Choosing Your Coffee Maker ...
This guide to buying a coffee machine has been designed to help you learn and decide which coffee maker would work best for you, depending on your taste and budget.
Britain Hooked on Quality Coffee!
There’s little doubt that Britain has got hooked on drinking quality coffee; all you need to do is count the amount of coffee shops on your high street as well as the many different coffee drinks that are being served to satisfy the UK’s ever growing caffeine habit.
But when it comes to reproducing that coffee shop taste at home or in the office, what kind of coffee machine is best for you?
There’s absolutely no point in getting a filter machine if your favorite drink is a cappuccino or latte, likewise, why would you buy the latest espresso or bean to cup coffee machine if you need to make several cups of coffee at once.
Before you even start investigating the purchase of a new coffee maker, you think about HOW you like your coffee (filter, espresso, latte or cappuccino), how much coffee you want to prepare, how often you plan to use your machine (several times a day, daily, one in a while), ease of use and how much money you are looking to spend.
This brief guide has been designed to try and help you understand a little more about the different types of coffee makers available on the market, so you can make an informed decision on the kind of machine that will deliver your favorite drink the way you like it.
Cafetieres, Stove Tops & French Presses
Cafetieres, also known as French Presses, take the form of a glass container with a wire filter attached to a plunger. They’re perfect if you only want to make a few cups as it’s so easy to prepare the exact amount of coffee you need. Another great benefit is that they’re good value for money, as well as looking great!
Electric filter coffee machines are usually very easy to use. Switch your coffee maker at the mains, water simply drips slowly through a basket of coffee grounds straight into a pot or carafe, most with thermos pots and hot plates to keep the coffee warm. You do not need to boil the water first.
There are 2 different models, either with permanent filter or paper holders. Permanent filters save you money but they are usually more messy to clean and will taint. In contrast, paper filters are more hygienic and you simply throw them away after you’re finished.
Percolators work the opposite way, you simply place your ground coffee into a holder at the top and the water in the bottom part. The boiled water is forced up a vertical pipe then over and through the filter, with the brewed coffee sitting at the bottom. Percolators are recommended for those who want to experiment with the strength of their filter coffee.
The Bialetti Moka Express stove-top espresso pot is an icon from the golden age of Art Deco design. All pressure valves are fitted with top quality stainless steel springs and ball bearings for safety and durability. Produces a strong Italian style coffee.
Espresso & Cappuccino Makers
Espresso machines are steam-driven coffee makers that produce a short and strong coffee. As you know espresso coffee is much richer and more concentrated than filter and is the base for a variety of very popular drinks such as the espresso, americano, ristretto, cappuccino or latte. There are two main types of espresso makers the pressure machines and pump coffee machines, the latter being the more expensive:
Pressure espresso machines – Water is boiled in a chamber creating pressure and steam, eventually there’s enough pressure which forces the boiling water through the coffee grounds. The steam is ready to be used for frothing milk for a cappuccino for example. The more discerning espresso aficionado might argue that the water produced can be too hot to make a genuine espresso and the bar pressure might not be sufficient to make a really quality espresso with thick crema.
Pump machines – These are usually more expensive than pressure machines mentioned above. Pump machines are equipped with a separate tank and feature a thermostat-controlled boiler with ‘Thermoblock’ system that heats up the water to between 85-92°Celcius which is the optimum temperature for producing a barista espresso coffee. The hot water is sent through the coffee holder and grounds at the correct bar pressure, the higher the pressure the better, especially if you are looking to produce that so important ‘crema’. Some models have a separate Thermoblock system to froth the milk, as it needs to be heated at a different temperature.
The Fracino Piccino Black is a stylish and easy to use Professional quality Espresso machine, they are the only espresso machine manufacturer in the UK and their products use components which are either made on site or by other British firms. As well as being a tick in the box for British manufacturing, the fact that the machines are made in the UK means we can deal direct with the manufacturer and offer excellent advice and service both before and after purchase.
The Piccino can make 2 Coffees at the Same Time and has the ability to Froth Milk and Make Coffee Simultaneously. Up to 70 coffees can be made per day making the Piccino one of the fastest coffee machines for the home market. Installation is Quick and Easy and its construction using stainless steel and zintec will enable you to use it for many years to come.
Cappuccino, Bean to Cup & Nespresso Machines
Bean to cup coffee machines, also known as automatic coffee makers, use whole coffee beans rather than pre-ground coffee. Simply push of a button, the machine grinds the coffee on demand for each cup, brews the coffee and ejects the used coffee grinds into a tray. Some more sophisticated models will automatically froth milk and add it to your cup to produce a near ‘coffee shop’ quality cappuccino or latte.
The Nespresso system uses a ‘coffee pod’ that produces very nice espresso coffee. The coffee is blended, roasted, grounded, and then hermetically sealed in capsules which Nespresso claims will stay fresh for up to 9 months. The only downside is that you are tied to the suppliers range of expensive coffee capsules, which can be purchased by mail order or online.
Unusual & Stylish Coffee Makers
The non-electric ROK coffee maker is perfect for all coffee lovers wanting to produce a quality espresso, americano, cappuccino and Latte in the comfort of their own home or office. The ROK is the most innovative and exciting coffee machine seen for a long time as it has no wires and is totally portable from the kitchen to the dining room, to a friend’s house, your mobile home or the office. It comes in a re-usable metallic tin and 10 Year Guarantee.
How Does It Work? There’s no electricity, you just load the porta-filter with ground coffee, pour boiling water in the top, lift up the handles and then press down. Simple but very clever, and the coffee flavor is really delicious. It’s no wonder the award winning ROK was listed by Stephen Fry in his Gadget Man wish list on Channel 4.
The Atomic Iconic espresso maker symbolizes a period in art and design. Somewhere between a traditional Italian mocha stove-top and espresso machine, its unique design produces greater pressure than most coffee makers, – in fact it’s as close as you can get to a stove-top espresso machine.
The Atomic is a high pressure stove-top unit generating a respectable 4-6 bars of pressure to make up to 4 cups of coffee at a go, with the steaming power to texture the quality of milk required. As with all great coffee, freshness is essential. Use freshly roasted coffee of your choice and grind when you need to make new cup. The grind required will depend on your chosen coffee but a medium grade usually produces the best results. On average the Atomic coffee maker will produce coffee in approx 5 minutes.
Finally, there’s the enigmatic and famous Aeropress which allows you to enjoy smooth, rich and flavoursome coffee quickly and easily, wherever you are. The Aeropress unique brewing system allows the use of a finer grind maximising the depth of flavour and applies pressure to squeeze out every last ounce of goodness from the grinds.
Which ever type of coffee maker you buy, remember to always use fresh water and freshly ground coffee.
We hope this guide to buying a coffee maker will help you find the coffee machine that is right for You.
View our extensive selection of coffee makers for sale and remember to check out our gourmet coffees too!