Melitta AromaFresh Grind And Brew Review
German company Melitta know their stuff when it comes to coffee. This isn’t a surprise when you learn about how they formed – in 1908 a 35 year-old woman, Melitta Bentz, was getting frustrated with how her coffee tasted. She found that percolators were over-brewing her coffee, that espresso type-machines were leaving grounds in her drink, and that linen bag filters were a pain to clean.
Sub-standard coffee wasn’t going to cut it in the Bentz household – something needed to be done. She began experimenting with different ideas, but it wasn’t until she came across her son’s school exercise book that she discovered the solution. Using the blotting paper from the book, combined with a brass pot that she punctured a hole in with a nail, she invented the paper filter and a company was born.
Fast-forward over a hundred years and Melitta’s grandchildren are still running that company, with 3,300 employees in 50 countries. They don’t just make paper filters these days, they provide the complete package, from the coffee to the coffee makers. We are going to take a look at one of these makers today, to see how Melitta’s legacy is faring in the highly competitive modern market. Here is our Melitta AromaFresh Grind and Brew review.
Melitta AromaFresh Grind And Brew Specifications
Before we get on to what exactly the AromaFresh can do, let’s just spend a minute taking in how it looks. To me, this has a sort of timeless feel to it – there are hints of the more modern approach with the stainless steel and the small digital display, but I’d say this has a much more ‘classic’ style. While many of its competitors seem to want to retain an element of mystery (with some it is difficult to know what sort of machine they are at first glance), with the transparent coffee and water compartments, this is a coffee machine that is proud to be a coffee machine. As a result, I don’t think that it would look out of place in many kitchens at all.
In terms of its size, it measures 30.2cm x 31.2cm x 51.5cm – you’ll probably already have noticed that it’s a very tall machine. This means that in terms of its ‘footprint’ on your countertop, it really doesn’t take up much space and will physically fit into most kitchens, as well as aesthetically.
So, what can it do? The ‘Grind and Brew’ section of the name will tell you everything you need to know here – this is a bean-to-cup machine. As well as whole beans, though, you can also use pre-ground coffee which is very helpful if you’re like me and pick up new and interesting coffees from places like farmer’s markets where you may not have the choice of bean or ground. The coffee bean tank can hold up to 180g of coffee beans, and there is a dial there so that you can adjust the size of your grind.
The water tank can hold up 1.5 litres, or about 10 cups worth, which is big enough to satisfy pretty much any domestic use. The small digital display will show you the time, and the buttons below control a number of different settings, such as the amount of coffee that is to be ground, how much coffee you are making, and setting a timer.
In terms of cleaning, there is a designated descaling programme, with an indicator to tell you when it is required. Most of the detachable parts (the jug and filter holder) are dishwasher safe, so it is a very low-maintenance machine.
What It’s Like To Use The Melitta AromaFresh Grind And Brew
As we said above, the Melitta AromaFresh is a bean-to-cup machine, and like most bean-to-cup machines, it is incredibly easy to use. The entire process takes a few seconds to set up, and is so easily done you could do it in your sleep. (Wouldn’t that be nice? You would have fresh coffee made for when you wake up…)
To show you exactly how easy this is to use, I will walk you through the process in the next few short paragraphs.
First of all, you will need to make sure you have enough water in the tank – simply fill it up to the amount of coffee you would like. There are handy marks on the tank to let you know how many cups you would like (do remember though, a ‘cup’ is much smaller than a typical mug, so you may need more water than you first think). You can make up to 10 cups, or 1.5 litres of coffee.
Next, check that you have enough beans in the grinder at the top. It’s incredibly easy to top up, just take off the lid and pour in. The top is air tight, so you won’t lose freshness, which means you can fill it up to the top every time without worrying about the quality of your beans deteriorating. You should also add a paper filter at this point, to make sure you don’t get any bits in your coffee.
From there, you can use the buttons below the digital display to confirm your settings. You can select your grind size (3 levels), the strength (3 settings) and how many cups you want to make (between 2-10). It’s worth noting at this point that it will use whatever water you have in the tank, the number of cups will just control the amount of coffee, so make sure you have the correct amount of water in there.
Of course, you can also use pre-ground coffee, by inserting this straight into the filter section.
Now for the part that really appeals to me: the timer. With a few simple presses of a button you can set your coffee machine to kick into action at any time – your coffee will start to brew without you having to do anything, just provided you have left enough water and coffee there. You can even set up a length of time that you would like the pot of coffee kept warm for after you have made it (30, 60 or 90 minutes).
That’s all there is to it. You now know everything you need to operate this machine to create a fresh cup of coffee directly from the beans.
If you’re like me, then you may have a particular weakness for filter coffee. A strong, black cup is my go-to drink, so this machine already had an advantage as that is exactly what this produces. It really didn’t disappoint.
You have quite a lot of control over the taste of your coffee, but without it being overly complicated. The grinder settings are fun to play around with, but generally with filter coffees you should be looking for medium ground – a lot of coffees will have recommended sized grounds for different methods of making, so it’s worth investigating and experimenting.
The aroma settings are fun to play with as well – this controls the level of extraction (from very soft to very strong), so you can play around with the intensity of different coffees. I found that with some lighter roast, a stronger level of aroma made a really good coffee. It’s another thing that is fun to experiment with.
A quick note on the coffee itself though – do try and make sure you use quality beans with this machine in order to get the most out of it. As it can work with either beans or pre-ground coffee, you have plenty of scope to experiment and try different coffees to find your ultimate favourite.
All in all, this produces really good coffee, with a fair amount of freedom to calibrate the settings to find your absolute best cup of coffee.
The Melitta AromaFresh Grind And Brew is an excellent coffee machine. As we’ve just discussed, it produces great coffee, and is incredibly simple to use. On top of that, though, it really feels like a luxury item. The capability to walk downstairs every morning to the smell of freshly brewed coffee is one of those little perks in life that can really put you in a good mood.
Of course, this machine won’t be for everyone. If you prefer milky coffees, such as lattes or cappuccinos, then you really need to be looking at an espresso machine. This is limited to only producing filter coffees, so your choices are basically “white or black”.
If that suits you though, and it certainly does me, then this machine is very difficult to beat. It is priced very competitively, right in the middle of what you could expect to pay for a bean-to-cup filter coffee machine, and the extra little features and settings really do give it that extra little appeal.
I’m genuinely struggling to find a flaw with this machine. The capacity is more than you would need, it is so simple to operate, it has great ‘extra’ features and crucially, it makes great coffee. If you are looking for a filter coffee machine, make this your starting point and try to find one that beats it – I think you’re going to struggle.