A smart and easy-to-use coffee machine, the Melitta Latte Select is a great choice. Offering simple touch controls, it’s easy to get started, plus there are programmable recipes and profiles for when you want to fine-tune the experience. Its dual hopper is good to see, letting you select between two different coffee beans manually. However, the company’s Caffeo Barista TS Smart comes with an automatic coffee selector and is easier to programme thanks to its smart app, and can commonly be found for a similar price.
- Dual bean hopper
- Simple to use
- Programmable user profiles
- Manual selector
- Relatively expensive
- TypeA bean-to-cup coffee machine with automatic milk frothing
- DrinksYou can make the standard range of drinks using the touch buttons on the front, including espresso and cappuccino. There are 12 recipes available in total via the machine’s menus
Melitta is well known for its bean-to-cup coffee machines that stray from the traditional, offering something a little different. In the Melitta Latte Select, the difference comes in the form of smart controls on the front, giving one-touch access to the most popular recipes, plus a dual bean hopper that lets you choose between two types of coffee beans.
Coffee quality is excellent, but the similarly priced Melitta Caffeo Barista TS Smart offers similar features and quality, and it can automatically switch between two coffee types.
Design and Features
- Dual bean hopper
- Simple touch controls
- Up to six user profiles
Melitta coffee machines usually offer good value, but this is usually translated to their design, which can feel cheaper than the more premium competition. Not so with the Melitta Latte Select. Decked out in silver, with squared edges, this coffee machine looks more premium than a number of models I’ve seen from the company.
On this machine’s top you’ll find the 270g bean container, which is split into two; there’s a manual selector switch for choosing which coffee to use. I’d use darker roast beans on one side for espresso, and a lighter roast single-origin coffee for longer drinks; but you can go your own way, perhaps using one side for decaffeinated beans.
Having a choice is good, but the manual selector meant that it was all too easy to accidentally make coffee with the wrong beans. With the Melitta Caffeo Barista TS Smart, the choice of beans is programmed into profiles, plus there’s an override electronic selector, which makes it easier to use the right beans for the right job.
Using the dial at the rear, bean grind can be set between five levels. Rather unhelpfully, the settings are printed black on black, so I had to turn the machine around to view what I was selecting. Generally speaking, I found that a finer grind setting delivered better results.
Thanks to the 1.8-litre water tank, the Melitta Latte Select doesn’t have to be filled too often. I do recommend using the provided water filter in the tank, both to improve flavour and keep the machine working at its best.
There’s also a coffee grinds chute on the front, where you can add a tablespoon of pre-ground coffee. I’d avoid doing this where possible, since the quality of the coffee won’t be as good.
Melitta has made this coffee machine easy to use, so the main drinks can be selected via the touch-buttons across the top: espresso, cafe crema, cappuccino and cafe latte macchiato. There are also buttons for steamed milk and hot water.
If you want to make two drinks at the same time (or you just fancy a double espresso), there’s also a 2x button on the front to do this.
Melitta pre-programmes the recipes with default volumes, but you can override these while the drink is being made. Cleverly, milk-based drinks let you adjust the overall volume, but keep the ratio of milk to espresso the same.
If you’d rather override permanently, the Latte Select option lets you save your own default volumes to match the cups you have and your preferences. Plus, you can store up to six profiles, each with its own defaults.
Adding profiles using the small screen and rotary dial proved slightly more painful than it should have been. The TS Smart gets makes this easy by allowing you to set everything up in the app.
In profiles, there’s a greater range of recipes available including ristretto, lungo, americano, espresso macchiato, caffe latte and cafe au lait.
- Excellent crema
- Good temperature
Espresso is the basic ingredient of most coffee-based drinks, so it’s important to get this right. I started by making a few shots of coffee, using the default 40ml volume. I adjusted the grind a few times, but settled on the finest setting to get the best results.
Coffee poured at a reasonable pace, and I measured the shot at 60.6ºC, which is about right for espresso.
The drink was topped with a good crema with a nice oily finish to it, which lasted for a few minutes. In terms of taste, the coffee brought out the bold acidity in my Fairtrade Peruvian coffee, delivering a fine shot. In fact, you’d find it hard to get better from a bean-to-cup machine.
- Good texture
- Large carafe gives flexibility
There’s a large plastic milk carafe that ships with the Melitta Latte Select. Just fill this with milk and connect the hose. When it’s time to make a milky drink, the fluid is sucked up and steamed, and then pushed out of the brew head. This design means that you can pour back any milk you haven’t used.
As with all bean-to-cup machines that froth and pour milk, the downside is less flexibility. Those who want to partake in some latte art, and free-pour as a result ,are out of luck. You’ll need an alternative machine with a manual steam wand, such as the Gaggia Magenta Plus.
While you may lose a little flexibility, the Melitta Latte Select makes up for it in the quality of the drinks it pours. It delivered cappuccino with tightly packed foam and a nice finish to it. In terms of taste, this is as good as most people could make themselves.
- Clever automatic cleaning modes
- Warns you about cleaning and descaling
- Brew unit easy to reach
There’s always a bit more maintenance with a bean-to-cup coffee machine, but the Melitta Latte Select does its best to make life easy with some key features, including automatic system flushing when you turn it on.
After making a milk drink, you’re asked to start the cleaning process, where you clip the milk hose into the drip tray and let the Melitta Latte Select clean this out for you. You can skip the cleaning process if you want to make multiple milky drinks in a row, but make sure you clean out the system once you’ve made the last drink.
The large drip tray pulls out and forward, providing access to the used coffee pucks. I found that these were nice and dry, and still together, making them easy to empty out into the bin. It’s worth giving the tray a regular clean to prevent any mould growth.
Likewise, the brew unit should also be cleaned regularly; it pulls out of the side of the coffee machine once the service panel has been removed.
The Melitta Latte Select will notify when it’s time to clean the coffee system or to descale, with on-screen prompts guiding you through the process. How often you receive a descaling warning will depend on the water hardness setting selected: there’s a test strip in the box to help you choose the right option.
Should you buy it?
If you want a simple-to-use bean-to-cup coffee machine that produces excellent results, this one fits the bill.
If you want more flexibility in programming and coffee selection, look for a smart machine with an app and an automatic bean selector.
The Melitta Latte Select stands out for a number of reasons: it’s easy to use; it offers plenty of configuration; and it produces great quality coffee drinks. It also has a retail price of just over £200 less than the Melitta Caffeo Barista TS Smart. That said, the Barista TS Smart can often be found for around the same price as the Latte Select; at the same price, the TS Smart is easier to use and has an automatic bean selector, making it the better price. If you can’t find the TS Smart on offer, then the Latte Select would be a good alternative.
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Used as our main coffee machine for the review period
Tested for at least a week
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Depending on capabilities, we test each machine’s ability to make espresso and cappuccino
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They let you use two types of coffee at the same time, manually selecting which beans you want to use for each drink.
Yes, you can use the 2x button to double-up on a recipe.
Yes, you can override the default settings plus have drink preferences for up to six different people.