The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Coffee Machine in South Africa
How to Choose the Best Coffee Machine:
Choosing a coffee machine is all about selecting the right one for YOU - one that will fit your lifestyle, pocket, and taste. There's a perfect cup of coffee out there for everyone - you only need to do some research before you commence your shopping!
We're taking a look at the three most popular appliances in South Africa:
- Bean to cup coffee machine
- Manual coffee machine
- Pod coffee machine
Bean to Cup (Automatic) Coffee Machines
A Bean to Cup coffee machine is an all-in-one machine that integrates the grinder coffee machine and often a milk frother into one unit. This means the coffee brewing process is done entirely by the machine: from grinding and extracting or brewing the coffee to frothing the milk for your cappuccino or latté
These machines are also known as automatic or super-automatic coffee machines.
Benefits of Bean to Cup coffee machines
- Excellent Quality and Flavour
Convenience, consistency and quality are the main reasons for investing in a bean to cup coffee machine. The best coffee will always be from freshly ground beans - there's nothing better, fresher, or smoother than a cup of coffee brewed from whole beans.
Using pre-ground, sore bought coffee leaves you to make your coffee with grounds that may have lost a lot of its flavour and aroma from sitting on a store shelf for months. This will have a negative effect on the taste of your coffee.
- Ease of Use
Most bean to cup machines do all of the work for you, and most of today’s models feature LCD colour screens and one-touch operation.
- Financially Smart
These machines often have a higher upfront cost than pod machines, but a bean to cup coffee maker will save you money in the long run. You have terrific quality coffee while saving a substantial amount of money when compared with coffee made in a pod machine or bought from a coffee shop. (Coffee made with a pod machine can cost double or more than if it is made in a Bean to Cup machine.
- Environmentally Friendly
Because they eliminate the need for paper filters, plastic cups, or pods in the case of a pod coffee machine, automatic coffee makers are more environmentally friendly than pod and filter coffee machines.
Can I use ground coffee in a bean to cup coffee machine?
Most fully automatic coffee makers offer the option to use the second variety of coffee as ground coffee. In this case, we recommend using whole beans, which you only grind shortly before preparation.
Do bean to cup machines make good espresso?
The fresher the coffee, the more full-flavoured the shot is. By grinding the coffee beans, extracting the flavour and making espresso, bean-to-cup machines can make some of the tastiest at-home coffees.
Manual Espresso Coffee Machines
Most traditionalists favour manual espresso machines as the original way to brew espresso. Before brewing, these machines require a separate grinder to grind your coffee into a portafilter (coffee holder). The coffee needs to be compressed (tamped) by hand before being brewed in the machine by using a switch to start and stop the brewing.
Milk frothing is done by frothing milk in a stainless steel jug by using a steam wand fitted to the machine. (This requires a lot of practice)
Benefits of Manual Brewing
Once you know your machine and perfect your coffee-making process, this machine will give you the best-tasting espresso. That's because you control every part of the brewing process.
With a manual coffee maker, you have complete control over the process. You grind the beans, tamp the coffee, activate and terminate the brewing process and steam the milk - you do it all. It's a true barista's dream. Take note that in order to get the best cup of coffee, you need quite a bit of knowledge about the brewing process and a fair amount of skill.
For the Love of Coffee
Manual machines are for the love of the process and the desire to make the perfect cup. It's not the most convenient or simple to use, but if you're chasing the perfect cup, you know that's not what excellent coffee is about.
Are manual espresso machines worth it?
It all depends on your own needs. Manual espresso machines offer a personalised coffee-making experience; it's hands-on and places you in the driver's seat. If you feel strongly about making fantastic coffee, a manual espresso machine is entirely worth it.
Pod Coffee Machines
Pod coffee machines are for the coffee-lovers who require ease of use, speed, and convenience. You still get a reasonably good quality cup of coffee with very little fuss or mess
Benefits of Pod Coffee Machines
Convenience is the number one advantage of using coffee pods. To make coffee, you simply need to insert your coffee pod and finish a brew with the click of a button. It's efficient, convenient, and super time-effective. You do not require any skill to operate a poid machine
- Variety and Consistency
As labelled on the box, each capsule contains a unique flavour for coffee pods. This suggests that each cup you brew guarantees a remarkable taste that you know and love.
- Low upfront costs
Coffee pod machines are certainly cheaper upfront than most other coffee machines. However, the cost of pods over the long term will have you paying for the convenience.
Are coffee pods better than traditional coffee-making processes?
The coffee is certainly not of better quality, as you will never be able to replicate a freshly ground cup of coffee. However, a capsule cup of coffee is the next best thing when it comes to convenience - you still have great-tasting coffee without the hassle. You also have a wide variety of flavours and blends at your fingertips.
How do coffee pods work?
All pod machines have a similar primary function: the user loads in a coffee pod, presses a button, and the machine then pumps hot water from an in-built reservoir, through the pod, and into a cup as coffee.
Is coffee pod machines better for the environment?
Unfortunately not. Whereas other coffee-making options simply produce used grinds as waste, the casings of coffee pods often contain both plastic and aluminium, recyclable alone but an environmental nightmare when mixed together. Many manufacturers are exploring environmentally friendly and compostable options.
What is the downside of a pod machine vs a Bean to Cup machine or manual machine?
- Pods are very expensive – the cost per kg of coffee can be as much as five times that of coffee beans
- The most popular pods contain only 5g of coffee. To brew a normal 250ml cup of coffee, you ideally need 10-20g of coffee. These pods are made for small European style cups(120-150ml)
- You have no control over the brewing process.
- Although pods are generally airtight, the coffee loses flavour over time.
So, what is the best coffee machine to buy?
As you may have gathered from this article, it's all about your own needs and your budget. Each coffee machine fulfils a different purpose and may or may not suit you and your lifestyle for various reasons. We recommend buying a Bean to Cup machine if you are looking for great coffee without the hassle and skill required to operate a manual machine. We recommend manual machines for the enthusiast that is looking for the best cup of coffee possible and do not mind the effort required.
Since purchasing a coffee machine is a big decision and an even more considerable investment, make sure you do your research. It's also a great idea to discuss your needs with a professional.
Give us a call or visit us in-store if you're still unsure which coffee machine to get. But if you've made your choice - you can start shopping right now!
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