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Please help a Newbie who just received a Gift Espresso Machine (SaecoViaVeneto)
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lorken
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Jun 2012
Posts: 2
Location: In the shadow of the Rockies
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: saeco via veneto
Posted Fri Jun 29, 2012, 11:00am
Subject: Please help a Newbie who just received a Gift Espresso Machine (SaecoViaVeneto)
 

Hi, I'm a total Noob and this is my very first post (!) so please bear with me if I am rambling or posting in the wrong place :)

I received the gift of a slightly used Saeco Via Veneto last week.  It came from my neighbors who have downsized and moved away.   Apparently, they bought it a few years ago, tried it for a few weeks and decided it took too much effort to use, so they packed it back into its original box, stored it in a closet and forgot about it.  And now I've inherited it!  It looks practically brand new, and it works.  Along with the machine, I received the pressurized portafilter (PPF), a 2 cup basket, and the pannarello (a black plastic foaming attachment).

Now, up until last week, I knew absolutely nothing about making or drinking espresso.  The only thing I DID know was that I normally did not enjoy coffee or cappuccino unless I happened to be in Europe (I live in Canada).  The few times when I've been to Europe, I really enjoyed the espresso and cappuccinos there!  I had always assumed it was because 1) they used better quality coffee beans than North America does and 2) everything tastes better when you're on vacation.  But I didn't want to let the gift go to waste, and I was determined to at least try to learn how to use the machine.  So I bought some fresh ground coffee and read the instructions and even though I couldn't really foam the milk at first, I made myself a cappuccino and darned if I didn't enjoy it! Enough to want to keep making them! So I think I'm hooked... :)

But the instructions with the machine are sorely lacking in details. So I got on the 'net to research how to make espresso, and was completely overwhelmed by the volume of information out there!  Luckily, I managed to find the CoffeeGeeks review of the machine, which helped immensely.  Then I read the guide on how to foam milk, and am starting to get results there.  And finally I found the discussion forums, which I've been referring to as I encounter new questions.  But I have some questions that I can't seem to find the answer to, and I wonder if someone out there can give advice or point me in the right direction.

  1. Is it a Good Starter machine?
    From what I've gathered, this machine was considered a very good one for beginners to start out on.  Is that still the case?

  2. Is it worth buying some accessories for this machine?
    As mentioned, I only have the 2-cup filter basket, so when I make 1 shot the grounds don't really get packed down into a "puck", so I should probably get the 1-cup basket, right?  And the pannarello is missing one of it's rubber gaskets, so it is a bit loose on the steamer wand - so I should probably get a new panarello unit.  And as I get more knowledgeable/practiced, I probably will eventually want to get a non-pressurized portafilter... but I don't want to put a lot of money into accessories for this machine if it's not really worth it.  Is it worth it?

  3. Is the steam wand working correctly?
    From what I can tell, everything is working correctly but I have a small concern about the steam wand.  It is a little bit wobbly - there is about a quarter inch of play in it, but it isn't leaking anywhere that I can see.  However, when I first use it after turning it on, it spews out some water with the steam (approx 3/8 cup of water comes out before "clean" steam starts).  I've been able to work around it by blowing it out before I start steaming the milk, but I wonder it this (plus the wobble) indicates damage to the steam wand of some sort?  (I've been following good purging practices and have been careful not to tug on the wand to avoid damaging it, but I don't know what the previous owner may/may not have done.)

  4. What is an ESE Pod?
    I've read that I can use ESE pods if I get a pod adapter for the portafilter.  What is an ESE pod? Are they a certain brand? Can they be used with the PPF?  or should they only be used with the non-PPF? (My spouse will gladly drink espresso from this machine if I make it, but if they have to make it, they want to be able to just "pop in a pod in the morning".  So I promised I'd look into it.)

Sorry to take so long and put so many questions into this first post...any help you guys can give me would be truly appreciated.  I've realized that as much as I've learned in the past week, it's just a wee first step into the world of espresso.  There is so, so much to learn... I'd better buy some more coffee! :)

Thanks again for any input! :)
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sweaner
Senior Member
sweaner
Joined: 16 Nov 2007
Posts: 1,125
Location: Yardley, PA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Vetrano, Arrarex Caravel, La...
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, OE Pharos
Drip: Bunn Trifecta MB
Roaster: Poppery II
Posted Fri Jun 29, 2012, 11:09am
Subject: This should help
 

Start by reading the many valuable guides on the site below. You will need to invest in a good grinder for the best experience.

http://espressomyespresso.com/

 
-Scott
“Coffee - the favorite drink of the civilized world.”
Thomas Jefferson
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cappuccinoboy
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Jun 2009
Posts: 798
Location: MILANO
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Milano pod, Milano fully...
Grinder: grind on demand
Posted Sat Jun 30, 2012, 9:31am
Subject: Re: Please help a Newbie who just received a Gift ...
 

lorken Said:

Hi, I'm a total Noob and this is my very first post (!)....................

I received the gift of a slightly used Saeco Via Veneto last week. ......................

Now, up until last week, I knew absolutely nothing about making or drinking espresso. .................give advice or point me in the right direction.

Is it a Good Starter machine?
From what I've gathered, this machine was considered a very good one for beginners to start out on.  Is that still the case?

Is it worth buying some accessories for this machine?
.............
What is an ESE Pod?

Posted June 29, 2012 link

I've read that I can use ESE pods if I get a pod adapter for the portafilter.  What is an ESE pod? Are they a certain brand? Can they be used with the PPF?  or should they only be used with the non-PPF? (My spouse will gladly drink espresso from this machine if I make it, but if they have to make it, they want to be able to just "pop in a pod in the morning".  So I promised I'd look into it.)

Sorry to take so long and put so many questions into this first post...any help you guys can give me would be truly appreciated.  I've realized that as much as I've learned in the past week, it's just a wee first step into the world of espresso.  There is so, so much to learn... I'd better buy some more coffee! :)

Thanks again for any input! :)
in the situation you should definetly go for ESE pods because that would make life so much easier for your wife: an ESE pod is a pre-packed ground dose of espresso beans, in two layers of paper, nitrogen flushed to keep it fresh (avoid going stale), almost every major roaster has some of different blends , they tend to give a good average quality drink, of course with a grinder, right beans and some expertise you can do much better:
ut since that is niot your case take my advice an get started  with pods, as you learn to master your machine you can always decide if you liketo go to the fuss required for making top espresso and so call ypurself a coffeegeek.
If you need good pods I can recommend : www.espressomali.com , they are in Montreal and understand that normally carry a variety of some very good pods...
Ciao, Pietro
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lorken
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Jun 2012
Posts: 2
Location: In the shadow of the Rockies
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: saeco via veneto
Posted Tue Jul 3, 2012, 8:25am
Subject: Re: Please help a Newbie who just received a Gift ...
 

cappuccinoboy Said:

in the situation you should definetly go for ESE pods because that would make life so much easier for your wife: an ESE pod is a pre-packed ground dose of espresso beans, in two layers of paper, nitrogen flushed to keep it fresh (avoid going stale), almost every major roaster has some of different blends , they tend to give a good average quality drink, of course with a grinder, right beans and some expertise you can do much better:......
Ciao, Pietro

Posted June 30, 2012 link

Thanks Pietro, for answering one of my questions!


sweaner Said:

Start by reading the many valuable guides on the site below. You will need to invest in a good grinder for the best experience.

Posted June 29, 2012 link

Thanks Scott, the website has a lot of information but doesn't help with my question of whether or not I should keep this machine and try to use it.  And I'm certainly not going to spend $ on a grinder until I know whether or not the espresso machine is worth keeping.


I don't know anyone who uses a "real" espresso machine at home (many friends use the pre-packaged pod machines like Nespresso and Keurig, but none use the kind with a portafilter where you draw your own shots).   And I went to an appliance store over the weekend and asked them about the machine and asked if they thought the steam mechanism was OK.   They sell Saeco machines but had never heard of the Via Veneto model.  As soon as they realized it was an older machine, they quickly recommended I NOT spend any $ on the needed accessories for it because they say it is probably not worth it.  Then of course they tried to talk me into buying a new machine from them.  So I don't know if they are being honest with me or if they just want to sell me a new espresso machine.

As I said, I'm really just trying to decide if this machine is worth keeping.  If the steamer is working correctly, then I'm willing to keep the machine and buy a new portafilter and basket and start learning how to make espresso.  On the other hand, if it is damaged, then I'll just toss it.
 
Lorken :)
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