Saeco Incanto Classic Espresso maker
by Andy Kaplan-Myrth
Saeco AICSS Incanto Classic
Automatic Espresso Machine
I used to use a basic electric espesso machine by Krups and I thought I enjoyed doing the work involved in making a fine cup of coffee: measuring the coffee, tamping it down, cleaning the basket after every cup... So when I was given a Saeco Incanto Classic as a graduation present I thought it was so excessive. It's a super-automatic espresso machine, and I thought I would miss feeling like I was making the coffee. Still, somehow I knew that I should keep the machine, and now I can't imagine going back.
If you're not lucky enough to get one as a gift, it will set you back around $1000. For that money, you get a fairly basic fully automatic machine. Load the water in the back and whole beans in the top, and with the press of a button it grinds the beans, tamps them down, brews your coffee and dumps the used grounds, and it's ready to make another cup. There are adjustments for how much coffee to use for a shot and how fine to grind it, so you can make it just the way you like it, and it has two buttons for different sizes of shots, also customizable. It even has a bypass slot so you can use ground coffee instead of beans: perfect for making the odd cup of decaf when the bean basket is full of high-octane espresso.
The Incanto has an excellent high powered steamer with performance that blew away my old machine. I steam my milk right in the cup before adding the espresso, and I can steam a cup of milk to piping hot in about 30 seconds.
I did have a problem with the boiler and needed to replace it for $250, but that was partly my own fault for letting a relatively minor problem fester until the boiler just died. Other than that, the machine has worked flawlessly and makes an easy, perfect cup of coffee ever time.