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Your Guide to Coffee Machines

Are you purchasing a coffee machine and struggling to know the difference between them all and which one will work best for you? You need to start with what coffee you like, the quality of coffee you prefer and how many times a day you will be making them. We know that your morning coffee to get you started for the day is the most important part of your morning routine! So with our guide, you can find what is best for you. 


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There are four main types of coffee machines which include manual, automatic, capsule and filter machines. Explore below to find out the differences between the four machines so you know which one will be best for you!


Manual Coffee Machine

How they work: There are some built in functions for a manual coffee machine and some manual processes.
The built in functions are things like the water pump that heat up and is foreceful enough to filter through the compact coffee grinds in the portafilter. The temperature of water affects the way the coffee tastes, because it helps with extraction of the grinds, if it's 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 is the holder for the coffee grinds. Below are the steps for how this is used:
1. Fill the head of the portafilter with the coffee grinds, and even them out by wiping off the top layer with your finger or a flat edged object. This levels out the grinds for tampering. 
2. You will then need to tamp the coffee grinds so the portafilter head fits back into the espresso machine and can let the water filter through. Tampering should be done lightly at first and on a flat surface to get the grinds even. You will then push with more force to make the grinds compact. 
Having fresh grinds and the level of pressure in your tampering will affect the way your coffee tastes.
Most manual machines comes with a steaming wand for milk frothing, used for heating up and frothing the milk which is done in a small metal jug. Frothing milk can be an art, but the general rule is the longer you steam the milk, the thicker the froth will be. 



Automatic Coffee Machines

Ideal for: Those who love a good cup of coffee at home, but aren't confident in their cofffee making skills 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. These machines will commonly have inbuilt grinders so you can put beans directly into the machine, however some machines will be 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. 

Top Tip: 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. It is 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 which will essentially do all the work for you. When the button is presssed, the capsule is pierced, and a stream fo hot water is sent through it into your coffee mug awaiting at the spout. 

Top 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. 




Filter Coffee Machines

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

How they work: There is a 3 step process to filter coffee machines, once this is performed, the coffee can be ready and waiting for when it's needed. 
Cold water is poured into the top of the machine, this is 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. 

Top Tip: By purchasing a filter coffee machine that has a delay timer on it, you are able to wake up to freshly made coffee within the next 24 hours. This will mean you can set the timer in advance for the exact time you will be getting up in the morning and you will smell the coffee ready for you. 

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