The Solis Barista Perfetta Review: Is It Worth It?

Compact espresso machines are on my radar at the moment. After years of limited development, an influx of new models is entering the market -- ones that are more than just pretty kitchen decorations that lack performance, too.

Solis Barista Perfetta Plus Espressomaschine Uebersicht Arne

Compact espresso machines are on my radar at the moment. After years of limited development, an influx of new models is entering the market — ones that are more than just pretty kitchen decorations that lack performance, too.

Solis, the Swiss company — along with the Italian DeLonghi — is really making a big splash in this category. Having been completely blown away by a separate machine from Solis recently, I was puzzled by the , which is the focus of this review.

A small machine with a big price tag.

At a second glance, the price tag of the Solis Barista Perfetta is completely justifiable.

Very compact and high quality

Many useful settings

Very good espresso

Decent steam pressure

Useful accessories

Price and appearance contradiction

At $499, this entry-level espresso machine currently costs more than some full-size machines but looks just as weak as, say, the low-suction DeLonghi Dedica EC685. This disparity creates a contradiction that we’ll get to the bottom of in this Solis Barista Perfetta review. 

Overview: The Solis Barista Perfetta at a Glance

When it comes to espresso machines, I always say the investment only really makes sense if you put in at least $500. Only then can you expect sufficient performance for a perfect espresso. Anything less tends to be a bit ho-hum.

CategoryEntry
ManufacturerSolis
NameSolis Barista Perfetta Espresso Machine
TypePortafilter machine with thermoblock
ColorSilver
FinishStainless steel
Coffee recipesCoffee, espresso
User profilesNo
ControlsKnob, push buttons
OtherPressure gauge
Milk frothing systemYes, steam wand
Hot water functionYes
Hot milk functionManual
Milk froth only functionManual
Removable drip trayYes
2-cup functionYes
Pot functionNo
Removable water reservoirYes
Weight12.56 lbs / 5.7 kg
Dimensions (length x width x height)12.63 x 7.36 x 14.64 in / 32.1 x 18.7 x 37.2 cm
Pump pressure15 bar
Filter size2.12 in / 5.4 cm
Water container capacity57.48 oz / 1.7 L
Accessories includedSingle & double wall strainers, tamper, pitcher,
scoop & cleaning aids

This rule of thumb was in the back of my mind the first time I looked at the Solis Barista Perfetta — because initially, I didn’t know what justified its price. Granted:

  • It’s definitely not a cheap, plastic machine.
  • The device has a very user-friendly and spacious scope of delivery.
  • It quickly gets you on your way to the perfect espresso with a high degree of accuracy.

Appearance-wise, the Solis Barista Perfetta espresso machine has a solid construction at the base, and the body consists of a very high-quality metal. This puts the Solis version miles above entry-level models like the DeLonghi Dedica EC685, and I would argue that at least in this respect, the Solis Barista Perfetta and the Breville BES500 Bambino Plus are the most similar.

In the scope of delivery, the different strainer types and high-quality tampers are indeed standouts. You can choose between the single-walled “professional models” and the double-walled “entry-level models” — each for one or two cups of joe.

The Solis Barista Perfetta espresso machine’s strainers

Double-walled strainers will help you achieve a better extraction, even if you mess up on the coarseness or amount of the grinds you use. They are cheat tools for beginners, so to speak.

In any case, with a diameter of 2.12 inches (54 millimeters), the screens and portafilter holder are visibly at the beginner level. Professional versions usually work with 2.28 inches (58 millimeters).

The Solis Barista Perfetta espresso machine’s portafilter holder

While this is only a small detail, it clearly shows in which category you should put the Barista Perfetta. The smaller diameter, combined with a deeper portafilter, also makes for an “easier” yet less accurate extraction.

However, it’s the pressure gauge as the dominant element on the narrow front of the Solis Barista Perfetta that really gets my goat. Professionals — on professional machines — use this pressure indicator to check whether they’ve reached the requisite 9 bar needed for extracting the perfect espresso. If this does not happen, they readjust the entire extraction sequence and the machine itself.

For machines that are obviously entry-level, a pressure gauge is more of a gimmick to make them look like a “real portafilter” — at least to me.

While that doesn’t mean that the pressure gauge is imprecise or couldn’t help with reworking extraction factors, it’s still a bit odd. No one puts a pressure gauge on an entry-level machine — mostly because users don’t know how to use one. So, on the Solis Barista Perfetta, it is really more of a decoration.

Operating the Solis Barista Perfetta espresso machine

What matters is that the control buttons are easy to understand. In typical Solis fashion, it puts on a light show to inform you what should or is possible at any given time. It’s quite effective and a little festive.

In terms of the technique and ability to deliver a darn good cup of espresso, the Solis Barista Perfetta espresso machine definitely justifies its price.

However, the obvious orientation toward the entry-level segment alone would tempt me at this point to invest my money on “more impressive” machines that can do more.

Choosing Your Portafilter Settings: There’s More to It Than Meets the Eye

You have to give Solis credit for always providing sensible adjustment options. In the case of the Solis Barista Perfetta, you not only have influence on the respective draw quantity — or throughput time — but you can also change the temperature! This is a feature entry-level portafilter machines rarely offer.

To do so, you have to press the program button a few times, though the Solis Barista Perfetta manual is the best way to achieve that. You adjust the amount of coffee for one or two cups by pressing and holding the buttons simultaneously and then releasing them. If you were hailed the family champion at Hasbro’s Simon game, then you’ll be a pro at this!

Hot water shooting out of the Solis Barista Perfetta espresso machine

Like I said, if you knew exactly what you’re doing, then you could see if you were using too much or too little, too coarse or too fine of coffee grounds when checking the pressure gauge. Your gauge is around 9 bar.

As I also mentioned before: this is a fine tool for the professional, but it can drive a beginner crazy. Users must first familiarize themselves with the coffee grinder, espresso beans and portafilter. However, they should not get overloaded with the possible errors in the “pressure buildup.”

When it comes to the onboard settings, though, I find the Solis Barista Perfetta quite good. You can’t avoid playing around and trying things out, but that process will help you master the machine.

By the way, the Solis Barista Perfetta has a single circuit with a thermoblock, which means it can reach operating temperature super quickly. Classic single-circuit machines can’t keep up with this, making the Barista Perfetta a modern choice for the busy city dweller.

How Does the Solis Barista Perfetta Espresso Turn Out?

In the German test video of the Solis Barista Perfetta, you can see a charming espresso with a very convincing cream on top. This result sets this ultramini, entry-level machine miles apart from the other contenders in this category.

The Solis Barista Perfetta espresso machine’s cover

Because of the adjustability and the high-quality components of the Solis Barista Perfetta espresso machine, you will succeed in making an espresso as it should be. This is true even if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing.

As a “professional feature,” the Barista Perfetta also comes with automatic pre-infusion, which means it moistens the ground coffee before the actual brewing process begins.

The Solis Barista Perfetta espresso machine’s espresso ready to drink

The pre-infusion of water acts as a catalyst that causes the coffee grinds to release their aroma. You can see and taste the difference. I didn’t even have to mess with the temperature to brew an excellent espresso. Wow!

How Does the Frothed Milk Turn Out?

Being a portafilter, the Solis Barista Perfetta “only” has a manual steam wand to make frothed milk. To do this, you have to bring the machine up to temperature, which costs you another few seconds of waiting time — after all, it’s just a single-circuit machine.

The Solis Barista Perfetta espresso machine’s steam wand

You’ll have to practice extensively until you’re satisfied with the results. In any case, the machine’s power is not a problem. Even the steam pressure is a bit better than some full-sized machines. However, you have to learn to control this amount of power. See my poor results in the video.

Cleaning: Small Tips That Will Make a Big Difference

When cleaning a portafilter, there is generally not much to worry about: rinse the portafilter, the filters and the nozzle after each draw. Take care of any coffee residues at the nozzle with the enclosed cleaning tool, too. That’s about it for everyday use. Easy as pie.

On the other hand, I do think it’s important to be a little more picky about the water tank. At 57.5 ounces (1.7 liters), it is a very generous size, especially when you consider consumption rates. Be careful, though, as this will tempt you to fill it up and let the water stand for a long time.

The Solis Barista Perfetta espresso machine’s water reservoir

For a two-person household with an average daily requirement of four double brews, it’s perfectly sufficient. If you fill the water reservoir halfway, rinse it out properly after using the machine and then let it dry well before the next day’s use, and you’ll be good to go.

A dirty steam wand on the Solis Barista Perfetta espresso machine

Otherwise, you’ll promote the formation of algae in the long run and then chase tainted water through the fine hoses of your espresso machine. Nope, nobody wants that!

Conclusion: Is It an Entry-Level Machine Disguised as a Professional or the Other Way Around?

My view of the didn’t really change during the test. I still think that it looks like an entry-level ultramini portafilter, though it costs as much as an ambitious entry-level machine.

A small machine with a big price tag.

At a second glance, the price tag of the Solis Barista Perfetta is completely justifiable.

Very compact and high quality

Many useful settings

Very good espresso

Decent steam pressure

Useful accessories

Price and appearance contradiction

Yet, this reality is difficult to convey to an interested customer.

It seems logical to compare the Solis Barista Perfetta with competitors like the DeLonghi Dedica EC685 or the Breville BES500 Bambino Plus. However, this comparison is completely wrong. The Barista Perfetta is much more oriented toward ambitious machines, even if it tries to include novice users.

I actually think that Solis has shot itself in the foot with this machine. Neither newbies nor advanced users are immediately attracted to what it has to offer. The $499 price tag puts off the beginners, while the style puts off the advanced users.

The steam from the Solis Barista Perfetta espresso machine

Somehow, Solis should have managed to put more emphasis on the great functionality, excellent espresso and frothed milk the Barista Perfetta makes. After all, these factors are the ones that make the purchase worthwhile.

Testing and using the Solis Basista Perfetta was great fun for me, which is why it has my stamp of approval. Plus, it will definitely appeal to some of you.

I know you guys are very interested in this machine. That’s why I’m especially eager to hear your comments. Have at it. I’m on standby waiting to reply — well, after I’ve had my morning coffee.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Kommentar
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Table of Contents