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A Guide to Choosing a Coffee Machine

 


Choosing a new coffee machine is a bit of a tricky task. This is because they regularly cost at least $100. So coffee machines are an investment. Coffee machines also come in many different styles. So it can be confusing trying to figure out which will be the best for you.


To help you out, here is everything you need to know about finding and choosing your perfect coffee machine.


Function Over Fashion

When looking at coffee machines, it can be overwhelming to see all the different kinds. So, the first thing to do is decide exactly what kind of machine you want. The different types of coffee machines are generally drip, espresso (with or without a milk frother), and coffee pod.


There are, of course, other devices that you can use to make coffee. These include Moka pots, cafetieres (also known as French presses), and pour over coffee filters. But these aren’t machines. And they require a lot more work than pretty much any coffee machine. So, here’s the lowdown on the main kinds of coffee machines


Espresso Machine

Espresso machines are generally considered the go-to for many coffee lovers. They can make a perfect cup of coffee. But don’t require very much effort. Especially compared to some coffee makers that require a lot of effort and are beloved by coffee snobs.


Espresso machines come in a wide range of styles. You will likely be familiar with the extra large industrial-style espresso machines used in coffee shops. These are very expensive and there is no need to have one of these in your home. 


But, most home espresso machines will simply be smaller versions of these machines. They will generally have simple settings for one shot or two. Some will have very complicated settings. But, if you just want to be able to make a good quality coffee, you don’t need more than a machine that can make a single and double espresso. (Make sure to check out the sections below for the most common additional features.)


And you don’t need any barista training to make a good espresso. It might take a few tries. But you will be able to make one perfectly in no time.


Coffee Pod Machine

Coffee pod machines are some of the most popular today. This is mostly due to their convenience. Unlike with drip and espresso machines, you don’t really have to do much yourself. You simply pop in a pod. And let the machine make your coffee for you. 


This is much easier than trying to scoop grounds into a machine. You won’t have to think about how much you need. And you also won’t risk spilling the grounds everywhere. (Which always seems to happen, no matter how careful you are.) All of which is very useful for making your morning coffee with bleary eyes.


The main downside to coffee pods is the waste. A lot of coffee pod manufacturers will now take the pods for recycling. Nespresso is one of the best companies for this. As they will collect your coffee pods for you. And Nespresso is the company most people mention of when talking about the best pod coffee maker.


But it is still a production process for items that you don’t really need. You can find reusable coffee pods. Which is definitely the best option. So, this shouldn’t stop you from buying a coffee pod machine entirely. But it is still an important factor to consider. 


Drip Coffee Machine

Drip coffee machines are very standard and traditional. They are a common fixture in most American homes. But they aren’t all that hi-tech and impressive. They will make you a good cup of coffee. But this will really only be a small step up from instant coffee.


The quality of a cup of coffee will, of course, depend on the beans used. But they will also heavily depend on the method you use to brew the coffee. The method you prefer will depend on your own tastes. And drip coffee rarely brings out the best of the beans. 


That said, drip coffee machines are great for making big batches. If you want a big pot of coffee that will be kept hot all day, then a drip coffee machine is perfect for you. Especially if you want something to power an office. A drip coffee machine can make anywhere from 2 to 12 cups, if not more. This is a lot more than the single espressos made by many other coffee machines. 


Milk Frothers

For some coffee machine manufacturers, a milk frother is a staple feature. But they definitely aren’t featured on every coffee machine. Milk frothers are sometimes attached to espresso or coffee pod machines. But this isn’t always the case. 


Milk frothers generally come in two styles. These are a steaming wand and a tank. The steaming wand is the style most commonly used by baristas. This requires the user to allow the machine to heat up. Then place the wand into the milk and allow the steam to froth it. This can be a little tricky. But it is great fun once you get the hang of it. Especially if you want to try out some latte art


Coffee machines with milk tanks are very different. These tanks are designed to froth the milk with just the touch of a button. The tank will usually have a wand attached to it. But this is only to transfer the milk into the cup. Once the coffee has been made.


These are two important factors to consider. As one type of frothing requires a lot more energy and skill than the other. But, generally speaking, milk frothed with a steam wand is generally better. It is also usually warmer. That said, cleaning the wand can be a little difficult. And you will need a separate jug. 


Bean Grinders

Coffee bean grinders can be included with almost any kind of coffee machine. They are most commonly attached to espresso machines. But they can also be found on pour over and drip coffee machines. They will not, of course, be found on coffee pod machines.


Bean grinders are great for making really fresh coffees. But they are very noisy. And whole coffee beans are generally more expensive than ground. So, you really need to consider whether a coffee bean grinder is an addition that you will really appreciate. Especially as they often add quite a bit to the price.


But, if you want the whole vibe of a coffee shop in your home, then you should definitely consider a grinder. Just the noise of the beans grinding and whirring will make you feel as though you’re cozied up in your favorite cafĂ©.


Summary

Overall, the main thing to do is to not become overwhelmed. There are so many different kinds of coffee machines available. But it’s important to first consider why you want a coffee machine. As well as what you will need from it the most. 


Decide all of these things first. And then go looking. It’s best not to look at coffee machines first. Otherwise, you can become impressed by a machine. And then come home with an overpriced device that has 50 settings you will never use.


It’s best to step back. Think about your favorite things about coffee. As well as how much effort you will really want to put into making a coffee every morning. And then begin shopping. 


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