SMEG Retro Coffee Maker Review 2022: A Blast From the Past!

After working as a professional barista for many years, Arne Preuss founded Coffeeness.

Taking on this SMEG coffee maker review reminded me of the good old days. Things were so much simpler back then: no smartphones, no internet and coffee makers that just, well … made coffee.

Taking on this SMEG coffee maker review reminded me of the good old days. Things were so much simpler back then: no smartphones, no internet and coffee makers that just, well … made coffee.

Sounds awful, right?! For starters, my guide to the best coffee makers would be a lot smaller and less exciting. Plus, there wasn’t any specialty coffee in the 1950s – the best you could hope for was mass-produced, stale coffee that came in a can. 

Still, if you’re a fan of old-school aesthetics, the SMEG coffee maker will really float your boat. This dreamy retro style coffee machine has been a real hit on Instagram, so I’ve ordered one to test out

I want to know whether the SMEG coffee maker can deliver great coffee as well as stunning good looks. While I’m waiting for the Amazon box to arrive, I’ll take a preliminary look at the coffee maker that’s got everyone talking.

Best Retro Coffee Maker

Modern features with a 1950s look.

Best Retro Coffee Maker!

Fashionable 1950s retro look

Thoughtful design

Modern features

Light flashes nonstop during brewing

Handle on carafe a little flimsy

Smeg Retro Coffee Maker Overview

Smeg 50's Retro Style Aesthetic Drip Coffee Maker Overview.

Founded in 1948, SMEG is an Italian company that specializes in high-end, retro-themed kitchen appliances. To be honest, I thought the manufacturer just produced beautiful and expensive fridges and stoves. But as it turns out, SMEG has diversified into smaller appliances like toasters, blenders and now, coffee machines.

There’s no denying the SMEG coffee maker is a gorgeous piece of eye candy. Whether or not you’re a devotee of 1950s-style aesthetics, this coffee maker is undeniably beautiful. Featuring mid century curves and a glossy finish, the SMEG oozes retro-futuristic cool, and obvious attention to detail has gone into the coffee maker’s design.

Leave it to the Italians to produce something so stylishly self-conscious and uncompromising.

Best Retro Coffee Maker

There’s little doubt the SMEG coffee maker will add some “wow factor” to your kitchen – this thing really makes a statement. That’s why I named the SMEG “best retro coffee maker” in my coffee maker guide for 2022. 

What’s surprising, though, is how large the coffee maker is. Standing 17 inches tall, the SMEG isn’t what you’d call compact, so it might not be the best choice for small kitchens. 

As far as build quality goes, the SMEG drip coffee machine is heavy and durable. The exterior is made from high quality stainless steel and the manufacturer’s logo is displayed prominently right on front of the machine. 

Unfortunately, that’s where the quality seems to end. Inside, there’s a lot of plastic in evidence, including the showerhead and lid. The carafe is made from glass, but it looks like the manufacturer cut corners with the flimsy plastic handle.

You’d be forgiven for worrying about whether the SMEG coffee maker’s retro design is complemented by 1950s-era technology. Well, fear not – there are plenty of modern touches in evidence

Front and center is an understated LED digital display. There are also four buttons with reassuringly modern-looking icons, reminding you that the SMEG coffee maker is very much a 21st century appliance.

In this SMEG coffee maker review, I break down the features the machine has to offer. Let’s take a look at those now!

Smeg Retro Coffee Maker Features

Thus far I’ve spent a lot of time talking about how cool the SMEG retro coffee maker looks. Still, the question remains: can this machine produce really tasty coffee, or are we just dealing with a case of style over substance? 

After all, the SMEG coffee maker isn’t cheap – you’ll pay upwards of $229.95 on Amazon, depending on which color you choose. Let’s take a closer look at the SMEG’s unique features to get a better idea of what this coffee maker is all about.

Colors

Smeg 50's Retro Style Aesthetic Drip Coffee Machine Colors.

You could never accuse SMEG of limiting your self expression. Here are the colors you can choose from:

  • Black
  • Stainless steel
  • Cream
  • Pastel blue
  • Pastel green
  • Red
  • Pink

As I already mentioned, the SMEG coffee maker’s price depends on which color you choose. To put that in perspective, those of you who simply must have a pink coffee maker had better get ready to shell out a whopping $229.95 on Amazon!

Anti Slip Feet

Smeg Retro Coffee Machine Side view.

Clocking in at over 7 pounds (3 kilograms), the SMEG coffee maker is pretty substantial, and I’ve already mentioned its durable stainless steel housing. Still, accidents do happen and the last thing you want is your coffee maker ending up on the floor. That’s why I always appreciate thoughtful features like anti slip feet. Knowing my coffee maker is safe and sound just gives me one less thing to worry about.

Control Panel

Smeg 50's Retro Style Aesthetic Drip Coffee Maker Control Panel.

The SMEG retro coffee maker’s control panel is a fairly straightforward affair, consisting of an LED digital display and four buttons. There’s also a lever on the side of the machine for setting the time and inputting water hardness settings

During my hands-on review of the SMEG coffee maker, I’ll be sure to evaluate the control panel as part of my “can I use this without looking at the instructions” test.

Sound Control

Apparently, SMEG received a lot of complaints about how much noise their coffee maker made. I’m not talking about the pleasant gurgling sounds we all associate with coffee makers, either. 

The machine would beep and screech like an angry droid, driving many customers to the edge of madness. The manufacturer listened, and the retro coffee maker now features a sound control function to silence the beeping. Silence really is golden.

Program Function

I was going to make a joke about people in the 1950s wishing they could program their coffee maker, but I’m not altogether sure they didn’t have that option. I’ll have to add that to my Google list. 

Anyway, what’s important is that the SMEG coffee maker has a super convenient automatic start function. You can program the coffee maker to make coffee at a set time, so it’ll be ready for you as soon as you roll out of bed.

Water Hardness

A really cool feature of this retro coffee maker is the water hardness function. You’re able to set your water hardness from one of three options – hard, medium and soft. I imagine the machine makes subtle changes according to which setting is selected, therefore allowing it to operate with maximum efficiency.

Whatever the case, it’s good to see that the manufacturer cares enough to offer this as a feature.

Water Level Indicator

Smeg 50's Retro Style Aesthetic Drip Coffee Machine Water Level Indicator.

The SMEG coffee maker’s 47 ounce (1.4 liter) water reservoir isn’t the biggest around, but you’ll definitely be able to make enough coffee to get the day started.

What I really like is the stylish water level indicator on the side of the machine. It features attractive icons that help you accurately fill the water tank from a minimum of two cups to a maximum level of 10 cups.

Keep Warm Function

If you’ve read any of my other coffee maker reviews, you’ll probably have guessed that I’m not a fan of warmer plates. I’ll take a thermal carafe any day, rather than have to drink coffee that’s been slowly cooked in a glass pot.

Not everyone seems to share my sentiments, though. Apparently, SMEG received countless complaints about its coffee maker’s keep warm function, which used to last for — an entirely reasonable — 20 minutes before shutting off.

The manufacturer has bowed to the pressure, and the SMEG retro coffee maker now keeps a full carafe of coffee warm for up to an hour.

Filter Basket

Smeg Retro Coffee Maker Filter Basket.

The SMEG coffee machine comes with a nylon mesh reusable filter, which means you don’t have to worry about waking up to the dreaded empty filter box. The main downside to using a reusable mesh filter is that you run the risk of finding sediment in your cup. Fortunately, you can use #4 paper filters for a cleaner extraction.

Glass Carafe

Smeg Drip Coffee Maker Glass Carafe.

The SMEG’s elegant 10-cup glass carafe fits with the machine’s overall aesthetic and features a custom-designed lid to minimize spills. As I mentioned earlier, though, the carafe’s plastic handle is a little on the flimsy side. 

Aroma Setting

Smeg coffee pot top view.

The SMEG coffee machine’s aroma settings can be adjusted via the aroma button on the front of the coffee maker. You can choose between Delicate or Intense, which apparently refers to brew strength. Quite what the machine changes when switching between aroma settings isn’t clear, so I’ll be paying particular attention to this feature during my hands on review.

Brewing Options

From what I can gather, the SMEG coffee machine allows you to brew anywhere from two cups to a full 10 cup carafe of coffee. There’s also a 4 Cups button, which allows you to fill the water reservoir, but brew a smaller amount of coffee.

Anti Drip System

Although I’m not a fan of the keep warm function, at least SMEG has included an anti drip system, which is essentially a valve on the bottom of the filter basket. This reduces the risk of coffee dripping onto the hot plate, which smells awful and is really hard to clean up.

What’s in the Smeg Retro Coffee Machine Box?

Here’s what’s included with the SMEG retro coffee machine:

  • Glass carafe with custom-designed lid
  • Reusable filter
  • Filter holder with anti-drip valve
  • Instruction manual

How to Use the Smeg 50’s Retro Style Coffee Maker

How to Use the Smeg coffee maker.

Making a pot of coffee with the SMEG coffee machine should be a fairly familiar process for most of you. As always, it’s my duty to remind you that you’ll get the best results by using freshly roasted, high-quality coffee beans and grinding them right before you brew. If you don’t already own a decent burr grinder, check out my coffee grinder guide for some inspiration!

Steps

  1. First, fill the water tank. You’ll have to open the coffee maker’s lid and pour in water using another vessel. This can be fairly awkward, and depending on where your SMEG machine is located, it could be the biggest challenge of your morning.
  2. Put the permanent filter into its holder, then add your freshly ground coffee. Remember, you can use a paper filter if you’d prefer.
  3. Close the coffee maker’s sizable lid, then place the glass carafe onto the warmer plate, making sure its lid aligns perfectly with the anti drip valve.
  4. The SMEG’s default aroma setting is delicate, but you can select intense by pressing the aroma button. Now’s the time to press the 4 Cups button if you only want to brew a half-carafe.
  5. To start brewing, press the On/Off button, which will flash for the duration of the brewing process. If you’re brewing a full carafe, the keep warm function will start automatically once the coffee is ready. That said, you can manually turn it off by pressing the on/off button.

I’ll make sure to experiment with different coffee beans and a variety of brewing ratios during my hands-on review. However, what’s immediately apparent is the lack of any special features that can elevate the SMEG and convince me that it’s more than just an ordinary coffee maker with a pretty face.

After all, there are a growing number of fairly affordable coffee makers that have been certified for home brewing by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). Such machines feature PID temperature controllers, sophisticated shower heads, pre-infusion functions and more. 

Who knows, though – perhaps the SMEG retro coffee maker really will deliver an exceptional cup of coffee!

Smeg Retro Coffee Machine Cleaning and Descaling

How to Clean the Smeg Retro Coffee Maker.

Thanks to the SMEG’s anti drip system, you shouldn’t have to deal with many unwanted splashes and stains. Still, accidents happen and the coffee maker’s exterior can be wiped down with a damp cloth.

You should clean the permanent filter, filter holder and glass carafe after every use. Manufacturers always tell you that it’s cool to put filters and brewing baskets in the dishwasher, but I don’t agree.

A quick rinse with warm water and perhaps a little mild detergent will do the job nicely and get rid of stray coffee grounds. The same goes for the glass carafe.

The SMEG retro coffee maker will let you know when it’s time to descale the machine. The descaling icon begins to flash repeatedly, and won’t quit until you’ve performed your duty. Not to worry, though – descaling the SMEG is really easy. 

Products like Urnex Descaling Solution or Full Circle Descaling Powder will do the job nicely, but you can also use a mix of white vinegar and water.

Press the On/Off and Auto Start buttons simultaneously to start the descaling program. Once it’s finished, don’t forget to perform a couple of brew cycles with clean water to rinse the machine.

Smeg Retro Coffee Maker Specifications

 SMEG Retro Coffee Maker
ManufacturerSMEG
NameRetro-Style Coffee Maker DCF02
Product categoryDrip coffee maker
Housing materialStainless steel
Carafe MaterialGlass
Brew capacity40 oz (1,183 ml)
Serving size options4-10 cups
ProgrammableYes
Brew styles2
Permanent coffee filterYes
Auto pauseYes
Removable filter basketYes
Water filterNo
Removable water reservoirNo
Warmer plateYes
Customization options7 colors
Weight7.48 lbs (3.39 kg)
Dimensions17 x 13 x 11.25 in
Current price on Amazon$229.95

Smeg Retro Style Coffee Maker vs Other Retro Coffee Makers

As it turns out, the SMEG isn’t the only retro style coffee maker kid on the block. There are quite a few manufacturers trying to appeal to those who want to make their coffee in a time machine. Let’s take a look at a couple of coffee makers that are trying to get in on the action.

Smeg Retro Coffee Maker vs Nostalgia

Nostalgia Coffee Machine vs Smeg Retro Coffee Machine.

If you’re determined to own a retro style coffee maker, but feel like the SMEG’s price tag isn’t old-fashioned enough, the Nostalgia Coffee Maker is worth checking out

Costing just $125.99 on Amazon, the Nostalgia is another fully programmable coffee machine with a permanent mesh filter, clock and a backlit LED display. What’s even better is the Nostalgia’s 12 cup capacity, which makes it ideal for coffee-loving families.

Smeg Retro Coffee Maker vs Amaste

Amaste Coffee Machine vs Smeg Retro Coffee Pot.

The Amaste Coffee Maker is an even more affordable retro style coffee maker, although it only has a five cup capacity. That said, it’s a great option for small kitchens and only costs $90.24 on Amazon. 

The Amaste retro style coffee maker comes with a permanent filter, hot plate and even offers three brew styles. Plus, you get to choose from exotic-sounding colors like champagne, matcha green and coral red.

Smeg Retro Style Coffee Maker vs Other Retro Coffee Makers Comparison Chart

 SMEG Retro Coffee MakerNostalgia Retro Coffee MakerAmaste Coffee Maker
ManufacturerSMEGNostalgia ProductsAmaste
NameRetro-Style Coffee Maker DCF02Retro 12-Cup Programmable Coffee MakerRetro-Style Coffee Maker
Product categoryDrip coffee makerDrip coffee makerDrip coffee maker
Housing materialStainless steelPlasticPlastic
Carafe MaterialGlassGlassGlass
Brew capacity40 oz / 1.2 l60 oz / 1.8 l25 oz / 739 ml
Serving size options4-10 cups4-12 cups1-5 cups
ProgrammableYesYesYes
Brew styles213
Permanent coffee filterYesYesYes
Auto pauseYesYesYes
Removable filter basketYesYesYes
Water filterNoNoNo
Removable water reservoirNoNoNo
Warmer plateYesYesYes
Customization options7 colors6 colors4 colors
Weight7.5 lb / 3.4 kg7.3 lb / 3.3 kg4.4 lb / 2.0 kg
Dimensions17.0 x 13.0 x 11.2 in / 43.2 x 33.0 x 28.4 cm11.0 x 8.5 x 14.2 in / 28.0 x 21.6 x 36.1 cm12.4 x 9.6 x 7.7 in / 31.5 x 24.4 x 19.5 cm
Current price on Amazon$229.95$125.99$49.99

Verdict: Smeg 50’s Retro Style Coffee Maker

Best Retro Coffee Maker

Modern features with a 1950s look.

Best Retro Coffee Maker!

Fashionable 1950s retro look

Thoughtful design

Modern features

Light flashes nonstop during brewing

Handle on carafe a little flimsy

I totally get the appeal of the SMEG drip coffee machine. It’s an undeniably stylish and beautiful machine and, for fans of its 1950s retro look, the purchase price might seem entirely reasonable. 

Still, if you’re looking for a machine that’ll perform to consistently high standards of coffee preparation, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere; there are several drip coffee machines in my coffee maker guide that have been Golden Cup-certified by the SCA to produce excellent coffee to rival that from a Chemex or pour over coffee maker

That being said, I look forward to testing out the SMEG drip coffee machine. Perhaps it’ll end up being the bee’s knees and make me flip my lid!

I hope reading my preliminary SMEG coffee maker review has transported you to a time when everything was simpler and all was right with the world. If there’s anything you’d like me to focus on during my upcoming hands-on review, let me know in the comments section!

Smeg Retro Coffee Maker FAQ

Making coffee in the SMEG drip coffee machine is easy. Simply add water to the reservoir, put coffee grinds in the reusable coffee filter, then close the lid. Press the On/Off button to begin the brewing process.

The SMEG coffee maker’s descaling icon will start flashing when it’s time to descale the machine. Add descaling solution or a mix of white vinegar and water to the coffee maker’s water tank, then press the On/Off and Auto Start buttons simultaneously for five seconds. Once the descaling cycle has been completed, the icon will stop flashing.

SMEG coffee makers can be programmed to start brewing at a specific time by using the Auto Start mode.

The SMEG drip coffee maker comes with a permanent mesh filter, but you can use #4 paper filters for a cleaner extraction.

Start by using a medium grind size to make coffee in your SMEG drip coffee maker. You can make small adjustments to your grind size, spending on your personal taste preference and which type of coffee beans you’re using.

The SMEG coffee maker comes equipped with a handy measuring scoop. Start by using one level scoop of ground coffee per cup, and adjust according to your taste preference.

SMEG drip coffee makers don’t use coffee capsules, which makes them much more environmentally friendly than single-serve coffee pod machines.

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