Espresso yourself with the right coffee machine
Who has never been invited to have a coffee at a friend’s house, at work, in a shopping centre or even on a plane? Coffee is a popular product and well known throughout the world. So much so that it is considered to be the second largest export after petrol. And coffee machines are probably one of the most common machines in places of work and in our homes. Today there are so many brands and models on the market that buying a coffee machine requires almost as much consideration as buying a car. Here are a few tips to help you along the way.
Filter coffee makers: for big coffee drinkers or large families
If you are one of those that head straight for the coffee maker half asleep or if your family are big coffee fans, a classic coffee machine using filters such as the Russell Hobbs Essentials 15138-57 (around £15), the DeLonghi ICM2B (around £10) or the Kenwood CM021 (from £60) is ideal for you. It works using a Melitta system, which is very simple to use. All you need to do is place a coffee filter in the compartment at the top, put coffee in the filter and wait for the water in the reservoir to filter through the coffee and drip into the jug. Paper filters are not always necessary because some machines have an integrated filter. The main advantage of this machine is that you can serve lots of coffee at the same time (up to 10 cups or even more!).
Cafetières: a portable option for those that appreciate good-quality coffee
A cafetière (or French press) such as the 1L Bodum Chambord (around £25) or the Havana 8 Cup (around £20) do not take up too much space and can easily be carried from the kitchen to the living room or your desk. To make it work you need to put ground coffee inside the cafetière, fill it with hot water, give it a stir and put the lid on. Then, you need to lightly press on the plunger so that the ground coffee stays at the bottom of the pot. This system means that you can choose how strong you want your coffee, so this is why they are popular with people who like to drink good-quality coffee. The La Cafetière brand has just 1 model, which is much appreciated by coffee lovers and starts from just £10.
Italian coffee makers: ideal for after dinner or with friends
Italian coffee makers (also known as a moka pots) are separated into several sections. The water goes in the lowest compartment and the coffee is poured into the circular piece in the middle. Afterwards, all you need to do is screw the top compartment back on and put the entire device on the hob. Italian coffee makers such as the 10-cup Bialetti Elegance Venus (from £40) and the 9-cup Bialetti Moka Express (from £25) generally make good, strong coffee. The latter option is both modern and classic in style, while also bringing a little vintage decoration to your kitchen or lounge, which is not the case for all Italian coffee makers. There are also several sizes available to make 2, 6, 8 or 10 cups of coffee. The main inconvenience is that you could burn yourself if you are not careful and you need to wait for the machine to cool down before making another batch of coffee.
Espresso makers : allowing for variety
Espresso machines such as the Morphy Richards Meno (around £90), the Philips Senseo HD7870 (£150) and the Krups Nespresso U (£120) have had major success in recent years, largely replacing filter coffee makers. Brands give almost as much importance to design as they do the quality of the coffee. The Krups Nespresso Pixie (£120) and the DeLonghi Primadonna (£1200) require plugging in and are often quite big, however smaller models such as the Krups CitiZ (£115) are coming onto the market. This type of coffee machine is made for those that drink 2 or 3 cups of coffee a day and like a bit of variety (there are many different capsules available!). This said, if you drink lots of coffee per day, you should probably go for a different type of coffee maker because the cost per coffee can be quite high. The coffee maker itself is expensive and the capsules are too: you really do pay the price for variety! It is also good to know that paper capsules are better for the environment than metal ones.
Consideration: Espresso makers require quite a lot of maintenance because they can scale and eventually refuse to serve you another coffee until you clean it!
These explanations should help you to decide which type of coffee drinker you are and which type of coffee maker is more suited to your lifestyle. So when you invite your friends over, don’t be surprised if they are anxiously waiting for you to ask the all-important question: “would you like a coffee?”.