Café Bellissimo Semi Automatic Espresso Machine Review

Café Bellissimo Semi Automatic Espresso Machine Review

Buy it at Amazon: Café Bellissimo Semi Automatic Espresso Machine [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Easy to use, space-saving, quick, delicious espresso at home

You’ll receive the espresso machine, four filter baskets for single or double shots, portafilter, stainless steel tamper, stainless steel milk pitcher, instruction manual and quick start card, pH test strip, two cleaning tablets, and a small bristle brush.

The Café Bellissimo has a built-in bean grinder and measures 14”W x 16”H x and 13”D. The plastic exterior has a matte dark gray finish with stainless steel throughout and copper accents.

Other accessories include portafilter basket storage tray and pin tool for clearing clogs in the pressurized baskets. While the shiny drip tray is nice looking at first, it scratches up pretty quickly from regular use. In the drip tray is a red float that indicates when the tray is full and needs to be emptied. When cleaning, be careful not to lose the plastic pins holding the float on.

The control panel consists of four push buttons, a copper toggle dial, and various LEDs. At the back of the machine is the removable water tank with a handle under the lid. Note that if the machine is stored under your cabinets, you may not have enough clearance to open the lid and might need to pull the machine out first or remove the tank to fill it. The minimum fill for the water tank is about 20 oz (or 2.5 cups) and the max fill is around 100 oz (12.5 cups).

The top of the machine doubles as a warming station for your cups since it gets warm during use and there is a spot to store the tamper. The bean grinder hopper has a removable lid with air tight seal and a capacity of about 3 cups, adjustable by rotating the hopper from 0 for fine to 15 for coarse. Both the hopper and outer conical grinder blade can be removed for cleaning.

You will received single-wall and double wall portafilter baskets in one and two shot sizes. The single wall baskets are great for freshly ground coffee, but require good consistent technique for perfect results while the dual-walled pressurized baskets are a bit more forgiving to variation. The portafilter has a 58mm diameter. Be careful as the copper coating on the handle is very thin and can scratch off if bumped or scraped. The filter baskets snap on quickly and easily and when removing them, there’s a small notch at the front that’ll help you pry it up. The included bristle brush has a plastic tab at the back for this purpose as well.

The four buttons on the front are Power, Grind, Single, and Double. The dial in the middle can be set to dispense hot water or steam. Using the steam wand to heat milk is a bit tedious but straightforward and makes wonderfully silky steamed milk and just the right amount of foam for cappuccinos and lattes. The included milk pitcher can hold up to 300 ml, though the lowest marked level starts at 150 ml and goes up in increments of 50 ml.

The portafilter slides into and sits in the plastic holder under the grinder dispenser for hands-free operation. The grounds drop right into the basket, but be careful removing it to not spill any grounds. The grinder is a bit messy though and some grounds inevitably end up on the drip tray below. The stabilizing foot on the bottom of the portafilter works great when tamping to prevent slips and spills.

With the dual spout design, you can separate double shots into individual shots by placing a shot glass beneath each spout, rather than a cup under both. This machine makes a delightfully tasty plain espresso shot -- strong, but not overly bitter or sour.

You can make adjustments to brew temperature, water volume, and grind time in the Smart HQ app. Just download it to a mobile device and follow the instructions to add your machine. You will need to register an account and login. Grind times can be set from 9.5 seconds to 16, brew volumes from 0.75 oz to 1.5 oz (or 1.5 to 3 oz for double shots), and brew temps from 194° F, to 208.4° F. For hot water, you can set volume to 4 - 8 oz and temperature to 149° F or 167 ° F, which is odd because that’s not very hot and the default value is 176° F.

The app also has a de-scale countdown reminder in liters but outside of these functions, there isn’t much else. The app can send you push notifications when the water tank is empty and when the bean hopper has been removed, but there aren't any ""smart features.""

Depending on your usage, you’ll need to run the “clean” mode to de-scale the unit of mineral deposits every 3-6 months.

Overall, once you get the process down for making espresso and have set the amounts you want for grounds and water volume, pulling consistent, great tasting espresso shots is relatively easy after that. If you like making espresso at home and want to save a little counter space by combining your coffee grinder and espresso machine into one, this machine can do just that plus it steams milk and produces on-demand hot water at the touch of a button.

Buy it at Amazon: Café Bellissimo Semi Automatic Espresso Machine [Affiliate Link]

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