Author Topic: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?  (Read 9648 times)

Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« on: January 31, 2011, 06:26:03 pm »
Last week I broke the glass beaker of my Bodum cafetiere shutting the dishwasher. It had lasted 19 years so I can't really complain. However I now find myself on the pointy horns of a dilemma. Do I replace the beaker or invest in a coffee machine?

My kids are trying to convince me to get something like one of their friend's parents have that you load sachets into and it does the rest for you. I think they may be especially keen on this idea since it can make frothy hot chocolate as well as various styles of coffee. I am always suspicious of machines that tie you to buying particular refills that may end up becoming obsolete. Probably the most important feature I would want is it being very easy to clean / keep clean. Dishwasher safe components would also be very useful.

Does anyone have any experience of the kinds of coffee machines on the market today? Can anyone recommend a good one? I am a fan of cappuccino and also Irish coffee so ideally would like to be able to make these. Can anyone recommend a particular make and/or model? Also, what type of coffee should I buy (I am a real coffee numpty, I know).

TIA!

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2011, 06:35:20 pm »
I have never been impressed with coffee from pods.  I would go for freshly ground coffee always.  You can get machines that will grind the beans for you, so it's a matter of keeping it full, and emptying from time to time.  Machines of all types will need descaling every so often, depending on water hardness.

I can't give any specific machine recommendations if you want automatic.  My Gaggia Classic (manual) is fine, but there is better out there.  Ural will be along in a minute to tell you what to buy.



dasmoth

  • Techno-optimist
Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2011, 06:39:20 pm »
Mmm, coffee  :).  What sort of budget do you have in mind, and how much effort are you willing to put into your morning brew?

Unless you're prepared to put a fair amount of time and effort in, you might want to steer clear of espresso machines (but they can be great, geeky, fun if you're that way inclined).

Otherwise, glassware-based coffee makers are a pretty good solution IMO.  If you want something different from your old cafetiere, there's always one of these.  Slightly more fiddly, but make really lovely coffee.
Half term's when the traffic becomes mysteriously less bad for a week.

tonycollinet

  • No Longer a western province of Númenor
Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2011, 06:48:53 pm »
Don't touch coffee from pods. I've not had a single good cup from one of those.

If thinking of espresso type machine, bean to cup types are very expensive (think around £1000.

Even if you go for a manual machine, like the Gaggia baby class, that I have, you are also going to have to invest in a grinder to get the best from it - and for one worth having, you can add at least £100 to the cost of the machine. So you are heading to a total of between 300 to 350 for a basic setup.

Not cheap, but SO worth it.

Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2011, 06:50:09 pm »
if you wanted a pod based machine, the lavazza mio modo is pretty good and saves a huuuuge amount of faff.

Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2011, 06:50:47 pm »
Thanks for the advice so far. Our water here is VERY hard because of the limestone hills all around. Even a single drop of water on a steel drainer dries to a white splat here. I have a kettle that filters tap water though so I can fill the machine with that if needed to minimise scale.

Budget wise I would probably go up to about £250 if it was a good machine. But ease of use will be important, if I want a coffee then I don't want to faff around making it. My pet hate is things that are a pain to wash after use so you put it off then find it dirty when you next want to use it. My cafetiere was a bit like this, the coffee would make a right mess of my sink when you tipped it out and bits would get stuck between the metal discs so you had to take it apart each time. It took longer to clean than the coffee did to drink  :facepalm:

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2011, 06:57:28 pm »
The basket of an espresso machine is much easier to clean than a caffitiere.  You don't want the coffee grinds going down the sink, that way lies trouble.  You have to wipe the shower head as well, and wipe the steam nozzle.  The basket would be dishwasher safe, as would I think the drip tray.

Gaggia Classic is inside your budget.  I didn't spend £100 on a grinder, I spent about £50.  That's better than a £25 one by a long way.

The beans I'm using at the moment seem to grind very messy for some reason.  Dunno why, but the beans I normally use are much less prone to going everywhere once ground.

dasmoth

  • Techno-optimist
Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2011, 06:58:08 pm »
I agree with the sentiments about pods.  However, I'm not sure I'd rate bean-to-cup machines either.  They seem to be set up to grind quite coarsely and pump quite a bit of water through in 10-15 seconds, which isn't my idea of caffeinated pleasure.  To be fair, I've only really come across them in institutional settings though -- maybe if you have one in your kitchen and take some time to set them up, you can do a bit better than that.  I'm not wildly optimistic though.

Ultra-hard water is an issue for espresso machines.  You can get little ion-exchangers that sit in the water tanks of some models, but that's extra cost and faff.

Espresso machines do hit the "don't need cleaning out before you use them" point.  Apart from knocking the grounds out after each shot, they do need a little bit of extra work, but not every day.
Half term's when the traffic becomes mysteriously less bad for a week.

dasmoth

  • Techno-optimist
Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2011, 07:00:32 pm »
By the way, agree that cafetiere's aren't much fun to clean.  Vacuum brewers are a bit better, especially if you're using a ground glass filter (standard on the Cona I linked above), but still a little bit of effort.

Paper filter cones might actually be best in this regard.  Lift whole lot out, dump in compost, rinse the funnel out if you're feeling particularly fussy, done.
Half term's when the traffic becomes mysteriously less bad for a week.

Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2011, 07:00:42 pm »
Is there any way round having to grind your own beans? I'm guessing not or you wouldn't all be doing it  :D

dasmoth

  • Techno-optimist
Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2011, 07:04:55 pm »
Is there any way round having to grind your own beans? I'm guessing not or you wouldn't all be doing it  :D

If you want espresso, I'd say no.  Even if you discount the freshly-ground-coffee-tastes-much-better factor, getting half-way decent espresso requires tuning the grind to match the type of beans you're using, your machine, and the conditions (grind does change a bit from day to day -- freshness of beans and air humidity both seem to matter).  Even if you can get pre-ground stuff that's approximately the right fineness for espresso (most I've come across is far too coarse), you'll never get it quite right.
Half term's when the traffic becomes mysteriously less bad for a week.

Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2011, 07:05:09 pm »
Mmm, coffee  :).  What sort of budget do you have in mind, and how much effort are you willing to put into your morning brew?

Unless you're prepared to put a fair amount of time and effort in, you might want to steer clear of espresso machines (but they can be great, geeky, fun if you're that way inclined).

Otherwise, glassware-based coffee makers are a pretty good solution IMO.  If you want something different from your old cafetiere, there's always one of these.  Slightly more fiddly, but make really lovely coffee.

Spot on, in my opinion and experience. If you can abandon the idea of cappuccino then just get one of those plastic filter cone holders that sits on your mug and some papers and a grinder.


               Accessories         › Accessories for Coffee                           ::
         H. R. Higgins (Coffee-man) Ltd.         


 No faff, the coffee is great and the paper and grinds go on the compost. Total outlay is about a fiver, plus maybe £50 for a cheap burr grinder (like the Dualit)

There really is no easy or cheap way to get decent espresso.

dasmoth

  • Techno-optimist
Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2011, 07:05:34 pm »
Anyway, grinding is a vital part of the ritual  8).
Half term's when the traffic becomes mysteriously less bad for a week.

Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2011, 07:10:00 pm »
I don't grind my own, but I quite enjoy the faff/ritual that accompanies the making of a cup of coffee with my machine. For that reason and to keep the choice of coffee as wide as possible, I wouldn't go for a pod-only machine.

I've got a Morphy Richards machine that does the job well, but it does get caked up with our hardish water quite easily, so Oust is a permanent fixture in our kitchen. Which gave the DeLonghi EC330 Coffee Maker top marks for taste with grounds & pods & it's about £90. Apart from an Argos one that doesn't seem to be in their catalogue now, every other recommendation is much more expensive and not much better rated.
Haggerty F, Haggerty R, Tomkins, Noble, Carrick, Robson, Crapper, Dewhurst, Macintyre, Treadmore, Davitt.

Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2011, 07:14:32 pm »
I like the idea of being able to put the paper and grounds in the compost, i could never do that before because they were floating in an inch of water in the cafetiere. I need to get my head around this grinding idea!

Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2011, 07:16:24 pm »
It's really very easy... you get a bag of beans from the supermarket, you put a small handfull in the grinder, press the 'on' switch, and then when it has ground then you sprinkle it into the paper filter cone

 ;D

Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2011, 07:19:59 pm »
It's really very easy... you get a bag of beans from the supermarket, you put a small handfull in the grinder, press the 'on' switch, and then when it has ground then you sprinkle it into the paper filter cone

 ;D

But do you then have to dismantle the grinder and clean it?

Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2011, 07:21:21 pm »
Coffee is a popular forum theme:

Cheaper Espresso machine?

Plumbed in coffee machine

Non plumbed in coffee machines

Afterwards, these topics might be of interest:

Coffee Grinder/Mill recommendation

Rate my crema

When I did a forum search for coffee the results included ride reports of every Audax ever written  ;D

Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2011, 07:26:49 pm »
It's really very easy... you get a bag of beans from the supermarket, you put a small handfull in the grinder, press the 'on' switch, and then when it has ground then you sprinkle it into the paper filter cone

 ;D

But do you then have to dismantle the grinder and clean it?

No.


Get a Dualit grinder.  'bout £60

Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2011, 07:27:27 pm »
It's really very easy... you get a bag of beans from the supermarket, you put a small handfull in the grinder, press the 'on' switch, and then when it has ground then you sprinkle it into the paper filter cone

 ;D

But do you then have to dismantle the grinder and clean it?

No.


Get a Dualit grinder.  'bout £60

Thanks  :thumbsup:

tonycollinet

  • No Longer a western province of Númenor
Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2011, 08:23:43 pm »
Now you only need to find a source of fresh roasted coffee. I'm really lucky. A local delicatessen roasts once a week, and has a really good range.

Its an obsession I tell you.

Rhys W

  • I'm single, bilingual
    • Cardiff Ajax
Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2011, 09:15:07 pm »
You don't have to grind your own, at least not to start with. I was making fine espresso with pre-ground Lavazza and Illy for years. Not superlative by any means, but better than any pod stuff and better than many cups I paid for in cafes.

However, things got markedly better when I got a grinder, and it was a quantum leap when I got some freshly-roasted beans.

Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2011, 09:39:00 pm »
Everyone is a coffee numpty when you meet someone who really knows his stuff. Anyway, it's a big faff this coffee business and you end up chasing something that is never.....quite...right. I have a Gaggia Classic. Great machine, not expensive, does what it does well ie it makes espresso and that is really all I want it to do. VFM? get a stovetop Moka pot by eg Bialetti. Stainless steel ones can go in the dishwasher. Bean>cup? Poss. the Jura at £600 :o is a good machine but its grinder may not be variable enough. Nespresso machines are good for what they do and are relatively inexpensive BUT you have to order the pods from Nestle so you are hostage to them.
Decide what sort of coffee you like (I use a cafetiere or moka pot in the am). From there, if you don't need mochachoccafrappachinolatte then you don't need a trick machine. Source of good beans? Monmouth Coffee, Wilson Roberts in Lancs, Absolute Coffee in Yorkshire. Going to a class at Coffee Supplier - Commercial Espresso Machines - Barista training - Wholesale coffee suppliers for the trade - Commercial coffee equipment (may have had a name change) was an eyeopener. The tutor,Youri, was a master of coffee making. He could do the latte art stuff superbly,  knock out a flat white or superb capuccino and was v.v.funny.
Grinders are a whole saga to themselves and if you get an electric machine you have to understand that your coffee can vary literally hour to hour and that freshness from both bean and grind are essential (plus temp,water pressure,tamp pressure etc).

Charlotte

  • Dissolute libertine
  • Here's to ol' D.H. Lawrence...
    • charlottebarnes.co.uk
Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2011, 09:43:29 pm »
I use an Aeropress at work now.  It makes lovely coffee  :smug:

At home we have one of these:



The Aeropress makes better coffee because I can use the beans I want, ground the way I like.  But for "good enough", ultra-convenient espresso, the Nespresso machine is okay.

I want a Gaggia, though.  You probably will eventually, too  :)
Commercial, Editorial and PR Photographer - www.charlottebarnes.co.uk

Re: Can anyone recommend a coffee machine?
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2011, 09:54:07 pm »
I want a Gaggia Rancilio, though.  You probably will eventually, too  :)

FTFY  ;D