Consumer group Choice has enlisted the experts to help you brew coffee with confidence by choosing a coffee machine that’s right for you.
With takeaway coffee now costing about $5 a cup — 2 a day and you have a $50 weekly habit — Choice tester Adrian Lini said a number of factors and personal preferences come into play if you’re going to spend hundreds of dollars on a machine — in addition to the running costs of the coffee.
“You have to choose something that you know how to operate and that you enjoy using every day. If you don’t, you may end up with a bitter taste in your mouth,” he said.
“Whether you want a machine that’s quick and easy to use, or one that lets you master and control your brew, our advice will help you find the machine that’s perfect for you.”
Pod machine: fast convenience
According to Lini, Pod machines are quick and easy to use, making them perfect for busy households. You don’t have to worry about frothing milk or grinding beans, just insert a pod into the capsule and press a button
“A standard pod machine is only $70, so buying one won’t set you back in exchange for the convenience. The disadvantage is that you lose all control over the coffee you brew. Pods are also much more expensive than beans,” says Lini.
Consider an automatic machine if you’re short on time but have a lot of taste. Just like coffee pod machines, you can make a cup for yourself at the touch of a button, but instead you make coffee with freshly ground beans.
“Unfortunately, vending machines are not cheap. The cheapest and lowest scoring machine we tested is $569, and the most expensive is $4199. They also require regular maintenance, such as emptying the coffee grounds and drip tray, filling the water tank and descaling the machine.” , says Lini.
Semi-automatic machine: Easy, tasty coffee
According to the Choice expert tester, semi-automatic machines combine the controls of a manual machine with some of the convenience of an automatic machine, giving you cafe-quality coffee faster.
“These machines automate some of the steps of a manual machine, such as grinding or extracting, while still giving you control over how your coffee is brewed. This will probably give you a better tasting coffee than a coffee pod machine,” said Lini.
Manual machine: full control
If you’re serious about coffee, a manual machine is for you. If you invest the time it takes to perfect your technique, a manual machine will give you the best tasting coffee of all machines.
“You have complete control and can make café-quality coffee for a fraction of the price,” says Lini.
“Manually operated coffee machines are very labour-intensive and leave much more room for error than in machines with some form of automation. If you are unsure of your coffee making abilities, this is probably not the right choice for you.”
View reviews of Choice coffee machines here.