The Philips L’OR Barista Sublime is a small pod coffee machine that’s easy to use and delivers delicious results. It's a versatile machine, with the ability to make not one but two mugs of coffee at once, and it’s also compatible with coffee pods from brands such as Nespresso. There are three brewing strengths from which to choose, offering the flexibility to make your coffee just how you like it. There's no integrated milk frother, and although you can make two coffees at once, it may not be enough for everyone.
Easy to use
Can make two drinks at the same time
No integrated milk frother
May not be large enough for some
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Made in partnership with single-serve coffee machine pioneer Philips, the new L’OR Barista Sublime boasts some useful features not commonly associated with pod coffee machines. This type of machine is a popular choice, and is often found on any number of the best coffee machine roundups, since it’s highly rated for ease of use and delicious results.
Launched in August 2022, the L’OR Barista Sublime has been created in collaboration with designer Khodi Feiz. It has a unique double-spouted design, which allows you to make two drinks at the same time, and it accepts the new and exclusive L’OR Barista XXL capsules, which contain twice the amount of the smaller capsules. The new coffee machine is also compatible with L’OR espresso single-shot capsules and most Nespresso Original pods, so it could now be up there with some of the best Nespresso machines, too.
Helpfully, L’OR capsules are readily available in the majority of supermarkets. A team of coffee artists create each L'OR blend, ensuring that only the best beans are harvested for a quality cup of coffee. L'OR has also partnered with a pod-recycling service, in order to help make it easier to recycle its pods. We didn’t receive Podback bags with our review unit, but the L'OR website claims that you will.
The coffee machine arrives with nine capsule samples, which is plenty to get going; we would have welcomed a few more decaf options, though. For around £100 for the package, the L'OR Barista Sublime doesn’t come in at too eye-watering a price for those who want to start making coffee-shop style coffee at home. With fewer trips, if any, to the coffee shop, you'll very quickly make back the money spent, plus it was far less effort than we thought to make our perfect cup of coffee with this machine.
Philips L’OR Barista Sublime price and availability
- List price £104 / $AU 159
The Philips L'OR Barista Sublime is an affordable pod coffee machine, compatible with the new L’OR Barista XXL capsules, L’OR espresso single-shot capsules, and a range of alternative branded coffee capsules including Nespresso.
In the UK we've found it available to buy from lorespresso.com, Amazon, AO.com, and Argos . And in Australia we've found it available to buy on Appliances Online, although it is currently out of stock. It's not currently available in the US.
Philips L’OR Barista Sublime design
- Removable drip tray and water tank for easy cleaning
- Double spouted, so that two drinks can be made at the same time
Unpacking the Philips L'OR Barista Sublime from its box, we were surprised at just how light and compact it was. Measuring 4.3 x 5.11 x 15.7 inches / 11 x 13 x 40cm (h x w x d), and weighing 7.38lbs / 3.35kg, it comes fully assembled – even the removable drip tray was in situ – so it’s pretty much ready to use straight out of the box.
Both the removable drip tray and 27.05 fl.oz/ 0.8-litre water tank are dishwasher-safe; however, they’re just as easily cleaned under running water.
Removing the drip tray provides access to the bin in which used capsules drop. We found this bin could comfortably hold around a dozen capsules, so depending on how many cups of coffee you drink, it will need emptying every, or every other, day.
One of the standout features of the L’OR Barista Sublime is the double spout. It means that we were able to make two drinks at the same time with the XXL double capsules. We haven't come across many, if any, pod coffee machines that come with such a design feature.
Philips L’OR Barista Sublime performance
- Three settings to choose from
- Creates a nice crema
- Compatible with a selection of capsules
We were pleasantly surprised to see that the L'OR Barista Sublime arrives with a taster box of nine different capsules. In our household, we have a preference for drinking caffeine-free coffee, so we were slightly disappointed that the selection included only one such pod. Nevertheless, upon tasting the different coffees over the course of testing, there wasn’t one that we disliked.
The XXL double capsules proved most helpful, since we could use them to make two cups of coffee at the same time. Granted, you’ll get more coffee in your mug if you use the contents of the larger capsule for just one mug, but we usually had a recently boiled kettle on standby to top up our drinks with boiling water.
The Barista Sublime presents three settings – Ristretto, Espresso and Lungo – and the setting for each of the capsules in the tasting box was clearly marked. This is one of the many reasons that this coffee machine is so great for beginners. The lack of setup and the ease of the process means that you’ll get your cup of coffee in no time at all.
Through testing, the machine consistently produced coffee with a rich aroma and thick crema, with no hint of the coffee tasting burnt or overly bitter. The tasting box was great for figuring out which flavors tickled our taste buds, before stocking up on our favourites. As mentioned, a few more decaf options would have been welcome.
On each setting the coffee was dispensed at 170.6-176ºF/ 77-81ºC, which is a good temperature and around what we’d expect. It took just a few seconds for the water to heat up – it was slightly quicker on the Ristretto setting – but there’s no option to adjust the temperature, if you like your coffee piping hot, for example. What you can do, however, is to press any of the buttons - Ristretto, Espresso and Lungo - to stop or add more water to you cup / mug - although the dual capsule recognition technology will also automatically detect the capsule inserted, pouring the correct amount of water for that size, so you shouldn't need to do this too often.
For noise, we measured the L’OR Barista Sublime at 52dB on our noise meter, which is somewhere between moderate rainfall and normal conversation. It wasn't loud, but you will hear it in operation, especially if there aren’t any other appliances running.
In terms of maintenance, the only regular task will be to empty the used capsule bin – although this will very much depend on how much coffee you get through in a day; it holds 12, remember. Both the bin and drip tray will benefit from the occasional rinse, as will the water tank. And if you’re someone who likes to have their coffee machine on display on the counter top, a gentle wipe with a cloth will keep it looking nice.
Like all coffee machines, descaling is advisable, too. How often is unclear from the instruction booklet, but you'll know when the coffee machine is ready for it because the Ristretto and Lungo buttons will start blinking after brewing a coffee. L’OR recommends using the L'OR Barista CA6530/00 Coffee Machine Descaler for the job, with full descaling taking around 40 minutes.
Score card: L'OR Barista Sublime
|Value||Widely available in the UK at an affordable price; not available to buy in the US.||4.5 / 5|
|Design||Super-easy to use and the double spout is great for making more than one cup of coffee at a time. An integrated milk frother would have been useful though.||4.5 / 5|
|Performance||Produces coffee with a lovely, thick crema and at a consistent temperature, although more temperature control would be handy.||4.5 / 5|
Should I buy the Philips L’OR Barista Sublime?
Buy it if...
You want your coffee quickly
It took less time than boiling a kettle to make a coffee using the L’OR Barista Sublime, and it used just the right amount of water.
You’re short on space
Measuring just 4.3 x 5.11 x 15.7 inches / 11 x 13 x 40cm (h x w x d), the L'OR Barista Sublime has a fairly compact footprint.
You're on a budget
Retailing around £100, and with capsules costing approx 30p each, you'll soon earn back your initial spend as a result of fewer, or no, coffee shop excursions.
Don't buy it if...
You prefer lattes
With no milk frother, the L’OR Barista Sublime is suitable for those wanting to make cappuccinos and lattes. Consider the Grind One pod machine instead.
You're not a fan of pod coffee machines
Although L’OR does offer a capsule recycling scheme, it’s something else to sort. Or, for a more hands-on coffee-making experience, check out the best bean-to-cup coffee machines.
Coffee-for-two isn’t enough
For bulk coffee making, busy households may find a drip coffee machine more useful.
- If an integrated milk frother is important to you, the L’OR Original Latte Edition will be available to buy from October 2022
- First reviewed: September 2022
Jennifer Oksien is TechRadar’s Homes Editor. Jennifer (Jenny) has over a decade of experience as a digital product writer specialising in appliances, smart tech and mattresses for some of the UKs leading retailers and magazine titles such as Real Homes, Ideal Home and Livingetc. Generally, you’ll find her watching the latest Netflix series, digging around in the garden or attempting to make a cake that is edible.