Don’t question my patriotism, but I don’t like tea. I could never appreciate the lack of a strong character in the drink and the saccharine tea that we get in our homes is enough to make a man hate all beverages. In fact, morning beverage was the first catastrophic disagreement of our married life. I could die from tea overdose and wife could not live without it.
So, when I was offered the fantastic sounding Philips Saeco Intelia to try, we had a serious marital crisis. I did a quick search online and learnt that the Intelia could make one touch cappuccino or espresso. I had different sorts of coffee powders and a filter coffee maker. But nothing that processed coffee beans. I had been planning to buy an Aeropress, but that didn’t work with beans too. For me, fresh ground beans belonged in a café and needed a lot of training as a barista.
I wasn’t home when the machine was delivered. I had decided to skip the instructions, anyway. Just to be on the safe side, I watched a few videos on YouTube. It wasn’t easy finding videos for the specific model in English. After two days of research on the best material for the machine, I realised the official Philips web manual is the best resource.
Coming back to the machine, it is not too large and sits nicely on the kitchen top. There is a milk carafe in the right to fill with milk. There is a water box in the left to fill with water. There is a tray on top to fill with roasted bins. All this done, you have to press a button and machine does the rest by itself. In the mornings, there is no better way to wake up than to listen to the whirring of the bean grinder. By the time, the cappuccino is ready, the room fills up with the aroma. So, wake up with a double kick.
Operating the machine is simple, though it needs a little initiation to get the best results. My friends scoffed when they heard One Touch Cappuccino. So, I invited a few over to demonstrate the features and have a coffee tasting on the side. There is a setting to define the strength of your grind and there is another to define the size of the pour. The machine cleans itself everytime it starts, so that’s taken care of. The used tablet of the grind is dumped in the trash box in the side, away from the impressed friends’ view.
Coming to the coffee, the first few times, the coffee was either too strong or the froth was too thin. I experiemented with full cream and toned milks and there was not much difference. I stuck to toned milk, anyway. Next, I took out the carafe and gave it a thorough wash. May be, the machine needed descaling. Unable to do that, I took out the caraf and gave it a thorough wash and the amount of froth improved.
The machine also makes espresso shots with just a touch. Apart from the beans, I had a Barista Lavazza grind and an Ethiopian grind at home. While the Lavazza one worked well with both cappuccino and espresso versions, the Ethiopian was enjoyable only as espresso.But nothing matched the fresh beans and I felt cheated about years of being sold the chicory.
The machine is quite incredible and I thought about running away with it to the end of the world. Priced around 70,000 rupees, I guess, I have to wait a few years before buying it.