Swan Retro One Touch Espresso Machine review – make barista coffee in vintage style

We’ve reviewed the Swan Retro One Touch Espresso Machine to find out if it has coffee-making substance as well as style…
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  • If you’re after a stylish retro coffee machine that won’t break the bank, the Swan Retro One Touch Espresso Machine is a great option. It’s easy to use at just a touch of a button with handy design features, but really excels at only making milky coffees.

    See: the best coffee machines 

    There’s been a popular rise in retro style appliances that works well to add that 50s vintage feel to any kitchen. And while retro coffee machines tend to come at a premium price (Smeg for example), this Swan Retro One Touch Espresso Machine is an affordable alternative.

    With its stylish design, the semi-automatic machine offers three great options of coffee beverages – espresso, cappuccino and latte. What’s more, there are no complex features to get to grips with, just easy-to-use, one-touch buttons. 

    But while it looks the part, can it deliver a premium coffee too? I put it to the test by making my favourite milky coffees to find out…

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Reasons to buy

    • Great for making frothy lattes and cappuccinos
    • Attractive vintage retro design 
    • Easy one-touch use 
    • Affordable machine
    • Comes in 10 different colours

    Reasons to avoid

    • Drips after each cup is made
    • Removable drip tray seems a little flimsy
    • Only has three choices of beverage

    Swan Retro One Touch Espresso Machine

    Swan Retro One Touch Espresso Machine

    Specs:

    • Coffee machine
    • Portafilter
    • Inserts (1 cup or 2 cup)
    • Coffee presser
    • Milk container
    • Measuring spoon
    • Cleaning brush
    • Instruction book

    Setting up

    Setting up was pretty fuss-free and simple. Surprisingly, the coffee machine was light to lift and carry around, and the green tone brought a touch of colour to my worktop. Once I filled the water reservoir, I also filled the milk container and attached in place before switching on the machine. My favourite feature was the temperate gauge at the front that goes up as the machine warms. Once this hits the coffee cup icon (within 90 seconds), this means you’re ready to make your favourite cuppa!

    Swan Retro One Touch Espresso Machine

    The good thing about this machine is you can use ground coffee or pods, depending on your preference. I used freshly ground coffee in the portafilter and attached handle to machine. Just be mindful of how you attach the portafilter as it’s not an exact 90-degree angle, and might not fit in place correctly. I had to carefully look at the Insert indicator on the machine and turn clockwise to the Lock position.

    Using the Swan Retro One Touch

    Swan Retro One Touch Espresso Machine

    There are three options for espresso, cappuccino and latte. With a simple one-touch press you can select either a small or tall cup. It even has a neat pull-out drip tray to place your small cup on.  As a keen fan of milky coffees, I first chose a cappuccino option. The steam pressure control on the milk container allows you to create the right amount of froth to your liking. As I watched the temperature gauge get to work, I ended up with a very tasty (and frothy!) cappuccino. Do bear in mind, the steam pressure is quite strong so prone to getting a little messy.

    Swan Retro One Touch Espresso Machine

    Next up, I tried the small cup espresso option. While it made an aromatic coffee in no time,  I wasn’t so keen on the taste. However, after experimenting with more milk-based coffees, I found this is where the machine excelled at the most. In addition, the machine has a handy cup warmer grill at the top of the machine to keep your favourite cuppa toasty.

    Anything else?

    Swan Retro One Touch Espresso Machine

    Despite making a great frothy coffee, there is one downside. After each cup, there is a continuous drip from the spout, which can be a little inconvenient to keep the drip tray clean. In addition, the plastic drip tray along with the pull-out tray seems a little flimsy, so be mindful when handling. But for such an affordable price at £129.99, you can easily overlook these minor issues. While it has a lack of fancy features, this actually makes it a perfect, entry-level coffee machine for beginners.

    Cleaning up

    Swan Retro One Touch Espresso Machine

    Cleaning and maintaining the Swan Retro One Touch Espresso Machine is simple enough. The removable drip tray and milk container can all be taken apart and washed in the sink with warm water. The portafilter holder on the other hand, is a little tricky to clean. If you have a lower worktop, you’d have to get your head under the holder to give it a proper clean with with the bristle brush provided. In any case, this shouldn’t take long to do.

    Ideal Home verdict: should you buy the Swan Retro One Touch Espresso Machine?

    For barista-style coffee fans who love a bit of retro chic in their kitchens, you’ll just love the Swan Retro One Touch Espresso machine. The simple, one-touch operation makes it a breeze to use when choosing the three options available. And the handy, adjustable milk frother makes great tasting lattes and cappuccinos. The basic operation and lack of complicated features, makes it a great entry-level coffee machine for those on a budget. 

    Swan Retro One Touch Espresso Machine

    Best of all, it comes in 10 different colours so you can choose which tone will suit your kitchen. Compared to expensive retro design coffee machines, this is reasonably priced – which probably still works out cheaper than buying your daily lattes from your local coffee shop!

    About this review, and our reviewer

    Cynthia Lawrence is a freelance lifestyle and homes/interiors journalist, and writes for various national publications. With an unhealthy obsession for all things homes and gardens, she also has an interior design blog. When she’s not spending time surfing online for decor inspiration to revamp her 1930s home, she is busy reviewing some pretty awesome home appliances.

    A regular contributor to Real Homes, she has written for Livingetc., Gardeningetc., Ideal Home, T3.com, Top Ten Reviews and House Beautiful amongst others. The Swan Retro One Touch Espresso machine was tested extensively over a period of  two weeks. This was while Cynthia and her husband were working from home which meant it got plenty of use with regular (and much needed!) coffee breaks. She enjoys milky lattes and cappuccinos, so this machine was right up her street!

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