KitchenAid recently unveiled this, the KitchenAid Artisan Espresso Machine along with a supplementary product, the KitchenAid Artisan Coffee Grinder. The pair of kitchen gadgets look great in their signature cherry red finishes, though a range of other colour options are available.
Crucially though, I wanted to see how the KitchenAid Artisan Espresso Machine would perform when compared to leading models in the best espresso machine category. It’s up against stiff competition and, as you’ll see from our best coffee maker and best bean to cup coffee machine guides, there are plenty of other options too.
In these cash-strapped times we’re all looking for value, but sometimes it might be worth paying a little bit more for quality. If you’re a fan of good coffee that might matter more than ever, especially if you rely on a quality brew in order to take on the day.
- Want other options? Look for the best espresso machine
KitchenAid Artisan Espresso Machine: price, availability and what is it?
The Artisan Espresso Machine 5KES6503 – I’ve included the full name and number of this machine if you’re already looking to order it, is brand new and has a RRP of £449.
The unit is sold as the KitchenAid Metal Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine in the US and comes with a price tag of $499.99 and is available direct from KitchenAid and other online retailers.
KitchenAid Artisan Espresso Machine: Design and features
I love the feeling of consistency that you get with the KitchenAid range of products. All of them have a very distinctive look, and the KitchenAid Artisan Espresso Machine is no exception.
It appears to have been very well made too, with a good combination of quality components promising plenty of espresso-making over the years to come. KitchenAid also takes time to think about what its customers want from a machine, and so if you’re looking to buy an espresso machine you’re catered for with a raft of different finishes.
The model I got sent to try out was finished in a fab cherry red, which together with the chrome flourishes and occasional black components works together to produce a stunning machine. It’ll sit very nicely alongside any other KitchenAid gadgets you’ve got too.
This is a bigger espresso machine than you might be thinking, with dimensions of 28.6 x 16.2 x 36cm, or 11.3 x 6.4 x 14.2 inches in old money. It feels quite hefty too, though as a result sits firmly on your countertop. Core features have been designed with practicality in mind, with a 1.4 litre/49 ounce water tank, a 260-degree steam wand and a cup warmer located on the top of the unit all adding to the appeal.
Careful attention has been paid to the stainless steel portafilter too, as this is very nicely made and boasts a 58mm diameter receptacle able to hold one of the four stainless steel baskets that are included. Single and double shot options are complimented by a brace of single-wall baskets. What this means is that the KitchenAid Artisan Espresso Machine will appeal to a variety of users, from novice espresso makers through to wannabe baristas.
KitchenAid Artisan Espresso Machine: Performance
Ultimately, it’s all about the quality of the coffee and while the KitchenAid Artisan Espresso Machine looks the part, the good news is it’s a great performer too. Central to the impressive performance is the 15-bar Italian pump that sits inside the machine. It features two temperature sensors, which help to deliver consistency on the temperature front and this, in turn, aids extraction.
The machine comes with a stainless-steel tamper, which is great for packing in your grounds. From start to finish I found the process very straightforward. In fact, it’s made even better if you’ve invested in the supplementary KitchenAid Artisan Coffee Grinder 5KCG8433, though it’s not an essential part of the process if you can’t stretch to the £199, or about $266 US dollars it costs. You will need ground coffee beans though.
Getting started was easy. There’s a power button on the back of the machine, with a sleep mode that kicks in too for an energy saving win, while core press button controls are at the front. This makes the espresso-making process very straightforward, with quick selections including espresso, steam or hot water allowing you to get up and running in no time. Depending on your size requirements and the time you’ve got, a second button can be pressed to dispense single or double shots of espresso.
If you live in a hard water area, which I do, another button operates a descaling function, which is likely to see good use. I found that playing around with the function buttons also allowed me to customise my preferred settings, which is handy if you’re a creature of habit. The fourth button lets you start and stop any of the processes.
Performance-wise, the KitchenAid Artisan Espresso Machine is quick and easy to use and delivers consistency too. If you’re a novice user the portafilter takes a little getting used to, and some excess coffee spills are likely. With practice though I found using the tamper and portafilter got easier. Even better was the way the machine delivered the coffee, with a double espresso taking well under a minute to emerge. I like the way you can adjust the temperature to suit your taste.
Adding steamed milk is a little bit messy, but that’s often the case with espresso machines unless you’re a seasoned pro. The steam wand works well enough, though produces quite a lot of noise as you’re frothing. You’ll need to be dextrous to get your milk pitcher into position and maintain consistency, but this is more of a familiarity thing. Over successive espresso runs I found that I’d got the format about right, with less coffee grains, water drips and milk slops appearing in and around the machine. Practice makes perfect.
KitchenAid Artisan Espresso Machine: Is it any good?
Overall, I like the KitchenAid Artisan Espresso Machine, although because it’s not a bean-to-cup machine there’s the added question mark over its wider appeal.
However, if you’re going to buy this, and the KitchenAid grinder mentioned above you’ll have a great paring. In terms of usability the KitchenAid Artisan Espresso Machine is undeniably easy to master, with simplistic functionality and a quality brew at the end of the process. I found the steam and milk frothing a little bit of a faff, but that’s more about me than it is the machine.
Spend some time getting to know its capabilities and the KitchenAid Artisan Espresso Machine becomes a doddle to use. I can’t complain about the quality of the coffee either and there are just enough options to control your drink-making manually to make it suitable for all types of coffee drinkers. There’s the added bonus of KitchenAid quality at work here too.