We answer the five most common questions
Coffee makers can prepare not only Americano but also lattes, espresso, and even Turkish coffee. It is advisable to not only understand the features of this technique before buying but also take into account your preferences. We tell you what coffee makers are, who they are suitable for, and give answers to the five most common questions.
How does a coffee machine differ from a coffee machine?
Any coffee machine is designed for fully automatic coffee preparation: the user does not even need to measure a certain number of grains or ground coffee, the device does it itself. Coffee machines (except capsule) are equipped with built-in coffee grinders, coffee makers with built-in coffee grinders are rare. The coffee machine is controlled by a microprocessor that has many settings and programs: coffee to brew (espresso, Americano, ristretto, latte, cappuccino, etc.) and how much? The temperature and strength of the drink are programmed and often selected with a single touch. In addition, modern coffee machines provide self-diagnosis of malfunctions and automatic cleaning, and more often-remote control via Wi-Fi and personal user settings (remembering favorite recipes).
In coffee makers, most settings need to be done manually. However, many coffee lovers prefer this preparation, because it gives breadth for creativity. In addition, coffee makers are not universal and are usually “sharpened” for different types of coffee.
What are the types of coffee makers and how do they differ?
Electric coffee makers can be carob, drip, and geyser. In addition, electric Turks and coffee pots can also be attributed to coffee makers.
To prepare espresso and coffee drinks based on it (latte, Americano, cappuccino, etc.), you need a carob coffee maker — it is also an espresso coffee maker. The principle of its operation is as follows: ground coffee is poured into a metal filter, which is inserted into the horn holder, under which there is a Cup. Hot water passes through a filter with ground coffee under a pressure of at least 15 bar, and the output is a fragrant drink with a characteristic espresso foam — “cream”, a high degree of extraction of aromatic compounds. However, it is not as strong as people think: the amount of caffeine in a Cup of the espresso is always less than in the same amount of Turkish coffee. Remember: the longer the time of contact of the coffee powder with water, the more caffeine it passes, and espresso is a fairly short time. Depending on the model, carob coffee makers often provide for the preparation of milk foam using a special device-a cappuccino machine. The advantages of the espresso machine are obvious: it brews real Italian coffee using classic technology, and this drink can be the basis for any experiments. Minus-needs periodic descaling.
Geyser coffee makers or mocha are also suitable for making espresso: they can be electric or non-electric — for making coffee on the stove. The principle of operation of the geyser coffee maker is reflected in the name. The device consists of an upper and lower chamber connected by a tube. Water is poured into the lower part, and ground coffee is poured into a special chamber that is located between the upper and lower parts. When boiling, the water rises, under pressure passes through the coffee powder and as a geyser through a special spout enters the upper bowl. Geyser coffee makers are very popular in Italy and are there in every kitchen. Their advantage is cheapness and compactness: you can take your favorite coffee maker (non-electric) with you when traveling. A disadvantage is a limited number of servings (1-6 cups, the volume of the “Cup” is 35-50 ml). By the way, there is another advantage: in geyser coffee makers, you do not need to make sure that the coffee does not run away: you will not pour more water into the lower Cup than fits in the upper one.
Drip coffee makers are designed only for making Americano coffee. In carob coffee makers, it is also prepared by adding a portion of hot water to the espresso. The drip coffee maker does otherwise. Water is poured into the tank, ground coffee is poured into a special cone-shaped filter. When heated, the water is converted into steam, and it, in turn, — in drops with a temperature of about 90 °C. They pass through the ground coffee in the filter, and the resulting drink gets into the flask-jug. The advantage of drip coffee makers is the ease of use, a large number of drinks “at the exit”, keeping the coffee hot for a long time, and availability. Among the disadvantages is the need to buy paper filters for coffee or buy several reusable ones, but they will need to be washed. In addition, the taste and consistency of Americano do not suit everyone, and for making cappuccino, you need to purchase a separate cappuccino maker or milk frother.
Electric Turks (pots) work just like ordinary Turks of the plate, just the method of heating is electric. In fact, these devices are necessary not at home, but in the office — where there is no stove, but you want coffee in an Oriental way. The process of making coffee in an electric Turk should be monitored: stir and turn off in time, otherwise, it will be “coffee escaped-under Propellerheads, Ah!”. There are models with a shutdown timer — they make it easier to keep track of coffee. An alternative is electric coffee pots: they have switched off automatically, have a large volume (1.6 l) and a heating function. The advantages are simplicity and accessibility, and the disadvantages are the coffee residue at the bottom of the Cup, coffee pot, and Cup.
Capsule coffee makers are essentially no different from capsule coffee machines: the only question is what the manufacturer calls them. These devices make drinks from ready-made capsules, and with all the advantages, ease of use and care, and full automation of the process, they have one big disadvantage: the user is “tied” to one capsule manufacturer, and the cost of a Cup of coffee prepared in these devices is quite high.
How to choose a horn coffee maker?
There are several important parameters:
- Pressure not less than 15 bar.
- Adjust the temperature, strength, size of the drink portion, as well as the ability to prepare two servings of coffee at once.
- The presence of the coffee interruption function (suddenly you made a mistake with the settings, forgot to pour coffee into the filter, etc.).
- The possibility of making coffee in cups (special compressed ready-made portions of ground coffee).
Built-in coffee grinder (rarely, but sometimes).
- Type of control. It can be mechanical, electronic, or touch-sensitive. It also doesn’t hurt to have a display that displays the operating parameters. Note that electronic control provides high accuracy and flexibility of settings, as well as a wide range of functions.
- The volume of the water tank: up to 1 liter — not suitable for a large family: you will need to add water often, but there are carob coffee makers with a tank from 1 to 1.9 liters or even more than 2 liters.
- It does not hurt to be able to prepare milk foam — it can be provided with an automatic, semi-automatic or manual cappuccino machine. Note that the automatic cappuccino machine is easier to use and gives more stable results.
- The maximum height of the Cup used is the distance from the tray to the bottom of the coffee horn. If you want to use tall latte glasses, not every coffee maker will do.
- Cup heating function (top heating platform). It is considered correct to pour the drink into a heated cup.
How to choose a drip coffee maker?
You need to pay attention to:
- Power: the higher it is, the faster the coffee is prepared and the stronger it will be. The normal power is considered to be from 600 W for compact models and from 700 W for coffee makers with a large water tank (from 1.1 l).
- The volume of the water tank and coffee jug: count on enough for the whole family: there are compact models with a tank up to 1 liter, there are-designed for more coffee consumption, with a tank from 1.1 to 1.9 liters.
- The presence of a reusable nylon filter for coffee in the kit: this helps to do without consumables — paper disposable ones. However, for most models, you can buy a reusable filter, even if it is not in the basic configuration, but this question should be clarified.
- Coffee jug material: glass (optimal) or high-quality heat-resistant plastic certified for contact with hot water.
Time to heat the coffee jug. For the home, the optimal time is 30-40 minutes, for the office-up to several hours. In advanced models, the heating time is configurable.
- Mechanical, electronic or touch control, as well as the presence of a display that displays the operating parameters. Also, a built-in coffee grinder will not hurt.
- Ability to set the number of cups per cooking.
- Drop-stop system that covers “dripping” if the coffee jug is removed from the stand.
- Water filter in the tank: if there is one, there must be a way to alert you when it needs to be replaced — for example, a contamination indicator or a mechanical setting of the cartridge change date.
- The presence of an indication of switching on and heating.
If the coffee turns out to be tasteless…
Everyone who has failed asks the question: is the coffee machine so bad, or am I doing something wrong? Of course, it happens in different ways. Consider the most common cases:
There is no foam-cream on espresso. The coffee maker may not provide the desired pressure, or the coffee selected is not suitable for espresso grinding. Usually, there is a mark on the pack for which type of coffee machine the coffee is suitable for. If you grind coffee beans yourself, please note that “in the dust” is for Turks, and with large inclusions-it is permissible only for a drip coffee maker. For carob and geyser — only small enough (but not “in flour”), uniform grinding and appropriate roasting: dark, “Italian”, starting from the fourth degree.
Milk foam is not obtained. The tube and nozzle of the automatic cappuccino machine could become clogged — then you need to carefully clean them. Milk should be taken chilled. Its fat content is not as important as the protein content — not less than 3.5% per liter. Too fat milk, cream, and diet milk will not make foam.
The coffee is tasteless, although I bought an expensive product. The coffee variety plays a big role. Arabica — coffee with a sour taste, Robusta coffee is bitter. Very few people like very sour or very bitter coffee. The optimal blend contains most of the Arabica and is balanced with a small portion of Robusta. Roasting is 4-5 different degrees — from light to almost black. For espresso coffee makers and geysers, only the fourth and fifth degrees are suitable, for Turks — starting from the third. The lightest roasts – for an Amateur, this coffee has an earthy taste. In addition, you may need to filter the water or use bottled water: often poorly purified tap water spoils the coffee.