Capacity: 1.8 litres
If we were recently talking about the successful Philips 3000 Series, the update of one of Saeco’s most classic and popular models, today we are going to do the same with the Philips 4000 Series, which corresponds to the superior coffee machine within the same range. To differentiate them better, remember that the Philips 3000 Series corresponds to the Philips HD8821 and HD8831 models, while this Philips 4000 Series is the Philips HD8841 coffee machine. It is also known as the Philips EP4051 super-automatic espresso machine.
Again, we have to look at the legendary Saeco Minuto, and to a lesser extent the Saeco Moltio, the two – older – models that serve as a reference and starting point when evaluating both the Philips 3000 Series and this Philips 4000 Series. Later on, by the way, we will stop to clearly define the differences between these last two Philips creations.
We will now focus on the Philips 4000 Series, a 15-bar automatic coffee machine, fitted with a Thermoblock boiler and with a 1.8 litre capacity in the water tank.
Aesthetically, the Philips 4000 Series differs very little from its predecessors. Its design is sober, with a predominance of straight lines and the plastic of which the casing is made. We can only see some chrome finishes that give this coffee machine a touch of distinction compared to the previous design of the Saeco Minuto, which is similar but less detailed.
It also retains the top covers (see next image) that serve to access both the water tank and the grinder. Both components, by the way, have the same capacities as in previous models of the saga: 1.8 litres of water in the tank, and 250 grams in the coffee bean container. The grinder is identical to that of the Philips 3000 Series, with ceramic wheels and 5 adjustable thickness levels for grinding.
Apart from the grinder, if you wish you can use pre-ground coffee in the coffee maker (as if skipping the initial grinding step) thanks to a separate entrance on the top of the Philips 4000 Series. Next to the grinder.
There is also the steamer that allows us to make instant milk foam to enjoy the pleasant universe of cappuccinos or lattes macchiatos. It comes with the classic milk container or tank, made of plastic, which can be attached to the left side of the coffee machine when we are going to use it to froth, or keep it in the fridge when we are not using it. Be careful because this does not mean that the machine has a direct option for making automatic cappuccinos. You have to do it step by step by hand.
The coffee group (or preparation group) is removable, a detail which makes it easier to clean and maintain, while the coffee spout can be adjusted in height to allow the use of very different sized cups or glasses. This is a key aspect of a coffee machine that allows you to prepare as many varieties and sizes of coffee as this one.
Philips 4000 Series: the improved 3000 series
We have already said that this Philips 4000 Series is an improvement on the 3000 Series, which in turn is a revised version of the legendary Saeco Minuto. Its greatest virtue is that it can produce a greater number of different specialities or coffees (up to 8) automatically, at the press of a single button. It is very easy to indicate to the coffee maker what size of coffee we want, what dose (intensity of the coffee) or what temperature we want to obtain.
This is achieved by a revolutionary function called Coffee Switch, which we will discuss in detail later on.
It also includes automatic cleaning and decalcification cycles (these can be programmed, although by default the rinses are always performed when the coffee machine is switched on and off) and an energy-saving or zero consumption function.
So you can see the difference with the previous model, here is a picture of the Philips 3000 Series control panel (HD8821). It is much slimmer due to the reduced number of options available on the coffee machine.
Differences between Philips 4000 Series and 3000 Series
- The Philips 4000 Series prepares up to 8 varieties of coffee automatically, for only 2 of the 3000 Series or 3 varieties in the 3100 Series.
- The control panel is therefore also modified, although its layout is identical to that of the Philips 3100 Series (6 buttons and a digital display in the middle). The six buttons in the Philips 4000 Series have different functions. The ones on the left are used to make espresso, long espressos and to control the steamer, while the ones on the right are used to make normal coffee (not espresso), to control the intensity (aroma) and to navigate through the menus on the screen.
- Coffee Switch function: Perhaps this is the star function of this coffee machine. It is not present in any other Philips or Saeco automatic, and it really shows. Basically, it’s a switch on the coffee outlet nozzle that changes the extraction method, allowing you not only to make espressos, but also to make a longer, smoother coffee, similar to filter coffee (the one you usually drink in the morning, for example). If you have it upwards then make normal coffee, and if you have it downwards then extract an espresso.
Apart from these three essential differences, both coffee machines offer identical performances. Same design, same size, same water tank and bean container capacity, the integrated grinder is exactly the same… it’s up to you to assess whether or not the differences we have just mentioned compensate for the price difference between the two (the Philips 4000 Series is about £100 more expensive).
Philips 4000 Series EP4051
This is a “premium” or luxury version of the Philips 4000 Series. Of course it is more expensive than the standard model, but the performance and finish more than make up for it. It could be described as the equivalent of the later Philips 5000 Series.
Philips 4000 Series: key features
- Black plastic casing and chrome finish.
- 15 bar pressure pump.
- Classic Panarello stainless steel steamer.
- Informative and interactive digital LCD display.
- We can serve hot water with the vaporizer, and thus prepare infusions on the spot.
- Water tank of 1.8 litres capacity.
- The tank is removable and the water level is transparent so you can see from the outside how much is left.
- Integrated grinder with ceramic wheels and 5 grinding thicknesses.
- The coffee bean container has a capacity of up to 250 grams.
- Removable anti-drip tray.
- Height-adjustable coffee dispenser with a margin of up to 15 cm in its highest position.
- Includes plastic milk container.
- Stainless steel boiler.
- One or two coffees can be taken out at the same time with each extraction.
- Exclusive Coffee Switch function: make espressos or normal coffee as you wish at any time.
- It is possible to customize the intensity, size and temperature of each coffee.
- The coffee group can be completely extracted from the side of the coffee machine.
- Compatible with Brita or AquaClean water filters (not included).
- Includes automatic cleaning and decalcification programmes.
- Energy saving function (Stand By) when the coffee machine is not in use.
- Power: 1850 watts.
- Dimensions: 21 x 43 x 33 cms.
- Weight: 7.2 kg.
- Length of power cable: 0.8 metres.
Advantages of the Philips 4000 Series
- The Coffee Switch function, without a doubt. It’s priceless to be able to enjoy both espresso and regular coffee in an automatic machine, whenever and however you want, at the touch of a button.
- The steamer is made of stainless steel.
- It is easy to operate, as it is an automatic coffee machine. Practically any menu option can be accessed at the touch of a button. There is no need to navigate too much.
- The boiler is made of stainless steel, not aluminium as usual.
Disadvantages of the Philips 4000 Series
- Due to the price difference with respect to the previous models, perhaps we expected a superior grinder, or more precision in the grinding (it stays with the same 5 levels).
- It does not have a space to preheat the cups or glasses before serving.
- Does the price-performance ratio improve or worsen compared to the Philips 3000 Series? It is clear that this is a higher-ranking automatic coffee machine, but it is also £100 extra in price.
Philips 4000 Series: Videos
We begin our video section with this comprehensive and detailed presentation of the Philips 4000 Series:
And we could not miss this commercial where we can see the benefits of this coffee maker explained in a masterful way:
Finally, a comparison of all the models within the Philips 4000 Series, thanks to which we can appreciate the few differences between them:
Why buy a Philips 4000 Series?
This is a magnificent automatic coffee machine, worthy successor of the Saeco Minuto and clearly superior to the Philips 3000 Series and 3100 Series. The Coffee Switch function is ideal for users who want to taste not only espressos but also normal coffee (similar to American or filter coffee), or for families whose members have different tastes and needs in their daily coffee consumption.
As alternatives to this Philips 4000 Series, we have to mention first of all the Philips 3000 Series. These are consecutive models in the same product line. The Philips 3000 Series is clearly inferior, but also cheaper. It can therefore be a very important option for a certain sector of the public.
If you are looking for an automatic coffee machine equivalent to this one, and with a similar price range, you could go for the ESAM 4000 by Delonghi, the Melitta Caffeo Solo or the very reliable Gaggia Brera.