Expert Review: Terra Kaffe TK-01 Espresso MachinePublished on 02/02/2023 · 5 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the TK-01 espresso machine, which I was loaned by Terra Kaffe from December 2022 to January 2023 to test.
All photos courtesy of Janelle G.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the TK-01 espresso machine, which I was loaned by Terra Kaffe from December 2022 to January 2023 to test.
The Terra Kaffe TK-01 is a well-priced super automatic espresso machine that is easy to use and makes consistent, good-quality, basic espresso drinks.
About the machine I tested
- Model: Terra Kaffe TK-01
- Boiler Type: Thermoblock
- Pump Type: Vibratory
- Experience: 6 years of barista experience, including in specialty coffee shops and co-managing a cafe
- When I had it: December 2022–January 2023
- Days used: 30
- Cups per day: 2–3
- Coffee beans used: Counter Culture “Fast Forward”, medium roast and East Pole Coffee Co. “La Reserva Caturra”, Natural Processed Colombian medium roast
- Milk used: 2% and almond milk
- Drinks made: Espresso, americano, latte, cappuccino, hot chocolate
How it performs
What I was looking for
Some of my key criteria when testing an espresso machine are quality of the espresso (I want to be able to enjoy an espresso straight up, without needing to add milk to balance the flavors), the quality of the milk steaming system (I want the ability to make lattes with micro foam as well as dry cappuccinos), durability and construction quality of the machine, and ease of use and interface. These were some of the main criteria I was looking for when testing this machine.
Why I chose this item
After testing out this item, I would choose to buy it if I was in the market for a super automatic machine. I was impressed by the quality and value for price of the machine, and I also like the sleek aesthetics more than most super automatic machines I’ve seen, especially in the under-$2,000 price range.
What I love about it
- Time to heat up: The machine is incredibly quick to heat up before each use, making it fast and easy to use on some of my busier mornings. I found the machine was ready to go in about a minute, and I never found myself waiting on it.
- Size and Aesthetics: The machine is a reasonable size for a super automatic machine, and didn’t take up an unreasonable amount of space on my counter. It also looks very sleek and elegant. I found the placement of the water tank and waste bin to be easy to access, both having side doors that swung out. I didn’t have to move the whole machine or awkwardly maneuver the water tank in and out.
- Ease of use: The machine is incredibly easy to use. I had a couple friends with little-to-no coffee experience use the machine, and they also found it straightforward after a brief introduction and instructions. The machine’s interface is easy to understand and use, and it comes with a straightforward and clear instruction manual that helped orient me to the machine when I first unboxed it. The drink menu is simple (espresso, americano, cappuccino, latte, milk, hot water) but covers all of the drinks that I would have wanted to make. It is easy to customize drinks to my preferences.
- Drink Quality: Overall, I am impressed with the quality of drinks in this well-priced super automatic machine. Especially when I paired the machine with a nice medium roast blend, I was very happy with the espresso, and enjoyed drinking it straight up. I found that the machine didn’t bring out the nuances of the single origin coffee I tried, and the espresso fell a little flat (although still enjoyable). The milk quality was also quite good, with adjustable foam to customize to my liking.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Durability: I experienced a few (minor) technical hiccups while testing the machine. Occasionally, I would receive an alert that the waste bin was full, when it was nearly empty. A quick empty out of the waste bin seemed to reset it and get the machine back on track to sense the true level of grinds in the bin.
- Water Tank Size:** **One complaint I had about the machine was the amount of water used in the turning on and turning off process of preparing the machine for use, and rinsing and shutting down the machine. I found that even though I only made about 2–3 drinks a day (two in the morning and one later on, in the afternoon or evening) I would have to refill the water tank frequently (every other day or every third day), due to how much water was used each time I turned the machine on and off. I’m sure leaving the machine on would have minimized this issue, but for my coffee drinking habits, that wasn’t realistic for me.
Value for the money vs. other options
This machine is at a great price point in the super automatic world, with few competitors under $1,000. This machine does not offer user profiles (the similarly priced Philips 4300 offers 3 user profiles) or an iced option to brew espresso at a lower temperature while maintaining taste and strength when brewed over ice (like the Philips 3200 + Iced Coffee offers). The TK-01 has a sleeker appearance than competitors (such as the Philips lineup), great quality espresso, and easy to use interface that makes it well worth the money.
The TK-01 machine is a great home espresso machine for those looking to spend under $1,000, have little or no espresso experience, and want a machine to get them their coffee in a flash each morning, with minimal effort on their part.