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Best Coffee Maker 2017: Buying Guide and Advice

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[/wpsm_titlebox][/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row centered_container=”true”][vc_column][vc_column_text]Coffee gets many us going in the morning, and you can also serve an after dinner coffee as the perfect balance to a sweet dessert. Morning or afternoon coffee is usually big and server with milk (think big mugs of latte, cappuccino or mocha) whereas after dinner coffee is usually a short, dark and intensely bitter affair in the form of a single or double shot espresso.

Either way, buying a home espresso machine provides you with the means to make every kind of coffee for all situations as well as offering the convenience of being able to make your coffee at home and saving a small fortune when compared with regular visits to your nearest coffee shop. Now I love hanging out in the coffee shop watching the world go by as much as the next person, but for my everyday morning coffee nothing beats the convenience, taste and value of making your own coffee using a home espresso machine.

And many coffee afficionados say that nothing compares to a good strong espresso, whether it’s as a plain shot, a latte, a cappuccino or a macchiato.

Manual, Bean-to-cup or Capsule Espresso Machine?

Are you a wannabe barista who enjoys the art of espresso making and the complex science behind the making of the perfect cup of coffee? Then you need probably want a bean grinder and a manually hand operated machine, or possibly a semi-automatic.

Espresso Coffee Machine

But if you just want a very good espresso without the bother and mess of coffee grinds and manually operated machinery then maybe a one-touch bean-to-cup model is the way to go. Bean-to-cup machines are more popular than ever and it’s easy to see why. Bean to cup machines may be a lot larger than coffee capsule models but they do the job remarkably well. As the name suggests, these machines grind the beans, transfer the grounds into the filter, extract the coffee and then dispose of the used grounds in a tray ready to be thrown away. What could be easier?

For total automation, choose a coffee capsule (or pod) extractor. However, capsules are much more expensive to buy and the pre-ground granules inside the capsules may have been sitting there for weeks if not months. Used capsules are also becoming a growing burden on the planet’s eco system so if you are concerned about our impact on the environment then pod machines are definitely not the way to go.

Difference Between Standard and Panarello Steaming Wands

coffee wandSome home espresso machines come with a standard steaming wand similar to the ones found on commercial espresso machines. But creating the perfect foam with one of these can be tricky for the beginner barista, as the technique involves infusing the correct mix of air and steam on the surface of the milk until you have achieved the amount of foam you want before submerging the tip to bring the rest of the milk up to temperature. It takes patience and practice – lots of practice!

To address this issue, many manufacturers of espresso machines make machines with a panarello wand. These ‘auto-frothers’ infuse a small amount of air with the steam automatically which is intended to make them a lot easier to use. You will mostly likely see panarello wands on lower end espresso machines that don’t have a lot of steaming power in the first place so the automatic wand is an attempt to enhance the frothing potential by infusing more air into the milk. This can be good or bad, and some of the designs are better than others.

People seem to either really love or really hate panarellos but don’t dismiss them out of hand. There are good ones and bad ones and, in fact, high tech versions are often used on commercial machines to ensure efficient and consistent foam production.

But if you are willing to practise and develop the skill, then it is likely that a standard wand will produce better, richer foam for stretched milk for your cappuccinos and lattes. Some machines also come with a separate spout for dispensing hot water, which can be very useful while making Americano or Tea.

…a standard wand will produce better, richer foam for stretched milk for your cappuccinos and lattes

Filter Coffee Makers

coffee-filterA filter or “Drip” coffee maker is a straightforward, easy-to-use way to get a great cup of coffee with no special skills required and minimal mess afterwards. These coffee makers simply drip hot water through coffee contained in a filter which is then collected in a glass jug or carafe underneath.

While a coffee filter doesn’t make the best cup of coffee in many people’s eyes, most of us will have had coffee brewed using this method many many times. It’s a pretty standard way to brew larger batches of coffee for a few people at a time whether at home, at a restaurant or in the workplace.

For this method, you can either grind your own coffee beans or use pre-ground roasted beans, measure them out according to taste and put them into the filter machine, add water and turn the machine on and you’re good to go in a few minutes. It’s that simple!

Some coffee makers have a reusable filter that you’ll have to clean out every time, others use disposable filters which you may find to be more convenient and easier to use. Most will feature a  warming plate under the carafe to keep the brew hot for up to 30 minutes, although we would recommend drinking it as soon as possible to avoid any bitter taste developing.

More advanced machines can be programmed to turn on and do its stuff before you get out of bed, so you can wake to the delicious smell of coffee in the morning.

And for the retro and vintage fans out there, manual drip machines such as the Chemex coffee maker offer a timeless and elegant method to filter your coffee.

The Moka Pot (or Stove-top Espresso)


Moka pots are often referred to as “stovetop espresso makers” due to the concentrated and creamy nature of the coffee they produce, much like an espresso produced by vastly more expensive espresso machines.

However, it can take some degree of skill to master making coffee using a moka pot as it the coffee is easily boiled which can result in making the coffee bitter. When it’s done right though, a moka pot will produce an excellent cup of espresso-style coffee.

Typically made from aluminium or stainless steel, the moka pot is divided into three chambers: one for water, one for grounds and one for the final brewed coffee. The pot is placed on your stove, and the bottom is filled with water.

As the water starts to boil, steam pressure pushes the water upwards through the coffee grounds and is then sprayed through a nozzle into the top of the pot.​

Moka pot lovers prefer this method because of the strength and intensity of the coffee, and there is a high degree of customization available during the overall brewing process.

The mode dial features priority modes that let you control one main element such as aperture or shutter speed, letting the camera sort of the rest to best suit that setting. We use these easy manual modes about 90 per cent of the time.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row centered_container=”true”][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Best Coffee Makers 2017

Our pick of the best coffee makers rated by customers’ reviews in 2017