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Welcome to Urban By Design Online! This blog is a notebook of my travels as a city planner, historic preservationist and nonprofit advocate. It's a virtual collection of the many things that I adore, featuring cities, the arts, architecture, gardens, interior design, and retail. Enjoy! - Deena
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Entries in Philips Saeco Syntia Espresso (2)

Friday
Oct262012

Philips Saeco and Lavazza event at Eataly

Philips Saeco co-hosted an event with Lavazza at New York City’s famed Eataly to present a history of espresso and technology. It was an intimate gathering of professionals who specialize in food, design, coffee, and Italian heritage. 

Salvatore Foto of Lavazza

The day was full of information about the fundamentals of coffee, including the brewing process, and the regions of the world where it is produced. There was also a special presentation made by Salvatore Foto from Lavazza, a company that is the number one coffee selling brand in Italy.  Each attendee received a gift bag that included Qualita Oro, an aromatic, medium roast coffee made with 100 percent Arabica beans from Central America, and the highlands of Africa.  I’ve used it in my Syntia machine, and consider it a delightful late afternoon treat.

Isaac Cohen with the Syntia Brew Group

Isaac Cohen from Philips gave an informative presentation of the history of the company’s espresso machines and its numerous design innovations.  In 1985, the company premiered the first brew-to-cup machine.  He also gave a detailed overview of the Philips Syntia Focus espresso machine, and explained the function of the brew group, a patented feature that is considered the heart of the fully-automated machine.  The device allows the machine to tamp, brew, and dispense coffee in one cycle.  Alessandra Rovati, who edits the blog, Dinner in Venice, closed the afternoon with a lively discussion of the history of coffee and café culture in Venice, Italy.

 

 

The evening was capped off by a visit upstairs to La Birreria at Eataly, a rooftop restaurant and brewery.  The restaurant has a retractable roof, with unparalleled views of some of Madison Park’s most iconic skyscrapers, including the Flatiron building. 

 

 A special menu was prepared for the occasion, and below are a couple of photos of the delectable meal.  The restaurant served the most wonderful tiramisu that I’ve ever had.  Overall, it was a joyous occasion, full of fantastic food, and the unprecedented opportunity to gain more information about coffee.  It is not something that I will soon forget.  I’m very grateful to all for the extraordinary experience.

Sunday
Oct072012

Philips Saeco Syntia

Recently, I received the Philips Saeco Syntia espresso machine.  Normally I use a traditional coffee maker to make my morning coffee, so the Syntia was a phenomenal upgrade.

Honestly, for the first few days, I hesitated to test-drive this machine out of fear that somehow it would be complicated.   Thankfully, I was wrong, because this solid machine was surprisingly operational right out of the box!  Both the easy to read product manual, and the detailed instructional videos on the company’s website were extremely helpful.

The Syntia has a sleek, sophisticated, and elegant black exterior.  Its modern and stylish design is a testament to the storied legacy of Saeco, known for producing extraordinary espresso machines.  I am impressed by the chrome finish, which gives it a rather polished finish. Its compact size makes it easy to store on the kitchen counter, taking up minimal space, without having to rearrange existing appliances.

The control panel, with its LED display was incredibly intuitive. Adjusting the coffee length is a matter of touching the appropriate button. There is also a convenient hot water and steam selector switch.

One of my favorite features is the aroma preference. So far I'm still on the one bean setting, but each new brew has presented a deeper and more flavorful result than I ever would have imagined.

There is a manual button to modify the coffee to either a coarse or fine grind. I've also used pre-ground coffee, but prefer using the whole beans, because of the bolder taste. However, I also enjoy hearing the gentle whirl of the ceramic grinder prior to the brewing cycle, because it makes for a more complete espresso experience.

 

I made my first cappuccino with this machine. The Pannarello wand was not difficult to use, and made rich, frothy milk with ease. The result was an incredibly flavorful cappuccino that tasted even better, because I made it myself!

 

The front loading 40-ounce water tank was a huge plus. I have low kitchen cabinet clearance, so this was an excellent feature.

The machine is easy to clean and maintain. Overall, I highly recommend the Syntia for its ability to provide a delicious espresso, without ever leaving the comfort of home.