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Plugged-In Plunder

Wire your gift list to the 21st century with these high-tech holiday ideas
Steve Morgenstern
From the Print Edition:
Rudy Giuliani, Nov/Dec 01

(continued from page 3)

If the presence of boutique coffee shops on seemingly every street corner isn't convenient enough, java junkies, fear not. The Saeco Italia brings a gourmet cup of coffee into your home in a machine that fits on all but the smallest counter and delivers espresso and cappuccino fast.

Starbucks, the people who made the morning latte a part of everyday life, recently decided to let Mr. and Mrs. At-Home America in on its franchise by offering a coffeemaker from Saeco, a worldwide leader in espresso machines. The first challenge was to create a machine that fits into a footprint small enough for the confines of the countertops of America's already appliance-choked kitchens. The Saeco Italia
measures 10.4 inches wide by 17.3 inches deep and is 14.2 inches high.

The next step was to make it almost as effortless as walking up to a coffee-shop counter and barking out an order. The Saeco Italia may be easier. You pour the whole beans of your choice into a hopper, add water to a tank, and press the button of your choice (espresso or coffee). Place the nozzle on the side into your cup and turn a switch, and the ventilator turns your beverage of choice into cappuccino.

Cleanup is almost as easy. The grounds are ejected into a container after the satisfying tamping takes place in the machine. A light on the front tells you when the container is full and you dump the remains. Not much other maintenance is involved. Lights also tell you when to reload water and beans. If there's a drawback, it's in payload. It delivers in demitasse portions. If that's not enough, press the button again. 800-STARBUC or Holiday price, $695. Regular price, $895.

Steve Morgenstern, a freelance writer living in New York, writes often on technology issues for Cigar Aficionado.

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