If you’re a coffee enthusiast who wants a range of coffee shop-quality beverages at the touch of a button, you should consider a super-automatic espresso machine.
There are many options on the market, from inexpensive entry-level machines to high-end ones that wouldn’t be out of place in a coffee shop. Others sit neatly in the mid-range market, and one is the Saeco Xelsis.
This review goes in-depth on the coffee machine, explaining what sets it apart from other machines in a similar price range. By the end, you should have a far clearer idea as to whether the Saeco Xelsis is for you, and why we included it as one of the top automatic coffee machines in our previous round-up.
Saeco Xelsis Espresso Machine Review – The SM7684
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Design And Build Quality
At first glance, you’ll notice the sturdy and robust appearance of the Saeco Xelsis espresso machine, and this impression is amply backed up by its build. The machine has a stainless steel body with a modern, smartphone-like glass interface. Meanwhile, its box-shaped design is attractive and assuring, with a classic, stylish aesthetic that affirms its capabilities confidently.
The bean hopper on top holds 450g of fresh beans. Meanwhile, the hopper has an aroma seal to retain the freshness of the stored beans, so there are no concerns over them becoming stale.
Elsewhere, the Saeco Xelsis coffee machine has a bypass chute for pre-ground coffee, while there is a height-adjustable spout that can fit cups up to 5.75in.
There is also a milk carafe and milk frother and an elegant stainless steel mesh drip tray at the base.
The water tank is installed from the front, not that you’d notice, as its stainless steel front blends seamlessly with the machine’s body. This positioning makes it easy to refill – there’s no need to either move the coffee machine or awkwardly reach around it to get to it.
Finally, the machine’s dimensions are 19.3in x 11.2in x 15.5in making it fairly bulky, so it’s unlikely to be appropriate if you have limited countertop space.
There are 15 preset specialty coffee drinks options that you can enjoy with one touch of the user interface. So, you can opt for coffee, espresso, ristretto, espresso lungo, americano, or popular milk drinks such as flat white, latte macchiato, cappuccino, caffe latte, cafe au lait, cortado and more. Finally, you can get milk froth, warm milk and hot water.
You can also customize each drink with a swipe of the finger. We’ll go into more detail about customization soon. Meanwhile, up to six people can save their settings, making it easy for everyone in your home to get the coffee-shop quality drink they prefer, to the precise specifications.
The range of presets combined with the extent of the customization means it is easy to impress guests with a perfect coffee.
The Saeco Xelsis’s programmability is outstanding. This is thanks to the sleek user interface’s Coffee Equalizer. You operate the user interface in the same way you would a smartphone’s screen – with swipes of the finger.
The Coffee Equalizer features a series of bars you move up or down to adjust your coffee preferences, similar to an audio equalizer.
First, select the coffee you desire, and a menu appears with seven options allowing you to tweak the number of ingredients or strength with a swipe of the finger. The Coffee Equalizer even lets you decide whether to add milk or coffee first. Meanwhile, you can also adjust the temperature in the same way. Let’s take a closer look at the options:
- Milk foam amount
- Coffee strength (five options)
- Cup volume
- Temperature (three options)
- Milk or coffee order
- Coffee flavor
- User profiles (six profiles)
As you can see from the list, the range of options makes it easy to brew your perfect beverage. So, if you like a hotter drink with plenty of milk froth, but your partner prefers a stronger coffee in a smaller cup, you can find the sweet spot for each using the Coffee Equalizer and save them in your user profile. Then, when you want the same drink another time, you can brew it at the touch of a button.
At every point, the Saeco espresso machine is equipped with advanced technology to ensure a high-quality brew performance.
For example, there is a premium ceramic grinder with 12 grind settings. You can adjust the grind size to a fine setting for intense flavors or coarser for a milder drink. Meanwhile, Saeco claims this durable, 100% ceramic grinder will offer consistent coffee grounds for 20,000 cups without deterioration over time.
The Saeco espresso machine has a 15-bar pump pressure, which leaves it in good company with high-end super-automatic espresso machines. This means you can expect espresso drinks that are properly extracted and offer rich crema and superior coffee taste.
The Saeco Xelsis also uses LatteDuo technology. This allows you to brew two coffee drinks simultaneously. Select the drink you require via the user interface, press 2X, and it will do the rest. This is an excellent time-saver if you’re brewing for two people first thing in the morning.
The super-automatic machine has a double Thermoblock heating system that quickly heats to the perfect temperature for brewing and steaming.
Finally, the milk system uses Latte Perfecto technology, meaning milk is foamed twice instead of once. The result is that the size of the bubbles is reduced for a smooth, firm texture.
Coffee Drink Quality
As we mentioned earlier, the Latte Perfecto system is pivotal to the quality of milk-based drinks. It froths the milk twice to create dense foam for customizable drinks. Also, because you can change even the coffee and milk order, it mimics the work of a professional barista and can create a beautiful layer for your beverage. This is significant, as not all automatic espresso machines can achieve this.
As a super-automatic espresso machine, everything from the temperature to dialing is customizable for perfect coffee every time. All you need to ensure is you’re using freshly roasted coffee beans.
Lower-quality coffee machines often create bubby milk froth instead of microfoam. However, the Saeco Xelsis creates smooth, velvety foam akin to coffee shop beverages.
So, your latte macchiatos will have a gorgeous layer, your flat whites will be creamy rather than airy, while the microfoam will be perfect for creating beautiful latte art.
Ease Of Use
The Saeco Xelsis is a fully-automatic espresso machine, meaning you shouldn’t expect it to be difficult to use. However, thanks to the intuitive user interface with clear visualized images, and superb Coffee Equalizer, perfect coffee could barely be more accessible.
The TFT screen is full color, and the drinks options are represented by clear images with the name of the drink neatly displayed in text beneath it, making it easy to find and select which one you require. Meanwhile, operating the Coffee Equalizer is as simple as sliding each option up or down with your finger to find the level you desire.
Say you’d like to make a latte macchiato. To do this, first make sure the milk tubes are attached to the milk carafe with cold milk. Then you select the user interface’s macchiato icon (a tall glass with a layered coffee drink). Next, the Coffee Equalizer appears, from which you select your levels of coffee volume, milk volume, strength, foam, and milk or coffee first. Finally, place the appropriate coffee cup beneath the spout and press the start button. The machine takes care of the rest.
The Saeco Xelsis also has an external milk container for extra convenience. Meanwhile, as well as being easy to use, the machine is also quiet, making it perfect for brewing even if others are sleeping.
Cleaning and maintaining the Saeco Xelsis is as easy as using it. This is largely thanks to the machine’s HygieSteam system. The system performs automatic steam cleaning to remove all traces of milk from the whole milk circuit at the touch of a button.
Meanwhile, unlike many other machines, the Saeco Xelsis’s drip tray is not connected to the used coffee container, ensuring easy removal and cleaning. Also, the brew group attaches from the side, and it’s so easy to remove that you can do so using one hand. Then, rinse it under a tap before reinserting it.
The Saeco espresso machine uses AquaClean, the patented water filter. The ion exchange technology extracts the calcium from the water. Then, the micro-porous filter stops impurities from reaching the coffee maker. Meanwhile, the water takes a longer path through the filter, which ensures deeper purification and a higher-quality, richer beverage. Meanwhile, this prevents scale buildup, so you only need to descale after brewing 5,000 cups if you replace the filter regularly.
The used coffee container holds 14 pucks. Meanwhile, the drip tray holds 500ml before it needs emptying. Finally, the touch screen will notify you whenever there’s a maintenance issue that needs resolving.
This tutorial video from Saeco explained everything about the maintenance of the Saeco Xelsis.
Value For Money
Considering all the advantages of the Saeco Xelsis, it won’t surprise you to learn that the machine is not cheap. Indeed, its price is comparable with machines that offer similar drinks options and programmability, such as the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige or Miele CM6160. However, some features make the Saeco Xelsis stand out from the crowd.
The smartphone-like user interface and intuitive Coffee Equalizer are obvious examples. However, we also love the HygieSteam system, as it offers the peace of mind that the impossible-to-reach parts of the machine are thoroughly cleaned regularly.
However, the Latte Perfecto system is perhaps most impressive, which ensures the kind of microfoam and professional barista-level brewing that you would normally only find in more expensive machines.
Overall, despite its relatively high cost, the Saeco Xelsis still represents value for money, and in certain areas, its performance and features are comparable with considerably more expensive machines. It’s the best coffee machine for a coffee lover who wants to enjoy a wide variety of coffee drinks without hassles.
Despite the Saeco Xelsis’s many advantages, there are still a few minor drawbacks.
Firstly, the machine is quite bulky, so it won’t suit people with limited countertop space. Secondly, fingerprints on the interface can be an issue. Also, some domestic brewers complain that the coffee drinks are not hot enough for their liking. Finally, the 1.6l water tank is slightly smaller than many other espresso machines in a similar price range.
However, if you can see beyond these issues, the Xelsis remains a seriously impressive machine.
Saeco Xelsis Alternatives
Let’s look at two other espresso machines that are worth considering in a similar price range.
Gaggia Cadorna Prestige
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If you require an automatic espresso machine that produces coffee-shop quality coffee while being slightly less expensive than the Saeco Xelsis, look no further than the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige (Check our review here).
There are a few areas where it’s not quite as impressive as the Xelsis. For example, it has 14 drinks options rather than 15. Meanwhile, there are only 10 grind settings compared to the Xelsis’s 12. Also, the coffee machine can hold 10 used coffee pucks rather than 14, while it can save four user profiles rather than six. Lastly, the build quality isn’t quite as impressive, with more plastic in the housing.
However, it offers exceptional value for money. You still get a machine with a full-color TFT display and a modern, stylish overall design for less expense.
Not only that, but the coffee is as easy to brew and as impressive. The Gaggia Cadorna Prestige also brews the milk and coffee in the order according to the beverage you select, mimicking a professional barista.
Lastly, it’s also extremely easy to clean and maintain.
De’Longhi ECAM37095TI Dinamica Plus
If you want even more drinks options than the Saeco Xelsis offers, the De’Longhi ECAM37095TI Dinamica is worth considering. This is the newer model on the market. It boasts 16 specialty drinks. However, what’s particularly significant is the inclusion of iced coffee thanks to the machine’s Truebrew over ice feature.
The new Dinamica also offers an intuitive full-color touch screen. You can also customize the drinks with the DeLong’hi Coffee Link app with your smartphone. However, it doesn’t offer the same level of flexibility for customization. Nevertheless, its LatteCrema system ensures beautiful milk froth, so the drink quality is still high.
Whether or not you opt for this machine is likely to come down to its ability to make iced coffee, which the Saeco coffee machine lacks. Check our Delonghi Dinamica Review for more details.
Straight out of the box, the Saeco Xelsis looks impressive, with a sturdy and premium-looking build. However, that’s only the start.
The machine is also easy and intuitive to use, while cleaning and maintaining it could barely be more straightforward.
The integrated ceramic grinder is consistent and durable, while the 15 preset drinks options will be more than adequate for most coffee lovers. Also, you can customize them quickly and easily thanks to the intuitive Coffee Equalizer.
Not only that, but when you have the perfect settings, you can save them to brew your perfect beverage without hassle time and again.
And what of the coffee quality? Frankly, it’s on par with what you’d expect from a professional barista.
Yes, there are a few small drawbacks, but if you can see past them, the Saeco Xelsis is one of the most impressive mid-priced super-automatic espresso machines on the market and well worth considering if you desire top-quality, hassle-free coffee.