Redmond RCM-1517 is a compact bean coffee machine with a burr grinder and a manual milk frother. Judging by the first impression, compactness is its main trump card.
After unpacking, we saw a rather nice device with a minimalist control panel (only five buttons), a manual cappuccino maker (you have to beat milk for cappuccino manually) and a grain hopper (our Redmond cannot work with regular ground coffee). Well, let’s look at the device in action.
|Type||automatic coffee machine|
|Country of Origin||China|
|Declared power||1235-1470 W|
|Housing material||plastic, metal|
|Water tank capacity||1.1 l|
|Type of coffee used||grain|
|Built-in coffee grinder||Yes|
|Bean tank capacity||225 g|
|Number of grinding levels||5|
|Display||no (there is a backlight of the touch buttons)|
|The weight||8 kg|
|Dimensions (W×H×D)||180×315×402 mm|
|Network cable length||0.7 m|
The coffee machine comes in a double box. The outer one is made of technical brown cardboard. The inner one is the “front door”, decorated in the Redmond corporate style. The main color is black, the secondary color is coffee, full-color printing (with glossy elements), high-quality photographs.
Having studied the box, you can get acquainted with the appearance of the coffee machine and learn about its main features and technical characteristics. All information is presented in Russian and English.
The coffee machine was protected from impacts with foam inserts and plastic bags.
Having opened the box, inside we found a coffee machine with all its components:
- the appliance itself, including the removable drip tray and water tank
- power wire
- cleaning brush
- spiral for cleaning the steam nozzle valve
- packets of citric acid (3 pcs.)
- soft cloth
- service book and instruction manual
What can you say about the package? There is everything in order to start using the device (except, perhaps, coffee) and carry out the first maintenance (cleaning) without having to go to the store.
At first sight
Let’s say right away: despite the fact that our coffee machine clearly does not claim to be universal (even milk will have to be whisked by hand), outwardly it looks like a solid five points. Design, materials, arrangement of various elements, fastening of handles, hatches and covers – all this repeatedly hints that the user’s convenience is really taken care of here. Let’s take a closer look at the device and note its main features.
First, let’s talk about the body. He looks great. The main materials are black matte and gray matte plastic. The edges are made of plastic, painted to look like metal. The dispenser is black, the upper part is made of black matte and translucent plastic.
At the bottom of the coffee maker, we see a sticker with technical information and anti-slip feet.
On the back side there is a connector for connecting the power cable.
On the left is a hatch under which the brewing unit is hidden. In the upper right corner there is a button for turning the coffee machine on and off. Above are ventilation holes.
Note that the hatch is completely removable and is fixed in place with magnets. In our opinion, it is a very convenient and practical solution.
Consider immediately the brewing unit itself. In our coffee machine, it is removable and requires maintenance. Outwardly, the block looks like a similar module from DeLonghi, but even with the naked eye it can be seen that the differences between them are significant: it will not work to confuse the blocks.
The removable part is only half of the brewer. Ground coffee comes from the grinder here, then the lower part rotates with the help of a motor, a coffee tablet is formed inside the device and a drink is prepared. Then the lower part of the brewer returns to its original position, and the tablet is dropped into the coffee grounds compartment.
The brewer has a metal filter.
On the front we see a single cup dispenser with adjustable height (we can use dishes with a height of 8.5 to 14 cm). There is only one spout, which means that it will not work to prepare two espressos at the same time.
After switching on, the area under the spout starts to be automatically illuminated with an LED.
On the right is a manual cappuccinatore, which we can deflect to the left or right. The cappuccinatore has a metal panarello nozzle with an additional air supply hole. The purpose of such a tube is to simplify the process of frothing milk. In principle, you can refuse the services of this tube: if you remove it, then milk can be whipped using one inner, plastic tube. True, this will require some experience and a little more free time. If there is no experience, we whip milk with a nozzle, but we are not surprised at the appearance of large bubbles and the fact that the foam may not be very stable.
Both the outer and inner tubes of the cappuccinatore can be easily removed for cleaning.
At the bottom of the coffee machine, as usual, there is a drip tray and a compartment for used coffee tablets.
The pallet is plastic, frankly small volume. Overflow sensor (float) is not provided. Stand for cups metal, glossy (which means it will be scratched). A nice little thing — the pallet (as well as the side hatch) is mounted on magnets. It can be easily “fastened” to the coffee maker and removed when emptying is required. Comfortable and tactile!
The plastic waste tablet compartment holds approximately 10 coffees. Appearance and form are quite standard.
On top are the bean lids (made of translucent plastic) and the water tank lid (made of black plastic).
The lid of the bean compartment is easily removed, giving access to the coffee grinder. On the back of the lid there is a rubber seal, which should dampen the noise from the coffee grinder.
Let’s take a look at the coffee grinder. Not much is visible from the outside, however, looking inside, we assumed that in front of us, most likely, was a coffee grinder with steel conical burrs with a diameter of about 40 mm (quite a standard option).
The grind adjustment knob has five positions. When switching values, characteristic clicks are heard, although theoretically it is possible to stop the knob in an intermediate position. Shafts for the use of ground coffee are not provided here. In our opinion, this can hardly be called a serious drawback – who would even think of buying a grain machine with a coffee grinder and then using ground coffee?
The lid of the water container, when removed, turns into a handle, holding which you can remove this very container from the niche intended for it.
Also, thanks to the handle, the transparent plastic container is easy to carry with one hand and set back. The instruction prohibits pouring water into the installed container, but this action suggests itself – the hinged lid opens too conveniently.
A simple filter is provided at the bottom of the container, in the upper part there is a mark of the maximum water level. The volume of the container is 1.1 liters.
Finally, let’s say a few words about management. The control panel is located at the top of the coffee maker and consists of five touch-sensitive buttons with LED backlighting and five LED indicators-icons hidden under a translucent darkened panel.
In the off state, neither the buttons nor the indicators are visible (although if you shine a flashlight, you can see them). We will talk about them in more detail in the “Management” section, but for now we will draw preliminary conclusions.
When we met, we saw a not too “advanced”, but very nice compact device with a pleasant and thoughtful design. The coffee machine turned out to be literally pleasant to hold in hands. Such an impression is not often made by technology.
A5 format brochure in a traditional black cover contains instructions in several languages. The share of Russian accounts for 16 pages (including illustrations), having studied which you can familiarize yourself with the device device, the rules of operation and maintenance, and troubleshooting.
As usual with Redmond, the manual is written in a simple and understandable language and contains comprehensive information regarding the features of using the coffee machine.
It is easy and pleasant to read such instructions: the developers do not confuse the user with unnecessary clericalism and, in general, they strive to make life easier for them, and not complicate it. We express our respect to the compilers!
As we mentioned above, the coffee machine is controlled using touch buttons with LED backlighting and LED indicators that light up in case of any problems.
Let’s list all the buttons and indicators. On the panel we see:
- strong espresso button
- espresso button
- favorite drink button (user program slot)
- hot water button
- steam button
Above are the indicators:
- lack of water in the tank
- lack of coffee beans
- filling the cake compartment
- open cover of the brewing compartment
- intensive self-cleaning
- cleansing the internal system of water
This is how the messages that you need to perform some action look like.
Both buttons (strong espresso and regular espresso) can be reprogrammed to the desired amount of shot. The minimum possible volume of one portion is 30 ml, it is not possible to set a smaller volume. The maximum possible volume of one serving is 270 ml, when it is reached, the cooking process will end automatically. The favorite drink function allows programming in the same range.
Thus, in fact, we have before us three different programs, differing only in the amount of water spilled.
The RCM-1517 coffee machine has three operating modes:
- Default operating mode – with backlight, pre-soak coffee and auto-off after 20 minutes
- Quick mode of operation – with backlight, no pre-soaking coffee and auto-off after 30 minutes
- Energy-saving mode of operation – without illumination, with pre-soaking coffee and auto-off after 10 minutes
Recall that pre-soaking coffee allows you to make the drink more saturated and aromatic, but slightly increases the time of its preparation. Given the low price of electricity (compared to the price of coffee beans), we see no reason to switch to energy-saving mode. The choice between “default” mode and “quick” mode depends on the taste preferences of the user.
When first turned on, the hydraulic system is empty, so the appliance may make excessive noise. The noise will decrease as the water circuit fills up (this will take a few seconds).
The first thing to do after connecting the power cord and turning on the main switch is to fill the tank with fresh water, turn on the appliance and wait for the initial flow of water.
After the first run, we would recommend making a couple of coffees to further flush the system. No special action is required from the user – you can proceed to the preparation of coffee.
Let’s now, as we usually do, once again take a quick look at the main elements of the coffee machine and note their salient features.
The 1.1-liter water container is located at the back, it goes from above. The container is easily (with one hand) removed and installed in its place. The lid of the container is hinged, water is poured from above. The valve for supplying water to the coffee machine is equipped with a simple filter.
A compact brewing unit is hidden behind the side hatch. It requires periodic extraction and cleaning. The block is removed and installed using two snap buttons.
According to the instructions, our coffee machine is equipped with a pump with a pressure of 19 bar. As usual, these are advertising figures: espresso will still cook at a pressure of about 9 bar, and in fact we don’t need all the other “bars”.
Without disassembling the coffee machine, we will not be able to see this, however, studying the information about the device, we can assume with high probability that our device has a 1200 W flow thermoblock.
The cappuccinatore of our coffee machine is manual, with a pannarello nozzle that makes it easier to froth milk. The intensity of the steam supply is not adjustable.
The coffee machine uses a burr grinder with steel conical burrs. The coffee grinder allows the installation of 5 different degrees of grinding, the adjustment is carried out manually, using a special wheel. The quality is quite consistent with the price category of the device.
Compartment for waste coffee and drips
The waste container holds about 10 servings (meaning we will have to empty it on average after making 10 drinks). The container is taken out from the front, along with a compartment for collecting drops. Water will have to be poured out more often than with full-size (rather than compact) coffee machines. However, if you are not lazy and put an empty cup under the dispenser at the moment of switching on, then there will be much less drops in the tray.
The coffee machine in most cases will prompt the user about the need to perform certain actions.
Caring for the device involves the following steps:
- cleaning the inner contour of the machine
- emptying the coffee grounds container
- cleaning the drip tray, condensate tray, tray grid
- timely filling and cleaning of the water tank
- cleaning the coffee spout
- cleaning the brewing unit
- wiping the control panel
The frequency of these operations varies: for example, the steam nozzle should be rinsed under a stream of warm water each time after use, the waste container will need to be cleaned when it is full or 72 hours after the last use of the machine, the drip tray when full, but also not too rare. The water tank should be washed with detergent about once a month. You can use a mild detergent.
All the necessary information regarding the care of the device is contained in the instructions for the coffee machine, so we will not bore the reader with a detailed retelling.
We also mention that the device has two self-cleaning modes: intensive self-cleaning, which is carried out using citric acid, as well as quick self-cleaning, with which you can clean the system of small contaminants.
Before long-term storage or transportation of the device, it is necessary to clean the internal systems from water (that is, drain the water from the machine using a special mode). Nothing complicated.
In general, caring for the device seemed to us a very simple task. Everything turned out to be arranged so logically that the need to perform certain actions did not cause us any discontent or irritation.
During testing of coffee machines, there are not so many parameters that can be measured. It is understandable: the cooking process is automated as much as possible, and the user is allowed to intervene only at some points (as a rule, adjust the volume of water, change the grinding and enable/disable pre-wetting).
However, we have measured some parameters with which you can better imagine the capabilities of the coffee machine.
The maximum power consumption recorded by us was 1315 W, consumption in standby mode – 0.3 W, in the on state – about 1.1 W.
It took 41 seconds to turn on (initial heating and rinsing).
We consider the consumption of electricity when preparing drinks to be insignificant: we prepared 3 drinks with milk, two single and two double espressos, spilled hot water a couple of times and saw only 0.15 kWh on the wattmeter.
We can get any of the standard drinks (without milk) in about 2 minutes after turning on the coffee machine. Manual preparation of milk foam will also take approximately 2 minutes.
We measured the noise level when the device was operating at a distance of 1 meter from it. The coffee maker created noise up to 62 dBA when pouring water and up to 73 dBA when the coffee grinder was running. We pay attention to good sound insulation: the noise of the coffee grinder turned out to be significantly lower than that of many other automatic coffee machines that came to us for testing.
The temperature of the finished drinks was slightly above average compared to other machines: the temperature of the first espresso was 62 °C, the second 68 °C, and when preparing the lungo, the temperature of the finished drink rises to 73 °C. Do not need anymore!
During testing, we prepared drinks from the list of built-in programs and checked the operation of the cappuccinatore. We rate the quality of all drinks as “good” or better, which, in general, is not surprising for a device from this price category.
Before testing, we did not change the factory settings, limiting ourselves to adjusting the degree of grinding and selecting milk suitable for foaming.
“Strong” espresso (in fact, quite ordinary) turns out to be quite worthy. The taste of the drink turns out to be similar to what DeLonghi machines brew at medium (standard) settings.
At the factory settings, the machine first pre-wets the coffee, after which it dispenses 36 grams of drink with a nice crema foam (apparently, the machine is programmed for 40 ml).
The preparation time of the drink is about 45 seconds.
Pre-wetting, we recall, is necessary so that the coffee is slightly “prepared” for the beginning of the strait of water and its taste is revealed to the fullest.
The temperature of the finished drink poured into a cold cup was 62 °C. If you cook the second cup in a row, it will increase to 68 ° C.
The drink turned out to be quite standard, without sourness and without bitterness. Such an espresso should appeal to those who are used to coffee from vending machines on “standard” settings. But lovers of strong and dense espresso may be slightly disappointed.
The used coffee tablets were found to be quite crumbly, with a moderate moisture content.
In the mode, which is called “espresso” in the instructions (second button), the machine prepares 60 grams of drink in 50 seconds.
It is clear that before us is no espresso, but lungo – it is prepared according to the same principle, but with an increased flow time and an increased volume of water.
The strength of the drink turned out to be quite predictable: 9 grams of grains and 60 ml of water is a rather watery drink.
The temperature of the coffee in the cup was 73°C.
In hot water mode, the machine dispenses 160 ml of water at a temperature of 74 °C from the cappuccinatore.
Water is supplied in a uniform thin stream, without interruption. Nothing splashes or gurgles.
Thanks to this mode, you can easily prepare Americano.
Working with the cappuccinatore
Finally, let’s deal with the cappuccinatore. As we mentioned above, we will have to whip the milk foam manually. In this case, we can either use a special nozzle-tube, or remove it and whip the milk without it.
When switching to the “steam” mode, you will have to wait about 12-14 seconds until the water warms up. After that, the coffee machine will automatically drain the water remaining in the system and will be ready for steam supply (you do not have to manually drain the water from the cappuccinatore tube – very convenient). Steam is supplied with a confident uniform jet, without interruption.
Well, let’s try to whip 200 ml of milk with an additional tube first.
In the process of whipping, large bubbles appeared almost immediately.
With a bit of tweaking to the system, we were able to reduce the size of the bubbles, but the amount of foam wasn’t as high as we’d like.
We also didn’t really like the finished drink – it looks far from ideal.
Well, now let’s try to whip the foam without the “improving” tube. Things immediately went better: we see a thick foam with a lot of small bubbles.
After reaching the desired temperature, we poured the milk foam into the glass, after which we added the espresso there.
We were more than pleased with the result – we see both a layer of milk and a cap of milk foam.
It is possible that our readers will be able to achieve a similar result with the help of the “improving” nozzle, but it turned out to be easier for us to work without it.
And one more thing: if you want to prepare an espresso immediately after working with the cappuccinatore, then you need to remember to release the rest of the steam and drain the too hot water. This can be done with the water button.
The Redmond RCM-1517 coffee machine made a positive impression on us. Of course, we are far from a multifunctional machine. On the contrary: the device proved to be extremely easy to operate and maintain. The main reason for this is that the user is allowed very little. We can change the grind (in the range from 1 to 5), choose the volume of the drink (from 30 to 270 ml), we can enable or disable pre-wetting … that’s about it. What can’t we do? We cannot change the volume (quantity) of coffee that will be used in the preparation of the drink (ristretto lovers – sorry), we cannot adjust the temperature of the water supply (it is quite adequate, but hot lovers – sorry too).
Thus, the machine can perform three main tasks: brew coffee with different volumes of water (little water – you get espresso, a large volume – lungo) from 9 grams of beans, supply hot water for making Americano, and also give out hot steam for frothing milk. The espresso turns out to be quite good, but lovers of strong and dense drinks may be disappointed (we would rate the strength as average by the standards of coffee machines).
What are the main advantages of the device? This is a simple operation (you can literally get a cup of coffee “by pressing one button”), a stylish appearance and, of course, compactness. You can not be afraid to put such a machine in a small kitchen: it will require very little space.
- ability to edit recipes
- ease of care
- touch buttons
- few options for setting drink parameters
- manual milk frother
- relatively high price