Saeco Armonia Review

(under construction)

Positive product points

Negative Product Points

Detailed Commentary

100 words+

Before I bought this machine I used a either french press to make coffee or a mocca pot to make americanos. The word was that cheap espresso machines made no sense. I bought this mostly as a toy, but even my first espresso made with a low end burr grinder and the pressurized portafilter was actually ok and much closer to espresso than anything I had ever made in my moccapots.

I quickly got very interested in espresso and used too much time reading Coffeegeek and Home-barista. Following some of the advice I bought a normal portafilter and a Rancilio Rocky grinder and later a digital scale and a good tamper. There is no doubt the Armonia needs a good grinder and a normal portafilter to make good espresso, but it will also produce something resembling espresso with the included portafilter and a cheap burr grinder.

I have now owned the machine for six months and I carefull preparations (using around 13g of ground fresh coffee and carefull distribution -- I'm using WDT) I have no problems making what I would describe as a good double espresso. I would dare say the best shots I have made on this machine is better than the worst shots I have had on the best cafes in Copenhagen. I have no idea whether I was just lucky with my unit or Saeco's production is consistent, but the pressure and temperature seems good.

The machine has worked without any problems at all.

The small boiler reduce warmup time but of course also reduce the number of espresso that can be made before waiting for the machine to reheat.

There is no OPV to limit pressure.

There is no 3-way or similar. This requires some waiting before the portafilter can be removed after a shot. There is also a small plus side; it makes cleaning easier as no backflushing is required.

The small boiler can only deliver a rather limited amount of steam and the wand provide no movement besides swinging out.

Buying Experience

No problems. Would use again.

Bottom Line

A cheap machine able to produce absolutely drinkable espresso -- a great machine for a limited budget or a beginner who wants to try the espresso game before investing seriously. A good grinder is necessary to get the best out of this machine.