SMEG Retro Style Drip Coffee Maker review: All looks & poorly engineered


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Erin Lawrence

SMEG retro coffee maker reviewMany of us start our day with a fresh cup of coffee or two (or more), so we definitely need a reliable coffee maker that is convenient and makes us a delicious brew. This review will look at the SMEG DCF02 Retro Style Coffee Maker, which may look like it was made decades ago but comes with modern features needed to start the day off right.

SMEG retro drip coffee maker


While this machine is beautiful, looks are about all it has going for it. If you’re aware of the cons and you’re okay with them, then you’ll be happy with the retro SMEG drip coffee machine. But for me, while this coffee maker does the job, I’m going to take a pass on it since the cons outweigh the pros.


  • Beautiful design
  • Easy to program
  • Programmable timer for automatic brewing


  • Entirely plastic build
  • Very difficult to add water to tank
  • Glass Carafe not dishwasher safe
  • 60 minute hold-warm only
  • Big footprint
  • Expensive

Review: SMEG DCF02 Retro Style Coffee Maker

The SMEG 1950’s Retro Style Drip Coffee Maker lives up to its name, as it looks like a coffee machine someone would have had in the midcentury. It is made with a coloured plastic housing, swooping lines, and is rounded at the top.

The SMEG DCF02 drip coffee maker is 13″D x 17″W x 11.25″H and weighs 7.5 pounds (3.4 kilograms).

I got the off-white colour or cream machine, but the available colors include black, pastel blue, pastel green, pink, red, and stainless steel. The package also comes with a measuring scoop.

The SMEG coffee maker easily fit under my overhead cabinets. But because the top hides a lid where you fill the water and add the coffee, you do definitely need to pull it out from underneath the cabinets to fill it.

SMEG retro coffee maker review

Very wide at the base.

What I noticed rather quickly is that the machine is extremely wide; much wider than it really needs to be to hold the coffee pot. I guess that’s part of the retro design, but it does seem to have a needlessly large footprint.

Under the rounded dome lid is the cone-shaped drip basket and the water tank. The dome on top makes the coffee maker quite unique, but it does prevent you from storing anything on top of the device; no keeping coffee mugs or filters up there.

Carafe and Capacity

This coffee maker comes with a 10-cup capacity glass carafe, and the fully removable lid (as opposed to a flip-up lid) clicks into place securely. If you don’t want to make a full 10 cups, you can simply fill the coffee pot with as much water as you wish and it will run whatever’s in the holding tank through the machine. Oddly there’s also a half-pot button on the machine, which will only brew four cups when pressed. I’m not sure I understand the need for this option since if you only want half a pot you only need to fill the water tank with as much water.

SMEG retro coffee maker reviewThe carafe comes with a pause and serve feature which lets you remove the pot to fill your mug even while the brewing is happening and this will prevent your brew from getting on the burner.

Water Level Indicator

Some coffee makers make you guess how much water is left in them, which can be a hassle—or result in overflows. The SMEG DCF02 machine, on the other hand, has a small window that acts as a water level indicator right on the side that tells you how many cups of coffee can be made with the amount of water left in the machine. This is, of course, especially useful if you have more than one coffee drinker in the household.

Poor design of main water tank

While we’re on the topic of the water tank, I have to say I think the lid and coffee pot design are extremely incompatible. Watch my review video to find out why in a way that’s easy to see. A coffee pot is quite wide and has a rather narrow lip. Similarly, the opening at the top of the machine for the water is narrow and the lid only opens 90 degrees.

SMEG retro coffee maker review

Mouth of pot is too big to pour cleanly into narrow opening.

The result is that it can be extremely awkward to fill the water tank. Because the top of the pot tends to bang into the lid, and because the opening where the water is poured is so narrow, it’s an exercise in balance and dexterity. In truth it was quite maddening trying to fill the water before I’d even had a cup of coffee. For this reason I took to filling it up when I was a little more coherent the night before.

Reusable Filter

SMEG retro coffee maker reviewThe days of using paper filters are over for SMEG DCF02 users, as the filter included with the machine is reusable, therefore saving you trips to the store as well as money. If you do prefer paper filters, though, those work here too.

Auto-on timer

The SMEG DCF02 coffee maker comes with a timer mode (and you can choose either a 12-hour or 24-hour clock). Setting both the clock and the automatic brew time are easy enough, and the instructions in the manual are pretty clear. I was able to get it to brew my coffee right before my alarm went off so I’d wake up to a fresh hot cup.

Keep warm setting limited to only 60 minutes

While we’re on this topic, one of the biggest disappointments for me is that there is only a one hour time limit to keep coffee hot; after that, the machine automatically shuts off.

SMEG retro coffee maker reviewMy old coffee maker allowed this setting to be changed for anywhere from one to three hours and I found that about two hours was the perfect balance of time to keep the coffee hot in order for two of us to sip our way through the pot.

Oddly the keep warm mode won’t actually come on if you choose the half-pot setting, or if you stop the brewing process before it’s complete.

Other adjustable settings

The SMEG drip coffee maker also allows you to adjust the water hardness and choose the “aroma” (i.e., lightness or darkness) of the coffee.

The LED display is easy to read and the device also comes with a descaling alarm indicator light and the ability to keep notification sounds on or off.

My honest review

I spent about two weeks with the SMEG drip cone filter coffee machine and used it every day. I already mentioned it, but I really hated filling the water simply because of the poor compatibility of the glass coffee pot and the small opening in the top for the water.

When it comes to the coffee, the machine does the job, and has a decent balance of useful features while not being overly complicated.

SMEG retro coffee maker reviewCoffee certainly comes down to the beans you choose and using quality beans obviously gives you better tasting coffee, and the machine you use has very little impact on the taste.

A good automatic drip coffee machine should be easy to program, easy to use, easy to clean, and not take up too much space in the kitchen. The SMEG retro drip machine gets it mostly right.


The glass coffee pot is NOT dishwasher safe; SMEG recommends you hand wash it only to avoid damage, and this is a huge downside for me. The filter basket and reusable filter can go in the dishwasher. The rest of the machine can be wiped with a damp cloth. When it’s time to clean and descale the machine, you should get an alert.

Overall Review: SMEG DCF02 Retro Style Coffee Maker

Overall this coffee maker has some good points and some not so good points…

On the pro side, it’s easy to program, and it looks fantastic, but on the flip side of the the macine is made entirely of plastic so be aware that’s the build quality you’re getting.

The auto timer function works well and is easy to set.

On the con side, the coffee can only be held warm for one hour, which is not nearly long enough for me; and there’s no option to adjust that setting. I also don’t like that the carafe is not dishwasher safe. Finally, I think the machine is bigger than it needs to be, and filling the water tank requires dexterity and precision and it’s actually hard to get all the water out to the pot and into the tank… not fun in the early morning before you’ve had coffee.

If you’re aware of the cons and you’re okay with them, then you’ll be happy with the retro looks of the SMEG drip coffee machine. But for me, while this coffee maker does the job, I’m going to take a pass on it since the cons outweigh the pros from my personal experience and preferences.

Most colors of the SMEG DCF02 coffee maker can be purchased for $229.95USD on Amazon, while the stainless steel option costs $269.95. The company offers a full line of other retro style appliances, too, which can also be purchased on Amazon.

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