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Nine counter-worthy home-brew machines that do java justice
This classic espresso maker just needs water, coffee and a stovetop
Whether you’re a soy-latte devotee or a simple double-double type, sip your morning coffee at home and forget balancing an un-eco disposable cup streetside or perched at a crowded café.
It’s easy with state-of-the-art machinery and options for the range of coffee lovers, from neophyte to connoisseur. So forgo that queue and find your inner barista.
Low-tech equals high flavour with these deceivingly uncomplicated coffee makers. And easy on the pocketbook. Plus, these devices are portable. There’s no need to plug in – from campsite to hotel room.
If you’re not into fuss or muss, stick to this tried-and-true coffee-making territory.
Handpresso Wild Domepod, $145.00; Espresso Coffee Machines Co. (ECM)
Forget automatic. This lightweight, mobile espresso machine is fully manual, and it’s the world’s smallest.
The award-winning Danish design was inspired by the versatility of the Swiss army knife and this Leonardo da Vinci quote: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Bialetti Moka Express 3-cup Stovetop Coffee Maker, $29.99; Sears
This macchinetta (“small machine”) was first patented in 1933 by Alfonso Bialetti. His Italian company still makes the same Moka Express model today.
The classic aluminum espresso maker just needs water, ground coffee and a stovetop for traditional at-home Italian brew.
Bodum Bean French Press, $39.00; Cookworks
French simplicity: a beaker, lid and plunger. C’est tout! The quintessential model is Bodum’s minimalist borosilicate glass design, now encased in a bevy of bright colours (from green to purple) to brighten your morning as you sip. And it’s spill-proof for those only half awake!
If you’re into plenty of power at your fingertips, today’s coffee landscape is laden with options. The push of a few buttons brings home a rich brew, whether you’re a double-double drip diva or on the cusp of barista-hood and want to practice the flourish of measuring, tamping and timing your espresso shots.
If espresso is your go-to coffee, choose a pump-driven machine, which forces highly pressurized water (ideally 10-plus bars of pressure) through the coffee grounds to extract that essential espresso essence (versus cheaper steam-driven machines’ low-pressure and too-hot extraction process).
Breville Programmable Espresso Maker with Integrated Burr Grinder; $699.99, Williams-Sonoma
If a pod or capsule seems a bit too easy, well, things just got even easier. Household automatic coffee machines feature espresso, cappuccino and frother settings on one central control panel for quick-use functionality. Grind, brew and froth without a second thought. Or, if you feel like putting some mano into your coffee, switch to the manual settings.
Cuisinart Grind & Brew Thermal™ 10-Cup Automatic Coffeemaker, $169.99 to $209.99; The Bay
Drip coffee has definitely been raised a few notches. This machine grinds your pick of beans before brewing for java that will rival line-worthy, honey-glazed-accompanying favourites. Automatic, with a 10-cup thermal carafe, this stainless steel coffee maker is perfect for hassle-free pouring for the big-family or dinner-party set. Second cup, please!
Illy Francis Francis X7 iperEspresso Machine, $495.00, Ottavio Italian Bakery & Delicatessen
Coffee pod machines came into play in the Italian workplace, where people wanted quick and mess-free espresso at the office. The E.S.E. (Easy Serving Espresso) pod system was created by illustrious Italian coffee company, Illy. Now Illy has made things even easier with iperEspresso capsules: each produces the velvety crema-topped espresso of a pro, yet it’s fool-proof with a pre-measured
and-packed serving of ground coffee in the one-touch architect-designed Francis Francis machine. Pronto and presto!
The latest breed of espresso machines are the “superautomatics” that take care of the coffee-making process from bean to cup – in a single bound and at lightning speed!
They may have a bigger ego and require primo real estate on your countertop (unless you have the means to go with a built-in version), but these machines are a sleek addition to the kitchen. Your inner barista is now out.
Miele CVA4062ss Whole Bean Coffee System, $3,999.00; Coast Wholesale Appliances
Get integrated with a mini coffee bar in your kitchen. This built-in coffee system makes it all, from espressos to regular coffee, cappuccinos to macchiatos. Why stand in line for a cup of joe with this sleek form and functionality at home?
Elektra Micro Casa A Leva Chrome & Brass Espresso Machine, $1,622.95; Caffe Tech Canada
This lever machine is another kind of supreme machine – one that puts the power back in your hands. One of the four Ms of traditional Italian espresso-making, mano is the “hand” of the barista, who pulls a lever to pressurize and push hot water through the coffee grinds.
It’s old school, and sure to delight coffee geeks. So eschew the push button and feel like you’re rolling up your sleeves as you “pull” a shot with the hand lever.
This chrome-and-brass retro-styled machine (with Bakelite handles!) makes you a maestro with minimal effort – all you do is pull the spring-and-piston-operated lever down and release. Caffè eccellente!
Saeco Syntia, $1,349.95;
Caffeine-estas with little time but big coffee demands take notice. This swish stainless steel machine has a compact footprint that won’t clog your countertop, a ceramic grinder that’s more whisper than buzz, an adapting function that perfects crema-rich espresso, and a bypass function that lets you be a little rebellious and spontaneous with your beans (like switching to decaf when you need your beauty sleep).
Once you’ve got your coffee maker all set up, then make sure you pick up all the essential coffee maker accessories for the perfect home brew.
Additional research by Inés de Sequera, Kate Lerman, Amy Soden
Originally published in BC Home magazine. For monthly updates, subscribe to the free BC Home e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the bi-monthly magazine.