Coffee machines buyer's guide
Whether you enjoy a rich, creamy cappuccino, a full-bodied espresso or a pot of fresh filter coffee, you can find a coffee machine to cater to your preferences. New technologies and special features give you almost limitless control to create your ideal cup of coffee with ease. This guide gives you an idea of what to look out for when selecting a coffee maker to best meet your needs.
Types of coffee maker
Filter coffee maker
Boiled water drips through ground coffee to fill a decanter, which can be removed to pour freshly filtered coffee into individual cups. These are fast, efficient, simple to use and more affordable than other fresh coffee solutions. The cup capacity indicates the size of the maker, and most take a reusable filter.
Coffee pod machines
A pod comprises pre-ground, pre-tamped coffee sealed in a paper capsule, sometimes referred to as ‘ESE’ or ‘easy-serving espresso’. These are a clean and simple way to produce espresso with minimal mess, as the pod is disposable.
Dual systems enable espressos and cappuccinos to be prepared at the same time. Typically, pod machines have some form of 'cappuccino system' to mix steam, air and milk, producing a luxurious froth for a great cappuccino.
These use fresh coffee beans or ground coffee to produce superb fresh espressos, cappuccinos and lattes at the touch of a button. ‘Bean to cup’ describes espresso machines that automatically grind the coffee beans and brew the coffee.
You can expect to find a built-in tamper, crema device, cup warmer, drip tray and heavy-duty filter holder. A high-performance 15-bar pressure ensures the best-tasting espresso or cappuccino, with no limit to the number of cups that can be produced.
A spring mechanism designed to act as a two-way valve to prevent coffee from dripping once a jug or cup is removed
A measure of pressure: the higher the figure, the better the coffee.
The water temperature used to make an espresso; ideally between 88°C (190°F) and 95°C (205°F) to achieve optimal results.
The length of time between the pump being activated and the coffee being finished: 20-25 seconds produces the best espresso.
The reddish-brown foam that floats on top of an espresso is an essential indicator of good quality.
A system that combines milk, steam and air to produce frothy, milky foam directly into the cup.
Keeps the machine continuously ready for use.
Used for tamping down the coffee into the filter. Tamping is the process of compressing the ground coffee in preparation for the brewing of an espresso.