The Avanza Series 600 F270-100 is a relatively new release from German coffee outfit Melitta. It is priced somewhere in the cheaper end of the pack when it comes to basic bean-to-cup machines, but has plenty to make it stand out from what is now a crowded market.
If you are looking for a small, household bean-to-cup machine that makes great espressos and milky coffees, you need to take a look at this machine.
If you prefer your bean-to-cup cappuccino machines to be bulky, all-singing, all-dancing robots with 10 LCD screens, high programmability and the ability to churn out 20 cups a day, then you should probably look elsewhere. We recently took one for a spin at Coffee Bazaar Towers – if it sounds like it could be the right machine for you, take a look at our in-depth review below.
The Melitta Avanza series 600 – F270-100 bean-to-cup espresso and cappuccino maker is a hugely compact and stripped back coffee machine.
It produces excellent coffee with minimum fuss and blends robust design quality with sleek aesthetics. Its highly compact nature makes it perfect for anyone with limited space.
Yes, it’s only rated for lowish daily use – five to ten cups a day – and has limited features and programmability. However, the Avanza’s quality looks especially good when you consider its modest cost, which makes it one of the best kitchen-countertop units currently on the market at this price tag.
Features and Design
The first thing to notice about the Melitta Avanza is its size. This unit is tiny, measuring 32 centimetres high, 20 centimetres across and 45 centimetres deep. Its dimensions make it much slimmer than other best-selling compact bean-to-cup machines. This is great for people who have limited kitchen space available.
There are a couple of minor omissions from the machine, which probably helped Melitta achieve its super-slim design.
For example, the machine comes with a 250g bean hopper but contains no chute for adding pre-ground coffee. This does potentially save some space, but it could just be that boffins at Melitta finally realized that anyone buying a bean-to-cup machine probably wants freshly ground beans!
Another omission is the lack of heated cup storage up top, which means fussier drinkers will need to warm their cups using hot water.
Then again, given the machine has been designed as a compact, the lack of a cup warmer is hardly surprising. If you only have limited space available, it is unlikely you will be looking to have space on top of your machine to store mugs.
The machine comes with a 1.5 litre water tank (that’s enough for 7 long coffees) and has the capacity to make two drinks at once thanks to its two centrally positioned spouts.
There is space for a water filter, but you will need to buy one separately as they are not included. Each filter is good for about 50 litres of water and costs something like £10. You could always use pre-filtered or bottled water with the machine, especially if you live in an area with hard water.
On the right-hand side you have your steaming wand, which Melitta calls the ‘Cappuncinatore’ and down below there is a detachable drip tray and grounds basket.
The coffee grinder features conical steel burrs to gently crush your coffee and has five settings from fine to coarse.
Perhaps one of the nicest things about the Avanza is its interface, which is controlled by a panel featuring two knobs and four buttons across the top of the machine.
A left-hand dial sets the length of the drink, a right-hand dial sets the steam power, and then buttons on the top will pour out one shot, two shots, set the cup strength and rinse out the machine.
The knobs and buttons approach is great. It is very tactile and highly intuitive. Technophobic octogenarians would be able to get the hang of it without looking in the instruction manual.
It’s also nice and tactile, which just feels good in a touch screen world – you know?
The milk frothing process is super easy too. On the side of the wand, there is a small tube that you can insert directly into a bottle of milk which will then be sucked in and frothed as soon as you twist the upper right-hand knob clockwise.
This is very handy and tidy. You don’t need to faff around with extra carafes or containers and move them around under a nozzle for 30 seconds until you have foam. Once you have finished, re-attach both ends of the tube to the steaming wand. The machine cleans automatically as it starts up and shuts down.
To set the strength of the coffee you click the button up top to select coffee strength and the machine immediately lights up a scale of 1-3 red coffee beans to show you how much coffee will go into each cup.
The coffee spout is adjustable in height, allowing you to move between 10cm and 14.7cm if you need to raise it to clear the rim of your favourite mug.
The Avanza makes good coffee – no doubt about it.
It makes a very convincing espresso at 15 bars of pressure, and the coffee has a thick, shiny crema and pleasant taste. For sure, this is not going to have the same body, intensity and aroma as one made on an industrial espresso machine at a cafe, but it does come close.
The drink length dial is located at the top left of the machine and twisted to set the length of the drink. The minimum is 20ml – an espresso ristretto. The maximum is 220ml, but you will need to play around in the middle as you get no clear feedback on how long or short you are making your drink, so there can be a bit of trial and error involved as you get to grips with the machine.
We found it was really important to use a coarser grind when making longer drinks to avoid excessive bitterness. There are five settings available for grind size, which was good but you have to access the grinder dial via the side panel which was cumbersome.
The frothing wand is convenient and quickly churns out hot, foamy milk. You do not get full control over how wet or dry you want the foam however, which can be annoying.
We found that by dispensing foam into a separate carafe, the firmest, driest foam would sit at the top, with wetter more flowing bubbles below. There was no one consistent texture to the foam however. So we had to just spoon off the dry stuff for a good cappuccino, or hold it back and pour out the rest for something resembling a flat white.
It is an imperfect system, but a convenient one. The lack of a milk tank and simple feeder tube to add milk makes cleaning and maintenance simple, saves space while allowing you to make everything from macchiatos, cortados, cappuccinos and flat whites.
The Burr grinder’s conical steel burrs run very quietly indeed and the machine brews coffee without making a racket. It is not going the wake the whole house up if turned on early.
One minor gripe might be the time it takes to get a coffee. From a standing start after turning the machine on, it took us over a minute to get the first espresso. Once up and running you can expect times of around 40 seconds per cup.
Aesthetics and other
The Avanza is a plastic machine but does not look cheap, thanks to its stainless-steel cladding.
The machine comes with a two-year warranty as standard and comes with support from an app. The app provides instructions on maintenance, upkeep and use – as well as providing a whole host of other useful information about coffee.
The Avanza Series 600 F270-100 is a simple and elegant machine that offers great value for money. Its compact width (just 20cm) is a big draw. So too is the excellent value for money its modest price tag offers.
The machine makes really great espresso and its milk frother gets the job done, even if it is fairly unspectacular.
The unit offers limited programmability and you do not have so many variables to play with. While this may be a shame for some, most will love its hands-off and easy to use appeal.
4.5 Stars out of 5