Author Topic: Bean to coffee coffee makers? Coffe pod machines?  (Read 661 times)

slope

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Bean to coffee coffee makers? Coffe pod machines?
« on: September 04, 2020, 10:19:53 am »
Anyone got a lower end price (<£400) bean to cup machine they might wish to provide feedback on?

I'm no longer enjoying my venerable moka stove top coffee.

Or are coffee pod machines at all worth considering?

Requirements are ~2 cups of strong espresso coffee per day, one at least being larger than single shot cup (~150ml) with ~equal quantity of added hot milk, don't mind heating milk separately.


Re: Bean to coffee coffee makers? Coffe pod machines?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2020, 10:34:00 am »
I'm sure others more learned will add to this, but you will get far better quality coffee with separate grinder and coffee machines. Less convenient, but it all comes down to how much you value the taste of your coffee. My mate has a Gaggia B-t-C machine that cost a lot of money, yet my Gaggia Classic/Iberital MC2 combination beats the flavour of coffee hands down. My set up cost c.£375, including an after market bottomless portafilter.
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ElyDave

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Re: Bean to coffee coffee makers? Coffe pod machines?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2020, 02:32:31 pm »
I have separate Sage (Breville) espresso machine and grinder. Decided not to go BTC as I use both espresso and french press and a separate grinder makes that much easier.  I've had both > 3 years with no problems and a good cup of coffee. I went for the lower end of the range and do not think i lost out for doing so.  Similar to you I go for a couple of cups a day of good quality espresso, in my case topped up with a bit of hot water.
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: Bean to coffee coffee makers? Coffe pod machines?
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2020, 04:05:48 pm »
I've been through most of the coffee-making methods from stovetop moka pot to vacuum pot to manual espresso machine. I'm running a B2C (Delonghi Magnifica) these days, mainly because it's consistent and no-fuss. It's fine with good coffee, but I reckon a decent espresso machine + grinder would do better, if you can get the knack of consistent tamping, and don't mind a bit of extra faff with knock boxes and spilt grounds.  Try and get a machine with a PID, otherwise you have to learn to temperature surf, which is a bore.

Main thing I like about the B2C is that I can bung a cup under the spouts, hit a button and do something else while it's working.  Excellent if you have people in and have a string of shots to produce after a meal.  You can also vary the strength & length of shots with no extra faff. In other words, they're made for lazy buggers like me.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

slope

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Re: Bean to coffee coffee makers? Coffe pod machines?
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2020, 04:38:02 pm »
Much appreciate your responses so far, as always they make me think more about my original post/question.

So, to add some subsequent thoughts -

I'm not really interested in the 'best' coffee, cos I wouldn't want to know how to know and couldn't be arsed, really. And my taste and smell has deteriorated over the last 18 months.

I don't want to drink espressos particularly.

My ideal sense of coffee is a rich, strong, edgy darkness mixed with plain warmed hot milk - enough to provide a cup or bowl (if I'm feeling  a bit Frenchie of a morning) ~ 250ml combined total.

I have absolutely no idea any of the current coffee nomenclatures, having never been in a "coffee house" and never will.

So perhaps consistency is what's lacking and am looking for, which my current moka stove top regime doesn't deliver, as well a disappointing thin bitterness, even when using expensive Illy.

Perhaps this information will help?

Thanks forumites  :thumbsup:

robgul

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Re: Bean to coffee coffee makers? Coffe pod machines?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2020, 07:48:06 pm »
Your heading mentioned pods . . .  we have a plumbed in commercial Fracino machine (Bambino 1 - semi-auto - cost nowadays c£1,200) which is great - although we use ready-ground coffee (at the moment - negotiations with the kitchen manager are ongoing for a grinder) - we've had the machine for 20 years and it's still going strong (been serviced at the factory probably 3 times)

However, we also have a Nespresso-type pod machine which produces great coffee - lots of different pod varieties available (and punt round on ebay & elsewhere rather than the "trendy outlets" that sell pods at silly high prices) - for the casual user it's ideal . . .  and it came from Aldi for about £50!!   

Originally purchased when I was managing an LBS but now in use as a portable machine to take when we visit my two non-coffee-drinking daughters (it even has it's own carrying case that I made from plywood  :thumbsup: )

It really is worth considering the pod option -especially as you can get a stainless still pod cartridge (reusbale) that you fill with your own coffee.

Re: Bean to coffee coffee makers? Coffe pod machines?
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2020, 08:57:14 pm »
Depends on your tolerance for faff, but a decent electric grinder would allow you to produce grinds for any method: moka pot, aeropress, pourover, French press etc. I've used a hand grinder for years, but with the OH having developed a taste for coffee and working from home until Christmas at least, I'm looking at getting an electric grinder and possibly a pourover machine to speed things up of a morning. As long as you don't want espresso, a good grinder can be had for about £100.

Porkins

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Re: Bean to coffee coffee makers? Coffe pod machines?
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2020, 10:04:54 pm »
My moka experience improved dramatically when I changed from a 3 cup pot to a 6 cup one. That's 300ml. It's because the coffee never gets scorched. Bigger pot, more metal, better heat distribution. With smaller pots I used to dunk them in cold water just after the coffee had come through, but there was still some scorching.  Now the coffee is properly smooth, every time. 

I like it whether it's ready ground, or whether I grind it myself. I have an espresso machine which I've given up using. And now I'm giving up my grinder too. I mix the coffee 50/50 with milk, sometimes microwaved. I've also been trying about 20 different Italian coffees over the last 6 months. I get them from maxicoffee.com. Free delivery from France if you spend more than £39, and the prices are better than Tesco. I've discovered 2 coffees which I like as much as Illy.

Re: Bean to coffee coffee makers? Coffe pod machines?
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2020, 06:18:45 am »
I think you either go all the way and get decent grinder and semi-auto machine (circa £2k) and learn to use it, or you get a pod machine (about £100, sometimes less).

I'm not convinced that anything in between is worth it.

robgul

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Re: Bean to coffee coffee makers? Coffe pod machines?
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2020, 08:00:30 am »
I think you either go all the way and get decent grinder and semi-auto machine (circa £2k) and learn to use it, or you get a pod machine (about £100, sometimes less).

I'm not convinced that anything in between is worth it.

I'd agree - having tried most things over the years - cafetiere/French press, drip machines, Cona stove top (remember them?), Moka pots, mini espresso machine. 

We've not had a grinder as decent ready-ground has been widely available but I think we'll be getting a grinder before long, in part as we now have a larger kitchen.  The difference, we find, between ready-ground and ground as you make the coffee is marginal if you keep it in an air-tight tin (and only in 225gm lots)

For the pod machine we either use Lor (in a variety of strengths - usually to be found on ebay, often as bulk boxes of "samples" in packs of 3) or the Aldi Espresso 7 pods ... which are very good value at 13p each

Re: Bean to coffee coffee makers? Coffe pod machines?
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2020, 08:23:13 am »
I think you either go all the way and get decent grinder and semi-auto machine (circa £2k) and learn to use it, or you get a pod machine (about £100, sometimes less).

I'm not convinced that anything in between is worth it.

I'd agree - having tried most things over the years - cafetiere/French press, drip machines, Cona stove top (remember them?), Moka pots, mini espresso machine. 

*Warning: Contains opinion

Yeah...tried them all too, and all of them make a different sort of coffee and have their place (except mini espresso machines, which are shite)

Cafetieres are for convenience only, as the coffee is inferior to a simple plastic cone and paper filter.

Vacuum makers, (Cona) fashionable in the 70s and then again about 10 years ago,  produce great coffee with a theatrical display, but are a massive faff. Sooner or later you'll accidentally smash it, and be surprised at how liberating it feels.

Moka pots produce something unique, and are a rough approximation of espresso if camping. Doesnt seem to matter what coffee you put in, it always comes out tasting the same  ;D

Cheap BTC machines, why?  Might as well have a cheap pod machine. End result is the same.

Aeropress, extremely good if you like the taste (I dont), very cheap, clean, and practical.

But....if you want espresso, proper espresso, then you've got to go down the £500+ grinder, and £1500+ machine route. You could go for a £1200 Sage DB, but the build quality is shite and it will be a short term purchase. Anybody that tells you their £500 BTC machine produces great espresso will have a shock when you give them an actual espresso 🤭

Quote
We've not had a grinder as decent ready-ground has been widely available but I think we'll be getting a grinder before long, in part as we now have a larger kitchen.  The difference, we find, between ready-ground and ground as you make the coffee is marginal if you keep it in an air-tight tin (and only in 225gm lots)

For the pod machine we either use Lor (in a variety of strengths - usually to be found on ebay, often as bulk boxes of "samples" in packs of 3) or the Aldi Espresso 7 pods ... which are very good value at 13p each

Yes, I find that too. I bought MIL an Aldi pod machine 2 years ago. £45, still going strong and I think their pods produce something very drinkable.

I miss drinking decent filter coffee. It's part laziness but also I find my home flat whites so satisfying. Milk steamed to the consistency of double cream, no visible bubbles. Amazing.



Re: Bean to coffee coffee makers? Coffe pod machines?
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2020, 08:30:01 am »


Requirements are ~2 cups of strong espresso coffee per day, one at least being larger than single shot cup

There's nothing to stop you emptying 2 pods into one cup, that's what I do

I always get lavazza pre ground for my moka pot, not because it's necessarily the best taste but because it's the most finely ground.

It is what it is. It's not what it's not, so it must be what it is.

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Bean to coffee coffee makers? Coffe pod machines?
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2020, 08:54:31 am »
My Sage grinder and single boiler machine are both >3 yo and still going strong, so hardly a short term purchase.  No it doesn't have the bells and whistles and I can't steam milk and make automated coffee at the same time, but when I rarely make anything other than espresso that's not an issue.

In my opinion it makes bloody good coffee if you grind the beans right and pay attention to what you are doing, and I'd compare it favourably to what I get from my bean supplier from his several thousand pound machine.  Having discussed extensively with him before buying a home machine, this was one of those he recommended.

As for cafetiere being inferior to cone and filter, again, right coffee, ground right, pay it some attention and you get the results.

One of the biggest revelations for me is a quality grinder and whole beans rather than anyone else grinding for me, as theirs will always be an approximation to your needs whereas you can tweak.
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: Bean to coffee coffee makers? Coffe pod machines?
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2020, 09:11:48 am »
Much appreciate your responses so far, as always they make me think more about my original post/question.

So, to add some subsequent thoughts -

I'm not really interested in the 'best' coffee, cos I wouldn't want to know how to know and couldn't be arsed, really. And my taste and smell has deteriorated over the last 18 months.

I don't want to drink espressos particularly.

My ideal sense of coffee is a rich, strong, edgy darkness mixed with plain warmed hot milk - enough to provide a cup or bowl (if I'm feeling  a bit Frenchie of a morning) ~ 250ml combined total.

I have absolutely no idea any of the current coffee nomenclatures, having never been in a "coffee house" and never will.

So perhaps consistency is what's lacking and am looking for, which my current moka stove top regime doesn't deliver, as well a disappointing thin bitterness, even when using expensive Illy.

Perhaps this information will help?

Thanks forumites  :thumbsup:


Most of what's drunk at home in France of a morning is filter stuff using ground coffee from the supermarket.  As something to dunk your bread & butter in it's fine. Of course, you end up with melted butter floating on the coffee, which is a bit of an acquired taste.

Point is, if you like it by the bowl like that, with or without milk, you can do it for not much with a thing called a Chemex*, which is a one-piece glass filter-holder & jug combined, or you can do it with a 5€ filter holder and provide the jug yourself.

What will improve the flavour is getting good coffee unground from a non-industrial roaster - can't remember the UK names, I use Maxicoffee.fr, although they're getting big these days and I might move on - and grinding it yourself in amounts just sufficient for the brew you're about to make. Keeping the beans in an airtight container is essential. 60 to 70 grammes/litre is the standard dosage quoted in the lit., but when I've made filter for non-coffee-freaks they've found even 60g to be very strong. Me, I like it.

Anyway, a low-end conical-burr grinder such as a Baratza Encore or even a Bodum Bistro will do the trick.  You can jimmy an Encore to grind finely enough for a sort of espresso but it's not really worth the bother.  Avoid blade grinders like the plague they are. They're good for herbs, though.

And as HF says, an Aeropress is a cheap and easy way of making coffee he doesn't like; but thousands do, yrs trly included.  Only trouble is that if you're a bit befuddled of a morning and don't give it a good straight press you can end up with the cup going one way, the gadget the other, probably in two bits, and the recently-boiled water and coffee wherever they will.  Great gadget, though.

* In the film Interstellar they have one on the table, figuring as a water-jug
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Re: Bean to coffee coffee makers? Coffe pod machines?
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2020, 09:39:03 am »
My ideal sense of coffee is a rich, strong, edgy darkness mixed with plain warmed hot milk - enough to provide a cup or bowl (if I'm feeling  a bit Frenchie of a morning) ~ 250ml combined total.

If you want that French breakfast experience then get a drip filter machine as has been said below. Cheap and reliable. You can get one with a built in grinder and timer if you want. The best you can buy will still be way cheaper than a half decent espresso machine.

I like Melitta stuff - reliable and gets the water at the right temperature for filter machines.

https://www.melitta.co.uk/products/coffee-machines/filter-coffee-machines/aromafresh-grind-brew-filter-coffee-machine/

I would get a separate filter and grinder though. I'm considering this one with an inbuilt scale:

https://www.melitta.co.uk/products/accessories/coffee-grinders/calibra-coffee-grinder-with-integrated-scale/
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

robgul

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Re: Bean to coffee coffee makers? Coffe pod machines?
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2020, 09:59:31 am »
I think you either go all the way and get decent grinder and semi-auto machine (circa £2k) and learn to use it, or you get a pod machine (about £100, sometimes less).

I'm not convinced that anything in between is worth it.

I'd agree - having tried most things over the years - cafetiere/French press, drip machines, Cona stove top (remember them?), Moka pots, mini espresso machine. 

*Warning: Contains opinion

Yeah...tried them all too, and all of them make a different sort of coffee and have their place (except mini espresso machines, which are shite)

Cafetieres are for convenience only, as the coffee is inferior to a simple plastic cone and paper filter.

Vacuum makers, (Cona) fashionable in the 70s and then again about 10 years ago,  produce great coffee with a theatrical display, but are a massive faff. Sooner or later you'll accidentally smash it, and be surprised at how liberating it feels.

Moka pots produce something unique, and are a rough approximation of espresso if camping. Doesnt seem to matter what coffee you put in, it always comes out tasting the same  ;D

Cheap BTC machines, why?  Might as well have a cheap pod machine. End result is the same.

Aeropress, extremely good if you like the taste (I dont), very cheap, clean, and practical.

But....if you want espresso, proper espresso, then you've got to go down the £500+ grinder, and £1500+ machine route. You could go for a £1200 Sage DB, but the build quality is shite and it will be a short term purchase. Anybody that tells you their £500 BTC machine produces great espresso will have a shock when you give them an actual espresso 🤭

Quote
We've not had a grinder as decent ready-ground has been widely available but I think we'll be getting a grinder before long, in part as we now have a larger kitchen.  The difference, we find, between ready-ground and ground as you make the coffee is marginal if you keep it in an air-tight tin (and only in 225gm lots)

For the pod machine we either use Lor (in a variety of strengths - usually to be found on ebay, often as bulk boxes of "samples" in packs of 3) or the Aldi Espresso 7 pods ... which are very good value at 13p each

Yes, I find that too. I bought MIL an Aldi pod machine 2 years ago. £45, still going strong and I think their pods produce something very drinkable.

I miss drinking decent filter coffee. It's part laziness but also I find my home flat whites so satisfying. Milk steamed to the consistency of double cream, no visible bubbles. Amazing.

>snip pix


Looks like we're on the same wavelength here!   I'm about to make a tray/shelf unit of some sort to fit on the RH side of the machine - with a "top deck" to sit the grinder when we get (that'll probably be a Fracino one too .... sounds Italian, designed and made in Birmingham on an industrial estate just by spag junction!)



The sign above the machine, if you can read it, is paying homage to my earlier career in the printing industry with wooden type - and the plug on the LH side is Hive to automatically switch off at night/switch on in the morning to save power usuage.

Re: Bean to coffee coffee makers? Coffe pod machines?
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2020, 04:08:35 pm »
Ooh shiny! It's good to have something serviceable. Mine really should have a service given it is 12 years old, but I've not got round to it.

People went nuts for those £1200 Sage Dual Boiler machines about 6 years ago because the spec looked very high for the money. But...built in China, cheap materials, and AFAIK nobody services them. They remind me of modern electronic gadgets like bluetooth headphones...very shiny, work well, but they arent intended to last more than a handful of years.

Couldn't use a timer plug on mine. It just powers it into standby mode. La Spaziale produce their own but it is crazy money. I tinkered with the wiring and fitted a switch so that it bangs the machine on with a timer plug.

Grinders: I have worked my way through 5 grinders, and they have all produced markedly different coffee.  The 3rd was a Mazzer Mini. I sold it to buy a flashy 68mm burr electronic on demand machine that people were raving about (rrp now about £800). But the coffee tasted flat and disappointing. Found a slightly damaged commercial size Mazzer Major for half normal price and fitted an electronic timer to turn it into an on demand grinder (but with a doser). Cant see myself changing it, ever.

robgul

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Re: Bean to coffee coffee makers? Coffe pod machines?
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2020, 05:42:23 pm »
Ooh shiny! It's good to have something serviceable. Mine really should have a service given it is 12 years old, but I've not got round to it.

People went nuts for those £1200 Sage Dual Boiler machines about 6 years ago because the spec looked very high for the money. But...built in China, cheap materials, and AFAIK nobody services them. They remind me of modern electronic gadgets like bluetooth headphones...very shiny, work well, but they arent intended to last more than a handful of years.

Couldn't use a timer plug on mine. It just powers it into standby mode. La Spaziale produce their own but it is crazy money. I tinkered with the wiring and fitted a switch so that it bangs the machine on with a timer plug.

Grinders: I have worked my way through 5 grinders, and they have all produced markedly different coffee.  The 3rd was a Mazzer Mini. I sold it to buy a flashy 68mm burr electronic on demand machine that people were raving about (rrp now about £800). But the coffee tasted flat and disappointing. Found a slightly damaged commercial size Mazzer Major for half normal price and fitter an electronic timer to turn it into an on demand grinder (but with a doser). Cant see myself changing it, ever.

We only moved here in February 20 so the machine has been where it is for just a few months - what was "interesting" was drilling the granite for a 30mm hole to take the water feed and waste pipes . . . to my amazement a £10 "diamond tipped" hole saw from Screwfix and slow drilling, with Mrs robgul spraying water on the bit, did the job.

It's all a bit shiny with a stainless steel panel on the LH side . . . and what you can't see is a stainless steel cupboard door under the machine - there was a rather ancient second oven in the housing - that went and the cupboard stores the odd bits and pieces for the machine and the water softener and inline water filter.  Shelf above the machine is IKEA's finest/cheapest stainless job  :thumbsup:

Re: Bean to coffee coffee makers? Coffe pod machines?
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2020, 06:49:22 pm »
It all looks pristine and tidy. My La Spaz was the first plumbed in machine (just water, not waste) and I dont think I could go back to a tanked machine.

Re: Bean to coffee coffee makers? Coffe pod machines?
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2020, 07:21:46 pm »
I have a Melita (Caffeo Bistro) B2C and it does a decent coffee with 2 button presses (the first one just wakes it up) quicker than boiling the kettle.

It may not be decent to a connoisseur, but it's better than from ground coffee.

They do need about half an hour a month of maintenance (descaling/cleaning tablet/cleaning innards).

If it broke, I would buy another (it was £60 second-hand, about 5 yeras ago)
If it ain't broke, fix it 'til it is...