September 21, 2006

Superautomatic Coffee Machines

A Saeco Royal Professional superautomatic coffee machineI’d like to sing the praises of my coffee machine for a moment. I know: it’s just a machine. And yet, as gadgets go, I’ve become extraordinarily attached to it. I’d sooner go without a microwave oven, my Henckels knives, or my All-Clad pans than my coffee machine. I like it that much.

The one I have is a Saeco Royal Professional. It’s several years old (and the company now offers several newer and sexier models); we bought it used on eBay for the bargain price of $1300 (new ones were going for considerably more at the time). It’s a superautomatic coffee machine, which means it does absolutely everything with the touch of a single button: grinds the coffee beans, tamps them down, shoots pressurized steam through them to make your coffee, and ejects the used grounds into an internal holding container. You can program the temperature and the amount of coffee produced by any of the three preset concentrations—small (an espresso), medium (Swiss-style), or large (roughly the American concentration). You can adjust the fineness of the grind and the amount of coffee used per dose. And on and on. It’s a wondrous thing.

Needless to say, $1300 is a lot to pay for a coffee maker (though there are, certainly, more-expensive models). But it’s been well worth the investment. We use it numerous times every day, and every single cup of coffee makes me happy. But more importantly, it’s saved us a ton of money on the designer coffees we’d otherwise have bought from one of the local purveyors.

There’s just one wee problem. The automatic milk frothing attachment hasn’t been working lately. This means I’ll have to send it in for servicing. I sent it to Saeco once before for something or other when we first got it, and other than having to maneuver a huge box to the local UPS depot, the process was painless. Now, of course, it’s long out of warranty, so I’ll be paying for the service. But it’s not the money that concerns me; it’s being without my coffee maker for—what? Days? Weeks? How will I cope? The thought of having to make my coffee the old-fashioned way is almost enough to send me to Starbucks.

Comments are closed.