REVIEW: Philips Saeco Intelia Focus – home espresso threatens local Starbucks

The prospect of a home coffee machine is fraught with issues. Where do you put it? Will you use it? Do you need to read a manual to make coffee? What about plumbing?

Happily, the Intelia Focus is a Philips’ produced entry-level machine that focuses on simplicity. Set-up takes 5 minutes and requires you to add a few pints of water via the front panel, your favourite beans in the top and then plug it in. It doesn’t connect to your water system, so there’s no plumbing issues and the Intelia Focus is small enough to sneak under the smallest of kitchen units.

In use, the LED menu system offers large or small cup settings, offering espresso and longer drinks alongside frothy milk. You place a milk jug against the frothing jet on the left of the unit and 20 seconds later, an injection of heat and air produces Starbucks quality froth. Yes, it’s loud but you’re crunching beans and frothing milk – there’s few ways around the volume level.

Results are pleasing, noise aside and the simplicity wins us over in spite of the shiny plastic finish – the Intelia Focus is £450 against more attractive rivals, though these rivals do cost three times as much. As a portable system for anywhere in the house, however, the Intelia Focus is an interesting proposition. It’s at home in the kitchen but the small profile is equally suited to a home office set-up without the need to grind your own beans or suffer lukewarm coffee from a cafetiere sitting on your desk.

VERDICT

Easy to use, easy to clean and affordable, the Intelia Focus is a great gadget for the coffee connoisseur. The design isn’t intended to impress friends and family but caffeine addicts should consider sneaking the Intelia Focus into a spare room.

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