Great coffee for the price, although the crema was a little foamy
The Saeco Poemia is one of the company’s entry-level espresso machines. It’s designed to look bright and lively, with a choice of red, black or silver models. All are made from plastic, although the quality is good, so the machine doesn’t look too cheap. However, those looking for better looks and quality, can go for the Gaggia Gran Prestige, which is the same machine (Saeco owns Gaggia) with a metal finish.
Although the Poemia is relatively cheap, we like the way it’s designed and how everything can be neatly stored away. Take off the top cover and you get access to the 1L water container, which you can refill in place or remove using the handle. Next to this is a filter holder, so you can place the ground coffee or ESE espresso pod filter out of the way, depending on which one you’re currently using. There’s also space for the measuring cup. It all means that you don’t have any clutter, with only the group handle needing to be left on display.
Everything is tucked away neatly in the back of the machine, so there’s no clutter
Using the machine is easy. All you have to do is turn it on using the switch at the back and the machine heats up the single boiler to the right temperature, turning on an indicator light when it’s ready. While it’s doing that you can place cups on the mug holder at the front to warm them.
We made our espresso shots using ground coffee poured into the group handle. The manual doesn’t say that the coffee needs to be tamped; however, using the flat bottom of the measuring spoon to flatten the coffee into the filter is a good idea and gave us better results.
Next you need to clip the group handle into position. It’s a strange design, with the handle mounted on a slight spring. When you let go of it, the handle moves to the left slightly. It makes it harder to line up the spouts if you want to fill two cups.
There’s only 75mm of clearance underneath the group handle, so our test mug wouldn’t fit. You may need to buy some smaller mugs or espresso cups, decanting into a larger cup if you want to make a longer drink, such as an Americano.
With everything in place, you just need to turn the dial on the front to the left and pump kicks in. The group handle has a pressurised filter in it, designed to make extra creamy crema. Indeed, our espresso glasses finished up with very thick crema on top.
The pressurised group handle gives you thick crema, but it’s a little foamy
On a first glance, the cream looks pretty good, but closer inspection shows a couple of minor problems with it. First, the colour’s not quite right and the foam isn’t quite as dark as we’d ideally like. Secondly, it’s very frothy and lacks the smooth, oily appearance we’d expect from an espresso shot.