I was recently given a Phillips Senseo that I think was not used at all by the previous owner. I have no particular love for espresso, but I am not one to look a gift coffee maker in the spout. I did not receive a manual, but I am pretty sure that I have all the parts. After checking it over for any extraneous grime and finding none, I spent a few minutes attaching the random plastic piece, which my friend had said was a vital part, to the reservoir. I put the drip tray and coffee mug rack on the base of the machine. I placed the filter in the top and tried to close the top. Everything slotted together and the top closed without any exertion on my part, so I figured that I had assembled it properly. But will it brew?
I plugged it in and filled the reservoir to the double shot level. I placed a coffee "pod" in the space that I had been told was appropriate and closed the top. I looked at the three buttons on the front and tried to determine the proper course of action. My old coffee maker, a piece of Krap from Krups, has a power button and nothing else, not even an auto-off function. Three buttons was a new and strange world of brewing. The large middle button had the universal power symbol above it, the circle with a vertical line, so I hit that first. A red ring started flashing around the button and I thought, "oh crap, now I have to send this back to Microsoft and demand a refurbished model." The machine also begin making a sound that was not dissimilar to my dishwasher starting up. I waited a few seconds to see what would happen and then pushed the double shot button to the right of the power button. The symbols for the double shot and the single shot button, on the left of the power button, were the same as the reservoir, an outline of a teeny little espresso cup for the single serving and two single shots next to a mug for the double serving. The dishwasher noise stopped when I pushed the double button and then the red ring began to flash rapidly.
Wishing I had the manual, I hit the double serving again. Nothing happened. I checked the reservoir and saw that half the water I had poured in was gone. Hmm. I then filled the reservoir to the top line and slapped it back on. I tapped the double button again. Nothing. I hit the power button and the red ring started blinking slowly like it did the first time. A much more muted hum emanated from this strange machine. I waited for about 30 seconds before realizing that I better put a mug underneath the spout. I cleaned a coffee mug and placed it on the fancy tray under the spout. I hit the double serving button again. The machine began to hum and whirr again and then creamy espresso began to pour out of the spout. SUCCESS! I am indeed smarter than a sexy espresso machine!
The coffee itself is pretty good. I wonder if the pod will be good for a second cup. I wouldn't mind trying some of the flavors, but I will have to see what I can find in my neighborhood stores. That is the limiting factor with this machine, the funky coffee pods. The pods contain grounds in little filter packs, like coffee ravioli or tea. I would prefer to be able to use some espresso ground Mayorga coffee from the Marvelous Market across the street rather than trust an online store. I like to smell a coffee before I buy it because I like to think I can smell something other than coffee and the packaging.
Anyway, here are a couple of other people's opinions but I doubt these are as cool or as smart as mine as they are not Geniuses:
Epinions (also has instructions, should have looked at that earlier...)