Sometimes you don’t just want great coffee, you want to brew it in style. Enter the SMEG coffee maker – a drip coffee machine with a unique, fun appearance that oozes retro appeal.
However, while the eye-catching aesthetic design is guaranteed to be a talking point of any kitchen, is it an example of style over substance, or does the machine have more to offer than stunning looks?
This article will detail areas including ease of use, materials, features, and the all-important brew quality to give you a clearer picture of one of the most striking coffee makers on the market.
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SMEG Coffee Maker Review
SMEG Drip Coffee Maker DCF02
- A beautiful retro style coffee pot that will stand out in any kitchen
- 60 minutes keep warm feature
- An auto-start option you can program to make coffee at a certain time
- Simple to use
- Brews a full carafe or a smaller batch
- The quality of the coffee is not as appealing as some other coffee makers
- More expensive than most other drip coffee makers
About SMEG Appliances
SMEG is a company established in Italy in 1948, and it’s famous for its distinctive retro designs. One of the items the company is best known for is its colorful, 1950s-style old-school fridges. Now, that iconic retro look is incorporated in a range of the company’s other domestic appliances, including toasters, ovens, blenders, kettles, washing machines and – crucially – coffee machines and grinders.
The SMEG coffee makers combine classic 1950s aesthetics with contemporary technology, making for a powerful and attractive mix. However, while the SMEG coffee maker’s design is beautiful, how does the coffee stand up? Can it satisfy the coffee drinkers with both delicious coffee and a gorgeous look? Let’s find out.
Without doubt, the most attractive element of the SMEG coffee maker is its beautiful retro design. With its glossy finish and a range of colors to choose from – including red, black, cream, pastel blue, pastel green, and pink – this is one product that can offer any kitchen the all-important “wow” factor.
However, within the old-school design is a tell-tale sign of modernity in an LED display on the front with a straightforward control panel. There are two buttons to the left and right of it, which adds a pleasing symmetry. On the side of the curved, solid steel exterior is a lever for setting the menu and a water level indicator.
Overall, the machine looks reassuringly sturdy, and, above all else, it is simply beautiful thanks to its eye-catching curves and classic retro aesthetic.
As we mentioned earlier, the SMEG coffee machine is made of stainless steel, giving it a robust look and feel. It weighs 7.5lbs, and those anti-slip feet ensure it will stand in one place on your kitchen counter.
Beneath the lid is a spray head with five holes. These guarantee a consistent saturation of the grounds. The machine also has a reusable coffee filter, so there’s no need for paper filters. Meanwhile, an anti-drip valve at the bottom of the filter stops coffee from dripping onto the hot plate and creates a mess.
One drawback is that the internal components, lid, and shower head, are plastic, so they’re not as hard-wearing as the exterior.
The machine has a glass, 10-cup carafe that looks gorgeous. However, the handle seems a little flimsy, while you’ll have to be extra careful with the glass carafe to avoid it breaking.
The SMEG machine is not particularly compact, measuring 14.25in x 9.6in x 10in. Because it’s quite tall, you’ll have to ensure there’s enough room between the countertop and any cabinets above it, as you can only fill the water tank via the lid on top of the machine.
In general, the coffee maker seems sturdy. However, the plastic parts and glass carafe are not as durable as they could be.
The machine is a 10-cup drip coffee machine. However, because it is from Europe, the cup size is 4oz rather than 8oz.
The water tank’s capacity is 0.4 gallons (1.5 liters), while the carafe holds 0.3 gallons (1.1 liters). As the coffee brews, the grounds absorb some of the water, so you are left with a smaller volume of coffee than the water you put in. This absorption means you’ll get about 8oz of coffee per batch, which is ample for most people whether you’re brewing it for yourself or your family.
There is also a four-cup option, so you don’t have to brew a full batch if you don’t need it. However, the keep warm feature only works for a full carafe.
Overall, the 10-cup capacity is a good amount for an average-sized family.
The SMEG drip coffee machine may have a beautiful design, but if you’re a serious coffee enthusiast, the quality of the beverage it produces will be imperative. So, is the coffee as impressive as the machine’s looks?
The SMEG coffee maker works like a standard drip coffee maker. So, it uses the internal heat elements to boil the water, sprays the hot water on the grounds, and allows the extracted coffee to drip into the carafe beneath the filter.
However, unlike some similarly-priced SCA-certified coffee machines, certain features are lacking in the SMEG. For example, there’s not PID temperature control or pre-infusion (blooming). So, don’t expect anything more impressive than a standard cup of drip coffee.
The coffee maker does have an “aroma intensity” option (a fancy way of referring to a strength setting). The default is one coffee bean on the LCD for a delicate aroma setting (or normal strength). For a stronger coffee, opt for “intense aroma.” This setting uses a lower brew ratio for a stronger beverage. However, this is the only part of the brew cycle you have control over.
Other Noteworthy Features
The aesthetics of the SMEG coffee maker may evoke a bygone era, but certain functions wouldn’t be out of place on the most contemporary coffee makers. Let’s examine them.
User-Friendly Control Panel
The front of the machine house a digital LCD. Among its features is a real-time display, meaning you won’t need a separate clock in the kitchen. In addition, the machine has four backlit buttons making it simple to use. Meanwhile, on the bottom right of the machine is a cute lever for controlling the setting menu.
Keep Warm Function
Generally, when a coffee brewer has a glass carafe, it means it will sit on a warming plate, and that’s the case with the SMEG. The coffee stays hot for up to an hour after brewing, which is a significant improvement on the previous model’s 20 minutes.
The keep coffee warm feature starts automatically with a full carafe, as denoted by a thermometer icon on the LED. Pressing the on/off button once turns this feature off if you don’t need it.
Bear in mind that it’s not recommended to place an empty carafe on the hot plate when it’s activated because of safety issues.
Programmability – Auto Start Mode
Many coffee makers have an auto-start feature, and the SMEG is no exception. This means you can have hot coffee ready for you when you get up each morning.
Setting the auto timer is straightforward. Press and hold the auto start button (the fourth button) for three seconds, and the setting menu will open. Next, move the lever up or down to set the hour and minute. When it’s set to the desired time, press in the lever button. Then, press the auto start button to activate the feature. Doing this will illuminate the auto-start button. To deactivate it, press the auto start button once.
The display format can either be in 12 or 24 hours. To toggle between the two, change the SE 01 setting in the menu.
Some people find the “beep” alarm sound annoying, but you can turn it off in the SE 03 setting.
You can also set the level of water hardness. So, in the SE 02 menu, opt for HA 01 for soft water. Medium is HA 02, and hard is HA 03. If you need to descale or carry out another form of maintenance, the descaling indicator will appear on the LED, so you’ll know when your machine needs attention.
How To Use SMEG Coffee Maker
The SMEG is easy to use. It only takes a few steps to brew a carafe of drip coffee. Let’s go over them.
- Using fresh filtered water, fill the water tank. You can check the water level by looking at the indicator located on the side of the machine.
- Position the glass carafe in the coffee maker.
- Open the lid and add the desired amount of grounds to the filter. A scoop is supplied with the machine. Each level scoop of coffee makes around one cup, making the calculation simple. So, if you want to brew ten cups, 10 scoops of grounds will suffice.
- Press the on/off button to start the coffee maker. First, it will boil the water, then brew the coffee. After approximately five or six minutes, the coffee will be ready. Tip: If you only require half a carafe, press the four-cup button at the beginning.
- The hot plate will switch on automatically. If you finish the carafe or don’t need the hot plate, you can deactivate the keep warm feature with the on/off button.
- Enjoy your coffee.
Tip: If you want to enter the coffee maker’s setting menu, press and hold buttons the second and third buttons simultaneously. The lever on the right will allow you to change the setting.
How To Improve The Taste Of The Coffee
The SMEG coffee maker is a standard drip coffee maker, so the quality and taste of the final cup can be affected by elements including the freshness and quality of the coffee grounds, the grind size, and how much coffee you’re using.
Because of this, we recommend using the best-quality coffee beans you can find and grinding them before you begin brewing. Doing this will help ensure you get an aromatic, good-tasting coffee beverage.
If you don’t have a grinder, SMEG has an option – the CGF01 coffee grinder, which has the same retro style as the coffee maker. The grinder has a stainless steel conical burr and will produce consistent grinds, which ensures quality coffee.
The SMEG grinder is an excellent option if you’re interested in matching items, as there isn’t another grinder on the market that will pair as well with the SMEG coffee maker. However, just like other SMEG appliances with a chic retro-style design, the grinder is more expensive than most other burr grinders of similar quality.
How Does The DCF 02 Differ From The Previous Model?
The latest model has an identical appearance to the DCF 01. However, the newer model benefits from the keep warm feature, allowing you to keep your coffee hot for an hour instead of 20 minutes.
Another useful addition on the newer model is the ability to turn the alarm sounds on and off, while you can toggle the clock between 12 and 24-hour modes.
Like many products that emphasize appearance, the SMEG coffee maker is more expensive than machines that may not look as good but perform at least as well. However, the SMEG is so unique and beautiful that it’s well worth considering anyway. After all, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another 1950s-style coffee maker that looks both amazing in your kitchen and conforms to your aesthetic tastes.
However, suppose you’re purely interested in the quality of the coffee. In that case, SCA-certified coffee makers produce better-quality coffee and benefit from more brewing features for a similar price.
Ultimately, your decision will rest on what you value most – the very best coffee you can brew for a similar price or something that looks amazing on your countertop.
If you’ve fallen in love with the retro aesthetic of the SMEG, we would recommend buying it – just don’t expect coffee any better than you’d get from a standard drip coffee maker. However, if you’re more interested in consistently gorgeous coffee, there are many options out there that will do that and look great. None, though, will have quite the retro allure of the SMEG.