Having a good espresso at home without the cost and time involved in going to the local coffee shop is probably one of the main reasons why people buy a coffee machine.
The Melitta Caffeo Barista TS Smart offers people the ability to take coffee beans and turn them into an espresso for not much effort. In the past, you would have to buy a good espresso machine and a grinder, and possess the time and knowledge allows you to make a good coffee. This machine pretty much does everything.
The Melitta Barista TS Smart is a fully automatic bean to cup coffee machine. Beans can be put to one of two hoppers at the top, a reservoir is filled up with water, and then you choose from a selection of recipes which drink you would like to experience. For those who like a latte, there is a milk reservoir that can froth milk for you.
From the milk reservoir, the steamer tube that attaches to it can be mounted on either side of the spout. The drip tray also sports connectors – one on either side – to take the tube when it isn’t connected to the reservoir. You can slide the spout up and down to fit in any size of cup.
The coffee machine looks good and will fit (just) on a standard kitchen counter (it measures 372 x 259 x 467). On the front are touch-sensitive buttons. While mostly responsive, it didn’t always register this reviewer’s dry fingers.
The front panel is where you can make up to five different types of coffee with a single touch. These include short (espresso), long (cafe crema doppio), short milk (cappuccino) and long milk (cafe latte macchiato). There is also a slider to change the amount of coffee and its strength.
The double hopper allows users to use two types of beans. According to Melitta the first is for espresso and milk-based drinks with darker beans. The latter is for a lighter roast for cafe crema and more delicate drinks. If you want something different, it’s also possible to add ground coffee one cup at a time.
It also allows for customisation. Grind size is adjusted with a lever under the right-hand panel, while intensity and temperature can be changed in the menu or through the Melitta Connect App.
In this app, you can choose from machine’s 21 recipes from your phone to make a drink. These include most coffees from ristretto to flat whites. You can also change the strength, temperature and volume of each recipe. You can also download extra coffee recipes and create your own ones.
Making an espresso the way you like it does however take time. The out of the box settings made for a rather bitter tasting coffee with our test beans. We then tried a number of ways to improve the flavour. Eventually, we found that using a finer grind, increasing the temperature, and setting the strength to normal made for a better cup. Regardless of taste, the cream of each espresso was top notch.
The milk frothing was second to none. Even more impressive than the Krups Evidence we reviewed in this publication earlier this year. The froth comes out great (although sometimes you have to try twice to get the right quantity of liquid desired).
Maintenance is easy enough. When it needs cleaning, it will tell you and guide you through what you need to do. However, the drip tray is long and this can make you spill liquid over the worktop if you are not really careful.
While the Melitta Caffeo Barista TS Smart is pricey, it has a flexibility that is not found in other machines. It is an excellent bean-to-cup machine to suit a wide range of tastes.
The MELITTA Caffeo Barista TS Smart Bean to Cup Coffee Machine can be bought from Amazon.