More than 150 million coffee bags are consumed globally, according to the International Coffee Organization (ICO). In addition, Scandinavian nations like Finland, Sweden, Iceland, and Norway are listed as the top consumers of coffee with an average consumption per capita of at least 8.5 kilograms annually.
This makes coffee the second most popular drink in the world, just next to water. Coffee bars and restaurants have made a killing out of selling this famous drink. If you’re one of the millions who can’t survive the daily grind without a good pick-me-up, it may be best to invest in your own coffee machine today.
There are different kinds and types of coffee machines that are available in the market. To help you pick the right kind for your personal coffee bar at home, below are some helpful tips you should take note of before you shop for one.
Different Types Of Coffee Machines
It is easier to choose a coffee machine if you know how each type works. This will allow you to choose the best unit that can brew the kind and amount of coffee you like.
1. Bean-To-Cup Coffee Machines
If you like sipping the freshest coffee possible, what you need is a bean-to-cup coffee machine. Also called Ground Coffee Machines, they have built-in grinders just like the ones you see in coffee bars and restaurants. This machine grinds coffee almost immediately, which is the key to preserving its richness and flavor and thus provides the best health benefits of drinking coffee.
Some machines of this kind look too complicated to use but don’t get intimidated. Just put the coffee beans in the grinder, select the settings, and you are good to go. Most Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machines allow you to adjust the ground strength and customize other settings so you can get your caffeine fix according to your liking. They’re typically dishwasher-safe and come with an easy-to-clean feature too.
Best For: Coffee lovers who want the freshest brew. This machine can grind coffee beans or process ground coffee. It’s useful if you have other household members who like to drink coffee, as some machines allow you to brew two cups or more at the same time.
Downside: They’re more expensive than the other types, with some units priced as high as $2,500. If you don’t have enough space to spare in your kitchen, this may not be for you as some units can be bulky. Some machines are also prone to clogging and can be difficult to clean.
2. Capsule Or Pod Coffee Machines
A Capsule or Pod Coffee Machine suits drinkers who want to brew their coffee in the quickest way possible. To operate this kind of machine, all you have to do is place a coffee pod or capsule in the machine, press a button, and allow the machine to pump hot water from the built-in reservoir where it goes through the pod and mixes with the coffee pod to produce a piping hot cup of coffee.
These machines allow for a mess-free brew, but they are quite limiting in the sense that pods or capsules only work with specific brands which could be costly. In the US, some coffee lovers found a cheaper alternative in the form of these single serve Keurig machines.
Best For: They’re compact and small, and therefore perfect for small kitchens. As pods and capsules are pre-packed, these machines deliver consistent results. They’re generally cheaper than other types too, costing as low as $45. Some units are also flexible, allowing you to concoct other kinds of hot drinks such as chocolate and tea.
Downside: Unfortunately, they could be more expensive in the long run, with some capsules priced at $28 for 50 pieces. The pods are likewise not environment-friendly, since packets are made from non-biodegradable and non-recyclable materials.
3. Filter Coffee Machines
They’re simple to use and relatively affordable, with most machines priced at $55 on average. Filter Coffee Machines make black coffee by slowly dripping hot water through ground coffee instead of relying on pressure as Espresso Machines do. Yes, you read that right. These machines can only make black coffee and nothing else.
Best For: Coffee lovers who love black brewed coffee and are also budget-conscious. They are also great for households with a huge family, as one cycle can produce up to 12 cups of coffee.
Downside: These machines can’t make fancy types of coffee such as Macchiato or Mochaccino.
4. Espresso Machines
This could be the best option if you want to use a variety of pre-ground coffee from any brand. Traditional espresso machines allow you to customize your coffee by changing the amounts of water or coffee. However, concocting a brew using this unit usually takes time. On the upside, they are typically less bulky because they don’t have built-in grinders.
Best For: Coffee drinkers who love to have more control over their brew and those who prefer to experiment. It is also more versatile since any type of pre-ground coffee can be used with the machine.
Downside: Espresso machines only use pre-ground coffee and they’re not as fast and easy-to-use, compared with Capsule Coffee Makers.
More Key Features To Consider When Choosing A Coffee Machine
Aside from determining the type of coffee machine you need; you must be mindful of extra features that you might want to consider before purchasing one. These features would include:
- Milk Frother
Some coffee machines come with milk frothers, which is perfect if you love milky coffee with lots of froth like Cappuccinos and Lattes. Coffee machines, particularly Pod Coffee Machines, have three frothing functions:
Automatic Frothing Function – Some coffee machines can froth milk with just a touch of a button. Others have jugs with an adjustable spout where hot milk runs through before the cup gets mixed with coffee.
- Frothing Accessory – The milk frother on this one is separated from the coffee machine, and there’s no pre-programmed frothing setting or option. You have to add the milk manually to the coffee using an additional accessory.
- Steam Wands – These are typically used commercially, particularly in coffee shops. A steam wand uses pressure to froth milk. It gives the drinker total control over the milk but it’s also a bit challenging to make. So, the next time you see a perfectly made latte art on your coffee, you might want to ask your barista for tips on how to make one yourself.
- Customizations And Pre-Programming Features
Some machines, especially the pricier ones, have memory functions that you can save so that you don’t have to program it with each use. Once your settings are saved, all you have to do is turn the machine on and wait as it dispenses the right amount of coffee mixture every single time you need a quick fix. Furthermore, some fancier coffee machines can connect to your smartphone via an app where you can control everything, including troubleshooting and maintenance.
Each type and brand of coffee machine can only brew a certain batch at one time. Some machines, especially Pod Coffee Makers, can make only one or two cups per cycle. But if you are living in a huge household, you would be better off with Filter Coffee Machines that can accommodate more than a liter in capacity.
To prevent your coffee maker from clogging and suffering from different kinds of mechanical issues, it needs to be regularly cleaned. Some machines have automatic cleaning functions. If there’s none, check if the parts are easy to take apart and if it is dishwasher-safe.
The best coffee machine depends on your specific needs and taste, as well as your budget. You must know what each kind of coffee machine is capable of brewing, and how much it can produce in one cycle so you can determine which one is best for your coffee bar at home.