If you’re a coffee drinker and looking to expand your horizons a coffee machine is a must-have appliance. A coffee machine allows you to brew delicious cups of your favourite grounds quickly and easily. If you’ve already invested in your own machine but aren’t 100% sure how to make the most of it, or if you’ve noticed that your machine isn’t working as well as it should be, this guide will help.
We’re going to look at how your coffee machine works, what model is the best choice for you, and how to fix your coffee machine should it break. Unfortunately we can’t tell you the best coffee machine to buy since that’s determined by what you need. What we can give you is the information you need to choose a coffee machine that works well for you.
How Does a Coffee Machine Work?
Let’s start with how a coffee machine works. The majority of home coffee machines are drip brewers. This is how you use them:
- Place the filter within your machine.
- Add your coffee grounds.
- Place water into the machine’s reservoir.
- Begin the brewing process.
Once you’ve done your part, this is what the machine does to your grounds:
- The water within the reservoir travels into the aluminium tube in the heating element.
- The heating element within the appliance will heat the aluminium tube, boiling the water.
- The boiling water produces bubbles which travel into a second tube, taking some water with them.
- This boiling water makes its way to a drip area.
- The water drips onto your grounds and covers them evenly, releasing the tastes and aromas within.
- The coffee drips into your pot, ready to drink.
Coffee Machine Designs
There are two common types of coffee machines: freestanding and built-in.
The freestanding model is exactly that; it stands ‘freely’ on your worktop. This is a great option for casual coffee lovers, as the machine can be unplugged and stored when not in use.
Freestanding coffee machines are available in a huge range of designs, with models available in black, cream, red, blue, and many more.
Again, these are exactly what the name says – they’re built directly into your kitchen. They’re ideal if you have limited or no counter space, or you’re looking to complement a modern kitchen with a discreet built-in coffee machine.
The perks of built-in coffee machines include:
- The ability to control via phone or tablet.
- Memory function for personalised beverages (a great time saver!)
- Large space for making multiple cups simultaneously.
- Programmable grinder for a personalised grind.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of the perks found in built-in models, but these are the big ones.
As this model is integrated, measuring up is critical. It’s also important to consider your budget, simply because integrated coffee machines tend to come with a higher price tag than freestanding machines.
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Domestic v Commercial Coffee Machines
Another important factor to consider when deciding whether to opt for a freestanding or built-in coffee machine is whether it’s intended for domestic or commercial use. We will break this down further to explain which model works best for each situation:
Built-in machines are ideal for coffee shops since they allow you to brew multiple cups in one go. However, if you’re a small shop, or somewhere without the space to integrate a coffee machine, then you will have to opt for a freestanding model. This isn’t an issue, but you may need to invest in more than one machine.
Freestanding machines are the most common coffee machines for office use. They don’t take up a large amount of space so they’re ideal for smaller office kitchens.
If you’re operating a large restaurant with a high demand for coffee, then a built-in model may be ideal, but you must be sure the demand will remain as it is a permanent fixture. However, if you’re a smaller business, or do not have this demand for coffee, then one or two freestanding models may be the preferred choice of coffee machine for your restaurant.
We touched on this aspect in our previous section, but let’s break it down a bit further. Freestanding coffee machines are best if:
- You have ample counter space.
- You don’t regularly drink coffee.
- You only brew one cup at a time.
Built-in coffee machines are best if:
- You often need to brew multiple cups simultaneously.
- You have sufficient space in a built-in kitchen.
- You are a regular coffee drinker.
Let the above points be a guideline when choosing the best coffee machine for your home.