And if you're one of those people that just love the idea of everything matching in your kitchen (aren't we all), then it's part of a wider family of kitchen products, with a toaster and kettle also available.
Features and design
A large 1.4L water reservoir sits at the back of the machine. You can fill it with the container in place, although a plastic handle in the middle means that it's easy enough to pull out if you'd rather fill directly from a tap.
Making coffee is simple, thanks to just a few controls: an on button, a button to dispense water, a button to increase the temperature for steam and a tap to turn on hot water or steam, depending on the machine's current mode. Alongside the buttons are green indicator lights, which show you if the machine's hot enough to dispense hot water or steam. While the machine's warming up, you can use the warmer on top to pre-heat your cups so that your coffee is as hot as possible.
Most importantly, the Scultura pours great coffee. First, you need to choose which filter you want in the group handle: there are filters for a single shot of espresso, one for a double-shot (or two cups), one for a single shot and one for ESE espresso pods. We tested our machine with freshly ground coffee, using the two-cup filter and two espresso cups.
Our one minor complaint about the Scultura is that there's only space for mugs up to 77mm high, although you may be able to tilt and slide slightly bigger ones. We couldn't get our regular mug underneath, so you may need to invest in some espresso cups and pour your coffee into a mug if you want to make a longer drinks, such as an Americano.
As well as ground coffee, the Scultura can take ESE pods
As usual, you don't need a lot of pressure on your coffee grounds; just enough to compact them and level the surface off. Before you start you can use the cup warmer on the top, so that your espresso shots don't cool down too quickly.
Coffee pours at just the right speed through the group handle, creating a reddish-brown and pleasantly thick crema. When the shot had time to settle, the crema was smooth, just as it should be on a good shot of espresso. A temperature of 65C is just about perfect for an espresso shot, too.
Excellent espresso, with crema that's just right
Taste was excellent. We got the slight bitter taste that a good shot of an espresso should have, bringing out the acidity and depth of our chosen beans. We found that the espresso was rich throughout and didn't have any of the wateriness that cheaper machines often produce.
Switching to making a latte we were pleased with the results from the steam wand. With the machine up to temperature, it's a matter of using the tap on top to control the flow. Our milk jug hit temperature quickly enough, giving us enough time to control the amount of foam it produced.
Nice foam and good control let you make the type of milk drink you want
Pouring the milk into a latte glass containing an espresso shot, we got a very pleasing result, with smooth velvety milk sat nicely on top of our espresso shot. There's no doubting that in looks and taste, this is one of the best machines we've used.
Switching the steam mode off doesn't vent the hot water, so you'll need to use the tap to get rid of the steam before making another shot of espresso, otherwise you'll end up with burnt and bitter coffee. You can also use the steam wand for hot water, simply by pressing the dispense water button to engage the pump and using the tap to send out the water.
Cleaning is easy, as the large drip tray is simple to slide out and empty. The group handle can be tapped into the bin, with springs holding the filter in place; exercise some caution, as a big tap can send the filter flying into the bin.
Price wise, the Scultura is getting towards the top-end of what you'd expect to pay for a single-boiler espresso machine, but we have to say that we think it's worth it. Simple controls, great looks and superb coffee are what it delivers and that's what's important.
|Maximum mug height||77mm|
|Pump pressure||15 bar|
|Milk frothing||Yes (steamer wand)|
|Number of boilers||1|
|Coffee type||Ground, ESE pods|
|Warranty||One year RTB|