I’m not someone who has ever done a stint as a barista. I’ve never known how to make a ‘good’ coffee, and as a result, spend an exorbitant amount shouting myself coffee as a (daily) treat. So, when I was given the opportunity to review the Philips Series 1200 Espresso Machine, I jumped. The whole schtick with this machine is that it’s all fully automated. Music to my ears.
For this Real Life Review, I’ll take you through my experience using the coffee machine and all the key takeaways from it.
Real Life Reviews: Philips Series 1200 Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
Firstly, I’ll run you through how this bad boy differs from some other common coffee machines.
It’s fully automatic, with a classic milk frother and intuitive touch display that allows you to select your type of coffee, the quantity of it and the aroma strength. It also has ceramic grinders that can be adjusted in 12 steps, so you can grind your beans however you please, plus it has automatic descaling to keep it cleaner for longer.
If you’re interested in dimensions, it’s 246 x 371 x433 mm and weighs about seven kilos. The machine also comes with a two-year warranty.
My lazy little heart loved the ease of this coffee machine. Knowing I could hop out of bed and press one measly button for a hot coffee truly felt like the peak of luxury. But the real treat was being able to have frothed milk.
My go-to order at a cafe is always a large skim cap with one sugar. I’ve tried an array of milk-frothing doodads at home to try and replicate my beloved cappuccino — a countertop frother, that little whizzing handheld one, a fancy barista-style steamer on a commercial machine — but every time, it was either too much effort for the result or became too hard to clean.
So rather than deal with all the fuss, I’ve resorted to using sachet or instant coffee at home or, of course, buying it. A modern-day tragedy, I know.
But with the Philips Series 1200, all I had to do was press the steamer button to make it happen. Just like that! I’d press stop when the mug felt warm enough, and the milk frothed high enough.
Given I am no barista, I decided to rope in my housemates, who, by proxy, have been reviewing the machine over the last few weeks, too. Both have worked in cafes before, so they know what they’re talking about.
“I like how convenient it is, and also, I was thinking to myself today, the interface is very easy to understand when the icons flash,” shared my housemate Nat. “Like, if I’d never used a coffee machine before, it was easy to tell what the flashing was for, because there was a little icon of water or beans.”
And I agree. It was crystal clear when you needed to fill up the water or empty the drip tray.
Another thing that was crystal clear? The machine itself. This baby is tidy. In a previous house, my housemate had a commercial-style machine and grinding the beans was a messy task. Obviously, I never used it, but I saw (from my safe distance), that there was always washing up and wiping to do. As well as a lot of cleaning out of the machine.
On the flip side, this machine runs regular washes through the pipes. Although heads up, sometimes, out of nowhere, it will clean itself. We went running into the kitchen the first time we heard it, but nothing to be alarmed about, she was just staying clean.
Another element I’ve been obsessed with is that you can use beans or ground coffee. Many-a-time I have bought the wrong type of beans, and that just doesn’t matter with the Philips Series 1200.
What’s not so good?
According to my other housemate Emily, the flashing was less clear: “I get overwhelmed when it’s flashing around, and you’re like ‘Oh, it’s flashing a lot’. It’s overwhelming.”
So, to clarify that very eloquent point, sometimes when you press ‘steam’ or ‘coffee’, the machine takes a second to load. As it does rev up, it flashes through the four main buttons in a circle. At first, I felt similarly to Emily — I wasn’t sure if it ‘got’ that I’d pressed something. But once you know that’s how it starts up, you get used to it and know it’s going to flash in that predictable circle.
As someone who is a bit hopeless at making coffee, it took me a little while to get the grind adjustment right. The first cuppa I made with this machine didn’t taste quite right, and my barista friend explained it was probably down the grind setting. She encouraged me to have a play adjusting it, and eventually, that worked a treat.
The verdict: Philips Series 1200 Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
Considering I spend, on average, about $5 per cappuccino I buy when out, I’m saving at least $35 a week with this new machine. Perhaps that doesn’t sound like loads at first, but it’s a whopping $1,820 in a year. I could go on a holiday!
All in all, our household was rocking two coffee machines (a pod and a semi-automatic one) prior to this, but we’ve ditched both of those in favour of the barista-level Philips Series 1200 Fully Automatic Espresso Machine.
You can grab one from David Jones online at $699 – it appears you can grab a $200 discount on it right now, too.