While we’re still a nation of tea drinkers at heart, if the number of coffee shops on the high street is anything to go by, our tastes are changing. However, while it’s a nice treat once in a while, it’s an expensive habit and with the impact of all the paper cups to recycle to consider, there’s been an explosion in the number of sophisticated coffee makers hitting the domestic market.
Whether you prefer a powerful espresso to kick-start your day or a more relaxed latte, coffee machines for the home have moved on from simple cafetiere and filter machines to highly sophisticated machines that can do everything from grinding your beans to creating the perfect frothy warm milk for your cappuccino.
Bean to cup, capsule or manual?
Depending on your needs and budget, choices generally come down to three main categories. Bean-to-cup machines do everything for you from grind the beans to froth the milk and are a favourite of coffee purists. If time and convenience are an issue for you, then a neat capsule machine, such as those from Nespresso, could be a good option but remember, once you buy, you’re often tied into one pod system. Finally, manual espresso machines that use pre-ground coffee. Remember to check bar pressure as it’s key to a good cup of coffee. Ideally, look for a machine that has a ‘bar’ (the pressure at which the water is pressed through the coffee grounds) of at least nine for the perfect espresso.
Freestanding or in-built?
If you’re planning a fully fitted kitchen with built-in appliances then many companies, from Miele to Siemens and Bosch offer bean-to-cup machines that will coordinate with the rest of your appliances. The trend for appliance banks featuring two or more ovens means that often a coffee machine is a perfect choice.
If you don’t have room for a large built-in model, then there are many sophisticated freestanding designs on the market to choose from. If space on your worktop is restricted then pick an all-singing, all-dancing model that really earns its place but doesn’t have a huge footprint, such as the Melitta Solo E950-101 Bean-to-Cup machine. For added colour, consider models from Smeg, KitchenAid or the latest CM5300 machine in Tayberry Red from Miele.