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Bellini Espresso Machine BEM21 review

Manual type. Priced at $99.

CHOICE Expert Rating

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CHOICE Expert rating

This is the product's overall performance score, based on key tests conducted by our industry experts in the CHOICE labs.

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Good points

The product's best features and benefits

Bad points

Drawbacks or issues you need to know about
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Recommended View more details.

We recommend models which score 70% or more overall, so long as they also score well on other crucial factors including taste and milk frothing.

CHOICE Expert Rating View more details.

This overall score is made up of taste (60%), ease of use (20%), milk frothing ability (15%), and coffee temperature consistency over consecutive cups (5%).

Taste test score View more details.

Three experts test the espressos in a 'blind' tasting, checking the colour and thickness of the crema (the tan-coloured foam on the top of an espresso), aroma, flavour, mouth-feel (for example, creaminess or wateriness) and aftertaste.

Ease of use score View more details.

How easy the machines are to use. We try the controls, fill the water tank and the bean hopper, adjust the grinder, make a coffee, and clean inside and out.

Milk frothing score View more details.

We experiment with each machine to find how it best froths milk, looking for fine, pourable froth. We use what the manufacturer recommends (a milk frother, milk-based capsule or coffee capsule extracted over milk).

Coffee temperature consistency score View more details.

We measure the consistency of four consecutive coffees for each machine after warming it up for five minutes.

Measured heat-up time (min:s) View more details.

Not scored, but will affect how quickly you can turn out a cup of coffee.

Time taken to froth 200ml milk (min:s)
Tested model
Price View more details.

The manufacturer's recommended retail price. Prices are often flexible, so shop around both online and in bricks-and-mortar stores for options.

Capsule type
Not applicable
Type of heating system View more details.

Thermoblock heats up only a very small quantity of water on demand as it flows through the system. Boilers heat a larger amount of water and keep it heated fairly consistently. A dual boiler includes two boilers; one for making coffee and one for steaming. Heat exchanger models use a single boiler but are designed to produce coffee and steam at the same time. 

Instant heating boiler
Water reservoir capacity (L)
Pump pressure - stated (bar) View more details.

The pressure the pump exerts when pushing hot water through the ground beans; measurement given in 'bar'. Some trial and error with the pressure and grind is required. A high bar does not necessarily mean a superior machine. We optimise the machines before giving them a taste test to give them their best chance.

Not stated
Warranty (yrs)
Not stated
Dimensions (cm, HxWxD)
30 x 15 x 28
Weight (kg)
Contents of packaging
Espresso machine, literature, milk jug, small filter (1 cup), Large filter (2 cups), double group head and measuring spoon with tamper head.
Jug for milk frothing View more details.

Whether the machine comes with a milk jug for frothing or not.

Milk frothing View more details.

Many espresso machines contain integrated milk frothers. Capsule machines usually have a separate milk frother and come with one as part of the package. We list the model we tested (and its RRP) if it doesn't come with a milk frother. Some capsule machines use milk-based capsules.

Standby mode
Automatic power turn-off
Removable water reservoir
Water tank empty reminder
Hot water nozzle
Removable drip tray
Cup warming plate
Recycle scheme View more details.

Some capsule manufacturers provide a recycling scheme.

Cord storage
Programmable coffee quantity
Digital display
Espresso pressure or milk temperature gauge
Adjustable water temperature for coffee making
Adjustable steam pump rate

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