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A Guide to Getting the Perfect Coffee Machine for You

purchasing a coffee machine can be a daunting process, but Briscoes has got you covered. The best way to decide what machine you need, you need to decide what kind of coffee you like, how much effort you would like to put into each cup, and how much coffee you'd like to make. 

types of coffee machines


Manual Coffee Machines

Automatic Coffee Machines

Capsule Coffee Machines

Filter Coffee Machines


what machine is best for you?



Manual Espresso Coffee Machines

Ideal for: The at home Barista, wanting a café quality coffee and are comfortable with the process of manually getting bean to cup. Manual coffee machines are the most time consuming of all the coffee machines.

How they work: Manual espresso machines have a few different aspects to them, some you control, and some are built in functions. The built-in functions are things like the water pump, that heats up and is forceful enough to filter through the compact coffee grinds in the portafilter. The temperature of water effects the way the coffee tastes because it helps with extraction of the grinds, if its not a consistent temperature, the espresso shot can taste bitter or weak. The parts of the manual process that you control however, are mostly coffee grind and tamping orientated.


The portafilter (portable filter) is the holder for the coffee grinds. You fill the head of the portafilter with the coffee grinds, and even them out by wiping off the top layer with you finger or a flat edged object. This levels out the grinds for tamping. Then you need to tamp the coffee grinds so the portafilter head fits back into the espresso machine and can let water filter through. Tamping should be done lightly at first, and on a flat surface to get the grinds even, and then pushed with more force to make the grinds compact. Having fresh grinds, and the level of pressure in your tamping will affect the way your coffee tastes, so it may take some practice to learn how much pressure you put into the portafilter head to result in the right strength off coffee for you.  

Milk frothing is the other process you control with a manual machine. Most manual espresso machines come with a steaming wand used for heating up and frothing the milk, done in a small metal jug. Frothing milk can be a real art, but the general rule is the longer you steam the milker, the thicker the froth will be, and you can create more bubbles by sitting the steamer just on top of the milk, so it makes a hissing sound. Thick froth is used to cappuccinos, and thin froth is used for flat whites, lattes are somewhere in the middle.

Tips: Some machines have a built-in grinder that sits alongside the portafilter, and some need to be purchased separately so take this into consideration when purchasing if you would like to grind your own beans. It’s also worth noting that fresh milk froths the best, the longer you have had the milk open, the less the milk will froth.  

Automatic Coffee Machines

Ideal for: those who love a good cup of coffee at home, but aren’t confident, or don’t have the time to grind and tamp coffee beans manually.

How they work: Automatic and semi-automatic coffee machines automatically grind and temp the coffee and filter it into the awaiting cup. They are known as “bean-to-cup” machines, and commonly have inbuilt grinders so you can put beans directly into the machine, some are dual so you can put either beans or pre-ground grinds in. An automatic machine will also heat and froth the milk for you, but some semi-automatic espresso machines come with a milk frothing wand to do it yourself. If the machine doesn’t automatically prep the milk, or come with a wand, then you will have to froth the milk yourself.

Tips: Buying a fully automatic machine will make an entire coffee for you, but if you like to take part in the process, then a machine with a milk steamer/frothing wand is an excellent choice. Its also important to get a machine that grinds the beans automatically if you don’t buy grinds or own a grinder.

Capsule Coffee Machines

Ideal For: beginner level coffee lovers who like a good tasting cup of coffee and some choices in flavour, but don't have the time or confidence to use a manual espresso coffee machine. 

How they work: the coffee is held in a pre-packaged, disposable capsule. The capsule is placed in the machine and a button is pressed, and essentially does all the work for you. When the button is pressed, the capsule is pierced, and a stream of hot water is sent through it into your coffee mug awaiting at the spout.  

Tips: You can get different types and flavours of capsules but each machine will only take a certain type. Some capsule machines also have a steam wand or milk frother which you can use to add additional creaminess to your coffee. 

Shop Filter Coffee Machines >

Filter Coffee Machines

Ideal for: beginner level coffee lovers who need bulk and cheap coffee on demand

How they Work: there is a three step process to filter coffee machines, once performed the coffee can be ready and waiting for when its needed.

Cold water is poured into the top of the machine, and warmed by a heating element. It then drips down, through a basket of coffee and into a jug below. The jug of coffee is kept warm by a hot plate. 

General Coffee Making Tips:

  • Keep your coffee beans as fresh as possible. Store them in a glass, airtight container out of direct sunlight.
  • Coffee grinds and beans are best fresh, so only buy a little, and buy frequently. Owning a coffee grinder helps you control how much you have on the go at any one time, so you can have just what you need.
  • Descale and clean your machine often to remove any germs or residue, this will also help make the coffee taste better

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