Percolating the best: 8 Tips for choosing the perfect automatic coffee machine for your home.

Friday, 12 October, 2018

So you want to enjoy a barista-worthy cup of coffee made in your kitchen? Well, buying a quality bean-to-cup coffee machine might just be the solution for you! We caught up with Mercia de Jager from leading kitchen appliance manufacturer, Miele, who offers some insights for those in the market for a new dream-caffeine-machine.

Barista quality coffee at home.

There is a huge variation of bean-to-cup coffee machines out there – ranging in prices, with the top end models generally showcasing the most automated features and being able to produce a cuppa that a barista would be proud of.   “Bean-to-cup coffee machines provide a premium coffee experience, creating a range of espresso-based drinks at a touch of a button. These all-in-one machines use whole beans and are the ideal choice for those who love variety and quality, but also want speed and convenience. Once you have filled the coffee machine with beans, water and milk, each coffee variety will be available at a touch of a single button. Any machine worth its salt, will also allow you the freedom to customise the coffee strength, temperature and lots more – for a truly personalised experience, ” says Mercia.

Mercia provides a 8-point checklist of things that you should consider when choosing your bean-to-cup coffee machine:

1. Variety and customisation:

A bean-to-cup coffee machine should allow the user to adjust the settings to suit their unique taste preferences, says Mercia: “The Miele machines, for example, can make the following delicious coffee varieties: espresso, coffee, long coffee, cappuccino, caffe latte, and latte macchiato. They also allow you to create up to four unique profiles where you can customise the preferences for a unique coffee blend – you can adjust the pre-infusion time, temperature or volume. You can also adjust the strength of your coffee and the grind setting. In addition to the bean container, Miele’s machines also have a chute for ground coffee – which allows you to make a second type of coffee, such as decaffinated brews, for example.”

2. Quality of the brew:

The quality of the coffee that is produced by a machine is dependent on many different variables. However, Mercia notes that there are a few features that you can look for to help ensure a great result: “Be sure to look at the grinding mill, as this dictates the quality of the coffee aroma, as well as the even and precise grinding of the coffee beans. Miele, for example, fits a conical grinding unit made from high-quality, non-abrasive steel into all its coffee machines, which grinds the coffee beans in a special flavour-preserving way. The brewing component is also important – it is the ‘heart’ of automatic coffee preparation, and you should be able to remove it easily to clean it. This will ensure a hygienic brew unit, as well as consistently high coffee quality and the longevity of the machine. Also, be sure to take a look at the aromatic system – the brewing chamber of Miele coffee machines for example, expands when water flows in to allow for a more intensive aroma. The ground coffee is mixed very thoroughly with the water and the coffee aroma is efficiently dispersed.”

The of the brew should be a large factor in making your decision.  These Lattes are from the Miele CM7 free-standing coffee machine.

3. Speed and variety:

A good bean-to-cup machine should offer a variety of different hot drinks at a touch of a button, Mercia notes: “Miele has taken this convenience one step further, and not only offers the OneTouch function for a single serving, but it also offers the OneTouch for two function, which automatically makes two delicious coffee specialities at the same time by pressing just a single button. When you are entertaining many guests, the Miele coffee machines can dispense up to 8 cups of coffee one after the other into a coffee pot placed under the spout – saving you a lot of time and effort.”

4. Convenience:

Be sure that the machine you choose is able to switch-on and switch-off according to your individual needs and routines, says Mercia: “For example, your first cup of coffee can be programmed to be automatically dispensed at 7am when you wake up, and then again at 6pm, when you get home from work. To conserve energy, the machine should be able to switch off automatically when it is not being used.” She says that another lovely feature to look out for is a built-in cup warmer: “A machine with a built-in cup warmer allows you the absolute luxury of being able to enjoy the perfect cup of coffee from pre-warmed cups – it really takes the experience to another level…”

5. Hygiene matters:

Since you will no doubt be using your coffee machine several times a day, it is imperative that you choose one that is easy to clean, explains Mercia: “In order to ensure perfect results for handling and hygiene, a good quality bean-to-cup machine must have easy to use cleaning programmes, together with an automatic rinsing function, which automatically rinses any components that carry milk. This will prevent limescale and soiling before they can build up, which contributes to better quality coffee, and a longer lifespan of the machine itself.”  She says that another thing to look for are systems that let you clean them in the dishwasher: “Miele’s ComfortClean system ensures that a number of machine parts, such as the water container and waste container, can be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher.”

6. Technological innovations:

Look to see what unique special features various machines offer, advises Mercia: “It’s the small things, the special features, that can really give a machine that ‘Wow!’ factor. Miele has a number of unique innovations that take the coffee-making experience into a class of its own. For example, the CupSensor recognises the height of a cup and positions the central spout accordingly. The ideal distance not only avoids splattering, but also ensures the perfect coffee temperature and the best possible crema. Also, after the addition of milk, the central spout is moved upward by 1cm to prevent soiling. Miele’s BrilliantLight is another unique feature comprising soft LED lighting that showcases every cup and provides an ambient mood in your kitchen.”

Free-standing or integrated?  Smart technology now allows us greater choices than ever to suit our needs.

7. Green credentials:

In this day and age, it is your civil and moral duty to consider the green credentials of any product you buy – including appliances. First, look at how energy efficient a machine is – Miele’s coffee machines for example, boast an Eco mode that conserves energy by not heating up until just before the first beverage serving. Also, Mercia notes that you shouldn’t just look at the energy efficiency of an appliance, but you should look at its overall impact on the environment: “Miele’s appliances are all designed, manufactured and tested to last for a minimum of 20 years, which dramatically reduces their overall carbon footprint when compared to the majority of other appliances that only boast an average 7-year lifespan.”

8. Brand affiliations:

It must be remembered that the preparation of a perfect cup of coffee not only requires a high-quality coffee machine, but also an exquisite coffee. To this end, Miele has partnered with Nespresso and with illy coffee to bring its clients only the best coffee available. If you prefer the Nespresso capsule system and the convenient selection from 16 different varieties which are always portion fresh – Miele has the answer with its Nespresso coffee machine with a carousel that can hold up to 20 capsules. Alternatively, you can purchase world-famous illy coffee beans and ground coffee from Miele to ensure an absolutely perfect cuppa!

The Miele CM7 can brew a variety of beverages - even your favourite tea!

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