Updated 9 March 2022

Test: Best coffee machine for filter 2022

Looking for a new coffee machine? Is coffee just another vital part of your morning ritual or do you drink it for its great flavour? And how important is the design to you? We’ve tested (and tasted) our way to a Best in Test coffee machine among the most popular coffee brewers from Moccamaster, Melitta, Wilfa, Philips, OBH Nordica, Russell Hobbs, Smeg, among others. We’ve also found the Best Budget Choice and named the Best Premium Choice for those unwilling to compromise on either the price or the coffee flavour.

Test: Best coffee machine for filter 2022

“Which coffee brewer should I choose?”

That, of course, is the big question. And that’s exactly what we want to help you find out. To find the best filter coffee machine that meets your own individual needs, we recommend that you read a little about how we conducted the testing.

Are you mainly after a fast coffee brewer or are the taste and aroma of the coffee super important to you? When you choose our Best in Test coffee machine, you are guaranteed to get both. A coffee machine is named test winner when it ticks all the boxes.

But perhaps you’re just looking for a cheap filter coffee machine (like our Best Budget Choice)
Or maybe the price isn’t an issue – you just want the very best. In this case, you should go for the coffee brewer that we name the Best Premium Choice.

How we did the test

Our tests are independently conducted and reflect the test editor's honest and objective opinions. Selection of products and test results are in no way influenced by manufacturers, retailers or other internal or external parties.

We do all the testing ourselves, and we test the products in the way they are intended to be used in real life. The coffee machines were tested in ordinary homes by coffee enthusiasts well-versed in the art of coffee making. High demands were placed on the quality of both the coffee itself and the purely technical details as well as design solutions.

The brewers were tested using various kinds of ground coffee from BKI, Peter Larsen and Gevalia, to name but a few. We used 60 grams of coffee per litre of water (75 grams per 1.25 litres and 30 grams of coffee per 0.5 litres).

Image of coffee on the scales and the thermometer used in the testing of the coffee machines

Our review is based on the following test parameters:

  • Taste: The deciding factor in this test was taste. Of course, taste is a subjective, but it’s also an important factor when it comes to judging. The tastes were defined in blind tests in several cases by different test subjects. Did the coffee brewer make as good coffee at 2 cups as at 12? Did the taste stand out?

  • Temperature: Both brewing temperatures and hotplate temperatures were checked over several brewings. The hotplate temperature was measured approximately 15 minutes after the brewing was complete. An important parameter was whether we got a sufficiently hot brew. Was there a difference in temperature at 2 cups compared to 12? And how well did the coffee machine maintain the temperature of the coffee once made?

  • Design and quality: We compared size, buttons/switches, display, if relevant, and other features to determine ease of use. We looked for smart design solutions, such as whether the machine dispersed the water evenly over the coffee. What materials had the manufacturer chosen? Did we detect any weaknesses in the design which might break easily?

  • Use: How easy was it to use the machine? Were the buttons/switches clear and was the level indicator easy to read? Did the coffee machine have an automatic switch-off, drip stop or a practical detachable water tank? Did the machine emit a warning when the water level got too low? We also looked at whether and how the coffee maker could be cleaned, and whether it was possible to descale it.

  • Brewing time: How fast was the machine? We measured the brewing time for 0.5 litres, 1.0 litre and 1.25 litres – if the machine could brew that much coffee. The brewing time varied somewhat, and the time specified is therefore the average of several brews. We considered the brewing finished when there were approximately 1.5 to 2 seconds between the drops – or when the machine emitted a sound to indicate that the coffee was ready.

The products were rated based on the overall experience in relation to the product’s price in order to be able to determine its value for money. This means that it was just as possible for a cheaper product to get a good grade as a more expensive one.

Find a good coffee machine at a good price here ► see coffee machines at PriceRunner ◄.

1. Moccamaster Type KBG962 - BEST CHOICE FILTER COFFEE MACHINE 2022

A classic, attractive, hand-built coffee machine, and your guarantee of good, well-brewed coffee for many years to come.

Price range: Premium Wattage: 1,520 watts Height: 35 cm Power cable: 148 cm with angled plug Brewing temperature: 96°C "Keep warm" temperature: 82°C Brewing time: For 0.5 litres – 3 mins and 29 secs For 1.0 litre – 6 mins and 1 sec

Moccamaster KBG962 AO-PS

Moccamaster has, over several decades, cemented its position as the uncrowned king of coffee machines. From castle to cottage, it’s the coffee enthusiasts’ coffee brewer of choice, with Moccamaster KBG962 dominating the sales lists.
And it’s easy to understand why.

Because this coffee machine makes good coffee
- really good coffee.

So we have no qualms about calling Moccamaster the world’s best coffee brewer.

The flavour is round, ripe, roasted and full-bodied without any intrusive bitterness or acidity. Moccamaster is the coffee machine that is best at bringing together and balancing the flavour nuances in our test.

GIF of brewing with Moccamaster KBG962

High brewing temperature makes for great-tasting coffee

Moccamaster’s classic metal swivel outlet arm has several holes for better distribution of the 96°C water over the coffee. We measure a temperature of 92°C in the middle of the filter.

Image of temperature measurement directly in the filter during brewing with Moccamaster KBG962

Moccamaster firmly focuses on quality.

Their coffee brewers are hand-built and thoroughly tested at the factory in the Netherlands. Moccamaster is known for being almost indestructible, and they are confident of that. That’s why they’re happy to offer you a 10-year warranty on a brand-new coffee brewer when you register its serial number on the Moccamaster website.

The durability of this brewer also makes our test winner a sustainable choice, as you are unlikely to have to invest in a new coffee machine for many years to come.

However, others appear to have caught up with Moccamaster’s long-held lead when it comes to temperature control, brewing speed and water distribution over the filter, and the coffee engineers have lost momentum in developing new features in this price range.

The automatic drip stop works flawlessly and, honestly, it’s really nice that you don’t have to remember to switch it off again. Lifting off the coffee filter holder is also a breeze thanks to the slit in the lid for the outlet arm.

The plastic parts are generally a little wobbly, despite the high price of the brewer.

The coffee machine has two switches.

The first is on/off, while the second switch lowers the temperature of the hotplate by 25%.

Image of control buttons on Moccamaster KBG962

When you brew 2–5 cups, or when there’s less than half a jug of coffee left, it’s a good idea to lower the temperature. That way you avoid the coffee tasting burnt.

In a full jug, we measured a hotplate temperature of 81°C 15 minutes after brewing.

Image of measurement of temperature after 15 minutes on Moccamaster KBG962

The water tank has a very clear level indicator, while the coffee jug itself has no indicator whatsoever. You may be used to that, but it’s not a good idea to use the jug to fill the coffee machine with water.

There will almost always be a trace of coffee left in the jug, and the taste from it should preferably not make its way into the machine. The water should therefore always be refilled using a clean jug – and preferably one that is not used for coffee.

The fact that the brewer has a long cord seems like a plus, but when the Moccamaster is positioned near a socket, it would have been nice to have been able to hide the cord better. This could be done with a small cable winder on the underside, for example.

Conclusion

If you just want a really good filter coffee machine without all manner of extra features, then this modern classic is a rock-solid choice. Everyone can make good coffee with a coffee machine for filter from Moccamaster.

If you want even more functionality, you should perhaps go up to the next price range (espresso machines, for example), or have a glance at some of the other brewers in the test.

But the faithful servant that Moccamaster is, it is our choice for Best in Test.

Very good coffeesmart drip arm and aesthetically pleasing10-year warranty upon registration
Wobbly plastic partsmore updated features would have been nice

Price Comparison

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2. Wilfa Svart Precision WSP-2A - BEST PREMIUM CHOICE

Wilfa WSP-2A brews the best cup of coffee, but this doesn’t happen all by itself.

Price range: Premium Wattage: 1,840 watts Height: 35 cm Power cable: 90 cm with angled plug Brewing temperature: 96°C "Keep warm" temperature: 81°C Brewing time: For 0.5 litres – 3 mins and 30 secs For 1.0 litre – exactly 5 mins For 1.25 litres – 6 mins and 44 secs

Wilfa WSP-2A

What you need to brew the best-tasting coffee:

  • Cold, super-fresh water
  • Freshly ground coffee beans
  • A high brewing temperature
  • Wilfa Svart Precision WSP-2A

It’s only the freshly ground beans that Wilfa Svart Precision can’t help you with. You’ll have to get yourself a good coffee grinder for that.
But for everything else, Wilfa is optimised to brew a perfect pot of coffee.

Wilfa just goes one (or more?) step(s) further to squeeze out as much flavour as possible from each and every gram of coffee in the filter.

Image of Wilfa Svart Precision, which has almost brewed a whole jug of coffee

Thermal filter holder and thermal lid

To achieve and maintain the highest temperature, both during brewing and in the finished coffee, Wilfa’s engineers have chosen to give both the filter holder and the lid two layers to ensure minimal heat loss.
This makes for a higher and more uniform brewing temperature, ensuring that the flavour is allowed to develop to the full.

Beneath the filter holder is the manual drip stop

Image of the combined manual drip stop and “flow control”, which ensures the correct extraction time

The drip stop also has a function that allows you to adjust the drip-through and thus ensure the correct extraction time, giving the beans enough time to release their flavour, even when brewing smaller amounts of coffee.

As with all other manual drip stops, you should check that it is set correctly before brewing the coffee.

If you don’t, the overflow in the filter will thankfully spare you from a kitchen worktop flowing with coffee and coffee grounds, but you can forget all about that good cup of coffee if any of the dregs end up in the jug (yes – we forgot to turn it off ourselves!).

Detachable water tank

The water tank clearly indicates the amount of water in litres, and as a bonus, the recommended amount of coffee measured in grams is also shown.

Image of the detachable water tank on the Wilfa Svart Precision WSP-2A

For each brew, the water tank has (ought) to be unscrewed and filled with cold water.
It sounds like a bit of a chore (it’s not), but the advantage is that you never brew with stale water.

“Well, I do that, too, when I pour the water in from the jug” is what you might be thinking.

But no, you don’t actually – not entirely.
(Unless you rinse your jug every single time you’ve made coffee.)

Because there will be a thin film of bitter substances left on the glass. The film is from the previous brew or brews, and you will pour the residual taste from the jug into the water tank – and that taste will be passed on through the heating element.

Pumps out all the brewing water

In traditional coffee machines, it is the heating of the water that causes the water to rise and drip out over the coffee.
So there’s always some water left in the heating element when the brewing is done.
The used stale water is therefore the first water to be dripped out over the next serving of coffee beans.

“But we can’t have that,” says Wilfa, who instead uses a pump to fully drain the machine of all water.

The pump ensures uniform coffee brewing as in an espresso machine via uniform pressure, accurately controlled time and temperature as well as completely fresh water for every single jug of coffee.

And yes, the pump makes a noise. A rather unusual humming sound actually,
- but who cares about that when you know that the humming sound is also the sound of great flavour.

Untraditional design that works

Wilfa Svart Precision doesn’t look like all the other coffee brewers, but that’s not so strange when the pump, water tank and filter holder technology are designed to deliver such an unusually exceptional result.

The coffee machine appears to be of an incredibly robust construction, and the attractive brushed aluminium surface has no sharp edges or corners.
Especially the attractive base section, which curves its way up towards the water tank, is both easy to clean and a delight to the eyes. The joints on the filter holder bracket are also really nicely done.

But when it comes to the design, it surprises us a little that if you have a whole jug (1.25 litres) and the recommended amount of coffee of 75 grams, the lid of the filter holder becomes totally covered in coffee grounds.

OK, so you just have to rinse the lid, but it still seems a little odd that there’s not a little more space for the grounds.

Image of coffee grounds under the lid of the filter holder

The casing gets pretty hot

We measured 52°C around the on/off button.

Rest assured – you won’t burn yourself! – but it does get hot.

Image of measurement of the temperature by the on/off button

It’s actually a little surprising that it gets so hot (both during and after brewing), right in the part of the machine you have to touch every time you switch off the machine.

Conclusion

The test’s most expensive coffee machine for filter delivers the goods. There’s no question that with the Wilfa Svart Precision WSP-2A, you get both hot and delicious coffee.

As mentioned earlier, it takes a little getting used to, but it’s not all that difficult either.

The design and layout of the coffee brewer are a little untraditional, but that’s all with the best coffee experience in mind,
- and you get that from every single jug of coffee you brew.

That’s why the Wilfa Svart Precision WSP-2A also deserves our rating as the Best Premium Choice among the coffee brewers tested.

Always brews with completely fresh waterthermal filter holder and thermal lidfast brewinghigh brewing temperatureoptimised for the best taste and aroma
The pump sound – you just have to get used to itgrounds on the lid after brewing with 75 grams of coffeerather hot casing especially around the start button

3. Philips HD 7546 – BEST BUDGET CHOICE

Coffee machine with thermal jug – compact, practical and inexpensive.

Price range: Budget Wattage: 1,000 watts Height: 37 cm Power cable: 85 cm with angled plug Brewing temperature: 95 degrees "Keep warm" temperature: 85 degrees Brewing time: for 0.5 litre – 3 mins and 45 secs For 1.0 litre – 7 mins and 20 secs For 1.2 litres – 8 mins and 45 secs

Philips HD 7546

A coffee machine with a thermal jug, it brews straight into the thermal jug. That way, no heat or energy are wasted to keep the coffee hot after brewing – and that’s actually pretty smart.

The Philips HD 7456 coffee brewer is really good value for money – it’s actually our best budget choice. It’s perfect for those who want to be able to brew a whole jug at a time, which can then be enjoyed over a few hours.

Image of Philips HD7456 Café Gaia, with the thermal jug on the table

The thermal jug keeps it nice and hot

As the coffee machine brews straight into the thermal jug, there is no hotplate to keep the coffee warm.

We measured 87°C in the thermal jug immediately after brewing. 15 minutes later, the temperature in the jug had dropped to 85°C degrees.

But the jug is able to keep the coffee hot for quite some time after brewing. After 2 hours, we measured 78°C
- Philips writes “at least 65°C” in the manual, so that definitely more than holds.

It probably helps a bit with the temperature if the jug is removed from the coffee machine immediately after the coffee is brewed. Otherwise, the spring-activated valve remains open, having allowed the coffee to drip into the jug from the filter, and that has to be at the expense of a few degrees of heat.

It’s also nice that the jug doesn’t drip after pouring out a cup of coffee and putting it back down on the table.

Saves energy

Once the coffee is brewed, the coffee brewer switches off immediately. Ordinary (newer) coffee machines usually switch off by themselves after a maximum of 40 minutes. This means that a coffee machine with a thermal jug is also an energy-saving coffee machine.

Simple, completely classic design

We actually think the coffee brewer looks pretty good. The black plastic and brushed stainless steel go well with most kitchens.
It’s also easy to read the amount of water from the front.

Image of Philips HD7456 Café Gaia brewing a jug of coffee

Easy to use

This little coffee brewer does not exactly ooze innovation
- but why should it?

There’s an on/off switch on the front and a main switch on the back. That’s it. So, the only thing you need to think about is having a supply of coffee filters and ground coffee.

The filter holder can be removed easily by opening it all the way to the side, lifting it upwards and twisting it off the hinge.
The filter holder being dishwasher proof is a practical plus – but the thermal jug isn’t.

You can of course optimise the flavour by brewing freshly ground coffee beans from a coffee grinder, but you don’t have to.

Conclusion

Philips have really hit the mark with their HD 7456 coffee machine with thermal jug.

The coffee machine does exactly what it is intended for. It makes coffee – and pretty good coffee at that – which is perfectly drinkable even after two hours in the jug.

Of course, it’s not a gourmet experience, but you probably wouldn’t expect that from a coffee machine in this price range either.

Switches off immediately after brewing (saves energy)high brewing temperature
Rather short cablethe lid has to be prised off

4. Wilfa Svart Performance WSPL-3B

Close to the best cup of coffee in the test. This is an absolutely fabulous coffee machine for those who like their coffee.

Price range: Premium Wattage: 1,800 watts Height: 34 cm Power cable: 100 cm with angled plug Brewing temperature: 96°C "Keep warm" temperature: 81°C Brewing time: For 0.5 litres – 4 mins and 17 secs For 1.0 litres – 4 mins and 50 secs For 1.25 litres – 5 mins and 45 secs

Wilfa Performance WSPL-3B

It doesn’t look like an ordinary filter coffee machine, but then again, Wilfa Svart Performance is no ordinary filter coffee machine. It is, in fact, an unusually good coffee brewer with a detachable water tank.

Very close to toppling Moccamaster – the favourite for decades – off the top spot as the Best in Test.
If you can live with the small difference, then Wilfa’s filter coffee machine will soon become your most valued source of filter coffee – perhaps ever.

Read on and find out if Wilfa Svart Performance is your next coffee brewer below.

Image of Wilfa Svart Performance WSPL-3B brewing a jug of coffee

Fabulous quality

Wilfa has really pulled out all the stops to give you a good coffee experience. The beautifully simple glass jug, which can be emptied with the greatest of ease and put straight into the dishwasher, the slim, detachable water tank, the smart spout, which also holds the filter, and the attractive matt black surface
- all this makes Wilfa Svart Performance WSPL-3B a beautiful addition to your kitchen.

The coffee brewer has a detachable water tank

For the best coffee taste, fresh water is needed for each jug of coffee you brew. If you use the coffee jug (without washing it up first) to fill up with water, a slightly “stale” coffee taste will get into the system.

A detachable water tank on the coffee brewer is your guarantee of fresh water and a completely clean brewing system – and on the Wilfa Svart Performance, the tank is really easy to take off and put on again.

Moving GIF showing the water tank being put on the coffee machine

Wilfa also pumps out all the water after each brew. That way, you avoid having your expensive coffee beans come into contact with a drop of stale boiled water at the very first step of the brewing process.

Wakes up with a shot of steam

Once you have weighed your coffee (15 grams per 0.25 litres is recommended) to match the amount of water in the detachable water tank, you are assured of a great tasting cup of coffee.

The coffee brewer is awakened by the light touch of a button, which lights up and emits a “beep”.

Brief silence follows until, in a cloud of steam, almost like a dragon spewing fire, the machine suddenly shoots its first shot of water down over the beans. The machine then brews your coffee in silence. Only the faint hum of the pump can be heard, while the “shower head” distributes 96°C water perfectly across the entire filter.

Image of the measurement of the brewing temperature on Wilfa’s Svart Performance coffee machine

Thermal effect keeps it hot

The coffee filter holder is a double-walled construction, which means that the holder has a thermal function, ensuring lower heat loss during brewing. The holder hangs securely in place on the outlet arm, and both the holder and the lid are surprisingly easy to put on and take off.

When you brew a full jug of 75 grams of coffee, the coffee grounds bubble all the way up and settle on the lid, so you have to rinse it after each brew.

The drip-through and the drip stop can be adjusted manually by the outlet
- and this is the coffee machine’s only major drawback (or an advantage if you’re never forgetful)

The drip stop and the adjustable drip-through can be a bit tricky

Adjusting the drip stop setting for 0.5 litres and on to 1.25 litres is somewhat jagged, and it is this one detail that costs Wilfa Svart Performance WSPL-3B first place in the test.

This is particularly a problem at 0.5 litres, where the setting actually has to go a notch beyond the 0.5 mark before there is a hole through that allows the coffee to run freely into the jug.
But that is obviously not a problem if you never brew a few cups at a time, and if you always remember to turn off the drip stop after each brew.

Image of the manual combined drip stop and adjustment of the drip-though on Wilfa Svart Performance WSPL-3B

During our testing of the different quantities, we managed to forget to turn on the drip stop a few times. Luckily, the machine has overflow protection, but then grounds run down into the jug and you have to brew a new jug of coffee.

We’re sure this is something you’ll get used to over time.
That said, you will have to make sure that your in-laws are also aware of that function if they fancy brewing a jug of coffee during their visit.

Image of our “Don’t forget the drip stop” post-it note on Wilfa Svart Performance WSPL-3B

(We recommend a little “post-it” – it jogged our memory!)

The aroma of coffee – and freshly ironed clothes

Funnily enough, the coffee is not the only thing that smells good. There is no annoying hot plastic smell, which we have experienced with a few other models.

Instead, you may be able to recognise the smell of freshly ironed clothes which emanates from the machine when you remove the jug from the hotplate. Even the children in the family picked up on the smell.

Conclusion

You should choose Wilfa Svart Performance WSPL-3B because it’s a really good coffee machine that brews your delicious coffee in (near) silence.

We would definitely have named the black coffee brewer “Best in Test”, if we hadn’t had the problem with the adjustment of the drip stop and drip-through time.
Because we can’t find fault with the taste, design or quality of this great-looking coffee machine for filter.

Wilfa Svart Performance delivers an absolutely perfect coffee experience – with a 5-year warranty.

Detachable water tankquiet brewing (after initial shot of water and steam)perfect brewing temperaturereally delicious coffeeeasy to operateflat bottom on filter holder (doesn’t tip over while weighing out the coffee)
The drip stop was a bit of a problem for usgrounds on the lid

5. Melitta Aroma Signature DeLuxe

A very reasonably priced coffee machine that makes a delicious cup of coffee – and there’s even a light in the water tank.

Price range: Medium Wattage: 1,520 watts Power cable: 90 cm, straight plug Brewing temperature: 94°C "Keep warm" temperature: 82°C Brewing time: For 0.5 litres – 4 mins and 18 secs For 1.0 litre – 6 mins and 5 secs Automatic switch-off: Yes, 30, 60 or 90 minutes.

Melitta Aroma Signature DeLuxe

Melitta Aroma Signature DeLuxe – a long name for something as simple as a coffee machine that brews nice, aromatic coffee with a well-balanced richness. The taste has a freshness to it with an elegant acidity and a pleasant, lingering aftertaste. The favourite of several of our testers.

GIF Melitta Aroma Signature DeLuxe brewing coffee

The design of Signature Aroma DeLuxe bears the clear hallmarks of Melitta’s first coffee brewer. It has a timeless, aesthetically pleasing design, while appearing solid and very well made in almost every respect.

Did you know?

The drip system with filter bags was invented by German housewife Melitta Bentz in 1908? Yes, the coffee filters that you use in your filter coffee machine every day. And when it comes to the coffee machine itself, they launched the very first one in 1965. So that’s pretty cool.

And it goes without saying that Melitta (the company) has got coffee machines and coffee brewing down to a fine art today.

Perfect brewing and hotplate temperature.

ECBC (European Coffee Brewing Centre) only approves those coffee brewers that meet a number of standard requirements in their rigorous testing
- and Melitta Aroma Signature DeLuxe does just that.

It is your guarantee of a proper, well-brewed cup of coffee.

The coffee machine has a button for descaling and a button for brewing a few cups with excellent results. This ensures that you get an optimal brew in every single cup.

The machine also emits a sound signal when the coffee is ready. Unfortunately, the sound is rather annoying (if you ask us), but thankfully it can be switched off. As much as we like the idea, we’d rather not have our morning coffee disturbed by the sound.

GIF Melitta Aroma Signature DeLuxe coffee being poured into the cup

LED light in the water tank

When you fill the coffee machine with water, an LED light comes on, illuminating the gauge showing the number of cups. This may seem a bit excessive, but it’s actually really useful to be able to see the amount of water without having to turn on all the lights in the kitchen
- especially on those dark winter mornings.

You have to press a button to loosen the filter holder, and then you have to put it down to fill it with coffee.

The entire procedure could have been made faster and simpler if you just had to swivel the arm to one side instead. However, there is an advantage to having loose parts. They are easy to take off and wash in the dishwasher.

Conclusion

Melitta’s coffee machine is all that a coffee brewer should be: well-built, attractive and affordable. Melitta also brews really good coffee. If you like a fresh, vibrant aroma, Melitta Aroma Signature DeLuxe is the one for you.

Very good valuewater tank with lightgood temperatures
A few too many elements when refilling coffee

6. Sage the Precision Brewer SDC 400

High quality and many features - brews from 150 ml to 1.8 litres of tasty coffee

Price range: Premium Power: 1,850 watts Height: 40.5 cm Cord: 85 cm with angled plug Brewing temperature: adjustable up to 96 ° C Keep Warm Function: 84 ° C Brewing time: For 0.5 litres - 3 min and 22 sec. For 1.0 litre - 5 min and 42 sec. For 1.25 litres - 6 min and 16 sec. For 1.8 litres - 8 min. and 58 sec.

Sage The Precision Brewer SDC 400

‘A bucket of coffee, please’, ‘Just a single cup, thanks’ or how about a Cold Brew (in 14 hours)? With Sage the Precision Brewer, you get to decide. Brew wonderful coffee from 150 ml to 1.8 litres.

Sage the Precision Brewer Coffee Machine pumps the water through a system (like an espresso machine), which is why the ECBC-approved automatic coffee machine can control and adjust the settings according to the amount of water you have poured into the container. \ - and if you are a connoisseur, just adjust the settings yourself.

Coffee machine test - Sage the Precision Brewer - brews a pot of coffee

Granted: This review will be a bit long. There are so many features to tell you about. Read on below and find out if Sage the Precision Brewer is for you.

The pump has a faint and constant uniform humming sound during brewing – but on the plus side, this means that you avoid sudden ‘snoring’ and other sounds of boiling water splashing out along the way. Another advantage of the pump is that you always brew with completely fresh water, because there is no ‘stale’ water left in the heater after brewing.

Absolutely lush quality

You’ll feel the quality of the coffee machine immediately – as soon as the filter holder and the jug slide nicely into their slots. The machine brews up to 1.8 litres of excellent coffee, and this large amount makes demands on both the jug and its handle. - After all, the weight approaches 2 kilos when you brew a whole jug. But even though the jug is heavy, it cannot be felt in the robust handle.

Oddly enough, the knob for the machine's many settings is a bit loose. It doesn’t make us worried about the durability of the button however, but it simply doesn’t seem to have received as much TLC during development as the rest of the machine parts have.

GIF of setting your own custom brewing on Sage the Precision Brewer

Read the manual first

When you unpack Sage the Precision Brewer, you’ll not get started right away. First, the water filter must be soaked in water for 5 minutes before it’s mounted. The water filter should also be replaced after about 3 months - so buy an extra one immediately and factor in a few additional costs along the way.

Then you need to set the water hardness (test strip included).

Finally, the clock must be set - and here, we’re slightly surprised that the display cannot be changed from 12 hours AM/PM to a 24-hour clock? This is a bit of a hassle when the auto start timer needs to be set. Curiously though, the temperature display can be changed from Celsius to Fahrenheit, but the AM/PM setting ... well, we’re stuck with that one. We realise this is not really an issue in many cases, but when the machine features Celsius to Fahrenheit conversion, a clock conversion would have been a nice inclusion.

Do you want a quick rule of thumb about AM/PM?

  • AM = All Morning. All the early hours between 00:00 and 12:00.
  • PM = Past Midday. Everything after midday, between 12:00 and 00:00.

With the exception of teenagers and people with fluctuating bedtimes, this is a fairly easy one to remember - right?

What filters does Sage the Precision Brewer use?

The automatic coffee brewer uses the following filter types:

  • Bowl filter 250/110 mm: For large brews over 1.25 litres and up to 1.8 litres - as well as for Cold Brew.
  • Standard size 4 filter: For the smaller brews of a maximum of 1.25 litres.

Test of Sage the Precision Brewer - coffee in the filters

In addition to the 10 included paper bowl filters (250/110 mm), a recyclable bowl filter is also included (see the brownish filter in the picture above). It’s actually very handy to have a recyclable coffee filter, because not all supermarkets have paper bowl filters.

From a sustainable and environmental point of view, the recyclable filter is of course also preferable. However, we’re experiencing a tendency for a small amount of fine coffee grinds to come through the recyclable filter. We see this clearly in the bottom of the cup - whether we grind the coffee ourselves or use pre-ground coffee. So, the bowl filter made of paper is still preferable - if you don’t want grinds in your coffee cup.

Extra cleaning When brewing with the insert for an ordinary cone filter, both the filter holder and the cone filter should be cleaned every time, otherwise there’s a little bit of coffee residue at the bottom of the large filter holder, which you then get a taste of at the next brewing.

The taste

We’d like to highlight the smart automatic blooming function. Sage the Precision Brewer even prolongs the time of blooming in proportion to the amount of coffee brewed. In fact, an improved taste is experienced when brewing 0.5 litres rather than at 1.25 litres.

Test of Sage the Precision Brewer - brewing a single cup of coffee

What does Blooming mean for the coffee? Blooming is a method to let the coffee taste develop even better. Especially with completely freshly ground beans, the blooming has a positive effect on the taste, because the coffee gets a break to ‘bloom’ and release its CO2 in the beginning of the process. This is done by spraying the beans with a bit of 92-96°C hot water and then waiting about 30 seconds (while the turbidity is blooming) before pouring the rest of the water over the beans.

In general, we experience a slightly flatter coffee taste and less roundness than we expected. These two taste factors mean that the coffee brewer is not at the top among ordinary coffee machines for filter. Keep in mind though that Sage the Precision Brewer can do much more than a regular filter coffee machine can.

Especially the possibility of brewing a single cup and in particular Cold Brew and Pour Over coffee (the latter requires extra accessories) are quite unique options in this price range. And when you can adjust virtually all parameters yourself, you can fiddle around with the settings (and save them) to find your favourite.

With the ‘strong’ setting, the coffee blooms for an extra-long time and the overall process becomes a little longer, and thus the coffee becomes even more powerful in taste.

It takes about 9 minutes to brew 1.8 litres of coffee with the ‘gold’ setting. 1.25 litres can be reached in just over 6 minutes – and that’s more than approved. The machine gives a small beep (can be switched off) when it’s finished brewing, so you don’t necessarily have to set the clock. The display even shows how long it’s been since the brewing was completed.

When you have guests over, the brewing of up to 1.8 litres is a wonderful option. Or maybe in the office? Put on a Cold Brew at the end of the day and enjoy it first thing in the morning when you arrive. And then brew a big jug of hot coffee for your colleagues and the meetings of the day.

The big bonus is the opportunity to make special coffee. For example, the popular "Cold Brew" – simply referring to a cold-brewed coffee, which typically sets overnight (up to 14 hours).

What is Cold Brew?

Cold Brew is a coffee specialty, reminiscent of ice coffee. A good Cold Brew is just milder and rounder in taste than regular ice coffee, but it still requires a little sweetener and maybe a splash of milk - often a tasty syrup is used as a sweetener.

Image of countdown to Cold Brew on Sage the Precision Brewer while brewing

How to Make Cold Brew on Sage the Precision Brewer.

You select the ‘Cold Brew’ program and pour a maximum of 450ml ice cold water in the container. You then put a lot of coffee in the bowl filter, preferably double up compared to normal dosing (we used 45 grams for 450 ml). Then unscrew the jug lid and place the glass jug under the filter. Finally, choose the brewing time from 7 to 14 hours. Because the lid is not on, the drip stop closes completely, and the coffee machine just pumps the cold water over the beans in the filter and the countdown begins until your Cold Brew is finished. In the end, your Cold Brew starts running freely into the jug - easy and convenient!

The great thing about this method is that you get a filtered Cold Brew immediately. When you brew Cold Brew in a container in the fridge for 12-24 hours, you have to strain the turbidity and grinds through a coffee filter (you can also use a plunger jug for that), but you avoid that process when you let the coffee machine brew your Cold Brew for you.

Conclusion

The ECBC-approved filter coffee machine Sage the Precision Brewer delivers what it needs to - well-prepared and tasty coffee. The great taste occurs especially in the smaller amounts, and if you brew a single cup, the taste is actually quite impressive.

Based on this alone, we can easily recommend Sage the Precision Brewer, and if you fiddle a bit with the settings and special features, you’ll be well covered for both parties and guests, as well as everything in between.

Versatile with many optionshigh build qualityvery easy operation
Takes up quite a lot of spacea somewhat unimpressive coffee taste (ordinary brewing)extra costs for the water filter

7. Philips Senseo Switch 3-in-1 Kaffemaskine Base

Compact coffee machine for both brewing and capsules – and environmentally-friendly capsules at that

Price range: Medium Pressure: 1 bar Water tank: 1 litre Milk frother: No Choice of cup size: 2 alternatives Capsules: Senseo pads Automatic switch-off: Yes Automatic collection of used capsules: No Temperature of freshly brewed coffee at least 65°C: Yes

Philips Switch 3 in 1 Premium HD6597/50

Philips have developed their own coffee brewer which is pretty unique. Featuring a brand-new capsule solution and consideration for the environment, there is a lot to applaud, but several no-nos, too. Senseo Switch 3-in-1 is no ordinary capsule brewer. It can also be used as a traditional coffee machine. Depending on how you want to make your coffee, you can easily reconfigure the machine to handle both capsules and traditional brewing. This does, however, mean that it has a lot of loose parts that you have to keep track of – and not least store somewhere.

Senseo Switch uses coffee pads. These pads are made of ordinary coffee filters and a small plastic closure. This makes them significantly more environmentally friendly than 100% plastic or metal capsules. But Philips has not made it easy for the user. You choose the size of your coffee pad, depending on how big a cup of coffee you want to brew. The size then determines which nozzle to mount on the machine. The coffee tastes good, yet weak. Even the darkest of roasts seem a little tame.

If you want to brew a whole jug of coffee instead, you can do this, too, with the Senseo Switch. You simply reconfigure the machine and use ordinary coffee and a coffee filter. The water tank is easy to take off and fill, but quite small. You can brew 10 small cups of coffee, or about 7 of normal size. Unfortunately, the brewing is both slow and really noisy. If you have guests over, they’ll wonder what on earth is going on in your kitchen. However, the coffee itself is excellent. The flavour emerges as it should, and the coffee is full-bodied and smells wonderful.

The Philips Senseo Switch 3-in-1 comes with a thermal jug, and it works exactly as promised. It is durable and keeps the coffee warm for a long time. If you have a small kitchen, it’s also a plus that Philips has succeeded in squeezing two types of coffee brewing into one relatively compact machine. Its design is simple yet attractive. But that is not enough. As a coffee machine, the Senseo Switch needs to be better at maximising the taste and strength of the coffee. And the brewing needs to go faster, with significantly less noise. So, hooray for it being multifunctional with its traditional brewing and capsules, and hooray for its eco-friendly pads. But it’ll take more than that for people to drop the inferior capsule models of Philips’ competitors.

Well-functioning thermal jugcompact formatenvironmentally-friendly coffee capsules
Very noisycoffee too weak with padstoo many loose parts

8. Philips Café Gourmet HD5408

Brews an intense, flavoursome coffee, reminiscent of the popular principle of “pour over” coffee – but be aware of its height.

Price range: Medium Wattage: 1,300 watts Height: 51 cm Power cable: 85 cm with angled plug Brewing temperature: 98°C "Keep warm" temperature: 81°C Brewing time excl. boiling of water: For 0.5 litres – 2 mins and 51 secs For 1.0 litre (max) – 6 mins and 15 secs.

Philips Cafe Gourmet HD5408

The Café Gourmet HD5408 coffee machine from Philips makes a serious cup of coffee, where the taste is on the strong side. The brewing method harks back to the olden days – and yet it is also a bit modern (almost).

Modern coffee brewing began with a jug, a filter holder on top of the jug, ground coffee in the filter and then just pouring over boiling water from the kettle. And that’s exactly what Philips is imitating here, just in a fully automatic process with the Café Gourmet coffee brewer.

Image of the tall Philips Café Gourmet HD5408 coffee machine for filter

Reminiscent of “pour over” coffee

Today, many coffee enthusiasts have gone back to the same principle via the popular “pour over” method.

The important thing with the “pour over” method is to control the temperature and the amount of water when the water hits the coffee. 93°C water is the aim. First, the coffee is “bloomed” with the hot water for 30 seconds, then the water is added in two goes.

But Philips Café Gourmet can’t quite live up to this precise method. When the water boils (100°C), the coffee machine slowly lets the water out of the tank at the top and down over the beans in the filter.

Gravity takes care of the rest, so it couldn’t be simpler.

A bit too hot

We measure 98–99°C when the first water hits the coffee beans, and it’s a bit on the high side – if you ask a coffee nerd.

We assume that it is this initial high brewing temperature that gives the coffee its extra strong taste.

Image of the measuring of temperature just after 0.5 litres begins to drip down into the filter in Philips Café Gourmet HD5408

It’s definitely not a bad jug of coffee that the coffee machine brews for you. The taste is both fruity and nuanced, and it’s full bodied without any bitterness. It’s only in the aftertaste that the slight strongness manifests itself.

Very tall coffee machine

Measuring 51 cm in height, it takes up its space, so measure whether it’ll fit under your wall cabinets
- if that’s where it’s to stand, of course.

If you don’t like to have your coffee machine on display, it’s very easy to move thanks to the bracket at the top.

Brewing time – fast (but slow, too)

1 litre is brewed in 6 minutes and 15 seconds, and this is only just above the optimal extraction time of 6 minutes, which means that all the flavour is extracted from the coffee beans.

But...

Before the coffee can be brewed, the water has to be boiled of course, and this takes 6 minutes and 30 seconds (for 1 litre).

Your total waiting time for 1 litre of coffee is a full 12 minutes and 45 seconds!

If you get bored during that time, then watch the coffee machine while it’s boiling the water. It’s kind of therapeutic to watch the process – like an aquarium of fish (just without all the boiling water of course!).

GIF of the water boiling in Philips Café Gourmet HD5408

Scale build-up in the water tank

After 3–4 brews, a white layer of limescale is already building up in the water tank. It soon becomes clear how much lime there is in your water.

You don’t see any of this in a traditional coffee machine because the lime settles inside the heating element.

So, if you want a crystal-clear water tank, you’ll have to give it a regular wipe-over and descale.

Conclusion

It’s a good filter coffee machine that Philips has made here. You’ll definitely enjoy the coffee and the taste – especially if you like your coffee strong.

If you have the space for it, it’s almost like having a piece of sculpture on display.

The mesmerising brewing process is a delight to watch – and you barely hear a peep from it as it does its thing.

It is only during the brief period of rapid bubbling (when the water boils) that you can hear it – from then on, the coffee quietly seeps through the filter.

Attractive designtasty coffeeentertaining to watch the brewingquietfast brewing
The heightbrewing at too high a temperature does not produce the best tastelong wait for the water to boilrapid, visible build-up of scale

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9. Russell Hobbs Grind and Brew Glass Carafe

Get up or come home to freshly ground and freshly brewed coffee.

Price range: Medium Wattage: 1,000 watts Height: 44 cm Power cable: 70 cm with angled plug Brewing temperature: 92°C "Keep warm" temperature: 81°C Grinder type: Conical – block burr Brewing time (with grinder): for 0.5 litres – 4 mins and 15 secs For 1.0 litre – 7 mins and 35 secs For 1.25 litres – 9 mins and 16 secs

Russell Hobbs Grind and Brew Glass Carafe

“Rrrrrr” goes the coffee grinder filling the coffee filter with freshly ground beans
- and that’s the clear advantage of Russell Hobbs Grind and Brew.

You can also choose simply to pour ground coffee into the filter, but it’s hard to find a good reason for doing that.
Whole beans retain their flavour better, and when they are ground just before brewing, you get a more nuanced coffee taste.

Image of coffee beans seen through the tank of Russell Hobbs Grind and Brew

The range of whole beans available has all but exploded. Just look how much space the whole beans take up on the coffee shelf in the supermarket compared to the ground coffee.
The biggest challenge (or pleasure you might say) will be tasting your way to your favourite coffee bean.

Easy to set up and operate

You can set the grinder manually to three settings (coarse, medium or fine), and you can also set the strength of the brew to normal, medium or strong. The strength is adjusted with the buttons when you put the coffee on.

Next, select how many cups you want to brew and pour the corresponding amount of water into the tank. The machine does not measure out the water itself, but continues brewing until the water tank is empty.

Not the fastest coffee brewer

Unless you use the timer, you have to wait a little longer for the coffee.
Of course ** it takes a little longer (9+ minutes)** when you also have to grind the beans first – and that’s how we’ve tested the brewing time.
(The grinder is, after all, the best argument for buying Russell Hobbs Grind and Brew.)

24-hour timer

If you make sure there are enough beans in the container, a filter in the holder, water in the tank and you remember to set the timer, the coffee is ready when you get up (or when you get home).

But you should not switch off the coffee machine completely, because for some reason or other there is no built-in memory in the clock. Everything is forgotten, even after the briefest of power cuts, and then you have to reset the time and timer.
This also means that you have to live with the blue glow of the coffee machine’s display, day and night.

Image of Russell Hobbs Grind and Brew, brewing a jug of coffee

Is there a UV filter in the coffee container?

Coffee beans should preferably be stored in the dark, dry and not too warm. But there does not seem to be a UV filter to protect the beans in the container from the sunlight.

And the beans actually get quite hot – without being roasted again, however. This is because the bean container is located just above the filter holder, where the steam and hot water give off a lot of heat.

Brewing and flavour

Immediately after brewing, we measured 92°C in the middle of the filter, which is fine. We measured 83°C in the middle of the jug, and after 15 minutes on the hotplate, the temperature had only dropped to 81°C.
All in all, a good result.

But the good readings aside, the coffee taste is pretty standard.

Some bitter, acidic and fruity nuances are lacking in the flavour, but it is still a good cup of coffee that will appeal to most tastes.

Conclusion

Russell Hobbs Grind and Brew brews a pretty good cup of coffee, and we can absolutely taste the difference between the freshly ground coffee and ground coffee from the bag.

Note that due to the bean container it is higher than a normal coffee machine, and the cord is quite short (just 70 centimetres). So that limits where you can put it a little.

In this price range, and with a built-in coffee grinder, we know in advance not to expect a gourmet result.

But if we compare it to standard filter coffee machines without a grinder, you actually get an OK result with Russell Hobbs Grind and Brew
- and then it’s a real pleasure to use the timer, so the coffee’s ready when you’re ready for the coffee!

Always freshly ground coffee beans24-hour timereasy to use
No memory of set timethe coffee grinder is a little noisycleaning the grindershort cable

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10. Philips Grind & Brew HD7769

Smart coffee brewer with built-in coffee grinder and container with two-section compartments for coffee beans.

Price range: Premium (due to the built-in grinder) Wattage: 1,000 watts Height: 44 cm Power cable: 90 cm with angled plug Grinder type: Cannot be ascertained (presumably conical block burr) Brewing temperature: 88°C "Keep warm" temperature: 86°C Brewing time: For 0.5 litres – 4 mins and 39 secs For 1.0 litre – 7 mins and 50 secs For 1.25 litres – 9 mins and 36 secs

Philips Grind & Brew HD7769

The golden rule for a good cup of coffee is to brew it using completely freshly ground beans – and that’s exactly what Philips HD7769 Grind and Brew does. In the HD7769 model we tested, there are even two compartments for coffee beans.

This allows you to choose a strong, caffeinated coffee bean during the day, and switch to a decaffeinated coffee bean for your evening coffee at the push of a button.

Or perhaps you’re just happy to be able to choose between two flavours.

Image of Philips Grind and Brew HD7769 coffee machine with two-section container for whole coffee beans

If you’re not fussed about having two kinds of beans, then look at HD7767 instead
- but just read to the end of the test first, because the coffee bean container is the only difference.

And should you feel like ground coffee from the bag, you can of course also use that.

Get up to freshly brewed coffee

The coffee machine with a grinder has both a clock and a timer – which even emits a pleasant, warm and golden orange light. The timer is terrific if you want to be able to get up to the aroma of coffee. And if the alarm doesn’t wake you, the coffee grinder will! Because the grinder is not exactly quiet, but we didn’t expect it to be either.

In other models with a built-in grinder, the brewing takes place directly under the coffee bean container, exposing it to a lot of heat, but that’s not the case here.

In fact, Philips has done a good job of keeping the heat away from the beans, so as not to impair their flavour.

The fact that there are two compartments for the beans is quite practical, because it allows for two different types of beans, and then you simply switch between them depending on what type of coffee you fancy.

Image of the two-section container for whole coffee beans in the Philips Grind and Brew HD7769 coffee machine with built-in coffee grinder

You also have a midway option where the grinder takes an equal quantity of beans from both compartments at the same time.

Rather loud beep

When you turn on, switch off and set the coffee machine, it emits a rather loud beep. Ideally, we’d like to be able to turn off the beep. Unfortunately, it’s a permanent fixture, but you’ll probably get used to it over time.

Small but efficient water filling

Initially, we wondered about the small hole for water filling, but our concerns soon proved unfounded. The machine swallows up the water almost as fast as we could pour it in. And there’s a pretty smart indicator showing the water level, which has to be read from above.

Image of water filling on the Philips Grind and Brew HD7769 coffee machine with built-in coffee grinder

The drip stop is in the way

When the brewer has done its thing and you just want to pour one cup of coffee and then put the jug back to keep it warm for the next cup, it can prove quite tricky.

If you’ve only poured out a single cup, the coffee in the jug will splash over when you try to press the jug into place under the drip stop. This resulted in quite a bit of coffee flowing out behind the coffee machine and onto the worktop, and we actually found that rather annoying.

But that’s probably also a problem you get to grips with over time.

Smart “cable tidy”

At the back, you can push any excess cable into the machine itself. Once you’ve found the right length, simply lock the cable in the small slot. We think that’s a smart detail.

What about the flavour?

Hmm... this is where we get to the biggest problem with Philips Grind & Brew HD7769 (and HD7767 for that matter).
Because even though the beans are freshly ground, the taste lags somewhat behind.

Unfortunately, the brewed coffee has a lot of bitterness, regardless of whether we brew using freshly ground beans or use the same type of bean from a ready-ground bag. The bitterness is due to the rather low brewing temperature (88°C measured in the filter just after brewing) and the slow brewing time.

Image of Philips Grind and Brew HD7769 coffee machine with the filter holder swung out

In this price range, we expect more of the taste, but having said that, you’re getting both a coffee machine and a coffee grinder, so of course it’s going to be a little pricier – and that’s why it gets compared to the other models in the Premium price range.

Conclusion

If you’re not the big coffee enthusiast, but still want to enjoy a slightly superior coffee experience from freshly ground beans, the Philips Grind & Brew HD7769 is a good machine for you.

The taste costs the coffee machine a lot of points in the final assessment.
But having said that, it actually looks pretty good on the worktop, and you’ll soon enjoy trying different coffee beans to find your favourite.

Timer functiongrinder for whole coffee beansdelay switch-off time for up to 120 minutessmart cable storage
The beeplow brewing temperaturethe contents of the jug can splash overthe coffee taste is quite bitterno access to the grinder (it should be possible to clean it once in a while)

11. Russell Hobbs retro

A quirky little coffee brewer that looks great on the kitchen worktops of those into the retro look.

Price range: Budget Wattage: 1,000 watts Height: 34 cm (54 cm with lid open) Power cable: 65 cm with angled plug Brewing temperature: 91°C "Keep warm" temperature: 82°C Brewing time: For 0.5 litres – 5 mins and 3 secs For 1.0 litre – 8 mins and 38 secs For 1.25 litres – 10 mins and 37 secs

Russell Hobbs Retro

It’s actually a funny little thing, the Russell Hobbs Retro coffee machine, which even comes in several colours (red, black and cream).
Yes, it can also make coffee, but it’s not exactly fast.

We tested the cream-coloured brewer, which has a few surprises up its sleeve.

Image of the cream-coloured Russell Hobbs Retro coffee machine brewing a jug of coffee

Speedometer on the front

The small 0–40-minute display is pretty nice. Together with the rocker switch for on and off, it accentuates the coffee machine’s retro look.

The display shows whether the machine is brewing and then counts down until the heating element switches off automatically after 40 minutes.

Image of the clock in the Russell Hobbs Retro coffee machine turning off

Still, though the pointer might look a bit like a speedometer, this is no “racing machine”.
Because it takes more than 10 minutes to brew a whole jug.

“But does everything have to happen so fast?”

We hear what you’re saying, but when it comes to coffee, time is of the essence. But more on that later...

It’s tall!

When you need to fill the machine with water and coffee, you have to tilt the lid up. And as the lid is hinged at the back of the machine, it grows an extra 20 centimetres (54 cm in total).

So be sure to measure whether there’s enough space height-wise where you want the coffee brewer to go.
(We had to move it to pour water in).

Image of Russell Hobbs Retro coffee machine with the lid open

A lot of plastic

Once you’ve removed the countless pieces of tape and opened the lid, a red plastic stick reveals itself, which is there to distribute the brewing water better over the coffee in the filter.

The filter holder has a very thin, flimsy plastic handle to help you pull the filter up – when you can get hold of it. (This can be a bit tricky).

The taste of the coffee

Russell Hobbs Retro is not aimed at the coffee enthusiast who wants to squeeze every last ounce of flavour out of the beans.
But you wouldn’t really expect it to at that price.

The slow brewing draws a few too many bitter substances out of the coffee, and it doesn’t work wonders for the coffee taste
- but coffee it makes.

The first jug of coffee (after the 2 recommended swish-throughs with clean water) really didn’t taste good at all. Somehow it got better with jug number 2, which was less bitter.

By the third jug, the coffee was actually drinkable.

A lot of condensation

When you lift the lid after brewing, there is a lot of condensation, which runs down the underside of the lid and ends up in the water tank. Make sure it doesn’t run down next to it – especially if your worktop cannot withstand water for too long.

The smart details

On the left-hand side there is a small slot for the measuring spoon – so it’s one less thing for the drawer. The water level can very conveniently be read from both sides of the coffee machine.

Image of the measuring spoon holder and of the water level on the Russell Hobbs Retro

Conclusion

This is a fun, quirky and nice coffee brewer in retro style. And that is primarily what you should choose it for. An extra little machine for the holiday cottage or caravan, or for those who are not overly fussed by the taste of the coffee – as long as it does actually bear some resemblance to coffee.

Retro designindication of time to switch-offthe water level can be read from both sidessmart holder for the measuring spoon
Not the best coffee tasteflimsy handle on the filter holderlong brewing timefairly short cable

12. Smeg DCF02 coffee machine in retro design

Coffee machine with a charming and consistent retro design. Looks great in an open kitchen, where design is important to you.

Price range: Premium Wattage: 1,050 watts Height: 37 cm Power cable: 100 cm with angled plug Brewing temperature: 91°C "Keep warm" temperature: 75°C Brewing time: For 0.5 litres – 3 mins and 45 secs For 1.0 litre – 6 mins and 50 secs For 1.25 litre – 7 mins and 59 secs

Smeg DCF02

It’s a great feeling unpacking this little beauty of a coffee machine from its box and placing it on the kitchen worktop. It almost transforms your kitchen into a small American diner in an instant. We actually get the urge to put Elvis on the playlist and mix up some batter to make a big stack of American pancakes with maple syrup!

Imageof the Smeg DFC02 coffee machine waiting to be tested

But the big question is: Do you get enough “Smeg” for the buck?

Read the test and find out if Smeg DCF02 is for you.

First impressions

It’s hard not to fall in love with the design and the fabulous details. The rocker switch to set the time and timer in the display alone is hugely satisfying.
There’s honestly not much on the market that gives you quite the same feeling and amenity value.

Washable filter – or not

A washable “permanent” filter made of plastic and metal is included, and it’s quite smart for those who don’t want to use coffee filters for reasons of cost – or for the sake of the environment. But if you’d rather use a classic paper filter, then simply take out the permanent filter.

Image of the “permanent” coffee filter in the Smeg DFC02 coffee brewer

Smart functions

The small display with its white light is also quite nicely done and easy to read.

By flicking the delightful rocker switch on the side, you can easily programme the time and set a timer to auto start the brewing. There’s nothing quite like getting up to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.

The rocker switch is also used to set the hardness of your water. Once set, the coffee machine can work out when you should descale it. Now, that’s smart!

A nice, short beep lets you know when the coffee is ready. The beep can be turned off if you prefer silence.

Requires a steady hand

When pouring water into the coffee machine, you need a pretty steady hand.
The hole for filling up with water is not all that big, so you have to watch what you’re doing to avoid spilling it over the edge.
You’ll probably get used to it pretty quickly, but a little more space would have been nice.

Image of the somewhat narrow water filling hole in the Smeg DFC02 coffee machine

Too low temperatures make for a poor flavour

The recommended temperature should be around 92–96°C during brewing, but Smeg DCF02 brews coffee at a low temperature.
When we measure from the outlet before the water drips into the filter, it takes quite a long time until the temperature reaches 91°C. The water is actually only around 65°C when it hits the filter for the first time, and we measure a maximum of 87°C in the filter itself.

Image of temperature measurement in the filter during brewing with Smeg DCF02

In the jug, we measure 81°C immediately after brewing. This is also the temperature that we measure 15 minutes after brewing.
It is quite simply too cold to ensure a good, aromatic cup of coffee.

What is strange is that you can turn off the hotplate to avoid the taste of burnt coffee when you brew less than a half jug, but then, of course, you also have to pour the coffee immediately. However, there’s not much chance of “burnt coffee” at those brewing temperatures.

If you like hot coffee with milk, you’ll have to hurry. Put a little too much milk in and you’ve got yourself more of a lukewarm iced coffee.

Flat, wide jug

The design of the jug means that you shouldn’t pour the water in at full pressure.

The bottom is completely flat, and as the jug is also quite low and wide, the water actually splashes up and out onto the worktop.

Perhaps it’s also the width of the jug that makes it feel as if the handle almost bends from the weight of a full jug.
It feels a little unsafe, but we don’t think there’s any danger of the handle actually breaking.

Conclusion

Smeg DCF02 is a little charmer – there’s no getting away from that. But when we look at the price, there are far better coffee experiences to be had for less than half the price.

So, we can only conclude that this good-looking retro coffee brewer is for those who don’t make a lot of coffee, or for those who would rather enjoy the sight of the coffee machine than the taste of a perfectly brewed cup of coffee.

Everything has its limits, but how we wish that the taste was as good as the design.

Retro design – just look at it!timer functiondiscreet “beep” sound when the coffee is readywashable coffee filter
The taste of the coffee – in relation to the price of the machinethe jug’s handle feels too “soft”temperatures too lowlong brewing time

13. Russell Hobbs Elegance

This coffee machine with a timer is part of Russell Hobbs’ award-winning “Elegance” design range, but it won’t win any awards for the taste.

Price range: Medium Wattage: 1,600 watts Height: 35.5 cm Power cable: 90 cm with angled plug Brewing temperature: 96°C "Keep warm" temperature: 82°C Brewing time: For 0.5 litres – 3 mins and 22 secs For 1.0 litres – 5 mins and 14 secs For 1.25 litres – 6 mins and 20 secs

Russell Hobbs Elegance

The Elegance range by Russell Hobbs won the prestigious “Red Dot” design award in 2018, and the coffee machine for filters is both elegant and has some pretty smart features, but unfortunately, the taste of the coffee is another matter.

The coffee machine has been tested and approved by ECBC (European Coffee Brewing Centre), so the brewing time and temperature are absolutely perfect, but we’re seriously wondering whether ECBC actually tasted the coffee!

Image of Russell Hobbs Elegance with a jug of coffee

Smart features

The clock and timer are really handy features. Pour beans and water into the machine, set the timer and get up to a freshly brewed jug of coffee... then you’re ready for pretty much anything the day has in store for you.

The clock display lights up in a nice blue colour, both when the clock is operated and while the coffee is brewing. The rest of the time, the light in the display is off.

It’s also a smart detail that the display counts down and shows you how much time you have left to drink the coffee before the heating element switches itself off.

The water level is on the back

The water tank is positioned somewhat untraditionally, as the water level cannot be read from the front, and not on the jug either. Instead, you have to look over the top of the machine (or stand behind it) when pouring the water in. This can be done, but we lack an indicator showing the level of water on the front.

Whatever the case, it’s not a great idea to stand the Russell Hobbs Elegance coffee machine in a corner.

Image of the location of the water tank on the Russell Hobbs Elegance coffee machine

Thin and flimsy plastic and jug

The lid of the water tank is a thin, clear piece of plastic and it’s completely loose. The lid of the filter is opened at the push of a button, before shooting up to reveal the red plastic tube which distributes the water evenly over the filter.

The jug and handle are also fairly flimsy. It all seems pretty fragile.

Consider the height of your wall cabinets

In the test kitchen, there is a wall cabinet 50 cm above the worktop. There was just enough room for the lid of the filter holder to open, but we couldn’t pour water into the coffee machine without pulling it further out onto the worktop. So, make sure there’s plenty of space above and behind the coffee brewer (read the section on the quantity of water).

Taste and smell of plastic

This surprised us. When testing Russell Hobbs Elegance, we brewed more than 10 jugs of coffee + 2 swish-throughs with fresh water before use.
(We gave it an extra rinse after brewing the first jug of coffee.)

The reason for the extra rinse was that we got an overwhelming aftertaste of plastic in the first jug of coffee, which we simply had to pour out.

An unpleasant smell of hot plastic also emanated from the machine when the coffee was brewing. It was so powerful that we felt compelled to open the window and check whether anything had melted, but there was no sign of this.

Even our tester’s children noticed the smell when they came out into the kitchen.

However, after 10+ jugs of coffee, we could taste that the brewing was at the right temperature and duration (so far so good).
There was still a faint aftertaste of plastic, and the smell had not quite gone yet either.

Image of measuring temperature while brewing coffee in Russell Hobbs Elegance

Conclusion

We were never completely satisfied with the taste.

We do imagine, however, that once the taste of plastic has subsided, the coffee will probably be good enough.
We could at least taste both fruit and acid in the coffee... but it was as if the taste of the plastic packaging persisted, and that can’t be the intention.

The flimsy plastic, the water filling and the aftertaste and smell of plastic drag it down so much that we can’t actually bring ourselves to recommend Russell Hobbs. And that’s a shame because the intention of producing a good cup of coffee is there.

Unfortunately, it seems as if the coffee machine has been produced with the aim of offering the cheapest ECBC-certified coffee brewer on the market.

Timer functioncountdown to switch-offthe design
Taste of plasticsmell of plasticflimsy materialsimpractical water filling

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Didn’t find your favourite in the test?

The range of coffee machines out there is huge.

** Take a look at all the other coffee machines here **

3 quick tips for making a better cup of coffee

1. Grind the beans yourself

As a rule, it’s a really good idea to grind your coffee beans yourself – right before brewing the coffee.

Almost no matter how cheap or advanced the coffee grinder is, it alone will make for a significantly better taste experience.

Finely grind the beans for filter coffee and leave them a little coarser for French press (cafetiere coffee).

** Get more flavour out of your coffee machine here **

2. Rinse the coffee filter first

It’s also a good idea to rinse the coffee filter before pouring the coffee into it.

That way, you rinse out the taste of the filter, ensuring that your coffee only tastes of coffee.

** Run out of filters? Have a look here **

3. Use clean, fresh, cold water – every time

By clean water, we mean completely clean water, ideally straight from the cold tap.

It’s not a bad idea to use a completely different jug to pour water into the machine than the jug in which you brew the coffee. Because unless you wash the coffee jug every time, a thin “film” and coffee taste will remain in it from the last brew. And it’s precisely that taste that you want to avoid getting into the water tank and through the heating element.

When you follow the three tips above, you will achieve a better taste – no matter which coffee brewer you have at home.

P.S.: You can “reset” the taste in your coffee brewer by descaling it, and then simply start following our three tips above.

The difference in price categories

To make it easier for you, we have divided the coffee machines into the following price categories:

  • Budget: Up to £70
  • Medium: £70 – £135
  • Premium: Over £135

A quick way to assess the biggest difference between a premium model and a budget model is to lift the lid of the coffee machine.

The budget models often have slightly simpler aluminium heating elements with lower wattage and therefore take longer to heat up, with a slightly uneven temperature.

The premium models often have copper/brass heating elements with up to twice the wattage for faster heating and often a more uniform temperature throughout the brewing. The faster the water heats up, the faster the coffee can be brewed, and the brewing time is actually quite crucial to the flavour. The choice of material in the cheapest models is often plastic, while metal dominates the premium class, which also makes for a longer lasting brewer.

Of course, the design also plays a role in the pricing.

The art of brewing coffee in the right way regardless of the brewing method is about finding a good balance between temperature, time, and the coffee to water ratio. If you get the quantity of water and coffee right, the coffee machine will do the rest for you, and many of the machines will give you excellent coffee.

More about coffee machines

What constitutes a really good cup of coffee may come down to individual taste, but it’s probably easier to agree on how a good coffee machine should work. We have tested a number of coffee machine models in three different price ranges: budget, medium and premium. In addition to the end result, i.e. how the coffee tastes, we’ve looked at many different aspects of the coffee machines, such as temperature and brewing time.

Coffee brewing is an important, centuries-old tradition all over the world, and the way we brew coffee varies greatly depending on which country you are in. The classic electric drip maker is still the most common brewer in Danish kitchens, although espresso machines have been making quite the appearance in recent years.

The advantage of the classic coffee brewer over the espresso machine is, of course, the price, but its simplicity and durability are also factors.

The price, however, varies greatly, ranging from about £20 to a few hundred. It goes without saying that there is a difference in both quality and taste between the machines, but you will not normally find this out until you use the coffee machine yourself.

In this test, we help you assess which coffee machine is best for you.

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