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3 January, 2016

A Buyer’s Guide to Coffee Machines

There really is nothing quite like a freshly brewed cup of coffee in the morning. The smell, the way it makes you feel, we truly are a nation of coffee lovers.

With the economic recession in full swing, buying a cup of coffee from a coffee shop may be out of the question for some.  More and more people are turning to making their coffee at home, as it is a much cheaper option. 

The Brew 

Coffee machines use a number of different brewing techniques including boiling, gravity feed, total immersion, and steeping under pressure. In addition, some coffee machines use a combination of all of the aforementioned processes.

Press

The simplest of presses is the coffee press, it requires no electricity to operate.  This type of press can also be known as a French press. In order to make the coffee, you combine ground coffee beans and preheated water in the machine’s cylinder for a few minutes.

Once the coffee has brewed long enough, a metal plunger is pressed down through the mixture. This filters the grounds from the water so that the top layer will consist of coffee that is ready to drink. You would generally use a press to make relatively small quantities of coffee at one time; they can typically produce one to two cups per operation. You do need to be careful about the coffee you purchase as this type of coffee maker functions best with coarse grinds. This is a very cheap way to make fresh coffee. For more information go to their site here.

Machines

You should always consider the type of machine that would suit you best. Knowing about the various types will help you to pick out the special features that may be of use to you.

Drip

This is the most familiar type machine. The drip machine brews coffee by allowing heated water to drop through a reservoir filled with ground coffee beans. Drip machines run on electricity and require the use of a filter to keep grounds out of the final product. You can also buy a disposable filter, which is convenient because you can just throw them away. Most drip machines direct coffee into a pot and can make anything from four or even eight cups at once. The more expensive drip machines feature programmable timers.  Great if you want to wake up to freshly brewed coffee. 

Pod

Pod-based coffee machines are really popular. These machines usually brew a single cup of coffee at a time. A plus for these machines is that they have a hot water reservoir that can make several cups in quick succession. The pods for the machine are filled with coffee and sometimes milk and can also be filled with tea or cocoa. These machines are very versatile. Pods can be expensive. However, the coffee they produce is still a bargain when compared to the alternative of purchasing a cup from a coffee shop every day. Easy to clean as the pods are thrown away afterwards. They usually have a disc and a clean cycle to go through. Drip tray and nozzle are the only items to clean manually.

Pressure

A pressure brew machine, features a reservoir with water that is kept hot and can be dispensed on demand throughout the day. You can make coffee by pressing a button that causes hot water to be forced through the grounds; these machines can make as much or as little coffee as they please as long as water remains in the reservoir. This type of machine, therefore, provides coffee on demand and does not require users to wait for water to slowly drip through the grounds. Some machines can even grind their own beans and they are usually digital.

Percolated

Some think these are a bit old-fashioned. Water is boiled in a compartment, creating pressure that forces it upward into a container filled with grounds. The water then drips back down into the main chamber. This process repeats until the machine is switched off manually or by a timer. Percolators are available in both electric models and ones that brew coffee on the stove. Percolators can produce a cup of coffee that is considerably stronger than one in which the water only passes through the grounds once. This can result in the coffee taste being bitter. The more modern percolators can also have fully programmable digital timers.

Specialty

Fancy types of coffee such as espresso and cappuccino can also be brewed in machines intended for home use.

Espresso Machines

Espresso machines force hot water through a very fine ground of coffee to produce an extremely strong variety of the drink. Pre-ground espresso is easily available in many shops and supermarkets. Espresso machines also usually provide a grind function that can produce grounds that are close to the consistency of powder but perfect for the specific machine. Household models usually have a one or two shot option. As with other coffee makers, fully automated and programmable espresso models are available.

Cappuccino/Latte

Most espresso machines can also make cappuccino and latte.  Cappuccino and latte are a mixture of espresso and hot milk topped off with a foamy layer of steamed, frothed milk. Yummy.

In Summary

Coffee is not for everyone, but it has become more and more popular over the years. To the point where over 2.25 million cups of coffee are consumed every day worldwide. For people who love it, they generally find a coffee maker an absolute must have for the home. Coffee makers differ greatly in their brewing method and features. So you really need to shop around. Different grinds require different brewing methods and some machines are more complicated than others. There is a coffee machine for every price range too. No matter what else happens in the world, be rest assured, the world’s coffee drinking obsession is here to stay.