A decade ago, maybe more, the term smart coffee machine still sounded a bit far away, a bit like science fiction. However, in recent years, smart coffee machines have gone from being an extravagance to an increasingly integrated reality in our daily lives.
In today’s article, we are going to delve a little deeper into this subject; we are going to find out what these machines are and what is meant by a smart coffee machine today. We will also give you some recommendations so that you know what they can do and where you can buy a smart coffee machine if you want to try this experience.
What is a smart coffee machine?
More or less, all of us have it in our heads that a smart coffee machine is a machine that, in addition to brewing coffee, is also responsible for carrying out certain processes or tasks without the need for the user to intervene. It usually makes use of technology for this purpose. Therefore, the definition of a smart coffee machine and what a smart coffee machine can do change over time as technology evolves.
These tasks can be of different kinds, but some of the most common ones can be quickly mentioned:
- Switching on or off automatically or remotely.
- Preparing preparations or recipes (e.g. taking an exact quantity of each ingredient and serving it in the correct order).
- Performing scheduled maintenance tasks (e.g. cleaning or descaling), or at least alerting the user when they need to be performed.
- The memorisation and programming of user profiles, allowing customers to set personalised preferences or options without having to repeat them each time coffee is made.
- Capsule coffee machines automatically recognise when a pod has been inserted and brews the coffee without the need to press a button.
What do we mean by a smart coffee machine today? Well, there are many possibilities today:
We can start, for example, with programmable smart coffee machines, which make freshly brewed coffee just before you get home when you get up in the morning… at the time you specify. They do this electronically, and you can learn more about them in our guide to timer drip coffee machines.
There are also coffee machines with Wifi or Bluetooth connectivity. In this case, internet access allows us, for example, to have online recipe books or pre-configured preparations that the coffee maker can make instantly, which are updated and renewed automatically because they are not stored in the appliance itself but in the cloud.
Another of the most common applications of smart coffee machines with wifi is to be able to “give it orders” via our mobile or tablet from anywhere in the house where we are. That is to say: it is not necessary to get up from the armchair to go to the kitchen and make our favourite coffee.
The best smart coffee machines in 2021
There is a multitude of models that can fall within the definition of a smart coffee machine, but we are going to try to highlight some of the most relevant in the sector in this section.
If you are looking for a Nespresso smart coffee machine, Nespresso Atelier could be a good option. This is one of Nespresso’s greatest innovations, and more than a typical coffee machine, it is a real workshop. Basically, it allows you to use any coffee capsule, any milk (even vegetable) and, at the touch of a button, make any of the dozens of recipes programmed in its database. You can even customise them or touch up an already configured recipe.
In short, a really different concept whose main advantage is that it allows you to create very elaborate drinks in a short time and without the need for barista knowledge or skills.
In Nespresso’s catalogue of smart coffee machines, you also have the Prodigio or the Expert. However, both are limited to Wifi or Bluetooth connectivity to be able to carry out some basic operations via mobile phone. They are not as advanced as the Atelier, far from it.
Dolce Gusto Esperta
The Dolce Gusto smart coffee machine was the Nestlé company’s first major innovation in the field of connectivity. All machines prior to the Esperta lacked truly useful functions in this area.
In the case of the Esperta, we are talking about a smart coffee machine with Bluetooth. The Bluetooth communication protocol allows us to operate our machine from a mobile device and from there choose some special models, program the start-up for a specific time, create a personalised user profile… a whole host of tasks that are not available directly from the physical interface of the coffee machine.
To complete our list of candidates for the best smart coffee maker on the market, we have the Scishare from Xiaomi. But not the first generation (it is already a somewhat veteran model on the market) but the 2nd generation Scishare, which is the one with mobile connectivity.
We can call it the Xiaomi Mijia Scishare smart capsule coffee machine because it is controlled either through the physical control panel on the coffee machine itself or through the Mijia app (Mi Home) of this well-known Chinese brand. From the screen of your mobile or tablet, you can configure parameters such as the volume of the cup (from 15 to 150 millilitres) or the outlet temperature (from 80ºC to 100ºC).
Apart from the remote control, this unit is characterised by being one of the few multi-capsule coffee machines available on the market.
What is the future of smart coffee machines?
It is difficult to predict where the future of smart coffee machines might go, as the whole subject is subject to technological advancement. However, one can sense that the trend is towards integrating all appliances in smart homes. The next step could be a smart coffee maker with Alexa or a smart coffee maker compatible with Google Home, with compatibility already built-in as standard. In fact, there are already some models in other markets.
The luxury of being able to operate a smart coffee machine with Google Home is now possible, though not thanks to the coffee machine itself but via a smart plug. You would have to buy one of these elements separately (they are certainly quite cheap) and install it in the socket where you usually connect your coffee maker.
In this way, you can turn any coffee maker into a smart coffee maker, at least so that you can programme it to turn on, turn off and start up at the time you want. You can do this in several ways: through the plug itself, through an app, or through a smart speaker (the well-known Amazon Echo, Google Home, etc.) that detects your voice command.