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Café Appliances

  • Value: 15/20
  • Functionality: 16/20
  • Ease of Use: 19/20
  • Aesthetics: 19/20
  • Brew Quality: 20/20
TOTAL: 89/100

For a decade, my Nespresso machine’s been the gold standard for making shots of espresso and lattes at home. Sure, there are more advanced devices out there, but given its sleek look, compact footprint (because, let’s be real: you can never have enough counter space) and quality shots of espresso straight from capsules, it was hard to beat. But then I laid eyes on the copper-and-matte-black wonder that is the Café Affetto Automatic Espresso machine. It’s capsule-free and has a built-in grinder, so you can enjoy whatever beans your heart desires. Plus, the WiFi-enabled machine syncs with an app, so you can brew a drink to the exact temperature and strength you prefer; no barista skills necessary. But could it really be worth its $730 price tag? Or be easier to use than a Nespresso machine? After two months of regular use, here’s my take.

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Café Appliances

It’s Easy to Use—But the App Is Glitchy

Maybe it’s because I’m using an Android phone in an everything-is-optimized-for-Apple world, but I quickly ditched the Smart HQ app, as appealing as it was, preferring to brew drinks the old-fashioned way: by pressing a couple buttons on the machine. Simply selecting “espresso” or “Americano” on the machine produced a strong, café-quality drink in seconds flat, thanks to its high-performing, 20-bar pump that gets a solid extraction from the coffee grounds. (And it turns out, I’m not so exacting in my lattes that I need them brewed to an exact temperature.)

It'll Make You Ditch Your Milk Frother

Affetto’s milk foam wand lets you control just how frothy you like your dairy, whether you prefer a cloud-like layer of bubbles or a dense curtain of microfoam atop your latte. It’s pretty straightforward to use, and once you start dabbling with different textures, you’ll start to feel like a barista, even if you can’t tell a flat white from a cappuccino (the former features very little foam, giving it a milkier flavor, FYI).

cafe affetto review irl
The Affetto IRL.
CANDACE DAVISON

How Does It Compare to Standard Espresso Machines?

The Affetto is fully automatic, so there’s no grinding beans or tamping them down. It’s virtually mess-free, and thanks to its button-based system, pulling a shot of espresso is easy enough that a guest who’s never seen the machine before can easily figure it out.

And How Does It Compare to a Nespresso Machine?

If you love coffee, the Affetto is like the next step after owning a capsule machine. You can easily grind beans yourself, experimenting with different types to find the ones you love—rather than being beholden to Nespresso’s or another pod-based maker’s offerings—and have more control over how each cup tastes. It’s freeing, though with its push-button options, it’s still pretty foolproof to use.

As for the final brew, both machines produce high-quality shots of espresso with a rich crema. While I sometimes have to reset my Nespresso when a capsule gets jammed, I don’t run into that problem with Affetto—though the brand does warn you to avoid dark roast coffee beans, which can be greasier and cause clogs.

There’s also the matter of price: A basic Nespresso machine with frother will set you back about $230 to $300, depending on the model. The Affetto is more than three times that, at $730. It’s easier to make a wide range of drinks with the Affetto, and you’ll have more control over what you make (since you choose the beans, the texture of the milk foam and so on). You’re also getting a built-in bean hopper and conical burr grinder, which helps justify that price tag.

The Bottom Line

If you want a chic espresso machine that gives you total control over your brew (minus any mess or work on your end), the Affetto is a solid choice. Especially if you—and whoever visits you—enjoys lattes, cappuccinos and other specialty drinks.

BUY IT ($730)

The PureWow100 is a scale our editors use to vet new products and services, so you know what’s worth the spend—and what’s total hype. Learn more about our process here.

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