Tchibo Coffee Machine Review: Is This a Joke?

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

To understand my Tchibo coffee machine review, you really need to understand my relationship with Tchibo: it’s a bit of back and forth. After all, it is the father of German coffee bar culture, and sometimes what it produces is reasonable.

Tchibo Esperto Caffè

To understand my Tchibo coffee machine review, you really need to understand my relationship with Tchibo: it’s a bit of back and forth. After all, it is the father of German coffee bar culture, and sometimes what it produces is reasonable.

So, naturally, that’s why my hair falls out when the company proudly announces it’s lowering its coffee prices — the world market price for coffee is already at a historical low, which isn’t good for farmers.

Because Tchibo manages to situate itself so “inconspicuously” somewhere in between, the specialty coffee world doesn’t even bat an eyelash at what Tchibo does — at least not like they do for Lavazza, Jacobs Krönung or even Starbucks. In other words, most of the time, Tchibo doesn’t do anything well but also does nothing terribly wrong, either. Perhaps they are like the question often asked about a tree falling in the woods when no one is around: does it make a noise?

Then, out of the blue, it suddenly comes out of the woodwork with a bang and presents the Tchibo Esperto Caffè — affectionately known in the United States as “The Tchibo,” which is available for $499.00. Tchibo claims it’s the brand’s “first fully automatic coffee machine.” The company even wants to provide me with a Tchibo coffee machine for my super automatic coffee machine reviews, but what can I say? It’s obviously convinced it has a winner!

Even though Tchibo’s logo is a coffee bean, I prefer to support smaller private roasters over large corporations. That’s why I’m a big proponent of the fair trade coffee movement.

I won’t go into all of the reasons why, but I bought the Tchibo coffee machine I reviewed in the store, as opposed to allowing the company to provide me one under the conviction that I could be more objective in my review. That said, my evaluation wouldn’t have changed anyway. While the Tchibo does alright at making espresso for a $499.00 machine, it delivers practically no proprietary value at all — well, outside of the stylish bean emblem printed on the machine. Plus, buying the machine myself alleviated any sense of guilt I would feel for having to say what you are about to read.

Firstly, making the Tchibo coffee machine without a milk frothing system is just copying the ideas of the Melitta Caffeo Solo or Jura A1. I mean, if you’re going to copy another brand’s idea, at least do it better! Secondly, Tchibo claiming to have designed this machine isn’t exactly true. The Tchibo coffee machine is nearly 100 percent identical to a Severin machine that has been around for quite a while.

There are also other white-label variations from Espressione, Grundig, Caso and Beko. All of them are based on the Severin KV8090 machine. Some, such as the Espressione Concierge in the United States and Beko CEG5311X in the United Kingdom, even include a steam wand. The Espressione Concierge sells for $469.99, while Beko models range in price from $220 to $310.

Does this white-label approach make the Tchibo coffee machine bad? No, but I have more confidence in manufacturers when they are transparent about key details.

Tchibo Coffee Machine

New branding for a white-label machine.

Compact

Beautiful

Clear functionality

Good value for the money

Drinkable espresso

No new value

Grind is too coarse

An Overview of the Tchibo Coffee Machine

I didn’t want to make public my suspicions that this German coffee maker is a white-label version from Severin without supporting evidence. So, I wrote to Tchibo for more information. The response was simply: “no comment.” That said, and since we have no contrary evidence, my vote is a resounding “yes” in response to that question. Yes, the Tchibo coffee machine is a white-label product.

A Need for Transparency

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against white-label products. It’s the lack of transparency that bothers me. I find it similar to what some coffee bean brands claim when they say, “especially for super automatic coffee machines.” There’s simply no truth in such statements.

At Tchibo in Germany, it sounds like this:

The first Tchibo fully automatic coffee machine is here! Developed by our coffee experts, specially adapted for Tchibo coffees.

No one at Tchibo has developed anything here — and I’d also like to know how a machine is “specially” tuned for a whole range of beans.

What Tchibo did right with the U.S. marketing is attack the prolific waste of plastic coffee pods by Keurig, positioning the brand as more “green.” That makes a lot more sense! So much so that I’m surprised more super automatic coffee machine brands don’t follow suit. Keurig coffee machines are super popular in the United States and cost a similar price to the Tchibo coffee machine, especially when you consider the inflated cost of coffee pods.

The Tchibo U.S. site says it like this:

For fresher coffee. And a fresher planet. Meet The Tchibo, the eco-friendly, bean-to-brew coffee machine. Single-serve. No pods. No waste.

Merit Based Evaluation

Country-specific marketing aside, as with any super automatic espresso machine, we need to evaluate the Tchibo coffee machine on its own merits and not just look at how it compares to models from other brands. For starters, Tchibo can definitely score some points when it comes to first impressions, as the Tchibo coffee machine has a lot of stainless steel decorating the housing. You just don’t see this much stainless steel on a device in this price range.

Arne making coffee on the Tchibo Esperto Caffè fully automatic coffee machine

Analogous to Melitta’s Caffeo Solo, the Tchibo coffee machine doesn’t have a built-in milk frothing system. On top of that, it offers only three beverage styles: espresso, caffè Crema and americano.

Then again, these variants are actually the only three clearly defined styles that a fully automatic machine can manage. Everything else is just a variation of these three styles of coffee. Take the ristretto, for example. It falls in the espresso category.

In this respect, I find this minimalist functionality quite sensible. This minimalism is also skillfully expressed with a very small and tidy display that has a few simple touch icons on it.

Then there is the water tank and drip tray. As one would expect from a minimalist design, the water tank and drip tray are rather small. Being that the machine is meant for one person, though, you need less water anyway. Well, that and how you don’t need to create steam for frothed milk. I have no issues with this minimalism.

The Tchibo coffee machine water container

Moving on to the bean hopper: it can expand from its capacity of 160 grams (5.6 ounces) per insert to 300 grams (10.6 ounces). However, it’s rather unsightly once expanded and even looks thrown together by amateur designers. Besides, you rarely need 300 grams (10.6 ounces) of beans in one go anyway. So, it’s safe to say that the Tchibo coffee machine is not designed for offices.

Arne pondering the wonders of the Tchibo coffee machine

The “Intense+ technology” is still touted as a great, special feature and even has its own button. I have to say, though, it’s kind of magical. At the push of a button, you can make your coffee stronger and more aromatic. Who wouldn’t want that? Spoiler alert: this button will become your new best friend when you use it!

A stepless, stainless steel coffee grinder rounds out Tchibo’s efforts to make a successful first impression — especially at this price. It’s only the marketing absurdity that overshadows everything. At least in my opinion.

When the Grinder & Espresso Adjustment Button Are All You’ve Got to Offer

For the sake of efficiency, I used my freshly acquired Tchibo coffee machine for our big caffeine test the same day I purchased it. After all, we needed a fully automatic machine of some sort.

While I was busy fidgeting in front of the camera and pouring various coffee samples, a friend from a local coffee shop agreed to get the machine ready to go. She adjusted the settings to optimize the grind for brewing espresso and worked hard — drank a bunch of samples — to find the right balance for the test beans.

Unfortunately, this process didn’t really go all that smoothly, and she was quite annoyed afterward. However, she was able to adjust the grind to the finest level without any problems and had the option of lowering the minimum amount for a clean espresso to an optimal 25 milliliters (0.85 ounces).

Let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty to watch. All that ever came out was a mess. The processed coffee quality from the Tchibo coffee machine is always too weak without the Intense+ button. The problem is, you don’t have the option to change this in a more subtle way. Instead of “Intense+,” the button should be called “normal,” or something else that means “regular strength.”

The grinder’s “finest” level is also still too coarse for solid results. Affordable models DeLonghi, Philips and Saeco all fare better.

Is Espresso From the Tchibo Coffee Machine What Consumers Really Want?

Despite our use of the Intense+ button, a minimum quantity of water, the finest grind and dark roasted beans, the espresso was not particularly full-bodied. There was a clear watery impression greeting the palate with every sip.

Certainly, the espresso wasn’t a disaster, but it also didn’t give a convincing enough result to make it memorable. Then again, maybe I should have used Tchibo beans. After all, that’s what the machine is for — wink, wink.

A close-up of the Tchibo coffee machine

The Caffè Crema reminded me of grandma’s old dishwater coffee. So, for the sake of thoroughness, I also tested an americano, which was not only hotter than the rest but also brought a bit more flavor into play than the crema.

Fresh coffee brewed from the Tchibo coffee machine

Not to be rude, but perhaps the preferences of typical Tchibo buyers are quite different from mine. I don’t need to ask the manufacturer for its opinion, as this would fall into the “no comment” category again. In any case, users on Amazon appear to love this machine! Now, that’s an opinion to consider.

The Tchibo’s Smaller Size Makes Cleaning Convenient

The compact dimensions of the Tchibo coffee machine do mean that you’ll have to clean the drip tray more often, but otherwise, a small device offers advantages when it comes to cleaning.

The Tchibo coffee machine drip tray

Its small components can fit pretty much anywhere, even in full dishwashers. Plus, it’s also easy to run them under the faucet or clean them in the sink in no time. You can easily remove all of the essential parts on the Tchibo coffee machine — yes, including the brew group.

Though the parts are obviously much smaller than on many other super automatic espresso machines in our reviews, the Tchibo coffee machine still does its job reasonably well. Because it’s so small, you can clean it perfectly from all sides when rinsing, brush it and dry it again quickly.

A direct comparison with DeLonghi only shows, once again, that spending a little more money also ensures higher-quality components. With DeLonghi products, I certainly never feel like I’m dealing with a toy.

To remove the brew group from the Tchibo coffee machine, you just need to open a service door on the side of the device. I would even recommend that when you rinse the brew group every day, you also clean the area behind the service door. A lot of coffee residue accumulates there quickly.

Tchibo Coffee Machine Specifications

 Tchibo Coffee Machine
ManufacturerTchibo
TypeSuper-automatic espresso machine
Removable brew groupYes
FinishPlastic with stainless steel parts
Milk frothing systemNo
DisplayTouch
Mobile AppNo
User profilesNo
Water container capacity37 oz / 1.1 L
Maximum spout height6.1 in / 15.5 cm
GrinderStainless steel cone grinder
Beans container capacity5.64 - 10.6 oz / 160 - 300 g
Adjustable coffee temperatureNo
Grinding levels5
2-cup functionYes, for espresso and Caffè Crema only
Removable drip trayYes
Coffee recipesCoffee, espresso, Caffè Crema
Coffee temperature settingsYes
Milk froth only functionNo
Hot milk functionNo
Hot water functionNo
Hot milk functionNo
Milk froth only functionNo
Automatic cleaningYes
Weight16.5 lbs / 7.5 kg
Dimensions (H x W x D)15.6 x 7 x 12.4 in / 40.0 x 18.0 x 31.5 cm
Current price on Amazon$499.00

Conclusions About the Tchibo Coffee Machine: More Clarity, Less Milk Curds

I wonder why there is such an eagerness in the coffee world to be perceived as a private label. In the fashion world, for example, collaborations are the order of the day — and even exceptionally hip with the “Brand A x Brand B” label.

A usable fully automatic coffee machine with some drawbacks.

Tchibo Coffee Machine

New branding for a white-label machine.

Compact

Beautiful

Clear functionality

Good value for the money

Drinkable espresso

No new value

Grind is too coarse

In collaborations, both brands benefit from the strengths of the other and become more popular as a result. Couldn’t a “Tchibo x Severin” collaborative machine have the same effect? What’s with all the secrecy? Is Tchibo’s image of Severin really that low? Why not work together to make the best home espresso machine in this price range?

Tchibo Coffee Machine

New branding for a white-label machine.

Compact

Beautiful

Clear functionality

Good value for the money

Drinkable espresso

No new value

Grind is too coarse

Whatever the reason, it makes for harebrained marketing that often turns out to be an outright lie. This, in turn, leaves a bad taste in my mouth during a super automatic espresso machine review.

The Tchibo is really nice for a cheap espresso machine, especially since it has a pleasant — and unusual — price tag of $499.00. Its minimalist look and reduced functionality can make a good impression. The compact dimensions are also a big plus.

Given that, it would honestly look great in a dorm room at a university or even jazz up a vacation rental house at the beach. Being small in size, the options of where you could put this Tchibo fully automatic coffee machine are limitless. The Tchibo coffee machine is definitely among the best budget espresso machines on the market.

Yes, the espresso could definitely be more full-bodied and hopefully tastes better to you than it does to me. We could also consider whether a milk frothing system is a requirement for a super automatic espresso machine.

What is not a question of faith is that I would like to see more transparency when it comes to new products. Tricking customers doesn’t work. The Tchibo coffee machine could easily be advertised on the merits of its great price tag, sleek look or compact dimensions. Tchibo didn’t need to say it was designed by them, in other words.

What are your thoughts on this German coffee machine? Comment and discuss! I can’t wait to see what you have to say.

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