I was delighted when we were offered a Philips Saeco Poemia for a review recently.
Coffee is a big part of my life and I’ve become quite particular about the coffee I drink over the years. So much so that I won’t bother if it’s granular on offer and I’m not shy to send it back either if a restaurant dishes up something akin to dirty dishwater.
The Philips Saeco is an attractive unit available in red, black and silver and despite being finished in plastic it still manages to bring an element of sophistication to your kitchen. The Saeco Poemia is easy to operate and cleverly hides all but the group handle internally.
The water container holds a litre and is neatly hidden under a cover next to the measuring cup and espresso pod/ ground coffee filter, depending on which one you’re currently using.
It’s easy to use the machine, simply turn the power on and allow it to warm your cups while you wait for the indicator light to let you know the boiler is at the right temperature. We made espresso with Woolworth’s Italian Blend dark roast ground coffee. We enjoyed better results after using the flat end of the measuring spoon to compact the coffee but that’s possibly a taste matter rather than a pre-requisite. The handle operates slightly differently to our own machine with a spring loaded mechanism which took a moment to get used to but shouldn’t cause any trouble with regular use.
A quick turn of the switch and the machine burts into life delivering a frothy crema. The espresso is quite delicious and immediately at a drinkable temperature. Warming the cups becomes even more essential if you are inclined to make more than two cups, possibly for guests and not for immediate consumption.
One thing that I didn’t like about the Poemia is the clearance height for cups. My morning ritual involves at least one double espresso with milk where I found the 75mm clearance for the cup to be an irritation. You could decant the espresso to a larger cup …
The milk wand works well to froth your milk for cappuccino or latte and produces a great consistency of foam you can fold into your espresso. To clean the wand you can purge with hot water but remember to let it cool before making another espresso or risk burning the coffee as the Poemia doesn’t auto-vent when switching from hot water to steam.
I found switching to top quality coffee drinks helped me kick the sugar habit and aided my banting diet. Here’s a great table to help you experiment with different coffees based on espresso from www.coffeenate.com
The Philips Saeco Poemia Manual Espresso machine is available from Pick ‘n Pay Hypermarkets, Yuppie Chef, Takealot, Hirsh and other selected independent outlets at a recommended retail price of R2,499.
Review first written for Mixing Bowl