Saeco Xsmall Vapore Automatic Espresso Machine
Ease of Use
The Saeco Vapore is a compact, basic superautomatic with very limited customization options. Due to the small size and lack of features, we recommend this model for espresso novices, casual drinkers, and those on a tight budget.
Do you love espresso but don’t want to spend thousands on a fancy superautomatic? If so, then we think you’ll love our Saeco Vapore review!
Good things come in tiny packages- and that’s what you’ll find with this espresso maker. It’s basic but easy, and best of all, it won’t break the bank.
We examine everything that this product has to offer, so you can decide if it’s the best choice for your needs!
Saeco Xsmall Vapore Automatic Espresso Machine Design Overview
Meet the Xsmall Vapore espresso machine. You’ll notice the “xsmall” and that one word pretty much sums up what this product is all about.
At 15.16 x 16.73 x 15.35 inches and weighing 15.67 pounds, you couldn’t ask for a more compact machine to squeeze onto a kitchen counter. The Saeco Vapore was designed to be accommodating, especially for first-time espresso makers.
This is an entry-level machine with basic features. While Seaco included the best tech to ensure a top-notch user experience, you aren’t going to get many customization options or fancy extras- that’s what keeps the price low.
The design isn’t swanky either, but it’s functional. You can easily access the water tank, dregs chamber, and drip tray from the front of the machine. The shape is round with no protruding parts, so you can fit it underneath low-hanging cabinets.
All of the parts are made of black plastic. It doesn’t look as high-end as a stainless steel machine, and plastic parts tend to wear out or break over time. This could mean a shorter life span. Alas, this is also why the Vapore costs less than other models.
Before we get into the features here in our Saeco Vapore review, we just want to share one more note regarding the size. When Saeco said x-small, they weren’t joking. The bean hopper, water reservoir, dregs box, and drip tray are all on the smaller side.
That means less capacity, and this is one of the main gripes from reviewers. You can expect to brew around 6-8 shots per day, refilling and cleaning these parts regularly.
The cup height is limited too, and you can’t adjust the spout. You’ll have to designate a special cup just for this machine.
To be fair, Saeco is very clear about the sizing of this superautomatic, so users know what they’re getting before they decide to purchase it. It all comes down to preference, and while the size does impact convenience, it doesn’t impact the performance of the product or the quality of the espresso.
Saeco Rio Vapore Features
Saeco paid attention to the little details with the Saeco Xsmall Vapore black super-automatic espresso machine. Though it isn’t as feature-rich as other products on the market, it does utilize cutting-edge tech that you’ll find with high-end superautomatics.
The reservoir on the Saeco Vapore holds 1 liter (about 30-oz) of water, which isn’t a lot. If you are a power drinker or your entire family drinks coffee, you can expect to refill the tank frequently.
With that being said, we recommend this machine for individuals or small families, but not for an office setting.
The Vapore doesn’t come with a filter, but it has a filtration system if you’d like to install one. While that means more money to spend, it is worth it. Using a filter to remove impurities ensures you get the best-tasting coffee. It also can help cut down on descaling.
Saeco recommends the Brita Intenza for the Xsmall Vapore espresso machine.
The bean hopper on the Saeco Rio Vapore only holds 180 grams of whole coffee beans. At least it’s easily accessible on the front for all those refills you’ll have to make!
There’s also no bypass doser for pre-ground coffee, so decaf drinkers will have to look elsewhere. This is one of the features left out to keep the machine compact and the price low.
It does come with a lid to keep the bean hopper airtight and your beans extra fresh, so bonus points there.
To make up for the lack of features, Saeco added a built-in ceramic burr grinder to ensure the finest grind in all the land.
In the espresso world, the burr grinder is considered the best choice for crushing beans with precision, relinquishing all of the flavors and aromas for a superior coffee experience.
There are two burr grinders: stainless steel and ceramic. While both perform well, ceramic has an edge because it doesn’t overheat and burn the beans like steel tends to do. So kudos to Saeco on the choice of the grinder.
There are five grinder settings to adjust how coarse or fine you want your coffee grounds, which is the bare minimum compared to many other models. We weren’t surprised, considering that the Vapore is as basic as it gets.
Also, note that the Vapore comes with a separate grinder wrench to change the settings. Keep it in a safe place because if you lose it, then you’re stuck in one setting forever.
Pro Tip: Stay away from oily beans, such as dark roast. They have a tendency to clog integrated grinders. Stick to a light or medium roast for the best results.
Milk Frothing System
There are no shortcuts or hands-free magic with the Saeco Xsmall Vapore super automatic espresso machine. It features an old-school manual milk frothing wand that doubles as a hot water dispenser.
This could be a downside for those interested in a superautomatic for the one-touch convenience. On the contrary, for those who like to experiment with milk foam, this might be the bargain espresso machine of your dreams.
The classic Pannarello wand shoots out steam that prepares creamy milk foam to your liking. From cappuccinos to lattes, you have the freedom to make it as thick as you want- after a fair bit of practice, of course.
And when you want a hot tea on a rainy day, just switch the wand to dispense hot water on a whim.
Saeco Xsmall Vapore Brewing Capabilities
Before we delve into the brew functions on the Saeco Xsmall Vapore automatic espresso machine, please note that it does not brew coffee like other superautomatics. This is strictly an espresso machine!
Here is a list of the specialty drinks you can make with this:
- Café crème
- Espresso macchiato
- Latte macchiato
- Frothed milk
You also won’t be able to adjust the aroma strength or temperatures. So as you can see, the ability to customize is not an option with the Vapore, but that is another reason for the low price tag.
However, it would’ve been nice to see some more customization options since many low-range superautomatics offer at least 2-3 temperature adjustment settings.
Nonetheless, you can adjust the coffee length with two volume settings to choose from. There’s also a Double Cup function, so you can brew two cups of espresso at the same time.
While the customization is lacking, we are pleased with the brewing equipment. Saeco included an aluminum single Thermoblock boiler, so although you can’t brew and froth milk simultaneously like you can with a double boiler, you are promised a quick heat up time.
An impressive 15-bar pressure pump ensures a consistent espresso shot with each pull. For reference, it takes at least 9-bars of pressure to pull a satisfactory shot, so this is high-end for the Vapore.
Saeco also included their nifty Gusto Perfetto technology to help ease the learning process. This clever tech tracks the beans you use and will automatically adjust the dosing when you switch to a different type of coffee bean. This helps improve the consistency of your espresso.
Vapore Saeco Initial Setup and Operation
In this section, we’ll give you a quick breakdown of how to use the Saeco Vapore HD8645/47. The user manual is user-friendly with step-by-step instructions.
Everything is operated using the buttons and knobs on the control panel. That’s right- there’s no fancy LED screen or Bluetooth connectivity!
1. Install the Machine
Place your Vapore on a dry, flat surface and plug it into a power source
2. Fill the Water Tank
Remove the water tank and rinse it under the faucet. Fill it with cold, fresh water, then click it back into place on the machine.
If you’re using the filtration system, first test the level of minerals in your water with a water hardness strip. Set the water hardness to soft, hard, or very hard on the machine using the corresponding knob.
Install the Brita Intenza water filter by pressing it into the filter space on the bottom of the water tank. Do this while the tank is empty before filling it to the MAX line with water.
3. Load the Bean Hopper
Make sure to use espresso beans only. Replace the lid on the hopper after filling it.
4.Brew 1-2 Cups of Espresso
Select whether you’d like one or two cups of coffee, adjust your settings, then place your mug under the spout. The machine will then grind the beans and brew immediately after dispensing the espresso into your cup.
Other Useful Tips for Brewing:
- The Vapore has a User Profile setting to let you save your drink preferences.
- There is no cup warming tray, which means the espresso loses heat quickly once dispensed into the cup. Beware that this might affect the overall temperature of your drink.
- There is an energy-saving mode that automatically shuts down the machine after one hour.
Saeco Xsmall Vapore Super Automatic Cleaning Process
The Vapore Saeco makes maintenance easy with an automatic rinse cycle that flushes the entire system whenever you turn the machine on or off. This is helpful because, well, you don’t have to do it, and it ensures you get a fresh cup of espresso without any grounds or residue left behind.
You will have to descale the machine regularly, which is a bummer, but at least the Vapore will alert you when it’s time to do it. As mentioned before, using a filter can help cut down on the frequency of descaling.
Another perk is that the brew head is removable, so you can rinse it under the faucet for a thorough deep clean. This should be done at least once a week for optimal results.
Philips Saeco Xsmall Vapore Pros vs. Cons
- One-touch espresso
- User friendly
- Ceramic Burr Grinder
- Automatic rinse cycle
- Excellent manual milk frother
- No bypass doser for pre-ground coffee
- Lack of customization options
- Plastic parts wear/break over time
- Small machine with parts that need to be refilled/cleaned often
- No cup warming tray
The Saeco – Xsmall Vapore 2000 super-automatic espresso machine – HD8651/14 has nothing to hide. It’s your standard superautomatic designed for casual drinkers and rookies looking to dip their feet into the world of espresso brewing.
Don’t expect an abundance of features. You can’t brew coffee with this machine- it’s strictly for espresso. There is a classic milk frother for making cappuccinos and lattes, but you’ll have to learn how to steam milk on your own.
Saeco does ensure you get the best quality by integrating a ceramic burr grinder and rapid heating Thermo block boiler. All you have to do is push a button, and espresso is streaming into one or two cups in seconds.
We were disappointed with the lack of customization options. You can’t adjust the temperatures or aroma strengths, which is rare to find with superautomatics. There are only five grind settings–a little more variety would be nice.
You also need to make peace with the small size of the water tank, drip tray, dregs tray, and bean hopper. If you can accept that you’ll be refilling water and beans frequently, and emptying waste trays daily, then the Vapore is a solid budget option that will give you consistent espresso.
We recommend the Saeco Xsmall Vapore Automatic Espresso Machine for…
- Beginners who have never owned a superautomatic and want an easy, affordable machine to learn on before investing in something more expensive.
- Individuals or small families
- Homes or apartments with limited counter space.
- Casual coffee drinkers who don’t care about specialty drinks.
- Those who want an affordable machine with a quality manual milk wand to practice foam art.
Saeco Xsmall Vapore Warranty
Saeco offers a 12-month warranty from the time of purchase. You can read the fine print here.
The Saeco Vapore isn’t for everyone. That’s why we’ve included three similar products that might have what you’re looking for.
If you prefer more customization options for around the same price as the Vapore, the Philips 4300 is a stellar option. It boasts 12 grind settings, the ability to adjust the aroma strength and volume, and brews five coffee specialties.
For a superautomatic that falls within the same price range but offers more capacity, the Gaggia Anima is an attractive choice. It’s still fairly compact, with a sleek design. The 60-oz water tank and 8.8-oz bean hopper mean you won’t have to refill as often as the Vapore.
If you’re willing to pay a bit more (but still under $1000), then the Jura D6 gives you that touch of luxury without going overboard. You get a wide array of customization options, a touchscreen interface, and a Bluetooth connection to control the machine from your smartphone.
Saeco Vapore Review Conclusion
To conclude our Saeco Vapore Review, this is a quality machine that you can count on to brew great-tasting espresso. It comes with the same innovative tech as Saeco’s higher range superautomatics but with less customization or fancy features.
This product is ideal if you don’t have the extra money to spend on an expensive model or you’re a casual coffee drinker who likes to brew a cup once or twice a day. If you’re interested in a machine that makes a lot of specialty drinks or has an automatic milk frother, the Seco Vapore may not be the one for you.
References & Resources:
- Philips, Official Brand Website.
- Saeco Xsmall Vapore User Manual.
- Getting the Most Out of Your Super Automatic Espresso Machine, Ezine Articles.
- Daily Guide to Super-Automatic Espresso Makers, BeverageFactory.
- The Importance of Water and Your Espresso Machine, Clive Coffee.