We don't usually review coffee machines here at CNET Australia, but we sure do drink a lot of coffee. So when Kogan announced the availability of its new Nespresso-compatible Ez-press coffee machine, we jumped at the chance to put it to the test, and see whether this cheaper machine's coffee is tasty or nasty, in a coffee showdown with a Delonghi Essenza Nespresso coffee machine.
Before we started sipping, we cast a close eye over the Ez-press. On paper, the Ez-press looks the part, with a 19-bar pump pressure, a reasonably large 1.2-litre water reservoir and a milk frother attachment built in.
In person, the Ez-press looks nice from across the room, but its plastic construction looks and feels cheap on closer inspection. The machine is also a little tricky to put together, with the various plastic elements fitting awkwardly together. The water tank is also a little tricky to remove, and it takes a good tug to free it from the main machine.
This is the first big difference we noticed between the Kogan and Delonghi machines; the Delonghi's components benefit from a more refined design, and each part clips in and out of position with minimal effort.
Besides these quibbles, though, setting up the Kogan Ez-press for use is a straightforward affair, and we found that we could prepare the water, insert the pod and figure out how to pull a shot of coffee without needing to peek at the manual.
As you can see in the video above, we saw some mixed results when we offered a taste test around the office, and although the coffee from the Delonghi was the clear favourite, it wasn't unanimous.
These opinions reflected the inconsistency of the coffee that we saw coming out of the Ez-press. We pulled about 30 shots of coffee with the Kogan machine, and at least half of these shots had coffee grind come through with the water, making sludgy, gritty coffee. Sometimes there was only a little grind, so that the coffee was still drinkable, but other times there was too much for the coffee to be pleasant.
In the remainder of our tests, the Kogan machine made quite a nice cup of coffee. The times when there was no grind in the shot were the times in the video above when some of our team chose the Kogan as the better-tasting shot.
Still, when Nespresso pods cost between 60 and 80 cents each, it's hard to recommend a machine that could waste every order of coffee you make by spitting grind into the cup. The Kogan Ez-press might be $100 cheaper than the cheapest Delonghi Nespresso machine, but we think that the consistency of the competition makes it worth the extra money that you'll spend.