The Best Smart Coffee Machine In 2022

This article is about the best smart coffee brewing equipment, you won’t find any info here about stupid coffee machines, or scruffy ones, only smart coffee machines will do.

OK, I’m kidding, clearly smart coffee machine in this context doesn’t mean that it needs to have a Masters level, or that it must wear a shirt and tie, of course, we’re talking about smart in a slightly different context.

Photo showing a smart coffee brewing device with mortarboard cap.

Photo showing a smart coffee brewing device with mortarboard cap.

So what is a smart coffee makeking equipment?

Theoretically speaking, any modern coffee makeking equipment which has clever technology could be discussed as a smart coffee machine. 

For example, fully automatic “one touch” bean to cup coffee machines will make the selected coffee consume for you. You just press the button, the machine pulls the shot, steams the milk, delivers it into your cup and even disposes of the used puck of coffee (into the internal dump box) for you. This is pretty smart!

The Sage Oracle & Oracle touch, are likewise very smart, in that they take over all of the stuff the home barista would usually need the skills to perform, dosing, tamping & getting the milk texture ideal, making home barista quality coffees without the usually needed home barista skill.

I would think, nevertheless, that numerous people when searching for  “smart coffee machines”, will probably be thinking along the lines of “connected” coffee machines, that can be controlled over the internet with Alexa or Google Home, and/or via a dedicated app.

Truly, there aren’t  – at the time of writing in 2022 – all that lots of “smart” coffee machines in this context, and the ones that are, aren’t necessarily the best options. 

Jump in your time machine, and (after you’ve gone back & bought last Friday’s winning Euro Millions ticket) go forward to a time where the coffee brewing device can get the cup, rinse it, warm it, get the milk out of the fridge, check if there are beans in the hopper, or put a pod in the machine, and so on, and yeah – smart coffee machines in that sense would be mega. 

Nevertheless right now, I think there’s fairly little that connected, wifi/bluetooth app-controlled coffee machines can actually do, other than remote on and off, and providing you certain information, such as whether the tank is full or when a descale is necessary. 

There are other coffee machines that may not be “smart” in this sense but that are actually incredibly smart where it matters, and that truly do all the things “smart” machines do, and more, simply without a wifi or bluetooth connection.

So for that reason, I’m going to advise a mix of machines including “connected” coffee machines, and machines that I think are truly “smart” where it matters and may be worth considering regardless of whether they’re “smart” in the sense you were initially thinking.

Forget “smart” – what type of coffee machine do you want?

The first thing I’d advise, to anyone who got to this article by searching for something along the lines of “which is the best smart coffee machine” – is that you take a step back, and figure out which type of coffee makeking equipment you need. 

For this reason, I’m going to explain each sort of coffee makeking tool, and then give you my recommendations for the perfect smart coffee machines in that category.

In other words you’re not actually searching for a smart coffee machine, you’re searching for a smart drip coffee brewing tool, or a smart bean to cup coffee makeking equipment, and so on, so if you choose your machine just based on connectivity, you may end up a machine which isn’t capable of creating the type of coffee you want to drink.

So below you’ll find an introduction to the various different kinds of coffee machines, followed by suggestions for the best smart coffee machines for that type of machine.

Fully manual traditional espresso machines

I extremely much doubt this is the type of coffee machine you have in mind when searching for “smart coffee machine”, but I’ll include it anyway so that you understand what all of the options are. Fully manual machines have a lever, and a piston to create the pressure.

The a lot of well known fully manual espresso machines are the LaPavoni Europiccola, even if you don’t understand these machines by name, you’ll understand them by sight, as you’ll have seen them in the background of various different movies & TV shows, often to help build an air of sophistication and luxury. 

For more on the La Pavoni lever espresso machines, see:

La Pavoni Europiccola Review

You’re not going to find a La Pavoni lever espresso coffee machine with smart features, and the same is true of other old-school coffee machines. However, if the main thing you want to do is to remotely turn your coffee machine off and on, then there’s another solution. 

For me this is among the a lot of valuable “smart” properties of any coffee machine, to be able to remotely turn it on so that it’s hot when you get to it, brews perfect sense. If you can wake up, reach straight for your phone and turn on your coffee brewing equipment, that is a feature most of us would value, particularly if we have a coffee machine that takes 10-15 mins or longer to heat up. 

If your coffee makeking device has a average on/off rocker switch, then there’s a simply easy solution. Leave the switch on the coffee makeking equipment in the on position, and connect it to a smart plug, like this:

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This low-cost Wifi smart plug, enables you to turn even the most old-school coffee machines into smart coffee machines at least where remote on and off is worried. 

As long as your coffee machine has a basic on/off switch, as the La Pavoni machines do, and as the original pre 2009 Gaggia Classic does, for example, you can remotely turn them off and on via this smart plug. 

You benefit from this with the original Gaggia Classic, and the La Pavoni Europiccola, basically any machine with a fundamental on/off switch so you can leave it on the on position and control the power via the smart switch.

If you have a more modern coffee machine, but, that doesn’t enable you to leave it switched on, this is still doable, however you’ll need something a bit more “A-TEAM”, like this:

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This is a genius idea, you can stick it onto literally about anything, connect to it with your smartphone, turn it on and off remotely, even set up timers so that it automatically turns on and off at the pre-set times. 

I came across these a while ago in a reddit thread, someone was using one to turn on a coffee brewing tool which wouldn’t work with a smart switch as it didn’t have a classic rocker on/off switch, and I thought it was a wonderful idea!

As I said earlier, there isn’t a wonderful deal you can basically do with connectivity and coffee machines other than remotely turn them on and off. It would be very difficult to work with your smartphone to fill up the water tank or empty the drip tray. 

So with a smart plug or a smart switch, you can simply make just about any coffee machine “smart” in the one area that it literally does make sense.

If you find a way to make coffee machines do the other important stuff after turning on, such as washing cups, emptying drip trays, filling bean hoppers and so on, then please do let me understand! ;-).

Semi-automatic traditional espresso coffee machines

The vast majority of traditional espresso coffee machines these days (well, not basically “these days” however for the past few decades) are semi automatic, which when it comes to traditional espresso machines, indicates that they have a pump for creating the needed pressure. 

So with these types of machines, you have a separate coffee mill with which you grind the coffee beans into the filter, which sits in the filter holder (known as the portafilter), which you insert into the group head, and then you press the shot button, the pump is engaged and the shot of espresso is pulled. 

This sort of espresso coffee machine will (nearly) always have a steam wand for frothing and heating the milk for cappuccino, latte, flat white and so on.

The perfect smart semi-automatic espresso machines

As I’ve discussed above, you can in truth turn any semi-auto espresso coffee machine into a smart espresso coffee machine when it comes to remotely turning it on and off, via a smart plug or smart switch.

The semi-auto espresso machines I’m about to introduce you to are smart in the true sense of the word, for the reasons I’ll explain for each machine, and with the combination of a smart plug or smart switch, you can also make them connected in terms of being able to remotely turn them on or off. 

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The Sage (called Breville outside of Europe) Bambino plus is one of the entry extent espresso machines from Sage. 

This is a cracking little espresso coffee machine, which can be used for home baristas, or for complete beginners who have no interest in the home barista hobby. 

Basically to delve a little deeper into that, using an espresso machine as a home barista, indicates utilizing traditional filter baskets and a coffee mill capable of grinding fine enough and creating adjustments small enough in order to be used for espresso machines with standard baskets. 

It means spending time and effort “dialing in” which is mainly (but not purely) about adjusting the grind, in order to get the extraction as close to fantastic as possible. It implies weighing the dose, and the espresso, and there in truth is a learning curve to this sort of home espresso coffee creating. 

The cheaper (usually around £100-£200) machines which are marketed as espresso machines, are mildly different, as they’re aimed at people who like the idea of using what appears to be a average espresso coffee machine, but without the essential skill.

These machines usually “boast” (fake boast, as this isn’t something to boast about) 15 bars or even 19 bars of pump pressure, and they usually come with pressurized baskets, not basic baskets. 

Some of the entry-level home barista espresso machines, including the entry-level machines from Sage, come with both fundamental baskets and pressurized baskets (Sage call them dual walled baskets), so if you prefer, you can use the dual walled baskets & this reduces the importance of the griner quality and home barista skill.

You can even use pre-ground coffee with these baskets, but I’d highly suggest that you grind your own, even if you’re utilizing pressurized baskets, as freshly ground coffee is much fresher.

As I found with some blind taste testing, you can actually get pretty close with the dual walled baskets when it comes to espresso quality, as you can with putting time and effort into dialing in with standard baskets.

So as far as I’m worried, if you want to utilize a representative espresso coffee machine but you’re not yet convinced as to whether you want to go the whole home barista hog, a machine like this which comes with both kinds of baskets and therefore gives you the option, is a good idea.

The smart bits

3 second heat up time.
With this machine, you literally don’t need the auto-on feature or scheduled on and off times, as it literally takes 3 seconds to be ready to utilize. You’ll want to run some water through the group before you pull your shot, in order to warm up the group head, the portafilter and your cup, nevertheless you’d need to do this with a lot of espresso coffee machines.

Auto milk texturing.
Among the hardest things to do when it comes to creating wonderful espresso coffee based coffee drinks at home, is to get the milk texture right. Baristas and seasoned home baristas make it look much easeir than it literally is!

With the bambino plus, though, you basically fill the the jug, put it on the drip tray making sure it’s covering the heat sensor, and the machine will texture the milk to your pre-set froth and temperature settings. You can steam milk manually if you prefer, and it does a great job of texturing that way too, once you’ve got the knack of it.

Automatic factory pre-set pre-infusion. 
Pre-infusion implies introducing water to the ground coffee under reduced pressure. With the Bambino plus (with all the Sage espresso coffee machines actually) the pressure slowly increases up to the 9 bars of pressure after the preinfusion phase.

9 bars of pressure.
As with the majority of espresso coffee machines, the Bambino plus has a 15 bar pump, however unlike most the cheaper domestic machines, it has an overpressure valve set to 9 bars of pressure, which is primarily accepted as the fundamental for espresso coffee. 

3 way solenoid valve.
As with the OVP (over pressure valve) and pre-infusion, a solenoid valve is something you’d usually expect in commercial machines or home barista espresso machines, most lower cost home espresso coffee machines wouldn’t usually have a 3 way solenoid. 

The benefit of this is that the leftover pressure and water is expelled via a tube from the solenoid into the drip tray, so you’ll usually have a nice dry puck, and if you choke the machine with too fine a grind, you don’t get what’s called portafilter sneeze if you remove the portafilter from the group without allowing the brew valve time to get shot of the pressure.

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The smart bits

The Barista touch, again from Sage Appliances, is smart in the same ways as the Bambino plus above, nevertheless it also has:

Integrated grinder

The Barista touch has an integrated grinder with 30 grind settings. What this implies is that you don’t need a separate mill, however (unlike bean to cup machines) you have at least some ability to dial in.

You don’t rather have as much dialing in ability as you would with a stand-alone espresso coffee capable grinding machine, even though, particularly not compared with the likes of the Eureka Mignon (which has a worm dial for infinitely fine adjustment). 

For more on Eureka Mignon grinders, see:

Eureka Mignon Review

Having an integrated coffee grinder doesn’t make the Barista touch a bean to cup coffee brewing tool, by the way – even though to be fair, the Barista touch is straddling the line between traditional espresso machines and bean to cup coffee machines with its touch screen settings and auto milk steaming. 

Touch screen controls.
The Barista touch has, as the name would advise, a touch screen. This allows you to swipe through and select your coffee, and likewise to change the drinks, and to add new ones. When you choose your ingest, the screen will talk you through what to do to make the selected coffee. 

This is similar to the Sage Oracle Touch, only it’s very the milk side of things that are done for you with the Barista touch, as this machine doesn’t quite have the same extent as smartness when it comes to the espresso side of things as the Oracle Touch has, with it’s auto dosing & auto tamping.

Auto milk texturing. 
The Bambino plus does have this too, however it’s a bit more advanced with the Barista touch, with more control over the milk texture and temperature and the controls being via the touch screen.

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I understand I’m starting to come across as a genuine Sage fanboy ;-), nevertheless they actually do make some of the smartest espresso coffee machines. They do things differently from the way most manufacturers work when it comes to designing domestic coffee machines.

They’ll look at the way other manufacturers do things, and instead of just following suit, they’ll often invent new components or new ways of doing things in order to do a better job. 

The dual boiler is a wonderful example of this. The obvious approach to creating a higher-end espresso coffee machine would have been to make a dual boiler machine or a heat exchanger (which heats the brew water via a pipe running through the steam boiler).

Instead, they created a (the first, that I’m aware of, at least when it comes to domestic machines) dual boiler machine, also with a heat exchanger for the goal of improving thermal stability.

The smart bits

Auto on.
Truly go into the menu, and select the time you want it to turn on. This is wonderful for having it turned on and heated up each morning of course, but also, whenever you utilize it you can really quickly go into the menu and tell it to turn back on again 5 or 10 minutes before you’re going to want your next coffee. 

Ultimate temperature control
It’s not uncommon to have two or three brew temp settings, but with the dual boiler, you have 10 settings, in 1C increments from 86C – 96C, very modest to change via the control panel, which gives excellent control when it comes to very precisely dialing in with a wide range of roast profiles. 

Great preinfusion control
Not only do you have control over the pump power when it comes to pre-infusion, being able to tweak both the preinfusion power and the preinfusion time gives you rare flexibility over the preinfusion.

Unparalleled (at this price point) temperature stability
Among the keys to wonderful espresso coffee is temperature stability, and temp instability is the Achilles heel of several lower-cost espresso machines. 

What they’ve done with the dual boiler, without getting too technical, basically suggests that the machine performs as if the group was one with the boiler, which is discussed as a Saturated group.

It’s not, and saturated group machines are something I’d expect on much higher-end machines and some commercial espresso coffee machines, however it acts as if it is, due to the pid controlled heated group, and the pid controlled brew boiler, which work together to deliver the exact brew temp necessary by the user. 

Loads more…
I could go on and on about the Dual boiler, I have this machine, in truth I have two of them. I have one at home as my main home espresso machine when I’m not utilizing other machines to review, and then I have one in the studio, and having two suggests I can mess about with one of them.

For instance, my silver one (I have a silver one and a black one) now has the “slayer mod” an incredibly modest mos which allows me to utilize the water knob to control the pressure on the fly, allowing me to do “flow profiling”, which I won’t get into within this post, nevertheless basically take my word for it, this is one chuffing smart espresso coffee machine!

For more, see: 

Sage Dual Boiler Review

That’s it for my suggestions for semi automatic espresso machines, nevertheless for loads more suggestions, see:

Best Espresso Machines

Bean to cup coffee machines

The majority of people when searching for the best smart coffee machines, I reckon, probably have bean to cup coffee machines in mind, so for this reason I’m going to focus the majority of of my suggestions on bean to cup coffee machines.

These are usually espresso machines (not always, there are some bean to cup filter coffee machines) and they have an integrated mill & a brewing unit (which handles all of the espresso-making), an internal grinds container (into which the used pucks of coffee are expelled, for you to dump when full), and the majority of of the time, a way to froth milk.

There are “one-touch coffee” bean to cup machines or “semi-auto” bean to cup machines that deal with the coffee for you as a one-touch affair however which have a steam wand (usually what is called a Panarello or turbo frother).

There are likewise “one-touch milk” machines sometimes also called “cappuccino makers” which also deal with the milk frothing at the touch of a button, so you literally press a button and walk off with your cappuccino or latte for example. 

The best smart semi-automatic espresso coffee machines

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Melitta is a well-known coffee makeking device manufacturer that has been around quite some time, and they make some really popular domestic bean to cup coffee machines, in addition to creating commercial bean to cup coffee machines. 

The smart bits 

This is a relatively economical bean to cup coffee makeking device, particularly considering it’s a one-touch, carafe machine, which are usually more expensive.

Lots of of the features are actually what I’d expect to see on a one-touch, fully automatic bean to cup machine, but this is also a smart coffee machine in the sense that it’s “connected”, via the Melitta Connect App.

This app allows you to:

Access tutorials
Yeah, not literally that impressive – I have youtube for that, next…

Amend and create drinks
There are an impressive 21 different consume selections in total and 8 user profiles, and you can edit and create from the smartphone app. 

Make coffee
This is a fairly impressive feature on the face of it, but, and it’s a fairly big nevertheless, you have to turn it on manually to make coffee via the app. Hmm. 

Theoretically, you could use a smart plug or smart switch as I pointed out earlier, to turn it on remotely and then utilize the smartphone app to make coffee, however it seems a little bit of an error to me that they’d make a “smart coffee machine” which is smart enough to make coffee from the app but only after you’ve walked up to it to turn it on.

The manufacturer have probably figured that this doesn’t actually issue due to the reality that you can’t work with an app to put the cup on the drip tray, put milk in the carafe and so on, but in that case what’s the point of being able to make coffee from the app?

The machine will turn itself off after 15 minutes, so it’s not like you only have to turn it on once and then at any time you can make a coffee from your phone as long as there’s a cup and the milk carafe is in place.

Nevertheless, if you could turn it on with the app then in theory you could leave a cup on the drip tray the night before and at least make an espresso or Americano, for instance, from your smart phone – or if there’s someone else up and you can’t be bothered getting up, you could ask the less lazy person to put milk in the carafe and stick it on the machine, and then bring you your coffee ;-).

Yes if there’s a less lazy person already up, they could turn the machine on too, but you can only operate the machine from your phone once the machine has heated itself up and rinsed itself, so there’s a little of a wait once it’s been manually turned on. 

Split hopper
OK we’ve moved on from the app stuff now, and I’m including this feature as it’s rare, however truly, it’s not in truth a feature I rate. The simple reason is that while this is marketed as being a dual hopper machine, this is simply one hopper split in half.

Yes in theory you could put one kind of bean in one half and another in the other half (such as full caff and decaffeinated) nevertheless bean hoppers are one of the worse places to store coffee beans, you’re way better off just grabbing a handful (or better still, weighing the approx amount of beans you’re about to work with) and lobbing them in the hopper.

The not so smart bits

Reading through the Amazon reviews they’re largely very positive, however there are a few people who’ve had issues with connectivity, with a couple of people saying the app disconnects often, which I’d find frustrating if I’d bought the machine partly down to the connectivity. 

There are also a few people complaining about the milk temperature, though there are some people saying the opposite where max milk temp is anxious so it could actually be that some people have had defective models, it takes place.

As I’ve explained, the greatest oops for me is the truth that one of the greatest features, in theory, being able to make coffee remotely, is only truly a gimmick due to the reality that you – or someone – would have to walk up to the machine first to turn it on, unless you use a smart switch.

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This is Brad Pitt’s coffee brewing device, and if you believe that you’ll believe anything ;-). It’s the coffee makeking device he uses in the latest (at the time of writing) commercial featuring Brad Pitt.

 

The smart bits 

This is another app-controlled smart coffee machine, and with the DeLonghi “Coffee Link” app, which allows you to do rather a bit, to be fair, including:

Turn it on
Once the machine is setup, you can turn it on from your smartphone, via the app.

Find out
You can find out stuff via the Delonghi coffee link app. I’m not sure what you can learn, I’m literally reading through the instruction manual, it truly says “discover”, I’m assuming this is coffee-related discoveries.

Manuals & Help
You can access manuals for your coffee brewing device, and access help directly via the smartphone app.

Tweak the 16 beverages
This machine comes with 13 pre-set coffees, and you can add another three via the app, all of which can be controlled via the app.

Custom profiles 
There are three custom profiles with this machine, which can be set up and accessed via the app. 

Initial setup
Once you’ve turned it on, filled the water tank & put beans in the hopper, the initial setup can all be controlled via the app, and the main machine settings are available via the app if you need to alter them in the future.

Overall then, this looks pretty good. I think the reality that you can literally turn the machine on from the smartphone app is a positive.

As long as you remember to put a cup on the drip tray the night before, in theory as long as you don’t want milk (as there’s currently no app smart enough to get the milk out of the fridge), you can turn the machine on as soon as you wake up (or just before, if you’re basically clever), and then order a coffee from your phone as soon as it’s warmed up.

The milk thing, by the way – there are machines that come with milk fridges, but currently, these are simply commercial bean to cup coffee machines, as far as I’m aware. If you had a bean to cup machine with a milk fridge, with this kind of app connectivity, you could wake up and order a cappuccino or latte, which I think would make this feature a lot more interesting to a lot more people. 

The not so smart bits

In theory, I can’t in reality see a lot of issues with this machine, there are no glaringly obvious issues such as allowing coffee preparation from the app nevertheless only once you’ve got up off your backside and turned it on.

There are, however, several recurring mentions in the Amazon Reviews concerning the milk temp at the hottest setting being only warm & not hot.

Whether this is just the occasional person like my dad who likes his milkies hotter than the center of the sun, or whether it is an question with the machine, I can’t be certain, but if you like in truth hot milk in your milkies you may need to forget one-touch carafe machines and go for a machine with a manual steam wand which offers you total control over milk temp.

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Seimens make several bean to cup coffee machines, the the majority of popular of which appear to be the “connect” range, with the Home Connect app.

Via this app, you can do the following:

Remote start 
Once you’ve enabled it remote start, you can utilize the app to turn on your coffee makeking equipment.

Make coffees
Once the machine is ready, you can select, adjust and prepare coffees from your smart phone via the app.

Queue up drinks
With the “coffee playlist” feature, you can take orders from your guests or family, to be then brewed one after the other. Clever!

Coffee World
Select coffee drinks from a selection of app-exclusive specialities from around the world. I’ve basically downloaded the app, as you can use it in demo mode as if you have this machine, and this coffee world feature is very interesting. It includes extremely speciality drinks such as Keliener Brauner, Weiner Mrlange & Kaapi, so it’s not just the usual suspects.

Childproof Lock
You can activate and deactivate the childproof lock via the app, handy if you have kids who’ve grown tall enough to reach the machine!

Switch off timer
In theory, you can select a wide range of auto off times via the app, from 5 mins to 3 hours. I say in theory, as I’m going from the demo app, and I’m not sure if all of these times will be accessible in all countries.

The EU regulation (that the UK still appears to be operating under at the moment from what I can gather?) for auto-off times on domestic coffee machines is 15 minutes, so whether or not you’ll have the full functionality as per the demo version of the app, I’m not sure, but I will try to discover & I’ll update this accordingly.

Milk first or coffee first
In the Home Connect settings, you can toggle between milk first or coffee first for cappuccino, which is a rare degree of control. 

So I have to say, if this app works as it’s designed, I think the Seimens bean to cup machines possibly take pole position when it comes to the smartest bean to cup coffee machines. The world coffee selections and the coffee playlist, I think are in truth clever features that are truly usable, not gimmicks. 

The not so smart bits

The only negatives I can find for this machine is the same old “milk isn’t hot enough” issue that tends to be a common one in reviews with one touch bean to cup machines. Other than this, I’ve found mention of the app being a little clunky to use, but when I used the demo app it seemed fairly slick, so I’m not sure if they’ve updated the app, or if the “clunkiness” refers to pairing, which I wouldn’t know about as I’ve only used the demo version. 

For more bean to cup coffee machines, see:

Perfect Bean to Cup Coffee Machines

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This is the latest version of the De Longhi Magnifica, I’ve reviewed the earlier version, the De’Longhi Magnifica S – and this is the updated “smart” version of this machine.

I’ve tried this machine, and I’ll be reviewing it extremely soon, in the meantime even though just see my original De’Longhi Magnifica S review, as it’s practically the same machine.

The smart bits

This machine isn’t a smart coffee makeking device in the sense that it’s connected via an app or Alexa, etc. As I’ve explained earlier, there’s nothing stopping you from turning this machine on and off remotely via a smart switch, but if you’re looking for a machine you can make coffee from remotely, then this isn’t it. 

It is a fairly smart coffee brewing equipment in the more general sense, even though, although ironically I can’t in reality see what’s smart about it in comparison to the “non-smart” version. 

Other than a couple of purely aesthetic differences, the only thing I can in reality see that I think is better with the “smart” version, is the panarello steam wand. The original “non-smart” version has a more standards panarello wand, while the Smart version has the same adjustable wand as with the De’Longhi Dedica, which I think is possibly the best version of these sort of wands that I’ve seen.

Cheap as chips
For a bean to cup coffee machine, this in truth is a cheap machine, and this and the original Magnifica-S I think are a lot of bean to cup coffee makeking device for this sort of money.

Modest to utilize
This machine is very straightforward to work with. My mum has one – and not that I’m calling her simple ;-), but I think this is the first machine she’s had of this type, and she’s had no problem using this machine after an really quick bit of instruction. 

Best panarello
As I’ve pointed out, this “Smart” version has an adjustable panarello, the same one as you’ll find on the De’Longhi Dedica EC685.  In case you’re wondering what a panarello is, it’s a milk frother which consists of a sheath placed over the steam pipe, which automatically froths milk without any skill requirement.

Utilizing a “proper” steam wand to foam milk isn’t quite as humble as Baristas make it look, I can tell you this from personal experience! It took me years to understand to properly texture milk with a steam wand. A Panarello wand, AKA turbo frother, requires extremely little skill, and produces the kind of froth most people are happy with. 

Bean to cup coffee machines with this kind of wand are usually the cheapest, with one touch cappuccino machines having milk carafes, being the many expensive usually, but I basically think panarello wands are way better on the whole. 

The reason I say this is that the nunber one complaint from people who have one touch bean to cup machines, is milk temperature not being hot enough. With a panarello wand, although you don’t usually have wonderful control over the texture, you have fantastic control over the temperature, you can actually simply keep going usually until the milk is at the temp you desire. 

With this particular panarello, even though, you have two settings – cappuccino, and hot milk. What this indicates, is that you can leave it on the cappuccino setting for as long as you want to inject air, and then literally change it to the hot milk setting to literally continue heating however not aerating, and this offers you not only conrol over the temperature of your milk, but also the texture. 

With the majority of bean to cup machines with a panarello wand, although, you can likewise remove if it you wish, and utilize the steam pipe beneath as if it were a pro steam wand. 

The not so smart bits

I’m unsure why they’ve called this “smart”
Given there’s already a Magnifica S, I would have imagined that the Magnifica S Smart version would be smart in terms of connectivity, and I’d think that the majority of other people would think this too. This is an updated version of the Magnifica S, with a few design tweaks and the better (in my humble opinion) panarello wand, and I can’t rather figure out why they decided to name this version Smart.

Double shots aren’t double shots
I’ve pointed out this before when talking about the Delonghi Magnifica machines and other DeLonghi bean to cup machines, I do wish that a double shot would produce double the volume of espresso crafted with double the ground coffee, for a true double shot. 

With all of the Gaggia bean to cup coffee machines, for example, if you press the shot button twice in quick succession, the machine grinds and pulls the shot twice, so you end up with double the espresso coffee from double the ground coffee.

I did some experimenting with the Magnifica S and from what I can gather, the machine either grinds the same or maybe ever so mildly more coffee for a double shot, and then produces a larger, weaker shot. 

It’s not a deal-breaker though, if I wanted a double shot from this machine I’d very press the single shot button, and then press it again once the first shot is pulled.

Gaggia Cadorna Barista Plus.

Gaggia Cadorna Barista Plus.

Check Price – Gaggia Direct

This is one of the latest bean to cup coffee machines from Gaggia, and it’s an impressive machine, with five versions:

Cadorna Style
This is the base version, plastic panarello steam wand, 6 different coffees. 

Cadorna Plus
The same as the style nevertheless with stainless steel panarello steam wand, 6 different coffees as with the style.

Cadorna Milk
This comes with a cappuccinatore milk frother instead of a panarello wand, 10 different coffees.

Cadorna Prestige
This is the milk carafe version, and has settings for 16 different coffees.

Cadorna Barista Plus
The model pictured above, this is the same in features as the plus, but it has a pro steam wand.

The smart bits:

4 user profiles
This is one of the main features that steeps the Cadorna unique compared to other Gaggia machines, with four distinct user profiles with different colours. These machines are brewed for up to four users to be able to customize all of the coffees for them.

Easy to control coffee strength
It’s often rather difficult to discover what strength settings actually relate to with some bean to cup coffee machines. Among the things I actually like about the Gaggia machines is that you always understand how much coffee is being ground depending on your strength selection, with the “bean” settings.

On machines such as the Cadorna which have 5 strength settings, the one bean setting is 7 grams, and then it goes up in one gram increments, with the 5 bean setting representing 11 grams. On machines including the Gaggia Brera, which have three bean settings, the min and max are still 7 and 11, but there’s literally one setting in between, which is the 2 bean setting which results in 9 grams of coffee being ground.

Filter coffee machines

As the name would probably advise ;-), and as you’re no doubt aware, filter coffee machines are machines that make American coffee.

They have a filter basket in the top, into which you insert a filter (or you can use the reusable mesh filter that lots of of them come with), and put ground coffee into, which hot water then enters, filters through the coffee and drips into the pot.

If you’re into filter coffee, then you in truth should be looking for a American coffee makeking tool. I say that, due to the reality that I hear from people occasionally who’re not happy with their coffee machine just due to the reality that they’ve misunderstood “similar” types of coffee to be the same. 

A common one is that people like American coffee, and they buy a bean to cup espresso coffee machine, thinking that espresso mixed with hot water is the same thing as drip coffee. 

This is Americano, or long black, and it may be similar in strength and in volume, however it’s definitely not the same, it has a different mouth feel and a different taste. The same is true of cafetiere coffee, for example, it’s similar, but it’s not the same. 

So if drip coffee is what you crave, and you’re wanting the practicality of a coffee machine vs manual brewing, then you need to be specifically looking for a American coffee brewing device. 

The best smart drip coffee machines

Check Price - Amazon UK

This is a bean to cup drip coffee makeking equipment, so it’s a filter coffee makeking tool with an integrated coffee grinder.

The “smart” bit is due to the truth that you can control this coffee brewing device via app, and also via Alexa, Google Nest & Siri.

The smart bits 

Coffee via voice command
The fact you can c0nnect this machine to Alexa, Siri & Google Nest, indicates you can bark commands at it, even though as far as I’m aware it’ll only answer coffee-related commands.  

Brew coffee from anywhere
You can turn the machine on via Alexa or other apps, and order freshly ground freshly brewed coffee, as long as you’ve remembered to put a cup in place and fill the water tank on.

The not so smart bits

I can’t in fact see any major flaws with this machine, however reading through the Amazon reviews, even though it’s largely positive as you can tell by looking at the overall review score, if you trawl through the single star reviews it doesn’t paint a pretty photo, with rather most failures reported.

Check Price – Amazon UKCheck Price – Sage Appliances  Check Price – Currys

This isn’t a “smart” American coffee makeking device in the sense that it’s connected via a Bluetooth app or Alexa, and truly there are really few filter coffees that are, at the time of writing, nevertheless this is an incredibly smart filter coffee machine in the broader sense of the word. 

The smart bits

Big capacity
You can brew up to about 1.7 of coffee with this machine, which is about the greatest volume you’ll find from a domestic American coffee brewing equipment.

Cold coffee…
It’ll make hot coffee too of course, but the Sage Precision brewer has a cold brew role.

Temperature stable
It has a PID which indicates that the brew temp is under control.

Multiple brew settings
There are various brew settings including “Gold Brew” which automatically steeps you a coffee utilizing the SCA-approved standards. 

Stainless steel carafe
Among the common gripes about drip coffee machines is the glass carafes can break, and they’re often quite expensive to replace, compared to the price of the machine. This is a stainless steel carafe, and it’s insulated which implies it keeps your coffee warm, too.

Auto brew timer
You can set it to wake up before you do, and brew your coffee for you. Obviously you’ll need to grind your coffee and load the filter basket the night before.

The not so smart bits

The only obvious one is that it costs more than several people would think of spending on a filter coffee makeking equipment. 

For more filter coffee machines, see:

Perfect Filter coffee Machines

Pod coffee machines

Again, I’ll be preaching to the converted here, you won’t need me to tell you what a pod coffee brewing equipment is.

Pod coffee machines all started with a chap called Eric Favre, a Swiss fella who had a bit of friendly spousal banter with his Italian wife about Swiss coffee vs. Italian coffee, which turned into a challenge that led to him inventing what became the Nespresso machine. 

Eric played the long game with his invention, he even began working in the packaging department of the Swiss headquarters of Nestlé, just to get his foot in the door.

It wasn’t until several years later when he’d worked his way up to being a food scientist for Nestlé, that he pitched the CEO of Nestlé Japan, on an assignment there, that Nespresso was born. 

About 30 years later on., the same clever bloke likewise invented what we find out as the Lavazza pod machine. Anyway, Nespresso were the first pod machines, of course there are  quite a few others now, including the aforementioned Lavazza, plus Tassimo, Dolce Gusto & the newer Nespresso Vertuo.

The best smart pod coffee machines

Check Price – Amazon UK

This is one of the aforementioned Lavazza machines, invented by the same guy (well, the system he invented was licensed to Lavazza) who invented Nespresso.

He initially did it,  apparently, because he felt so bad about the amount of damage potentially being done to the environment by the requirement of Aluminium in Nespresso pods, although there are the majority of Aluminium free, recyclable, and even compostable Nespresso compatible pods these days. 

The smart bits

Coffee via voice
Given the name, it would be quite funny if this wasn’t a machine that you could make coffees with via voice command ;-). This is a collaboration between Lavazza and Alexa, it comes with Alexa in-built. 

Morning routine
Not only can you ask Alexa to make your coffee, you can setup a morning routine which involves your lights being turned on if you likewise have Alexa controlled lamps or light bulbs, an your coffee being ready for you!

Reorder pods
If you tell Alexa via your Lavazza machine how a number of pods you have left, and setup an auto order at a certain extent, she’ll even order your pods for you when you’re running low.

The not so smart bits

The obvious one is that the voice command coffee is primarily a gimmick, as you have to walk up to the machine to put the pod in.

Alexa won’t (yet) reach for the pod and load it in for you. With this in mind, you might decide that a much cheaper Lavazza machine which is similar in the other features, such as the Deséa, may be a better bet.

I think the morning routine thing is great, because you can actually slap a pod in the night before, and as long as you remember to put the cup in place, you’ll have coffee when you get to it as long as you remembered to say Good Morning to Alexa, but the voice-controlled coffee I can see being something you utilize to entertain friends and family, but that’s probably about it. 

I’ve also read a few complaints in the Amazon Reviews referring to the voice control not working particularly well, and having to repeat yourself numerous times, which reminds me of watching my father-in-law’s hilarious arguments with Alexa, in which he repeatedly shouted “ELVIS” at the Alexa, forgetting to say Alexa first ;-). There are probably people like my father-in-law just shouting “COFFEE!” ;-).

It’s likewise possibly a bit more pricey than many people would be expecting to spend on a pod coffee brewing tool, and there are much cheaper Lavazza machines which have similar features but are basically lacking the “smart” features in the form of the Alexa controls. 

Check Price - Amazon UKCheck Price - Sage Appliances

This is an original Nespresso machine, from Sage (Breville outside of the UK) – it looks similar to the Bambino plus, and has some similar features. 

The smart bits

Big water tank
The water tank is 1.5L, which may not sound huge, but this is fairly bit when it comest to pod coffee machines.

Auto milk texturing
As with the bambino plus, you can just put milk in the jug, put it on the temp sensor, and the machine will texture the milk to your chosen froth extent, and heat it to the desired temp.

Auto purging steam wand
The steam wand automatically cleans itself when you push it back down into place, as with the Sage Bambino Plus.

3 second warm up time
Again, as with the Bambino Plus, the creatista Uno is ready to go in literally 3 seconds.

The not so smart bits

It has a similar sized drip tray to the Bambino plus, and to be fair it’s probably quite big for a Nespresso machine, however the auto purge will take up a fair amount of drip tray space, so if you’re creating milkies you’ll probably have to empty the drip tray fairly regularly.

The other obvious point is that the price, it’s a few hundred quid, which for many people is probably about three times more than they were expecting to pay for a pod coffee makeking equipment.

For more on Pod coffee machines, well, you find out the drill by now 😉 …

Perfect Pod Coffee Machines

 Kev’s Smart Coffee makeking equipment FAQ

 Are smart coffee machines useful, or just a gimmick?

I think this literally depends on what the “smart” coffee brewing tool you’re looking at literally does within these smart features.

Some smart coffee machines for example offer remote features which would lead you to think you can work with them from the comfort of your bed, for example, but they don’t have a remote turn-on feature, so you have to get out of your pit to go & turn it on, which would render the feature fairly useless. 

I also think it depends on the type of coffee machines. With pod coffee machines, for example, you’re always going to have to put a pod in the machine, which makes the main “voice control” aspect of utilizing a machine like this, no more than a gimmick if you ask me.

Having said that, if you have a pod coffee makeking tool with a morning routine that will turn your lights on and make your coffee from the pod you loaded the night before when you say good morning to it, then for me, that’s a real, usable feature and not just a gimmick.

What does a smart coffee makeking tool do?

This depends, literally, on what exactly you mean by “smart”, and the type of coffee makeking equipment, and the specific smart coffee brewing device in issue, as there’s no rule about what a coffee makeking tool needs to do if it’s labeled as a smart coffee makeking device. 

What I would refer to as smart, and what I’m sure you’ll be thinking of as a smart coffee brewing equipment, is one that can be operated in ways other than manually pressing buttons. The particular features will then depend on the sort of machine, and the specific make & model, as you’ll have noticed from the varied features of the coffee machines above.

What makes a coffee makeking equipment smart?

Again, this does depend on what you mean. I would think that a coffee machine marketed as a smart coffee makeking device, would have connectivity, meaning that you can operate it via a smartphone app, and/or via Alexa, Google Home or Siri, nevertheless as I’ve spoken about, this isn’t always the case.

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This article firstly appeared at Coffee Blog – The UK Specialty Coffee Blog – For Lovers of REAL Coffee!