Just fill the water reservoir, insert the coffee capsule and press the button. Hey presto, the coffee is ready. Whether you are a true coffee lover or your use is limited to a small cup at breakfast, a good coffee machine is essential.
With countless products on the market, the choice is however not always obvious. This guide will help you find a coffee machine that suits your needs.
Big or small?
How big should the coffee machine be, partly depends on two things: How much space you have to spare and how much coffee you intend to create.
If you have minimal kitchen bench space it pays to buy a small capsule machine, which is light in weight and very easy to clean. This is also ideal if you are only making coffee for yourself, as you will only need a small coffee machine with a small capacity.
If two or more people drink coffee at home, a machine that makes two cups of coffee simultaneously is a good option.
If you have a good amount of money to spend, but little space, you can also invest in a coffee machine that can be installed into your kitchen cupboards, though this is obviously an expensive option and not to everybody's taste.
Capsule machines have become very popular in recent years, but contrary to what one might think, not all are equally easy to use.
Each model will vary and some can be easy to use, while others will be difficult or clumsy.
When you're on the lookout for a new coffee machine you should therefore visit a high street shop or thoroughly read reviews on how easy it is to use on the particular model you're interested in. If you're in any doubt you should ask for a demonstration in the shop.
It is also good to keep in mind that a coffee machine must be cleaned from time to time - and you should also check just how easy this is.
Do you like milk in your coffee?
Do you drink coffee with milk, if so you can buy milk capsules for most of the popular machines.
If you want to add real milk from bottles or cartons, then it will be a good idea to buy a coffee machine that has this option, although this means there are more components to clean. Another good option is to buy a milk frother.
Also be aware that there can be large differences in prices for the same coffee machine.
This also applies to the prices of capsules for the machines.
Types of Coffee Machines
Capsule machines, also called pods, have in the last a few years become very popular. These machines are often criticise for being both fairly expensive and for not being particularly environmentally friendly. However, on the other hand, the machines are easy to use, easy to clean and do not create a mess on the kitchen counter as the coffee goes straight into the machine in the form of small capsules or pods.
More and more people want to make themselves a cup of coffee that taste just like that from a professional coffee outlet, and that's why so many have invested in espresso machines.
A good cup of espresso requires commitment. It's a lot harder to get a nice espresso at home than at the coffee shop, because it requires freshly roasted coffee, good equipment and training.
A properly prepared espresso is the formation of fine coffee beans on top of the coffee, called crema. Crema should have a distinctive, delicate appearance. Essentially, the water temperature, water pressure and brewing are the critical factors for whether you get a successful outcome when the machine makes an espresso.
Manual espresso machines require ground coffee that can be purchased from virtually all supermarkets at a very reasonable price. If you do purchase a manual machine, it may also pay to invest in a coffee grinder.
What's the difference between models?
Here are the differences between the different types of coffee machines, in brief:
1. Fully automated machines are for those who drink a great deal of coffee, but still want a simple solution.
2. Espresso Machines (capsule machines) are for those who may not drink as much, but still want a simple solution. The big advantage here is that the coffee is fresh everytime.
3. Manual machines without a heat exchanger generally have smaller capacity than machines with a heat exchanger. With a large capacity it is obviously easier to prepare many cups of coffee. These two machine types are for those who want to learn the barista art and make the perfect espresso at home.