A fairly good auto espresso machine with a few caveats

Apr 30, 2009 (Updated May 1, 2009)
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Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Affordable, build quality is good for the price, coffee that is made is very good.

Cons:Machine requires a user who does not mind regular cleaning.

The Bottom Line: Bottom line is that this machine is fairly good for an entry level fully automatic espresso machine.  The drawbacks to the unit really do not outweigh the advantages.

After owning the Saeco Odea Go for roughly seven months, I figured it was time to offer my viewpoint on this espresso machine.

Originally, my searching started at the more expensive fully automatich espresso machines.  It's fairly easy to put down in the area of $1K for a fully automatic machine.  I was looking for something that was a little more moderately priced.

I did not have a particularly good experience with a "standard" Saeco espresso machine, but I figured that with a one-year warranty, it was worth the $400 asking price.  $400 is about what you would pay for a decent grinder (Gaggia MDF or better) and a good espresso machine, so having it be fully automatic is definitely an advantage.

Out of the box, the coffee machine proved to have no problems.  The instruction manual is detailed and straightforward.  Getting the machine up and running took no more than 10 minutes and only involved turning it on and running some water through its circuits.

The hopper for the coffee beans naturally sits atop the unit. The hopper's capacity could be a tad bit bigger, but I find I only am filling once every four days.  Once the beans are in place, it's only a matter of turning a dial at the front of the machine to the desired amount of coffee, and then hitting a button that sits at the center of the dial.  That's it.  The machine then does the rest.  Of course, if you want a latte/cappucino, then that requires turning another dial at the top of the machine near the hopper, which allows steam to come out of the steam wand.  I'm using my machine almost exclusively for espresso shots.

Cleaning/maintenance is where this unit gets a little more complicated.  The machine stores the coffee grinds and some rinse water in two resovoirs that are connected together.  This joined unit sits at the machines side and comes out very easy.  Cleaning of this "dump" unit is about as straightforward as it gets.  However, right next to these containers is the "brew group", which is a fancy way of calling the guts of the machine that was designed to be user-serviceable.  The group comes out with a single switch.  The manual recommends cleaning this group out with hot water and greasing a few areas.  None of this is overly complicated, but it can take a few minutes to clean all of the coffee grinds out.

Descaling is of course mandatory for this machine, but luckily this machine has an automatic system which will remind you when it is needed.  Descaling takes about an hour, because it involves sending small amounts of descaling solution through the machine and letting the solution sit for 15 minute intervals.  Again, this is not convienient, but all auto espresso machines need to be descaled, so this is not really a disadvantage per se.

About the only complaint I have had from this machine is that a small area of the brew group can get clogged fairly easily.  This area is right at the top of the group.  Fortunately, cleaning this area out is extremely easy, but it does have this habit of happening right when I want a shot of espresso the most. :)  I have read of other users having this same problem, so I am certainly not alone.  This is clearly a solid negative to owning the Go.

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