How to choose the right coffee machine for you

There’s nothing like the smell of freshly brewed coffee, so whether you’re a committed coffee drinker or someone who wants to serve up the perfect coffee after dinner, investing in a coffee maker at home is a great idea. idea.

With prices ranging from just £15 to over £1,500, there are several key factors to consider before investing in a coffee maker.

Think about the type of coffee you enjoy, such as filter or espresso; how often you drink it; how many cups you want at any time; and how much effort you are willing to put into doing so.

This way you can choose the right coffee machine for you.

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The different types of coffee makers available

coffee makers

A coffee maker, or French press, consists of a simple glass jug with a wire mesh filter that acts as a plunger.

Add a few scoops of ground coffee and top up with just boiled water, then push the plunger down after a few minutes to trap the ground coffee.

Who are they suitable for? Cheap and attractive, coffee makers are ideal for a few cups of coffee, especially if you’re not a big drinker of fresh coffee and only want occasional cups or something to serve your guests.

How much do they cost ? Not much, prices tend to range from £15 to £40 depending on size and brand.

What coffee do they use? Any ground coffee.

Filtering machines

Filter machines and percolators work with ground coffee, but in opposite ways.

With filter machines, water slowly drips through ground coffee to brew in a carafe below. They can brew large batches of freshly brewed coffee and keep it hot for ages.

Who are they suitable for? Filter machines are ideal for busy coffee drinkers who need a ready supply of their favorite beverage throughout the day. They are also a popular option for places where multiple people would like to help themselves, such as offices and staff rooms.

How much do they cost ? Budget machines start at around £25, with top-end models at £150 and a price range in between.

What coffee do they use? Any ground coffee.

Percolators

Percolators push boiled water through a tube to brew coffee in a container that sits above the water reservoir. Traditionally used on the hob, you can also buy electric percolators that contain a heating element. Unlike filter machines, coffee from a percolator should be savored fairly quickly as it is not designed to store coffee and if left on the stove for too long it can boil over.

Who are they suitable for? Percolators make strong coffee, so they’re ideal for anyone looking for a morning pick-up and prioritizing strength over subtle flavor.

How much do they cost ? Basic models start at around £20 for a small model, with larger machines costing around £50.

What coffee do they use? Any ground coffee.

Espresso machines

True miniature versions of the professional machines you see in cafes, espresso machines offer an authentic shot of coffee.

They’re cheaper than capsule and bean-to-cup machines, offer great control over the strength of your coffee, and many come with milk frothers so you can make cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiattos.

However, espresso machines can be tricky to master and involve more mess than other coffee makers.

Coffee grinders can be had for around £15, if you want freshly ground coffee.

Who are they suitable for? Espresso machines are suitable for coffee connoisseurs who don’t want to get into fancy features, but still want full control over their coffee and are confident in the operation of the machine, as they require some proficiency to do well. things.

How much do they cost ? Base models start at £30, with more premium brands closer to £100.

What coffee do they use? Any ground coffee.

Coffee bean machines

If you want the freshest cup of coffee, a machine that grinds coffee beans on demand and then brews them to perfection is ideal.

These coffee bean models are easy to use and less messy than other coffee makers. They brew just the right amount of coffee at the touch of a button and work with both beans and ground coffee for greater flexibility.

Some come with timers and keep warm functions. However, you will pay a high premium for such versatility and these machines have a large footprint, so you will need to have enough counter space.

Who are they suitable for? Bean-to-cup machines offer the home barista experience without the learning curve demanded by espresso machines. They are good for anyone who wants the freshness of ground coffee beans without having to grind the beans yourself.

How much do they cost ? Cheaper brands are available for around £80, but most can cost around £300 or more.

What coffee do they use? All coffee beans.

Capsule coffee machines

Capsule coffee machines disposable pods or capsules filled with just the right amount of coffee for a drink inside. They are quick and convenient and leave no mess to clean up.

You will need to choose a particular brand of capsule first, as most machines only support one type. There are several brands to choose from, such as Nespresso, Tassimo, and Dolce Gusto, each with different costs and drink options.

The sealed pods keep the coffee fresh inside, so these machines are great for the casual coffee drinker, especially since pods are more expensive than coffee beans and ground coffee.

Also keep in mind the environmental impact of throwing away a plastic capsule after every cup of coffee.

Who are they suitable for? Capsule machines are suitable for people who don’t mind paying a premium price for a quick, convenient, and clean method of brewing coffee.

How much do they cost ? Capsule coffee machines usually cost between £40 and £90.

What coffee do they use? Very specific coffee pods that can cost more, so consider the cost of coffee when developing your budget. You can also look for a model that has refillable stainless steel pods available to use any ground coffee.

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Coffee machine features to watch out for

Height and weight

Think carefully about where you plan to use your coffee machine.

Choose a small, lightweight machine if you plan to store it in a kitchen cupboard between uses. Large, heavy machines, on the other hand, can take up a good chunk of your countertop space.

Capacity

If a single cup of coffee is enough for your daily caffeine fix, consider a capsule coffee machine.

However, if you need lots of freshly brewed coffee throughout the day or for entertaining, choose a large capacity filter, percolator or coffee maker.

Check the size of your espresso machine’s water tank if you want to make several drinks in quick succession. Choose a coffee machine with a transparent water tank or a visible gauge to easily see the amount of water available.

Ease of use

Some coffee machines can be difficult to use with all sorts of filters, nozzles and buttons.

If you’re short on time or aren’t interested in unleashing your inner barista, look for an easy capsule or pod coffee machine with simple programmable cup size options, or a simple coffee maker.

power and pressure

If you’re in a hurry or need to make a lot of coffee, go for a high-powered coffee machine.

The higher the power, the faster the machine will boil the water. With espresso machines, choose a model that provides between 9 and 15 bars of pressure, so you can create the perfect barista-style crema on your espresso.

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Thermoblock

Coffee machines equipped with thermoblock heating systems heat water to the ideal temperature for a rich espresso.

It also ensures that a coffee machine heats up quickly and operates efficiently, and by avoiding overheating the ground coffee beans, there is less chance of having a bitter-tasting cup of coffee at the end.

Environmental factor

With growing awareness of the problem of plastic waste, coffee pod machines may not seem like the best option, especially because these pods are made of mixed materials and cannot be recycled by local authorities. Recycling programs are available for some brands, such as Tassimo and Nespresso, but it’s less than ideal and not always practical. Fortunately, there are more eco-friendly ways to enjoy the convenience of machines, with reusable coffee makers for Nespresso and Dulce Gusto now available. These jars can be filled with your favorite coffee grounds and kept for when you need them. See brands such as SealPod.

Automatic shutdown

European regulations require new coffee machines to switch off automatically after 30 minutes, with keep warm functions limited to 60 minutes, to save energy.

milk frother

To enjoy a range of milk-based coffee drinks such as cappuccinos, lattes or macchiatos, choose a coffee machine with a steam arm or an integrated milk frothing function.

Coffee machine brands

Many companies manufacture coffee machines, from big brands such as Tesco, Argos and Currys to luxury brands such as Gaggia, Lavazza, Dualit, DeLonghi and Miele.

You’ll pay more for a premium brand’s sturdy construction, power and high pressure, advanced features, and designer looks, but cheaper machines are often able to produce great-tasting coffee.

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About Jeffery L. Parker

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