Which coffee machine to choose?
These days, it seems as though every household has a coffee machine. It’s the electronic (or manual) gadget that has become the must-have kitchen accessory.
If you decide the time has come for a coffee machine, you could be forgiven for getting lost in the jungle of different styles, brands, prices… And that’s before we’ve even got to the kind of machines: capsule machines, electric drip filter coffee makers, machines with built-in grinders, manual espresso machines, with or without grinder, French presses, manual drip filter coffee makers, moka pots, Neapolitan, Turkish coffee pots, Vacuum coffee makers … Don’t panic, we’re here to help!
First, be aware that there are many different ways to extract coffee. Depending on your consumption habits, your personal taste and your budget, certain machines will be more suitable than others. Our experts have tested an array of different models and now we’ve put together a handy guide to help you decide…
To choose the right coffee machine: Recognise your needs, your tastes and your consumption habits
To find the perfect coffee machine, you first need to ask yourself a number of crucial questions:
- How many people are going to use the machine on a daily basis?
- What kind of drinks does it need to be able to make? Espresso, cappuccino, latte, tea, hot chocolate...?
- Where will it fit in your kitchen?
- Do you want a quick & easy-to-use machine, or one with more manual settings for greater precision?
- And, most importantly: what are you prepared to spend on your purchase?
Capsule coffee machines
Capsule coffee machines are most suitable for “light consumers” (around 3 cups per day). They’re not too expensive and very easy to use, generally being simple machines with few adjustable settings (if any). The principle of the capsule allows you to change the type of coffee with each cup, or even (with systems like Tassimo or Dolce Gusto) to choose between an espresso, a latte, a cappuccino, a cup of tea, hot chocolate, and more.
The most well-known brand is obviously Nespresso. With all the Nespresso-compatible capsules now available on the market, you could spend the rest of your days trying new coffees! However, freshness is not their strong point: the coffee contained in each capsule has been ground days, if not months before you drink it (depending on the brand, and whether it is a craft product).
Countless brands have now developed their own capsule machines: Nespresso, Delta, Cafés Richard, Bialetti, Vergnano, Illy Lavazza, Caffitaly… When purchasing your capsules, just make sure they are compatible with your machine!
- Very attractive price for the machine
- Quick and easy to use
- Option to change the type of coffee with each cup
- For some models, option to make different drinks (coffee, cappuccino, tea, hot chocolate...)
- The machines are often compact and don't take too much space
- High cost per cup (£0.30, much more expensive than buying coffee beans)
- No option to adjust settings (temperature, quantity of coffee per cup...)
- Little or no way to trace the origins of the product inside the capsule
- Not very eco-friendly
- Not ideal if you have more than 2 coffee drinkers at home
- The capsule is made to preserve coffee. This has an impact on the quality of the coffee.
Drip filter coffee makers
Despite the surge in popularity behind espresso in recent years, electric drip filter coffee machines remain the best-selling cafetières around, with over a 50% market share. Nevertheless, these machines are often thought of as low-end and their coffee has a terrible reputation… IT’S ALL LIES!!!
Electric or Manual drip filter coffee makers allow users to make coffee from freshly ground beans, thereby capturing all the flavours. It’s all about choosing the right model for you.
However, you like a nice crema – it’s impossible to obtain with this method.
- Ideal for making several cups at the same time
- Great tasting coffee
- Simple to use and maintain
- An affordable cost per cup (around £0.15)
- On electric models, the bottom of the jug is usually insulated to keep the heat
- Not enough pressure to make espresso
- Few or no adjustable settings
Manual espresso machine
Manual espresso machines are synonymous with Italian-style coffee: nice, strong and topped with a nice crema! The espresso is made by heating water in the machine, which then passes through the ground coffee at a pressure of 9 bars or more.
A whole array of functions, materials and components are available, to suit all techniques and all budgets.
Manual espresso machines require more technical know-how and patience. A top of the range machine will also need to be paired up with a quality coffee grinder or you won’t be able to get the right grind for your espresso. But what a feeling it is to place your freshly ground coffee in the portafilter, attach it and watch the coffee drip out in front of your very own eyes!
There is a wide price range depending on your needs and skills: from machines without adjustable settings to Barista machines that, in the right hands, are capable of producing the perfect espresso!
- Capable of producing the perfect espresso
- Allow the user to select and grind their own coffee for each individual cup
- They look great!
- Entry-level models will let you use ESE pods
- Few adjustable settings on cheaper machines
- Messier than other machines (risk of spilling coffee grounds)
- To make the most of these machines, you really need a good coffee grinder
Automatic coffee machine with integrated grinder
Automatic coffee machines (also known as bean-to-cup coffee machines or coffee machines with integrated grinders) let you make different types of coffees from freshly-ground beans at the touch of a button and get a good espresso extracted at a minimum pressure of 9 bars. Used daily, it can end up being much cheaper and more environmentally friendly than its competitors!
Depending on the model you choose, automatic coffee machines can offer great versatility: espresso, long coffee, cappuccino, latte macchiato, tea, hot chocolate…
- Cost per cup : around £0.10
- Environmentally friendly
- Option to choose your own high quality coffee from a specialist roastery
- Numerous adjustable settings: temperature, size of coffee, intensity…
- The option of drinks you can make, depending on the model
- Initial purchase price
- You should consider worktop space in your kitchen
- The noise from the coffee grinder can be an issue for some
We’ve quickly run through the main types of machine, but there are plenty more out there! French presses, moka pots, Neapolitan coffee makers, Turkish coffee pots, Vacuum coffee makers… There are so many to choose from ! My only advice would be to visit MaxiCoffee.com and look around! You are soon bound to find the machine and method that will allow you to enjoy great coffee, every day, just the way you like it :)