An exceptionally stylish unit, the Smeg DCF02 Drip Filter Coffee Machine has a neat retro look that you'll be happy to have on display. It makes a decent jug of coffee, too, with a quick four-cup and timed mode adding convenience. However, a slightly high price and a fiddly filling system – where you can't quite get all of the water out of the jug – takes the shine off.
- Looks great
- Easy to use
- Timed start and four-cup modes
- Fiddly to fill up
- Review Price: £179
- Filter coffee machine
- 361 x 245 x 256mm
- 1.4l water tank
Although not as fashionable as espresso machines, filter coffee machines are a great way to get a smooth tasting coffee. And, as the Smeg DCF02 Drip Filter Coffee Machine proves, a functional machine doesn’t have to be restricted to functional looks.
Smeg DCF02 Drip Filter Coffee Machine – What you need to know
- Features – Simple operation with a couple of neat features, including a quick four-cup dispense and timed operation
- Coffee quality – Makes decent filter coffee through the integrated filter, although we slightly prefer the taste you get from paper filters
Related: Best coffee machine
Smeg DCF02 Drip Filter Coffee Machine design – The familiar Smeg look, but it’s a fiddly machine to fill with water
Smeg’s products are instantly recognisable, and the DCF02 is no different. Sporting the company’s stylish, retro design, this is an attractive filter coffee machine that you’d be proud to have out on display in your kitchen. Available in a choice of six colours (pastel blue, stainless steel, cream, pastel green, red and black), you’ll easily find a model to complement your other kitchen accessories.
Filter coffee machines aren’t overly complicated, and the DCF02 is pretty straightforward to use. On the front is a power button, an aroma button (this sets between two levels of coffee intensity), an auto-start mode where you can programme a start time, and a quick four-cup mode for a smaller amount of coffee.
Flipping open the top lid provides access to the washable filter and filter holder. A washable filter is convenient, but with use over time can become tainted. As such, reusable filters are a better choice for real coffee lovers.
Under the lid you’ll also find access to the water tank, which takes up to 10 cups of coffee. You can fill the water tank using the provided glass carafe, which has handy cup markings on the side – but there’s one problem: the jug is too bulky to fit comfortably under the lid. Every time I attempted to fill the tank, I ended up with water left in the carafe as a result of not being able to lift it high enough.
With ground coffee in the filter ready to go, you can simply turn on the machine using the power button to start it brewing automatically. The Smeg DCF02 Drip Filter Coffee Machine beeps loudly to let you know it’s working, although I’d describe the noise as sound to indicate an error message than an “I’m about to start working”. A second loud beep sounds when your coffee is ready.
If you’d rather wait until later for your coffee, you can programme the machine to come on at a set time, using the up/down level on the side of the coffee machine.
Smeg DCF02 Drip Filter Coffee Machine Coffee quality – Deep flavours and a relatively smooth cup of coffee
I brewed a full carafe of coffee using my freshly roasted fairtrade Peruvian coffee beans. Once coffee is brewed, the hot plate will keep the coffee warm for up to 40 minutes, although you can turn it off sooner. Coffee that’s continually warmed will continue to brew, making a thermal carafe a neater solution for purists – although you’re unlikely to notice too much difference to taste over a 40-minute period.
I measured my coffee at 70ºC, which is a few degrees cooler than ideal, but drinkable nonetheless. My final cup was dark and rich-looking; I opted to use the Aroma setting for a more intense cup.
I prefer the results from a paper filter, only just. It typically gives a smoother taste. The coffee from the DCF02 was deep-flavoured, but a touch more bitter than coffee from similar machines using paper filters. Still, there isn’t a huge amount to complain about here.
Smeg DCF02 Drip Filter Coffee Machine maintenance – Very little to do bar the occasional descale
When you first turn on the coffee machine, you’ll be prompted to set your water hardness level; you can get this information from your local water company. This sets the time interval for descaling – the coffee machine will prompt you when it’s time to do the job. At this point simply add water and descaler to the tank and then press the on/off and Auto Start buttons together to run through the programme.
Other than that, there’s little maintenance bar regular cleaning. The filter, filter holder and carafe need to be washed manually following each use, and none are dishwasher safe, so you’ll have to do the job manually.
Should you buy the Smeg DCF02 Drip Filter Coffee Machine?
If you’re looking for a stylish coffee machine then the fantastic Smeg DCF02 Drip Filter Coffee Machine is a great choice. It makes a decent jug of coffee, too, although I marginally prefer the taste of coffee that’s made in a machine using a paper filter, rather than the reusable one here.
The DCF02 is a bit fiddly to fill – it would have been better if the lid had opened further to make getting water into the tank easier.
However, it’s price that’s the main issue. For similar money you can pick up the Melitta AromaFresh Grind and Brew, with its built-in coffee grinder and paper filters for a slightly better taste. It’s not as good-looking as the Smeg – and reusable filters do add that bit of convenience.
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