Melitta updates its Look Timer machine with a handy removable water tank, and it still makes a decent pot of coffee, too
- Consistent coffee quality
- Removable water tank
- Adjustable hotplate and wake-up timer
- Expensive for what it is
- Plasticky build
Even if you already have a capsule or espresso machine in your kitchen, a filter coffee machine is a no-mess, hassle-free way of brewing up a big pot of coffee in short order. Melitta’s Look IV Timer was one of our favourite filter coffee machines thanks to its combination of decent quality brewing and a simple wake-up timer, and its successor, the Melitta Look V Timer, has gone one step further by adding a removable water tank.
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Melitta Look V Timer review: What you need to know
- Removable 1.25 litre water tank brews up to 10 large cups (125ml) or 15 small cups (85ml)
- Backlit LCD display and 24-hour clock/brewing timer
- Adjustable hotplate timer (20, 40 or 60 minutes)
- If you’re not interested in the timer function, you can save money by option for the Look V Perfection model (£60 – Buy now)
- If you want your coffee to stay hot without the aid of a hotplate, the Look V Therm model swaps the glass jug for an unbreakable thermal jug (£120 – Buy now)
- Dimensions (WDH): 240 x 210 x 335mm
- Weight: 2.43kg
Melitta Look V Timer review: What do you get for the money?
The removable tank isn’t reason enough to upgrade from the previous model, but as someone who has broken more than his fair share of glass filter coffee machine jugs by accidentally bashing them against the kitchen tap, it’s definitely welcome.
It means you can largely leave the jug safely slotted in position, apart from giving it a quick rinse after every use. It also means the machine can more practically be located on a kitchen surface overhung with cupboards. Since the whole tank comes off you don’t need to slide the whole machine out every time you want to fill it with water.
The removable tank results in a marginally sleeker-looking machine and, while the build quality doesn’t feel especially sturdy, the combination of stainless steel panels and gloss black plastic does help it cut a rather handsome dash on the kitchen worktop.
In many ways, though, not much has changed. The Look V Timer still has the same brewing capacity – you can make a maximum of 10 large cups (125ml) or 15 small cups (85ml) – and the basic backlit LCD display is still present and correct. This displays the current time in a 24-hour format and allows you to set a delayed brewing time.
You do get a few features more basic machines lack. The most useful is the adjustable hotplate timer: this allows you to choose how long you want your coffee kept warm for in 20-minute increments up to a maximum of one hour. Depending on whether you prize taste over temperature or vice versa, it’s nice to have the option – especially if there’s nothing you hate more than stewed coffee.
There’s also an adjustable water hardness option (you can easily check your local water hardness with your water supplier), and a warning indicator that prompts you to run the machine through the standard descaling process to remove any limescale build-up. This is essential for getting the best tasting results time after time and, moreover, makes sure the machine doesn’t get clogged up.
Melitta Look V Timer review: What’s it like to use?
Like most filter coffee machines, the brewing process is supremely simple. Insert a paper coffee filter in the filter holder, add around 7-10 grams of coffee for each large cup of water you add and press the on/off button to start the brewing process. That done, you’ll get a pot of piping hot coffee in around six minutes. Alternatively, you can hit the Timer button and leave the machine primed and ready to deliver your morning coffee.
You can tailor the strength and flavour of coffee produced by adding more or less coffee, and if you’re using fresh beans you can adjust the grind size so that the water drips through the coffee at the optimum speed.
You can also subtly tweak the flavour with the AromaSelector dial on the top of the machine. This controls how much water drips through the centre of the coffee filter rather than just dripping it around the edges. This has more of an effect when making smaller amounts of coffee, and very little effect at all when making larger amounts of coffee where the filter ends up part-full of water. My advice? Leave it set to its maximum and adjust flavour with coffee dosage and grind size, as it’s far more effective.
In my tests, the Look V Timer served up a consistent pot of coffee. Temperature once brewed was genuinely piping hot, with an in-jug temperature hovering around 70c. The drip system also does a reasonably good job of distributing water evenly across the coffee, which helps extract as much flavour as possible from the grounds.
It’s by no means perfect, though. When compared to a manual pour-over Hario V60 plastic filter, the Melitta doesn’t produce a coffee with the same depth of flavour. Further inspection suggests this is largely down to the water temperature: the Melitta starts to pass water through around 65c and didn’t heat up to 87c until it had been pouring for a good 30 seconds or so. That means that the average water temperature in the Melitta’s filter is a little cooler than ideal – ideally, should the water should be around 85c from the outset.
If you want the best possible results from the Melitta, it’s good practice to prewarm the machine just as you would a manual filter: place the paper filter in the holder and run some water through to both rinse the paper and get the machine and jug up to temperature. That done, you can add the coffee, top up the water and get a hotter, more flavourful brew.
There is one further annoyance: the clock resets every time you unplug the machine, and you can’t start the brewing process without setting the clock first. This means you’ll need to press the clock buttons a couple of times every time you plug in the machine before you can brew a pot of coffee.
Cleaning is simple as most parts are removable. Grab the filter holder, jug and tank and you can quickly rinse and wash them in the sink. The filter holder and jug are dishwasher safe, too, which may come in handy if you have a habit of leaving wet coffee grounds and dregs to solidify overnight. Keeping the rest of the machine looking fresh requires nothing more than a quick wipe with a cloth.
Melitta Look V Timer review: Verdict
There’s no getting around the fact that this is a serious amount of money to spend on what is, essentially, a filter coffee machine with a timer tacked on. As the previous model, the Look IV Timer, is regularly discounted, you’d be wise to shop around and buy whichever is the cheapest – the removable water tank is a nice step forward but it isn’t essential by any means.
Price quibbles aside, though, this is a dependable, good-looking machine that makes a consistently tasty pot of coffee. If you like the idea of waking up to a hot jug of filter coffee with minimal hassle, then the Melitta Look V Timer is worthy of a permanent place on your kitchen counter.