Saeco Incanto Espresso Machine Review for 2020

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Need a quick and delicious cup of coffee to start your day? Then why not try Saeco’s flagship Incanto espresso machine?

With active Thermoblock technology and a self-cleaning plumbing system, the Incanto adds luxury to your life. It offers over six different profiles and an in-house milk carafe and frothing mechanism. 

The Incanto utilizes three technologies that are common among other Saeco products. These are the ceramic grinders, the AquaClean water filter, and the pre-brew function. 

Be warned though: this isn’t a small product. At 17 inches wide, the Incanto will require a lot of countertop clearance. And while you can bypass it for manual frothing, it’s just not convenient with the given Panarello wand.

So with all that laid out, is the Saeco Incanto worth it? How does it fare against some other popular choices? We tackle the question head-on and dive deeper into the mystery through this Saeco Incanto review. Have a look.

Pros

  • Self-cleaning espresso machine.
  • Performs a pre-brew.
  • Ceramic-blade grinder for even heating.
  • 45-100 second brewing time.
  • 5 grinder settings with 3 temperatures.
  • 6 programmable preset functions.

Cons

  • Requires a lot of back and top clearance.
  • Might be complicated to use.
Saeco Incanto Carafe Super Automatic Espresso Machine with AquaClean Filter, Stainless Steel, HD8917/48
  • Elegant design, best materials, and high quality workmanship
  • Creamy cappuccino and latte macchiato at the touch of a button thanks to detachable, hygienic milk carafe
  • Professional disc grinder made of 100% ceramic for consistent performance and natural taste
  • Easy maintenance and cleaning thanks to removable brewing unit and automatic cleansing and descaling procedures
  • Large capacities in compact design: 8.8 ounce bean container, 15x waste container; 60.9 ounce

Should You Choose A Fully Automatic or A Semi-Automatic Machine?

Before we formally begin the review, we must first answer this question. What’s the difference between a fully automatic and a semi-automatic machine?

Semi-automatic machines, as the name suggests, automate a lot of the manual processes. They have automatic boiling for both the coffee and the steam. And many have an automatic pressure pump. 

Fully or super-automatic machines, on the other hand, automate everything. This includes boiling, brewing, grinding, frothing, cleaning, and pouring. 

Semi-automatic espresso machines are good for personal as well as commercial use. Fully-automatic ones should mainly be used for commercial use since they are more expensive and cut down on brewing time. However, some cheaper models are suited for home use too.

Comparison Chart:

FeaturesSaeco IncantoSaeco PicoBaristoSaeco Xelsis
Taste No overcooking, rich creamy froth. Distributed taste, smooth creamy texture.  No overcooking, even heating, and consistent taste.
Brewing capacity 60-ounce water tank. 10-ounce bean hopper.60-ounce water tank. 12-ounce bean hopper.67-ounce water tank. 8-ounce bean hopper.
User-friendliness5 grinder settings. 3 temperature settings. 
10 grinder settings. Removable brew unit.12 grinder settings. Touch screen with Equalizer.
Design and materialsStainless steel housing, ceramic grinder.Stainless steel housing, ceramic grinder.Stainless steel housing, ceramic grinder.
Cleaning and maintenanceAquaClean filter. AquaClean filter, HygieSteam.AquaClean filter, HygieSteam.
FrothingIntegrated milk carafe.Integrated milk carafe.Separate milk carafe.
GrindingCeramic grinder with bypass.Ceramic grinder with bypass.Ceramic grinder with bypass.
Additional features Auto shut-off, Thermoblock boiler. Thermoblock boiler, auto shut-off. Intuitive display with 15 presets.
Value for money Meets the value. Meets the value. Meets the value.

The Saeco Incanto Machine Review:

Taste:

Saeco’s Incanto espresso maker utilizes ceramic-blade grinders to extract the optimum taste. What sets ceramic-blade grinders aside from the others is their ability to control overheating. These blades prevent any burning or charring on the grounds. And as such, you get a cup of coffee that tastes right on the spot.

What’s more, the Incanto lets a small amount of water drip into the brew unit to “pre-infuse” the concoction. This is a common technique used in many espresso machines for letting the grounds saturate as much as possible before pouring.

This machine also uses a special AquaClean filter. It removes many impurities, including calcium that would otherwise impart an odd taste to your espresso shot.

The Saeco Xelsis uses a Thermoblock boiler, which offers faster heating times and more control overcooking. The AquaClean filter makes a reappearance here, as does the ceramic grinder. Both of these ensure a more even heating experience.

As for the PicoBaristo, you get the same filter and grinder, along with a quick-heat boiler for rapid cooking. The result is a cup of espresso that’s perfectly rich and smooth in texture.

Brewing Capacity:

Brewing Capacity Saeco Incanto
Brewing Capacity Saeco Incanto

The Incanto from Saeco has quite a large capacity, with a reservoir size of about 60 ounces. Assuming a single shot is 1 ounce and a double shot is 2 ounces, you can make up to 60 single shots from this machine. And up to 30 double shots from just one refill.

As for the bean hopper, it can hold as much as 10 ounces, which is a lot for bean hoppers. You can brew up to two cups at the same time. And you also get a waste container that can hold waste from up to 15 servings. 

Additionally, the Saeco Incanto includes a gorgeous looking milk carafe that can hold about a liter. It’s a handy tool for quick frothing and coffee art. The Incanto also provides just a little more cup clearance, with a max cup height of 152 mm, or approximately 6 inches. 

The PicoBaristo has the same size as the water tank, which is 60 ounces. However, the Xelsis has a slightly larger water tank, at 67 ounces approximately. The PicoBaristo also has a smaller bean hopper size of 8 ounces, while the Xelsis has a larger size of 12.3 ounces. And its wastage compartment can hold up to 15 servings worth of waste.

User-Friendliness:

User Friendliness Saeco Incanto
User Friendliness Saeco Incanto

If you’re a picky drinker, then you’ll love the customizability offered by the Incanto. You get to control the milk volume, temperature, and even the shot time. This results in a more targeted taste experience, and you get to truly program the machine to your will. 

The interface is pretty straightforward: a digital display surrounded by three push buttons on either side. The buttons offer customizable profiles. Your options include espresso, espresso lungo, cappuccino, and latte macchiato. A fifth push button lets you control the aroma or grind strength, while a sixth button opens up the menu.

Forthe most part, this machine is super-automatic, which means it does all the hard work for you. It has 3 temperature settings, 5 grinder settings, and an automatic stand-by. And to top that off, many parts are removable, including the spout and carafe.

You get a lot more in terms of customization in the Saeco Xelsis. With 15 different drink options and 6 preset profiles, the Xelsis is a much more intuitive product. It utilizes the “Coffee Equalizer”, which makes setting the strength and froth level more visual. 

Aside from the usual 5 profiles, the PicoBaristo also offers 10 different grinder settings. And the Xelsis offers 12 grinder settings, more than the Incanto. 

Design and Materials:

Design and Materials Saeco Incanto
Design and Materials Saeco Incanto

The Saeco Incanto leads its predecessors in that it has a full stainless steel construction. The external housing is made entirely from stainless steel, save for some plastic bits here and there. 

The boiler uses stainless steel-lined aluminum construction, perfect for most applications. Aluminum is known for being more conductive, both electrically and thermally, than steel. 

One special material here is the ceramic used in the grinder’s blades. The disc grinder has an all-ceramic construction, which adds a bit of consistency to the grounds. 

As for the overall design, it’s not very compact, nor is it light. It weighs up to 7.2 kilos, and while it’s only a foot in height, it’s 16 inches in width. 

Being from the same company, both the Saeco Xelsis and the PicoBaristo use stainless steel as their primary material. The boiler in the Xelsis is also forged from stainless steel. Both of them use Saeco’s proprietary ceramic grinder for more even heating and grinding. 

However, while the PicoBaristo is quite compact, the Xelsis isn’t. It’s about 20 inches in height and 14 inches in width. 

Cleaning and Maintenance:

When talking about maintenance requirements, Saeco takes away a lot of hard work. For one thing, this machine minimizes descaling using its special AquaClean filter. This filter naturally purifies water and blocks impurities using its micro-porous surface. 

This effectively reduces calcium deposits, requiring a descaling only after every 5,000 cups. And when you do need to descale, the Incanto has programs for automatic de-scaling and rinsing. It even cleans the carafe on its own. 

The exterior hardly calls for a wipe, though the buttons may acquire some fingerprints and smudges over time. It doesn’t use a touch screen, which means less time wiping and more time brewing.

Just like the Incanto, the PicoBaristo and the Xelsis also feature the AquaClean filter. It’s become a Saeco product staple by now. This filter is adept at cleaning out calcium and impurities from the water, which adds a pure empowering taste to your coffee.

Additionally, both of them have a steam wand cleaning cycle known as HygieSteam.

Frothing:

Frothing Saeco Incanto
Frothing Saeco Incanto

The Saeco Incanto has an in-house milk frother that’s connected to an integrated frothing mechanism. The carafe can hold about a liter of milk and dispenses hot milk while your cup is still under the brew unit. This lets you generate beautifully creamed cappuccinos and lattes worth every drop of milk.

You can also control the milk volume, as well as switch to manual frothing. Simply press on the “Froth Milk” option, and you get to control the steam wand manually. 

In this manner, you can also use the wand as a hot water dispenser, great for Americanos, tea, and hot chocolate. However, the wand is just a Panarello wand and not a fully-articulated steam wand. So you’ll need a separate frother for latte art.

The Xelsis is different in that it comes with its carafe, but instead of a Panarello wand, you get a more flexible milk pipe. This allows for separate steaming and complex latte art. 

But the PicoBaristo follows much of the same design as the Incanto. It uses a milk carafe for automatic frothing that can be bypassed via a manual froth option.

Grinding:

Grinding Saeco Incanto
Grinding Saeco Incanto

Grinding takes on a whole new form with the new and improved ceramic-blade grinders. Made from 100% ceramic, these blades grind the beans to a fine powder, based on your settings. The ceramic helps to distribute heat more evenly, thus preventing burnt spots and charred coffee. 

In terms of customization, you can choose from 5 grinder settings. So you get more in terms of coffee strength. The Incanto also houses a bypass dozer for directly inserting grounds into the system. 

The bean hopper can hold up to 10 ounces of beans, perfect for most applications. The rapid fast grinding and brewing mean your espresso gets ready in just 45 seconds. 

Both the Xelsis and the PicoBaristo use the same ceramic-blade grinders. However, the difference is in customization. The Xelsis offers 12 grinder settings while the PicoBaristo offers 10. And while the PicoBaristo has a smaller bean hopper size, the Xelsis has a bigger one. Both have a bypass dozer.

Additional Features:

The Saeco Incanto is home to tons of improved features. One such feature would be the Quick Heat Boiler. Made from steel-lined aluminum, this is a Thermoblock boiler. In a Thermoblock boiler, the water is heated in real-time as it passes through the heating element. 

Additionally, the Incanto has an automatic shut-off feature to prevent house fires and coffee wastage. And to further conserve power, you get a stand-by mode that doesn’t turn the machine off but doesn’t consume energy either.

At the top is a bypass dozer for feeding on grounds directly to the machine. And the water tank can also be accessed from the top. It doesn’t have a cup warmer, which should’ve been included given the price you pay for it. 

The Saeco Xelsis features an intuitive touch screen display with 15 coffee options and 6 customizable profiles. This makes it perfect for the homebrew. And you also get a coffee equalizer that helps visualize the brewing process.

Saeco’s PicoBaristo uses a Quick-Heat Boiler, which is essentially a Thermoblock. As already mentioned, Thermoblock boilers allow for lightning-fast cooking times. 

Value for Money:

Saeco Incanto is no doubt a great product for its effectiveness. But should you buy it when there are cheaper options available? 

For starters, the Incanto is a super-automatic machine that’s in the lower price range. You get 4 pre-made coffee programs, as well as lots of customization. And let’s not forget about the quick heating and brewing times. 

With that being said, a few features are lacking here. It isn’t as programmable as a lot of other super-automatic machines. And this makes it a lot simpler to use too, though you might still struggle with it if you’re new. 

So considering all that, it’s no surprise that the Saeco Incanto is a low-range espresso machine. We feel that it’s perfect for the price, considering many similar products can cost you a fortune.

When you compare that with the Xelsis, you can see just what the Incanto was missing. The Xelsis has a more intuitive display, with much more visual controls. And the frother is a lot more flexible. And as such, it cost more than the Incanto. 

The PicoBaristo uses a lot of the same technology as the Incanto, and even uses the same display style. But it still costs more. And this is mainly due to its higher level of customization, such as the 15 presets and the 6 customizable profiles. 

Who Should Buy the Saeco Incanto?

The Saeco Incanto is a super-automatic espresso machine, and as such, it is highly recommended for personal and commercial use. It requires quite a bit of programming, such as setting the grinder settings and the temperature. This means you need to have some level of understanding of how to operate an espresso machine.

This is a low maintenance device that won’t require descaling or a filter replacement for over 3 months. It’s recommended for use in high-traffic areas where you want to brew coffee as soon as you can. 

Use this product for brewing up espresso, cappuccino, latte macchiato, and espresso lungo. You can also make hot chocolate with this, as well as dispense hot water for making tea and other beverages. 

And the best part is that it’s entirely cheap. That’s a huge advantage considering just how expensive super-automatic machines can get. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Saeco Incanto?

If you don’t have a lot of countertop clearance in your kitchen, then look for another product. The Saeco Incanto measures about 17 inches from front to back. So you’ll be needing a lot of extra space to accommodate this. You’ll also be needing top clearance for opening the water tank and bean hopper lids. 

It may also be a bit more complicated to set up for anyone who doesn’t know how to use super-automatic coffee machines. It’s still a lot simpler than most other super-automatic machines, but some people may still struggle.

Pros

  • Self-cleaning espresso machine.
  • Performs a pre-brew.
  • Ceramic-blade grinder for even heating.
  • 45-100 second brewing time.
  • 5 grinder settings with 3 temperatures.
  • 6 programmable preset functions.

Cons

  • Requires a lot of back and top clearance.
  • Might be complicated to use.

FAQs for The Saeco Incanto:

Is Saeco A Good Brand?

Saeco is an Italian espresso machine manufacturer. They specialize in both manual and super-automatic machines. And they also offer coffee vending machines. It’s a daughter company of Phillips, which is notorious for its electronic products. So you can safely invest in a Saeco product without worrying about reliability.

Does The Incanto Let You Adjust The Size Of The Brew?

Yes, it does. You can adjust the amount of espresso that drips out of the brew unit, though the function may be harder to find. You can place cups as tall as 6 inches under the brew unit. For reference, a standard cappuccino cup is about 4 inches tall.

Can You Froth the Milk Manually?

The Saeco Incanto lets you bypass the automatic frothing for manual frothing. Just select the “Froth Milk” option from the menu. This isn’t present on the 6 preset buttons, so you’ll need to dig deeper to find the option.

The Verdict:

Saeco Incanto is a highly operational product, being revered as one of the cheapest super-automatic machines. It adds the right combination of automation and manual bypass to your everyday coffee making. 

This is a great choice for both personal and commercial use. It has quick boiling and brewing times and can make a single espresso shot in under a minute. With 3 temperature settings and 5 grinder settings, the Incanto offers a wide range of customization.

The only thing it lacks is compactness. It requires a lot of tops and rear clearance. And for cafes, this can pose a whole problem on its own.