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Saeco Incanto Sirius

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JerseyGuy

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Bob said:
I tried my first espresso with this bean this afternoon and it was very good. Maybe a little light, but I have some room to play with the settings.

If you have time, an update would be appreciated. I am interested in your opinion of the flavor and quality of the coffee as you have more experience with the machine and have the opportunity to dial it in. Personally, I do not like bitter espresso and am hoping that with the right coffee and adjustments the Sirius can deliver a smooth yet flavorfull cup.

Bob

The settings will definately allow you to control the brew. For the Cafe Fresco Ambrosia I have adjusted as follows and am getting a smooth flavorful espresso shot as well as a wonderful 8 oz morning coffee.
BTW this espresso shot is wonderful with a Godiva Dark 72% Cocoa square :)

PRE-SHOT - 1.5 oz blank shot to heat up the pathway
WATER ---- 1.5 oz
BEANS ----- 3 of 3 (12 oz)
GRIND ----- 3 of 7, where 1 is the finest grind
SBS -------- 1:30 o'clock
HEAT ------- HI
PREBREW -- ON (LONG setting)
 

Bob

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The settings will definately allow you to control the brew. For the Cafe Fresco Ambrosia I have adjusted as follows and am getting a smooth flavorful espresso shot as well as a wonderful 8 oz morning coffee.

Congratulations on your success! What is the process for making an 8 oz portion? Is that a double 4 oz? How much coffee is used? Perhaps you could share your settings as I am not familiar with how this feature works.

Bob
 
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JerseyGuy

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Bob said:
The settings will definately allow you to control the brew. For the Cafe Fresco Ambrosia I have adjusted as follows and am getting a smooth flavorful espresso shot as well as a wonderful 8 oz morning coffee.

Congratulations on your success! What is the process for making an 8 oz portion? Is that a double 4 oz? How much coffee is used? Perhaps you could share your settings as I am not familiar with how this feature works.

Bob

Settings I am using for the 8 oz "americano" are similar to the expresso with the changes in italics:

PRE-SHOT - 1.5 oz blank shot to heat up the pathway
WATER ---- 8 oz
BEANS ----- 3 of 3 (12 oz)
GRIND ----- 3 of 7, where 1 is the finest grind
SBS -------- 9pm (full counterclockwise)
HEAT ------- HI
PREBREW - ON (LONG setting)
 

DominicMB

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I notice that the heat setting is always high. I was about to buy this machine, but when i tried it in the stoe it did not produce coffee as 'hot" as I would have liked even at the highest settings. I read all the posts regarding the tests you have done and they are well written, but I would like to hear your opinion. Do you feel that the coffee is as hot as you would like or do you wish the machine had one or two heat settings higher than the current "high" setting? Lastly, do you feel it should have a setting higher for "strength"?
 

Bob

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I was about to buy this machine, but when i tried it in the stoe it did not produce coffee as 'hot" as I would have liked even at the highest settings.

I am also interested in the Sirius and would love to try it out, but have never seen it set up for a demo. Please let us know the name and location of the store that has the demo available.

Bob
 
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JerseyGuy

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DominicMB said:
I notice that the heat setting is always high. I was about to buy this machine, but when i tried it in the stoe it did not produce coffee as 'hot" as I would have liked even at the highest settings. I read all the posts regarding the tests you have done and they are well written, but I would like to hear your opinion. Do you feel that the coffee is as hot as you would like or do you wish the machine had one or two heat settings higher than the current "high" setting? Lastly, do you feel it should have a setting higher for "strength"?

I think it is hot enough. I generally preheat the cups so when it pours it is good for us.

As for strength, Again I started at 9 oz and calibrated to 12 oz. Again I can only really talk about this bean (Ambrosia) so far, but for it 12 oz is perfect. What I think would be better would be to have more than just 3 settings for strength, as I have seen with other machines. But they can't do 12 ozs.
 
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JerseyGuy

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Bob said:
I was about to buy this machine, but when i tried it in the stoe it did not produce coffee as 'hot" as I would have liked even at the highest settings.

I am also interested in the Sirius and would love to try it out, but have never seen it set up for a demo. Please let us know the name and location of the store that has the demo available.

Bob

Sorry I can't help you here. As you probably know, in the US it is only sold at Williams-Sonoma. Not only that, but when I bought it, only one store in all of NJ was getting the machines (Shorts Hiills mall), and they only received 2. That might have changed since I bought it. Additionally I bought my machine the first day it was available for sale so they hadn't had time to set one up.

Best to call WS 800 number and ask which stores in your state have machines and then call the store to find out if they have one on display/setup for tasting.

Now the one downside I see (if they are "pouring") is that the beans they gave me with the machine and the ones they might be using are the Illy medium roast, and personally I thought they made terrible espresso. Reminded me of Sanka that my father used to drink.
 

Bob

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Mar 10, 2005
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Settings I am using for the 8 oz "americano" are similar to the expresso with the changes in italics:

PRE-SHOT - 1.5 oz blank shot to heat up the pathway
WATER ---- 8 oz
BEANS ----- 3 of 3 (12 oz)
GRIND ----- 3 of 7, where 1 is the finest grind
SBS -------- 9pm (full counterclockwise)
HEAT ------- HI
PREBREW - ON (LONG setting)

Thank you for the information. You have been very gererous with your time and the result is apparently of general interest as there have now been over 1,500 views of this thread.

In one other area, could you comment on the steaming/frothing capability of the Sirius.

Bob
 
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JerseyGuy

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CORRECTION - NUMBERS OF GRAMS USED

THIS IS A CORRECTION - The BEANS setting was incorrectly stated as 3 of 3 for espresso, it is 2 of 3 and in g not oz. It is corrected below. For an "Americano" (8 oz of water) I have it set at 3 of 3 BEANS (12g).

The settings will definately allow you to control the brew. For the Cafe Fresco Ambrosia I have adjusted as follows and am getting a smooth flavorful espresso shot as well as a wonderful 8 oz morning coffee.
BTW this espresso shot is wonderful with a Godiva Dark 72% Cocoa square Smile

PRE-SHOT - 1.5 oz blank shot to heat up the pathway
WATER ---- 1.5 oz
BEANS --- 2 of 3 (9g) - Correction
GRIND ----- 3 of 7, where 1 is the finest grind
SBS -------- 1:30 o'clock
HEAT ------- HI
PREBREW -- ON (LONG setting)
 
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JerseyGuy

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Bob said:
In one other area, could you comment on the steaming/frothing capability of the Sirius.

Bob

Sorry, I have not yet used that capability yet. My old machine was so poor I didn't use it much and never got into steaming/frothing. This will be a new experience for me when I get started, so my feedback may not be too accurate when I try it.
 
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JerseyGuy

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DominicMB said:
I notice that the heat setting is always high. I was about to buy this machine, but when i tried it in the stoe it did not produce coffee as 'hot" as I would have liked even at the highest settings. I read all the posts regarding the tests you have done and they are well written, but I would like to hear your opinion. Do you feel that the coffee is as hot as you would like or do you wish the machine had one or two heat settings higher than the current "high" setting? Lastly, do you feel it should have a setting higher for "strength"?

THIS IS A CORRECTION - Sorry all, the BEANS setting was incorrectly stated as 3 of 3 for espresso, it is 2 of 3 and in g not oz. It is corrected below. I also expanded some of my comments.

HEAT SETTING: It is hot enough for me. I generally preheat the cups.

STRENGTH SETTING: I started at a setting of 2 beans (9g) for the espresso (using the Ambrosia beans) and then tried it at 3 beans (12g), but that was too strong for me so I recalibrated back to 2 beans (9g).

I found that the 3 bean (12g) setting was better for an "Americano" (8 oz of water).

Again I can only really talk effectively about this bean (Ambrosia) so far, but for it I feel that 2 beans (9g) is perfect for espresso. I did try the Illy Medium Roast Espresso (provided with the machine purchase), when I first got the machine, but I didn't like to flavor, no matter what settings I used. To me it tasted like the Sanka my father used. I may try a recalibration uisng the Illy, now that I have figured out how to calibrate (thanks to Tony Sciandra at www.caffefresco.us for a calibration guideline.)

What I think would be better would be to have a finer adjustment, i.e. more than just 3 settings for strength, as I have seen with other machines (enabling a variation of 1g, for example, rather than 3g.) But other superautomatics can't do 12 oz, so for now that outweighs the fineness control.
 

Bob

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I may try a recalibration uisng the Illy, now that I have figured out how to calibrate (thanks to Tony Sciandra at www.caffefresco.us for a calibration guideline.)

Thanks for the update. I now plan to buy a Sirius and I will try the new settings.

Regarding the calibration guide from Tony Sciandra, could you share this info. Does it also apply to other blends?

Bob
 
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JerseyGuy

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CALIBRATION (DIAL-IN) GUIDE

SUGGESTED CALIBRATION (DIAL-IN) GUIDE

  • I suggest only changing one thing at a time and to have a baseline.

    NOTE: All page references are for the Sirius operations manual.
Baseline:

1. Warmup - Make sure the machine has been on for a least 20 to 30 minutes before brewing. Even though READY is displayed the internals/boilers are still not stable and will not give you a consistent brew temperature. (From Alex: I have found that the Sirius works better for me with a longer setup time, 60 minutes)

2. Prebrewing/Preinfusin - I highly recommend enabling the Prebrewing. The "LONG" or "disable" (OFF) function is something you could adjust later. See page 16 in the manual. (From Alex: I found that enabling Prebrewing and setting to LONG is best for the Ambrosia bean)

3. Cup - Use a Demitasse/Espresso cup with a known volume line for 1.5 oz. (single).

4. Temperature - Set the temperature to "MEDIUM" for small, medium and large coffee selections (See page 17). Later, once you are happy with the pour (volume per time) the temperature can be changed.

5. Measure - Use a stopwatch to monitor the time the pump starts to brew until the shot goes "blonde". The ideal time range for a single-shot is between 22 to 27 seconds. Note: The ideal time range doesn't include the few seconds of prebrewing/prefusion.

6. Grind Adjustment - Set the Ceramic Grind Adjustment Knob to the middle of it's grinding range (4 of 7 dots).
  • I think setting the grinder to its finest grind might be why you may experience bitter espressos and unusual pour times.

    It's true that espresso should be made with a fine grind, and most coffee roasters and others in the industry will tell you that; however, that is a broad statement and it's generalized towards a regular coffee grinder.

    BUT, you are operating an espresso grinder not a coffee grinder. Your grinder by design gives you a fine grind overall and the adjustment/notches allow you to alter the fine grind ever so slightly, and it's these ever so slightly adjustments that will govern your pour.

    For more information see page 7, "Adjustments".
7. SBS - Set the SBS to it's middle setting (Espresso Coffee - 12 o'clock position)

8. Coffee Dose Adjustment - Program the Doser for 9 grams (2 BEANS). I suggest starting at 9 grams because we roast to a true Full-City and therefore the beans are bigger and lighter. The actual weight in the doser may only be only be 8 grams. You should be able to get a nice single espresso out of 8 to 9 grams.

9. Pour time - If you can program the time of a small coffee selection than I suggest to start with a dry run and change the pour time to 30 secs. (From Alex: The time of the pour is controlled by the SBS setting)

10. Flush - I have noticed that a simple rinse (or should I say flush) and a small delay before selecting a coffee-beverage creates a better drink. I suppose this routine tempers/cleans the plumbing and gets the brew water temp into a optimum zone. (From Alex: I use a 1.5 oz flush)


Adjusting for a Perfect Single Shot.

  • An ideal pour will begin with the sound of the pre-infusion and then a second or two of silence.

    The pump will then reactivate and in a few seconds (1-3) and you should see a small amount of flow. Then the flow should increase. (From Alex: When the Sirius starts flowing it pretty much maintains a steady flow)

    In around 20 seconds begin to look for a 'blonding' effect in the pour and also the body of the pour will become watery.

    Stop the shot then. The 22 seconds is ball park. It could go as long as 27. (From Alex: You can't really stop the shot. Just note the time and adjust the SBS on your next test shot. Counterclockwise for a shorter time and clockwise for a longer time.)

    Your goal is to have approx. 1.5 oz. in the cup in that time range. (From Alex: You adjust the amount of liquid by holding down the "cup" button as it pours and let go to stop the pour. You will have to do this a few times as the pour will continue a few seconds after you release the button)
1. Pour time - With the above known variables pour a single shot. Time the pour from the beginning (after the pre-infusion) of the pour until it goes blond.
  • a. If the shot flows rapidly and looks way too watery adjust both the grinder a notch finer and slightly increase the SBS to the right. Visa-versa, if the shot is way to slow do the opposite to the grinder and SBS. The emphasis is on the grinder adjustment. I suggest leaving the dose alone for now.

    b. If the shot is almost in the ideal time (22-27 sec) and volume (1.5 oz.) zones I'd suggest SLIGHTLY changing one setting at a time in order to finely tune the pour.
2. Taste - Once you are in the ideal shot zone then begin to adjust for taste.
  • a. If the espresso is bitter then decrease the temperature setting to LOW.
    If the espresso is somewhat sour increase the temperature setting to HIGH.

    Give the machine a few minutes to adjust to the new temperature setting. You may even want to run a shot and discard it, and then again give the machine a few minutes to adjust to the new temperature setting.

    b. After the temperature adjustment, you can ever so slightly adjust the grinder and SBS for further fine taste tuning.

    [list:2onclnpx]If the espresso is bitter, then either slightly decrease the SBS or slightly adjust the grind to a courser setting. Only do one at a time.

    If the espresso is sour, then either slightly increase the SBS or slightly adjust the grinder to a finer setting. Only do one at a time.
[/list:u:2onclnpx]
3. Experiment - Once you've dialed in the grinder, SBS and temperature settings with a said dose then feel free to experiment with a new dose.

 

Bob

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Mar 10, 2005
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WOW

Those instructions are amazing in their detail and methodical precision.

One item that gets my attention is:

5. Measure - Use a stopwatch to monitor the time the pump starts to brew until the shot goes "blonde". The ideal time range for a single-shot is between 22 to 27 seconds. Note: The ideal time range doesn't include the few seconds of prebrewing/prefusion.

It seems that most posts about superautomatics indicate that the shot times run to around 15 seconds. What is the shot time that you have achieved? Also, what are you doing to change the shot time?

Bob
 
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