Sure you love your cup of coffee in the morning, but how you make it is just as important. So which is better – a built in coffee machine, a manual espresso, filter, capsule or bean-to-cup? With prices ranging from a £100 to over a £1,000, and a fifth of homes now owning a coffee machine, we’ve put together a guide to help you choose one that’s right for you, your pocket and your taste.
Manual Espresso Machine
With a manual espresso machine you can create your own coffee-shop style coffee. These machines are really similar to the ones you see in actual coffee shops, though on a much smaller scale. The way they work is the water’s heated then passed through ground coffee at the correct temperature. The machines usually include tools for steaming milk too.
They’re great if you’re after the flexibility to create different styles of drink, from an espresso to a latte to a flat white, and they’re perfect for real coffee enthusiasts who want the whole coffee shop experience. Of course the downside is you’ve got to grind the beans and put a little work in when it comes to cleaning. The quality of these machines varies too and they can get very expensive, but with dual boiler options, which can steam milk and pour espresso at the same time, they are usually well designed and look fantastic.
Bean to Cup Machines
With a bean to cup machine, you’re still using coffee beans but it’s a little less like hard work as the machine will grind your coffee automatically then run hot water through it before pouring your drink into a mug. You’d have more control with a manual, but with coffee available at the touch of a button, a good quality bean to cup machine can still make a variety of long and short coffees.
These machines are very easy to maintain and they’re really convenient. The range of features will depend on how much you want to spend, of course, and not all of them have integrated milk steamers, but they’re mostly excellent value for money.
Pod or Capsule Machines
Now these counter top machines are all about convenience, but you’re still getting a proper, great tasting coffee. You simply press a button and hot water is sent through the pod and into your mug.
These machines come in fun and funky colours to suit your kitchen and they’re great for offices or homes where everyone wants a quick coffee and the variety of different options. Some manufacturers offer more than 40 different pod coffee flavours and many machines come with integrated milk frothers. They’re super simple to use and there’s hardly anything to clear up, though you need to factor in that your coffee will cost more per cup and you’ll be limited to using the capsules sold by the machine manufacturer.
These are perfect if you need a pot of hot coffee on the go at all times. You fill the pot with cold water and it’s heated, then drips down through a basket of coffee in a filter, and into a jug. The jug is kept hot so you can go back for refills. It’s simple coffee from a very simple machine.
Most of these machines come with a heatproof handle and a non-drip spout, but some have a clock and timer so you can set them to start your coffee before you’re even up – what an alarm call! The paper filters ensure a fresh taste and you can use any ground coffee you like. The jug tends to be large and can hold as much as 10 cups, enough for an office or a very caffeinated person on a deadline.
Of course the taste can deteriorate throughout the day and there is a little maintenance. You can usually use the filters to empty the grounds, which you then throw away (or use on your garden) and you’re limited to using ground coffee, which you’ll have to grind yourself or buy ready prepared.
Built in Coffee Machines
These are brand new generation appliances that will complete your kitchen look and give it the real wow factor. Think clean lines and stainless steel industrial look chic. It’s all about that smooth, ultra-modern designer look. Although the machines are initially expensive, most offer a variety of coffee drinks and simple one-touch features. Others go further with personalised functions, multi-cup options, integrated coffee grinders, touch screen technology and some even offer hot water for the tea enthusiasts in your life. If you’ve got the budget and the room in your kitchen, a built in coffee machine offers quality instant coffee with convenience and bags of style.