If you like the idea of getting professional results but you’d like a machine that creates your drinks automatically, the Melitta Barista TS Smart coffee maker is right up your street.
Looking for the lowdown? It’s right here. I tested a wide selection of coffee machines to see how much of your worktop they’ll take up, how easy they are to use, how quickly they’ll deliver your drink, which coffees they’ll make, and – crucially – what the brews taste like.
Want to compare the Melitta Barista TS Smart coffee machine to other machines available on the market? Browse our guide to the best coffee machines.
Melitta Barista TS Smart coffee machine specifications
- Type: Bean to cup and ground coffee
- Pressure: 15 bar
- Capacity: 1.8 ltr water tank
- Dimensions: H36.5 x W25.5 x D46.5cm
Who will the Melitta Barista TS Smart suit?
Coffee-loving households who don’t mind dedicating a fair bit of worktop space to the machine that makes them.
What is the Melitta Barista TS Smart like to use?
Although it’s sophisticated, you’ll be brewing up with ease in no time thanks to the intuitive controls and great design.
The Melitta Barista TS Smart is a machine that delivers the panoply of coffee drinks without demanding any barista skills from you. Fully automatic, it’s a hassle-free machine and a looker to boot.
Coffee options and taste
Opt for this machine and there isn’t likely to be a coffee you can’t make. The classics are there via buttons: that’s espresso, café crème, cappuccino and latte macchiato. However, the ‘Recipes’ feature allows you to create a full coffee shop range including flat white, americano, ristretto and so on with a total of 21 coffees available.
All the drinks I brewed up had excellent taste and aroma. In fact, I found the results better than in many high-street chains and up to the standards of the best barista-made drinks. The flavour of the espresso was intense without straying into bitterness, and the cappuccino fabulous in both texture and taste.
The temperature of the drinks was ideal, too. Ready to drink but hot enough.
Sophisticated though this machine is, I found it beautifully simple to set up and use, taking less time to get ready initially and start on brewing coffee than many of its less versatile counterparts. I could make one drink at a time, or produce two of the same coffee at once.
Beans go into the chamber at the top: on the left for espresso-based drinks, and on the right for café-crème based versions so you can use the right beans for the type of coffee. The machine will then use the appropriate chamber according to the drink you select. I found this easily accessible for filling, as was the ground coffee chute you can use instead.
To make drinks I just needed to press the right button, or scroll through the ‘Recipes’ to choose from a large selection of other coffees. I discovered both were really simple to do. Preparing milk froth proved a piece of cake as well. All I had to do was add milk to the container, connect the hose, and press the button for the right drink. The machine automatically added the frothed milk to the coffee as it was dispensed with brilliant results. What’s more, the machine then offered the message ‘Easy cleaning?’ on the display and I then ran the programme for the milk system, avoiding the chore of manually cleaning a steam spout.
I found there was plenty more I could do to get the drinks I wanted. It was possible to change settings for more strength and intenser aroma before or during preparation of a drink. I could have permanently changed settings, too. Big family? The machine can store up to eight user profiles to create the drinks each person prefers.
Cleaning and maintenance
Like other bean-to-cup coffee makers you will need to take good care of this machine to keep up the quality of its drinks. The easy cleaning option for the milk system (see above) meant the machine dealt with this chore, and leaving the switch-off rinsing activated ensured it did this at on and off.
Down to me? A weekly clean of the brewing unit; a cleaning milk system programme (that needs a cleaning agent), also weekly; regular cleaning of milk container, hose, and milk unit; two monthly – or as requested by the machine – cleaning of the coffee system; and three monthly – or, again, as requested – descaling.
Bear in mind
There’s no getting away from it: this machine is costly. However, if you’re going to make use of its capabilities and have a large coffee-loving household, I think it’s well worth it both because of its versatility and its simple-to-master interface. Also, unlike a built-in coffee machine, it can come with you if you move – although it’s true it isn’t lightweight at 10.6kg. There’s a choice of black, or silver/black finishes, so whichever you choose the machine looks contemporary and sleek.
You will need a big kitchen, though. At H36.5cm x W25.5cm x D46.5cm, this coffee maker is no small feature and you need to be able to dedicate the worksurface space to it. However, while there’s no ignoring its proportions, it’s subtle when it comes to noise, which I appreciated. In fact, this machine has been awarded a Quiet Mark that’s testament to its non-disruptive operation.
Smart appliance fan? There’s an app so you can manage your machine from your phone, and create your own coffee specialities.
How does it rate online?
This coffee machine gets an overall 4.2 out of five from Amazon buyers. Happy users think the coffee it produces is of top quality, found the option to fill the container with two different sorts of beans useful, and pronounced the machine worth the investment. On the downside, some found the app didn’t work for them, or as they wanted.
At ao.com the verdict from the coffee machine’s users is an average of 4.3 out of five. Its benefits according to these purchasers include excellent coffees, the ability to customise drinks to your taste, and ease of cleaning. Some thought set-up and programming not immediately obvious.
About our review – and our reviewer:
Sarah Warwick has specialised in homes and interiors for over 20 years. She was Executive Editor of Ideal Home magazine, and has written for nationals, magazines and websites including Real Homes, Homebuilding & Renovating, Grand Designs, Homes & Gardens, Houzz, The Guardian, House Beautiful and Country Homes & Interiors. She put the coffee machines to the test on a variety of drinks, as well as checking out how easy they were to set up, and to clean.