The Saeco Via Veneto espresso machine was waiting at the front door
when I got home yesterday. Woohoo! Big excitement. Delays in
shipping were making me wonder if it would every arrive.
I only paid $55 (which includes shipping) and, for a very entry level
machine, that's an OK price. Ms. Veneto looked good - no damage and
all the parts were there. There was a stale coffee kind of smell to
it. Even though the seller said it hadn't been used, it sure smelled
like it had been used. Also, it's mostly plastic and doesn't even
weigh 10 pounds. Getting the portafilter positioned requires holding
the machine down while you twist the PF into place. Not an ideal for
Last night, I resisted temptation to pull a first shot (mainly so I
could sleep - and I had a dream about discovering that I owned a huge
commercial machine that I had forgtten about - hah) and just ran a
couple of tanks of clean water to clean the system. That was a good
idea and thank you to the list folks who suggested it. The first tank
of water came through kind of dirty, smelled like stale coffee, with
what looked like a few old coffee grounds. The second tank came
through clean and smelled OK.
This morning, I did a fine grind of the coffee (roasted on Sunday),
filled the PF, did some light tamping with fingers (no tamper
included), pulled a first shot, then pulled a second shot and made an
Americano from shot #2. The shots looked like pure crema and had a
great tawny color. No credit is due me for this, though. This
machine comes with a pressurized portafilter and a "crema enhancer".
Whatever that is. But the first shot finished in just 10 seconds and
the second finished in 12 seconds and there was still coffee/water in
the PF when I removed it. The puck was wet and came out in several
chunks each time. Maybe a coarser grind is needed?
The taste was OK. There was just a little bitterness in the
aftertaste. The coffee notes were definitely brighter in the espresso
than drip, press, or moka pot. The only way I can describe it is the
flavor had a "kick" to it that I hadn't experienced before. Because
of the blend, it was kind of a muddy mix of flavors - some spice, a
little muted fruity/strawberry, and a hint of butter. The flavors
came through at different times while drinking the Americano.
Overall, it was better than many of the espresso shots and Americanos
I've had at coffee places. The Via Veneto did a decent job and I'm
not disappointed in the investment. I wanted to get something cheap
to see if espresso was for me (too much work?, would I like it?, too
time consuming?, etc.) before investing more money. I didn't need
another $500 paperweight sitting around the house (hello Mr. DVD
player). Ms. Veneto will be a good machine to train on, learn some
technique, and hopefully get a really good shot every once in a while.
I'm really excited about this new leg of the coffee journey and
seeing what I can learn and can do.
I'll do more work this weekend with it. The frothing wand seems
decent and may try that with some soy milk. But the big bonus with it
is that it delivers hot water - so making the Americano was easy as
pie. I may run some Urnex through to clean it out, remove the screen
and gasket and soak them. May try taking apart the PF to see if it
needs cleaned. One review of the machine said that a lot of gunk can
build up inside the guts of the pressurized PF.
Thank you all for being with me on this coffee journey, for all your
advice, good humor, and for getting me to this point. I promise not
to make wild, caffeine-induced postings at 3 in the a.m. Well, promise
is such a strong word . . . :)
Roasting in an SC/TO
For Espresso/Drip/Moka/Presspot Brew