Call me a spoiled millennial if you will, but I’m a sucker for cafe-styled coffee. 

Words like “iced americano”, “cold brew” and “oat milk” are second nature to me, much to the chagrin of my parents who get their caffeine fix from the heart-thumping Kopi-O for less than a two-dollar bill. 

So it’s safe to say that working from home has made the simplest of joys in my life pretty much inaccessible. Sure, I could always order some bottled brews, but it really isn’t the same. Plus, I’m not about to head downstairs in the excruciating heat for some kopitiam coffee when I’m half-dead in the morning. 

While capsule coffees from cafes and independent roasters aren’t anything new, most one-size-fits-all machines in the market these days aren’t able to support the coffee-making process — after all, what goes into the capsule from each speciality roaster is different from another.

There is, however, a device that has dragged me out of my daily misery. Enter the Morning Machine, conceptualised by Asia’s pioneers of the speciality coffee movement, Leon Foo of PPP Coffee and Andre Chanco of Yardstick Coffee fame.

Designed to make delicious coffee more accessible, the Morning Machine is an ecosystem that connects coffee lovers on both ends of the spectrum: home brewers and roasters. This translates to drinking a cup of joe from Colonna Coffee, a Bath-based roaster, on Monday, then another from April Coffee Roasters in Copenhagen the next, with the flavours exactly as their makers intended.  

The industry has always been sort-of fragmented, where roasters are very much offline and when customers brew coffee at home, they do it in their own space. So we found an opportunity to build something that connects the roaster to the customer and vice-versa.
Andre Chanco, Co-founder of Yardstick Coffee and Morning Machine

Before diving into the intricacies of the mechanics, the sleek design of the Morning Machine already won me over. Glazing over the fact that it won the Red Dot Product Design Award 2021, the compact device came with an intuitive OLED interface that differentiates itself from other capsule machines.

The intuitive dial mechanism of the screen allows users to scroll through the 10 default recipes in the machine, complete with two capacitive buttons (“Next” and “Back”) that even tech novices will be able to navigate. A screen and no physical buttons — just like a smartphone.

It also comes with a built-in scale where your cup would sit — as opposed to relying on volumetric measurements from a flow meter, with you constantly eyeballing the liquid espresso and crema, the built-in scale effortlessly ensures perfectly brewed, consistent-tasting cups of coffee.

There are a couple of ways you can use the Morning Machine. You can simply place the capsule in, select the specific blend on the Morning app and the machine will choose the intended recipe for that particular capsule. For coffee beginners, or those who aren’t too fussy with personalisation, this function makes it a breeze to get your daily joe, sans the guessing. Others who like to fiddle with the many complex tastes a brew is able to create can always opt to use one of the recipes on the machine or even tweak it on the app.

These aren’t your basic ones that go by the name espresso or lungo either. Bloom & Brew, for instance, pre-infuses some water into the chamber for 10 to 15 seconds, which in turn creates an even extraction of the coffee when it’s brewed at high pressure. According to Leon, this results in a short brew that’s syrupy, with a more intense flavour profile for medium to light roast coffee capsules.

morning machine
(Image credit: Jocelyn Tan for Lifestyle Asia)

On regular days, my go-to recipe is the Kyoto Style Slow Drip, inspired by the large, old-school contraptions you tend to find in Japan. Rather than steeping your blends for 12 hours for a cup of cold brew, this recipe brews the coffee at a lower pressure and temperature of 75 degree Celcius to replicate the sweeter and smoother profiles of your regular cold brew. All I had to do was pop a cup of ice on and get hypnotised as the machine slowly dripped the coffee into the glass.

This was a change from the machines I was used to. More often than not, capsule coffee machines stick to brewing temperatures of up to 86 degree Celcius at a single flow, which impacts extraction yields that can’t seem to find the right balance of flavour and acidity. The Morning Machine, on the other hand, comes with PID Temperature controls that can be set anywhere between 65 to 98 degree Celcius, so you’ll be able to manipulate and optimise the temperature according to your flavour preferences. Pro tip: If you’re not up for coffee in the morning, you can even prepare tea capsules that are ideally brewed between 65 to 80 degree Celcius.

Personally, the Morning Machine is a great device for everyone at home, regardless of whether you’re a coffee purist or novice. It grants you the full ability to do whatever you want, while still being a good fit for those looking for a quick fix.

With the Morning Machine, I wouldn’t mind staying home a little longer. Plus, Dad won’t even be able to resist some Killiney Kespresso capsules to go along with it.

The Morning Machine is available on their website here at S$590, inclusive of a capsule explorer pack worth S$80. 

Jocelyn Tan
Writer
Jocelyn Tan is a travel and design writer who's probably indulging in serial killer podcasts or reading one too many books on East Asian history. When she actually gets to travel, you can find her attempting to stuff her entire wardrobe into her luggage. Yes, she's a chronic over-packer.