If you’re a coffee fan, then you’ll no doubt have a favourite drink; you might be a latte lover or a fan of flat whites, or you might prefer a simple black coffee to pick you up in the morning. Even if you consider yourself an aficionado, do you know about the various types of coffee machines on the market today? For those looking to buy their first coffee machine, or for people looking to upgrade, Nu Vending’s guide to the different types of coffee machines is here to help.
Often favoured by coffee purists – those who want the full experience of their favourite high street coffee shop, or those who want to recreate that one café in Milan they went to in 2013, espresso machines require the user to take control of each step of the coffee making process. Espresso machines have a huge price range – you can pick up a fairly basic one from Argos for around £60, or you can go big and spend thousands of pounds on the most sophisticated models.
Of course, the more expensive machines have more features. For example, a cheaper one won’t have a built-in grinder, so you’d have to buy pre-ground coffee, or buy a separate bean grinder if you want the full experience. Some people also find espresso machines rather labour-intensive – filling the coffee basket, tamping the grounds and pouring a shot of espresso, as well as foaming the milk requires a bit of learning. However, it can be a very rewarding experience to make a coffee this way and learn the techniques required to make different types of drinks.
Verdict: If you’re keen to make high quality espresso and you don’t mind some learning and some trial and error, then espresso machines are wonderful things!
Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machines
Bean-to-cup machines are very similar to espresso machines in that they make various hot drinks from lattes to macchiatos and mochas, but they have a built-in bean grinder which grinds a fresh dose of beans every time a new drink is needed. These are found in homes and workplaces around the world, favoured because they allow people to enjoy fine coffee without having to buy pre-ground varieties. Plus, the more recently the beans have been ground, the fresher and more flavoursome the coffee is!
Bean-to-cup machines can be expensive; you can find some quality models for around £300, but that’s the lower end of the price range – the top-end ones can set you back as much as £2,000. They also tend to be quite large – if you have a smaller kitchen space, you may find a bean-to-cup machine difficult to accommodate.
Verdict: If you’re really serious about coffee, you value freshness above everything else and you don’t mind spending a bit more cash, then consider bean-to-cup.
Coffee Pod Machines
The coffee pod machine market is dominated by Nespresso, but these machines are popular for good reason. These machines provide a nice balance of tasty coffee and absolute convenience – if you only have 15 minutes in the morning, you can simply put a pod in the machine, turn it on and your chosen beverage will be ready for you in a minute or two. Some machines require one coffee pod and one milk pod, but even this is a very quick, efficient process.
Some potential downsides of pod coffee machines are that the coffee itself isn’t going to be fresh – each pod has been sealed for a significant period of time to ensure it’s still tasty, but if you want the freshest of cups, you’ll be disappointed. Also, it can be expensive to keep purchasing pods, but there is a lot of variety to cater for every taste.
Verdict: If you want efficiency and taste, then look no further than a pod coffee machine!
Simple, classy and affordable, the French press is iconic. It’s not a machine – it’s entirely manual, but it’s incredibly easy to use and very cheap. The press is filled with boiling water, and the coffee grounds are placed in a basket at the top, before being plunged down to the bottom to allow the water to absorb the flavour of the coffee. The French press will hold two or three cups of coffee, so it’s ideal if you have a guest or two, or you just really like coffee.
Potential drawbacks of the French press include the lack of drink choice – you can only really make black or white coffees. As the coffee is not in espresso form, it won’t lend itself well to steamed or foamed milk, so even if you have a separate milk frother, it won’t be of much use.
Verdict: If you’re a fan of simple black or white coffees and you want straightforward, low-cost apparatus, you can’t go wrong with a French press.
An Aeropress is operationally similar to a French press, but overall it offers different qualities. Firstly, it’s designed to make more espresso-like coffee – thicker and smoother than the coffee created in a French press. Secondly, its sleek design means it can be easily packed into a suitcase or holdall if you want to make your own coffee on your travels. It works in a similar way to a French press – you load it with your coffee grounds and hot water, and you push down until the water has absorbed the oils of the coffee, pushing the water into your chosen mug – then you’re ready to go.
Unfortunately, a full Aeropress is only good for a single cup of coffee, so if you want to make more you’ll have to refill it and go through the process again. However, they’re affordably priced – you can pick one up for around £30, so it’s ideal for a cheap, reliable coffee making experience.
Verdict: If you want a sleeker design, simple operation and a smaller price tag, the Aeropress is for you.
Nu Vending are proud to be a leading provider of office coffee machines for customers across London and beyond. We stock the latest and best coffee machines from the world’s leading manufacturers, ensuring your staff, customers and guests can enjoy delicious hot drinks whenever they like. For more information about our coffee machine supply, or vending services, simply contact us today.