Breville Iced Coffee Maker (VCF155) full review
For most of us, coffee is a key part of our morning routine. Do you wake up and switch on the kettle? Do you pop a pod in your coffee machine? Or do you start your day by grinding beans and filling a portafilter?
If you like a tall iced coffee in the morning – and particularly if you want to grab it and go out – the Breville Iced is for you.
It’s a single function device that’s been designed to do one thing and do it well. Follow the step-by-step instructions and it quickly and simply makes an iced coffee, straight into a tall, lidded takeaway tumbler, which comes complete with a sturdy straw.
Breville Iced design
The Breville Iced is clearly a budget-friendly coffee maker. It's almost entirely made of grey moulded plastic. But that's not entirely a bad thing. For a start, it's only 850g, so you could easily stow it away in a cupboard and get it out when you want it.
And its straightforward interior workings mean that although you won't be buying it for life, it should last a while if you take care of it.
It’s a gently hourglass shaped machine that, depending on your point of view, either looks unobtrusive or plain and functional. I think Breville has missed an opportunity to inject a little personality into it with a pop of colour. If the design were a bit more funky, it’d be much more likely to earn a spot on your kitchen countertop.
Although it's reasonably tall at 33cm, it has a small countertop footprint (16 x 20cm), so you could just tuck it away at the back of the counter when it's not in use.
There are three parts to the appliance: the base and water reservoir; the brew basket; and a reusable nylon coffee filter. In the box, there’s also a scoop and a 650ml double-wall insulated BPA-free plastic tumbler, which comes with a lid and reusable straw.
Performance and use
Once you’ve washed out the coffee filter and brew basket and run water through the appliance, it’s ready to use.
What makes the Breville Iced worth purchasing is how incredibly quick and straightforward it makes the coffee brewing process.
The tumbler is really an essential part of the kit and it’s the reason the device is so easy to use. Most coffee makers aren’t tall enough to dispense straight into a cup of this size and they won’t have an option to add enough water to make a drink this long.
To make an XL iced coffee from a standard coffee machine, you'd have to brew coffee, decant it and add extra water. That's not an onerous process by any means, but the Breville Iced makes it is much faster.
The tumbler has two fill lines. The water line shows you how much water to use. Fill the tumbler to this point and tip it straight into the water reservoir at the bottom of the machine. Then add ice to the tumbler to the ice fill line. You’ll need a large tray of ice cubes and if you want to prevent them from melting, the bigger the better.
The tumbler’s insulation is very effective and if you add large chunks of ice, they won’t melt for hours.
Then just add one to two scoops of ground coffee to the filter, depending on taste. It extracts pretty efficiently, so you'll get a proper caffeine hit from that.
The appliance’s controls are extremely simple. There’s an on/off key, a start button to press and a drip-stop switch to flick. Once the brewing has started, wait 3-4 minutes for the coffee dispensing to slow, slide the drip-stop switch over and grab your coffee. You can add milk, sugar, syrup or anything else at this stage.
The Breville Iced is very quiet in operation and your coffee will be ready in four minutes or less.
The simplicity of the device means that there’s no way to change the strength of the coffee (beyond adding more or less coffee or slightly more water at the start) and no other functions to fiddle around with.
If you don't close the dispenser, it'll keep dripping so you'll need to keep an eye on it. However, once the brewing process is complete, the machine will switch off.
But how is the quality of the coffee it produces? Is it better than a pod coffee maker? It depends. Like all coffee makers, the quality of the coffee you get out depends on the quality of the coffee you put in. If you use freshly ground, high-quality coffee, you’ll get a very decent iced coffee in the end.
Cleaning and maintenance
The coffee filter and brew basket are dishwasher-safe. It’s important to remember to clean out the machine after use and not leave coffee inside it for more than a day, otherwise mould will start to grow. Any coffee machine with used grounds left inside is the same.
Again, as with most other coffee makers, you’ll need to decalcify it monthly – especially if you live in a hard water area. This is easy to do. Simply add a cup of white vinegar to the machine and run it as usual.
Just make sure you run clean water through the appliance a couple of times before you use it again or your next iced coffee will not be a good one.
Price and availability
The Breville Iced is widely available in the UK. You can’t buy it in the US.
The Breville Iced is only good for making one type of coffee. Its function is to quickly and easily produce a grab-and-go iced coffee. If you're a daily iced coffee drinker, it may well be worth buying one to streamline your morning routine. Everyone else would do better to buy a less specialist appliance.
To see some more coffee maker options, have a look at our round-up of the best coffee machines we've tested.
Breville Iced Coffee Maker (VCF155): Specs
- Breville VCF155 Iced Coffee Machine
- 700 Watts
- Dimensions: 32.9 x 15.6 x 21.3cm
- Weight: 1.08 kg
- Tumbler capacity: 625 ml
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