine made by Delonghi. Delonghi uses different brewing group, which makes coffee little bit hotter and little bit bitter. However, keep in mind that starting budget on the U.S. market in both cases will be higher (compared to X-Small).

Philips Saeco X-Small is very easy to use

All above-mentioned limited adjustments can be listed either in the pros or in the cons. It all depends on your needs. As a simple home machine for making classical espresso and such espresso-based drinks such as cappuccino or latte – X-Small is just fine. The factory settings are correct and suit every beginner. Especially considering the price.

The difference between HD8645/47 and HD8745/57

PannarelloThis coffee machine is equipped with manual cappuccinatore (milk frother) called ‘Pannarello’. This wand of special form can also be used to deliver hot water. That pannarello is one of a few differences between Philips Saeco HD8645/47 and HD8745/57 models:

  • HD8645/47 comes with plastic one. You can take it off for cleaning.
  • HD8745/57 has the same characteristics but is made of metal. It’s a little bit more easier to clean it compared to a plastic one.

The second difference is the materials and form of a drip tray stand. The HD8745/57 has plastic ones. HD8645/47 has metal ones. It looks good when you buy it, but after couple of month of using it, cups will scratch the surface. In addition, light cups can make a jingling sound when put on a metal stand.

The third difference is the materials of bean container walls and a cover In the 8745 model, they are made from transparent plastic. In 8645, it’s black plastic, so you need to open the cover to see if there are enough beans inside.

The final difference is colors of its body (which is made of plastic, by the way): HD8645/47 is produced only in black color. HD8745/47 could be black or silver (chrome).

Is it loud?

Yes, Saeco X-Small is quite loud when it works. Nevertheless, the same amount of noise is produced by most of its competitors. This model maybe just a little bit noisier. I filmed a short video for you to compare the loudness of Phillips Saeco HD8645/47 and an electric kettle:

 

Specific technical problems these models have

Saeco's Removable brewing group

Access to a removable brewing group (Saeco Xsmall Vapore HD8645/47)

There are no any peculiar problems. The model is based on the well-known technological solutions that Saeco has been developing and improving for years. These machines are made only in Europe, never in China. Thus, you can rely on good assembly quality.

Sometimes, users report that X­Small spills the dry ground coffee inside. A possible reason for that is a factory defect. However, such things very rarely happen, Saeco has stronger quality control compared to most of its competitors. Usually, it happens due to the lack of maintenance. Saeco’s removable brewing group needs to be cleaned regularly. In addition, it needs to be lubricated every 500 cups (in average). Descaling has to be run each time machine’s alarm goes off. All those requirements are described in the manual and a lubricant comes with the machine. And that’s why the brewing group is removable.

Some people might consider it as a disadvantage, since clients have to perform this or that operation except changing tanks and loading beans. But! It seriously prolongs machine’s lifetime. In addition, it makes its maintenance cheaper because coffee machines with an unremovable brewing group also need lubrication and cleaning. More rarely, of course, but only in appliance repair center and for extra money.

The pros, the cons, and my review verdict

Philips Saeco HD8745 Black Espresso Machine

Philips Saeco HD8745 Black

Ok, let’s summarize. The Saeco X-Small family which includes HD8645/47 and HD8745/57 is one of the cheapest bean-to-cup coffee machines. On the US market this automatic machine costs about $100 more than manual Delonghi EC685, for example. That’s definitely a plus.

Since it cheap, it has some limited adjustments. That means you cannot change the strength, temperature and cup height. It’s a little bit loud, and the tanks are limited so you need to empty it often. These are the only cons that I consider fair.

Other pros: price (again), easy to use, compact (but not super compact), automatically prepares good espresso as it should be, can prepare cappuccino in manual mode.

Could be the cons, could the pros: coffee might seem not too hot for someone, need regular maintenance (cleaning, lubricating).

As a result, I highly recommend this model for home use when you are on a low budget and it will be used by one or two persons. For office use, it’s better to choose Gaggia Synchrony Logic RS.

Notice for UK buyers

In the United Kingdom X-small is sold as HD8743/31. You can also find it in stock as Philips HD8651/01 or HD8745/01. Update: not anymore. In 2017 it was finally replaced by the Philips HD8651.

Check current prices and deals @ Amazon for Saeco X-Small or for Philips HD8651.

Coffeemachine Philips Saeco HD8743/11

For the UK only: Philips Saeco HD8743/11 doesn’t make good cappuccino. Better choose HD8651/01 or 8745/01.

Saeco Philips HD8743/11 and Philips HD8650/01 has only a simple wand, which makes it harder to froth the milk, but easier to pour in hot water. HD8651/01 and 8745/01 have plastic pannarello and non-transparent bean hopper. I highly recommend choosing the latter. Also, be aware of buying Philips 2000 series HD8650. That model costs the same (~£300) and looks almost the same. However, it has neither pannarello for cappuccino, nor a steam wand for pouring hot water. That fact seriously reduces it functionality.

As I said before I consider Seaco X-Small to be a very reasonable coffee maker, that makes good coffee at a reasonable price. Nevertheless, its competitors have different prices on the UK market. If I would live in London, I would rather spend £15­-20 more and get Delonghi’s ESAM4000 or ESAM2900 (read my review). They have more adjustments compared to this Philips model, and they offer the same quality.

There is also a very similar model on the UK market for almost the same price – Philips HD8821/01. It has absolutely the same functionality. The only difference is the way its body looks and a dispenser is adjustable so you can use taller glasses.

I NEED you opinion. Please rate my review:

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Philips HD8743 / HD8745 / HD8747 / HD8651 Coffee Machine Specifications:

Download manual: Download pdf manual
Machine type: Beans-to-cup super-automatic machine
Width х Deep х Height: 11.5 x 16.5 x 12.8 inches
Coffee used: Coffee beans
Grinder: Burr, ceramic, 5 steps adjustable
Brewing group: One, removable, with a pre-brewing functions
Heater: Stainless steel boiler 1400 W
Max pressure: 15 bar
Water container: 33oz, accessible from the front section
Bean container: 6.5oz
Waste container: 8 serving, accessible from the front section
Cappuccinatore: Manual 'pannerello'
Max cup height: 3.7 inches
Peculiar properties: No temp and strength adjustment
Colors: HD8645/47 Black, HD8745/47: Black or Silver

Author:

21/01/2016

Have any questions? Please ask in comments below!

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4 comments:

  1. Dmitry, we bought the Philips 8745/21 on special offer, thanks for the information. We’re working it out…
    After turning it on and before making coffee, the water started running, which we didn’t expect. Does this happen every time it is turned on, so we shouldn’t put a cup underneath straight away?
    For how long should the machine be left on or should it be turned off after each use?

    Also, our coffee was warm, not hot. Compared to Starbucks, where we usually have to wait for our coffee to cool. Why could this happen?

    Thanks in advance for your advice

    Sandy

    8 May 17 at 1:05 am

    Reply

    • All decent machines rinse themselves when they are turned on and off. This is normal and helpful. You can put a cup underneath and immediately empty it into the sink if it is nearby – then you won’t have to empty the drip tray so often. But I will mention that the machine drains some things directly into the drip tray, so even if you put a cup underneath, the tray should still be emptied from time to time. You can turn it off after each use, but why would you? It has an automatic shutdown feature.

      As for the temperature of the coffee, firstly, it is better to warm the cups, at least with hot water from the same machine. Secondly, if you are talking about an Americano, it is prepared in Starbucks by diluting espresso with almost boiling water, which is why it is hotter. If you are preparing a large portion of lungo, then it is less an Americano than an espresso diluted with water. Espressos and lungos, in theory, should not be boiling hot – “according to the recipe”, their temperature is no higher than 70 degrees. And if this is poured into a cup with thick, cold walls, then it cools down very quickly.

      Dmitriy

      9 May 17 at 7:08 am

      Reply

  2. Hello
    We have an HD8545 in white. Yes white. This machine is used in an office break room where about a half a dozen individuals use it daily. Over the months we have had this brewer, I have noticed an over abundant accumulation of unused grounds next to the brewing mechanism inside the door. I maintain this machine regularly, and de-scale it when appropriate. However, I have observed an increase in the amount of unused grounds lately and am wondering if there is something we are doing inappropriately when brewing, or we need to bring the device in for a tune up. You have mentioned this action is sometimes a default in manufacturing, so I’m wondering if this bean spillage is under the manufacturers warranty. Please, can you give me a bit more insight to our dilemma. Thank you

    Ted Kamp

    19 Jul 17 at 8:23 pm

    Reply

    • That happens with that machine some times (as I mentioned), most probable reason is because brewing unit have some shift to the left or to the right, when it is in ‘parking position’ under the grinder hole. I mean it is not exactly under the hole (where ground coffee comes out from the grinder), but little to the side. And that’s why ground coffee spills.

      Do you grease the brewing unit when you maintain it? If not, in most cases greasing will help. It is described in the manual how to do it. And here is a video on youtube that illustrates the proccess: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jk3CUiHoGmQ Here in Europe we use OKS 1110, you can buy it on ebay. However if they don’t sell it in States, you can buy any food grade approved silicone based grease. I don’t know, if it is under warranty, since it is clearly said in manual about lubricartion. Here in Europe I think in most cases they will fix it fo free.

      If I am not right, and your brewing unit is greased and you still have this problem with spillage, please let me know.

      Dmitriy

      20 Jul 17 at 4:51 pm

      Reply

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