This is not the first Melitta Bean to Cup coffee machine I have tried. A family member has the earlier version, the Melitta SOLO & Milk E953-102 , that this new model is the direct successor to. The earlier model has dropped from over £1200 in price to now just £449 on Amazon but is the new £1175 Melitta Barista TS SMART update worth the difference?
This model like the original is stylish and attractive to look at and can produce a range of coffee types either bespoke or from the 21 preset recipes. Both machines can make the coffee either by pressing one of the five front panel touch sensitive buttons linked to basic coffee type – Espresso, Cafe Creme, Cappuccino, Latte Macchiato plus buttons for hot milk/froth and water – from the stored preset recipes or by delving into the recipe database using the large front panel LCD screen. Coffee strength, quantity, and other variables can also be altered from the front screen. In appearance and all basic functions, the two machines are the same. Both machines can make superb coffee quickly and easily. Like the old machine, this one has extensive automated self-cleaning procedures that endlessly ask for permission to run. Take note that these are all recorded and stored by the device for use by the Melitta engineers so do not ignore them as it may affect any future warranty repairs.
Aside from a number of minor updates this new machine is quieter in use but the real update is the much vaunted ‘Smart’ feature.
The Melitta Barista TS SMART uses Bluetooth to connect to the smartphone Melitta Connect app. The app is well designed and easy to use and allows the user not only to select any of the 21 preset coffee types but to make their own custom drinks and save these to the machine for easy access. The machine can also be configured to the User’s choice, changing presets and varying default actions for both coffee making and maintenance. It also has walkthrough guides to clean and maintain the machine. The app is excellent, I just wish I could use it more easily.
Connecting to the device over Bluetooth should be easy enough, Bluetooth has been around for years and usually pairs quickly and easily. Not so here. I tried it with three Android devices – the first (OnePlus 5T) paired after several attempts but then would not connect again after multiple attempts. My old Nexus 6P could not even connect once despite many attempts. The third and elderly Chinese device I use for testing purposes did pair and usually manages to connect enough to make it usable although often several attempts are needed. When working the app is excellent and even shows a progress bar and description of the current stage in the coffee making procedure. The device allows only one phone to connect and so for large phone owning families this could be a further nuisance.
In this day and age, you would think they would have used Wifi. With wifi multiple phones could connect at once, OTA system updates could be made, Alexa/Google/Siri voice activation could be easily added. A host of related features could then be easily added – how cool would it be to say ‘Alexa, make me a Flat White coffee’ or use geofencing to have the machine have a fresh coffee waiting for you when you arrived home. It would surely have cost no more to have added Wifi than Bluetooth automation.
I suspect we will see a version 3 of this device with Wifi in the not too distant future.
This is a superb coffee machine that can make a range of drinks quickly and easily. It looks great, is not too large and works well in all key respects. It is let down by a poor Bluetooth implementation, which perhaps could be fixed in future firmware revisions.
Should you buy? Unless money and frustration is no problem I would suggest either buying the older and now heavily discounted model or waiting for the price to fall of this version or even hanging on for a version 3 wifi model.
Makes great coffee
Smartphone remote control
Good User Guide
Bluetooth poorly implemented
Endless annoying system messages