Swan Retro Pump Espresso Coffee Machine SK22110CN
Swan are a household name in the UK and have long been associated as a quality brand within the small appliance arena.
Probably most well known for their kettles and irons over the last 40-50 years they have entered the ever growing espresso machine market.
Swan are a British company through and through with every product they produce being designed and originally conceived in the UK so if you like a British product then this could well be a strong candidate.
Many people will have owned a Swan product over the years but does the credibility of the Swan brand transfer over to highly competitive world of the espresso machine?
Let’s take a look.
Overall Score 8.8/10
This particular review is for the cream colour but it’s available in a range of colours to fit most kitchen colour schemes.
This is the only espresso machine that Swan do and they have chosen to go with the old style retro look with the pressure gage in the middle of the section where you control the operation of the machine.
This is an incredibly cheap espresso machine which almost defies logic with its price so you are not going to get top end design features or components but for the price this is a pretty good looking machine.
The cream colour covers the entire machine from top to bottom with chrome effect buttons and dials blending in nicely with the chrome drip tray.
The machine itself is very light at just over 3.58kg suggesting the internal components are potentially of a lower quality than the norm but at this price we would not expect anything else
We do note however that this coffee machine comes with a 2 year warranty which Swan will increase to 3 years if you register the purchase online through their website.
A 3 year warranty for a coffee machine at this price is pretty much unheard of and certainly says something for Swans confidence that it will last despite being so inexpensive.
This coffee machine has a smaller than average footprint for this type of coffee machine measuring in at 19.4cm wide, 28.4cm deep and 31.0cm tall. Perfect for the smaller to medium sized kitchen
This is a very simple to operate espresso machine with just 2 buttons other than the ON/OFF button to control everything you need to do in order to create an espresso.
There is also a dial to control steam for milk frothing for cappuccino’s and latte’s
As soon as you turn the machine on you will see a red light. This tells you that the machine is heating up to the correct temperature for brewing. When the light turns green you are good to go (takes about 1 minute)
Whilst the machine is pre heating you can press the button with a cup on it to get some hot water flowing through the machine and the portafilter into a cup.
This does several things. It heats up the cup which is always advisable as you don’t want hot coffee going into a cold cup because it affects the flavour and cools down the coffee. Secondly you will heat up the filter which the coffee is going in so that is not cold either.
When the light turns green you are good to go.
Swan supply two filters. One for a single cup and one for two cups. Personally, we would not bother with the smaller one as its not going to make a very big cup of coffee. We would suggest using the big one at all times which will provide one decent sized cup suitable for most people.
Fill the portafilter with coffee, insert into the machine and press the cup button to push water through the portafilter and into the cup.
A few tips:
When you put the coffee into the portafilter be sure to “tamp” it down with the tamper which is provided. Push the coffee down with medium force so it’s not too loose but not too tightly packed either.
This a manual espresso machine which means that you will need to stop the water flow yourself. Once you have pressed the button to start, keep an eye on the colour of the coffee. Once you see the colour turn from black to a lighter colour, turn it off. If you keep going to will impair the flavour of the coffee.
If you follow these two tips then you will get a cup of coffee from this machine that you would normally only get from coffee machines that are priced much higher.
When you have finished with the coffee, press the steam button and again the machine will tell you when the correct temperature for frothing has been reached by turning yellow.
Keep the dial at “0”, place the steam wand inside the milk and then turn the dial immediately to maximum. Milk is best at 70 degrees so its best if you have a thermometer to tell you when you are at the correct temperature or you can get one of these clever jugs that has the temperature on it.
Three buttons and a steam dial. Turn it on. Press one button for coffee delivery and then the other button for steam. Pretty easy!
This has a good 15 bar pump which will ensure the right pressure on the coffee to deliver great flavour but only if you use good coffee in the first place.
We would recommend buying whole coffee beans and grinding them yourself to get the best possible flavour. You can do this for a lot cheaper than you think with a blade coffee bean grinder.
If that is too much hassle then try and avoid the cheap ground coffee. You will notice the difference in the taste.
This is a very inexpensive coffee machine and we like the fact that Swan are willing to back it with a 3 year gurantee.
Combined with a 15 bar pump and our tips above this coffee machine can punch above its weight to compete with machines at double the price or more.
Very good value for money for an entry level espresso machine