A visit to a coffee shop is one of life’s little luxuries, but doing it on a regular basis can become a costly habit. With the help of a good coffee machine, you can enjoy a decent cup of coffee in your home, whenever you like.
Buying a coffee machine is a big investment. You want it to be the right one to fit your needs and taste but if you choose the right one, it can serve you excellent coffee for many years. Some people just want to turn on a machine and let it do all the work for them and some like the process of grounding their own coffee to the constituency they prefer.
We have created an ultimate guide to buying the best home coffee machine for you with everything you need to consider when taking the leap to have your own bit of coffee heaven at home whenever and wherever you like. You need to decide if you are looking for a manual or electric coffee grinder depending on your lifestyle and needs.
It is important to know what kind of coffee you want to be making with your home coffee machine. Many people have their favourite coffee type and are reluctant to try any new varieties.
This list will help you to decide if there is any other type of coffee you would like to try, and when you can make it yourself, you don’t have to worry about wasting money on something you are not sure you are going to like!
- Espresso– Short, strong, intense and black- plain and simple
- Espresso doppio– A double shot of espresso
- Espresso con panna– Espresso topped with whipped cream
- Ristretto– This means ‘restricted’ and is a shorter extraction and makes a smaller, thicker, intense espresso
- Cappuccino– Equal parts espresso, steamed, frothed milk, sprinkled with chocolate
- Flat White– Micro foam– Steamed milk with small, fine bubbles and a glossy or velvety consistency over a single or double shot of espresso
- Café au laid– Similar to a latte, but made with strong coffee rather than espresso for a less intense flavor
- Americano– Espresso diluted with extra hot water after brewing
- Mocha– Espresso with hot chocolate and steamed, frothed milk
- Frappe– Like a coffee milkshake with coffee, sugar and a little water mixed and poured over ice and topped up with milk
- Lungo– A longer extraction with the same amount of ground coffee as espresso with twice as much water
- Latte– A third espresso with two thirds steamed, hot milk
- Macchiato– Espresso with just a dash of steamed milk
So, now you know the types of coffees out there, you can decide which home coffee machine is going to be best for you. With the ability to try and test many different types of coffees all from the comfort of your own home, you may find a new favourite. Here is a guide through the various types on the market.
This is not a machine as such, but great for if you’re new to coffee or only make it occasionally and are looking for somewhere to start. Also known as a ‘French press’ coffee, you just mix hot water and ground coffee, leave to brew, and as you push down the plunger, a wire filter separates the ground coffee from the water.
Grind and brew/Bean to cup
This is best for black coffee and espresso. This is the machine for the person looking for complete convenience and optimum freshness. It is a premium option for those in pursuit of the ultimate home coffee experience, they grind whole beans on demand then brew your drink while the fragrant oils are at their finest, automatically dispensing and tampering the correct amount of grinds.
Espresso machine with milk frother
This is the machine for espresso, cappuccino, macchiato and latte. Rich, intense espresso is the starting point for cappuccino and latte, and these larger machines have an option to make longer drinks, usually with a built-in milk steamer/frother, or an additional machine to warm and froth the milk.
This machine is best for espresso and lungo. It is quick, clean and easy to use, coffee is sealed into a capsule or pod for longer-lasting freshness – just drop it into the machine and go – high bar pressure pierces the capsule to extract the coffee. A time-saving, convenient option, there are no messy grounds to clean up- Nespresso machines, for example, is extremely quick and easy.
This machine is great for espressos. Working with a Thermoblock system, water is heated to around 85-92 degrees, which is the right temperature for brewing coffee without scalding. A high pressure bar pump forces water through the coffee to draw out the full character and rich aroma.
If your favourite coffee is a nice strong black coffee then this is the machine you need. Water drips through a filter filled with ground coffee into a pot or carafe below. Some models have hotplates to keep your coffee cups warm and filters that are permanent and just need to be rinsed, or paper, which you simply throw away after use. Some newer models have filter pods that work a bit like a tea bag and these are clean in use as the ground coffee is neatly contained, great for large quantities of coffee.
This coffee machine is great for espressos, cappuccinos and lattes. Water is boiled in a chamber and when pressure and steam are built up, it forces the water through the coffee. The steam is also used for frothing milk.
Maise Roberts has tasted luxury coffee from around the world, and has worked with a number of recognisable brands such as Coffeegram and others. In her humble opinion, nothing comes close to the taste of a premium brew.