Capsule coffee machines put to the test

The verdict ... James Smith finds pros and cons to both the Electrolux Premium Milk machine (pictured left) and the Map ...
The verdict ... James Smith finds pros and cons to both the Electrolux Premium Milk machine (pictured left) and the Map Capo with Latte Premio wand. 

Map Capo
RRP $449 ($799 with Latte Premio, capsules, sugar, cups, saucers)

Capsule coffee machines are proving rather popular these days and South Melbourne-based Map's Bella found favour with the Tech Know column last year. The Capo is a beefed-up version designed to handle small office use, featuring the same technology inside (Caffitaly's larger-than-most 10-gram pods) but with sturdier mechanisms in place, meaning you can bang out more of their rather tasty espressos. Again, there are three lengths of pour, or you can program the buttons to suit personal tastes with a single press. Map is pushing the Capo as a combo with the Latte Premio milk steamer, plus assorted capsules and crockery. The Premio can be filled to make multiple coffees, with lattes coming out a treat, but the milk for cappuccinos is less impressive.

Electrolux Premium Milk
RRP $299

Electrolux's latest model, on the other hand, is the bomb if you're after cappuccinos, but not so sharp if you don't want your cup filled to the brim with foam. The attached milk unit features both a spinning frother and a steam wand, resulting in a mountain of foam whatever setting you opt for — foam that's delivered far hotter than you'd expect at a cafe. The 7.5-gram Lavazza coffee capsules come in twice as many blends as Map's and the Premium Milk produces a pretty espresso with a thick crema. Like the Capo, you can adjust the height of the coffee spout and program the length of the two shot buttons. Be warned: it's pretty noisy so early risers would be wise to shut doors for fear of waking the household with its firm, low rumble.


And the winner is ... While it's let down by the quality of its foam for cappuccinos, the Map Capo and Premio combo is the much swifter, simpler operation and, to me, it also produces the better-tasting coffee.

What's your choice of pod coffee machine? Or does your espresso machine still reign supreme? Tell us in the comments below.