An incredible bit of kit, the WPM KD-270S is a powerful espresso machine capable of producing professional results. With its dual thermoblocks, this model can produce steam at the same time as espresso, letting you make quality milk-based drinks at speed. Delivering some of the best espresso shots I’ve seen, this is a great choice for anyone wanting to take control of their coffee-making experience.
- Exceptional coffee
- Excellent milk steaming
- Easy to use
- Well priced for the features
- Advanced settings a little fiddly to change
- Review Price: £850
- Manual espresso machine
- 351 x 285 x 355mm
- Steamer wand
- 3-litre water tank
There’s been a lack of good-quality manual espresso machines on the market, with most models either bean-to-cup or pod. As such, the WPM KD-270S is a welcome change.
A relatively compact machine, it has two thermoblocks that allow you to heat and steam at the same time, a pro-sized 58mm filter basket, and a couple of handy features to help make it easier to pour espresso and get the perfect milk.
Priced at £850, this espresso machine is significantly cheaper than much of the high-end competition, and it’s a brilliant choice for those who want to take full control of their coffee and milk.
Design and build
At this price, I expect exceptional build quality and I’m happy to say that the WPM KD-270S doesn’t disappoint. Clad in stainless steel, this is a chunky and well-built coffee machine that would look as much at home in a small coffee shop as it would in your actual home.
In general, the increasing price is often reflected in an increasing size of machine, but WPM KD-270S knocks that trend on its head. Measuring just 351 x 285 x 355mm, this machine is in fact smaller than many bean-to-cup machines, and will fit quite comfortably on most counters.
At the back is a pull-out water tank with a massive 3-litre capacity. In short, you won’t have to fill up this machine very often. And when the time arrives, you can simply flip open the top lid and pour in the water.
In fact, the only time you’ll need to remove the water tank is when it’s time to replace the water filter, should you decide to fit one.
Inside the flap at the top is storage space. There’s the cleaning disc for back-flushing or using a cleaning tablet, the steamer wand cleaner and space for the filter baskets. WPM provides two professional-sized 58mm filter baskets, one single and one double.
These are both single-walled, so you’ll need to pair this machine with a decent-quality grinder that’s capable of producing a fine-enough grind. To be honest, if you’re spending this much money, then you’ll definitely want to buy the right type of grinder to go with your new coffee machine.
Controls are neatly lined up at the front, edge-lit in red. On the sides, there are two handles: one for dispensing hot water, the other for dispensing steam.
What’s particularly nice about this machine is the help available to ensure you always pour the perfect drinks. On the front of the machine are two dials. The one you’ll use all of the time is the pressure dial, which helps you work out the perfect pressure for your coffee: aim to keep the needle in the orange. If you’re in the grey, then you either need to tamp harder or grind finer; if you’re in red, you may have tamped too hard or your grind may be too fine. It’s a neat and powerful way of making sure that you get the perfect shots each time.
Pouring a drink is easy, too. There are defined buttons for single or double shots, plus a manual button. The pre-programmed settings are good enough to get started, but you can also make some adjustments.
One of the simplest is to set the pour volume of the single- and double-shot buttons using the Program button. Setting these up, you can match the output to the types of cup you use and your specific tastes.
Pull out the manual and there are a few more options. First, you can change the pre-infusion mode between one of three settings. The default is Infusion, which wets the coffee grounds, then pauses, with the aim of getting the coffee wet first for better extraction. You can change the mode to either Constant, where water is constantly dripped onto the coffee, or Progressive, where small amounts of water are added to the coffee before the main pour. Which is best? Well, it depends on the type of coffee and your preference: once you’re used to the machine, try playing with these.
You can also adjust the temperature of the pour. The WPM KD-270S is set at 92ºC by default – but you can revise this, with the options of -2ºC, -4ºC, +2ºC and +4ºC. Adjusting temperature to suit the beans can help you maximise taste. Again, the option here is welcome.
If I’m being critical, the method of changing infusion and temperature modes is a little fiddly, requiring specific button presses. A small LCD featuring the settings would have made changes easier, but it’s a minor complaint overall.
Also of help is the thermometer built into the steamer wand. Using the dial on the front of the coffee machine, you can ensure your milk is at the perfect temperature each time, without having to use a separate milk thermometer.
Key to the WPM KD-270S’s success is its ability to pour an impressive espresso. Using a WPM grinder, once I had the grind and tamp right, the coffee machine produced some of the best espresso I’ve ever had.
Pouring slowly at consistent pressure, the espresso ran out of the group handle like a bubbling flow of hot honey. Hitting the espresso cup, I was pleased to see a brilliant crema: thick, dark and oily, maintaining its consistency and head as you swirled the cup around.
With the settings I had inputted, coffee was delivered at around 64ºC, which is spot on for most espresso.
Taste was excellent, too. Starting with my fairtrade Peruvian coffee, I could taste the intense, pronounced acidity, and a strong body. There was a hint of bitterness, but the overall shot was smooth. I also tried some Australian Skybury, with the KD-270S bringing out the sweet chocolate taste and smooth finish.
There are some people that say a boiler, rather than a thermoblock, is the best option – but the quality makes a big difference. Using a thermoblock, the WPM KD-270S is quick to heat up, ready far faster than a boiler-based machine, and it produces consistent shots time after time, with very little temperature variation.
WPM KD-270s milk quality
Thanks to that built-in steam temperature sensor, the WPM KD-270S is capable of producing quality steam quickly and easily. I soon had my milk at the exact temperature and consistency I wanted, ready to add to a shot of espresso in a cappuccino cup.
It’s important to note that the quality of the espresso and crema makes adding well-textured milk much easier, as you can see from the results. Tightly-packed microfoam and a well-mixed combination of coffee and milk, with a thin head on top is excellent.
And, thanks to the dual thermoblocks, you can pour espresso and steam at the same time, without having to wait for the machine to heat up or cool down.
Basically, with the right amount of practice you’ll achieve the same kind of quality you’d find in the coffee shop.
One of the best things about manual espresso machines is that there’s very little to do in terms of maintenance. Aside from emptying the drip tray and changing the water filter at the prescribed period, you can use the cleaning disc and tablet to flush out the espresso system.
Every four to six months you should descale the machine, too, following the simple instructions in the manual.
One the one hand, the WPM KD-270S seems quite expensive, but compare it to rival machines and you’ll discover it’s actually well priced. The Sage The Dual Boiler, for example, is much larger and more expensive. The smaller Sage The Bambino Plus is a cheaper machine than the WPM KD-270S but it has only a single boiler and the results aren’t as good.
What you get at this price is professional-level handles and filter basket, simple aids to help you get coffee and milk right, and the ability to make coffee and steam at the same time. The results speak for themselves; if you want a sensibly sized coffee machine that can product barista-level results, then this is the machine for you. In fact, this machine deserves a place on our list of the best coffee machines.