I tried Smeg’s new high-end espresso machine – and I was shocked how easy it was to brew the perfect coffee

The EMC02 Mini Pro Espresso Coffee Machine on a countertop surrounded by coffee making accessories
(Image credit: Future)

If you’re looking to take your at-home coffee-making to the max with a compact yet stylish kitchen countertop gadget then Smeg could have made a new best espresso machine: its EMC02 Mini Pro Espresso Coffee Machine. That said, you will need to be willing to splash out if you want it when it becomes available in June.

Unveiled today (April 11) at the London Coffee Festival, this high-end coffee gadget boasts several features that are sure to delight the coffeliers amongst you. There’s a stainless steel steam wand that’s perfect for preparing your milk, a 1.7L water tank, precise temperature controls between 90°C and 100°C (194°F and 212°F), and a top that preheats your cup to complete the authentic Italian coffee drinking experience.

And all of this is in a fairly compact package so you should be able to find space on your countertop even if your kitchen is on the smaller side.

As we warned already, however, Smeg’s new espresso machine won’t come cheap. When it launches on Smeg’s official website in June, the Smeg EMC02 Mini Pro Espresso Coffee Machine will set you back £1,399.95. Plus, if you pick one up, then Smeg advises you also grab its new Mini Pro Espresso Coffee Grinder – which costs £249.95 – so you can prepare your coffee beans to the high level that the EMC02 demands.

Simple and sophisticated

Ahead of its announcement, I had the chance to try Smeg’s Mini Pro Espresso Coffee Machine out for myself. I've never used an espresso machine before, but I was surprised by how straightforward it was to make a brew.

Yes, there are several steps you have to go through before you can take your first sip of caffeine – grinding the beans, preparing the portafilter, frothing your milk with a steam wand, among others – but every stage was a lot simpler than the intimidating-looking high-end tech might have you believe. Give me a couple more practices and I reckon I could make you a cappuccino blindfolded (though that might not be advisable around so many boiling-hot liquids).

That’s not to say you can’t add complexity to your brewing process if you desire it. Rather than using one of the preset espresso functions you could opt for the manual option to get a bespoke espresso shot. 

In addition, you could alter the brewing temperature, grind settings, and steam intensity to better suit your personal tastes and the preferences of the coffee bean you’re using. All of this is so you can find your “god shot” as the on-hand barista described it – the perfect shot of espresso that all coffeliers are hunting for.

The Smeg ECF02 on a kitchen counter

A simpler Smeg ECF02 could be more my speed (Image credit: Future)

Admittedly, though, while I was impressed by Smeg’s top-of-the-line model, it’s probably overkill for what I want. And I expect that’s the same for many coffee drinkers out there. 

If, like me, a coffee pod brew from one of the best Nespresso machines is more than good enough for you, or you aren’t a frequent at-home coffee drinker, then this won’t be the gadget you want to splash out on.

Instead, the EMC02 Mini Pro Espresso Coffee Machine is for those amongst you who want a top-of-the-line experience. This is for those who care about the conditions your beans are grown in because of the subtle flavor hints they provide and can taste the difference between an espresso shot made at the optimal versus a suboptimal temperature. If that’s what you’re after, then this new Smeg gadget seems sure to deliver it.

Update 11/04/2024: We were originally told the Smeg EMC02 Mini Pro Espresso Machine's price is £1,299.95 and would be availble in May, however this was error. It actually costs £1,399.95 and will be available in June, and we've updated the copy to reflect this. 

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Hamish Hector
Senior Staff Writer, News

Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.