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The Gaggia Brera is a popular entry to mid range bean to cup Espresso machine, but given that you’ve found this post by searching for “Gaggia Brera Review” or something close, you probably already know that, and you’re more than likely just trying to figure out if the Gaggia Brera is the right bean to cup coffee machine for you.

If so – keep reading, I’m going to share with you what I believe are the most important 4 things that anyone wondering if the Gaggia Brera is the right espresso machine for them, needs to know.

This isn’t the standard espresso machine review, and it’s not a user review along the lines of the other Espresso machine reviews I’ve done in the past such as my Sage Oracle review, and my De’Longi Esam 4200 review.

I will do a user review of the Gaggia Brera at some point, though. with this post I’m just wanting to share with you what I think are the most important points about this bean to cup machine which makes it stand out from the others at a similar price range, and some other important things I think you should know.

1: The Gaggia Brera has has some very cool features that aren’t common among machines at a similar price range.

Gaggia Brera is Also Available in Black.

To start with the more standard features, the Brera has a thermoblock boiler, a bean hopper which will take 250g (so, a full bag, which is slightly larger than the De’Longhi Esam 4200, which has a 200g capacity), removable water tank isn’t a bad size at 1.2l (same as the 4200 and the Melitta Solo), OK not the biggest, some of the more expensive machines have 1.8 or 2L tanks, but the tank is very easy to access, from the front, so not a big deal.

But then the Brera has some other features that aren’t common among entry level bean to cup coffee machines. 

Ceramic burrs.

The first is that the Brera has ceramic burrs, as with all of the Gaggia bean to cup machines including the Accademia & the Babila One Touch. Most bean to cup machines have stainless steel burrs, and Gaggia state that they go for Ceramic because they don’t lead to the coffee beans being heated when grinding. 

Steam wand doubles as hot water tap

The second feature that makes the Brera stand out among similar priced machines, is that the steam wand doubles as a hot water tap, for Americano & long black. There are a few bean to cup machines which have this feature, but it’s not a given among the entry level machines. 

Removable brew unit

This is a really cool thing, and it’s something that all the Gaggia bean to cup machines have. What this means is that you can simply remove the entire brew unit, in one go, to clean it by simply rinsing it under the tap, and/or for service or repair. This is a really clever function, makes it much easier to keep your brew unit properly clean. 

Simple, smart controls. 

The controls on the Brera seem to me to be really well thought out, leading to a really simple operation, for such a well priced machine.

There are just three strength settings, which I think is a good thing, there are just four buttons, and one water dial for hot water and steam, I think compared to some of the other bean to cup machines at this kind of price point, they’ve done a really good job in this regard – keeping it simple and quite pretty to look at, as opposed to some bean to cup machines which look like they may require a physics degree to operate! 

Fast Steam

Another good feature of the Brera, is that it has the fast steam feature, which means that you don’t need to wait long at all between pulling a shot and steaming milk. The steam seems quite powerful for a bean to cup machine with a thermoblock boiler, too. If you read through the Amazon reviews, and watch the many YouTube videos, one of the common comments you’ll read or hear, is that the milk steaming is quick for a bean to cup machine with a panarello wand. 

Filtered Water

Finally, among the special features of the Brera – there’s fit a water filter you can get and fit to the Brera if you like, which is a feature which the more expensive machines tend to have.

Like I said, some great features for such a well priced bean to cup machine.

2: This is a mid range machine you can buy at an entry level price!

The entry level for bean to cup espresso machines is around the £300-£400 mark, and other machines at this same price point include the popular De’Longhi Esam 4200, and the Gaggia Naviglio

The RRP for the Brera is £569, but it’s been out for quite a while now, the price has come down – and you can get it on Amazon usually for around £460 – click here to check the current price. But, when it comes to Gaggia machines, you can actually get it quite a bit cheaper directly from Gaggia UK, in fact at the time of writing it’s just £369! I think this is a lot of machine for this price.

This also means you’re buying from the UK official distributor for Gaggia coffee machines, which means you’ll have no problem when it comes to any warranty issues, since Gaggia Direct are the guys who provide the UK warranty.

By the way – if you’re buying a Gaggia machine before the 30th of April 2018, use the discount code  CBLGQ219 at Gaggiadirect.com, this voucher code has been provided for coffeeblog.co.uk readers by Gaggia Direct. 

3: It’s an Auto, not a Super Auto Bean to Cup machine

Some websites, in particular US websites such as Whole Latte Love, call the Brera a Super Automatic bean to cup machine. I’m not sure why, I’m assuming that there’s a difference across the pond when it comes to the classification of the types of bean to cup coffee machines. 

As far as I’m concerned, “automatic” bean to cup machines are  bean to cup machines with a manual steam wand – and “Super Automatic” or “one touch” machines are bean to cup machines which do the whole thing for you including milk texturing. If you don’t want to texture your own milk, and you literally want the machine to do everything for you, then you’ll need a one touch super automatic such as the Accademia or the Babila.

4: It’s good for the environment

This isn’t particular to the Brera, it’s true of all espresso machines, both traditional and bean to cup, and that is that in terms of environmental friendliness, this machine is far better than Capsule/pod or disk coffee machines. See 6 Things Coffee Lovers Need to Know About Nespresso.

I think most people will at least feel better about their buying decisions if they know they’re making the best choice for the environment in the long term, as well as for them in the short term, in terms of cost and convenience – even if their buying decision isn’t directly impacted by how environmentally friendly it is.

The fact is that espresso machines don’t require plastic, or aluminium, in order to deliver coffee, and they don’t lead to the landfill of the same. The only waste from bean to cup coffee machines, and traditional espresso machines, is coffee grounds, which are compostable of course.

Plastic coffee disks and pods are fairly bad for the environment, given the carbon footprint of producing the plastic, and then dealing with the plastic not long after in recycling or landfill.

A plastic coffee pod or disk can’t be recycled in general household recycling if it’s shoved in there still containing coffee grounds, and most people don’t go to the trouble of separating the coffee grounds from the plastic. Even if it is emptied and recycled, recycling plastic isn’t free of carbon footprint either. 

In other words, recycling plastic for coffee pods may have a smaller carbon footprint than creating new plastic to make the pod/disk, but it won’t have a smaller carbon footprint than not requiring a plastic pod or disk in the first place.

Pods which mix aluminium and plastic, such as genuine Nespresso pods, can’t be recycled at standard recycling plants.  At the time of writing the genuine Nespresso pods (and some other single cup coffee pods/capsules) are plastic lined aluminium, meaning they can only be recycled by specific types of recycling plants, so you need to get them to a Nespresso recycling collection point, not just put them in your domestic recycling bin.

So, many coffee capsules end up in landfill, but this isn’t the only reason that Nespresso pods (and other aluminium coffee pods) are bad for the environment.

Aluminium requires a mineral called Bauxite, which is mined in tropical and sub-tropical regions. So the increased need for aluminium, for single use coffee pods, has caused an increase in Bauxite mining, which has in tern meant further destruction of the rain forests.

Not only are huge areas of rain forest cleared for the mines, but they also need to create dams in order to create power for smelting plants, which means even more destruction.  This isn’t only about wildlife, although of course wiping out rainforest also means wiping out natural habitat, it also means indigenous people being forced off the land they’ve lived on for generations. 

So anything that uses aluminium and plastic together, is a double whammy for the environment, both when it’s being made, and when it’s finished with – so that’s really not good. 

So there we go, the four things I think you should know if you’re considering buying a Gaggia Brera bean to cup coffee machine. I’ll update this post to a link to my full “week with” Gaggia Brera review when I’ve done it.

Life is like a box of chocolates, so follow me on Twitter, and that’s all I have to say about that.

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This is a guest post from career development specialist Cathy Baylis, about using the web to promote your coffee shop. While I do realize that most readers don’t own coffee shops, I know some readers either do run a cafe already, or are considering the idea, so hopefully some will find Cathy’s post of interest.

Nowadays, offering a top-notch quality coffee, priding of various flavours and aromas, or delivering the best possible service simply isn’t enough. If nobody knows about all the perks your coffee shop has to offer, then your business is doomed to failure.

However, investing in your marketing efforts can help you increase your visibility and reach more potential customers. 

Keep on reading to discover practical and proven marketing strategies that you can implement right away and bring your business to another level.

1. Create interactive content

Interactive content is an excellent way to engage your audience and offer them something more than regular blog articles and social media posts. Besides, offering various options to consume your content gives you a chance to reach more people and make them come back for more.

Therefore, make sure you use quizzes, polls, and assessments to entertain your followers and interact with them. For instance, you can create a quiz with some useful tools where your customers may discover what type of coffee lover they are. Also, you can create a poll to ask your followers something about their favourite drink.

There are numerous options when it comes to interactive content that every coffee shop should leverage.

2. Use live video

Live video is an integral part of every successful marketing strategy now. Instagram Stories and Facebook Live are great tools to build awareness about your brand and establish relationships with your customers. Statistics reveal that 80% of buyers would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog or consume static social posts.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can use this strategy to engage your fans. For example, you can show your customers what’s happening behind the scenes and how you prepare the coffee. Likewise, you can promote new flavours or give your audience a chance to get to know your team.

Live video is an essential element of your coffee shop marketing strategy in case you want to increase brand awareness and engagement.

3. Social proof is a must

According to the Nielsen Consumer Trust Index, 92% of consumers trust organic user-generated content more than they trust traditional advertising. User-generated content comprehends comments of your customers, their reviews, videos, selfies with your product, basically any kind of content generated by customers, as the name implies.

Therefore, encourage your clients to write positive reviews on your Google or Facebook Business Page. Try to make this process as easy as possible. Also, think about organising a contest where every participant shares on social media their impressions about your coffee shop.

Make sure you gather as much social proof as possible because this is one of the most effective marketing forms that will help you generate more profit.

4. Build your email list

Building your email list is a necessary strategy for every successful coffee shop. That way, with each email subscriber you get more leads into your sales funnel and more opportunities to share promotions and build quality relationships with your customers.

A great strategy to grow your email list and get new subscribers is a free Wi-Fi. When your customers come to your coffee shop, they need to leave their email address in order to access the free Wi-Fi.

However, don’t just use your email list to send promotions and special offers. Instead, try to offer your audience a real value they can benefit from. So, think about everyday challenges your followers face and share some useful tips to overcome them. This will definitely make your coffee shop stand out.

5. Polish your Instagram strategy

As Hootsuite states, one billion people use Instagram. Therefore, it is a perfect social network for attracting new coffee lovers and showcasing everything your brand has to offer. Likewise, it is an ideal occasion to show the human side of your business.

There are several ways you can polish your Instagram strategy:

– Hashtags are a must! Make sure you use popular and relevant hashtags in your descriptions, so new followers can easily find you. Hashtagify.me can help you discover the best ones for your coffee shop.
– Don’t forget to always reply to customers’ comments and reposting their posts related to your brand. This will make your business more personable and relatable.
– Be consistent in your Instagram marketing efforts, meaning provide your followers with constant content.

Over to you

Opt for the best strategy for your coffee shop and implement it right away. Whether you choose to invest in your Instagram effort, grow your email list, create interactive content or include social proof, you’ll pave the way to new customers and the success of your coffee shop.

Cathy Baylis is a freelance writer at Assignment writing service, specializing in personal growth, career development and leadership. She loves sharing her interests with readers, and she has something to say, for sure. Writing is not only her hobby but profession at the same time.

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In this post I’m exploring the top ten, best bean to cup coffee machines of 2019, including comparisons of features and common comments from user reviews.

This isn’t an official top ten list of bean to cup coffee machines, it’s simply what I have gauged to be the top ten best bean to cup coffee machines based on sales stats & reviews, in the hope of helping readers to discover which may be the best bean to cup coffee machine for them, based on their budget and their needs.

It’s important to state that I’ve not used all of these machines, I spent a week with the DeLonghi ESAM 4200, and I also spent a week with the Sage Oracle for my Sage Oracle Review, but the info on all the other machines on the list is purely from the research I’ve done. Having said that, I do put quite a bit of time into doing this research, so they should be helpful and save you some time in doing all of the research yourself.

Best Bean to Cup Espresso machines. 

Just to point out, this is the top ten best bean to cup espresso machines, and doesn’t include bean to cup filter coffee machines, for bean to cup filter  machines see: Best Bean to Cup Filter Coffee Machines.

Why Buy a Bean to Cup Machine?

If you want true espresso at home, or in the office, or both if you work from home ;-), you only really have two options, a semi automatic traditional espresso machine with a grinder, or a bean to cup espresso machine. 

Going the traditional route with a semi auto or fully manual espresso machine (I have both, a Gaggia Classic & a La Pavoni Europiccola) plus a grinder, doesn’t just mean buying a coffee machine, it means the beginning of a hobby.

If you’re not yet an experienced home barista, you’ll experience a learning curve when you first start using an espresso machine, and depending on which bean to cup machine you go for, the learning curve can be reduced. There will still be a bit of a learning curve, you still need to dial in to get the right grind, but generally speaking bean to cup machines are easier, depending on the level of automation, some do a bit for you – some do it all for you & involve you simply pressing a button. 

Yes you could go for a capsule machine such as Nespresso (see best Nespresso machines) but they’re not true espresso, not a million miles away, and they’re mega fast and convenient, but if you want true espresso, you need an espresso machine. 

Anyway, I’m getting side tracked – so without further waffling:

Top Ten Best Bean to Cup Espresso machines 2019

By the way, although I find Amazon tends to be the cheapest for most bean to cup machines, also have a look at bean to cup machines at AO.com – they have some really good deals, they offer a price match promise, free next day delivery and click and collect, and they offer finance too

De’Longhi Magnifica ESAM4200 Features: 

Dimensions 36 x 38 x 28 cm
Dual (thermoblock) boiler, no waiting for steam after pulling the shot
1 touch bean to cup
Simple to use coffee strength / volume controls
Turbo steam wand.
Capable of Ristretto and Espresso 
No1 selling bean to cup espresso machine on Amazon
Burr grinder 
Water tank: 1.2 litres
1450 watts
Available in black or silver
2 year warranty

This is the best selling bean to cup machine on Amazon, and it has an average review score of 4.5 from a whopping 1,485 reviews – plus there are over 250 answered questions, so this machine has a lot going for it in terms of the user being able to find out all of it’s quirks & pros and cons before deciding whether it’s the right bean to cup machine for them. By the way by far the best answered question is this one: 

Question: Does this device enable me to travel through space and time?
Answer: Hi, only if you possess a CONTINUUM TRANSFUNCTIONER, Cheers G
Love it ;-), the best bean to cup coffee machine which is easily converted into a time machine, with a simple continuum transfunctioner, which I believe you can get from Maplin.
Blurb:  Grinds Fresh Coffee Beans

Your choice of fresh coffee beans finely ground with the integrated burr grinder. Creating coffee shop quality coffee, to be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home.

Personalise Your Coffee

Easy to use control panel for you to simply adapt the coffee strength and length to your preference.

Double Delivery

Prepare two drinks with a single touch of a button, or prepare hot water for tea infusions.

Traditional Milk Frother

Produces a smooth and silky milk foam to create your favourite beverages such as Cappuccino, Caffe Latte, or Latte Macchiato.

Note about the blurb:

It’s not what I would class as a traditional frother, it’s a Pannarello / turbo steam wand as many of these machines have, meaning that it has a sheath around it and the air holes are in the side, rather than having a hole or holes in the tip. This makes it much more straight forward to stick it in the milk and create froth, but my experience with turbo wands is that they make it almost impossible to control the milk texture, so what most people tend to do if they want to work on improving the milk texture, is to just remove the plastic sheath, or in some cases you can replace the turbo wand with a traditional steam wand. 

Amazon reviews: 4.5 / 5 from 1,485 reviews Best review: 

Bought this having had a tassimo machine before. The change is stellar and, to be honest, it’s no extra hassle. Now all my waste goes on the compost rather than having to be disposed of down the local recycling centre.

I now get to try all sorts of coffees that I find in random shops. It makes beautiful coffee (especially once you’ve got the grinding size right) quickly and easily. And the variable strength setting is a complete winner if you think you may have overdone the caffeine that day but still have to have another one (as I frequently do!).

Complaints? It is a bit noisy on warm up, and the spouts don’t quite come down far enough when you’re using expresso cups, which leads to splashes. But I’m quibbling!

If you like shots of coffee (rather than filter) get this if you can afford it. It puts all the pod machines I’ve ever tried in the shade. I love it!!!

Worst review:

First machine made one cup of coffee, which tasted great, and then the mechanism stopped moving. Followed all the instructions, reset the machine it made another great cup of coffee and stuck again. Resetting did nothing this time. Amazon were great and replaced the machine. The new machine worked perfectly for a couple of weeks. I had made sure to only use the machine as stated in the manual. Watched youtube videos on how to use it, how to keep it clean, everything I could find as I wanted this one to last as long as possible. Then it jammed. Wouldn’t reset. Didn’t react to soft or hard resetting. Returned it and Amazon refunded. Now I manually make coffee.

Notes about the reviews: 

While there are some 1 star reviews, it’s just over 5% of the reviews, 3% are 2 star, about the same for 3 star, 14% are 4 star, and 74% of the reviews are 5 star. This is very good considering that this is one of the cheapest bean to cup espresso machines on the market.  As far as I can see nearly all of the negative reviews are with reference to faults, and given that it has a 2 year manufacturers warranty, although having a fault is a pain in the backside, the potential of having a faulty machine wouldn’t put me off. I can’t see any recurring themes from the reviews when it comes to any kind of a design fault, and the recurring theme from the positive reviews are that it makes great coffee and it’s simple to use. 

Price:

RRP is £449.99 but it’s nearly always available now here on amazon from under £300, it’s currently on offer at £259.99

I’ve since reviewed the ESAM 4200 – see: DeLonghi ESAM 4200 Review

 Gaggia Brera Bean to Cup Coffee Machine

Features.

Dimensions: L25.5 x H33 x D42.5 cm
Thermoblock boiler
Steam wand doubles as hot water tap
Panarello steam wand slides off to reveal standard steam wand.
Auto Cleaning
Ceramic Burrs
Removable Brew Group
Digital display
Removable Water tank: 1.2 litres
Coffee Bean Capacity: 250 grams
Dump Box Capacity: 8 servings
Adjustable Cup Height
Panarello Steam/Hot Water Arm
Adjustable Coffee Dose
1500W

Blurb: 

The Gaggia Brera is a compact bean-to-cup espresso machine in a stylish, modern design. The Brera is simple to use, and allows easy access to the water tank and coffee ground waste via the front of the machine. The Brera allows for customisation of your preferred drink. The easy to use controls provide control over the grind of the coffee, the amount of coffee used in each espresso shot, and controlling the length of each shot.

Amazon reviews: 3.6 / 5 from 78 reviews Best review: 

 This machine is amazing, makes a great latte, and with a hot water function too is really good..makes just the perfect coffee of choice, easy to use and clean..

Worst review: 

I had a Gaggia Syncrony … had it about 25 years. It finally gave up and I bought this machine. Irritating is an understatement. The coffee is not as good or as strong as my old machine, there is no crème. I have it on the highest “aroma” ie highest strength and its still insipid. My only option is to perhaps do two espressos. Water keeps coming out and filling the drip tray so that has to be emptied every few cups. The Syncrony drip tray … I emptied once a week! The new machine constantly needs filling with water … probably because it uses so much to do a “clean” between cups. The Syncrony had a dial for the amount of coffee you wanted so you could change it so much more easily than setting on the new machine. To get a cup of coffee takes so much longer, especially if its gone into standby mode. I could go on … and probably will… but I only set the new machine up yesterday. Its SO complicated! Bring back the Syncrony!

Notes about the reviews: 

68% of the reviews are 5 star, and 12% 4 star, so 80% of the reviews are 4 or 5 star, so I’d usually expect a higher overall star rating. The reason for the lower than expected overall rating is a fairly high number of 1 star reviews (10%), and when this is the case there’s usually slightly unusual going on. 

What I mean by this, is if this machine only deserved a 3.6 star overall rating, I would expect a much higher % of 2, 3 and 4 star ratings, but the total of 2, 3 and 4 star ratings is only 22%. Usually when the ratings look like this, there’s been a fault affecting the reviews, and it looks like this may be the case here. 

It also seems that some Amazon buyers have bought from suppliers (some of whom are shipping directly from Italy) who have not been helpful when it comes to support. As I said in the Gaggia classic 2019 review, I’d recommend that if you’re buying a Gaggia, you buy from Caffe Shop Ltd (Gaggia UK) or one of their appointed distributors. 

Price:

RRP is £569, I usually recommend Amazon as it’s usually the cheapest, but in this case they’re on offer at Gaggia UK for £369, and this means you’re buying from the UK distributor, who I can tell you from experience offer great support.

Krups EA8108 Espresseria Automatic Bean to Cup Espresso Machine  Features:

Dimensions: 24.5 x 36.5 x 33 cm
Water tank: 1.8 L
The most compact Krups fully automatic machine
Adjustable settings for coffee size, strength and temperature
Simple interface makes it easy to achieve barista style coffee
Provides optimal temperature coffee for every cup
Professional quality grinder for precise and uniform grinding
1450 watts

Blurb: 

For coffee lovers that are big on taste and short on space.

The KRUPS EA8108 is a fully automated espresso machine packed with features for easy barista result. Designed for use with coffee beans this machine boats all the key features of KRUPS’ renowned Bean To Cup line in a smaller footprint for easy cafe quality coffee at home.

Ultra-compact system with 1.8L capacity. Stylish casing finished in Piano black.
The ergonomic rotary knob and height adjustable coffee dispenser provide intuitive operation.
Compact Thermoblock System fast-heats water to the perfect temperature. Cup warming tray keep your coffee at the optimum temperature.
Stainless steel conical burr grinder ensures a precise and uniform grind to make the perfect espresso with a rich crema.
Adjustable settings for coffee size, strength and type.
Simple and easy to use interface to achieve the best coffee possible.

Thermoblock Heating System

Patented Thermoblock system ensures a hot and aromatic coffee.

Rotary Knob

Easily adjust your coffee preferences with the ergonomic rotary knob.

Milk Frother

Easily make the perfect cappuccino using the multi-directional steam nozzle and directly froths the milk into a cup.

Easy Maintenance

Easy to clean and maintain thanks to the stainless steel burr grinder and automatic rinsing, cleaning and de-scaling programmes.

Stainless Steel Grinder

The Active Speed grinder launched by KRUPS is 20% faster than the grinders used in previous models, it will guarantee you an express espresso!

The new KRUPS Active Speed grinder was designed to offer high resistance during use, and to ensure that it can complete up to 280,000 cycles without fault.

Amazon reviews: 4.4 / 5 from 16 reviews Best review: 

Absolutely love this machine; it looks amazing, produces deliciously smooth coffee and it’s so easy to use.
Has a tank at the bank that lifts up and out easily, the top flips aside so you can fill it with water and then being clear, you can easily see how much water is left. A dial allows you to choose the fineness of the grind and a second dial allows you to choose the volume of drink you want so you can make a full cup of coffee or an espresso or anything in between. The coffee comes out of two nozzles so you can do two cups together if you press the button twice- it does an initial grind and goes through one complete cycle producing half a cup in each cup and then automatically repeats the cycle to complete the two cups. There is also a milk frothing nozzle that you can used to make lattes or just to froth up milk for a hot chocolate. It’s dead easy to wipe clean and indicators come on to tell you when the grounds need emptying or the drop tray needs emptying. I’m a total convert to this little beauty now and never bother with instant coffee anymore. Switching this on in the morning and drinking that first cup of coffee 2 minutes later is now one of my absolute pleasures…. oh, and by the way, it makes the coffee at the perfect temperature for drinking so unlike pouring hot water from the kettle into instant coffee and then waiting for it to cool, with this, your coffee really is ready to drink in 2 minutes !!!

Worst review:

Save your money.. choose another product. I throw away more unused beans than I drink & it goes into a clean cycle (when used more then a few times), says empty the bean tray constantly (when not even quarter full). Frustrating!!

Notes about the reviews: 

Only one 1 star, two 3 star, one 4 star and twelve 5 star reviews. The machine doesn’t appear to suffer much from faults, and there are no recurring complaints. 

Price:

RRP is £429.99, available on Amazon from just over £300. 

De’Longhi ESAM2800.SB Bean to Cup Coffee Machine

Features:

Dimensions: 28.5 x 36 x 37.5 cm
Water tank: 1.8L
15 bar pressure
Removable 1.8 L water tank
Electronic steam and coffee thermostat for accurate steam control
Suitable for fresh coffee beans
Removable brewing unit for easy cleaning
Steam wand
Integrated professional burr grinder with 7 adjustable coarseness settings
Energy saving function
Power supply switch for zero consumption
2 year guarantee

Blurb

The ESAM2800 is the perfect bean to cup coffee solution to give you the kick start to your day.

Designed to look elegant but functional so that the perfect coffee is just a touch of a button away.

Fresh beans mean that this machine will offer a full aroma coffee as if you were buying it from a coffee shop. Espresso’s, long black, cappuccinos and lattes using the steam wand to create textured milk. The ESAM2800, a perfect coffee solution for those who recognise style and enjoy a bit of luxury.

Espresso

The advanced boiler system (thermoblock) allows for the perfect espresso – one or two cups it will always be the same perfect temperature

Long Black

Create the perfect long black coffee.

Cappuccino

Using the steam wand you can create textured milk for a coffee shop quality cappuccino.

Latte

Using the automatic milk function you can create textured milk for a coffee shop quality latte.

Easy to Clean

The brewing unit is completely removable, so cleaning the inside of the machine is easy, even in areas normally difficult to reach.

It has rinse and decalcification auto-programmes to reflect local water hardness.

Easy to Use

Self-priming system means the machine is always ready for use.

This machine has an automatic shut-off after a pre-set time has elapsed, making it even easier to use.

The instant reheat function heats the core of the machine, ensuring that the machine is always at the ideal temperature for espresso.

Level of Convenience

This machine can be used with either fresh coffee beans or ground coffee. The simple functionality means that the perfect coffee is just a touch of a button away.

Amazon reviews: 4.6 / 5 from 87 reviews
Best review: 

I got this to replace the older version, Old one was good, this is even better.
Makes brilliant coffee. You of course have to try various settings to suit your taste. More important try different coffee beans. I settled on Guatemalan coffee, none others quite match it for me. This is a very personal taste.

With this model you can control the temperature of coffee and water. The door has a latch to open and shut.
The coffee has more aroma when ground fine.

Downside…. Once you perfect your coffee, you will not enjoy high street coffee so much…..

Worst review:

Broke after 11 months- bean grinder stopped working.

Notes about the reviews: 

Three 1 star reviews, three 2 stars, two 3 stars, twelve 4 stars & the rest 5 star. There seem to have been some faults, mainly with the grinder. A few people moaning about the machine being too loud, and quite a few people complaining about the milk temperature. There are suggestions within the positive ratings that some of the negative reviews are from people who didn’t read the instructions properly and who haven’t got the machine set up correctly, which is an interesting point. 

Price:

RRP is £349.99on offer now here on Amazon for £299.

 Melitta E953-102 Caffeo Solo and Milk Fully Automatic..
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In this post I’m exploring the top ten, best bean to cup coffee machines of 2019, including comparisons of features and common comments from user reviews.

This isn’t an official top ten list of bean to cup coffee machines, it’s simply what I have gauged to be the top ten best bean to cup coffee machines based on sales stats & reviews, in the hope of helping readers to discover which may be the best bean to cup coffee machine for them, based on their budget and their needs.

It’s important to state that I’ve not used all of these machines, I spent a week with the DeLonghi ESAM 4200, and I also spent a week with the Sage Oracle for my Sage Oracle Review, but the info on all the other machines on the list is purely from the research I’ve done. Having said that, I do put quite a bit of time into doing this research, so they should be helpful and save you some time in doing all of the research yourself.

Best Bean to Cup Espresso machines. 

Just to point out, this is the top ten best bean to cup espresso machines, and doesn’t include bean to cup filter coffee machines, for bean to cup filter  machines see: Best Bean to Cup Filter Coffee Machines.

Why Buy a Bean to Cup Machine?

If you want true espresso at home, or in the office, or both if you work from home ;-), you only really have two options, a semi automatic traditional espresso machine with a grinder, or a bean to cup espresso machine. 

Going the traditional route with a semi auto or fully manual espresso machine (I have both, a Gaggia Classic & a La Pavoni Europiccola) plus a grinder, doesn’t just mean buying a coffee machine, it means the beginning of a hobby.

If you’re not yet an experienced home barista, you’ll experience a learning curve when you first start using an espresso machine, and depending on which bean to cup machine you go for, the learning curve can be reduced. There will still be a bit of a learning curve, you still need to dial in to get the right grind, but generally speaking bean to cup machines are easier, depending on the level of automation, some do a bit for you – some do it all for you & involve you simply pressing a button. 

Yes you could go for a capsule machine such as Nespresso (see best Nespresso machines) but they’re not true espresso, not a million miles away, and they’re mega fast and convenient, but if you want true espresso, you need an espresso machine. 

Anyway, I’m getting side tracked – so without further waffling:

Top Ten Best Bean to Cup Espresso machines 2019
De’Longhi Magnifica ESAM4200 Features: 

Dimensions 36 x 38 x 28 cm
Dual (thermoblock) boiler, no waiting for steam after pulling the shot
1 touch bean to cup
Simple to use coffee strength / volume controls
Turbo steam wand.
Capable of Ristretto and Espresso 
No1 selling bean to cup espresso machine on Amazon
Burr grinder 
Water tank: 1.2 litres
1450 watts
Available in black or silver
2 year warranty

This is the best selling bean to cup machine on Amazon, and it has an average review score of 4.5 from a whopping 1,485 reviews – plus there are over 250 answered questions, so this machine has a lot going for it in terms of the user being able to find out all of it’s quirks & pros and cons before deciding whether it’s the right bean to cup machine for them. By the way by far the best answered question is this one: 

Question: Does this device enable me to travel through space and time?
Answer: Hi, only if you possess a CONTINUUM TRANSFUNCTIONER, Cheers G
Love it ;-), the best bean to cup coffee machine which is easily converted into a time machine, with a simple continuum transfunctioner, which I believe you can get from Maplin.
Blurb:  Grinds Fresh Coffee Beans

Your choice of fresh coffee beans finely ground with the integrated burr grinder. Creating coffee shop quality coffee, to be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home.

Personalise Your Coffee

Easy to use control panel for you to simply adapt the coffee strength and length to your preference.

Double Delivery

Prepare two drinks with a single touch of a button, or prepare hot water for tea infusions.

Traditional Milk Frother

Produces a smooth and silky milk foam to create your favourite beverages such as Cappuccino, Caffe Latte, or Latte Macchiato.

Note about the blurb:

It’s not what I would class as a traditional frother, it’s a Pannarello / turbo steam wand as many of these machines have, meaning that it has a sheath around it and the air holes are in the side, rather than having a hole or holes in the tip. This makes it much more straight forward to stick it in the milk and create froth, but my experience with turbo wands is that they make it almost impossible to control the milk texture, so what most people tend to do if they want to work on improving the milk texture, is to just remove the plastic sheath, or in some cases you can replace the turbo wand with a traditional steam wand. 

Amazon reviews: 4.5 / 5 from 1,485 reviews Best review: 

Bought this having had a tassimo machine before. The change is stellar and, to be honest, it’s no extra hassle. Now all my waste goes on the compost rather than having to be disposed of down the local recycling centre.

I now get to try all sorts of coffees that I find in random shops. It makes beautiful coffee (especially once you’ve got the grinding size right) quickly and easily. And the variable strength setting is a complete winner if you think you may have overdone the caffeine that day but still have to have another one (as I frequently do!).

Complaints? It is a bit noisy on warm up, and the spouts don’t quite come down far enough when you’re using expresso cups, which leads to splashes. But I’m quibbling!

If you like shots of coffee (rather than filter) get this if you can afford it. It puts all the pod machines I’ve ever tried in the shade. I love it!!!

Worst review:

First machine made one cup of coffee, which tasted great, and then the mechanism stopped moving. Followed all the instructions, reset the machine it made another great cup of coffee and stuck again. Resetting did nothing this time. Amazon were great and replaced the machine. The new machine worked perfectly for a couple of weeks. I had made sure to only use the machine as stated in the manual. Watched youtube videos on how to use it, how to keep it clean, everything I could find as I wanted this one to last as long as possible. Then it jammed. Wouldn’t reset. Didn’t react to soft or hard resetting. Returned it and Amazon refunded. Now I manually make coffee.

Notes about the reviews: 

While there are some 1 star reviews, it’s just over 5% of the reviews, 3% are 2 star, about the same for 3 star, 14% are 4 star, and 74% of the reviews are 5 star. This is very good considering that this is one of the cheapest bean to cup espresso machines on the market.  As far as I can see nearly all of the negative reviews are with reference to faults, and given that it has a 2 year manufacturers warranty, although having a fault is a pain in the backside, the potential of having a faulty machine wouldn’t put me off. I can’t see any recurring themes from the reviews when it comes to any kind of a design fault, and the recurring theme from the positive reviews are that it makes great coffee and it’s simple to use. 

Price:

RRP is £449.99 but it’s nearly always available now here on amazon from under £300, it’s currently on offer at £259.99

I’ve since reviewed the ESAM 4200 – see: DeLonghi ESAM 4200 Review

 Gaggia Brera Bean to Cup Coffee Machine

Features.

Dimensions: L25.5 x H33 x D42.5 cm
Thermoblock boiler
Steam wand doubles as hot water tap
Panarello steam wand slides off to reveal standard steam wand.
Auto Cleaning
Ceramic Burrs
Removable Brew Group
Digital display
Removable Water tank: 1.2 litres
Coffee Bean Capacity: 250 grams
Dump Box Capacity: 8 servings
Adjustable Cup Height
Panarello Steam/Hot Water Arm
Adjustable Coffee Dose
1500W

Blurb: 

The Gaggia Brera is a compact bean-to-cup espresso machine in a stylish, modern design. The Brera is simple to use, and allows easy access to the water tank and coffee ground waste via the front of the machine. The Brera allows for customisation of your preferred drink. The easy to use controls provide control over the grind of the coffee, the amount of coffee used in each espresso shot, and controlling the length of each shot.

Amazon reviews: 3.6 / 5 from 78 reviews Best review: 

 This machine is amazing, makes a great latte, and with a hot water function too is really good..makes just the perfect coffee of choice, easy to use and clean..

Worst review: 

I had a Gaggia Syncrony … had it about 25 years. It finally gave up and I bought this machine. Irritating is an understatement. The coffee is not as good or as strong as my old machine, there is no crème. I have it on the highest “aroma” ie highest strength and its still insipid. My only option is to perhaps do two espressos. Water keeps coming out and filling the drip tray so that has to be emptied every few cups. The Syncrony drip tray … I emptied once a week! The new machine constantly needs filling with water … probably because it uses so much to do a “clean” between cups. The Syncrony had a dial for the amount of coffee you wanted so you could change it so much more easily than setting on the new machine. To get a cup of coffee takes so much longer, especially if its gone into standby mode. I could go on … and probably will… but I only set the new machine up yesterday. Its SO complicated! Bring back the Syncrony!

Notes about the reviews: 

68% of the reviews are 5 star, and 12% 4 star, so 80% of the reviews are 4 or 5 star, so I’d usually expect a higher overall star rating. The reason for the lower than expected overall rating is a fairly high number of 1 star reviews (10%), and when this is the case there’s usually slightly unusual going on. 

What I mean by this, is if this machine only deserved a 3.6 star overall rating, I would expect a much higher % of 2, 3 and 4 star ratings, but the total of 2, 3 and 4 star ratings is only 22%. Usually when the ratings look like this, there’s been a fault affecting the reviews, and it looks like this may be the case here. 

It also seems that some Amazon buyers have bought from suppliers (some of whom are shipping directly from Italy) who have not been helpful when it comes to support. As I said in the Gaggia classic 2019 review, I’d recommend that if you’re buying a Gaggia, you buy from Caffe Shop Ltd (Gaggia UK) or one of their appointed distributors. 

Price:

RRP is £569, I usually recommend Amazon as it’s usually the cheapest, but in this case they’re on offer at Gaggia UK for £369, and this means you’re buying from the UK distributor, who I can tell you from experience offer great support.

Krups EA8108 Espresseria Automatic Bean to Cup Espresso Machine  Features:

Dimensions: 24.5 x 36.5 x 33 cm
Water tank: 1.8 L
The most compact Krups fully automatic machine
Adjustable settings for coffee size, strength and temperature
Simple interface makes it easy to achieve barista style coffee
Provides optimal temperature coffee for every cup
Professional quality grinder for precise and uniform grinding
1450 watts

Blurb: 

For coffee lovers that are big on taste and short on space.

The KRUPS EA8108 is a fully automated espresso machine packed with features for easy barista result. Designed for use with coffee beans this machine boats all the key features of KRUPS’ renowned Bean To Cup line in a smaller footprint for easy cafe quality coffee at home.

Ultra-compact system with 1.8L capacity. Stylish casing finished in Piano black.
The ergonomic rotary knob and height adjustable coffee dispenser provide intuitive operation.
Compact Thermoblock System fast-heats water to the perfect temperature. Cup warming tray keep your coffee at the optimum temperature.
Stainless steel conical burr grinder ensures a precise and uniform grind to make the perfect espresso with a rich crema.
Adjustable settings for coffee size, strength and type.
Simple and easy to use interface to achieve the best coffee possible.

Thermoblock Heating System

Patented Thermoblock system ensures a hot and aromatic coffee.

Rotary Knob

Easily adjust your coffee preferences with the ergonomic rotary knob.

Milk Frother

Easily make the perfect cappuccino using the multi-directional steam nozzle and directly froths the milk into a cup.

Easy Maintenance

Easy to clean and maintain thanks to the stainless steel burr grinder and automatic rinsing, cleaning and de-scaling programmes.

Stainless Steel Grinder

The Active Speed grinder launched by KRUPS is 20% faster than the grinders used in previous models, it will guarantee you an express espresso!

The new KRUPS Active Speed grinder was designed to offer high resistance during use, and to ensure that it can complete up to 280,000 cycles without fault.

Amazon reviews: 4.4 / 5 from 16 reviews Best review: 

Absolutely love this machine; it looks amazing, produces deliciously smooth coffee and it’s so easy to use.
Has a tank at the bank that lifts up and out easily, the top flips aside so you can fill it with water and then being clear, you can easily see how much water is left. A dial allows you to choose the fineness of the grind and a second dial allows you to choose the volume of drink you want so you can make a full cup of coffee or an espresso or anything in between. The coffee comes out of two nozzles so you can do two cups together if you press the button twice- it does an initial grind and goes through one complete cycle producing half a cup in each cup and then automatically repeats the cycle to complete the two cups. There is also a milk frothing nozzle that you can used to make lattes or just to froth up milk for a hot chocolate. It’s dead easy to wipe clean and indicators come on to tell you when the grounds need emptying or the drop tray needs emptying. I’m a total convert to this little beauty now and never bother with instant coffee anymore. Switching this on in the morning and drinking that first cup of coffee 2 minutes later is now one of my absolute pleasures…. oh, and by the way, it makes the coffee at the perfect temperature for drinking so unlike pouring hot water from the kettle into instant coffee and then waiting for it to cool, with this, your coffee really is ready to drink in 2 minutes !!!

Worst review:

Save your money.. choose another product. I throw away more unused beans than I drink & it goes into a clean cycle (when used more then a few times), says empty the bean tray constantly (when not even quarter full). Frustrating!!

Notes about the reviews: 

Only one 1 star, two 3 star, one 4 star and twelve 5 star reviews. The machine doesn’t appear to suffer much from faults, and there are no recurring complaints. 

Price:

RRP is £429.99, available on Amazon from just over £300. 

De’Longhi ESAM2800.SB Bean to Cup Coffee Machine

Features:

Dimensions: 28.5 x 36 x 37.5 cm
Water tank: 1.8L
15 bar pressure
Removable 1.8 L water tank
Electronic steam and coffee thermostat for accurate steam control
Suitable for fresh coffee beans
Removable brewing unit for easy cleaning
Steam wand
Integrated professional burr grinder with 7 adjustable coarseness settings
Energy saving function
Power supply switch for zero consumption
2 year guarantee

Blurb

The ESAM2800 is the perfect bean to cup coffee solution to give you the kick start to your day.

Designed to look elegant but functional so that the perfect coffee is just a touch of a button away.

Fresh beans mean that this machine will offer a full aroma coffee as if you were buying it from a coffee shop. Espresso’s, long black, cappuccinos and lattes using the steam wand to create textured milk. The ESAM2800, a perfect coffee solution for those who recognise style and enjoy a bit of luxury.

Espresso

The advanced boiler system (thermoblock) allows for the perfect espresso – one or two cups it will always be the same perfect temperature

Long Black

Create the perfect long black coffee.

Cappuccino

Using the steam wand you can create textured milk for a coffee shop quality cappuccino.

Latte

Using the automatic milk function you can create textured milk for a coffee shop quality latte.

Easy to Clean

The brewing unit is completely removable, so cleaning the inside of the machine is easy, even in areas normally difficult to reach.

It has rinse and decalcification auto-programmes to reflect local water hardness.

Easy to Use

Self-priming system means the machine is always ready for use.

This machine has an automatic shut-off after a pre-set time has elapsed, making it even easier to use.

The instant reheat function heats the core of the machine, ensuring that the machine is always at the ideal temperature for espresso.

Level of Convenience

This machine can be used with either fresh coffee beans or ground coffee. The simple functionality means that the perfect coffee is just a touch of a button away.

Amazon reviews: 4.6 / 5 from 87 reviews
Best review: 

I got this to replace the older version, Old one was good, this is even better.
Makes brilliant coffee. You of course have to try various settings to suit your taste. More important try different coffee beans. I settled on Guatemalan coffee, none others quite match it for me. This is a very personal taste.

With this model you can control the temperature of coffee and water. The door has a latch to open and shut.
The coffee has more aroma when ground fine.

Downside…. Once you perfect your coffee, you will not enjoy high street coffee so much…..

Worst review:

Broke after 11 months- bean grinder stopped working.

Notes about the reviews: 

Three 1 star reviews, three 2 stars, two 3 stars, twelve 4 stars & the rest 5 star. There seem to have been some faults, mainly with the grinder. A few people moaning about the machine being too loud, and quite a few people complaining about the milk temperature. There are suggestions within the positive ratings that some of the negative reviews are from people who didn’t read the instructions properly and who haven’t got the machine set up correctly, which is an interesting point. 

Price:

RRP is £349.99on offer now here on Amazon for £299.

 Melitta E953-102 Caffeo Solo and Milk Fully Automatic Coffee Maker with Milk Steamer 
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Surely there’s not much to know about Nespresso machines & Nespresso coffee pods? You know they’re a coffee machine, you know they’re hugely popular, you probably know it’s a brand owned by Nestlé, and that they hire some big names to promote it, including George Clooney. Can there really be anything that coffee lovers might not know about Nespresso?

Lets see…

1: Nespresso is Not Espresso as we Know it.

Nespresso may call their pods “Espresso pods” (along with Ristretto, and Lungo pods) but is it actually espresso?

No. Nespresso is not espresso, well, not espresso as we know it, anyway.

While there’s no law on what you can or can’t call espresso, espresso as we know it is made using a certain set of parameters (which I’ll explain shortly), and the parameters for Nespresso are different, as is the resulting coffee. 

I’m not putting Nespresso down, not at all, I really like Nespresso machines actually, for lots of reasons.

  • It’s ultra convenient, even faster than a really, really fast thing.
  • It’s relatively inexpensive for the Nespresso machines and the pods (you can get compatibles from around 17p each if you want).
  • There’s a huge amount of variety thanks to the wide range of Nespresso pods plus the huge range of Nespresso compatible pods available including from UK coffee roasters including these new ones from Pact Coffee.
  • For some, it’s more enjoyable than true espresso.  

But with all that said, it’s not espresso in the traditional sense, when you look at how it’s produced.

Regarding the last point – not everyone wants the intensity and the mouthfeel that is particular to true espresso. Some coffee lovers just want a short shot of strong coffee, and to them – Nespresso ticks the boxes. If you love espresso, as I do, then Nespresso probably won’t quite cut it for you, but not everyone loves true espresso, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. 

The First Production Nespresso Machine, the Nespresso C100.

What Éric Favre created wasn’t just a new, smaller & faster home automatic Espresso machine without the need for a coffee grinder.

What he invented was a whole new thing, a new kind of coffee machine which works along similar principles to espresso machines, but not exactly the same – which produces short coffees, very quickly, which are similar traditional espresso but not quite as intense.

Given the immense success of Nespresso, it’s clear that a big percentage of consumers prefer Nespresso’s much faster and more convenient yet slightly less intense version of espresso, either because they prefer the taste, or because convenience is the most important factor for them when making coffee at home or in the office.

The parameters I mentioned earlier are namely: grind size & profile, pressure, brew temp, flow rate, ratio of dry coffee to liquid coffee. 

With Nespresso, many of these parameters are quite a bit different. 

The pressure is 19 bar with Nespresso, vs 9 bar with traditional espresso. 

The brew ratio is much higher with Nespresso, rather than the more traditional 1:2, 18g of dry ground coffee to 36g of espresso for example, it’s more like 1:8, 5g of dry coffee to 4og of liquid coffee. 

The flow rate is far faster with Nespresso. While we’d expect to get to 1:2 with espresso in around 28-32 seconds (well, that’s what I was taught when I did my Barista training anyway), with Nespresso 1:8 is achieved in around 12 seconds. 

For a really in depth analysis of Nespresso extraction, see an analysis of Nespresso by Square Mile Coffee founder James Hoffman.

2: The History of Nespresso is an Amazing, Inspirational True Story!

Think of Nespresso, and most of us think of Nestlé, the huge conglomerate behind Nespresso. But we’re only seeing the end of the story. When you also learn the beginning and the middle of the Nespresso story, it’s actually a brilliant, inspirational tale, that I’m surprised hasn’t been turned into a movie…yet.

Éric Favre, inventor of the Nespresso machine. Credit: houseofswitzerland.org

Éric Favre, a graduate of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and the son of an inventor, in his mid to late 20s, gets fed up of taking stick from his Italian wife about “bland Swiss coffee”, and decides to invent a way for consumers to make Italian coffee shop style espresso in their homes.  

He scours Italian coffee shops, speaking to baristas to try to get some idea of how he can possibly deliver on his plans. He thinks he has the answer, and unlike most people who invent stuff and forget about them (I’ve invented all sorts in my head how about you?) Favre acts on his ideas, and follows through by producing a prototype. 

Éric Favre’s Nespresso Prototype.

Then, get this… he gets himself a job in the packing department at Nestlé, so that he can start learning about the workings of multinational corporation from the inside, also presumably to get him into a position where he may be able to eventually pitch the decision makers with his inventors. 

He did – and guess what? 

Not only did Nestlé not have any interest in this invention, believing at the time that there was no market for expensive coffee machines, they even feared that this new machine could negatively impact on sales, so it wasn’t just a no, it was a “Hell, No!”.

When they turn this into a movie, by the way, this will be the first real adversity  we’ll experience through the eyes of Éric Favre, the part where we feel his frustration,  after all his hard work and perseverance, he face-plants into brick wall. 

But he continued to persevere, and continued to climb the ranks within Nestlé. 8 years later, he’s a Nestlé food scientist for  a more important role. Crucially, he’s given an assignment at the Japanese Nestlé factory, where he gets in front of the decision makers there & pitches his new coffee machine.

Breakthrough! This is the moment in the film where we will experience the relief and excitement of Eric’s eventual success, as this time, the pitch is successful, and Nespresso is born – of which Éric becomes the CEO. 

The story doesn’t end there of course, there’s more adversity, but ultimately as we know, Nespresso became a huge household name in several countries. 

3: Nespresso Pods Don’t Contain Instant Coffee

Some people assume that Nespresso capsules, and other coffee pods and disks such as Tassimo disks, contain instant, soluble coffee.  

I can understand why people might think that with Nespresso, as it’s just so fast – it is almost instant, how can that be possible with ground coffee? If you think about it, it’s quite amazing that water flows through the coffee so quickly (it’s all done in around 12 seconds) and you’re left with strong coffee – considering that most people think of proper coffee as filter coffee or cafetiere coffee which can take several minutes to brew. 

But no, Nespresso pods don’t contain instant, soluble coffee – it’s proper finely ground coffee beans. The super fast flow rate I expect is to do with the super high pressure at which the water is passed through the coffee grounds. 

The only capsules I’m aware of that have contained instant, soluble coffee, by the way, are some of the Nescafé Dolce Gusto pods, such as their Cappuccino Ice, Mocha and Café au Lait pods. 

4: Using a Nespresso Machine Doesn’t Have to be Damaging to the Environment.

Using a Nespresso machine doesn’t have to be damaging for the environment. Credit: rainforest-rescue.org

The one thing Nespresso machine inventor Éric Favre has admitted he regrets, is the potential ecological damage done by so much aluminium being used for the coffee capsule industry he created.

This is apparently one of the reasons he left Nespresso, to work on his next machine “Monodor” which uses pods which aren’t made of aluminium. You may not have heard of the name Monodor – but this machine has been sold under license worldwide since the early 90s, under various names – including the Lavazza capsule machines

The main issue is that Nespresso machines have been dependent on Aluminium for the capsules, and this causes an issue both in terms of destructive mining for the materials, and the disposal of the used pods into landfil (as they’re mixed with plastic, meaning they be recycled at the standard recycling plants.

Bauxite is used to make Aluminium, and this mineral is found in tropical and sub-tropical regions. The huge demand for Bauxite ore as a result of tens of billions of coffee pods being made each year, means more destruction of rainforests.

In addition, pods are made of Aluminium plus plastic aren’t recycled. They end up in landfill, where they can take up to 500 years to degrade. Even if you take the time to clean out a standard Nespresso pod, and put it in your recycling bin, it will end up in landfill.

So they create a problem when they’re made, and another problem when they’re used, a double whammy to the environment.

Nespresso are putting effort into the recycling side of things, with their recycling bags & that can be dropped at any of the thousands of CollectPlus collection points throughout the UK, or which can be dropped off at a Nespresso Boutique. 

While Nespresso state on their website that Aluminium is “infinitely recyclable”, the issue is that the mix of Aluminium and plastic mean that the pods aren’t recyclable at standard recycling plants, which is why you need to get them back to Nespresso so they can take them to a special plant to be recycled. 

But you can now be a responsible and eco friendly Nespresso machine owner, by buying alternative Nespresso compatible capsules.

Some compatibles manufacturers are taking action with regard to the recycling issue.

Pact coffee, for example, have just released their new 100% Aluminium capsules, this means that you can empty the used coffee from them into your compost, and then put the Aluminium empty pods in with  your standard recycling. 

The New 100% Aluminium Pods from Pact Coffe.

Still, this doesn’t help with the destruction of the rainforests. 

According to rainforest-rescue.org the aluminium demand created by the coffee capsule industry is “trashing the rainforests”.

They explain that huge areas of rainforest are being cleared to make way for more Bauxite mines, and also that the smelting of bauxite is both energy-intensive and harmful to the environment. They state that rivers are being diverted, dams being built to generate the electricity required for the smelters, huge areas of rainforest being cleared or submerged in reservoirs, and indigenous people are being forced off their land.

There are manufacturers of Nespresso compatible capsules who’re working on this. For example, check out these Eden Project fully compostable Nespresso compatible coffee pods – they don’t use Aluminium, or plastic, and you don’t have to empty them, just chuck the whole thing into the compost or food recycling bin.

You can get these on Amazon, also in Waitrose, and the Eden shop.

Nespresso themselves are sticking to Aluminium at the moment, but if more and more users choose to buy  eco friendly Nespresso compatible pods, I’m sure this is something they will have to address at some point. 

Also see Stop trashing the rainforest for Nespresso coffee pods! & Former Nespresso Boss Warns Coffee Pods are Killing Evironment.

5: Nescafe’ and Nespresso Don’t Have Much in Common

Most people are aware that Nestlé is the owner of Nespresso, and that Nestlés other brands of course include Nescafe’.  For this reason, some people make the assumption that Nespresso machines deliver the same Nescafe coffee via capsules. 

This isn’t the case at all, in fact Nescafe’ and Nespresso employ quite different business models, and they don’t use the same coffee beans for their instant brands and for their Nespresso capsules.

Nescafe’ had been around quite some time when Nespresso was created, and they were keen not to allow Nespresso to negatively impact on their instant coffee sales. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, the first time Nespresso was pitched to Nestlé, they turned it down for this reason. I suspect that the reason Nestlé finally decided to go forward with Nespresso, 8 years after the initial pitch, was that by this time they’d come to understand that the market they would be targeting with Nespresso would be an entirely different market. 

By the way, it seems they were right. Instant coffee sales don’t appear to have been negatively impacted since Nespresso was created. In fact, sales of instant coffee in the UK is currently growing at a rate of  5.9% according to statistics firm Statista

6: We Have Dualit to Thank for Nespresso Compatible Pods.

British firm Dualit stood up to Nestlé back in 2013, in a real David vs Goliath court case in which Nestlé  sought to stop Dualit from selling compatible capsules, on the basis that their compatible pods were infringing their patents.

Despite Nestlé’s legal council completely dwarfing that of Dualit, with Dualit’s MD commenting that Nestlé outnumbered them five to one in terms of the number of lawyers they had thrown at this case, Dualit walked away victorious. 

An image from the patent in question.

Dualit had some balls to do that. They had a net worth of just under 8 million at the time, so we’re not talking a one man band here, but they may have well of been compared to the likes of Nestlé – who made a net profit of about 8 billion in 2013. 

It cost Dualit about a million quid in legal costs, so they really risked a lot to defend their right to produce compatibles.

If they hadn’t done this, though, or if they had lost the case, I would expect that we wouldn’t have the same range of compatibles available to us that we do today. Winning this case meant other smaller firms including small batch coffee roasters, could go ahead and produce Nespresso compatible capsules without the fear of being sued by Nestlé.

Life is like a box of chocolates, so follow me on Twitter, and that’s all I have to say about that.

The post 6 Things Coffee Lovers Need to Know About Nespresso appeared first on Coffee Blog.

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If you’re wondering which are the best office coffee machines, or more specifically, which may be the best office coffee machines specifically for your office, then this post is for you. 

The important thing to note when it comes to office coffee machines, is that there are many different kinds of offices, different kinds of users, and lots of different possible coffee machines to consider.

If you’re searching fairly generally at this point for “office coffee machines” without narrowing it down further to the specific kind of machine you’re thinking about, this tells me that you probably need to take a step back and try to understand which type of machine you should be looking at. 

Who will be using the coffee machine?

This is the first thing I’d want to be clear on before deciding which kind of office coffee machine may be the best bet.

Are you looking for an office coffee machine just for you, to use in your own one person office? Are you looking for a machine for a canteen or office kitchen, to be used by several people on their breaks? Are you considering a coffee machine for customers, to make coffee for potential and existing customers who visit your office?

A one person office coffee machine

Cool one person garden office pod. Photo credit: sunshineanddesign.com

Years ago I quit my job, and jumped both feet into my own business, which started with a very small one person office, which consisted of a desk, a computer, and of course, a coffee machine ;-).

We’re going back to 2004, and back then I’d not really discovered speciality coffee, all I knew was I loved coffee, and it helped to keep me awake, and I wanted coffee as strong as I could possibly get it. 

I was putting a lot of time and effort into the business, I didn’t have time to be spending much time making coffee, I didn’t have much of a budget, and I thought it might be a good idea to just keep a big pot of coffee on a hot plate. 

The Melitta Look IV Therm Timer filter coffee machine. The best selling filter coffee machine on Amazon at the time of writing.

Also, there was no kitchen in my office, no sink etc., it was a serviced office space with various offices all sharing communal kitchens on each floor – so it made sense to have a filter machine in terms of minimal trips to the kitchen.

So I bought an electric filter coffee machine, huge tins of pre-ground coffee for filter, and would make a large pot of coffee in the morning, keep it on the hot plate until I’d finished it, and then put another pot on whenever I was expecting a visitor. 

I always thought the coffee I was buying at the time was particularly harsh and strong, I realise now, of course, that the reason for this is the fact that I was leaving it on a hot plate, getting more and more bitter. 

The best types of one person office machines. 

This really depends on you. Back then, I had no home barista skills, I had no particular interest in speciality coffee – my main goal was simply to stay caffeinated, and awake – plus to at least have a chance of impressing the odd visitor I had back then with “proper” coffee rather than instant. 

These days, I’m a completely different person when it comes to coffee. I’ve got some home barista skills thanks to lots of practice, and a barista training course, and my taste is completely different. 

If I was in the same situation now, in an office without its own kitchen, and I wanted a coffee machine just for me and the occasional visitor, I’d probably go for a bean to cup espresso machine. 

I wouldn’t have a bean to cup machine at home, because at home I want to make coffee the traditional way, but in an office situation, especially without a kitchen to house the machine, I think a traditional machine would probably a bit too much. 

If I had a small office with its own kitchen rather than a communal kitchen, then I’d buy a traditional semi automatic Espresso machine, and which one I’d buy would simply depend on budget. On a lower budget, probably the Gaggia Classic, or Sage Due Temp Pro, or one of the Lelit Anna machines, paired with a Sage smart grinder pro.

If the budget was a bit higher, then maybe the Nuova Simonelli Oscar 2, really like the look of that machine – it’s a heat exchanger machine so you can use it like a dual boiler, pull the shot and steam the milk at the same time, but at about £800, quite a bit out of the price range of most dual boiler machines. 

If my budget was around a grand, I’d be looking at the likes of the the Sage dual boiler, Expobar Office Leva (available tank filled or plumbed). Between around £1100-£1500 there’s a really big choice including machines like the beautiful UK manufactured Fracino Classico, ECM Classika II PID, ECM Heidelberg, Rocket Appartamento, Lelit Mara PL62T, Nuova Simonelli Musica LUX, ECM Mechanika & La Spaziale S1 Mini.

For a large range of these kinds of machines, have a look at BeanHeros and BellaBarista

If you don’t have home barista skills, and you’re about as interested in developing them as I’m interested in becoming a gymnast (not very) then a traditional Espresso machine probably wouldn’t be the best idea for your office coffee machine.

As I said earlier, a bean to cup machine is a good idea, but it depends on your budget. A cheaper domestic bean to cup machine does require some home Barista skills, where as a more expensive one touch type machine will give you pretty decent coffee at the touch of a button. 

If you have a new business with virtually no budget for an office coffee machine, then it depends on which kind of coffee you like to drink.

If you like short shots of coffee, rather than big mugs – then an Nespresso machine or a Lavazza machine isn’t a bad shout. They’re cheap, and OK they’re not “proper” espresso machines, they produce a slightly different coffee (see Nespresso Vs Espresso, also see Nespresso vs Lavazza A Modo Mio), but for how fast and convenient they are, they’re a great choice for many, and actually many people prefer Nespresso or Lavazza to true Espresso.

If you like milkies, and your office doesn’t have it’s own kitchen, then one of the disk machines such as Tassimo or Dolce’ Gusto might be worth considering. I say this because you can get milk pods for these machines, and although I must say I don’t like milkies made with milk pods (I think it tends to taste fake, and sweet), but many people like them, and if you don’t have a kitchen with a fridge and a sink, then frothing your own milk would be a pain.

If you like bigger mugs of black coffee, Dowe Egberts senseo machines aren’t a bad idea if you fancy a pod machine, you use what look a bit like tea bags, but which contain coffee, of course ;-), and they make bigger cups of coffee than with the other pod/disk machines (see Tassimo Vs DolceGusto & Senseo).

If you do have a kitchen available, with a fridge & a sink, then an idea for making milkies on a budget would be to use a pod or disk machine along with a milk frother such as an Aeroccino, or  a battery powered hand frother, as long as you have some way to heat the milk. 

If you’re going to be in a one person office but you have a fairly decent budget (i.e. a grand or more) then by all means go for a more advanced one touch bean to cup machine. Many people won’t have the budget for this, especially small start ups, but some may. 

Multiple person office coffee machines. 

The Franke A600 Bean to Cup Machine, available from Bean Machines.

If you’re looking for an office coffee machine for a larger office, with multiple users and/or for use by the public, such as in a waiting room or a retail business, then then a commercial bean to cup machine may be the best option.

These are the same kind of machines that are used in hotels, and in businesses that sell hot drinks along side their main products (such as bakeries, cafe’s and restaurants who focus more on food than coffee, so don’t have trained Baristas, or need the machines to be self serve).

Some of these machines are amazing. The Franke A600 for example, features:

  • 3 different brewing modes 
  • Hot and cold (fresh) milk options
  • Syrup dispensing station
  • 8-inch colour touch screen
  • Intuitive menu
  • Long-life ceramic grinders
  • Automated cleaning schedule

Darenth Roma Bean to cup espresso machine, also available from Bean Machines.

The British made, all metal built Darenth Roma bean to cup machine, is another example of a popular bean to cup machine.

This one uses granulated milk as opposed to fresh, using a clever whipper system to deliver coffee shop style milk foam without the usual issues that can come with using fresh milk.

This machine has a tonne of features including being able to knock out up to 100 coffees per hour, cash and cashless payment system if you’re charging for drinks, 14 single touch selection keys along with strength selection. Looks like a good machine!

While these two machines I’ve used as examples are high level machines, there is quite a wide range of office and commercial bean to cup machines costing anywhere from probably a grand or so and upwards. 

You can lease these commercial bean to cup coffee machines too, so they’re not necessarily a huge drain on cash flow, just be careful to lease or buy from a company who has a good track record when it comes to maintenance and support.

Bean machines based in South Manchester have a great reputation, and I’ve visited their show rooms a few times – they offer a wide range of commercial Espresso machines, and they have lots of support staff and engineers. This isn’t an ad, by the way, or sponsored review – or anything of that kind, this isn’t a commercial blog.

Commercial filter coffee machines

If you’re looking for an office coffee machine but the above seems overkill for your requirements, maybe all you need is a more commercial filter coffee machine. 

Auto or manual commercial filter coffee machines are a good option for making large volumes of filter coffee. As long as the coffee is used fairly soon after brewing and doesn’t sit on a hot plate for hour getting bitter, filter machines are a good solution for offices, especially when it comes to meetings. 

The Bravilor Bonamat, for instance, is comes with two 1.5l jugs and two hot plates, which means enough coffee for around 12 x 8 ounce cups.

I don’t know where coffee machine manufacturers get their figures from sometimes, they list this as a 24 cup machine – who drinks 4 ounce (118ml) cups of filter coffee??

I think 8 ounce is a bit more like it, so this machine has the capacity for roughly 12 cups, in my opinion.

It’s a commercial machine, made for hotels, pubs and offices, so it’s likely to be rugged and durable, and it’s not a bad price at about £300 on Amazon.

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Roasters Artisan Coffee in Devon, are one of the many UK roasters in the UK coffee roasters directory.

I’ve sampled some of their coffee in the past, and remember being impressed, with the coffee, and the value for money offered by this roaster, who offer wholesale priced coffee beans directly to the public. What I didn’t actually realise at the time, was that there was anything different about the way this roaster roasts their coffee, but I’ll get to that in a minute…

So when they got in touch recently asking me would I like to sample their starter/blender box, obviously, I said yes! ;-). I never say no to coffee…

By the way, in case anyone is wondering, this is not a sponsored post, a paid review, or anything of that nature – I never do anything commercial like this, I’ve never taken money for a post or a review, and never will. Everything you read here is my own honest, and unadulterated opinion. OK, I got some free coffee – but I get a lot of free coffee, it’s one of the perks of running coffeeblog ;-), but this would never lead me to say anything other than my true opinion, if I didn’t really enjoy something, I wouldn’t say I did just because it didn’t cost me anything.

OK, maybe it wasn’t quite this big ;-), still, was quite a big box of coffee.

Anyway, I digress, so getting back to the review of the coffee…

When it came, I wasn’t sure what this package was that I had been presented with, a pretty huge box.

I’m used to getting fairly compact packages of coffee samples. Even three bags of coffee usually would be a fairly small package – so I opened the box and discovered that this really isn’t a roaster who do things by halves, their starter box is 500g of three coffees, so 1.5k in total!

There’s a chance you’ll be doing the same, by the way, quite soon – as there’s going to be a chance to win one of these starter boxes from Roasters Artisan Coffee very soon, keep your eyes open for the next competition…

Have a look at their website, roasterscoffee.com, and you’ll see they offer their 1.5k boxes for £20.30, this is £6.67 per 500g, the equivalent of £3.83 for a 250g bag, so we really are talking wholesale pricing here. If you’re within a 10 mile radius of TQ12 5EZ, they’ll even personally deliver, and give you a discount…

Before I talk about the coffee itself, a bit of info about this roaster: Founded by veteran coffee roaster Peter Pitts back in 1979,  Roasters Artisan Coffee started out by delivering free coffee brewing setups on loan, to businesses around Newton Abbot, and then delivering a regular supply of freshly roasted coffee to these businesses.

They did this very successfully, building up a client base of over 400 businesses, before beginning to also offer their freshly roasted coffee beans directly to the public,  via food markets, festivals and other events, and then also via their own website and other online marketplaces. 

What makes this roaster stand out in particular, is their use of a traditional drum roaster – the rights to which, Peter actually bought from the inventor himself.

If you manage to catch Peter at a food festival or other event, you may get to see him in his mobile coffee roasting trailer, showing off this unusual coffee roaster. I say “unusual”, it wouldn’t have been once, it was a traditional method for roasting coffee, with no mod cons, no technical assistance, an old fashioned process which relied 100% on the skill of the roaster, and nothing else.

It’s all about the senses, this process, as with other traditional roasting methods, the roaster needs to rely on their sense of smell, vision and hearing, and their knowledge of the coffee beans they’re working with, and where they need to take the bean to in order to get the best out of it.

So there’s a couple of good reasons to try coffee from this roaster, one is that it’s single origin coffee roasted using a traditional method that is rare now among UK coffee roasters, and the second main reason is that it’s just such great value for money at these prices!

What’s in the box?

In their Starter/blenders box no1, is three x 500 gram bags of whole coffee beans: 

  • Brasil Santos

Lovely Brasilian coffee, balanced and well rounded. Overall, a very enjoyable coffee, great as a house bean for every day drinking via any of the coffee brewers. Does taste good via Espresso too. 

  • Colombian Excelso

Really enjoyed this one, medium roast single origin colombian. Great all day “chugging” coffee, tasted very good via Aeropress, Oomph, and V60, great as Espresso too. Very nice for such a low price! Oh look, I’m a poet and I didn’t know it ;-).

  • Espresso Unique.

This is Roasters Artisan Coffee’s espresso blend, roasted to the second crack. I enjoyed this, it’s a strong dark roast, produced LOTS of lovely thick crema via my La Pavoni, very enjoyable dark roasted Espresso blend. 

The idea with the starter box, is that you can decide which is your favourite, and then if you want to keep buying this coffee, you can buy a whole 1.5k box of this coffee each time, and keep stocked up with your chosen house coffee.

By the way, if you’re doing this and you’re wondering about storage, storing coffee beans in the freezer is fine as long as you separate it into smaller packages, so you can take out whatever you want to use without getting the entire bag out of the freezer. For more see best coffee storage

These zip lock bags that the coffee comes in are very good, though, they’re not like some of the bags I’ve had which seem to want to open themselves.

FREE limited edition Roasters Artisan Cup, for coffeeblog readers.

Not only do you get 1.5 Kilos of freshly roasted coffee for just over £20, if you enter the following into the text box on the ordering page: 

MY FREE ROASTERS CUP CB1218

You’ll get this pretty coffee cup, free, nice eh?

If you fancy this – you can order online at roasterscoffee.com or if you’re phoning to order, or visiting if you’re local to Newton Abbot, just mention this post, and I’m sure you’ll still get the free cup. 

Life is like a box of chocolates, so follow me on Twitter, and that’s all I have to say about that.

The post Starter Box/Blender Box no1 from Roasters Artisan Coffee Beans appeared first on Coffee Blog.

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