Senseo XL Coffee Machine Review
And now, I present the Senseo! This is a single-serve machine with a great past track record…but can this updated model stand up to them? I explore that further in this review. The Senseo ain’t no new kid on the block – it has been around for awhile, and has had many raving fans.
See what made this machine earn a ChefsBest award and won the hearts of many coffee lovers in Europe before making its mark over in the US consumer base!
So if you’re looking for the quick , convenient latte, cappuccino or mocha experience, read on.
What's on this page?
I found the stated dimensions on the sales page copy and Amazon’s page below it: they were listed as 13.5″ by 12″ by 8.5″ Which sounds pretty accurate but without the “length, width, and depth” I can only guess – especially with the concave design of the maker/reservoir.
I ended up visiting more than one company website to get the facts. One of them didn’t have measurements and the other – which happened to be that of the parent company, Philips – did. There is a width of 8.4″, a depth of 12.4″, and a height of 13″. The depth, I presume, includes the unit plus the drip tray/base combined.
Some coffee makers have odd shapes to them and we need those specs. Suffice it to say, due to its unique shape and design the Senseo is going to eat up a little more real estate on your countertop than some other models out there. To cap it off it has a 31.5″ power cord.
Since the Senseo was made with “gourmet style” espresso-esque beverages in mind, it’s not designed to accommodate tall cups. The clearance from tray to dispensing spout is only a full height of 4.6″
Unique design will permit you to brew one average sized cup (about 8 oz) or 2 small 4-oz cups (think demitasse and similar) There are two different pod holders included, one that will accommodate a single pod, and the other made to hold two pods to use for the dual-brew option.
Although the Senseo brewer has had a few generations behind it, the 7810 is the newest model and sets itself apart from its predecessors by means of an “Intensity Select” brew option (think something like “pulse” or “strong brew” on comparable models) that let’s you get more rich flavor.
The Senseo XL 7810 has Auto-Shutoff which will kick in after a half-hour of inactivity. It is not programmable. If you think you may use it less regularly, you may want to just unplug it.
Oh, and here’s a piece of interesting info for you, this baby is made in Poland. for those of you asking the question of “Is it made in China?” As this company actually started in Europe and the Senseo was widely available in the EU before being marketed here.
Wasn’t the Senseo Recalled Once?
Yes, but it was a long time ago. Some people voiced concern that this model of the Senseo had been recalled – this happened back in 2009 though, and it was an earlier edition due to a burn hazard. More details can be found in this article. I have no doubt that this doesn’t concern you today if you are actively shopping for a Senseo.
Besides the machine itself and its respective parts, there is an instruction booklet and a limited 1 year warranty. I didn’t see any bonus “extras” mentioned.Usually a gift of a pod starter pack is de riguer, but I think you need to register your brewer through the company website to receive this.
Buttons and Controls
Instead of always being somewhere near the top, the buttons are located right on the integrated drip tray. There are three in all…the middle one is the power button, to the right is the 2-cup button for brewing two 4-oz cups, and the 1 cup button is to the left which will permit a more common 8 oz cup of joe.
Here is where things get interesting with the XL 7810: the “intensity selector” feature that lets you kick up the flavor a notch, is activated by pushing one of the 1 cup or 2 cup buttons twice.
The reservoir sits on the back of the unit and has a 40.6 oz water holding capacity. The way it is mounted – right below the brewing chamber area…makes for a more tricky approach to situating it correctly (which some owners have mentioned). Also, this is not one of those brewers in which you can refill right from the location – it definitely needs be removed from the unit before refilling and filling.
On the inside of the reservoir (the part facing the unit) are the max and min-fill lines. Nothing has been said about any kind of water filter, so you’re encouraged to use bottled water as much as possible.
The Senseo XL Pod Holders
There are two basin-shaped pod holders that are included with the brewing machine. One of them holds a single pod and the other holds two pods for the smaller, 4 oz each cups. The 2-pod holder looks just like the single pod holder except for being a tad deeper.
Depending on how much use they get, regular cleaning will be necessary (outside of the descale ritual) as buildup from stray grounds can build up in the pod holders, Fortunately, this is easily done with a toothpick or bamboo skewer if a blockage does occur. They’re both top-rack dishwasher safe for those of you who want to go the extra mile.
More indepth info about different descalers can be found here.
Another thing that can hinder performance, is not seating the pod correctly, it does need to be inserted a certain way as the top chamber will not close correctly.
Senseo Coffee Outflow Unit
The hub of operation begins with the front spring lever that once pushed up, opens out to reveal the inner chamber and the water distribution disk. This is the showerhead feature underneath that enables your pods to get saturated well. After you have inserted a pod, you’ll want to push down the lever again until you hear it close.
Drip Tray Plate
The drip tray makes me think of one of those single electric burners – just my perception, anyway …I know it has to be large enough; to support two delicious cups of coffee side by side 🙂 It has a metal grill tray that can be removed; the center opening is where you can remove it for periodic cleaning. The underside of it has a plastic drip tray. However, it’s not made to be removed to add extra height ; rather it’s just for times you may want to wash it (Sorry to report that – but on a positive note, they are both top rack dishwasher safe)
For awhile at first glance, I could not tell if the drip tray was built into the unit, or separate and detached altogether…even from multiple angles, it was hard to tell. With the slanted angle of the machine altogether, I realize now it would be kind of unstable without that base attached….
Compatible Senseo Accessories
By now you’ve probably gotten the picture, that this is NOT a maker compatible with K-cups…However, the Senseo does leave the door open to other options if you want to venture outside the proprietary coffee pods (which are excellent, and people do rave about them 👍) every now and then, or if you have trouble locating them. I have usually seen Senseo pods over at the Krogers where I shop.
The Coffee Duck is a permafilter apparatus that will allow you to start your own coffee using your own grounds, so if you’re in a pinch or you’ve got some grounds left over this device will allow you to have the coffee gourmet experience dirt cheap. It’s shaped like a basin and pretty much like the design of the pod holder that’s included.
Only trouble I ran into was trying to find out if it would work with this model, as the description states it’s compatible with the HD 7810 – 7812, which is a predecessor, or the HD78Iff series, so it was kind of fuzzy to me whether or not it would be compatible with this model, but I did hear some consumers say that it did. and they love using it.
The package includes a bundle of 50 that you can fill with your own grounds for the “make your own pods” experience, if you don’t mind the extra steps to seal the pods afterward. Apparently you have to do that step or they won’t just stay closed.
Senseo Consumer Ratings and Reviews
It gets it’s share of delighted, good, so-so, and a few bad. The good, and delighted, consumers, mention things like enjoying the taste and flavor, love that the pods themselves are compostable/biodegradable and not eco-unfriendly K-cup clutter, as well as expedient operation (I don’t think I found ONE comment in the bunch about “slow brewing” – that’s amazing)
Oh boy, do people LOVE that crema! (This has to be the Senseo’s crowning glory)
There were a few remarks about the temperature not being hot enough (but this is bound to happen anytime the coffee maker in question involves cafe style beverages due to the many nuances of flavor and people’s tastes)
The things people wished could have been improved upon? Seating the pod (this takes practice, and pushing it down firmly) as well as seating the water tank in between refills, which too, is a little tricky due to its non-linear design. I noticed a pattern….with the more negative comment and remarks, the consumers (mostly) seemed to have long-time experience with the Senseo brand and were comparing this HD7810 to previous models owned,
In terms of performance.I came away thinking, “Wow…Is this model not standing up to it’s predecessors?” The rest had had no previous experience, received as a gift, or their expectations were different.
- Single and 2-pod options to brew great tasting Senseo coffee
- Convenient and expedient operation
- Auto-shutoff takes effect in half an hour
- Pods are biodegradable
- Coffee comes out with crema on top
- Only works exclusively with Senseo pods (or a similar brand – see “Accessories”)
- It can be tricky to seat the pod inside the unit
- Does not accommodate taller cups (height limit is about 4.6″)
- It may take a little guesswork to get the “right” strength per amount of coffee
I’m seeing, on average at the time of writing the Senseo XL going for under $200. I thought that was a tad on the high side until I discovered a few other similar listings that were even higher than that and the one distinguishing thing about one listing in particular was that it came in blue. And also pre-owned, which I discovered a few reviewers were happy with, nevertheless. So I had to chalk it up to other colors being hard to find, or this baby is highly sought after.
There are also a few older versions of the Senseo that I found on eBay….Prices in general were steep, in my opinion, but the kicker was the fact that they were made for international use. Due to a 220 v output in which US systems would not be compatible, because our standard is 120 v.
The other expense, you guessed it…the pods….If you have trouble finding them locally, I found out that if you were to sign up for the “Subscribe and Save” program offered by Amazon, you can get a really good deal on your favorite pod selections.
Well I like it ( I’m sure I would welcome a taste of the coffee itself!) Not everything about it, but I do like it. I know that’s not the best answer to the “Should you buy it?” question….If you are someone who prefers their coffee small, strong, or rich in flavor….and you don’t think you would mind a little guesswork getting the right cycle/water/pod ratio, this one may be for you.
If you’re more of a “regular cup of joe” kind of person (which you probably AREN’T if you’ve made it this far!) the Senseo might not be your cup of tea. Speaking of tea, you could get it from the Senseo if you wanted, although like I said earlier….If you can’t imagine taking your coffee without a little crema on top, this may be your machine.