After over a year of anticipation, the Sanremo YOU is finally available and having used the machine daily for around 2 months, I am excited to share my assessment of the machine. For context, my demo setup was:
- Coffee: the medium roast Crema blend by Abbotsford Road (no affiliation)
- Grinder: Sanremo F4 AllGround
- Water: Less than 2 grains of total hardness and treated with a standard Britta carbon filter pitcher
For a detailed review of each feature, I’d recommend watching our Features & Introduction video, but this review will focus on a few specific elements that I found particularly important. Sanremo also has put together a very handy playlist that introduce all the components of the machine as well.
What is the Sanremo YOU?
The YOU is an Italian made, commercially certified, prosumer espresso machine with semi automatic, volumetric, and manual pressure profiling that can be saved to the machine for later use through the touch screen interface. It can pull water from a reservoir or connect directly to a water line and you can adjust preinfusion settings regardless of how it’s configured. In short, it's a machine that can almost literally do it all.
- Every espresso brewing method is built in and repeatable
- It’s capabilities grow with you as you learn more about coffee
- Super easy to make small, nuanced adjustments to pressure
- Commercial power steaming & cool touch steam wands
- Lots of adjustable settings, but not necessary for daily use - it’s as complicated as you want it to be
- No phone app integration needed for operation - all settings are at your fingertips
- May have a slight learning curve
- Touch screen UI will seem more complicated than it actually is at first
- The drip tray grate is metal, but the bed is plastic
- The fan that keeps the board cool can take some getting used to. EDIT: Fan on/off times have improved with firmware 1.39
- The brew pressure chart stops tracking at 35 seconds
Manual Brew Paddle
When you first start using the YOU, it feels like there is a lot going on, but it's not nearly as complicated as it will seem at first. For this reason, I strongly recommend for the first week just using the brew paddle for manual shots, with a 5 seconds preinfusion, followed by a quick ramp up to 9 bars and then cutting it around 25-30 seconds to get comfortable with using the machine. You will learn 2 things by going through this “training wheels” period.
- Sensitivity and range of the paddle
It can’t be understated how nuanced you can get with the brew paddle. The machine’s pump can simulate line pressure as low as 0.5 bars and up to around 12 bars at full blast and it is very easy to make small adjustments in pressure. What this means is that dialing in your preinfusion is a breeze and shots are highly customizable. And, even better, if you find a manual profile you really like, you can save it to the machine and it will replicate it every time for you. The machine can hold up to 6 of these manual pressure profiles (it calls them “Lever Profiles” in the machine).
- Comfort with the information presented when brewing
Like I said earlier, the YOU provides a lot of info and feedback on each shot and it can feel a little overwhelming at first. Once you’re comfortable with basic operation though, all the pieces start to fall into place and everything will make much more sense. For a breakdown of each button and function, we go into each one in our Features & Introduction video.
Touch Screen, User Interface, and App Connectivity
From my many conversations with customers about the YOU, I know the presence of a touch screen interface is a sticking point for some people, but I found the experience to be a good one and the quality to be high. The sensitivity is very close to what you’d experience on a touch phone, maybe just 0.5-1 tick less sensitive, and the quality also feels similar to that of a Samsung or Apple phone. Keep in mind, this machine was designed with commercial rigor in mind - the screen is built to take some abuse.
The user interface is serviceable and conveys the information it needs to well enough. There are some language localization quarks, but these never impacted my ability to know what the machine was trying to tell me. Ex: it calls the manual paddle a “lever”. It’s worth playing around with, but once you get the hang of navigating the screens, it becomes easy to maneuver and making adjustments to the settings is straightforward.
The USA version now has app and wifi connectivity (previous USA production did not), however, every single function of the machine is available on the machine - nothing is app-locked. Some machines will lock basic settings behind a phone app, but the YOU has it all built in, which I really appreciate. I am personally not a fan of downloading an app to my phone for an espresso machine, but it's nice to know the option is there if I want it.
Short version, it’s excellent. The steam wand is flexible and there are no clearance issues - you can steam as large or as small a pitcher as you need to. It’s also a cool touch wand, meaning no burns and easy cleaning afterwards. The machine uses toggle switches to activate the steam wand and I found this to be a satisfying experience for my workflow. One feature I really liked was that you can digitally crank the steam boiler pressure all the way up to 1.8 bars, and while I wouldn’t recommend this for home users (0.9-1.1 bar is plenty), in a commercial setting this feature is amazing to help get through rush periods or busy events.
Commercial Use Ready
The Sanremo YOU is fully rated for commercial use and is a great option for mobile business, coffee carts, or similar applications. What makes it even better is that you can dial in your pressure profiles before service, save and assign them to the volumetric buttons, and then you don’t have to worry about your consistency over the span of service. This is a life saver during rush periods in particular where multi-tasking is required and you don’t have to compromise shot quality.
One other commercial consideration is that it is a stupid efficient commercial purchase. Commercially rated machines with similar capabilities to the YOU are expensive. For a 2 group Slayer Espresso, Sanremo Opera, Synesso MVP Hydra, or La Marzocco Strada MP, the range of prices at time of writing are between roughly $24,000 and $28,000. You could get three Sanremo YOU for less and reap the benefits of 1 additional group and 1 additional steam wand while maintaining a consistent, high quality espresso offering enabled by programmable pressure profiles.
Ok, but why do you call it the “End Game Espresso Machine”?
Simply put, you can’t grow out of it. The machine meets you where you are at in your coffee journey, but has all the other options and features available once you’ve grown into them. It can function at a very basic level, but also at an extremely high level. Regardless of your brewing method preferences right now, the YOU has all the features built in and waiting so you don’t have to go out and buy another espresso machine when your tastes and knowledge evolve. And considering that it is built to commercial standards, you should expect a very long life so it will be just as capable today as it is years down the road.
As you can probably tell, I’m pretty excited about this machine and we’d be more than happy to chat about it. You can reach out to our sales team here or schedule an appointment here.