Russel Hobbs Espresso Machine – A 2020 Review

The eighties are making a royal come back in 2020, as you may have noticed when listening to some of the biggest hits around the world, including The Weekend’s “Blinding Lights”, Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia album and other synth-pop bangers that have filled the charts in recent months. Who says vintage and retro can’t creep into the coffee industry as well? Russel Hobbs is on board with this, as is evidenced by their Vintage Espresso Maker, which looks somewhat like it could be discovered in a time capsule from 40 years ago. Now that we have your attention, let’s see how it shapes up relative to the rest of the market today. 

First Impressions: A Taste of Nostalgia

This espresso machine leaves a lasting first impression, likely because it serves a taste of nostalgia from your very first glance. The display may remind you a bit of the kind of thing you could see in an 80’s movie where a scientist is conducting experiments on something (or someone), but don’t let that deter you from the overall aesthetic, which is clean, neat and simply timeless in a way. If you don’t love the design as much, you’ll be glad to hear that it does come with a decent returns policy and a 6 month warranty to boot. 

Interesting Key Features

The list of features for this espresso maker is fairly long, but you’ll be happy to note that it operates at 5 bar, and contains a detachable water tank for ease of use. At first glance, we were hesitant about the small capacity of the tank (only around 1 litre), but considering that this is an espresso machine and everything about the design is compact for a reason, it makes a lot of sense. One little known secret about this machine is that it has an auto-switch off feature which kicks in after 30 minutes. We only realised this as we had spent that amount of time talking about how good the espresso was, and how much we love this blast from the past coffee maker.

Taste Test: The Proof is in the Pudding

As with any coffee machine, the proof really is in the pudding when it comes to it making a consistent cup of coffee each time. This particular espresso machine delivers well balanced cups time and time again. With a good espresso, you’re looking for a rich shot of coffee, as well as a level of bitterness that falls somewhere between not being bitter and all and way too bitter. We’re happy to report that even after a few cups, the machine still did its job consistently. If you’re looking for a speciality machine and are growing more fond of espresso by the day, this is one to have a long hard think about. 

If It’s Features You’re After, Look Elsewhere

As wonderful as this machine is, it’s worth keeping in mind that it is a single-purpose machine, retailing at around R3000. Perhaps you need something with more options, especially if you’re looking to drop a couple of grand in the first place. Aquaspresso can be a good place to start, not only because they’ve built a great reputation for themselves over the last decade, but because they offer a diverse range of coffee machines to match the needs to consumers and businesses alike. You may even be able to get a better deal than you initially bargained for to begin with. Happy coffee machine hunting!