Swan Coffee Machine Review
Louise Woffindin tests this retro pump espresso machine in our full Swan Coffee Machine review. Read on to find out if it suits you and your home below…
Nothing quite beats that first cup of morning coffee and instead of reaching for a jar of instant, more and more of us are seeking a barista-style coffee in our own homes. We want the strength, taste and aroma of that coffee shop coffee at a fraction of the cost. Thankfully, in recent years, the prices of espresso machines have come down considerably and, after a few months, your coffee machine might even have paid for itself!
Today, we’re reviewing the Swan coffee machine. This pump espresso machine is an affordable and multi-functional coffee machine with a vintage aesthetic and Scandi feel – and it’s less than £100! Let’s take a look at what we found as we settle in to this Swan Coffee Machine review…
First Impressions Of The Swan Coffee Machine
The machine arrived in fully recyclable packaging, which gave us a good first impression. All in all, setup took just under twenty minutes. We felt this was a reasonable time after reading the instructions and ensuring we put it together properly. This is pretty much in line with other similar products.
Visually, we were impressed. Considering the amount of coffee we drink, it’s important for a coffee maker to look good as a kitchen’s focal point. Of course, functionality and coffee quality is more important but if we can get a good-looking coffee machine that has that too, it’s even more interesting!
This is a Nordic, Scandi-style espresso machine that has interesting details and accents on its temperature gauge, dial and handle. As well as the cotton white that we tested, it comes in blue, Nordic grey and pine green, so there’s a style that will suit any kitchen. In terms of looks alone, this espresso machine will certainly capture the attention of your guests.
Footprint-wise, you might consider the Swan coffee machine to be somewhat on the larger side, which might even be a good thing if you’re wanting a stand-out feature in your kitchen. Overall, it’s a striking design that offers more than your usual home espresso machine.
Swan Coffee Machine Specs And Features
Everyone knows that first impressions count but when it comes to buying a coffee machine, you want to know that you’re getting something that produces a great end product. Let’s look in more detail at what you get for your money in terms of features with the Swan machine.
This coffee machine has a 1100-Watt power output and uses a 15-bar pressure system. It measures 31.0 cm high x 19.4 cm wide x 28.4 cm deep. The removable water tank holds 1.2 litres of water, which is enough for around 40 shots of espresso – that’s a lot of coffee! There is also space up front to make two cups of coffee at a time.
The coffee machine weighs 4.86kg and so is solid without being too heavy. It is made from stainless steel but has plastic, wood and rubber components.
On the front of the Swan coffee machine, you’ve got the control panel. Here, you’ll find a steam knob, steam wand, the on/off button, the pump control button, the pump indicator, the steam indicator and the temperature dial.
The Swan coffee machine has a central temperature dial that measures in degrees Celsius. It ranges from 0° to 80+°. Until 80°C is reached, the dial gauge is black. After this point, it is red.
Removable coffee filters
Underneath the control panel, you’ll find the removable and refillable coffee filter. This is made up of two parts: the porta-filter is the part you hold and you insert the coffee filter into the top. There are two coffee filters: a shallower one for a single shot espresso and a deeper one for a double shot espresso.
Steam button, knob and frothing wand
The steam button is the top of the three buttons on the left and is indicated by a steam icon. The steam knob is how you control the steam coming out the frothing wand.
To the bottom-right of the machine, you have the frothing wand. This is a nice feature to find on such an affordable coffee machine and means you can make lattes and cappuccinos. The wand is a little small but it still does its job well. It is controlled by steam pressure, which allows you to adjust how frothy you like your milk.
Pump control button and on/off button
The pump control button engages the water tank to make coffee or steam. It is the middle of the three left buttons and is indicated by a cup icon.
The on/off button is the bottom of the three buttons.
At the bottom of the coffee machine, you have the drip tray. This has a removable drip tray and a flood valve inside.
The 1.2-litre water tank is at the back of the machine and has a lid. On top, you’ll find a cup rack – just like in a real coffee shop!
Finally, the machine comes with a professional coffee presser and spoon so you can make coffees like an expert!
There is no milk frother jug but these are easy to come across online and are inexpensive. However, it isn’t necessary to use one at all as you can heat up the milk in an ordinary cup or jug.
The Swan coffee machine comes with a two-year warranty as standard but this can be extended online.
You can also purchase extra protection when you purchase the coffee machine through Amazon. This covers the product for problems like accidental damage or electrical/mechanical faults that aren’t covered by the warranty without any excess to pay. Consumers can choose a 3 or 4-year protection policy.
Using The Swan Coffee Machine
The Swan coffee machine is straightforward to use and there aren’t many complicated settings or features. This makes it an ideal entry-level coffee machine for coffee lovers who are wanting to try making their own barista-style coffee for the first time.
If you’re more experienced with coffee and want to personalise your espresso a little more, you’d be best choosing something a little higher in spec.
In order to write this review as accurately as possible, we followed the Swan coffee machine manual to make our first espresso with the machine. Here’s how it went.
Preparing For The First Cup
As per the instructions, we made sure the on/off button, the steam button and the pump control button were out (in the ‘off’ position) and that the steam knob was at zero. We then followed these steps to rinse the machine out to make sure it was ready to make our first cup of coffee:
- Remove the water tank and fill it up making sure not to go over the MAX level. Re-insert it.
- Put the coffee filter into the porta-filter without coffee (remember, we’re rinsing) and place it in the dock securely fitting it by turning it anti-clockwise.
- Put a cup onto the drip tray.
- With the steam knob still at 0, press the on/off button to power up the machine – you’ll notice the red power indicator illuminates.
- Press the pump control button to activate the water pump.
- When you see water flowing, press the pump control button again.
- Making sure the steam control button is in the ‘out’ position, wait until the coffee indicator turns green – this indicates the machine is preheated.
- Press the pump control button again and let water flow for approximately one minute then press the pump control to stop it.
- The machine is now ready to use with coffee!
Making A Coffee
The steps to making an espresso are largely similar to the ones above and we found that after the first coffee, we no longer needed to check the manual as it became pretty obvious what each button did.
Here are the steps we followed to make an espresso:
- Ensure there is enough water in the water tank after the rinsing.
- Take out the porta-filter by turning it clockwise.
- Add ground coffee using the measuring spoon and then press it down tightly with the tamper (if you’re making a single shot, use the shallow filter – for a double shot, use the deeper one).
- Replace the porta-filter in the dock and secure it.
- Place your cup on the cup shelf and make sure the steam knob is at ‘0’ and the steam button in the ‘off’ position (out).
- Wait for the green light to show the machine is ready then press the pump control button – after a brief moment, you’ll see your coffee flowing out.
- When you have your desired coffee (or the coffee is becoming lighter), press the pump control button again.
- Enjoy your coffee!
Swan Taste Test
We were already pleased with the look of the product and how easily we managed to set it up and operate it but what about the coffee? After all, that’s what we’re here for!
The good news is that we found the Swan coffee machine to produce a very good espresso indeed – especially when you consider its price. We did find the coffee wasn’t as strong as some other machines but this can be easily remedied by really packing the coffee filters for a decent consistency and strength.
We know that the crema is a huge part of what makes an espresso so delicious and the Swan machine did not disappoint. The coffee had a delicious, aromatic crema that had a somewhat mild flavour, which makes it ideal for longer coffees like lattes and americanos.
We did, of course, also try out the milk foamer and were pleased with how useful this is considering how much we paid for the machine! Though the wand is on the smaller side, we found that it produced warm frothy milk that was voluminous. We even found we could alter the texture of the milk perfectly for our lattes and cappuccinos. As you might expect, it’s best to use full-fat milk to get the best results.
What Makes The Swan Machine Different?
What sets this coffee machine apart from others in a similar price range is its looks and its features. The Swan machine looks really modern and will suit any modern kitchen. With how it looks, you’d expect to pay at least double the amount. It’s clear that Swan has considered how people want a coffee machine to look and they’ve managed to do it so that it’s affordable for many people’s budgets.
In terms of features, for its price, you get a lot. There aren’t many coffee machines out there that make great-tasting coffee and come with a milk steamer wand. What’s more, the lovely added extra of a cup rack on top is both stylish and space-saving. Swan really has put a lot of thought into this design.
With its impressive features, delicious coffee and beautiful design, it’s safe to say we were blown away by the Swan coffee machine’s value for money. It was so easy to set up and use – and we didn’t need to look at the instructions after we’d had our first go. With its two-year warranty to boot, you really are onto a winner with this machine.
One thing to bear in mind though is that, like any coffee machine, it will need cleaning and maintenance to ensure it stays in the best condition and continues producing delicious coffee time after time. With the cotton white Swan coffee machine, wiping it down after each use will ensure it retains the same good looks you discovered when you first opened the box.
Overall, the Swan coffee machine comes highly recommended – especially for those looking to have their first real attempt at becoming a barista in their own home.