How to choose a coffee maker (coffee machine)?
Now, in our opinion, the most diverse selection of home appliances in the history of mankind. I really like coffee and all coffee drinks, so I always look for better and newer models for myself. And inside this page, I want to show you the basic characteristics that are important to me when choosing the best coffee machine.
the principle of operation is that water heated to 95 ° C enters the ground coffee, and then it flows dropwise through the filter into a special tank. This model is mainly suitable for home use.
Advantages – the cheapest and easiest option compared to others, which also makes it possible to heat the coffee.
Disadvantages – the quality and taste characteristics of coffee leave much to be desired, and also there is a need for periodic filter replacement.
Tip: you can often hear that the quality of the coffee is affected by the shape of the bulb where it flows. Do not believe this, as this is an advertising move that raises the price of coffee makers.
are versatile machines with which you can make coffee, tea, or cocoa. The process consists of pouring boiling water over coffee or tea and then using the press to filter out unnecessary sediment.
Advantages – the low cost of such an apparatus, versatility, ease of use, and independence from a source of electricity.
The disadvantage is the low taste of the resulting coffee.
steam passes through ground coffee several times on a special filter. Such coffee makers can be considered close to professional. These devices are more expensive than the previous options, but coffee, respectively, is tastier.
Tip: for such a model, it is worth buying coarse coffee, because fine coffee clogs the filter. Also, pay attention to the volume of the flask. Italian coffee makers often indicate the number of mugs available, but it should be remembered that Italians drink coffee from small dishes.
are professional coffee makers or coffee machines. The principle of operation is that hot water under pressure passes through the coffee.
Advantages – high-quality drink, minimal coffee consumption per mug.
Disadvantages – high cost, the need for special grinding of coffee, suitable only for such a model, and the difficulty of washing.
Electric Turks –
they look like ordinary Turks and are equipped with a heating element, which is located at the bottom of the device.
Advantages: mobility, the ability to brew coffee in Turkish, when there is no gas stove nearby, capsules and filters are not needed. Tea can also be brewed in electric trucks.
Disadvantages: slightly pronounced taste of coffee compared with a drink made in a regular Turk, special care is required (abrasive and acid-containing products are not suitable).
Characteristics of electric Turks:
- power – 500-1000 W (it is recommended to choose models with a capacity of at least 750 W);
- volume – 0.25-1.5 l (most often up to 0.5 l).
– combine the functions of several types of coffee makers – drip and carob-espresso. Often this model allows you to make coffee in capsules or pods. Recommended for lovers of coffee drinks.
compact and inexpensive, but relatively low-power devices designed for home use. Meet most often.
differ from households in higher power and performance. At the same time, such coffee makers are more compact and cheaper than professional models. Usually have an autonomous water supply. They are used in offices, small bars, mini-coffee houses. A good choice for coffee lovers, as it allows you to prepare a high-quality drink at home.
the most powerful and productive. These advantages turn into a high price and bulkiness. This technique can withstand significant loads and can prepare many types of coffee drinks. Professional coffee machines are connected to the water supply. Used in cafes, bars, restaurants, large offices.
This indicator, which should be considered depending on the type of apparatus. For an espresso coffee machine, it plays a big role, as the machine works under pressure. Accordingly, the higher the power, the better (preferably more than 1000 watts). For other types, you should choose the average power – 750-800 watts. The speed of preparation of the drink depends on the power of the coffee maker.
Important: contrary to popular belief, the power of the coffee machine does not affect the strength of the finished drink. Coffee strength is determined by the number of ground beans used.
On average, the volume of the water tank is 0.75-1.5 liters. For semi-professional models, this parameter is higher – from 2 liters. It is worth remembering that the larger the volume, the higher the cost and size of the coffee maker. A medium-sized machine is easier to clean and easier to use.
Recommended tank volume parameters:
- up to 1 liter – for home;
- 1-2 l – for the office;
- 2 l or more – for catering establishments.
can be disposable and permanent. Disposable is more hygienic, but increase the cost of maintaining the coffee maker.
an environmentally friendly material perfectly cleanses coffee from precipitation and harmful substances (coffee, coffee). Such a filter is cheap and easy to use, does not require maintenance. Minus – is one-time.
designed for 60 brews. For the price and service life, this option takes an intermediate place between disposable paper and durable metal and “gold” filters.
- “Gold” is an improved version of a nylon filter (with titanium nitride deposition), which will last much longer. Cons: costs significantly more than nylon, requires periodic cleaning.
reusable filter. Disadvantages: it needs washing after each use, it gives the coffee a peculiar aftertaste that not everyone will like. Allows you to brew coffee “in Indian”.
stand-alone devices that can be rearranged if necessary. Desktop models are most common.
are installed in the kitchen cabinet. Such coffee makers fit perfectly into the interior of the kitchen and at the same time do not take up too much space. Disadvantages: high cost, installation complexity.
compact devices powered by a car cigarette lighter (12 V). These coffeemakers are ideal for hiking, hunting, and fishing. Recommended for drivers, travelers.
Important: purchase a portable/car coffee maker with a case. Such an accessory will protect the device from damage and extend its service life. A coffee maker with a briefcase is often equipped with useful accessories – cups and a napkin.
Type of heater (for espresso coffee makers) – it can be a boiler (all water is heated to the desired temperature and passed through coffee) and a thermal block (water is heated in small portions and passed through coffee).
The boiler is convenient if it is necessary to prepare several servings of coffee, but if there is only one portion, then a thermoblock is preferable since a portion of water heats faster than the full volume.
Characteristics of espresso coffee makers, represented by two types:
- steam – 3.5-4 bar (this is not enough to make a quality drink);
- pump-action – 15-20 bar (give aromatic and tasty coffee).
Beans – the initial state of coffee, which retains all the richness of taste and aroma. Coffee makers for beans are equipped with a coffee grinder and make it possible to choose the variety of beans for grinding, their number. Gourmets of coffee appreciate this option, but it is also the most difficult to prepare.
Ground – powdered coffee obtained by grinding beans. A significant part of the palatability is lost in ground substance. Ground coffee is supported by most coffee makers. This solution is characterized by an optimal balance between taste and complexity of preparation.
Many coffee makers are designed to use beans and ground coffee.
Capsules – ground coffee, packed in a capsule. The weight of the capsule is 7-9 g. This form of release simplifies the preparation of the drink: the user is required to install the capsule in the device and turn on the desired program. Capsules are only suitable for capsule coffee makers.
Pods – ground coffee, packed in a paper filter. The weight of one bag is 7–9 g. Coffee in pods is as easy to make as capsular. Like the previous version, the pads are only compatible with special pod coffee makers. It is argued that the pendant coffee in its taste is not inferior to capsular, but cheaper.
Important: the capsule and pod forms of release do not allow the user to control the process of preparing the drink and affect its taste. There is also the problem of the compatibility of capsules and coffee makers from different manufacturers.
Bean Container Capacity
This parameter is relevant for coffee makers with an integrated coffee grinder.
- for home – up to 200 g;
- for the office – 250 g or more.
Number of distribution groups
The group is the horn, which receives coffee and heated water. One group gives 1-2 cups of drink. In different models, this indicator varies between 1-4. A coffee machine with 4 groups is able to make up to 8 cups of coffee at a time. Such machines are used in catering establishments.
Plastic is a cheap material, but it negatively affects the quality of the prepared beverage (sour taste, water content).
Metal – will cost more, but in the end, you get a delicious and aromatic coffee.
The cappuccino function is implemented in two versions.
- Automatic preparation – the ability to get a cappuccino without user intervention. Milk is either poured into the coffee maker, but then you should always rinse it, or milk is served directly from a pack or bag through a tube to a coffee maker. You must always monitor the freshness of milk.
- Manual cooking – milk in a special container is whipped into the foam by the user himself with the help of steam, which enters through a special tube. After that, the resulting liquid is poured into an espresso cup.
Professionals prefer the manual method, as it allows you to better control the temperature of the milk and the texture of the foam. But for novice users, simpler automatic cooking is suitable.
Many models support both modes of preparing cappuccino – this option is the most versatile.
Fast steam – almost instantly get steam for whipping milk. Without this function, the coffee machine needs some time to heat the water to a boil and turn it into steam.
Auto power off – the device’s ability to turn itself off after 3-4 hours of continuous operation. Especially useful for those who often forget to turn off electrical appliances.
Coffee temperature adjustment – you can set the desired temperature for making coffee. For express coffee makers, the best option is 90-95 ° C.
Adjusting the strength of coffee – allows you to choose your preferred saturation of the drink. It is carried out by adjusting various parameters: water temperature, the number of grains per serving, due to a special brewing system.
Adjusting the amount of hot water – in fact, it is adjusting the portion of coffee. It can be configured depending on preferences: from a large cup to a small coffee one. It should be remembered that a large amount of strong coffee is unhealthy.
Water level indicator – allows you to make sure that there is always enough water in the tank. Some models have a scale indicating the number of spoons that need to be poured for a given water level.
Automatic preparation of espresso – the ability to get espresso without user intervention. Such devices create a “tablet” of coffee ground in an integrated coffee grinder. Many models provide for the possibility of semi-automatic preparation of espresso. In this case, the user pours ground coffee manually.
Adjustment of the degree of grinding – makes it possible to choose the time required for the passage of water through the coffee tablet. Depending on this parameter, the preparation time of the drink changes, which affects its taste. Too fine grinding gives a burnt taste, too large – sour. The optimal time is 25 seconds (plus or minus 3 seconds).
Adjustment of water hardness – allows you to control the water hardness, which affects the formation of scale in the boiler.
Many coffee makers have 4 water hardness modes:
- 1 mode – up to 3 mg / l;
- 2 mode – 3-3.5 mg / l;
- 3 mode – 3.5-4 mg / l;
- 4 mode – 4-4.5 mg / l.
Hot water – allows you to make tea or another hot drink. This option is provided in espresso makers. Water is supplied from a special tap or steam outlet. Temperature – 90 ° C (sometimes adjustable).
Simultaneous preparation of two cups – useful if several people use the device. For the simultaneous preparation of two cups, the coffee maker must have two taps serving coffee. Some espresso coffee makers and combined devices can boast a similar option.
Strength control – makes it possible to control the strength of coffee. Two modes are provided: “soft” and “strong” coffee.
Pre-wetting – before preparation, ground coffee is wetted to improve the taste and aroma of the drink.
Automatic decalcification (self-cleaning) – the coffee maker is self-cleaned of scale, reducing its life.
Remote control – allows you to give commands to the coffee maker at a distance using smartphones or tablets that have a special application. Management is via wireless interfaces Wi-Fi, Bluetooth.
Built-in coffee grinder – allows you to use freshly ground coffee. Some more expensive machines can adjust the degree of grinding. But it is worth remembering that in the event of a breakdown of the coffee grinder, the entire coffee machine will have to be returned for repair.
Cup heating – a special stand for heating cups. It allows you to improve the taste of the drink and maintain its temperature.
Removable water container – makes it easy to work with a coffee maker. The user does not need to carry the entire device under the tap, resort to additional reservoirs for collecting water.
Auto-heating plate – allows you to heat dishes so that coffee is poured into a warm container to preserve taste. It also serves to ensure that the drink does not cool.
Compartments for coffee – the presence of separate compartments for grain and ground coffee. It’s convenient if you need to make some new coffee, and other grains are already loaded in the coffee machine. You can grind new coffee separately and put in the special compartment the necessary dose for preparation.
Pressure gauge – shows the pressure in the boiler. The standard setting for espresso coffee makers is 9 bar.
Separate boilers – one boiler is designed for coffee, the second is used for boiling water (including other hot drinks).
Anti-drip system – prevents coffee from flowing out of the coffee machine, prevents the appearance of stains on the table. Such a system is also useful when brewing a drink for several people since in this case, you can not expect to prepare all the servings, but pour them into cups in turn.
Waste container – if it is not possible to clean the coffee machine every time, coffee grounds can be collected from 15-50 servings, depending on the model.
Timer – makes it possible to make coffee at a specified time. Actually, if you want, getting up in the morning or coming home from work in the evening, immediately drink ready-made coffee.
A water connection is an option that is typical for professional equipment. To use tap water, filters must be installed in the coffee maker. Too dirty water will lead to the quick failure of the coffee maker.
Thermos container – keeps the temperature of the prepared drink for a long time.
Rotating filter holder – makes it easy to fill coffee into the basket.
Display – displays information about the current operation of the coffee maker, for example, the program, temperature, as well as various messages (coffee has ended, cleaning is needed).
Backlight – allows you to brew coffee in the dark. Some displays are also highlighted.
Compartment for the cord – facilitates the storage of the cable and extends its service life. With improper winding, the wire becomes unusable due to damage at the bend points.
Milk tank – facilitates the preparation of coffee with milk, as the user does not need to look for a special container. Such a vessel is made of durable materials (metal).
Child protection – locks the coffee machine control panel. As a result, the baby will not be able to turn on the device or change the mode of its operation.
From professional ethics, we cannot choose the best coffee machine for you. Each person has his own expectations about the coffee machine in his house and there simply cannot be a universal council. Therefore, we will put our recommendations here on the site so that you can easily decide on the choice of your device.
Good shopping, see you soon!