The Smeg Espresso machine is what we have come to expect from Smeg; elegance, retro vibes, and functionality all rolled into one. If you love the other smeg products, you will probably love the Smeg espresso machine. This espresso machine is part of smeg’s 50’s retro style range, including fridges, kettles, washing machines, and coffee machines. These appliances are intentionally designed with a vintage look and seek to ‘embody the glamour and rounded forms of the 1950s.’
Whether or not this is the machine for you, no one can deny that it is a stunning-looking espresso machine. So who is the Smeg espresso machine for? Does its functionality match its aesthetic appeal? Does it make good coffee? These are a few of the questions we will seek to answer in this Smeg espresso machine review.
Smeg espresso machine overview
The Smeg espresso machine is about the mingling of fashion and functionality. It has a simple and sophisticated design, is easy to use, and can produce a decent cup of coffee. It would make a good espresso machine for the beginner looking for a basic machine.
15 bar pump pressure | Dimensions: H: 303 mm, W: 149 mm, D: 330 mm | Weight: 4.7kg | 1L Water Reservoir | Tamper size: 51 mm
Smeg is a well-known Italian brand that specializes in home appliances. They are commonly associated with the retro style that characterizes their products. Chances are you will have seen one of their distinctive pastel-colored fridges on a design show. Their products intentionally match, each typically with pastel and vibrant colors, curvy lines, and smooth edges.
As well as aesthetics, Smeg is known for reliability and consistent quality across all of its products. Being an Italian brand, they love coffee and, over time, invested in this market. An interesting fact for the coffee connoisseurs out there is that Smeg purchased the renowned La Pavoni coffee-making company in 2019.
Appearance Of The Smeg Espresso Machine
Probably the most significant distinction between this and other espresso makers is in the aesthetic appeal. Does it make good espresso? Sure. Is it intuitive to use? Yes. But what sets apart the Smeg espresso machine is the iconic retro design. It simply is a stunning-looking espresso machine that will particularly appeal to people already attracted to the Smeg brand and Smeg appliances.
The Smeg espresso machine is lightweight and slim to slip into a small space. As with most smeg appliances, it comes in a variety of bold or pastel colors (which is rather lovely as few other companies offer such a wide range). This adds to the appeal for those trying to showcase a specific color in their kitchen and looking for a matching espresso machine. It simply is a machine that will bring comments and compliments to any kitchen.
Functionality of the Smeg Espresso Machine
Another critical consideration when buying an espresso machine is how intuitive is it to use? A good test is the so-called ‘6 am test.’ It asks, could a bleary-eyed, slightly-irritated, just-rolled-out-of-bed version of me navigate the Smeg espresso machine at 6 am? And the answer for the Smeg is a clear yes. The Smeg Espresso Machine is very simple to use with basic functionality. With its thermoblock system, it only takes about two minutes to heat up in the morning. It then has three buttons it operates on: single espresso shot, double espresso shot, and steam operation. Brewing coffee is as simple as loading your portafilter with ground coffee, tamping, and selecting either the single or double shot button. Given that the Smeg espresso machine is only a single boiler, you must wait about 20 seconds between brewing your espresso and steaming your milk.
The Smeg espresso machine comes with three filter baskets; single, double, and ESE pod compatible. It also comes with two sizes of drip trays so that you can fit your travel mug under the portafilter. In the box, you also receive a plastic coffee scoop/ tamp. Many users have complained about the lack of a stainless steel milk jug and the poor quality of the tamp. So take note if you are considering buying a Smeg espresso machine, you might want to invest in a decent tamper and milk jug as well!
The other thing worth noting in regards to the functionality is the question of maintenance. Espresso machines, just as most things in life, need care if you want them to last. There are two main aspects to cleaning the Smeg espresso machine: regular cleaning, which isn’t too hard, and semi-regular descaling. Routine cleaning involves cleaning the body by wiping it down with a damp cloth and cleaning the drip tray, steam wand, and filters. When it comes time to descale, the orange light on the steam button lights up. The machine has a descaling cycle that automatically performs a series of rinse cycles.
The Smeg espresso machine is capable of pulling a decent shot of espresso topped with crema. We would note that this machine is aimed at the beginner with little ability to customize different brewing parameters. You can select between low, medium, or high temperatures. You can also set the quantity of coffee dispensed with each button. However, the lack of an LED screen makes this a bit challenging to do. It is a machine that is designed to be used as-is.
The other quirk the Smeg espresso machine has is that the boiler must be cooled down if you want to prepare another coffee directly after steaming milk. Skipping this step results in burnt coffee- eek! To cool down the boiler you simply put a container under the steam wand and turn it on. This will release the pent up hot water and cool the boiler, once it has stopped you turn the steam knob off.
The Smeg espresso machine comes fitted with a Panarello-style steam wand. This makes it very easy to produce thick, frothy milk but does struggle to produce silky microfoam. The milk wand heats up within seconds and is easily maneuvered for ease of steaming. It is also very efficient. The steam wand also doubles as a hot water dispenser for those Americanos. Overall the steam wand is ideal for beginners, making it simple and easy to produce frothy milk.
Value for Money
The Smeg espresso machine has a pretty steep price tag compared to other equivalent machines. When it comes to the Smeg, you are paying for aesthetics. So if you love the finer things in life or are wanting the perfect machine to complement your kitchen, then it might be worth investing in a Smeg espresso machine. However, if you want an entry-level espresso machine and are not so concerned with aesthetics, there are some other options.
The Delonghi Dedica is a more affordable option and has a similar design; it just doesn’t look as elegant. Alternatively, if you want to make a hobby of espresso, the Gaggia Classic Pro is another excellent option.
The Final Verdict
So who is the Smeg espresso maker for? We recommend it for the coffee lover who is just starting; the machine is simple to use and produces good results. It is also a good option if you love Smeg design or want an espresso machine that will be a statement piece in your kitchen. It truly is a beautiful machine!