The Smeg BCC02 is a good-looking coffee machine that doesn’t require many brain cells to operate. It may seem expensive given the limited number of features, but the price is more than fair in terms of excellent build quality, design and decent coffee.
Easy to use
Built-in milk frother
A little noisy
Doesn't come with a frothing jug
Limited range of coffee types
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Imagine waking up to a coffee-shop quality cup of coffee every morning. Now imagine that you don't have to leave the house for it. That's right, Smeg's BCC02 fully-automatic coffee maker delivers top-quality brews in the comfort of your own home.
Among the best coffee makers, the BCC02 is stylishly designed. It has echoes of Smeg's retro 50s vibe, but this actually looks almost futuristic too. It boasts a compact footprint that won’t take up too much precious space on kitchen countertops. It's a dream come true.
First launched in 2021, this relatively new model is simple. The set-up won’t take long and maintaining it is easy . The menu might be basic, but it’s a great choice for novice baristas, thanks to its fully automatic settings. Rest assured, the coffee is far from basic in depth and flavors.
This was originally tested by Linda Clayton, an expert tester, in her home. As a trained barista, I wanted to give it another look in our dedicated test kitchen a year later to find out how it performed in an more intense environment. You'll have to read on to find out what we both thought.
|13 1/4" X 7" X 17"
|11 lb./ 8.4kg
|Power cord length
|39" / 1m
|Black, Red, White, Taupe, Emerald Green, All black
|Water tank capacity
|Bean hopper capacity
|Pump pressure (bar)
|Ristretto, Espresso, Coffee, Light Ristretto, Light Espresso, Long coffee
Who would it suit?
All style and stainless steel, this is a premium coffee machine. It comes with the price tag for it too, so you'll want to be in the market for a coffee splurge before considering one of these.
The machine will make six different coffees, which you can choose to add milk to, but that's pretty basic compared to other coffee makers. If you don't need a diverse menu, but you want easy, quick, quality coffee, this is the perfect machine.
Even unboxing this is a pleasure. The box looks as beautiful on the inside as it does on the outside, a marker of a truly premium product. It doesn't come wrapped in copious quantities of plastic or stuffed with polystyrene either. It's almost all cardboard.
Inside the box, there's a cleaning brush, water hardness test strip, and steam wand cleaning needle. These are all really useful, but it's a shame that Smeg doesn't include a stainless steel milk frothing jug too. I was surprised, because it's a basic extra, but you can pick a good-quality one up from Walmart for around $10.
The whole overall set-up process redeemed my milk jug dismay. It was easy to work through each step: rinsing the water resevoir (which has a useful handle), attaching the magnetic drip tray, and filling the bean hopper with coffee beans. Before you get going, you need to go through the process of rinsing the brew group , so that there's no factory dust inside your machine.
What is it like to use?
Once the water tank was full, and the machine turned on at the side, it was ready to go. There are five soft-touch button controls on the top. You can use the middle button to switch between dispensing menus, which change the LED colors between white and orange. The 'light' options are half the strength of the standard brew, perfect if you don't want to shake your way through the day.
One very handy feature that’s worth setting up at the start is the customization of the quantity. Like many coffee machines I have tested, the Smeg BCC02’s idea of a long coffee falls far short of mine. I like a mug of black coffee that is full to the top, like a cup of tea. If you follow the instructions it will all makes sense.
Test 1 - Espresso
I was comparing this to the daily brew that I can get at my local cafe, so I bought the same No.1 Coffee Beans that my favorite coffee shop uses (from them, so I didn’t feel as guilty about the desertion). Since my local uses a shiny, steam-belching Italian coffee machine bigger than a phone box to brew their beans, I wasn’t expecting exactly the same results from Smeg’s compact BCC02 but I am delighted to report I honestly couldn’t tell the difference. The Smeg BCCO2 produces a thick crema head, and the coffee was rich, deep, and delicious. The only thing I was lacking was a friendly chat with the coffee shop owner.
Test 2 - Americano
When your coffee machine boils water, there's a chance that it could all go wrong. It can get too hot, too cool, resulting in a burnt or underwhelming coffee. When I added hot water to my espresso there was about a two second delay as the machine heated up. The water that came out was the perfect temperature. It preserved the beautiful aromas from my espresso perfectly.
I was sceptical with the steam wand, because it's quite short and doesn't have the same 360 degree rotation as professional models. However, I could make glossy, frothy dairy and oat milk, so it's hard to critique.
Admittedly the coffee menu on the machine isn’t terribly diverse but you can get creative using the steam wand to produce macchiatos and lattes if that’s your thing. Use powdered hot chocolate, the hot water button, a shot of espresso, and steamed milk to create creamy mochas. Or skip the espresso for frothy hot chocolate.
If you don’t turn the machine off when you’re finished, it will automatically turn off after 20 minutes, but not until it has done an automatic rinse that clears the pipes. Be warned, it is quite loud and made me jump the first few times before I got used to it.
After the rinse, I cleaned the drip tray, coffee grounds container and, once a week, the brew group. This is hidden inside a flip-down door on the side; just press the two release clips and it slides out easily. Rinse under a running tap, dry, and clip back inside.
If you use the milk frother, you will need to rinse out the wand, which can be removed by turning anticlockwise. I used the cleaning needle supplied to dig out any crusty bits. Unless you drink milky coffee all day (I don’t), you’ll probably want to clean the wand out after every use to prevent sour milk from settling inside.
Storage and Maintenance
Measuring just 18cm wide, the streamlined Smeg BCC02 is a real winner in space-starved kitchens. It tucked neatly into the corner of our pantry cupboard but would also leave space in front for food prepping if you stored it lengthways on the main countertops. The power cable is long but also tucks neatly behind. There’s a color to suit all kitchen designs, including a lovely new limited edition Emerald Green, and the aluminum front panel is especially easy to keep clean.
There are various LED lights on the top of the Smeg BCC02, which alert you to its needs, for example when the coffee grounds bin needs emptying, which is a simple matter of sliding out a panel behind the drip tray. This should be done when the machine is switched on otherwise the counter won’t reset. An empty water tank and an empty bean hopper will also result in an LED alert.
Those living in hard water areas may also need to descale (again there is a warning LED) using a descaler in the water tank and following the instruction in the book supplied. There’s a handy test strip supplied to check hardness levels for anyone who is unsure.
How does it rate online?
As expected, at nearly a thousand pounds, lots of reviewers thought this was expensive. Given that it doesn’t come with a milk pitcher either, a number of people felt that they had paid a high price for the Smeg name.
However, nobody disputed that this made good coffee. It takes a bit of time to remember each button's function, but your cup of coffee at the end of the process is worth it. Most people also found it easy to use and, of course, loved how it looked. It’s an especially good option if you’re on the limited side for space, but you want a premium coffee maker. Most coffee makers are huge, but this is only 18 cm deep.
How does it compare?
In our test kitchen, I tested this alongside the De’Longhi Dimanica Plus. For nearly another thousand pounds, De’Longhi offers a hands-off milk steaming experience, more intuitive screen interface, and over ten more coffee types. If you’re a beginner, or you don’t want an involved process, the De’Longhi is great.
However, if the Smeg looked expensive, it’s a bargain in comparison to the De’Longhi. This Smeg coffee maker is quieter, smaller, and it can be $1000 cheaper at some retailers. They’ll both make you an exceptional cup of coffee, but I’d go for the Smeg over the De’Longhi every time.
I've also tried and reviewed the retro-style Smeg Espresso Machine ECF01. It's a more traditional manual-style espresso machine that may require a learning curve if you're not familiar with traditional espresso prep. It also does not have a built-in grinder.
Perhaps, the most obvious benefit of choosing the Fully Automatic BCC02 over the Smeg Espresso Machine is it offers more choices in terms of coffee size, with no need to add hot water to enjoy an Americano. You can use proper-size mugs, too, which is easier for adding hot, frothy milk.
Should you buy it?
Both Linda and I were unanimous in our adoration for this machine. The Smeg BCC02 is a brilliant choice if you’re seeking a compact design that doesn’t crowd countertops and looks stylish. Tech fans might find it a touch basic but, when you’re in a hurry to get your caffeine fix, this simple press-and-go machine delivers without fuss and is just as fuss-free to keep clean.
At a thousand dollars, it isn’t the cheapest bean to cup out there, but it isn’t the most expensive either. I liked how intuitive it was to use and was very happy with the simple touch-button controls compared to the complicated LCD displays and advanced programming I’ve experienced on other automatic coffee machines.
Lastly, but by no means least, when considering the best coffee makers for your home, it’s always worth thinking about the environment. Compared to single-serve machines, the Smeg BCC02 Bean to Cup could be a more responsible choice, as the coffee grounds go straight into your compost bin, with no capsules to toss out.
How We Test
We take every coffee maker we review to our dedicated test kitchen, where we put it through its paces. In this case, one of our experts also tested it our in her home. Both scenarios are set up to accurately reflect how you would use the machine in your day-to-day life.
We make notes on the whole process, from unboxing to cleaning, so that you don’t face any nasty surprises. Most importantly, we’ll let you know how the coffee tastes. We won’t recommend a machine if it won’t make you a top-notch brew. For more information, we have a page detailing how we test coffee makers.
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Laura is our eCommerce editor. As a fully qualified barista, she's our expert in all things coffee and has tested over thirty of the best coffee makers on the market. She has also interviewed Q-Graders and world-leading experts in the coffee industry, so has an intimate knowledge of all things coffee. Before joining Homes & Gardens, she studied English at Oxford University. Whilst studying, she trained as a master perfumer and worked in the luxury fragrance industry for five years. Her collection of home fragrance is extensive and she's met and interviewed five of the world's finest perfumers (also known as 'noses'). As a result of this expansive fragrance knowledge, she always puts quality and style over quantity and fads. Laura looks for products which have been designed simply and with thoughtful finishes.
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