Hands up if you need a coffee to kick-start the day? If instant coffee fills you with fear, then how do you get your caffeine fix? We take a look at the tampers, grinders and convenient capsule makers – which do you prefer?
I can’t actually function without a coffee in the morning, but I don’t have an espresso machine – yet. It’s on my Christmas list though.
While working on our latest coffee machine reviews, I tested a few capsules machines, like the Nespresso Pixie, Nescafe Dolce Gusto Piccolo and Dualit Rapido.
There are three main types of electric espresso machine:
1. Traditional espresso machines use ground coffee, which needs to be measured and tamped correctly.
2. Bean-to-cup machines, which grind beans at the touch of a button, delivering the freshest espresso into a waiting cup.
3. Capsules machines, which just need a unique capsule popped in and away you go.
Some argue that capsule machines are the easiest to use, while others say it’s a cheat’s (and most expensive) way to get an espresso.
But is easier? Or is there something satisfying about making the perfect espresso with ground coffee in a traditional espresso machine? Seeing the golden crema form on top of the dark, rich espresso. That lovely, freshly brewed coffee aroma.
The art of espresso making
Our coffee expert, Giles, agrees. Apparently, we’re getting more serious, more inquisitive and more demanding about our chosen ‘foodie pleasure’.
And espresso coffee machines are no exception. The real aficionado doesn’t just fill up the machine and push a button, doesn’t just follow the basic rules (fresh water, fresh coffee, primed machine etc) – they go further.
Making the perfect espresso has become a ritual, with the anticipated pleasure of delivering a perfect cup. For many people it is nearly an art, requiring full understanding of the quirks of the machine, determination to master them and an ability to be self-critical in the search for the perfect brew.
No matter how easy manufacturers make coffee machines to operate, it seems coffee machines need a bit of love and attention and time to learn how to get the best out of them.
Coffee machines live Q&A – Which? member exclusive
Do you have questions about how to get the best out of your machine? If so, Which? members can join Which? experts and top coffee connoisseur, Whittard’s Giles Hilton, for a live chat on 22 November from 12.30pm. We’ll be answering your questions on the best coffee makers and how to perfect your espresso making.
Or, get involved in the discussion here. Do you favour using ground, beans or capsules? How much preparation do you put into making the perfect brew – or is ‘proper’ coffee overrated?
Sign up for a Q&A event email reminder today at Which.co.uk/coffeelive
What do you use to make your coffee?
Instant (36%, 188 Votes)
Ground coffee (34%, 178 Votes)
Beans (12%, 61 Votes)
I don't drink coffee (12%, 60 Votes)
Capsules (6%, 32 Votes)
Total Voters: 520