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Helen McCue

The Morning Machine review: a capsule coffee maker like no other

Morning coffee machine on a kitchen countertop.

Capsule coffee machines are the most convenient and mess-free home coffee appliances. But if you’re in the market for one of the best coffee makers sometimes it feels like it’s a straight choice between flavor and convenience.

Most capsule machines have a single button configuration that offers no scope to adjust the coffee dispensed. And while arguably that’s part of the draw, it can, at times, leave users frustrated and wishing for a little more by way of adjustable settings.

The Morning Machine is paving the way for a new era in capsule coffee brewing. Not only does it offer numerous adjustable settings, but the brand has worked with speciality roasters to create bespoke brew recipes for hundreds of coffees, all available through a simple app. This machine promises to bridge the gap between the convenience of capsules and the desire to adjust settings and have an element of control over your morning cup of Joe. Read on to see what we thought when we gave it a go…

The Morning Machine: Price & Availability

Given that it offers a whole lot more functionality than similar Nespresso capsule machines, we think the Morning machine is competitively priced. You can buy it directly from Morning or through distributors such as END CLOTHING for a list price of $445/ £395/ AU$599.

Granted, the price tag is expensive in comparison to some of the cheapest Nespresso Original machines that use the same capsules. But when compared to the flashier Nespresso Vertuo line like the Nespresso Vertuo Creatista it starts to look very reasonable, even without the ability to heat and froth milk.

Score: 5 out of 5

Morning Machine: First impressions

The Morning Machine got off to a good start in terms of first impressions. The packaging was mostly easy-to-recycle cardboard and the machine lifts out of the box virtually fully assembled and ready to go.

(Image credit: Future)
(Image credit: Future)
(Image credit: Future)

All we had to do was position the cup support in place and, rather satisfyingly,  there’s a magnet that pulls it into the correct spot once it’s close. Then it’s just a case of filling the water container and plugging it in.

(Image credit: Future)

First though, we downloaded the app and followed the steps to connect the machine to the app. When it comes to kitchen appliances, often app connectivity is a bit of a gimmick and doesn't add much in the way of functionality, but in the case of the Morning Machine, the app is integral. And while you can use it without the app, in doing so you’ll miss out on a lot of functions, but more on that later.

The manual advises completing a purge before use, this just means dispensing hot water to clean out the inside of the machine. It’s a simple process that is completed automatically after holding down the back button for a few seconds.

We had a slight issue to begin with, the display kept telling us the water flow was restricted and it couldn’t complete the purge. It turns out we needed to do a firmware update, and once updated, everything worked as expected.

(Image credit: Future)

Morning Machine: key specifications

The Morning Machine: Design

Our review unit was the matte black finish, it looks sleek and modern on the counter. It’s slim enough to tuck into a corner but looks nice so you won’t feel the need to hide it away. 

The removable water tank sits at the back of the coffee machine and has a flip up lid so you can fill it in place. A lift up lever on top reveals the capsule slot, and used capsules are automatically ejected into the bin below every time it’s opened up. 

(Image credit: Future)

The used capsule bin is quite small, nevertheless it can hold 8-10 capsules so most people will only need to empty it every couple of days. It’s easy to access, just remove the cup support and it pulls out like a drawer. The hardware is all very intuitive and it only takes minutes to find your way around the machine.

(Image credit: Future)

With the cup support in place there’s space for a 3 ¾ inch cup. But by removing it you can use a cup up to 5 inches tall.

On the front a circular OLED screen is surrounded by a rotatable wheel. The wheel allows you to scroll through the menus, meanwhile there’s a back button and a confirm button on the front of the screen.

There are 10 ready-to-brew recipes accessed via the on-screen menu, but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Inside the app you can set up your own recipe or select a coffee roaster, then brew coffee exactly to their specifications for the particular capsule you’re using. 

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)

For each bespoke coffee roaster recipe, you can still tweak all the settings such as the volume of coffee, temperature and bloom settings. Other adjustable settings include being able to change the pressure levels for the three brew phases, but this is where a lot of people will start to feel out of their depth. And arguably if you’re a capsule coffee drinker, the likelihood that you’ll want to delve into this level of detail and control is probably quite low.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

The Morning Machine: Performance

Turning the dial surrounding the screen wakes up the coffee machine. Once you’ve put a new capsule in and selected your coffee it takes on average 20 seconds to heat up from cold and begin brewing. As you’d expect from a capsule machine, coffee is dispensed pretty speedily. Though the actual time will depend on the recipe and volume of coffee.

The temperature of the coffee dispensed varies quite drastically depending on the recipe used. We measured temperatures between 125 - 170F/ 52 - 77C. What’s more, in the app the brew temperature is adjustable between 167- 208F/ 75 - 98C which will then impact the final temperature.

It’s not a noisy coffee maker. We measured the noise level at a maximum 68dB, but for most of the brew it was in the fifties, which is pleasantly quiet. Then there’s a gentle little musical tone at the end to alert you that the coffee is ready. 

We tried both the standard on-screen recipes as well as the ones in the app. For the standard ready-to-brew recipes we found we kept referring back to the manual for the description of what each recipe is best suited to and the type of coffee brewed. It’s far easier to use the recipes in the app. 

Because there are bespoke recipes for a huge range of capsules from speciality roasters, it seems mad not to make the most of this. This app is user friendly and it’s really easy to make adjustments to things like coffee volume and brew temperature. As we already mentioned, fine tuning settings like the pressure level of various parts of the brew process is easy to do, but probably a step beyond what most people will want to adjust. That said, it’s easy enough to play around with if you have the desire.

(Image credit: Future)

Flavor and crema

The flavor of the various coffee capsules we tried during this review was noticeably more nuanced than we’ve ever experienced from a Nespresso machine used with Nespresso capsules. The coffee was less bitter and often fruitier, which makes a refreshing change to the numerous drab bitter coffees we’ve tried from other capsule coffee machines.

However, it is still coffee in a capsule, so it simply doesn’t compare to freshly ground beans. Even with the array of adjustable settings, there’s no amount of tweaking that’ll deliver a shot of coffee that can compare to a shot of fresh coffee from a good espresso machine. That said, if you want the convenience of capsules, but still care about flavor, this is probably the best machine on the market. It allows you to play around with the options to get the most out of the capsule

In terms of crema, it is possible to get a better, thicker crema than we’ve seen from most other capsule coffee machines. But as with flavor, it can’t produce the same quality of thick, rich crema that you can get from an espresso machine.

(Image credit: Future)


Cleaning is quick and easy, there’s not too much to do other than emptying and rinsing out the used capsule container and the drip tray beneath it. The cup support needs an occasional rinse and wipe down.

The brew unit can be cleaned using a cleaner capsule once a month and there’s an automated setting to do this within the maintenance menu. Similarly for descaling, when prompted to descale there’s a setting within the maintenance menu that automatically performs the function, but you’ll need a descaling solution.

Score: 5 out of 5

Should you buy the Morning Machine?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

How does the Morning Machine compare?

We recently reviewed the Nespresso Vertuo Creatista, which is a highly regarded capsule coffee machine. It’s an expensive and bulky coffee maker but it offers the latest and best in capsule brewing technology from this titan brand.

And while the Nespresso Vertuo Creatista will no doubt please those looking for an integrated barista quality milk frother. It offers zero control when it comes to the coffee brew process. Without even the option to change the drink volume, there’s no comparison in terms of adjustable settings. The Morning Machine is without a doubt the one to buy if you want any level of control over the coffee that’s dispensed into your cup. And since it’s around half the price of the Breville model, you’ll be able to buy a standalone milk frother if you enjoy a milky coffee recipe.

Testing process

I used the Morning Machine in place of my usual espresso machine to make daily coffees in my own home. The brand sent me four different capsules from specialty roasters and I brewed them using the recommended brew profiles in the app as well as some of the some standard recipes on the main menu.

I played around with all the adjustable settings and did some side-by-side tastings to understand the differences between different brew profiles and settings. Although my usual machine is an espresso machine, I’ve reviewed a lot of Nespresso machines and have often felt frustrated by the lack of adjustable settings. 

So while I won’t be letting go of my trusty espresso machine and speciality coffee subscription, I very much enjoyed using the Morning Machine, which takes capsule coffee in a new direction.

Read more about how we test

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