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Does an expensive coffee machine mean better coffee?



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A quick look at coffee machines shows you what an incredible amount of variety there is on the market, and that includes pricing.

If you want a new coffee machine, you could spend anywhere from £50 all the way up to £10,000 or even more. Some people get really fanatical about coffee. However, does more expensive always mean better?

We have so many options these days, from a small and compact Nespresso coffee machine for the home or for the office, through to the sort of models you might see at your local coffee shop.

Nespresso coffee machine. Photo: coffeefriend.co.uk
Nespresso coffee machine. Photo: coffeefriend.co.uk

In this guide, we’re looking into some of the interesting elements of coffee machines, and how much you need to spend to get something that is decent. Is it true that spending more on an expensive coffee machine will result in better coffee?

The short answer is “no”. An expensive coffee machine gives you no guarantees of a delicious cup of coffee. However, not all coffee machines are created equal, and there is no doubt that people with more of a budget can buy a brilliant setup.

Why an expensive machine isn’t a guarantee

Learning how to make a great cup of coffee is a bit like taking up photography as a hobby. We all know people who have got an amazing camera, that they spent a load of money on, but they aren’t that good at using it.

The truth is that some of the most expensive machines on the market are really made with baristas in mind, and if you don’t have the training to properly use the machine then you won’t get the most out of it.

Also, coffee machines may be expensive for a variety of reasons. For instance:

  • A brand new model. A bit like a television, when a coffee machine is first released there is usually some hype around it and the price may be higher.
  • It may have fancy features like a visual interface, Bluetooth, and more. These are all great for convenience but they have little to nothing to do with the taste. You might be able to tell your coffee machine to start brewing at a certain time, but that doesn’t mean the coffee is going to taste better. It may, however, bump up the price.
  • It might be big. By “big” we mean the potential to make a lot of beverages at once, like the professional espresso coffee machines you will see if you go into a coffee shop.

So, not all of the reasons for a coffee machine being expensive are related to the taste of the coffee.

That said, it would not be fair to suggest that there is no correlation between the taste of the coffee you end up with and the price you are paying for your machine.

Coffee machine. Photo: coffeefriend.co.uk
Coffee machine. Photo: coffeefriend.co.uk

Coffee features not to scrimp on

There are plenty of reasons why you should consider spending a little more on your coffee machine.

You don’t have to spend a fortune, but make sure that you are getting the best possible for your money, whether you go down the capsule or pod route of a Nespresso coffee machine or you want a full espresso or bean to cup coffee machine.

For the best possible coffee, invest a little more in:

  • A good grinder. Without properly, freshly ground coffee that is suited to the brewing process you are using, it is unlikely that you will end up extracting all of the flavour of your beans.
  • Great beans. Okay, it doesn’t have anything to do with the coffee machine, but it is a relevant point. If you don’t have good coffee beans, you could be brewing on the most expensive machine in the world and it would still taste horrible.
  • The brewing method that suits your preferred drink. Everyone’s idea of the “best” coffee is slightly different. What is undeniable is that you should make sure you have a coffee machine that suits the sort of drink you want. If you enjoy a filter coffee, you are in luck, as these coffee makers are pretty affordable, but if you want barista-style drinks like latte and macchiatos, it is worth spending a little bit more on the machine.

There is some equipment out there that offers incredible value. You can find a setup that makes a great espresso or filter coffee without spending too much. With a lot of competing brands on the market, the budget models seem to be getting better, too.

Conclusion

Buying a coffee machine is a little bit like buying a car. You don’t have to get the most expensive in order to get from point A to point B, but you do want something that is reliable and does the job.

Similarly, if you don’t know how to use it, you aren’t going to get far. A good coffee machine is just a tool, it is down to you to get the most out of it.



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