A Real Review - Café - Affetto Automatic Espresso Machine
Verdict: I didn’t expect much from this machine… and then I was blown away! It is stylish, compact, and convenient, and it makes very good espresso!
Initial impressions. This machine is very nice looking. I love the black on copper color scheme. The machine also comes in silver/copper, or white/copper. It is very small and easily fits under kitchen cabinets, without taking too much counter space. All the compartments are well hidden, so the machine looks really sleek.
Setup. To just start brewing, setup is minimal: add water, add beans, press power, let the machine self-clean, and then press the espresso button. The machine also comes with an app, which provides added functionality.
App. The app allows notification when the machine requires attention. This is very helpful because there is no way to tell if the water or beans are running low from outside the machine. The app will also notify the user when the machine needs to be descaled. The app also allows customization of drinks. For example, for “my brew,” you can designate grind time and brew volume. You can also choose triple, which brews three espressos in a row (you can choose the grind time and brew volume for each also). These features are fairly useful but two features I hope are added in later updates are (1) water temperature customization and (2) the ability to turn on the machine remotely so that it’s ready for me when I get to the kitchen.
Espresso quality. For brewing, I used really nice medium roast beans, roasted just one week before use. My first brew flowed too fast and produced little crema, so I changed the grind setting from 3 to 1. This helped to slow the flow and produced nice crema. I was very surprised how good the espresso was. I estimate that the doses average about 13g, and the espresso yield about 34g. This ratio isn’t ideal for a medium roast; so the shot tasted good but weak. I increased the grind time a little and decreased the brew time to get closer to a 1 to 2 ratio. The espresso shot was very nice. Automatics are never perfect, but the coffee coming out of this machine is definitely good enough to justify cost, and taste is very good for the HUGE convenience that the machine provides. My wife loves it and it is now her go-to coffee machine because she doesn’t enjoy the full manual process of brewing espresso on our big setup. As for me, I am an espresso expert and I do not compromise on my manual machine and external grinder… but I am actually considering buying one of these for my work, so I can get a nice espresso in just seconds, maybe in mid-morning and in early afternoon. I am really impressed with this machine.
Ease of use. This machine makes almost everything easy. The water tank is small but easy to refill. The bean hopper actually has a sealed top to keep beans fresher for longer. The spent coffee compartment is big so you don’t have to empty it often. Brewing espresso is just as easy as the press of a button. It looks like the brew head is also really easy to remove for quick cleaning. The wand is a bit tricky to use however; I am getting more bubbles than I like. I am sure that once I get used to it, I will be able to get great micro foam in my milk.
Things I like:
- It looks beautiful
- It doesn’t take much counter space
- It easily fits under 18” cabinets
- It has a light near the spout so that you can see what you are brewing
- It makes brewing espresso really easy
- It actually makes good espresso if you use good beans and make sure you a have nice smooth flow
- It comes with a quality stainless steel frothing pitcher, and a cleaning cloth
Things I don’t like:
- Once the beans are in the hopper, you can’t really remove them, so you have to use them all up before switching to decaf, or to a different roast
- The grinding steps are minimal… I feel that five coarse/fine settings aren’t much at all to really dial-in to get the espresso taste you want, but I love the simplicity, and so far the espressos are good
- The buttons are really sensitive. I triggered the buttons several times while trying to setup WiFi
- The froth wand isn’t perfectly aligned with the hole in the tray, so it splashes a tiny bit of water on the counter. No big deal.
Overall, this is a wonderful machine that can brew very nice espressos. This machine’s greatest strength is that it’s easy to make a good cup, which means you will actually use it… a lot!! I would rate it 4 stars (out of five) for a fully automatic machine, but if rated against all espresso machines, I would give it 3 stars.