It's a magnificent Monday indeed, in New England. The sun is rising, the air is crisp and cool and perfect for waking up slowly with a nice warm cup of coffee, cappuccino or hot cocoa. Grab a blanket, make yourself comfortable on the couch and enjoy your morning before you head of to school. We're lucky today in Connecticut, as the children have no school in observation of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana. I'll get my work done and do something lovely with the children.
I was approached earlier this summer by the PR group that represents PhilipsSaeco espresso machines. I was asked if I would review one of their machines. I explained immediately that I do not blog for free and if I am to try a product I must be provided with one. I will not review products that do not represent me, my personal style or my brand. And I won't write a bad review. So if I don't like your product you won't see unkind words, but I will not write about a product I cannot stand behind.
And so, let's continue with the Philips Saeco Syntia espresso machine.
After a couple of months of emailing back and forth and not sure whether I would be reviewing the machine or not, I was very pleasantly surprised to see a huge box in my garage from Philips. I hurriedly carried it inside and proceeded to open the package like a young child on Christmas. Except it wasn't Christmas and I am not a young child. The machine was beautiful, big, fairly heavy and very solidly built. My old, poor looking coffee maker was quickly tossed aside like a piece of stale bread. She looked gorgeous on the counter beneath the area I call the coffee bar. I grabbed the directions to read, something I tend never to do but I could tell directions were necessary here...
The manual, filled with small illustrations, was admittedly a bit confusing to me. It took me a few tries to get my cup of coffee brewing. But once I had it figured out it was simple. Oh so simple.
This model uses both ground and whole bean coffee. I wholeheartedly recommend using a whole bean variety and do get a good quality coffee for this machine.
I loved the fact that this machine's grinder is not terribly loud. It's sort of a pleasant whirring sound whereas many grinders sound like turbo jets on take off. The quietness means I can grind my coffee when I get up long before the sun does and the rest of my family can stay asleep!
I set my coffee strength and cup size.
There are three strengths to choose from and I chose the middle (and I like my coffee quite strong)
and I generally choose the larger cup option as opposed to the demi tasse or espresso cup option.
The coffee is perfect every single time.
It comes out strong and black with just amount of light froth on top, indicating that it's been brewed at just the right temperature.
I like my cappuccino. It's the drink of choice to start my day.
I've used both 2% and 1% to froth my milk to see if the fat content made any difference. It didn't. Both froth beautifully - once I figured out how to get a nice thick froth. And the 1% tasted as rich and creamy as the 2% did. (So I use the 1% to save some fat and calories)
The Syntia does not come with a metal frothing pitcher so I had to go and purchase one.
It took a few tries to get the froth right and I made a little bit of a mess in the beginning but now I've got it down to a science and, for the most part, I have consistent froth every time.
I love the consistency of the machine. My coffee tastes the same every time. There's no guesswork in adjusting the strength. With past machines I often had some cups that were stronger than others, or some that were even the slightest bit weak. (And I have never skimped on coffee machines. I have always bought high quality and well-rated machines.)
But this is by far the best I have ever had.
I can have a fully frothed cappuccino in about 3 minutes.
I do not need to use the stove to heat my milk.
The machine, at close to $1,000 USD does not come cheap. It's an investment and for a true coffee enthusiast who wants a consistently good cup of coffee. I always buy my beans at Starbucks and yet I like my coffee better than theirs.
There is, however, some maintenance required.
The frothing wand should be removed and cleaned fairly often.
The drip tray should be emptied and washed every other day or so.
The coffee hopper needs to be emptied and washed. A light comes out indicating so.
And the inside needs to be wiped out of coffee grounds, can be quite messy.
The machine warms and then "spits out" hot water after it has been in its resting mode - you may want a small cup on hand for this. I do not want my milk watered down and a couple of tablespoons of water are pushed through prior to the water turning to steam.
Keep a sponge or some paper towels nearby.
But all good things are worth a bit of extra care.
In short here are some pros and cons.
She (Syntia is a girl, no?) is a beautiful, well built machine.
She grinds fairly quietly.
She makes a perfect cup of coffee/espresso every time.
There is no guesswork involved.
She delivers a thick, full, rich froth.
There's a setting that dispenses hot water for tea,
in case you are feeling under the weather and want a cup of tea instead.
The machine automatically goes into a rest/energy saving mode if it has been idle for an hour.
Cleanup can be a bit messy.
The instruction manual is a bit confusing.
The price-point is a bit high.
A machine of this price-point really should come with a metal frothing carafe.
After playing around with coffee we decided to make some hot cocoa - In July!
The cocoa frothed beautifully, and then we added a touch of whipped cream for extra decadence.
So now my kids love this machine too!
Next we tried to steam some apple cider. That too worked beautifully.
Now my kids love this machine even more!
Here is my machine. Ain't she a beaut?!
Her name is Syntia :)
I took this with my iPhone, on Instagram
There was a bit of a learning curve involved... My milk made a little bit of a mess early on!
I cannot imagine starting my Monday without my Philips Saeco Syntia machine...
I am sure my Monday is more Magnificent because of it!
On a scale of 1 to 10 Coffee Beans,
I give this model a solid 9 Beans!
And I may even end my Monday on a most Magnificent note as well...
How about an Affogato for dessert?
This was my dessert of choice when I visited my grandparents at their country house in Umbria. There was a small family-owned restaurant we adored called Bruno's in the tiny town called Citta della Pieve.
They had the best food I have ever had.
And this was one of their dessert selections.
You can make it at home too.
Simply place a scoop of ice cream in a glass or coffee cup and then pour your espresso right over it.
(Is that a word?
Well, it is now!)
I hope you all have a Delicimo Monday!