The daily grind around here starts with coffee. The whirr of the blades as the grinder gets to work on the beans is the much welcomed first significant noise of the day. I can’t really understand people who start with a cup of tea; it’s too weak, to insipid for both of us. Nothing but the black elixir gets us going.
We’ve been trying the Russell Hobbs Allure Espresso machine. It preheats quickly once switched on, and as it’s a pump machine, it’s straightforward to use. Fill the portafilter with finely ground coffee, tamp it down using the combined measure and tamper, and fit to the machine. Turn the knob on the front to activate the pump, and turn back when the cup is full. There is a milk wand which uses the same boiler as the group head. This does mean that it takes a few seconds to come up to the higher temperature needed for steaming milk, but this is common in all entry level home espresso machines. The steaming head is in a soft plastic that is easily cleaned.
It’s a good looking and solid machine, in brushed steel with controls and switches in a dark grey plastic, with a small foot print and would look good in any kitchen. There is plenty of room on top to store and pre-warm cups, with a rail around the top to stop them falling off. The controls are easily accessible on the front, and if one has used a pump espresso machine before, then it’s straightforward to understand the sequence needed to pull shots and steam milk. Holding 1.5l the water tank is a good size, and for the careless there is a generously sized drip tray. We thought that its 15 bar pump gave a very drinkable espresso shot, with good crema, but thought that the milk steamer needs a little practice to achieve the best results.
The Russell Hobbs Allure Espresso Machine is currently £99
Fuss Free Flavours received a review machine for review. All opinions our own.