The VonShef 1250w coffee pod machine was kindly provided to me by Designer Habitat Ltd free of charge in exchange for a fair and unbiased review on Amazon.co.uk. No additional compensation was given in exchange for posting this article on my blog.
The VonShef 1250w Nespresso compatible coffee pod machine is available from Designer Habitat Ltd either on Amazon.co.uk for £45.99 + £7.99 P&P or Tesco.com for £58.99 + £3.00 P&P. In the US the VonShef 1250w Nespresso compatible coffee pod machine is available from Designer Habitat fulfilled by Amazon at a cost of $74.99 with free P&P. (Prices correct at time of posting).
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PACKAGING & CONTENTS.
The VonShef Hot Drinks Capsule & Coffee Pod Machine is supplied in a large black box measuring 40.5cm x 29cm x 17.5cm. The box is largely black with some VonShef branding in white lettering.
On the ends of the box you will find CE, RoHS markings along with an international food safe symbol (cup and fork) indicating that the product shall not potentially become a source of toxic contamination through usage and that the product is free of any toxic contaminants during the manufacturing process.
Inside the packaging you will find the coffee pod machine (model 13/169) wrapped in clear plastic and held within two large Styrofoam inserts. Four blue pieces of tape, secure the water tank lid and the drip tray which thankfully leave no residue once removed, but are a bit of a pain to remove as they tear quite easily.
Also within the box is an instruction manual entirely in English. While rather slim inside you will find information on setup, use, care and safety using your coffee pod machine.
The overall dimensions of the coffee pod machine at their greatest points are 25.5cm high, 11.5cm wide and 35.5cm deep. These measurements are approximate and as best as possible with the naked eye.
When the top lever is raised to insert a coffee pod the lever adds a further 17.5cm to the height of the machine when fully opened.
The internal measurements of the drip tray / cup stand is 7.2cm x 8.8cm at the greatest points. It is actually slightly larger, but there is a raise lip running around the edge.
The exact measurement between the base of the cup stand / drip tray and the edge of the spout is 8.5cm, the cup within my pictures is 5.8cm high. A larger cup can be used by removing the top stand from the drip tray, by doing this I was able to fit a 10.5cm high cup under the spout. Just be aware that by doing this you will have to hold the cup by hand as it is being filled.
The cable measures 89cm long from the rear of the machine to the base of the plug.
At a distance the machine does a reasonable job of appearing to be an enamel finished metal product. The fact of the matter is with the exception of the top lever and the spring on the base of the water tank the exterior is entirely plastic.
To the eye these plastics appear smooth and blemish free, but under a camera flash there are some faint marks / scuffs visible around the internal housing for the capsule hopper and drip tray. Out of the box there are two pieces of tape holding these removable components in place, however during transit it would appear that the rear edges are rubbing inside the housing leaving a number of marks.
There are also a small number of these marks evident around the front illuminated button, although I am unsure how these may have occurred. The red sections of the chassis would appear to have a painted finish proving to be the more durable, or perhaps just do a better job of not highlighting any marks. In comparison the black glossy plastics are an absolute fingerprint magnet which will require regular cleaning with frequent use.
The more observant of you may have noticed a small black mark on my machine (left top back corner). This mark is a result of the plug rubbing against the chassis in transit. The plug has a plastic cover over the pins but that is all, upon opening the packaging this mark was located directly behind where the plug was resting.
The markings on the machine out of the box would imply that perhaps some further thought is required on the packaging, but perhaps foremost highlights the lack of durability of the plastics.
The lever on the top is made from non magnetic metal, a little stiff to open and close (I would advise placing your free hand on the chassis when operating the lever as it is sometimes possible to accidentally tilt it the machine when lifting the lever) while stiff in operation in stark contrast when it is fully opened it is a little wobbly on the hinge. It is entirely secure and not something I would consider detrimental, it’s just a little loose fitting on the hinge.
On the underside are four very effective non slip rubber feet, sadly however, there is no cable management to be found on the underside or indeed anywhere else on the device. The cable isn’t excessive, but something would have been welcomed for those of us intending to park the machine near a socket.
The manual is adamant that the water tank has a 1000ml capacity. I have tested this three times with a Pyrex measuring jug and I have also filled the tank to the max line, emptied and measured on a set of scales capable of measuring liquids. The simple fact of the matter is the quantity of water held within the tank when the water is at the base of the max line is approximately 800ml.
Overall, it’s a very capable and fully functional no frills entry level device that is best described as made to a price. Careful considerate use with a regular cleaning and descaling routine and the machine should offer users years of faithful service. Those who are perhaps more ham-fisted with their approach and lacking with their cleaning efforts and the factory fresh finish won’t look that fresh for long.
SETUP & USE.
The following instructions should be observed before first use.
- Remove all packaging, ensuring to remove all the pieces of sticky tape that are retaining all the removable parts on to the machine and visually inspect the machine for any signs of damage in transit. If all looks well proceed.
- Remove the water tank cap and lift the clear water tank off the rear of the machine. (This just lifts straight off vertically, there is a small latching clip on the rear securing it to the chassis of the machine). Then wash the tank with warm soapy water.
- Remove the drip dray and capsule hopper from the front of the machine and wipe inside the housing that contains these parts as well as the removed sections over with a damp cloth.
- Reassemble the water tank, drip tray and capsule hopper and fill the water tank to the max line.
- Leaving the lever lowered and no capsule in the machine place a cup on the drip tray and switch the machine on allowing the light on the front to turn green.
- Press the button on the front of the machine and allow the cup to fill pressing the button when needed to stop the flow of water and empty the cup in the sink.
- Repeat this until the water level drops to the minimum line
- Refill the water tank and you are ready to start enjoying your espresso.
How to use the machine.
- Fill the water tank to the maximum line.
- Lift the lever on the top of the machine.
- Insert a Nespresso compatible coffee capsule in the small insert under the lever (with the lid of the capsule facing the front of the machine).
- Lower the lever until it is flat.
- Switch the socket on at the wall
- Press the switch located on the lower back left edge (this is a rocker switch with a single pole and it does not remain in the “on” position, there is just a faint “click” when it is pressed).
- The button on the front will light up red.
- Place your cup on the drip tray under the spout.
- When the red light turns green the water has been brought to the boil.
- Press the button on the front that is lit up (press it, don’t hold it) and coffee will begin to dispense from the spout.
- When you are happy with the quantity of coffee that has come out press the button once more to stop the flow of water.
If the machine is left on it will continue to keep the water in the machine at the correct temperature by cutting in and out when needed. After 15 minutes it will go into standby (standby uses no power what so ever, I have personally tested this). Alternatively, you can just switch it off at the wall when you are done.
– The machine does not boil all of the water in the tank, it only boils the water required for one cup at a time and it is very, very quick to do so.
– Be aware that after you have pressed the button to stop the flow of coffee a small quantity will continue to come out.
– For about 20 seconds after the flow has stopped the spout will drip.
– The water doesn’t come out boiling hot like a kettle, the temperature that it comes out at is a perfect drinking temperature.
– After use, when the lever is lifted the capsule that has just been used drops into the removable hopper located on top of the rear section of the drip tray (this has a capacity of 10-12 used capsules before it will need emptying.
– When using a small cup just 5.8cm high there is a few tiny droplets evident that have splashed from the cup while filling it.
– If you mix and match your flavours of espresso (I.E you do not use the same capsules time after time) I strongly advise you to flush one cup of water before using a different flavour / style of coffee otherwise there will be a hint of contamination from the previously used coffee.
– If you accidentally insert the wrong capsule into the machine, there are (from what I can see) two options. The first is to tip the machine upside down or the easier method is to slowly and gently lower the lever until you hear the first click and then raise it. As you raise the lever the capsule will drop out into the hopper, most of the time this will not perforate the capsule, but can on occasion perforate one or two tiny holes in the lid. Either that or you could try a pair of tweezers.
– Unlike most kettles be it plastic or stainless steel the VonShef coffee pod machine does not appear to affect the taste of the water at least that I am not able to personally detect.
The machine will require frequent cleaning, a routine of doing it each time the hopper is filled with empty capsules would be advised. The drip tray will obviously begin to fill with use, but the internal housing that holds the drip tray and empty capsule hopper does become dirty with coffee and water.
- When the hopper is full, remove the drip tray and hopper.
- Empty the used capsules from the hopper into the bin and wash the hopper and all parts of the drip tray.
- Remove the water tank and wash.
- Wipe the internal housing for the hopper and drip tray with a damp cloth.
- Reassemble when completely dry.
The water tank has a sprung loaded self sealing connection so this can be removed even when it contains water. (There are a few drips of water when disconnecting the tank, but it does not drip or leak once removed and containing water).
When disassembling and cleaning, expect a mess. Before removing the capsule hopper and drip tray I would advise tucking the edge of a paper kitchen towel under the front of the machine. This more often that not will soak up any ground coffee or liquid.
To remove mineral deposits from within the machine the following steps should be taken (how often depends on how hard the water is in your area). We live in a very hard water area and descale even using filtered water every 4 weeks.
– Fill the water tank with 75% water and 25% white vinegar.
– Switch the machine on and wait till the light on the front turns green.
– Drain a cup of water and wait till the light turns green again.
– Repeat until the water level in the tank drops to minimum and then empty the water tank.
– Fill the water tank with water and repeat the draining process.
– Fill the tank once more and repeat the draining process again.
– Use a fresh cup for the final drain, if there is still an odour of vinegar, fill and drain the tank one more time, otherwise your machine is once again ready for use.
The following power consumption testing was conducted using a Brennenstul PM231-E power monitor. This is not a professional device and it is entirely likely that it is not 100% accurate. The following figures are intended as a guide and I hold no responsibility for their accuracy.
When the machine is plugged in and switched on at the wall, but not in use (or has entered standby after 15 minutes of inactivity) the draw from the socket is exactly 0.0w.
When the bottom left rear edge switch is activated to boil the water the highest reading from the wall was 1185.6w. Once the water has been heated the device will cut in and out keeping the desired temperature.
When water is dispensed the power consumption is a constant 55.8w.
The following testing was conducted using an iPhone 6 and a cheap app. The following figures are a guide only and I hold no responsibility for their accuracy. They are included as a guide only.
The only time the machine makes any noise is when it is dispensing water. When water is being boiled the machine is inaudible except for a click to advise that the water has been brought to the right temperature.
In a room with an ambient sound level of 27dBa the highest noise level detected at a distance of 43cm while water is being dispensed is 81dBa.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review, I hope it has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please post a comment below and I will do my best to answer them.