It's hard to imagine starting the day without coffee. Drinking a cup of coffee is a part of a routine for many people. Coffee is now very much about taste and there are many ways to make coffee, each providing a different experience and taste. Each type comes with pros and cons, from price to convenience to flavour. Everyone has very strong opinions on what type of coffee is best and we'll try to touch on a few of them to give you pros and cons of each.
When making espresso, you usually want around nine bars of pressure. Nine bars is known to be the optimal pressure in making coffee.
The power of the machines (in watts) relates to how quickly it can heat the water to make the coffee and in some case the ability to make steam. The higher the wattage, the quicker it will heat the water and be able to re-heat water if you're making lots of drinks.
This function keeps the water in the boiler warm so that if you don't used the machine for a while, the water will still be hot enough for another coffee. It essentially speeds up the process so the boiler isn't heating the water from cold.
Some machines have space on top to place mugs/cups. The natural heat of the machine keeps them warm.
Most bean to Cup Machines have a water reservoir which needs to be filled with water. The bigger this is, the more drinks can be made before having to refill.
Water filters as the name suggests, filter the water from the reservoir. Some are washable and some have to be replaced. They both only have a limited lifespan.
We all like our drink at different temperatures. Some Bean to Cup Machines have the ability to change this setting.
These are either integrated into the machine or are manual. A fully automated machine will froth the milk for you while for a semi-automated machine, you may have to froth your own using the steam wand.
For fully automatic machines that do eveything, the milk carafe is integrated into the machine and needs to be filled before the drink is made. Some milk carafes are removable which makes for easy cleaning. The bigger the carafe, the more drinks can be made before it needs to be re-filled.
Water hardness varies depending on where you are in the country. This function allows you to adjust the water hardness according to where you live in order to get a decent cup of coffee.
There are generally 3 types of boilers, single, double and thermobloc. Find out more about boilers.
Single boiler: means that there is only one boiler to heat the water and to produce steam. Bean to cup coffee machines with single boilers
Double boiler: the machine has two boilers, one to heat water and one to make steam. Bean to cup coffee machines with double boilers
Thermoblock: is fabricated out of two plates of metal with a spiral route cut into it for the water to travel through.They are energy efficient as they only heat water immediately prior to it being used. While they are able to generate hot water extremely quickly, their temperature control is less perfect than other technologies. Bean to cup coffee machines with thermoblocks
When you have finished making a drink, the drip-stop feature ensures there are no drips from the spout ensuring little or no mess.
This refers to the water reservoir. Some are removable and some aren't. They are easier to clean if they are removable.
Bean to Cup Coffee Machines are not all the same. Some will only accept whole beans and some will accept whole beans and ground coffee. Some have the ability to take two types of coffee beans and be able to select between the 2 at the press of a button.
There are 2 types of grinders, Flat and Conicle. Flat Burr grinders are noisier, hotter, and pricier than Conical Burr grinders, yet they produce a more consistent grind.
Depending on how course or fine the coffee is gound will depend on the final product. The more grinder settings, the more adjustment you'll have on the final product.
This is simply the quantity of beans the container holds, measured in grams. The more beans, the less often it will have to be filled.
Some Bean to Cup Machines have a double spout meaning they can make two drink at the same time.
It's always good a good thing to make sure your cups/mugs will fit under the spout. Some machines have fixed height spouts and some are adjustable for larger cups/mugs.
Choose from push buttons, touch screens, knob, dials, LED displays and full colour screens.
Not all machines are programmable. If you like your hot drink a specific way, a fully programmable machine will allow you to store individual drink settings so you get a consistent drink all the time.
These machines do require regular cleaning, there is no getting away from that. Some have a One Touch cleaning cycle, these cleaning cycles typically last up to fifteen minutes. In most cases, these are used most of the time, and some machines will need a little manual effort every so often, such as cleaning a filter or emptying out the resulting build up of all of those automated cleaning programmes.
Each manufacturer will give guidelines as to how often and what requires cleaned. Things like milk carafes should be emptied on a daily basis and cleaned once they have been emptied. The more you use the machine the more frequently it will have to be cleaned. You also don't want to be in a position where you don't use the machine because it hasn't been cleaned.
If you're have problems with the machine a good first port of call is to give it a thorough clean - Cleaning is a good first step when troubleshooting.
Most Bean to Cup Coffee Machines have a water filter. Follow the manufacturers guidlines about when to get them changed.
If you live in a particularly hard water area, you'll need to descale more regularly. Ultimately it's best to follow the manufacturers guidlines.
To descale your machines, follow these steps: 1. Make sure the machine is turned off. 2. Remove the water tank. 3. Rinse it out and refill it with the required amount of fresh water and add your descaling tablet/liquid to the recommended dose. 4. Wait for this to fully dissolve, then pop the tank back in place and turn the machine on.