Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: SAECO HD8753/87 Philips Intellia Cappuccino Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
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on January 29, 2014
My seven-year-old Delonghi Magnifica started leaking, so I replaced it two months ago with this machine. The things I like better about the Saeco are:
(1) the milk frother takes most of the effort and guesswork out of making really good cappuccino,
(2) adding water to the Saeco is easy - just pull the container out a few inches and pour water in. With the Delonghi, I had to completely remove the container to add water,
(3) you can see the coffee beans in the Saeco, so there's no guessing when to add more,
(4) Saeco's grinder is quiet compared to Delonghi's, and
(5) the Saeco is shorter and smaller (making it easier to add beans at the top even though I have it under a kitchen cabinet) and as such, the Saeco looks better on the counter-top than the Delonghi did.

One thing I need to mention: When I first bought the Saeco, the coffee was usually good, often excellent, but inconsistent due to a problem I had with the coffee beans. The beans rest on a plastic shield with holes in it, which I guess is supposed to regulate delivery of the beans to the grinder. Entirely too often, I had to shake the shield because the beans did not drop into the grinder. Even when they were dropping into the grinder, there were gaps during which the grinder was turning with no beans. This machine does not recognize when it's not receiving beans, so the result was that each cup of coffee was different, sometimes ending up with just a cup of lightly brown water. I was on the verge of returning the machine when I read elsewhere that Saeco customer service recommends removing the plastic shield. I did that yesterday (simple, just remove the phillips-head screw holding it in place) and so far I have had no more problems with the beans, and the coffee has been consistent.

April 10, 2014 update: For some reason, without the plastic shield, the machine does recognize when the bean container becomes empty, and prompts for more beans. I've had absolutely no problems since removing the plastic shield. I'd up my rating by half a star if possible, and if the coffee brewed hotter, I'd give it 5 stars.

I increased my rating from 3 stars to 4 stars after testing the machine without the plastic shield.

Other issues that are not a big deal to me, but might be to you:

Even though I have the Saeco programmed to the hottest setting, the coffee is dispensed at 135.6 degrees Fahrenheit (measured after dispensing into a pre-warmed cup). If you add milk, or if you use a cold cup, you likely will need your microwave for the coffee to be hot enough. The Delonghi brewed at about the same temperature, so maybe this is common for espresso machines.

The Saeco water container holds 6 ounces less than the Delonghi container, and the Saeco frequently flushes the machine with a surprisingly large amount of water. So I have to fill the water container and empty the drip tray almost daily. This was only necessary once or twice per week with the Delonghi. Maybe the process helps prevent leaks, so I'm not complaining.
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on May 11, 2014
I bought this machine, refurbished, recently from another source at a highly discounted price. Before I ordered it, I took to Amazon for reviews, and was confident in buying it, when there are such great reviews even at the retail price. Like many others, I recommend taking the plastic bean shaker piece out, as all it does (for me) is prevent the beans from getting in to the grinder. Since the grinding cycle seems to be based on time and not volume, the machine doesn't know when it is not getting a full grind, so you frequently get a weak coffee, and frequently get the "out of beans" icon on the display. Phillips screwdriver, take that thing out, you will get consistent coffee, and even have a little more room in the hopper for beans; I can fit roughly 1/2 lb of beans in the hopper, with the "shaker" removed.

The main feature that makes this machine much better than a lot of machines far more expensive than this one, is the fact that the milk steaming unit is fully self-contained. When you take the milk carafe off, the whole thing goes in your refrigerator, making it much less maintenance. For us, we make 5-6 cups of cappuccino per day with this machine, 7 days a week, and I have only found it necessary to clean the milk carafe once or twice a week, because you are not leaving anything out at room temperature that ever comes in contact with the milk.

By contrast, I have seen a lot of other very expensive machines where, although the milk is of course in a container that detaches and goes in your fridge, it still routes through a nozzle for steaming that stays attached to the machine, meaning you MUST clean that thing every single day, otherwise you have safety/health concerns. This additional maintenance means you may not use the machine as much as you'd like. I have known a few people with expensive machines that have to be cleaned every single day because of the milk contact with room-temperature parts, that say they no longer use the milk part, they just heat it in the microwave and skip the milk. lame!

Because of this, the Saeco is our ultimate machine. Fully programmable, one-touch, very low maintenance, consistent results (after you take the stupid bean shaker out...).

UPDATE - 8/2/2015: We've had this machine over a year now, still use it just as much; 5-6 cappuccino's per day. Not a single complaint about this machine, we absolutely love it!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon January 25, 2015
Well this machine certainly makes an impressive cappuccino and for the price...it better! It is very nice looking but you better clear away some space because it will certainly eat up some real estate on the countertop. We also have an Nespresso and I'd have to say that the Saeco makes the better cup of cappuccino...but the Nespresso is a lot less high maintenance. I've had the unit for about a week now and I have made quite a few cups of cappuccino with it. The operating instructions are adequate for setting up the machine and you will be brewing in no time. Programming the system for specific coffee and cream amounts is a little more tricky so be prepared to play around with it for a while.

This thing has a lot of parts to it. I've included some photos to show what the inside looks like. It reminds me of a copy machine. You open up the side door and pull out the innards of the machine to clean. The operating instructions recommend a weekly cleaning and it really isn't hard to do. You've just got to remember to put all the parts in or it will not work correctly. The cool thing about the unit is that it will tell you on the view screen if certain components of it are not in place correctly...much like the office copy machine. There was one time however, that I didn't put the hose back into the Milk Carafe...I had cleaned it and left it aside...and that messed up a cup of cappuccino. You've got to be careful and make sure everything is hooked up and ready to go before you start brewing!

When operating, it is a little louder than the Nespresso. Especially since this unit froths the milk and grinds the coffee beans. It is by no means intolerably noisy however. I've seen the reviews posted that say that the coffee beans are not spilling into the machine correctly. I haven't had that happen to me as of yet. The coffee beans have been feeding into the machine consistently so far. I did note that the plastic "shaker" can be easily removed if a problem does occur in the future. I did try using ground coffee in the machine and that is where I ran into some problems. It just didn't work all the time. Sometimes only hot water would come out of the unit. It was very inconsistent for me when using ground coffee and thus I have only been using beans now. When cleaning the ground coffee from the machine, it packs it into a small "cake" that can be easily removed. I've included a photo of this for you to see what it looks like.

Another negative worth noting is that there seems to be a lot of excessive water collected in the tray that runs under the unit. I'm not sure where all of the excess comes from. Maybe steam? This is something that you are going to have to clean often. I clean it after every operation because I am scared that running too many cups will cause it to overflow. This tray unit is what you see the cup and milk carafe sitting on. It has two push buttons on either side and this will allow you to remove the tray (which runs the length) of the Saeco. After running four cups of Cappuccino, this will fill up with excess water quick. The good thing is that it is easy to remove and replace.

I would be a little hesitant to put the milk carafe in the fridge. It has rubber gaskets on certain parts of it and taking it out of the fridge and putting it through the extreme heat of the frothing process could cause excessive wear on those rubber seals. I rinse it with warm water after each use and if you have extra milk in the container, you can easily pour it back out. When you are paying this much for a machine like this, I'll weigh more on the side of caution just in case.

If you are serious about your cappuccino, this is the machine for you. It is very pricey but I can say that it makes it just as good as the expensive coffee houses. However, be prepared to take a little more time to maintain this piece of equipment. It has a lot of parts to it and you are going to need to clean it regularly. There are certain parts of the system that are going to need to be greased as well. The operating instructions recommend doing this after about 500 cups have been brewed. A tube of grease is included with the machine. The machine cleans itself too. Every time you turn it off and on, it will run water through it to purge itself so you will get the best cup. I always put a cup under it before I turn it on and off to collect this "purged" water and that way it doesn't fall into the drip tray.

This is a very nice unit indeed. It makes a great cup of cappuccino and it is impressive to see it in action. Just note that this thing has a lot of parts and will require some time to take care of it and maintain it properly. If you are a serious about your brew...this is definitely the unit for you.

Update: 7/16/2015

The unit is still performing perfectly and has been used quite often over the past several months with no problems.
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on December 15, 2013
Second Saeco product I've owned.
Love it and strongly recommend this name brand.
The last auto espresso maker I bought lasted almost 10 years of every day use.
It would still be working today, but a power surge fried the electronics.
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on May 17, 2014
Owned this machine for a couple months, and overall does a consistent job of pulling espresso shots....IF you remove the plastic shaker in the bean hopper. As another reviewer mentioned, you'll want to do a 30 second mod by taking a standard Phillips screw driver and removing a single screw that holds down the clear plastic bean shaker.

Once you channel your inner McGuyver and complete this mod, you'll be making fine tasting espresso in no time.

Pros:
Consistent espresso
High Quality feel with soft touch buttons
Easy to clean with many modular items designed to rinse off easily
Reasonable footprint / size

Cons:
Remove the plastic bean shaker IMMEDIATELY
Isn't tall enough to squeeze a standard to go cup under the spout
Expensive water filters
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on April 23, 2014
Love this machine so far. haven't had it but for a few days but the instructions were easy to follow and the coffee is great. This machine actually makes coffee hot enough where I don't need to use the microwave. The cappuccinos are nice and frothy but the machine does require the milk pitcher be cleaned properly. Philips has videos that show exactly what to do and by following those instructions our cappuccinos are nice and consistent. I removed the bean hopper shield before even using it for the first time based on the comments here on Amazon and the espresso/coffee is always consistent. My wife loves the fact she can have hot milk or make tea without a kettle.
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on January 27, 2015
Loved this machine for the first ~18 months. Then it started frequently aborting the brew cycle and dumping dry loose grounds into the dreg drawer. Turned out the grinder motor started using more current than it's specifications, which caused the processor to abort the brew cycle. Cost me $335 and 4 repairs before this problem was found and finally fixed by replacing the grinder motor. Most of that was un-needed repairs (including a new CPU board) because the authorized repair center couldn't figure out what was going on. If you want a Saeco machine, I'd recommend researching whether they have one that does NOT have the Saeco Adapting System (SAS) that automatically adjusts the dosage. This is the feature that measures the grinder motor current and compares it to grinder rotations to try to automatically adjust the dose. And that's the feature that caused all my problems.
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on January 4, 2015
I bought this through another source, "refurbed". I would pay the full price for this machine brand new. I would not hesitate to make this purchase again and regret not purchasing one sooner. It seems like a heck of a lot of money to spend for a fancy coffee maker, but I feel it was well worth it. I love the coffee and cappuccino that this machine produces.

I did the recommended modification to remove the grinder cover/bean shaker before I even used the machine.

The down side - is that this is a bit higher maintenance in comparison to a regular coffee maker. You need to be cautious about using filtered water and descaling. They do not recommend using vinegar to de-scale - but instead use some citric acid tablets or solution that are meant for the purpose. The explanation is that the vinegar is too harsh and will damage the seals over time. It could be argued that you don't need to buy filters or empty the grinds after each use so it might be even in the maint. labor.

There are spaces inside the machine were coffee grind loss can occur - bits of grinds don't quite make it into the used grind hopper. If you overfill the ground coffee filler (which you can not see into) - the machine will abort the coffee and spill grind around on the inside of the machine. So you will have to open the user panels and brush out the grinds every now and again.

You need to be conscious of how oily the beans are that you run through the automatic grinder. The grinder is user cleanable if you are a bit mechanically inclined - there are videos out there of how to do it. But it is not a user friendly process. I have yet to need to do it - but when the day comes I feel that I could take it on.
Because of the built in grinder and hopper - it's not easy to switch to decaff. So if you like your caffeine in the morning and de-caff after dinner - you will want to use pre-ground coffee and add through the grind coffee filler. Or waste a grind or two after clearing out the beans.

The water pitcher will never completely empty and it seems to detect "empty" a bit too early for my preferences - that is a minor annoyance. I may buy the hard pipe kit to run water directly into the machine. I have to re-fill water about every three large mugs of coffee.

The milk container is detachable- so you steam what you need and pop it back into the fridge so the rest can be used later. I've found 2% milk seems to produce the nicest froth. I'm a half and half fan so I tried it - but it didn't come out very well. I wound up watering it down to get a nice foam.

The device is partially programmable. You can tell it how long to run you espresso shot on one button, how long to run the espresso shot for cappuccino along with how much steamed milk to add to your cappuccino on another button. you can also tell it how long to run your regular coffee/(really cafe americano) on another button. I will say this button maxed out before my mug was filled - but I have large coffee mugs (15oz). My guess it the machine will max out at about 12oz. I am still very happy with it. The machine will also produce steamed milk and hot water on demand via special use buttons- great for hot chocolate or tea.

I still love this machine - think it is well worth the money if you really enjoy your coffee and cappuccino. I would pay the price here if ever I needed to replace the machine without hesitation now that I've owned and used it. It is one of the few purchase I have made that I have no regrets even after spending quite a bit of money. No games, no learning how to draw a shot, no learning how to froth milk - it just takes care of it for you and you get a great drink in seconds.

Noise - it's a little noisy. It grinds the beans - which makes some noise and then it uses some weird pump that vibrates quite a bit - and that produces a bit of noise as well. If someone is sleeping in the next room - you would probably wake them up. So if you get up at 4am and your spouse at 6am - this may not be the right machine. But - I know that if my bedroom door is shut upstairs - it's OK. So depending on your house layout and usage - it may or may not be an issue.

I've had this machine for about a month and a half. I run at least 4 cups a day through it. If I run into any issues not noted here. I'll update my review.

Edit: After 3.5 months - the LCD is failing. It will only display the red color. As this was a refurbed unit, I don't know how long it was in use "total" time before a failure like this occurred. I've found evidence on the 'net of 2 other users who had a similar issue. If it requires a replacement part - the screen is about $35. It appears to be difficult to get to. I'm going to buy the correct torx bit required to reach the part and reseat the cable for the LCD. I'll update if/when I am successful in the repair.
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on September 2, 2013
Sorry, I bought this item prior to my days at amazon. I have no complains about this maker. It is fully programmable. How much froth for cappuccino and how much coffee to brew. If you use a good bean you will receive a great cup of either espresso or cappuccino.
Very easy to use and very easy to program. Cleaning the machine is the key to a good result. Enjoy your brewing with this machine, I am.
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on May 9, 2015
I am disappointed in this machine. I have had it now for one year, and can honestly say that it is a pain, and I would not buy it again, especially not at this price. I got this machine when my DeLonghi Magnifica was damaged beyond repair during an international move; we had loved that machine, but thought its passing provided us with an opportunity to get a machine with an internal milk frother. I knew Saeco used to make the machines Starbucks sold, and thought that was a pretty strong endorsement, then did a ton of research, and decided to make the investment. I prefer the DeLonghi Magnifica by far, and, for the big money, am not impressed with this one.

Pros:
- Narrow machine, fits in tight spots
- Sleek design
- Internal milk frother
- Heats up quickly

Cons
- Drain tray fills quickly (as in daily) and needs to be emptied more frequently than in any other machine I've owned
- Grounds trough fills and needs to be emptied and washed (or mold grows - not something I've experienced with other machines) frequently
- Water reservoir is small, and only a few cups can be made before it needs refilling.
- Milk frothing apparatus has to be taken apart and cleaned, with difficulty, and then put back together, also with difficulty
- Not the best for the money, and not an insignificant purchase
- Extreme automation means fewer easily-alterable options
- Normal, American-size mugs often do not fit under the spout and cannot be used
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