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on July 4, 2016
This machine served us well right up to the point it stopped serving us at all. Poor thing.

It was good while it lasted though. Great consistency and produces quite a bit more punch than the machine we replaced it with. The grinder can be very touch-and-go and tends to get clogged up a lot. We've been fiddling with the screw on the top of this for a while to try and reduce clogging, we've taped up the screw hole to prevent grounds and dust getting in there. It still clogs but we can use stir sticks to poke at it (while it isn't running, of course).

I'm not even annoyed by the jamming because the coffee is consistently good.
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on June 11, 2015
This product gas some big-time design flaws and it makes lousy coffee.

The water tank holds only three coffees worth of water. The grounds bin, only four..and the bean hopper not much more. So two of you can't get through a breakfast of two longs each without having to fill and empty everything.

The drip tray. My gawd, what were they thinking? It "snaps" in and out really hard, and there are no finger grips. So you end up breaking your fingernails trying to snap it out, and then the foul water dumps on your shoes and the floor. In fact, my wispy little wife can't get it out at all.

Ah, but as long as it brews a great cap, you say. But it does not, not even close. How about a lukewarm cap with no crema? I've messed with the grind, the aroma, different beans, done yoga breathing, nothing can make this awful machine put out a decent cup of anything.

Not even to mention it's a clean freak, always doing a rinse, so half your water is lost. So much for Your Pur filter. And if you go away for the weekend, and come back wanting a cup of coffee first thing in the door (OK, second thing), it will tell you it wants to be primed, which is a multi-step process that wates a full carafe of your filtered water.

Big time ten thumbs down. Yo, you people who gave it five stars, WTF?
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on February 22, 2015
Appearance was new and makes a great cup.
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on March 23, 2013
The hopper seems to jam up pretty often--even using dry beans--because of the safety device they've added (a little dome with holes in it). Consequently, about every 3 or 4 cups it will think it has filled the chamber with enough coffee when it hasn't, giving you weaker-than-green-tea coffee. So, AT YOUR OWN RISK, read the following......

To avoid the empty chamber problem, you simply have to bend/clip off the little plastic safety guards that hand down from the safety guard, and voila, it makes awesome drinks! Once you do this, you will love this machine. BUT of course, then you must be absolutely, positively sure to keep fingers and children away from the hopper/grinder, and you do this at your own risk. Obviously, a finger in the grinder would mean serious injury, or heck, even death I suppose......

Saeco, if you are reading this, please fix your hopper safety device so that your machine works properly.
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on December 26, 2010
This review applies to the steel version as well, except for the aesthetics.

The design and layout of this machine has been well-thought out by Saeco. I had a difficult time choosing between the steel and the black version, and ultimately chose the latter because I preferred the contrast of the black and chrome (and it matches my decor better).

The set-up of the machine is a bit confusing because there is a small insert paper with instructions that slightly conflicts with the full manual. Perhaps the translation from the original Italian is not entirely accurate. The insert indicated that the supplied intenza water filter must be installed - but this is optional and is not supplied with the machine. So don't waste your time looking for it. Once it is up & running, familiarizing oneself with the meaning of the icons on the LCD is important.

Thankfully, Saeco designed the machine with access to the water tank in the front. The spent grounds compartment is also in the front and the beans go in the top. This is important for a compact machine as the potential buyer probably has size restrictions. Some superautos, like the Jura Ena 3/5 have the water tank attach to the back and the Gaggia Platinum I considered has side access.

The draw of a superauto is the ability to go from bean to cup with one machine at the push of a button. In this regard, the Syntia performs very well. The bean hopper and water reservoir are small, but if you want any compact machine then this obviously is necessary to retain a small footprint.

The espresso the machine produces is quite nice. I choose the strongest setting (3 bean icon) for a dark espresso. I also prefer to produce a double (click twice) rather than a long coffee for a cappuccino so it is not watered down. The machine grinds & brews twice in quick succession when double clicking.

I would prefer a more solid feeling (seems to be part steel & part plastic at the top) however it does a surprisingly good job at foaming milk for cappuccino. The foam I've produced is slightly too stiff & aery - but I think it is more a technique issue at this point. Hopefully with practice I'll get just the right consistency between airy & dense. It is also excellent for steaming hot chocolate, Italian style. Just toss in your preferred hot chocolate mix with some added chocolate and a little milk and steam it until all is melted. Go bitter and serve it with some sugar on the side to taste.

Clean-up is a breeze. The tray pops out easily. The top comes off via a magnet and you can rinse it in the sink. The water & spent grounds reservoirs pop out from the front easily for rinsing. Wiping down the machine is not a problem.

Overall, I've been very pleased with this small machine. It is very easy for anyone to use and you can get great results without much effort.
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VINE VOICEon July 30, 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
There are those purists who swear that a super automatic can't produce the same results as a manual machine or even a semi-automatic and then there are those who just enjoy tinkering around with their espresso machines. This might not be the best choice for those people but if you are pressed for time or just want a decent cup of espresso or a quick latte or cappuccino without all the fiddling, the Saeco Syntia Focus more than fills the bill. I've owned a semi-automatic for years and while I can usually produce a decent shot with it, I've never truly become proficient; they can be finicky little devils. The coffee I've gotten from the Saeco is rich in crema and aroma and is at least as good, if not better. It's also a good deal faster with much less work.

The stainless steel Rapid Steam (single) boiler heats up quickly so there's minimal waiting and a very short interval between steaming milk and making coffee. Although the machine is a super-auto, there are some choices that are programmable so you can customize your cup. You can adjust the settings on the grinder if you prefer the grind to be coarser or finer and you can bypass the grinder entirely and use pre-ground coffee if you wish. You can select the strength of your brew from mild to medium to strong. It also allows you to adjust the amount of brewed coffee produced when you press the espresso or the long coffee buttons.

The Focus comes equipped with a Pannarello wand for frothing the milk for cappuccinos. Although some people don't care for them, the Pannarello is reputed to be more user-friendly than a conventional steam wand. Just make sure to run water through it after each use and regularly remove the tip and rinse it under running water. I drink more espressos than anything else but I've been experimenting with the Pannarello and find it easy to use. If you've never used one, with just a little practice you'll be able to produce an acceptable microfoam without spraying milk all over your kitchen.

The Syntia Focus is relatively compact, so it doesn't take up too much valuable counter space. The actual measurements are 10"W x 16.5"D x 12.5"H although they are slightly different in the product description. Maintenance is simple and straightforward. Pretty much everything that you need to access on a regular basis--the water reservoir, the coffee grounds drawer, the bean hopper and the brew group are positioned at or toward the front so the machine doesn't need to be moved for cleaning or replenishing. Saeco recommends that you remove and clean the brew group at least once a week and descale the machine every 3 months. None of this is particularly onerous and is a small price to pay in order to keep it functioning in good condition.

I've really come to appreciate the speed and ease of this small machine and to relish the delicious coffee that it produces on demand.

********************

05/23/2013

Since the machine is almost two years old, I thought it appropriate to update the review.

I still use it every day, making a minimum of two and often many more, cups of espresso and the occasional latte and cappuccino. It has never failed me nor come up short of my expectations.

The maintenance routine is as I expected. It takes but a few minutes each day to complete the routine tasks of washing and filling the water receptacle, emptying the spent grounds and cleaning out the drip tray. Once a week, I clean the brew group and every 500 brews or so, I lubricate it as instructed. Every few months (depending on usage) a light comes on to indicate that the Saeco needs descaling. It takes a few minutes but it's a simple procedure and the manual walks you through it. For a precision machine to function as well as it does day in and day out, I'm more than happy to do my part to keep it going smoothly.

I loved the Saeco Focus when I received it and if anything, I'm more enamored of it now than ever.
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on November 9, 2012
I have own the machine just for a couple of days now. Easy setup following the written instructions. The machine does need to pour a few shots before in actually pour a resonable coffee. Even at the maximum strongest setting the expresso shot is still fairly weak to my taste. However, once I adjusted the length of the shot (how much water is used with 1 dose of expresso) I got strong enough coffee but not the strongest. There is one more adjustment to improve this further that is I can adjust how fine the coffee is grounded. The machine is sleek and easy to use. So far, I am happy with the buy although I hope I could make stronger coffee still.

Nov 13th - A quick update to say that using the finest grind and strongest coffee strength, I was able to pour a strong double expresso. Delicious. Must remember to empty the bottom tray regularly or it overflows with water.
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on May 4, 2013
So, consider, that I'm a coffee addict. And a gadget addict. I started with the cheap Krups espresso, graduated through pod machines - Senseo, Keurig, Nespresso - then settled on the Breville expensive machine. By chance, I happened on the Talea Giro Plus, because it was on sale at Costco, and I was intrigued by the automation. I currently have the Talea Giro, but when the Syntia went on sale, I figured - okay, time to upgrade! But from my perspective, the only plus is that the machine is GORGEOUS. It is just a beautiful sleek compact black shiny machine. But is there such a thing as TOO automated? Maybe, only in the sense that you have ONLY TWO choices of sizes - small and large. (The Talea Giro Plus is negotiable, you set the dial anywhere along the spectrum, so it's highly more programmable that way). But that's not my principal objection to the Syntia. The coffee was WEAK. I set it to maximum beans (3 bean display), and set it too finest grind, and made mutiple cups of coffee, both small and large, and not a single cup came out as strong as the Talea Giro, the Breville, or coffeehouse coffee. It was too weak for me. And I will add, in case you're wondering, that I used VERY strong coffee beans - dark roasted blend from Costa Rica from Costco, that makes great intense espresso. I don't find the water reservoir that small, though the bean holder was more shallow. So, I'd pass if you like strong coffee, because it's not adjustable."
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on August 15, 2012
This machine makes it so easy to make cappuccinos and coffee drinks at home. I'm quite the caffiene addict and usually order a frothy cappuccino with a dash of cinnamon after dinner whenever my husband and I dine out. I never thought of making them at home because I thought it would be complicated. I read some previous reviews and watched a few videos on this Saeco and thought I'd give it a try. It does all the work for you ... from grinding the beans to pouring the perfect amount and discharging the grinds in a built in container. I thought frothing the milk might take some practice, but it was really simple. I even used the milk frother to make hot chocolate this week. My only recommendation would be adding a frothing pitcher to your order as it doesn't come with one. I was so excited to start making cappuccinos when it arrived in the mail that I ended up running out to our local Ikea to find a pitcher. I also picked up some 6 oz cups and little spoons so I could really get that 'bistro' feeling at home. I love it!Double Wall Glasses, a Thermo 7 Ounce Glass Cup. Perfect for Coffee, Tea, Cappuccino or Espresso, Set of 2 New 20 oz Espresso Coffee Milk Frothing Pitcher, Stainless Steel
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VINE VOICEon August 16, 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
**July 2015 Update**
The Saeco is going strong and will be moving on to a friend for now to make room for a newer fancier model (that automatically steams/froths milk for lattes, cappuccino, etc...), though I'm remiss to say goodbye. The first 3 or so years of ownership were trouble free. I descaled it when asked, washed the brew group periodically, and lubricated the brew group a bit less often. I replaced a couple o rings more as a proactive step than anything, and everything was awesome. After about 3 years I started experiencing repeated needs to prime/vent the system. At first I figured it was priming things, though in reality it was venting moreso than priming. Apparently oily beans had caught up with me, and the screens in the portafilter assembly (especially the top screen) had become clogged with residue. That created a great deal of pressure on startup, thus the venting. Once I fixed that, it's as good as new! I should have periodically used Urnex Cafiza or similar products (it's in addition to descaling) in the preground coffee cycle. If your Saeco needs venting on startup (or have owned it a while and want to be proactive), check this video out (should show a link to a YouTube clip from Riverespresso):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aFUWpHI9r4

**Original Review**
Using a semi-automatic espresso machine (Francis Francis X5), I'm well aware of the craft of grinding the right grind, metering the right dose, tamping with the correct pressure, and using a stop watch and measured shots to fine tune technique. That approach made great coffee, when I invested the time in the process. Sadly that wasn't always what I wanted to do the first thing in the morning. ESE pods sped things up, but really seemed pricey, as does any of the K-Cup systems. Do we have a solution?

Yes!

Do you have to grind coffee--no
Do you have to meter the dose--no
Do you have to tamp the grounds--no
Do you have to stand around and time pulls--no

You really just set it and forget it. Throw some beans up top, add water on the left, and press a button. Afterward, you empty the drip tray and ground canister on occasion. That rocks! Cappuccino and lattes do require manual frothing/steaming, but that's rather easy to do, and the ample boiler makes that a breeze.

Really my only complaints are that the water canister is a bit small (the ability to connect to a water line would rock), the controls, while simple, are far from intuitive, and the machine required a tweak to make a good solid puck (thus affording great espresso). These are rather petty complaints, but at $1000, that's what you get. Bear in mind, the $1000 investment does allow you to use whole beans (preferably top quality ones without too much oil) rather than ridiculously pricey pods of K-Cups. It won't pay for itself anytime soon, but I somehow feel less wasteful. Go figure.

Anyway, this machine makes great espresso without the fuss. That's what a superautomatic machine is all about.
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