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illy ESE coffee pod machine

illy E.S.E coffee pod machine review

Published: August 2, 2021 at 10:34 am
A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
Our Rating
GBP £115 RRP

illy has perfected the two-button coffee pod machine and dubbed its latest model an eco and energy-saving product


  • Espresso and lungo coffee choices, low wattage, available in red or black, two-year warranty


  • Needed three flushes before bitter taste disappeared, no cup warmer

illy E.S.E coffee pod machine first impressions

We liked how small and compact the packaging for this machine was. Zero set-up is required so once unboxed, you’re good to go. B-Corp certified, illy’s new E.S.E is a slimline coffee pod machine that’s been created with sustainability in mind as well as convenience. This model is one of illy’s energy-saving machines (although there’s not a lot of online information on how) which is facilitated by a quick-warm setting.


It takes illy’s new E.S.E pods, which are fully compostable and collectable in green waste collection. They do however come individually air sealed in pouches to maintain the coffee’s freshness. Espresso and lungo coffee functions are on offer. We love the additional fold-down espresso cup tray, perfectly positioned under the coffee outlet for making sure coffee doesn’t splash out.

How easy is the illy E.S.E coffee pod machine to use?

The one-litre water tank needs to be rinsed before use and is a bit tricky to re-fit without looking. To the left of its two-button interface is the power button. We ran the tank through and made three espressos before we got one that didn’t taste bitter.

The lower drip tray pulls out completely to reveal the coffee pod bin behind, so emptying both at the same time is simple.


The pre-warm setting on this machine is one of the quickest we tested. It’s incredibly efficient at heating the water. Pods slot into a slim hole beneath a flat handle after it’s been lifted, then lock into place when lowered with a click. This requires more force than you’d expect but you get confident with it.

A small quantity of water is released for pre-infusion before full extraction but could prove confusing for first-time users, so don’t remove your cup during the pause!

The espresso is as you’d hope; dark, full bodied and topped with a hazelnut-coloured crema. There’s a descaling function built-in, although there’s no guidance as to when this is required.

olive’s take: should you buy the illy E.S.E coffee pod machine?

At 800W, this is one of the least energy-consuming coffee pod machines we’ve tested and yet it packs in 20 bars of pressure for extracting espresso. The compostability of E.S.E coffee pods is undoubtedly a lower-impact solution to traditional coffee pods that can prove difficult to recycle.

Available from illy (£115)

illy E.S.E coffee pod machine specifications:

Pods: E.S.E pods
Pump: 20 bar
Wattage: 800W
Cord length: 1 metre
Water tank: 1-litre removable water tank
Drip tray: Dual height
Coffee functions: espresso and lungo
Power save mode: yes
Dimensions: 11cm x 32cm x 26cm

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