We've had a Saeco Nina at the office for a few months. After a lot of trial and error, we think we finally figured out how to get the best cup of coffee from it. Here are our tips.
We usually buy the Starbucks Espresso Roast. We don't necessarily prefer Starbucks or this particular blend and roast, but Starbucks is the nearest bean seller to our office, so it's very convenient and good enough. At our Starbucks, we ask them to set the mill to number 4; the grind is just a little bit coarser than a true espresso grind, and just right for the Nina. We store the coffee in jars rather than in the bag, and we store the jars at room temperature.
We use the rubber gasket, we don't tamp, and we don't use the nipple. This machine pressurizes the coffee with the assistance of the rubber gasket, so we don't need to tamp. We scoop a heaping spoonful of coffee into the filter, and we tap the basket on the table to level the coffee in the filter before screwing the basket onto the pump head. We removed the nipple that directs the coffee to the two spouts--we find that the nipple obliterates our crema and makes the coffee too bitter. We programmed the Nina to pour the right amount for our cute little cups.
We clean the basket and filter at least once a week with Cafiza, and we scrub the filter with a stiff brush.
We love our daily espresso.