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Jack Merriman

Content Marketing Manager

The Sanremo F18 SB is the little brother, or single-boiler variant, of the F18 espresso machine. Sharing much of the same design language and espresso brewing capabilities at roughly 3/4 the price, the F18 SB makes smart decisions in removing some of the nice-to-have and quality-of-life features of its more capable counterpart to cut down on cost.

In this review, we’ll take a holistic look at the Sanremo F18 SB to decide if it’s good value for money, where it shines, if there are any drawbacks, and other machines you may want to consider at this price range.

Continue reading or to view pricing, specifications and options, learn more about the Sanremo F18 SB.

Who is the Sanremo F18 SB for?

The F18 SB sits in the commercial lineup of Sanremo Espresso Machines, and is built for cafes and restaurants looking to achieve consistency and quality in their espresso drinks.

In terms of price, it sits nicely in between the more affordable Zoe and the F18 multiboiler model, and is pitched towards those who are able to spend a little more than the price of the Zoe for improvements in build quality, materials and design.

In comparison to the higher end models from Sanremo including the F18, the Café Racer and Opera, the F18 SB cuts down on price by focusing on the key elements of coffee brewing: pressure, stable temperatures and even extractions. Reducing the F18 down to one boiler for brewing and steaming does have a slight impact on the speed and efficiency of the machine, so it is likely best suited to a medium-volume café or restaurant seeking a modern take on the commercial espresso machine.


Can the Sanremo F18 SB make good coffee?

Answering this question is always tricky, with great coffee requiring much more than simply a good espresso machine. You also need to pay attention to the coffee itself, the experience level of the user, the quality of the coffee grinder, and the hardness and chemical makeup of the water.

 With everything else in check, then, is the F18 SB capable of brewing great coffee? Absolutely. Paired with an experienced barista, quality coffee and a uniform grind consistency, the F18 SB champions even extractions and consistent temperatures to brew competition-winning shots of espresso.

The volumetric pump allows for repeatable brew ratios to be dialled in and programmed into the machine, adjustable pre-infusions aid in brewing even extractions of the coffee, and temperature is held stable by the weighty ‘SR 61’ group heads. Each group head has a dedicated control panel with 4 or 6 programmable doses, a manual shot button, and a clear extraction time clock.

In terms of milk steaming, the F18 SB is a capable machine. With only a single boiler for both espresso brewing and milk steaming, pressure takes a second longer to build up than versus having a dedicated steam boiler such as in the Café Racer. Though, once the pressure is built, the F18 SB offers powerful steaming with a considered user experience including easy ‘quarter-turn’ steam knobs and cool-touch wands.


What additional features does the F18 SB have?

Making smart compromises on technology does not stop the F18 SB from being jam-packed with additional quality of life features. Though there’s no Wi-Fi connectivity, smart-app or pressure profiling such as in the YOU and Opera, you’ll still find plenty of additional tools to make the life of the barista fun and intuitive. These include…

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  • Competition grade filter baskets
  • Temperature adjustable cup warmer
  • Automatic cleaning cycles
  • Easy to open for fast access during servicing and maintenance
  • Cool touch steam wands
  • Quarter turn steam knobs
  • Pressure gauge and multifunction displays
  • Optional payment system
  • Mixed hot/cold water dispensing
  • Auto on/off function
  • Energy saving insulation and system management

In terms of customisation, the F18 SB comes in either two or three group head configurations, multiple power options and a tall or standard version. With colour options, you don’t get as much choice compared to the Café Racer. However, with a full matte black version and four accent colours to select from, you’re more than likely to find something that complements your space nicely.

How does the F18 SB feel to use?

Quality materials including brushed aluminium, stainless steels and engineering plastics create a ‘solid’ user experience and lead to a machine weighing 90-103 kilos. And with die-cast aluminium legs, the machine will not be budging and can certainly take a beating during day-to-day use.

Though the tactile switches, paddles and dials on the more premium Sanremo machines lead to a more enjoyable user experience, the soft touch buttons, cool touch steam wands and quarter-turn knobs on the F18 SB make for an intuitive and approachable interaction between user and machine.


Do We Recommend the F18 SB?

If you’re budget conscious and looking for an espresso machine similar in design language to the fighter jet-inspired F18, the F18 SB is likely a great choice and will still provide everything you need from a reliable commercial espresso machine.

You can spend more and upgrade to the F18 or Café Racer for improved user interfaces, brewing technologies and quality of life features. Or, if the F18 SB is out of your budget, you’ll find similar brewing capabilities and features in the Sanremo Zoe at a significantly lower price point.

The F18 SB blurs the lines between the feature-packed premium machines, and the more affordable less feature rich end of the market. With a price to reflect this, we can highly recommend the F18 SB for medium volume cafes and restaurants looking for consistency, quality, and reliability without paying a premium.