Siemens EQ.6 Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
A sturdy, reliable machine that isn’t a master of any one thing, but more of a Jack-of-All-Trades type machine that will serve you well, no matter who you are.
Recommended for: Anyone, although it’s geared slightly more to hobbyists and casual drinkers than to hardcore coffee purists who want maximum control.
Table of Contents
- 1 An Overview of the Siemens EQ.6 Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
- 2 Pros and Cons of Siemens EQ.6
- 3 Siemens EQ.6 Review Conclusion
Are you the type of person who likes to blaze your own trails? To strike off in a new direction, rather than simply following the herd?
If so, and you’re looking for a great espresso maker to help introduce you to the world of specialty coffee drinks, then you’re going to love our detailed Siemens EQ.6 review.
Siemens is very well known in Europe, and although they sell their machines in the US, they’ve got a relatively small slice of the market here. That’s an opportunity for a trailblazer because even if several of your friends have espresso makers, it’s almost certain that they don’t have one of these!
As you’ll see in the sections that follow, the EQ6 isn’t a perfect machine, but it’s extremely well-rounded, and there are no deal-breaking flaws with any aspect of it. The unfortunate reality is that some models get several things right, and then have one or two problems that some people would classify as potentially fatal flaws. You won’t find that problem here. Although there are a few minor tweaks we’d make, you’ll find that the EQ6 can handle just about anything.
An Overview of the Siemens EQ.6 Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
Form Factor, Footprint, & Aesthetic
The first thing you’ll notice about the EQ6 is its unmistakable European styling. It’s sleek and modern and bedecked with all the latest technology. Dressed all in silver with black highlights, it makes a handsome addition to most any home kitchen.
It’s not the smallest machine on the market though, measuring 11” x 15.2” x 18.9” so if you have limited counter space, it may be a little challenging to find a permanent home for it, but not excessively so. If you do find yourself having to move it, however, it won’t present any special challenges, as the machine weighs just under 21 pounds (20.9 pounds). This, despite the fact that it’s constructed with a mix of brushed aluminum, stainless steel, and sturdy ABS plastic.
This is the first thing that slightly underwhelmed us and our Siemens EQ.6 review would be lacking if we weren’t up front about that. We’re power coffee drinkers, and as such, a big, impressively-sized water tank is something we look for in an espresso machine. While the EQ6’s side-loading tank is 57.4 ounces (1.7 liters), there are plenty of other models that offer higher capacity. The size isn’t bad, but it is slightly smaller than we prefer.
Note too that the tank comes with a water filter, but using it is entirely optional. The biggest advantage of using a filter on your machine is that when you do so, you virtually eliminate the need for periodic descaling. It’s an issue of convenience that reduces the amount of time you’ll have to spend on maintenance.
Having said that, there are other ways you can get around having to descale. You could, for instance, opt to use distilled water, or, if you have a water filter on your kitchen sink, then having a second one in your machine is extraneous.
The other drawback is the fact that water filters are expensive, and if you opt to use one, you’ll be spending about twenty-five dollars a month, which, over time, will significantly increase your total cost of ownership. Ultimately, it comes down to what works best for you. There are no “right” answers where the use of a filter is concerned.
There are some aspects of the Siemens EQ.6’s filter we liked, and others that left us again feeling a bit underwhelmed.
On the plus side, the model utilizes a ceramic burr grinder with a top-loading, 10.5-ounce bean hopper attached, which is excellent.
There are two things we like about this: First, ceramic burr grinders are superior to their stainless-steel counterparts because stainless-steel heats when used, which can result in burnt grounds that can ruin the flavor of whatever drink you’re making.
The second thing is the size of the bean hopper, especially as compared to the size of the water reservoir.
One of the problems we’ve noticed with some models is that there’s a size mismatch between the water tank and the size of the bean hopper, which invariably results in you having to stop what you’re doing to refill one or the other. It gets annoying very quickly, and thankfully, the EQ6 dodges that problem.
Now for the downside: The grinder only has five settings. Six is the industry average, so five is a little underwhelming. It’s not a huge deal because five is adequate for most people, but coffee purists will chafe under the arbitrary limitations.
The reason it matters so much is that slight changes in your grind setting can have a big impact on the flavor of whatever drink you’re making. More grind settings allow you to fine-tune the flavor of your favorite drinks. Again, it’s not awful, just a bit underwhelming.
Another thing to note here is the fact that the Siemens EQ 6 also features a two-scoop bypass doser, which is great for a quick cup of decaf in the evenings, or when you just don’t feel like going through the whole process.
Finally, we found something in the user manual that’s worth mentioning.
Almost every company that makes super-automatic espresso machines recommends that you stick with medium roast beans. They say this because dark beans tend to be oily, and the oils can clog your grinder.
The EQ6’s user manual has a section that addresses using Dark Roast beans, recommending that you use a finer grind than you normally would.
Our tests did not include Dark Roast beans, and as such, we can’t comment on how effectively the EQ6’s grinder handles them, but based on the note in the user manual, they’re currently the only manufacturer that does not warn their users away from the use of Dark Roast beans. Even so, our recommendation would be to proceed with caution.
The Boiler System
The Siemens EQ6 super automatic espresso machine features a single aluminum boiler, lined with stainless steel and featuring Thermoblock technology for rapid heating. We prefer models that offer a double boiler system, but these are understandably more expensive.
The key advantage of a double boiler system is that it allows you to simultaneously brew coffee and steam milk, which speeds the process of making your favorite milk-based drinks. Even so, thanks to the rapid heating of the EQ6’s boiler, the delay is measured in seconds, rather than minutes, and was a good compromise to keep the cost of the model relatively modest.
Telescoping Coffee Spigot
This is yet another area where we were underwhelmed, but only slightly.
The spigots of the EQ6 do telescope, but not as much as we’d like, moving to accommodate cups ranging in size from about 1” to 4”. That’s not bad, but there are models available that can accommodate cups up to 6” high, and if you have a favorite extra-large coffee cup, it may not fit in the space provided.
There are workarounds, of course, but invariably, these involve brewing into one cup and transferring to your preferred cup. We’ll have more to say about this in the next section.
The Brewing System
In our view, this is the real standout feature of the EQ6’s design. The control panel that allows you to create the coffee-making magic is exceptional.
It utilizes TFT (Thin Film Transistor) technology, giving you bright, clear, touch-screen access to all the controls.
Ordering a drink is as simple as scrolling through your available options, depicted with pictures of each drink so that even if you’re not entirely familiar with the menu, you know exactly what you’re getting, and pushing the selection button.
Of course, there is some setup involved. You can adjust shot strength (mild, regular, strong, very strong), the amount of water (small, medium, and large cup sizes), and the amount of milk and foam you get from the menu settings.
Our recommendation is to just use the factory defaults to start with, and if you get a drink that’s not 100% to your liking, you can tweak settings to adjust the flavor as you go. That way, you won’t have to spend several hours guessing at your optimal settings on the first day you unbox your machine.
Regarding the kinds of drinks you can create with one-touch convenience, they are:
In addition to that, many of the EQ6’s maintenance functions are automated and can be accessed via the maintenance menu on the front panel. From the system menu, you can restore the machine to factory defaults, change the system’s language, and adjust the auto-off timer.
The brew unit is removable for easy cleaning, and this is our preference.
Some manufacturers make the brew unit impossible to access, meaning that you’ve got to use cleansing tablets, but here, you simply pop it out about once a week, give it a good rinse, and you’re all set!
A Few Words About Espresso
If you already know the differences between how drip-brew coffee is made and how espresso is made, skip this section. If you’re new to the world of specialty coffee drinks, it’ll be useful information for later.
You probably use a drip-brew coffee maker now. Most people do. To get coffee from the grounds chamber and into the pot below, these machines rely on simple gravity.
Espresso makers are different, relying on pressure. Pressure is measured in bars, with one bar being equal to atmospheric pressure at sea level. It takes at least nine bars of pressure to make quality espresso, and the EQ6’s pump is rated at fifteen bars.
All that to say it’s got plenty of power to make world-class espresso, every time you use the machine. That matters because espresso lies at the heart of most specialty drinks you’ll be making!
The Milk Frothing System
Where frothing milk is concerned, there are two ways a manufacturer can go: They can offer a frothing wand or an auto-frothing system. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Coffee purists tend to prefer the frothing wand, because it gives them fine-grained control over the temperature of the milk, and the amount and quality of the foam created. The downside is that it takes skill and practice to use, which can be daunting to newbies.
Auto-frothers, on the other hand, are extremely newbie friendly, with the machine controlling the milk temperature, and only giving the user nominal control (if any) over the amount and quality of the froth.
The EQ6 uses an auto-frother, and Seimens makes a stainless-steel milk carafe you can use with the machine (sold separately), but this is optional. Any container will work.
To make a milk-based drink, you simply hook one end of the hose provided into the machine and place the other end into whatever container you’ve got your milk in. When you order a caffe latte or similar drink, it sucks the pre-defined amount of milk into the boiler to heat it, then dispenses a mixture of hot milk and froth.
You can control how much of both you get from the control panel on the front face of the device, which does give you a fairly high degree of control, although it’s still probably not enough to satisfy hardcore coffee purists. Even so, it’s very easy and intuitive to use, and newbies will appreciate it.
Regarding froth quality, it’s near the head of the class, but some top end machines do a slightly better job. Still, some 90% of coffee drinkers will find it more than satisfactory.
The Cup Warming Tray
People who are new to the world of specialty coffee drinks tend to discount the importance of the humble cup warming tray, and that’s a pity because it really does play an important role.
Specialty coffees tend to be brewed at temperatures slightly lower than most Americans are accustomed to, so anything you can do to prevent heat loss makes a big difference.
Where the EQ6 is concerned, you’ve got two good options. First, set the boiler temperature to high from the drink customization menu. That goes a long way toward solving any temperature problem you might experience.
Second, use the cup warming tray, because dispensing coffee into a cold cup will cause more heat loss than dispensing into a warm one. Try it yourself and see – you will be amazed at the difference!
The EQ6 has a cup warming tray, located on top of the unit. It is passively heated by heat from the boiler, so it doesn’t get excessively hot, but certainly warm enough to get the job done.
Easy to Use, Easy to Clean
On both counts, the EQ6 shines. The control panel is brightly lit and easy to navigate. The menus are designed in a logical, intuitive fashion, and while it would be a mistake to say that there’s no learning curve at all, you’ll find it easier to master the espresso maker than you did to learn the ins and outs of your smartphone.
The cutting-edge technology helps here, too. Had the EQ6 used a simple LED screen, for instance, the menus would be difficult to navigate. With the TFT and touch screen technology, it’s got a navigation style you’ll be familiar with, again, bearing great similarity to your phone.
All in all, it’ll probably take you less than twenty minutes to get familiar with where everything is and learn to move through the menus. After that, you’re golden.
Most of the cleaning features are automated and as simple as pressing the appropriate buttons, and the machine has automatic alerts that will remind you when it needs something. The few manual bits of maintenance that remain (rinsing the brewing unit, emptying the drip tray and dregs box), are simple because those parts of the machine are easy to get to, so you won’t have any difficulty there either.
All in all, a masterful job by Siemens!
Pros and Cons of Siemens EQ.6
As you can see, this machine gets a lot of things right, but there are a few areas we feel it could do better. In our view, the biggest weaknesses of this design are:
None of these are what we’d classify as terminal failures, however, but they are areas where the EQ.6 lost fractions of points on our rating scale.
Siemens EQ.6 Review Conclusion
While this machine didn’t earn perfect marks from us in any category, it scored consistently well across all relevant measures, making it a robust and reliable machine by any reckoning, and we feel that our Siemens EQ.6 review paints a good picture about how well-rounded this model is.
We would recommend it to anyone without hesitation, but with the added note that purists would probably be happier with a model that featured a frothing wand.
Sources & Resources
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