L’OR Barista Sublime Coffee Machine Review now just £59

We tested out the latest coffee pod machine on the market.

from L'OR
RRP  £109.99
LOR BARISTA SUBLIME MAIN

by Natalie Corner |
Updated on

There are endless coffee pod machines on the market to choose from and sometimes it can be overwhelming to decide which coffee machine is right for you. When coffee maker L’OR entered the coffee pod machine market with the L’OR Barista Sublime, a double-spouted design with an exclusive XXL capsule design, we were keen to put it to the test.

Even though it’s powered by Philips, the Barista Sublime is compatible with single-shot alternative branded pods including Nespresso, so if you’re looking to switch you won’t be stuck with unusable leftovers.

At an original RRP of £109.99, L’OR’s offering falls in the price bracket of a coffee pod machine which tends to be around the £100 mark. However, don't forget once you’ve factored in the cost of the pods it bumps the price up, so it's worth keeping an eye out for coffee machine deals for worthwhile savings.

Coffee pod machines are popular among coffee drinkers who are looking to invest in a machine for their household but are not fussy about using beans or coffee strength. They’re also quite the timesaver but you might be lacking in that coffee buzz required to kickstart your day. However, the XXL L’OR pods promise ‘twice the amount’ of coffee, so A Modern Kitchen's editor Natalie Corner, kept that in mind while reviewing the machine. Read on for what she thought of the L'Or Barista Sublime.

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Pros

  • Can make two drinks at once
  • Dual coffee pod compatibility
  • Compatible with other pod brands
  • Sleek finish

Cons

  • XXL pod exclusive to L’OR
  • Menu and pod system can be complicated to understand
  • Pod bin fills quickly 

L’OR Barista Sublime Coffee Machine: Summary

The L’OR Barista Sublime is the second coffee machine from the brand (the first L’OR Barista Original comes with an attached milk frother) and is available in three colours; white, red and black. It is compatible with L’OR Espresso single shot capsules and the L’OR Barista XXL capsules and allows customers to use a wide range of alternative branded coffee capsules on the market, providing maximum flexibility and choice.

Made in partnership with Philip, the L’OR coffee machine is complete with dual capsule recognition technology, which automatically detects the capsule size and 19 bar brewing pressure for true barista quality. It measures H27.6 x W15.7 x D40.2cm, which makes it ideal for small countertops as it won’t take up too much space.

LOR BARISTA double pour

The machine offers single or double Ristrettos, Espressos, Lungos, as well as the new and exclusive L’OR Barista XXL capsules, which contains twice the amount of coffee to make a double shot espresso, a larger coffee like those you’d get in a coffee shop, or, using the unique double spout on the coffee machine – make two drinks at the same time. It’s the first pod machine to offer compatibility with two different size capsules, something which Nespresso doesn’t offer having to choose between its standard pod machine or the Nespresso Vertuo range.

Price

The machine is available directly from L’OR or for a bundle offer £79.99 along with a selection of 200 coffee capsules. It’s also available at Argos, currently for £150. The affordable price places the L’OR Barista Sublime in competition with the Nespresso Vertuo available at John Lewis and slightly more than A Modern Kitchen’s favourite pod machine, the Tassimo by Bosch MY WAY 2 Pod Coffee Machine.

LOR BARISTA side view

Testing The L’OR Barista Sublime Coffee Machine

What was the product tested for?

I tested the L’OR Barista over a month using the L’OR branded capsules and Nespresso capsules from my own Nespresso Magimix machine. I tested the quality of the coffee drinks produced from the different capsules and how they compared to fresh beans when using a bean-to-cup machine.

Although the unique selling point of the machine is the double spout, for a single-person household this didn’t really affect how I used the machine instead I focused on the coffee strengths and the performance of the machine.

What were the results?

Build

On first unveiling the L’OR Barista Sublime from its box the first thing I noticed was the plastic body and its many curves. The bulbous front where the double spout is located and branded with the gold L’OR logo, the curved lip of the pod lever, right to the rounded edges of the drip tray, the machine designer (Philips in collaboration with Khodi Feiz) clearly wanted to avoid any sharp corners.

The black plastic body, a feature favoured by many pod machine brands, keeps it sleek and stylish without being too bold and in your face - that is, unless you go for the Sunset Rubis or Satin Blanc - and will fit in without being so obtuse.

The most complicated part of the machine is perhaps the most impressive, in my opinion, the dual pod chamber which houses a mechanism that cleverly reveals itself as you lift the curved lever. Here you place your chosen pod in a single shot, L’OR’s exclusive XXL, or any other branded compatible pod and the machine automatically recognises the size once it is closed.

LOR BARISTA capsules
LOR BARISTA capsule chamber

Usability

After you’ve filled the water tank, which at 0.8L is larger than my Nespresso Magimix, the machine requires a rinse-through before first use to clear the pipes, which goes in the drip tray, so remember to tip that out each use or it will overflow. Once you've chosen your preferred coffee capsule you can then go on to select your chosen drink between the three button options that reside on the top of the machine: ristretto, espresso, or Lungo.

I found this to be tricky to understand depending on what capsule I had selected. With the tasting box that came along with the machine, there was a handy brewing guide, but some of the L’OR capsules are marked with different styles of coffee compared to what was in the brewing guide and I found that more confusing than I probably should have.

One thing to note, when you switch on the machine it will go through a brief rinse cycle as the boiler heats up much like the Smeg bean-to-cup machine I previously tested. I thought this was ideal for a pod machine to prevent build-up and is something my Nespresso Magimix does not do and there is no way for me to know if it needs cleaning. However, I made the mistake of putting my capsule in before the rinse-through and ended up wasting it as I couldn’t tell if the coffee had been used or not.

LOR Brewing guide

Performance

I have my coffee first thing in the morning before I go to the gym, so my main priority is the speed it switches on and is ready to go – the L'Or Barista Sublime was ready within one minute. After spending time testing a bean-to-cup machine I noticed the difference in the strength of a single shot capsule compared to an espresso from coffee beans and didn’t get the same boost of caffeine I was used to.

However, the introduction of the XXL pod from L’OR means twice the strength of the standard size and a better caffeine boost for my pre-gym espresso which I was impressed with for a pod machine, and was even topped with the perfect coffee crema. Being able to choose between a single and double shot pod is certainly an upgrade from my Nespresso machine and it’s not an extra feature that costs any more than it's competitors.

The L’OR Barista Sublime doesn’t come with a milk frother but I already own one from using my Nespresso machine and as someone who drinks more espresso than a cappuccino or latte, it didn’t bother me. It would be something to factor in as an extra cost if you were purchasing a pod machine for the first time unless you opted for L’OR’s original machine.

As previously mentioned, the double spout of the machine, while attractive, wasn’t something I was drawn to in a single-person household where I was the only one making drinks. But if you were in a two-person or more household this could save time and money using only one XXL pod and making two drinks at the same time.

After using four XXL capsules and three standard-sized ones the machine’s pod drawer was full and needed emptying, there is no warning for this so be aware when you’re lifting the pod chamber as it automatically releases the empty pod into the drawer and has the potential to jam. The adjustable part of the tray of the L'OR Barista, is the removable drip tray, you are left with a lip of plastic to place larger cups, but it doesn't seem as flat or secure.

LOR BARISTA crema
LOR BARISTA lungo

How Does The L’OR Barista Sublime Coffee Machine Compare To Rival Products?

The main differences of the L’OR Barista Sublime, when compared to a competitor like the Nespresso Vertuo Pop, are the dual pod options and the double spout. L’OR has had time to monitor the market and see what its competitors have and don’t and managed to stand out with its unique features while remaining at an affordable price for the pod machine market.

As with other pod machines, it still requires the added extra of purchasing exclusive pods to fit the XXL option, but at the same time, it is compatible with the standard size pod across other brands which gives it more flexibility than Nespresso which is tied to using its branded pods and a select number of compatible pods.

The L'OR Barista is considerably larger than my Nespresso Magimix pod machine (my model is from around 2019), so although still a fairly small machine I still need to take into account how much room it would take up.

LOR vs Nespresso comparison

OUR VERDICT: Is the L’OR Barista Sublime Coffee Machine worth it?

An affordable coffee pod machine at £50, the L'OR Barista Sublime is worth the investment if you're looking for a coffee hit but are not concerned with tasting the roast strength of beans, and are happy to use capsules or pods.

After enjoying a bean-to-cup machine I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of the coffee in L'OR's exclusive XXL capsules and I think the dual chamber is an impressive offering from a pod machine, especially when other pod machines on the market are not as flexible. The cost of stocking up on XXL pods, at £25.74 for 50 is about £1.94 per drink, which is certainly cheaper than your standard coffee shop brew, or £28 for 100 single shot capsules which works out at 28p per drink.

The overall design of the machine is smooth and sleek, probably looks more expensive than it is, but it is quite curvy and chunky so will take up more space, and you need to factor in the lever which lifts the capsule chamber fairly high. In conclusion, I appreciate the flexibility of the capsule strength on offer and enjoyed being able to adjust the volume of my coffee drinks.

It's larger than most pod machines, but the pull of the dual chamber and the option of pouring two drinks at once definitely tip the favour towards L'OR Barista as opposed to Nespresso, it just depends on what you want from a coffee pod machine as a customer.

L’OR BARISTA Double Splendente XXL Aluminium Coffee Capsules
Price: £26

FULL PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS

Automatic or manual: Automatic pod machine

Type of drinks: Ristretto, Espresso, Lungo

Coffee options: Americano, Espresso

Power supply: Mains

Pump Pressure: 19 bar

Water Container Capacity: 0.8L

Colour: Satin Blanc (White), Sunset Rubis (Red), Piano Noir (Black)

Dimensions: H27.6 x W15.7 x D40.2cm

FAQs

What is a coffee pod machine?

If you’re short on countertop space and short on time in the morning a coffee pod machine is going to suit your lifestyle very well. Brands like Nespresso, Tassimo or Dolce Gusto are the leaders when it comes to capsule or pod machines and can range from £30 to £200. They use pre-measured flavoured pods that are slotted in and brewed at the click of a button, using water from a small tank in a couple of minutes. It means you’ll always get the perfect cup, but the coffee is not as strong as a filter or bean-to-cup machine. They are not always interchangeable between brands (apart from L'OR) so you’re limited to capsules or pods that match your chosen coffee pod machine and can prove to be costly in the long run with coffee subscription offers.

Pros

Quick and easy to use

Compact, takes up little space

Large variety of coffee flavours

Cons

Expensive to buy coffee pods/capsules

Limited to machine brand pods/capsules

Some pods are recyclable but not all

Weaker coffee than bean or filter

What to consider when buying a coffee pod machine

Capacity/tank size - If you have a busier household, or you want to make enough to last you throughout your commute and back, you’ll probably need a machine with a larger tank/capacity. We would recommend anything with at least a 1.2L capacity, as this makes approximately five to six cups of coffee. But if you're a smaller household then anything around 1L will suffice.

Milk frother – There are two different ways for the milk frother to create lattes or cappuccinos, the first is by using a milk pod, and the second is with an actual milk frother. Consider the extra cost if a milk frother is sold separately.

Pod compatibility - As previously mentioned a pod machine may be on the lower end of the budget for coffee machines, but the cost for pods can be costly and add up over time

Natalie Corner is the Commercial Content Editor across the Specialist Portfolio for Bauer Media. She specialises in all things coffee and tea related for A Modern Kitchen. When she's not hopped up on caffeine she's testing the latest space-saving hacks to organise her small kitchen.

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