Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
coffeegeek product reviews
the detailed review - saeco via veneto
Saeco Via Veneto - Conclusions
Author: Mark Prince
Posted: June 13, 2000
Detailed Review rating: 8.5
feedback: (8) comments | read | write
Saeco Via Veneto

For $50 you can do no wrong.

Simple statement, with a complex explanation. The Melitta Cafe Express is not a machine that can complete with a Gaggia Classic or Rancilio Silvia - it simply isn't in their class. It is not a high volume machine, it is not built with any kind of super longevity (5+ years) in mind, nor is it built with the pure connoisseur in mind. At $1700, $200 or more (for the Saeco version of it), this machine is not worth the price. For the same price, you can buy better machine, used or new (esp. if Starbucks has a sale on their Barista machines). But for $50, nothing can touch it. (ed.note: at $140, it's a semi-deal, and worth checking out).

In the $50 class, there is nothing new, and very little used or refurbed. The Krups Novo Compact, another capable starter machine can be found occasionally for $50 could be considered a competitor, but I think the Melitta / Saeco unit is a better machine.

So why would I say for $50 you can do no wrong? Because at $50, this is an exceptional value. You're getting a good starter machine that does have some power, especially in the pump and frothing abilities (once you overcome the machine's small boiler size problems), and if you're just trying to get into espresso and cappuccino, this machine is definitely a good starting point. Pair it up with a good grinder, (Saeco M2002, $100; Bodum Antigua, $75; Solis 166, $125, Briel Java, $75) and $150 or less, you have a capable home setup that will impress the non-espresso drinker, wow the cappuccino lover, and provide the tools to build your own barista skills. Buy the aftermarket chrome and brass portafilter from Saeco (around $20 USD), and you'll overcome further limitations this machine has. And who knows, you may love the taste of the espresso it produces - this is a totally subjective thing after all.

Do I recommend buying one of these? I do, if you fit one of the following descriptions. This machine is ideal for

  1. the espresso newbie who is tired of paying for Starbucks drinks
  2. the espresso newbie who wants to build on their barista skills and drinks
  3. the cappuccino lover
  4. a person with budget considerations
  5. as a relatively inexpensive gift for one of the above.

If you are someone who has honed their espresso building skills, this machine will not replace a higher quality machine like a Gaggia Baby etc. But it might complement it, either as a second machine at the office, or the cottage, or down in the rec-room. It does have limitations, especially in steaming and brewing temps for long shots, but the quick recovery times make up for this somewhat.

The Final Word
At $50, this machine would get a 10 out of 10. At around $180 to $200, it barely garners a 6. The Gaggia Carezza is a much better buy at that price range.
Rated 6 out of 10
Product Supplier

The original supplier of this product, Damark, has gone out of business.

Product Pricing

Retail pricing is around $200. We paid $60 for this machine, and the review reflects that pricing lower pricing.

Detailed Review rating: 8.5
Author: Mark Prince
Posted: June 13, 2000
feedback: (8) comments | read | write
This review and all its parts are ©2003-2005 CoffeeGeek.com and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author or this website. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) or if you would like to purchase a printed version of this review for commercial or private use, please contact us at info@coffeegeek.com for further details.
Login Password
forgot pw | signup
Detailed Review Sections
Arrow 1. Introduction
Aarow 2. Overview
Aarow 3. Detailed Review, Pt. 1
Aarow 4. Detailed Review, Pt. 2
Arrow 5. Conclusion
Commercial Equipment
Nuova Simonelli, La Marzocco, Rancilio. Nationwide installation. Instant financing options.
Rancilio Silvia - How to
Step by step guide for easy brewing and steaming with the Rancilio Silvia
Rocket R58 Double Boiler
Rocket Espresso R58 Double Boiler -  Everything you need for the perfect shot!
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2015 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.222602844238)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+