For most of us, coffee is a staple in our daily routine. For some of us, it’s as bad as having withdrawal symptoms if we don’t get our daily dose of caffiene. And for others, coffee may not be their thing. However, there’s one thing that everyone agrees on: a bad cup just won’t cut it. Even a non-coffee-drinker would drink it if it tasted good.
For that reason, selecting the right coffee machine is vital when it comes to achieving the perfect brew. It is true that we can stick to the good old fashioned method of grinding, pressing and manually brewing a cup, but some coffee machines can make this task a lot quicker alongside a sprinkle of some fancy technology that will, well, leave you feeling…fancy.
But with great desire comes great responsibility. There’s quite a number of factors which must be taken into account when deciding which machine to purchase: how efficient is it? Is it going to be kind to my bills? How fragile is it? How attractive is it? Is it feature rich?
I for one love a good cup of coffee, and when I came across this particular machine, I haven’t had a single regret. I want to talk to you about the Barista TS Smart, by Melitta; and I’ll be discussing the above and many more things about this machine. Plus: this coffee machine has a really neat feature where you can hook your phone up! Read on to find out more.
A Little Background
Unless you’re highly particular about your branded coffee, you probably may not have heard of Melitta. They’re a coffee-specialised company; the official partner of Manchester United.
They’re basically your coffee-plug (coffee-dealer *wink*). They make all their products specialised for us coffee lovers: instant sachets to full-blown, high-tech machines. Their products can’t actually be stamped with a price rating because they make products of all prices, I mean it- even their machines are spread across a broad range of prices. They can be as little as £100 and stretch far out into the monetary abyss of £1000. There’s something for everyone! And gladly with Melitta, there is absolutely no correlation between price and quality. Features vary, but quality remains consistent.
Now, as I’ll be talking about a specific coffee machine, let’s just cut to the chase.
Winning Features of the Barista TS Smart
Against the traditional convention of “bad news first”, I’d like to highlight the pros! This coffee machine, which can be bought of Amazon and other retailers, comes with a 1 metre cable, milk container, 1.8 litre water tank with filter and 2 grain compartments. It may not seem like much, but the machine is a compact package of goodness. Like a firework. I find that this machine is very easy to use, especially for people who don’t have much experience using coffee machines. In general, this neat machine exhibits a lot of different features, each of which I’ll discuss below.
The Melitta Connect App
This just HAS to be the first thing I talk about. The one reason why this coffee machine is my new best friend is because I can literally just wake up, lie in bed, scroll through my Instagram feed, open my Melitta app and just order my coffee off my phone. This machine is like a little robot who just makes your coffee for you every morning! You just need to hook up your machine with your phone via the Melitta Connect App, and there you have it. Your own personal little robot. I do have some problems occasionally with connectivity, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the machine’s fault. It’s probably just my crappy connection.
There’s a load of different things you can do on the app:
1. Pick your flavour
I’ll discuss this more further on, but you can browse 21 different coffee flavours- all authentic Melitta recipes. In addition, this app allows you to create your own blend and name it yourself!
2. Choose how frothy you’d like it
There’s a slider tool where you can adjust your coffee-to froth ratio. I find this pretty neat, because I love my coffees extra frothy. Far too many coffee machines give me a sad, flat and lifeless coffee with a skin-thin layer of froth where I’m looking for a vibrant, voluptuous and fluffy pillow of froth on my cup. It does sound like I’m writing the script for a Schwarzkopf advert, but hey, I love my coffee. You should have guessed that by now.
3. Decide how much you want
You can pick how much coffee you would like with another slider tool located just below the froth-slider.
4. Create a Profile
You can create a profile for yourself: add your name, a profile picture and your favourite blends. This allows you to schedule your coffees as well as set preferences for ease of access. Plus, I love this personalisation feature! I feel so tech-savvy.
5. Create friend’s profiles
As with making your own profile, you can set up profiles for 8 people. Now isn’t that a compliment to them. If only people deserved our coffee-kindness and big, glistening heart of caffeine.
6. Choose your strength
For some of us, we may be looking for a creamier cup to mark the end of a relaxing day, but sometimes it may not be the case- we may need a sharp caffeine kick to get us off our butts for the day. This is why this coffee machine exhibits the strength feature, with 5 levels to choose from. It’s the perfect amount of choice I need.
7. Select your Aroma level
I love the powerful scent of coffee; so distinct and bold. That’s why I always set mine on extra aromatic mode, but this can be varied using the slider tool (upon which there is a marking for the “standard” aroma level).
8. Adjust brewing temperature
You can adjust your cup temperature, whether you’d like it cold, ready to drink, or piping hot- this machine will obey your every wish.
21 coffee specialities
Unlike other coffee machines by Melitta, the Barista TS Smart allows you to enjoy 21 different pre-programmed authentic coffee blends. 4 of which are classics: Expresso, Café Crème, Cappuccino and Latte macchiato. My favourite is the Cappuccino; I just love how frothy and creamy it tastes, it’s just so indulgent and perfect for a cosy night in on a Friday! Some of the other specialities include a Flat White, Ristretto, Americano or Espresso Doppio. I personally don’t like the flat white very much because it tastes too watery for my liking. I tend to add a little cream to balance that out, but I’ve had some friends and family like it- personal preferences of course. The rest of the blends are actually a treat, and the wide range of different flavours just makes me look forward to my cup every morning! What a motive to leave your bed…of course! It’s coffee. Coffee is special.
This machine, via the use of the Melitta Connect App, allows you to create 8 profiles as well as your own. This means you can set a name, and list the persons brewing preferences. It saves a lot of time when there’s gatherings and other parties going on.
Modernistic and Aesthetic
One thing about this machine is that you can’t tell how feature-rich it is at a glance. It looks quite humble actually, but looks are definitely deceptive here due to the vast range of abilities of this machine.
On Amazon, this sleek design comes in 3 different colours: Black, Silver and Stainless Steel. The prices for each colour do vary, priciest being in Stainless Steel. I got my one in silver.
There is also a digital screen with touch-sensitive navigation buttons:
You can change and manage the device’s settings using this feature, making it an excellent self-troubleshooting tool.
One of it’s proudest features is the fact that it is “whisper quiet”. It holds a Quiet Mark seal of approval for pleasantly quiet coffee preparation, an internationally recognised quietness trust-stamp. Its apparent secret is the implementation of a low-noise, state-of-the-art technology in the whisper-quiet grinder. From using this machine, I’ve definitely noticed that it is quiet compared to most machines, however there is a low buzzing noise. Nevertheless, it is undeniably as it claims: whisper quiet.
Height-Adjustable Coffee Spout
The coffee spout can be adjusted for different cup/glass sizes. For example, if you want to make a decadent iced coffee, shift the spout up to fit large glasses. If you’re making a cappuccino, push it back down for a stream of coffee flowing into your little cup. This feature makes for a very versatile cup of coffee.
Double Cup Mode
There is a feature on the front of the machine, a touch-sense button which allows the spout to fill up two adjacent cups simultaneously. This is good for people who don’t live alone; I live with my boyfriend and he loves coffee too (yes!), so I make us both a cup every morning using this feature. Definitely very handy and avoids the struggle of having to decide who gets the cup before work.
There’s an automatic cleaning and de-scaling feature built into this device, so no need to worry about that. The machine also informs you when the inner workings such as the trays need to be cleaned. To do this, you pull out the tray/part where the cup sits and empty the contents of the tray out- then you’re good to go!
There’s a neat energy saving feature with this coffee machine, where you can completely turn off the device using the 0-watt switch at any time. This mode is programmable with an automatic switch off feature to ensure economic use.
There are also some areas of improvement for this device. The main issues I had with this is the fact that some blends are far too watery for my liking, and in addition, this coffee machine sometimes has touch-sensitivity issues. I’m not sure why this is, because I always wipe down my machine with a minky cloth to get rid of any dust and grime. I suppose it’s a slight technical issue concerning the device’s programming. I’m not a picky person, however, this flaw sometimes really annoys me when I’m trying to adjust my brew. I may be wanting to adjust temperature, but the touch-sensitivity acts up and I’m unable to do this. This is a rare occurrence though, nothing too major.
I have had the Barista TS Smart for about 4 months, so I suppose my verdict on this next point is a little weak. A lot of people have mentioned how Melitta UK have bad customer service, but as far my review goes, I haven’t had a problem. I did contact them once to ask about some details regarding my warranty via email- they got to me within 2 days and gave me a thorough reply. I guess everyone has their bad days. Nevertheless, this machine does have mostly “Excellent” ratings on Amazon scoring about 70% in this rating category.
In addition, I did manage to pinpoint the reason why I had connectivity issues! Because there was a weakness in the machine’s Bluetooth abilities, as many other online reviews have mentioned too. It is indeed very troublesome, and perhaps even anger-inducing for some people who paid an awful lot for this machine when it starts acting up on it’s best feature! When this problem occurs, I just position myself closer to the device and the connection is up and running again. Although it’s not a major issue for me, it does defeat the ease of use functionality of the device.
Other online reviews mention how their machines exhibited ghost-touch behaviour (a term given when a device does things on its own- I have this problem with my PC so much!). I have a feeling that this may be a result of programming error in the embedded operating system of the device, because as far as my computational knowledge stretches, input/output errors are usually a result of programming error. Melitta sure do need to polish up on this one!
This machine is average sized, and in my opinion, it’s pretty compact for all the features it packs. Some people may not like this, as they prefer a good chunky machine that can make a statement. It does depend entirely on your kitchen spacing to be honest, don’t buy a coffee machine of these dimensions when you know it wont fit. All the appliance specifics are written on the product page: “Dimensions (W x H x D): 29.5 x 37.2 x 46.7 cm”. I feel like that is plenty information for one to determine whether or not this machine will fit in their kitchen, so there’s no excuse of the vagueness of online shopping!
On Amazon, this machine can be purchased for £1,249.99 (stainless steel). However, if you buy it around now, you can save a massive £300 (24%) on this machine and get it for £949.00. I bought mine for the full price, so I am a little frustrated! But regardless of the sudden sale, I am happy with my purchase. The approximate pricing for these machines is shown below:
- Stainless Steel: £1000-£1,250
- Silver: £700-£1000
There are various other places where this machine can be purchased, at lower prices even. For example, on the Redber. At Curry’s, this can be purchased for £799. Prices vary in store too, and I’m sure they can be found at department stores such as John Lewis, House of Fraser, Selfridge’s and Harrods.
The Final Verdict
As a customer, I am very happy with my purchase and experience with Melitta themselves. I have not had any bad experiences concerning customer service, nor have I had any major issues with the machine itself. I do very much agree that this device is a tad bit overpriced. I would say £1000 is the absolute maximum price someone should pay for this. I was just an eager beaver who loves new things, so I went straight away to purchase it. The main features include the app connectivity, preference/profile creation, flavour selection range, bluetooth connectivity/wireless connectivity, sleek design, dual nozzle feature and easy cleaning feature. The main selling point for this coffee machine is definitely the app, and I’m not disappointed. It’s become a part of my life now, and I don’t plan on replacing it either.