Melitta Caffeo’s CI (Coffee Intelligence) Bean to Cup Coffee Machine focuses on ease of use and customisable elements in an automatic set up.
Its My Coffee Memory system can store four personal preferences that are pre-programmed into the machine, alongside making a consistently good espresso and milk foam.
At its price point (£849.99), it’s by no means a cheap model, and it does risk being outshone by both the lower cost and flashier machines at either end of the market.
But after a month with the Melitta, we argue that it’s a robust bean-to-cup machine for someone that needs a caffeine fix with minimal fuss.
The Melitta Caffeo is currently available in the UK (global availability TBC) for £849.99.
The Melitta is a large machine that will take up plenty of your counter’s worktop (it’s 35.2cm/13.8” high and 47.3cm/18.6” deep), which is worth bearing in mind if you’re short on space.
It’s available in black and stainless steel, and it looks sleek - albeit domineering.
Under the hood, the Melitta is fully automatic, but designed to allow for plenty of customisation and ease of use. All types of coffee are dispensed from the same spouts, and they can be moved up and down depending on the size of your coffee cup.
At the spin of a dial, it’ll take you around five minutes to programme in four different coffee preferences, and once you’ve sorted that, it means the Melitta Caffeo CI Bean to Cup is super easy to use at 6.30am, even if there’s a queue for the machine.
We loved the My Coffee Memory add-on for this, as it means there’s variation and control available, but your favourite cup of coffee still doesn’t require any skill from you. In a coffee-loving family or workplace, the Melitta would be a safe bet for a crowd.
The elephant in the room here is definitely the large plastic milk container used for automatic frothing (instead of a steam wand).
For the Melitta’s price point, you’d hope they’d come up with a more sophisticated way of including a milk frother into the overall design, than what essentially feels like an added-on bit of Tupperware connected via a tube. The upshot is that it does make it easy to store in the fridge or detach for cleaning.
There’s no easy way to hide the milk box while it's in use as the machine is so blocky, but as a consolation, it does froth milk incredibly well. If you want great cappuccino froth without any know-how, you’ve come to the right place.
It’s easy to overlook the Melitta in favour of a model at either extreme end of the coffee machine market, but it actually incorporates a few simple touches that inch it ahead in the running.
Using a simple coffee chamber system, it’s possible to switch between two types of beans, as well as a ground bean chute, so depending on the type of flavour or strength of coffee your prefer, the Melitta can switch between three types of coffee at the flick of a lever.
Of all the machines we’ve taken for a test run, the Melitta is the least bothered about locking its owner into a new system or coffee mindset. That's because almost everything is customisable, even to the point of ‘hacking’ its presets to make a flat white (which is doesn’t currently offer) by choosing 1:1 espresso and milk. That is, until it comes to cleaning the machine.
Like the majority of bean-to-cup coffee machines, the CI has an automatic cleaning programme. It automatically rinses when it’s turned on or off, which helps keep it in top condition without much effort.
The main downside here is that the drip tray fills up fast, and needs to be emptied out often. That's all fine, but there are quite a few compartments in there so it can get messy quickly.
On top of that, the milk system requires extra cleaning to to keep it hygienic. Melitta supplies a fluid for cleaning the system on a weekly basis (costing around £1 a week), and the machine also reminds you to use a descaling tablet via the ground coffee chute when needed. So be prepared to also pay out for Melitta consumables.
The Melitta Caffeo CI produces rich and aromatic espresso, and an excellent crema. Going up against the Oracle Touch by Sage, we’d say it actually surpasses the Sage for milk-based coffees: cappuccinos are finished with a top of frothy, creamy milk (meaning the crema shows at the sides of the milk), and when it comes to lattes, milk froth and milk are added to the cup before espresso, so the coffee settles between the milk and froth.
All those little touches mean the final result is a cafe-worthy creation every time, and coffee that feels like a real treat to have at home every morning.
We also ran soy and oat milk through the automatic milk frothing system and both worked incredibly well, with a better result than we’ve been served by baristas.
As far as eco credentials go, the Melitta Caffeo CI has actually taken some of them into account, which is rare in the coffee machine market.
There’s very little wastage from the coffee grounds (and plenty of ways to use the leftover pucks of coffee), plus the machine comes with a automatic switch-off setting and a ‘0-Watt’ button, which disconnects the machine from the mains supply without needing to unplug it.
The time frame for the automatic switch-off is remarkably short. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself having to turn on the machine two or three times in a rushed morning, to catch it between ‘warming up’ processes and then abruptly switching off. But in the aid of saving electricity consumption, it’s another baked-in detail in an altogether impressive machine.
Considering it's one of the most expensive on the market for bean-to-cup coffee machines, it would also be easy to overlook - it doesn’t quite win out on the style or convenience stakes (compared to, for example, Nespresso’s endless coffee pod varieties or Sage’s at-home-barista experience), but you’d be amiss to do so.
Despite the high price tag, the Melitta’s reliability and expertise with milk frothing means it’s a reliable, robust machine that’s highly customisable, whilst still asking for minimal input from its user.
If you’re looking for a minimal fuss, every day machine for under £1000, the Melitta’s the one.