The Morning Machine aims to bridge the gap between a pod coffee maker and a craft coffee shop
By Rachel Ogden
At a glance
Can save personal settings
App and manual control
Doesn’t froth milk
The Morning Machine will shake things up for those who feel limited by the standard drinks from a capsule machine. However, it’s primarily tailored to black coffee – there’s less for latte and cappuccino enthusiasts here.
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Between a trend for pour-over coffee and slow drip, and a rise in independent roasters offering their blends in capsules, the world of coffee now offers a huge number of flavours and aromas. However, most pod machines have a single pressure setting and presets that deliver convenience but few ways to adjust brewing.
This is where the Morning Machine seeks to fill the void. Rather than standard ristretto, espresso and lungo options, it’s equipped with a flagship Bloom & Brew setting that pre-wets for a stronger cup, as well as higher temperatures, varying bar pressures (up to 20), and recipes that get the best out of capsules by reproducing drip and filter-style drinks.
Design & Build
850ml water tank
Buttonless, sleek and slim (it’s a mere 10.2cm wide), the Morning Machine’s design keeps fuss to a minimum. At the back, there’s an 850ml water tank – enough to keep two people in lungos all day – with a flip-up lid that means it can be filled in-situ.
The front end has a pull-out two-part drip tray with a scale below (enabling the machine to brew coffee to a specified weight rather than volume), and above that, a light that illuminates the cup while brewing.
A silicone drip tray cover is a small but thoughtful addition that prevents cups from sliding around.
Controls come courtesy of an OLED screen and the dial around it, which scrolls through the menu of recipes and is simple to use. You can select one with the ‘confirm’ icon, or hit the ‘back’ icon. The other functions are less intuitive, such as the ‘purge’, water dispensing and connecting the machine to its app – by only having two icons and a dial at your command, getting the machine to do what you want it to becomes inevitably more complex.
Performance & Features
Save your settings
Cup detection hit and miss
No off button
What’s especially good about the Morning Machine is that it can be as straightforward or as exacting as you want it to be. You can pop in a capsule, select a recipe, confirm (once or twice, the machine decided it had waited long enough and brewed by itself) and walk away. Or, you can connect it to its Bluetooth app and get into the nitty-gritty of how you like your coffee, adjusting temperature from 75°C to 98°C, weight from 20g-150g, brew speed and additional water amount.
Once you’ve found your ideal recipe, there’s an option to save it and sync it to your machine – meaning you won’t have to keep picking up your phone to enjoy the same coffee all day long. However, the machine only holds 10 recipes so as you add them, the defaults get knocked off.
The default recipes cover a broad range of tastes, including settings for coffee over ice and even tea, though you will have to keep the manual to hand to get to grips with what each one creates. We found it a real plus that you can, in effect, buy one box of pods, yet experience a range of tastes by selecting different recipes.
Our box of Morning’s Bread and Butter capsules delivered everything from a sweet, smooth espresso with an impressively velvety crema to a long coffee with an easy yet slightly bitter flavour.
There were a few frustrations. Sometimes just as we were ready to brew, the machine would need a purge, plus the seemingly handy cup detection function was spotty as it took a couple of attempts to acknowledge our little espresso cup. The machine also chimes when it comes on and when it’s finished brewing – we couldn’t find a way to switch this off and imagine that it’s not the best for those who make coffee at unsociable hours.
One thing we could adjust was the auto switch-off (10 minutes by default) – there’s no off button so those looking to save energy will have to adjust this to the minimum two minutes or flick it off at the wall.
The app gives the machine an extra dimension and is easy to navigate with practice. As well as personalising your coffee, you can brew a capsule according to which roaster it’s made by. However, we found that the app consistently crashed when we tried to access the power settings, so things can still be wobbly.
If you’re the sort of coffee drinker who’s happy with black, hot and wet, the Morning Machine is probably not for you. Instead, it’s for those who dream of making better coffee in the comfort of their own kitchen without spending hours laboriously teaching themselves pour-over skills and spending time pre-wetting. Take advantage of the Morning Machine’s full functionality and there’s an endless supply of different flavour profiles, mouthfeels and aromas to explore.
While the price tag is high for a capsule machine without milk frothing, over time it could result in a saving if you often drink artisanal coffee from a café. Alternatively, if you find that your current capsule machine isn’t delivering on promised flavours, the Morning Machine could be the key to getting the most out of specialist capsules. Either way, it’s definitely one for the coffee lovers out there.