The Philips Saeco Xelsis is a sophisticated super-automatic espresso machine that promises to elevate your daily coffee ritual.

As a huge fan of super-automatic espresso makers, I had to give the Xelsis a try. Sleek design, customizable drink options, and intuitive touchscreen interface — on paper, it has it all.

Join me in this Philips Saeco review as I delve deep into its features and performance to answer the burning question: Is this automatic espresso machine any good?

Brew Quality

5.0

Build Quality

4.5

Ease Of Use

5.0


Overall Rating

4.8

I rate Philips Saeco Xelsis 4.8 out of 5. This super-automatic espresso machine is incredibly easy to use. Plus, user profiles make it a great choice for a workplace or a household of coffee lovers.

Most importantly, it creates flavorful brews. You're guaranteed a great drink, whether regular black coffee or a latte macchiato. 

Here's exactly everything I liked and didn't like about this automatic espresso machine.

  • Coffee equalizer — Touchscreen that makes the use incredibly easy
  • Brews 15 coffee brews— A wide variety of milk-based drinks
  • Eight personal profiles — Great for a household of coffee lovers
  • Ceramic grinder — Durable and precise grind results
  • Aquaclean water filter — No need to descale for 5,000 cups
  • HygieSteam self-cleaning system — Automatically cleans the milk system

Pros

  • Can brew two drinks at the same time
  • Intuitive touchscreen interface for easy operation and customization
  • Customizable user profiles for a personalized coffee experience

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Oily coffee can clog the grinder
  • Pre-ground coffee can be canceled and thrown in the container

Who Should Buy The Philips Saeco Xelsis?

The Philips Saeco Xelsis is an ideal choice for coffee enthusiasts who prioritize premium coffee quality and variety.

If you appreciate the convenience of a wide range of coffee beverages, personalized settings, and a sleek design, this automatic espresso machine is worth considering.

Additionally, households with multiple coffee drinkers will appreciate the user profile feature.

However, it may be unsuitable for those on a tight budget or with limited counter space due to its premium pricing and relatively large footprint.


Why I Decided To Review The Philips Saeco Xelsis

I chose to review the Philips Saeco Xelsis because of its reputation as a high-end coffee machine with advanced features.

As a home barista coffee enthusiast, I am always on the lookout for products that can elevate my coffee experience.

After seeing several reviews that praised the manufacturer and this exact model, I had to give it a try.

The Xelsis, known for its exceptional coffee quality and customization options, piqued my interest.

I wanted to explore its capabilities, user-friendliness, and overall performance to provide valuable insights to fellow coffee lovers.

Testing Conditions

Days Tested

30

Cups Brewed Per Day

2

Level Of Experience Needed

Beginner

Reviewer Background

I'm a home brewing enthusiast who's used and tested several coffee machines over the years. I started with Nespresso Vertuo and recently upgraded to Jura S8.

Environment Tested

Home kitchen

Money Saved Per Year

Around $1,000

Favorite Drink To Brew

Espresso & Latte

What’s It Like To Live With The Philips Saeco Xelsis

Here’s my experience using this impressive Saeco espresso machine, starting from the very first brew I made.

What's In The Box?

Saeco Xelsis box contains:

  • Super-automatic espresso machine
  • Drip tray
  • Milk carafe
  • Milk tube
  • Water reservoir
  • AquaClean water filter
  • User manual
  • Grinder brush
  • Lubricant for the brew unit
  • Water hardness test strip
  • Scoop and adjustment key for the grinder
  • Cord

You can’t buy the Xelsis straight from the Philips website, but you have to choose between one of the retailers, such as Amazon, Seattle Coffee Gear, Williams & Sonoma, Best Buy, or Crate & Barrel.[1]

The shipping conditions will depend on the seller you choose. My unit arrived in a few business days, and it was well-packaged.

There was a cardboard on top to protect the coffee machine. My favorite part of the packaging was the plastic handles that made it easy to pull the machine out of the box.

This isn’t a light espresso machine, so the handles really made my life easier.

Pulling My First Espresso Shot

Pulling my first espresso shot on the Saeco Xelsis super-automatic espresso machine was extremely easy.

I pulled the machine out of the box, filled it with water and coffee beans, and it was ready to brew.

Here’s how I pulled the first shot step-by-step:

  1. I placed the cup under the coffee spout
  2. I choose my drink from the touchscreen menu
  3. I pressed the start button and waited for the coffee maker to finish brewing.

That was all. It takes a few simple steps to make coffee on the Saeco espresso machine. The coffee maker has a Thermoblock heating system, so it heats up quickly.

I also found it quiet, which is especially great first thing in the morning.

Barista HQ Note:

The espresso maker goes through an adjustment period to reach peak performance. The manufacturer recommends making five cups before saving your profile so the machine can adjust.

Pulling Espresso Shot On The Philips Saeco Xelsis

My espresso cup had a full body and a rich crema, and I was able to detect the coffee notes, even almond, which isn’t noticeable on all super-automatic models.

One of the main reasons the espresso maker makes good-quality specialty drinks is the coffee grinder. The machine uses a grinder with 12 settings.

This gives you enough room to dial in the espresso.

Plus, a ceramic grinder doesn't overheat and burn the coffee and is extremely durable. The grinder can make 20,000 brews before it needs replacing.

First Time Frothing Milk

Here’s how I frothed milk on the Saeco Xelsis:

  1. I filled the carafe with milk
  2. I connected the milk tube to the Cappuccinator
  3. I placed the milk tube in the milk container
  4. I choose which milk drink I want
  5. I pressed the start button and waited for the machine to finish making my cappuccino

Barista HQ Tip:

When the milk tube is connected to the Cappuccinatore, slide the dispensing spout to the uppermost position for easy access to the water tank.

The super-automatic espresso machine creates dense foam at 149 degrees. Some users' reviews complained the milk foam wasn’t hot enough, but it was good enough for me.

Xelsis has a dual Thermoblock heating system that quickly heats the machine to the perfect temperature for brewing and steaming.

This means you don’t need to wait long between the two actions and always have optimal temperature.

Frothing Milk With The Philips Saeco Xelsis

How Much Control Do You Have Over The Saeco Xelsis?

You have an impressive amount of control over the Saeco Xelsis.

In fact, the super-automatic espresso machine gives you more control over the specialty drinks compared to most other machines I used.

You use the machine interface to adjust the settings. You can make these changes to your drink[2]:

  • Aroma strength
  • Coffee quantity
  • Milk quantity
  • Water quantity
  • Drink temperature
  • Amount of milk foam
  • Coffee flavor

You can also choose if you want to make one or two brews and in which order you want milk and coffee to be poured into your cup.

All of these options are shown in a series of bars on the machine touchscreen, and you move them up or down to adjust your preferences (it’s similar to an audio equalizer, thus the name “Coffee Equalizer”).

These options make it easy to make a drink according to your exact preferences. You can also save your settings and brew the same drink the next time.

How Does It Handle Different Roasts?

Philips Saeco Xelsis handles different roasts well:

  • Light roast — Is known for its bright acidity and floral notes. The Xelsis allows you to adjust settings like grind size, temperature, and extraction time. This flexibility ensures that you can extract the nuanced flavors of light roast coffee without over-extraction, preserving their delicate qualities.
  • Medium roast — Offers a balance of acidity and body. With the Xelsis, you can fine-tune settings to bring out the caramel and chocolate undertones, creating a well-rounded and flavorful cup.
  • Dark roast — Is known for its bold, smoky flavors. The Xelsis' customization options let you control the extraction process, preventing bitterness while highlighting the richness and intensity of these beans.

Overall, this is a versatile machine that makes good espresso with various kinds of coffee roasts thanks to the customization options.

I noticed the bean-defining characteristics with all roasts I used, even with pre-ground coffee.

Look, Feel, and Size Of The Machine

Saeco delivers in the looks department. The design shows this is an expensive machine. The stainless steel housing makes it feel modern and durable.

The machine is designed for frequent use and to brew many cups. There's a removable drip tray in the bottom with a sensor that lets you know it's time to empty it. 

The movable coffee spout is located in the middle so that you can fit tall cups, and the touchscreen control panel is located above it.

The touchscreen, or the Coffee Equalizer, is what gives the machine a modern, expensive feel.

The brew group is accessible to the side, and the bean hopper is on top. I loved the nice and wide lid on the bean hopper.

This made it easy to refill the bean hopper without spilling the beans everywhere. The bean hopper has a capacity of 12 oz, so you won’t run out of coffee quickly.

There’s also a bypass for pre-ground next to the bean hopper when you want decaf coffee.

I also loved that the machine is front-loading. You don’t have to reach to the back to refill the water tank. It’s done from the front.

Plus, it’s easier to monitor water levels this way. The used puck container is also accessible from the front and has a large capacity (14 pucks), so you don’t have to empty it out often.

Look, Feel, and Size Of The Philips Saeco Xelsis

Unlike other super automatics, you'll notice that the Xelsis doesn't have a built-in milk system. This is because the milk frothing is done externally. Saeco sends a milk carafe with the machine.

You connect the milk frother tube to the milk container and place the other end in your cup to froth milk.

This makes it easy to store leftover milk in the fridge, plus it makes the machine slimmer.

Overall, the machine dimensions make it somewhat bulky, 11.14 D x 19.25 W x 15.47 H in, but the front loading water tank and external milk frother help keep the dimensions smaller.

What Drinks Can It Make?

Philips Saeco Xelsis makes 15 quality coffee drinks:

  • Coffee
  • Ristretto
  • Espresso lungo
  • Americano
  • Flat white
  • Latte macchiato
  • Cappuccino
  • Caffe latte
  • Cafe au lait
  • Cortado
  • Hot water
  • Warm milk
  • Milk foam

I liked that the automatic espresso machine has a hot water option, which made it easy to make teas and hot chocolates. I even use it for my morning oatmeal!

How Easy Is It To Use?

Saeco Xelsis is extremely easy to use. I pretty much placed it on my counter, filled with water and coffee, and made coffee in minutes. I didn't even have to check the manual.

You don't need a lot of knowledge to work the machine. It's all done from the touchscreen, which functions like a smartphone — by swiping with fingers.

The user interface has clear, full-color images, with the name of the drink underneath the pic, so it’s easy to find the brew you want.

Another feature that ensures easy use is user profiles. Saeco Xelsis super-automatic espresso machine has eight user profiles, which is a lot.

Most super-automatic espresso machines have around two. You can personalize your favorite espresso drink and save the settings in your profile.

For example, let's say you like a hotter espresso with a stronger aroma, but your partner likes a milder taste. Both of you can get your perfect drink thanks to user profiles.

This is also a good machine if you work in a company with several coffee aficionados. With the Saeco Xelsis, everyone can be a great barista.

Philips Saeco Xelsis Coffee Settings

How Long Does It Take? (From Heat Up To First Sip)

Saeco Xelsis takes around two minutes from heat up to the first sip. The initial heat-up time is around 40 seconds.

Espresso brewing takes around 30 seconds, and the milk system takes between 30 to 60 seconds to create foam, depending on your settings.

Overall, it takes just under two minutes to brew espresso and around three minutes to make milk-based specialty drinks.

Does It Have A Water Filtration System?

Yes, Saeco Xelsis has a water filtration system. This automatic espresso machine has an AquaClean water filter, which you insert into the water reservoir.

The water filter has ion exchange technology, which extracts calcium from water and prevents scale buildup.[3]

The water filter prevents impurities from reaching your coffee, ensuring better flavor.

How Hard Is It To Clean and Descale?

Similarly to other super-automatic machines, Saeco Xelsis is easy to clean and descale. This model has automatic steam cleaning.

You touch a button, and the HygieSteam technology blasts steam through the milk circuit. Plus, you can anchor the frothing tube to the drip tray using a connector on the left side.

This ensures all water and steam goes straight into the drip tray, and there’s less cleanup.

The brew group is removable, and you can use the provided brush to clean it, so there’s no stale grind in your coffee.

You should also empty and give a good rinse to the drip tray, used coffee grounds container, and water tank from time to time.

Luckily, as mentioned, these are removable and accessible from the front, so you don’t have to move the machine to get to them.

The good news is, you'll hardly ever have to descale the Xelsis if you use the AquaClean filter. The Philips company claims there's no need for descaling for 5,000 cups.

Let's say you make two coffees a day. This means you won't need to descale for close to seven years!

Finally, one concern I had is the stainless steel and fingerprints.

I used several stainless steel machines that were fingerprint magnets, so I worried the same thing would happen with the Xelsis, considering its stainless steel build.

I’m happy to report this wasn’t the case.

Cleaning The Philips Saeco Xelsis

My Favorite Parts About The Philips Saeco Xelsis

I loved the LatteDuo function, which let me brew two drinks at the same time. This even goes for milk brews, such as cappuccinos and lattes, and was very handy when I had guests over.

I’m a huge fan of the Xelsis touchscreen, and I loved that it let me get into the nitty-gritty settings and get a delicious drink every time.

Finally, I loved the user profiles, as I had to share the machine with my family members.


My Least Favorite Parts About The Philips Saeco Xelsis

I didn't like the machine's price. It's one of the most expensive home espresso makers. However, I found it's often at a 50% discount, which is an incredible value.

I also didn’t like that I had to be careful which coffee I used. The manufacturer warns against using oily coffee beans, as they can clog the grinder.

However, this is true for most grinders, especially on an automatic espresso machine, so the Xelsis is no exception.

Finally, I found the machine occasionally doesn’t recognize pre-ground coffee, and it throws it out in the container, which was annoying.


Philips Saeco Xelsis Vs Similar Machines

Here’s how Saeco Xelsis compares to other similar machines on the market.

Philips Saeco Xelsis Vs Jura S8

Jura is a famous manufacturer of super-automatic models. Same as the Xelsis coffee machine, the S8 has an attractive design.

The S8 is great for experimenting, as it has an impressive range of programming options. You can adjust the amount of water, brewing temperature, coffee strength, and amount of froth.

Same as the Xelsis espresso machine, the S8 can make 15 specialty drinks. This machine has a removable water reservoir with a water filter, so there’s no need for descaling, ever.

The machines even have similar frothing systems — both of them use a tube to froth milk.

Overall, both machines are similar, and their use is a breeze. However, I give props to the Saeco Xelsis, as it has automatic frothing system cleaning, which the S8 lacks.

Philips Saeco Xelsis Vs Jura S8

Philips Saeco Xelsis Vs DeLonghi Dinamica Plus

DeLonghi is another manufacturer of popular super-automatic machines. Dinamica Plus is a more compact model than the Saeco Xelsis, with dimensions 9.3 x 16.9 x 13.7 in.

The Dinamica Plus can make one more drink compared to the Saeco — 16 vs Xelsis' 15. The main difference between these models is in the frothing systems.

Dinamica Plus doesn't use tubes but has a built-in LatteCrema Automatic milk frother that stems milk in a carafe.

Both machines have powerful heating systems, so the steam creates excellent milk foam.

Also, the Dinamica Plus has one more grinder setting — 13 compared to the Saeco's 12. This isn't a huge difference, and you won't notice it in everyday use.

Overall, Dinamica Plus has similar features to the Saeco Xelsis, but it comes at a much lower price, so it’s a good choice if you’re looking for a super-automatic that doesn’t break the bank.

Philips Saeco Xelsis Vs DeLonghi Dinamica Plus

FAQs

Who makes Philips espresso machines?

Philips espresso machines are made by Philips in Italy.

Where is Saeco Xelsis made?

Saeco Xelsis is designed and made in Italy. This super-automatic espresso machine is manufactured at Gaggio Montano near Bologna, Italy.

Is Philips a good brand for coffee machines?

Yes, Philips is a good brand for coffee machines. Philips manufactures super-automatic or bean-to-cup machines. This means you can touch a button and get your brew. Their machines are made of stainless steel and plastic and can last years.

Does the Saeco Xelsis have a cup warmer?

Yes, the Saeco Xelsis has a cup warmer. A cup warmer is great for preheating the cup so the cold doesn’t sap away the espresso temperature. It helps you have a hotter espresso.

What temperature is Saeco Xelsis?

Saeco Xelsis brewing temperature is around 190 degrees. The optimal coffee brewing temperature is between 195 to 205 degrees, and Saeco Xelsis is just under this temperature point, which is typical for super-automatic machines.

Are Philips and Saeco the same company?

Yes, Philips and Saeco are the same company. Philips acquired Saeco International Group in 2009. As a result, you will often find Philips-branded coffee machines that incorporate Saeco's technology and design, combining the strengths of both companies in producing high-quality coffee appliances.

Is The Philips Saeco Xelsis Worth Your Money?

Yes, the Philips Saeco Xelsis super-automatic espresso machine is worth your money. It'll satisfy every coffee aficionado.

The machine has a modern stainless steel build, a quality grinder, and an external milk system that makes the use easy.

The machine also has a dual-temperature heating system so you can expect hot brews with a nice aroma.

Overall, the super-automatic machine is equipped with the latest technology and capable of making various specialty drinks at the press of a button.

If you want ease of use, this is a great choice.

However, this isn't the best choice if you want to learn how to create pucks and control the entire brewing process.

Philips Saeco Xelsis

Brew Quality

5.0

Build Quality

4.5

Ease Of Use

5.0


Overall Rating

5.0

References: 

1. https://www.usa.philips.com/c-m-ho/coffee/saeco-automatic-espresso-machine#triggername=saeco_black
2. https://media.graphassets.com/LlaIegRBRNKmDgliq2SN
3. https://www.usa.philips.com/c-p/CA6903_47/aquaclean-calc-and-water-filter 

Kayla Stavridis

Head of Marketing

Kayla Stavridis
Kayla Stavridis is a coffee enthusiast and Head of Marketing for Barista HQ. She blends her professional insights and experience with a deep passion for all things coffee. Kayla offers a unique, hands-on perspective on coffee culture and trends. You can find her sipping a cold brew with just a touch of milk on the beach in the afternoon and a Corona with lime in the evening.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... Cold Brew

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