This is the 'traditional' way of making espresso and also where the user has most influence over the end result. Each step in making the espresso - setting the grind level, dosing the coffee, tamping (packing) the coffee, extraction time, and occasionally water temperature and pressure can be varied. These variables, when changed, give different, exciting results. The downside is, you have to learn the techniques of espresso. However, our experience tells us that if you want to make the very best espresso and milk drinks possible, this is the best combination for it.
Manual machines are for those who enjoy taking a little more time to make coffee, enjoy the process and 'authenticity', enjoy having a very wide range of possible coffee beans to choose from and would like to influence the final outcome as much as possible.
A bean-to-cup machine grinds the beans and brews coffee directly into your cup at the touch of a button. These are also known as 'superautomatics'. Compared to manual machines, you gain considerable ease and time in making coffee. These machines warm up more quickly too. Many machines also have automatic cleaning and descaling programs, making it easier to take care of them as well.
What you lose is a degree of the flexibility which you have with a manual machine and grinder.You can adjust many of the same variables, though generally not as much or with as much control as with a manual set up. However, the consistency of the coffee is very high, so once you have found a combination of variables that suit you (and the factory settings are satisfactory for many) you will be able to get that coffee time after time.
Since these machines also use beans you have an almost unlimited range of coffees to choose from.
These machines are fantastic for those who want high quality coffee easily, quickly and consistently, a selection of variables to work with, and almost unlimited choice of coffee beans.
Pods and capsule machines
With these machines you load a capsule and press a button. Every cup will be almost exactly the same, without fuss or worry about different variables, such as how fine to set the grind or how much coffee to use. With a range of different coffee blends for the different capsules you can also easily change from one type to another. Many pod and capsule machines boast quick warm up times as well.
However, you are limited by the different manufacturer's range and availablility of pods or capsules and the price per cup is sometimes higher than if you buy beans.
Pod machines are simple, easy to use and low maintenance but with a more limited range of coffees.
Great Coffee On A Budget
No matter how you brew your coffee, freshly ground beans will make a tremedous difference to the taste. That's why our number one tip for great budget coffee at home is a good entry-level grinder. The delightful Ceramic Slim (£31) and Skerton (£40) from Hario are great hand grinders and Dualit's Coffee Grinder (£79.95) is a brilliant electric grinder. In combination with good, simple brewing methods and high quality beans you can enjoy delicious coffee.
Bialetti stovetop espresso makers, Hario V60 pourovers, the Aeropress and the Clever Dripper all offer great value ways of getting the most out of good beans. Together with a high quality, good value grinder you can easily be brewing fantastic coffee for under £50.
Read our tips
for advice on getting the most out of traditional brewing methods.
Need more help?
You are more than welcome to contact us
or come to our shop
to discuss your needs. We will gladly help you find the machine that will make your espressos, cappuccinos, 'flat whites' and more a delightful experience.