Coffee Machine Buying Guide

Nothing says “morning” like a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Dark and delicious, energizing and aromatic, it’s the world’s most popular beverage. Great coffee starts with good beans, but to make the most of this divine drink, you need the right coffee machine. Keep reading – our buying guide will have you brewing like a barista in no time!

COFFEE AWARD 2016

Coffee Machine Guide

Types of Coffee Machines
Pod Coffee Machines
Filter Coffee Machines
Bean to Cup Coffee Machines
Espresso Machines
Best Pod Coffee Machine

Understanding Your Needs

Your schedule, preferences and even the size of your kitchen will help determine the type of coffee machine you purchase. Consider the following:

If you’re always on the run, one-touch programmable or pod-style coffee machines are a good time-saving choice. Likewise, consider a machine with an auto-shutoff feature – it means one less thing to worry about while you get ready for work. A high-wattage heating element will bring water to the optimal temperature quickly.

If you enjoy more than a cup or two at a time, or brew coffee for several people, look for a machine with a transparent, large-capacity tank that can be removed for easy filling and cleaning.

Have more time on your hands? You might enjoy luxurious latte, cappuccino or macchiato. Coffee machines with steam arms and milk frothers allow you to make dairy-based coffee at home.

If you need some serious kick in your cup, choose an espresso machine that provides at least 9 and up to 15 bars of pressure. Not only will adequate pressure create beautiful crema (the creamy foam that sits on top of a freshly brewed espresso) – it will allow the entire spectrum of flavours to be extracted from the coffee bean.

Look for an espresso machine which uses a Thermoblock system. Thermoblocks heat water as needed (as opposed to heating an entire boiler full), allowing temperatures to reach the 90° necessary for an excellent cup of espresso.

No two kitchens are alike. Consider whether you have sufficient space on your countertop for a larger coffee machine. If not, look for a compact model that’s light enough to move and small enough to stow away.

Types of Coffee Machines

Pod Coffee Machines

Kurps Pod Coffee Machine

Kurps Pod Coffee Machine

Pod or capsule coffee machines have become enormously popular since the Keurig Company was founded in 1990. By far the easiest type of coffee machine to operate, they use single-serving disposable pods, pre-filled with roasted, ground coffee. Coffee pods are available in a wide variety of flavours and strengths, making it possible to experience a new type of coffee every day of the week.

Pod machines are perfect for a busy lifestyle – simply insert the pod into the machine and press a button. Hot water passes through the pre-ground coffee and into your cup. It’s quick, clean and fool-proof. Though Keurig is the brand most associated with pod machines, you can also choose from Nescafe Dolce Gusto, Tassimo and Nespresso. The latter brand tackles the issue of waste with refillable aluminum pods – and happens to be the best choice for instant espresso, latte and cappuccino.

Filter Coffee Machines

Andrew James Filter Coffee Maker

Andrew James Filter Coffee Maker

Requiring only a bit more effort to use than pod machines, filter machines drip hot water through a reusable or disposable filter filled with ground coffee. The finished brew collects in a large carafe which sits on a heated plate.

This type of coffee machine is best suited to busy households, offices – or the coffee lover who enjoys more than just one cup!

Reusable filters need to be emptied and cleaned, but are more economical over the long-term. Disposable filters are used once then discarded.

Bean to Cup Coffee Machines

delonghi bean to cup

Delonghi Bean to Cup Machine

Bean-to-Cup coffee machines are perfect for coffee connoisseurs. Nothing beats the aroma and flavour of coffee brewed from freshly ground beans. You could grind the beans separately and add them to a filter machine – but why would you when a bean-to-cup machine has an integrated grinder?

This type of coffee machine is easy to use – simply add your favourite beans and press a button. The machine grinds the beans, compresses them and forces water through the coffee grounds at high pressure, yielding a delicious cup of espresso.

Many models automatically discard the used coffee grounds and include a steam arm to create deliciously frothy milk-based coffee drinks.

Espresso Machines

Red Espresso Coffee Maker

Red Espresso Coffee Maker

For the ultimate coffee-shop experience (without the line-ups and coffee shop prices), an espresso machine is the way to go. Espresso machines require a bit more effort to use– they feature separate water tanks and heating elements – but the results are well worth the extra few minutes. Hot water gets forced through the filter at high pressure, producing a potent cup of coffee that’s as rich in caffeine as it is in aroma and flavour.

Just like bean-to-cup coffee machines, many espresso machines include steam arms to froth milk, allowing you to create lattes and cappuccinos.

Making coffee at home has never been easier. No longer are your choices limited to a using a messy French press or pouring boiling water through a paper filter – all you need is a good coffee machine. With the wide selection available, you’re sure to find one that suits your needs.

COFFEE AWARD 2016