What is it?
The Melitta CI Touch is a fully automatic bean to cup coffee machine that provides up to 10 pre-programmed drinks at the touch of a button. Designed for coffee lovers who don't want to get their hands dirty, this two-cup machine automatically pre-heat cups, froths milk and produces authentic coffee shop drinks at the touch of a button. It'll also steam clean itself before automatically powering down. Fancy...
Fully customisable, the CI Touch can brew two drinks simultaneously, while allowing the user to tailor coffee strength, temperature and grinding fineness of the beans involved. It also has separate nozzles for the coffee, milk and hot water, so there's no need to move the cup around. And the height-adjustable dispenser provides space for tall latte glasses.
Priced from £999, the CI Touch is sold with a two-year warranty and sits at the premium end of the Melitta bean to cup range. It's supplied with a plug-in milk container that can be stored in a fridge when not in use while all wastewater and spent coffee granules are collected in a removable tray that sits under the machine.
What’s it like?
The Melitta CI Touch is a sleek coffee machine that requires a fairly large amount of space in a kitchen or dining room. For the most practical fit, we'd recommend a space of 500mm x 300mm to accommodate the machine and its plug-in milk container that sits alongside.
With 10 drinks pre-programmed, the CI Touch produces high-quality, coffee-shop quality espresso, cafe creme, cappuccino and latte lungo. It will also make excellent americano and espresso macchiato.
For the uninitiated, this large and complex machine can feel a little overwhelming. Indeed, there are dozens of customisation options for individual coffee strength, temperature, milk quantity and coffee size. Thankfully — for those who simply want to get started with a cup of coffee — the machine has four touchscreen buttons that provide espresso, cafe creme, cappuccino and latte macchiato in just a few seconds.
For those who want to find their perfect cup of coffee, the CI Touch's rotary dial and TFT screen provides simple access to an array of customisation options. Both coffee strength and quantity can be altered, along with the temperature and quantity of the milk. The two-chamber bean chamber allows you to match the coffee to your personal taste, so you can have a strong cappuccino in the morning and return home to a mild latte in the evening.
The quality of the coffee is aromatic while the automatic milk frother provides a silky smooth finish to lattes and cappuccinos. However, while the CI Touch is easy to use, it doesn't take much for it to come to an automatic halt.
The unit has a range of built-in sensors that automatically stop the machine if it runs out of water or if one of the bean containers becomes empty or jammed. The small drip tray also fills up with annoying regularity and this (again) brings the CI Touch to a standstill.
The pull-out water container is easy to fill and the self-cleaning aspect of the CI Touch will be welcomed by those who do not want to spend their mornings cleaning their coffee machine before leaving for work. Melitta claims that the CI Touch needs to be descaled once a year, but this is largely dependent on changing the internal water filter six times a year. Some might find the additional cost of the water filter, roughly £12 each, to be an additional expense too far.
Should I buy one?
The Melitta CI Touch is clearly one of the best bean to cup coffee machines on sale right now. Easy to use, stylish and hugely customisable — it provides simplicity to the otherwise complex and (occasionally) baffling world of high-end coffee.
Obviously, at £999, the Melitta CI Touch is a significant outlay in terms of cost — but it is difficult to deny the outstanding quality that is on offer here. Indeed, while there are cheaper alternatives, few machines match the CI Touch for milk-based drinks. For two adults willing to give up coffee shop coffee and replace it with a home-brewed travel mug alternatives, the Melitta unit will quickly recoup its cost over the course of a year.