Coffee Buying Guide
WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE
Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly ground coffee? With approximately 400 billion cups of coffee drunk every year globally coffee has come to be an important part of our daily routine. Thankfully you no longer have to head to the nearest coffee shop to get a professionally made cup. The availability of compact and affordable machines means you can now indulge at home every day. Here’s our guide.
Before choosing the right machine for you think about how often you make coffee, for how many people and what sort of coffee you prefer. Do your prefer filter coffee, cappuccino or espresso or do you need a machine that caters for all tastes? Prices of machines vary greatly depending on the type coffee machine and ease of use. See our entire coffee machine range here.
They may be the most expensive machines on the market, but you are sure to get the freshest cup of coffee. They are fabulously easy and can transform even the most inexpert coffee maker into a barista. Many of these home coffee machines are completely automatic; with the simple press of a button the machine grinds the beans, pumps the hot water through and dispenses the freshest coffee, not to mention always providing the perfect fill. Forget about banging your metal jug to create the perfect microfoam, these brilliantly clever machines know how to get the perfect ratio of liquid to froth making velvet milk every time, the essence of a perfect cup of coffee. Many come equipped with automatic settings with clever memory technology which means you get the same cup of coffee each and every time.
These machines are all about convenience. They are ultra-quick and convenient and give a great cup of coffee each and every time.
All use smart little pods which look great and contain beautifully blended ground coffee beans, just pop the pod in, press the coffee button and your coffee is good to go. There’s no fuss and no mess making it a popular choice for many. NB: one thing to note is that pods are often tied to a brand of coffee so pick the machine that uses the coffee you prefer.
Form and function meet in these iconic coffee machines which add theatre to your coffee making. The high-tech machines work with a thermoblock system that heats water to around 85-92°C, which is the perfect temperature for making coffee. The water is then passed through the coffee grounds of your choice creating a perfect cuppa. They also feature a milk frothing wand so that you can make the perfect latte. If you want the truly bean to cup coffee experience add a coffee grinder to your order.
Percolators work by placing ground coffee into a holder at the top and water in the bottom, closest to the heat. The water is forced up a vertical tube into the top chamber to the coffee where it is cooled and travels back down to the bottom chamber. This cycle is repeated until removed from the heat when coffee is ready.
Cafetière is the French word for coffee maker or pot. The Cafetière can be made from a glass, plastic or a stainless steel and comes with a wire filter attached to a plunger which is used to press the coffee grounds through hot water delivering a great cup of coffee. Great for catering for many people cafetiere’s are still then dinner party essential.
An incredibly easy to use coffee maker, simply fill with water, add the filter and coffee and off we go. Add a hotplate to keep your cups warm or a permanent filter to save on wastage, maybe a pod system machine to save on mess?
Simple, efficient and inexpensive. Moka pots are stovetop coffee makers that work in a similar way to percolators. Water is placed in the bottom chamber creating steam pressure which forces the water up through a coffee filter in the middle leaving perfect coffee in the top chamber. Not exactly the perfect espresso machine but it makes for deliciously good coffee. This fab invention dates back to 1933, and uses the same iconic design and method today. What better brand to go for than Bialetti-the legendary man who invented the moka pot in the first place.
When purchasing a new coffee machine we would recommend considering the below:
How much coffee are you going to make?
If you’re only going to make a few cups of coffee a day, you probably don’t need an overly large home coffee machine. Some of the best coffee makers can be smaller more modest machines. Some machines are designed specifically to make large quantities so keep this in mind.
Are you choosing beans or ground coffee?
Choosing a coffee machine with a good grinder is essential if you want to use coffee beans rather than pre-ground coffee. To produce a quality cup of coffee you will need a fine, precise, consistent grinder that will allow water to pass through optimally.
Is this to be a permanent fixture to your kitchen?
Coffee machines come in different shapes, sizes and materials. Some of the grander old Italian style Brass machines can be big and bulky, whereas small fresh cafetieres are smaller and can be stowed away in cupboards. Think about how much space you have in your kitchen.
Hints and Tips when Buying Coffee
• When tasting coffee, look for smoothness and complexity with no off-flavours. The beans should be neither under-roasted nor charred, and the brew should have at least moderate aroma and flavor.
• Coffees consist of Arabica or Robusta beans, or a combination. Arabica beans are more expensive and can make better coffee.
• When buying coffee, it’s important to know that once opened it can lose its freshness rapidly, so buy coffee beans in small quantities, as and when you require them.
• In order to prolong freshness, store beans in a glass airtight container. This container should be kept out of sunlight, at room temperature and preferably used within a week.
• To keep beans longer keep them in the fridge which can prolong freshness for up to a month.
For a true barista experience follow our step by step guide to make the perfect cappuccino using your pump espresso maker.
Prepare the Espresso:
Step 1: Grind enough espresso beans for a 30 ml espresso shot.
Step 2: Empty the grounds into your espresso machine. Use your small finger to lightly touch the surface of the ground espresso to evenly distribute it.
Step 3: Tamp the ground espresso using an espresso tamper.
Step 4: Place into your machine. Don't pull the espresso shot yet. Wait until you have foamed the milk.
Foam the Milk:
Step 5: Press the "Steam" button on your espresso maker. When the indicator light comes on (or goes off, depending on your machine), the machine is ready to dispense steam. Release the steam wand briefly to get rid of residual moisture in the wand.
Step 6: Pour 120 ml of milk into a chilled metal milk jug. Non-fat milk makes more foam, while whole milk creates a creamier shot.
Step 7: Place a thermometer into your milk jug. Ideally, your foam should be between 65 and 68 C when the steaming process is complete.
Step 8: Lower the steam wand into the milk jug and release the wand. Then, lower the milk jug until the steam wand rests just below the surface of the milk. Listen as you foam the milk. You should hear a steady ch-ch-ch sound if you have the wand in the right position. If you hear a whine and big bubbles, the steam wand tip is probably too high. Raise your milk jug slightly.
Step 9: Sink the wand into the lower portion of the milk when the temperature reaches 38 C. Slowly swirl the milk jug to whirlpool the milk.
Step 10: Turn off the steam wand when the foam reaches the desired temperature. Set the milk aside.
Pull the Espresso Shot and Assemble the Cappuccino:
Step 11: Place your cappuccino cup under the espresso dispenser and start the brewing cycle.
Step 12: Time the shot. The shot should pour for 20 to 30 seconds for the best quality, the first part of the shot will be dark followed by a rich golden foam called the crema..
Step 13: Pour the foamed milk over the espresso shot. Your cappuccino should be about 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 foamed milk.
Step 14: Drink and enjoy! You can sprinkle the foam with chocolate or cinnamon for extra flavour.
WHAT DOES YOUR COFFEE SAY ABOUT YOU?
Forget analyzing body language or judging a person on their shoes. We’ve put together a coffee personality guide that will tell you everything you need to know about a person from there coffee (ok well maybe not everything!).
MACCHIATO: In Italian it literally translates to ‘stain’. It is an espresso with just a dash of steamed frothy milk on the top.
Personality: Intellectual, reliable and knowledgeable.
CAFÉ AU LAIT: The cousin of the latte. Roughly about half milk, half coffee, with a milder taste than a latte as it is made with strong coffee and not espresso.
Personality: Dare we say…might be a bit posh.
CAPPUCCINO: One third espresso, one third steamed milk and one third froth creates the perfect cappuccino with a light sprinkling of chocolate on the top for the piste de resistance
Personality: Known to be warm-hearted and bubbly but may have a slighty controlling side.
AMERICANO: Also known as a long black. Boiling water topped with espresso.
Personality: Known to enjoy the simple things in life, minimalism is key and they tend to be good friend.
MOCHA: Espresso with hot chocolate and steamed, frothed milk.
Personality: Loves the finer things in life – luxury is key
FRAPPE: An iced coffee, sugar and milk with optional flavors and toppings
Personality: Spontaneous and impulsive. They are trendsetters who like to try new things. However, can also be a bit unreliable
LATTE: A milky coffee, should be two thirds steamed milk and one third espresso.
Personality: Latte drinkers are people pleasers and go out of their way to help others.