Excellent coffee, a great price and simple maintenance make this the all-in-one filter machine to buy.
- Easy to use
- Makes great coffee
- Timer option
- Can’t control amount of water used
- Review Price: £129
- Integrated grinder
- Takes paper filters
- 1.5-litre capacity (10 cups)
An espresso machine can give you a wide choice of coffee, but the humble filter machine arguably gives you a purer experience, delivering rich and tasty coffee in larger volumes.
The Melitta AromaFresh Grind and Brew is a filter machine with an integrated grinder, so you can just tap a button and you’re good to go. High-quality coffee and simple controls make this the ultimate in convenience for filter-coffee lovers.
Design and build
The Melitta AromaFresh Grind and Brew looks great. Tall and thin (515 x 312 x 302mm), this model is a little taller than a traditional filter coffee machine, but not by much. Given the integrated grinder, that’s pretty impressive.
Melitta has done a good job on the design front, too. On the side of the machine is the clear water tank, with marks for cups of coffee between two and 10. Melitta assumes a cup of coffee is 150ml in this case, giving a total water capacity of 1.5 litres.
Related: How to use a French press
It’s a shame that the water tank can’t be removed for filling. Instead, you’ll need to fill the glass carafe and use that to top up the tank. The carafe has the same cup markings on the back of the handle, so you can fill to the right level from the tap. On the front, there’s a neat LCD screen showing the time, and then the clearly labelled controls.
On the front of the machine is a door that swings open to reveal the filter holder. The Melitta AromaFresh Grind and Brew uses paper filters, which in my opinion is a good thing. You won’t ever suffer from a washable filter becoming tainted with use, plus I find the quality of the coffee through a paper filter far superior.
Making coffee couldn’t be simpler. Once you’ve filled the bean hopper and added a filter, simply tap the cup selector button (it moves in increments of two between 2 and 10). Then, tap the on button and the coffee machine grinds and brews your coffee for you.
Be careful not to over-fill the water reservoir, however. The Melitta AromaFresh Grind and Brew continues to brew while there’s water in the reservoir, and the cup setting is purely for the grinder. Adding too much water will result in watery coffee; too little and your drink may be bitter.
If you prefer, you can use pre-ground coffee: just tap the ground coffee button and the grinder is bypassed.
For those who like their coffee ready in the morning, there’s a timer option, too. Once you’ve set the time that you want the coffee machine to wake up, you can come down to a fresh, hot carafe of filter coffee.
By default, the Melitta AromaFresh Grind and Brew’s hotplate keeps your coffee warm for 40 minutes. You can override the setting and go for 20 minutes or 60 minutes, instead. The default setting should do the job: overheating brewed coffee can make it bitter.
The Melitta AromaFresh Grind and Brew has a surprising range of controls. First, you can adjust the grind of the steel burr grinder: a fine grind will make coffee more bitter; a coarse ground lighter. Personally, I found that the middle setting did the job.
Next, you can select the coffee strength, which adjusts how much coffee is ground. There are three settings, but I found the medium setting best.
Finally, you can over or underfill the water tank to change the taste, although it’s arguably easier to adjust the other settings that I’ve mentioned.
Using my settings, the first thing to say is that the Melitta AromaFresh Grind and Brew smells amazing. Thanks to the AromaFresh system, you soon get a room full of rich coffee – who wouldn’t want that?
Coffee quality is excellent. My test Peruvian beans delivered a rich, full-bodied and smooth-tasting cup of coffee, at a perfect 76ºC. Neat distribution of water through the coffee grounds and the use of paper filters makes this about as good as you can get from a filter coffee machine.
Once you’ve set your water hardness (your local water office can give you this information, or you can buy a simple Ph test strip online), the Melitta AromaFresh Grind and Brew will warn you when it’s time to descale your machine. Then, you use descaling solution and press the Calc button to run the descaling programme.
Other than that, general maintenance involves cleaning the glass carafe and filter holder, both of which are dishwasher-proof; the coffee filter can just be thrown away.
Melitta recommends that the grinder and chute are cleaned regularly. The bean hopper pops off, cleverly closing a door to keep the beans inside. You can then vacuum out the remaining beans, and pull out the grinder ring and clean it with the provided brush, vacuuming up any left-over grounds.
For the chute, you place the machine on its back (make sure there’s no water in the reservoir) and hold down the ground coffee button for 15 seconds to open the chute door. A damp cloth and cleaning brush will keep the coffee chute clean, before you reverse the process and close the chute.
Why buy the Melitta AromaFresh Grind and Brew?
If you love the taste of filter coffee and want something that can deliver high-quality coffee with minimum hassle, the Melitta AromaFresh Grind and Brew is a top choice. Well-built, easy to use, and excellent value – it’s a great all-in-one choice but check out my other best coffee machines if you’re after something different.