Coffee Makers & Coffee Machines
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Coffee Makers & Coffee Machines: specifications, types
— Espresso (manual). All espresso coffee makers operate according to this principle: water heated to a high temperature under excess pressure (from 4 bar, and ideally 10 bar or more) is passed through a holder with ground coffee. This allows you to extract from the coffee the maximum amount of substances that give the drink taste, aroma and beneficial properties, and also provides a characteristic foam. In a similar way, coffee is prepared with the same name — espresso, and on its basis — many other coffee drinks (see "Preset programs"). Specifically, espresso coffee makers are called manual, in which the holder is made quick-detachable, and all operations with it are performed manually: the user himself must measure the required amount of coffee, pour it into the holder, tamp it with tamper, install it in the coffee maker and unload the “waste” thick after preparation. Removable holders are also called "horns", and coffee makers with them — carob. Preparing espresso by hand, on the one hand, requires a certain skill, on the other hand, it allows the barista to reveal all his skills and achieve a taste that is unattainable on automatic coffee makers. Therefore, in most coffee shops and restaurants, it is manual espresso coffee makers that are used, and sophisticated coffee connoisseurs prefer them for home use.
— Espresso (automatic). A variety of espresso coffee makers (see above), in which the proces...s is as automated as possible: the user only needs to load a supply of coffee and water and give a start command, all other operations (dosing, tamping, cleaning after cooking) will be performed by the coffee machine. Automatic models are much easier and easier to use than manual ones: the number of unnecessary actions when preparing coffee is minimized, and the “human factor” almost does not affect the process, and the quality of the drink is unchanged. On the other hand, for many coffee lovers, these moments are disadvantages, not advantages: some appreciate the ritual of manual cooking, others appreciate the opportunity to experiment with various nuances (dosage, tamping, etc.), achieving the perfect taste. Yes, and automatic coffee makers are more expensive than carob models with similar characteristics.
— Filtration (drip). A type of coffee maker that is especially popular on the American continent, but has recently been increasingly used in Europe. By the principle of operation, they are similar to the espresso coffee makers described above, but they have one key difference: hot water passes through the filter not under pressure, but only due to gravity. In addition, for filter coffee, beans of a lower degree of roasting and coarser grinding are used. Due to this, the drink (known as a filter coffee, or “pour over”) turns out to be less saturated than espresso, without a characteristic foam, more homogeneous and with a lower concentration of caffeine (the latter is compensated by a large portion size — usually about 120-150 mL). As for the filtration coffee makers themselves, the traditional element of their equipment is a transparent coffee jug, often containing 10 or more standard servings, or another container for ready-made coffee — for example, a mug.
— Combined. Models that combine both a filter coffee maker and an espresso coffee maker (usually manual type). See above for each of these varieties, and their combination provides appropriate versatility, allowing you to prepare both filter coffee and espresso-based drinks in one coffee maker. On the other hand, such a combination is not cheap, and the real need for it rarely arises: east european coffee lovers much more often prefer Americano, rather than pour over. Therefore, combined models have not received much distribution.
— Geyser. Other name options are "Moka", "Moka Express". Outwardly, such coffee makers resemble teapots of a special shape — tapering towards the middle. The volume of such a "teapot" is divided into two parts: water is poured into the lower one, the upper one is for the finished drink; the containers are connected by a vertical tube, in the middle of which there is a filter for ground coffee (the grind should be slightly larger than for espresso). When heated, the pressure in the lower half of the vessel increases, and hot water is pushed into the upper vessel, passing through the coffee filter. This allows you to achieve almost the same quality of the drink as in espresso coffee makers, while geyser models are simpler in design and use, cheaper, more compact and safer. Their disadvantage can be called the fact that the water can be heated to excessively high temperatures (above 96 °C), which makes the coffee excessively bitter. However, in many models, temperature limiters are used to eliminate this drawback.
— Electric Turk. The electrical analogue of the Turks (cezva) — a special vessel for making coffee in an oriental (Turkish) way. One of the advantages of such a device over the usual cezve is that the electric Turk can be provided with automation that will turn off the heating when the optimum temperature is reached (which means that the user does not have to monitor the process on their own). The volume of electric rods, like conventional ones, is small — about 300-400 mL; coffee should be of the finest grinding, and the drink as a result is extremely rich, with a high content of grounds. However some connoisseurs are skeptical about electric Turks, believing that they do not allow you to achieve the "right" taste; however, this point is more related to self-belief than to the actual taste of coffee.
— Siphon. Coffee makers using the siphon principle of operation; a similar technology for making coffee was popular in the 19th century, then almost forgotten, but recently it has begun to gain popularity again. For siphon brewing, two containers are used, installed one above the other: coffee is poured into the upper one, water is poured into the lower one. The containers are connected by a tube, and when heated, the water rises, irrigating the coffee; when all the water is at the top, the heating is turned off, and the hot liquid is poured back into the lower container, again passing through the filter with ground coffee. It is believed that this method allows you to get a drink with a very mild and pleasant taste. At the same time, both the design of siphon coffee makers and the procedure for preparing coffee itself are quite complex, so such devices are produced in small quantities, mainly for sophisticated connoisseurs.
Built-in coffee grinder
The presence in the device of its own built-in coffee grinder. Such additional equipment affects the cost, but provides several important advantages. Firstly, you can grind grains immediately before brewing — and, as you know, freshly ground coffee is considered the most delicious. Secondly, some coffee grinders allow you to adjust the degree of grinding to your liking; this will be appreciated by those who like to experiment with different varieties of grains and degrees of welding. Thirdly, bean coffee is usually cheaper than factory ground coffee; this moment is especially relevant for coffee shops, bars and restaurants, where coffee drinks have to be prepared often and in large quantities.
The material from which the burrs are made in a coffee machine with a built-in coffee grinder (see above).
Millstones are the working part of the coffee grinder, they directly provide grinding of grains; so the properties of the material from which these parts are made are very important. Nowadays, you can find two types of millstones:
— Metal. The oldest, classic version, not losing popularity today. The key advantages of metal millstones are high strength, reliability and resistance to foreign objects; at the same time, this option is also somewhat cheaper than ceramics. However there is an opinion that such millstones tend to give the grains an extraneous taste — especially after long work (due to the strong heating of the metal). Such situations can really arise, but most often they have other reasons: cheap low-quality materials in the design of the coffee maker itself, negligent attitude towards cleaning and maintaining the mechanism, etc. Millstones, on the other hand, are usually made of durable refractory materials, which, during the grinding process, are almost impossible to heat up to such an extent that they begin to noticeably affect the taste of the grains. So most modern coffee grinders (including built-in coffee machines) are equipped with this type of millstone.
— Ceramic. Millstones made of special high-strength ceramics. This is a relatively new option, which is generally considered more advance...d than metal: it is believed that ceramics are in no way capable of affecting the taste of the ground grains. However this is due not so much to the real properties of this material, but to the overall quality of the coffee makers themselves (they are generally more expensive than models with metal millstones). In addition, the psychological factor also has an impact: the taste perception of coffee is largely subjective. So the information that the grains were ground with ceramic millstones can affect the attitude towards the product and the final impression of the finished drink. Anyway, ceramic millstones are quite popular among connoisseurs of quality coffee. Another advantage is their somewhat lower noise level than metal ones. However, it must be borne in mind that such mechanisms are very sensitive to the ingress of foreign objects (even small ones) and are not suitable for any products other than coffee.
Number of bins
The number of bins provided in the design of the coffee maker. This parameter is specified only for models that have several bunkers at once.
A hopper is a container for coffee beans provided in a coffee maker with a built-in coffee grinder (see above). The presence of several such containers (usually 2, less often 3) allows you to load several varieties of coffee into the device at once and, when preparing each cup, select the variety according to the user's taste. On the other hand, this feature significantly complicates the design and increases its cost. In addition, note that coffee particles from the previous grinding, remaining on the millstones, inevitably fall into the next grinding. Thus, it is not recommended to load coffee varieties that differ significantly in taste and aroma into the hoppers — for example, regular and additionally flavored beans: in such cases, coffee from one hopper can significantly affect the taste of coffee from another.
Types of coffee for which the coffee maker was originally designed.
— Ground. Traditional ground coffee; the easiest way is to buy such a product in finished form, but if you wish, you can grind it yourself from whole grains. And if this option is specified for a model with a built-in coffee grinder (see above), this means that both grains and pre-ground coffee can be loaded into it, if desired.
— In grains. This option, by definition, means that the coffee machine is equipped with a built-in coffee grinder, which means that you can grind beans in it immediately before brewing, which allows you to maximize the taste and aroma. For more information about the other benefits of this option, see Built-in coffee grinder. Also note here that some coffee machines with this function also allow the use of ground coffee (see above), others work exclusively with beans from their own coffee grinder and do not require loading a powder ground separately.
— Capsules. Ground coffee, packaged in special capsules; usually, one such container is used to prepare one serving of the drink. Capsule coffee makers are extremely simple and easy to use: just charge the capsule, turn on the preparation and wait for the end of the process, and then remove the used container. The capsules themselves can be both disposable and reusable. The advantage of the first option is that the...human factor is eliminated from the brewing process: each capsule contains a standard portion of coffee, and each next cup is no different from the previous one. In addition, disposable containers are hermetically sealed and can be stored for a long time without loss of quality. Their disadvantages are the limited flavors, the high final cost of the drink (almost twice as expensive as using beans or ground coffee), and the fact that different manufacturers of coffee machines use different capsule formats. Reusable capsules, in turn, can be refilled with ground coffee to your taste, they are cheaper, but they are not suitable for long-term storage and require thorough cleaning when changing coffee varieties.
— Pods (cialda). A type of portion packaging in which roasted ground coffee is packed in a special filter, most often paper; each such filter, in turn, is stored in a sealed bag. From a practical point of view, pods are very similar to disposable capsules (see above). On the one hand, the preparation of such coffee is extremely simple, convenient and does not require any special skills: just charge the pod, turn on the coffee maker and wait for the preparation; and sealed packaging allows you to store such coffee for a long time. On the other hand, pods do not allow you to experiment with different varieties, grinding levels and cooking features, and the choice of varieties and tastes among them is rather limited. In terms of one cup of coffee in pods, it is somewhat cheaper than a drink from disposable capsules, but still more expensive than coffee from ground beans.
Separately, we note that some models of coffee makers allow the use of several types of coffee at once, at the user's choice. For example, in the holder of some manual espresso coffee makers (see "Type"), both a portion of ground coffee and a pod can be charged.
Programs for the preparation of individual drinks provided in the coffee maker.
This list can include both the classic, most popular coffee and hot drinks ( espresso, americano, ristretto, cappuccino, latte, latte macchiato, hot chocolate), as well as more specific recipes: espresso macchiato, espresso lungo, double espresso, Flat White, Long Black, cream coffee, etc. Also, the design often provides for separate modes for obtaining hot milk, milk foam and hot water. Here is a more detailed description of each of these options:
— Own program. A function that allows the user to independently compose coffee recipes at their discretion. In the “custom program” mode, you can set the main cooking parameters: grinding degree (almost all coffee makers with this mode are equipped with coffee grinders), temperature and amount of water, operating pressure, etc. It was possible to prepare your own unique drink literally at the touch of a button. And...some models may provide the ability to save multiple programs and even user profiles, allowing several people to use their personal sets of recipes at once.
— Espresso. Classic Italian espresso is one of the most famous and popular coffee drinks. The standard serving volume is 35 mL, it is prepared from 7 g of coffee. Ideally, the drink should have a characteristic light creamy crema. Such coffee has a rich taste and aroma, which is why many consider it perhaps the most “powerful” in terms of impact; however, espresso actually contains relatively little caffeine.
— Espresso macchiato. Espresso (see above) with added milk foam. Such a drink is similar to the cappuccino described below, however, it has a smaller volume due to the smaller amount of milk — about 15 mL is added in traditional recipes.
— Espresso lungo. A variety of espresso (see above) characterized by a large amount of water (up to 60 mL instead of 35 mL), a long extraction time and, as a result, a higher caffeine content. In fact, lungo is a cross between classic espresso and americano; sometimes this drink is also called "Americano in Italian."
— Double espresso. Also known as "doppio" (espresso doppio). The name fully corresponds to the essence of this drink: it is, in fact, two servings of espresso (70 g) in one cup. The amount of coffee when cooking is also taken twice as much — 14 g instead of 7 g.
— Ristretto. The strongest and most concentrated of the popular coffee drinks, also referred to as "short espresso". With the same amount of coffee (7 g), much less water goes to a serving of ristretto — about 20 – 25 mL.
—>Flat White. A drink based on double espresso (see above) with slightly foamed milk; at the same time, about 110 mL of milk is added to 60 mL of espresso, which ultimately gives a volume of approximately 170 mL. "Flat White" has a more pronounced coffee taste than cappuccino and latte, and at the same time, it retains the characteristic soft milky aftertaste.
— Long Black. A drink similar in many ways to the Americano (see below) is made from espresso and hot water. The difference lies in the fact that, firstly, a double portion of espresso is used for Long Black, and secondly, when preparing coffee, it is poured into water, and not vice versa. Thus, the drink turns out to be stronger and more saturated than Americano, moreover, it has a dense and aromatic foam characteristic of espresso. The standard serving volume is about 120 mL.
— Americano. Drink in the form of a serving of regular or double espresso (see above), diluted with hot water — usually in a ratio of 1:2 to 1:4, so that the volume of the finished drink is most often from 110 to 240 mL; other volumes and proportions are possible. Water softens the rich taste of espresso and eliminates bitterness, which may seem excessive to some. Many lovers of the “coffee classic” are skeptical about Americano — however, this is purely a matter of taste, which does not interfere with the popularity of this drink.
— Coffee cream. "Black" coffee drink, prepared in a fairly large volume, similar to Americano (see above) — 180 – 240 mL. The key difference lies in the method of preparation: in this case, not pre-brewed espresso is topped up with water to the desired volume, but the entire volume of water is passed through ground coffee. In addition, the coffee itself should have a coarser grind than for espresso and espresso-based drinks. The word "crema" in the name refers to the characteristic nut-colored foam, which in such a drink turns out to be especially dense.
— Cappuccino. An espresso-based coffee drink with frothed milk is approximately 4 parts milk to 1 part espresso, so the final volume is usually around 150 mL. A distinctive feature of cappuccino is a large amount of milk foam. Note that the program for preparing such a drink can be either fully automatic or semi-automatic, and even completely manual; see "Preparing a Cappuccino" for details.
— Latte. Another espresso-based drink with added milk and milk foam on the surface. It differs from the cappuccino described above, firstly, by a slightly smaller amount of foam, secondly, by a large volume (up to 360 mL), and thirdly, by the method of serving — latte is served in a special tall glass and drunk through a straw. In addition, various syrups can be added to the drink to give original flavors.
— Latte macchiato. A drink that has almost the same composition as the latte described above, but differs in the method of preparation. In this case, not milk is poured into coffee, but coffee is poured into milk, and this is done in a special way — milk is first frothed, then espresso is poured through the foam. A small speck remains on the surface of the foam, which is why the drink is called “macchiato” (“stained”). A properly prepared latte macchiato has a layered structure: coffee on top, thicker and colder milk on the bottom.
— Hot chocolate. In this case, it can mean both classic hot chocolate and more inexpensive and easy-to-cook cocoa. The first type of drink is made from hard chocolate melted in hot milk; cocoa is made from cocoa powder, it can be made both on the basis of milk and on the basis of water. Specific methods of making hot chocolate in different coffee makers may be different, they should be specified separately.
— Hot milk. A separate program for heating milk — usually up to a temperature of about 65 °C. Milk heated to such a temperature is already perceived as hot, but it does not turn into foam, moreover, it acquires a sweetish taste. Such milk can be used both for preparing various types of coffee (the same cappuccino or latte), and as an independent drink.
— Milk foam. Separate program for preparing milk foam. In this case, we mean the method provided for in models with automatic and semi-automatic cappuccino preparation (see below): the coffee machine independently draws milk from a container (external or built-in), whips into foam and dispenses through the spout. Such a program provides additional features for experimentation and the development of your own recipes: it allows you to add foam to drinks where this was not provided for in the original recipes.
— Hot water. A separate program for heating water — usually up to a temperature of about 90 °C. Such water can be used both for making coffee (primarily Americano, see above), and for brewing various teas — classic, herbal, berry, etc.: for many of these compositions, the temperature of 90 °C is optimal.
Note that not all are listed above, but only the most popular programs used in modern coffee makers. In addition to them, other recipes may be provided in the design — for example, cold brew (cold brewing), cortado (espresso and hot milk 1 to 1), etc.
A function that allows the user to independently compose coffee recipes at their discretion. In the “custom program” mode, you can set the main cooking parameters: grinding degree (almost all coffee makers with this mode are equipped with coffee grinders), temperature and amount of water, operating pressure, etc. It was possible to prepare your own unique drink literally at the touch of a button. And some models may provide the ability to save multiple programs and even user profiles, allowing several people to use their personal sets of recipes at once.
Preparing a cappuccino
The method of preparation of cappuccino and other coffee drinks with milk foam (latte, latte macchiato, etc. — see "Preset programs"), provided for in coffee makers. The differences between different methods are primarily in the method of preparing the foam:
— Manual. With this method, the user must froth the milk himself — the coffee maker only provides the hot steam under pressure necessary for this. Steam is supplied through a tube, which usually has a special panarello nozzle — it makes it easier to whip the foam. Occasionally there are models without such a nozzle, with a “bare” tube — they are designed mainly for professionals. Manual systems are simple and inexpensive in themselves, besides they give a certain “freedom of imagination”, allowing you to experiment with the cooking process; however, the use of such systems requires some skill.
— Semi -automatic. This method involves the presence of a separate spout from which milk foam is supplied. The coffee maker prepares such foam on its own, collecting milk from an external vessel through a special tube (however, there are also models with a built-in milk tank). When using such a device, you must first make an espresso, and then move the cup under the “milk” spout and press the foam supply button (or in reverse order if latte macchiato is being prepared). Spouts can be located nearby — then the cup does not need to be moved; however,...coffee and foam in such devices are still prepared separately. However, this method is still noticeably simpler and faster than the manual one.
— Automatic. The most automated cooking process that allows you to get drinks with milk foam in just one click: just put a cup under the spout, turn on the program — and the coffee maker will automatically dispense a portion of espresso and the right amount of foam. Usually, such models are equipped with their own milk tank (see below). This method is the most convenient, but it is worth recalling that different recipes require a different order of ingredients: for example, when cooking latte and cappuccino, milk is added to coffee, while cooking latte macchiato, on the contrary. At the same time, the ability to choose the order is not available in all automatic coffee makers; this nuance should be clarified before buying.
— Grain grinding degree. Possibility to choose the degree of coffee grinding. The strength and general consistency of the finished coffee depends on the grinding (the finer, the richer), for different types of coffee drinks, the optimal degree of grinding will also be different. So, for espresso and drinks based on it (cappuccino, latte, etc. — see “Preset programs”), a rather fine grind is required, for Turkish coffee — as fine as possible (“dust”), for cream coffee and filter coffee — medium, and for a French press — large.
— Pre-wetting. Possibility to pre-moisten the ground coffee with hot water before preparing the drink. Usually, this option allows you to set the time of coffee wetting at the request of the user, although there are exceptions. Anyway, a similar possibility is found in automatic coffee machines. The role of pre-wetting is primarily to fully reveal the taste and aroma of coffee and get the most intense drink.
— The strength of the drink. The ability to manually adjust the strength of the resulting drink. Such adjustment can be carried out in different ways: by changing the amount of coffee per serving, water temperature, the speed of its passage, etc. The number of settings can also be different: the simplest option is two (“strong” and “soft”), but possibly more options. Anyway, this function provides additional features for customizing...the taste of the drink to personal preferences.
— The volume of the drink. Features to choose the volume of the finished drink at your discretion. The methods of such a choice in different models may differ: in some there are fixed settings (20 mL, 35 mL, etc.), from which the user selects the desired option, in others the volume can also be set manually, including “by eye”. This feature not only allows you to customize standard programs to suit your preferences, but also provides additional features for experimenting with various original recipes.
— Temperature control. The ability to regulate the temperature of the water supplied for brewing coffee. The final taste of the drink strongly depends on this indicator: the higher the temperature, the brighter and more saturated the taste is; however, with strong heating (96 °C and above), substances begin to be released from the coffee, giving additional bitterness. The optimal temperature for brewing is considered to be in the range of 92 – 95 °C, however, coffee makers can also provide a wider range of adjustments. There is an opinion that even a difference of only 1 °C can significantly affect the properties of the finished drink, so this adjustment will be indispensable for those who care about the slightest nuances of taste and aroma of coffee.
— Steam pressure. The ability to change the pressure of the steam coming out of the panarello nozzle. Recall that this nozzle is used for whipping milk foam (in particular, when preparing cappuccino), as well as heating milk. By changing the outlet pressure, you can adjust the steam intensity and achieve different foam density (or do without foam at all if the goal is to warm the milk).
— Volume / density of foam. The ability to adjust the volume and height of the foam "cap" will come in handy for lovers of coffee and milk drinks: cappuccino, latte, macchiato. The quality of the finished drink is determined by the amount and density of the foam. These parameters are selected individually depending on user taste preferences.
— Water hardness. The ability to adjust the coffee machine to the hardness of the water used. During operation, the heater of the coffee maker inevitably becomes covered with scale and requires periodic cleaning (decalcification). The harder the water, the faster scale builds up and the more often cleaning is required. At the same time, the machine evaluates the state of the heater not by the actual amount of scale, but by the water hardness entered in the settings and by the operating time since the last cleaning. Thus, in order to remove scale in time, you need to set the hardness settings correctly — otherwise, warnings about the need for decalcification will “pop up” either too often or with a delay. Usually, a coffee maker with this function comes with an indicator for measuring water hardness, and there are four settings: very soft water, soft, hard and very hard.
Servings for 1 time
The number of cups of coffee that can be prepared in the coffee maker at one time.
The meaning of this characteristic may be different, depending on the design of the coffee maker. So, if the device does not belong to geyser models or electric Turks (see "Type"), and also does not have its own coffee pot (reservoir for finished coffee), the number of servings is indicated by the number of pouring spouts. Two-spout devices, that is , two cups, are widely used among such models: they are convenient not only for preparing coffee for two people, but also for recipes that require a double portion of espresso. Options for one spout are much less common, these are mostly compact and relatively inexpensive models.
In turn, for Turks and geyser coffee makers, the number of servings is determined by the capacity of the water tank (see below), and for models with their own coffee pot, by the capacity of the coffee pot (it also approximately corresponds to the capacity of the tank). Moreover, the calculation is also carried out in different ways. In electric Turks, geyser models, as well as espresso coffee makers with a container for ready-made coffee, 60 g of drink is usually considered per serving — the maximum volume of one cup of classic espresso; for filtration models — twice as much, 120 – 125 g (standard serving volume of filter coffee). In all these cases, the number of servings can be three or more, and many coffee pots generally hold 10 to 12 servings.
The volume of the water tank provided in the coffee maker; for electric turrets (see "Type"), this paragraph indicates the actual working volume of the turkish.
The larger the tank, the more coffee you can make without refilling the device; on the other hand, a large capacity, respectively, affects the dimensions, weight and price of the device. Therefore, manufacturers select this parameter in accordance with the general level of the coffee maker and the features of its intended use. So, for home use, you rarely have to make more than two cups of coffee at the same time, and 300 – 400 mL for such cases is usually more than enough. And for use in a coffee shop or restaurant, where coffee is made often and in large quantities, large-sized devices are produced, the volume of which is already calculated in liters; recommendations for choosing the volume of a coffee maker for professional use can be found in special sources.
Coffee grinder capacity
The amount of coffee that can be loaded into the built-in grinder at one time (see above). The larger the capacity of the coffee grinder, the less often it will have to be “recharged” and the more coffee can be prepared at one “gas station”. For ease of evaluation, we recall that it takes 7 g of coffee to prepare one standard portion of espresso.
The coffee maker has its own milk container. Technically, to prepare various types of coffee with milk, you don’t necessarily need your own tank — you can use any vessel with milk by lowering the straw from the coffee maker into it (or even cook the milk separately and add it manually). At the same time, the presence of a special container, usually, means that the coffee maker has its own programs for preparing coffee with milk — cappuccino, latte, etc. (see "Preset programs"). In addition, your own milk tank is usually more convenient than third-party containers, and it takes up less space.
— Heated cups / coffee pot. The presence of a heater for cups or a coffee pot in the coffee maker. The meaning of this function depends on the device type (see above). So, cups are heated in espresso coffee makers — it is believed that espresso and drinks based on it are best poured into heated dishes. The heater in such models has the form of a platform on the upper side of the case — there are always clean cups on it, ready to pour coffee. In turn, in filter coffee makers, the heater is built into the stand for the coffee jug — this allows you to constantly keep the finished coffee hot.
— Self -cleaning. A function that allows you to automatically remove scale, coffee bean residues and other impurities from the coffee maker. The specific format of the self-cleaning operation and its effectiveness in different models may be different (but not perfect). However, anyway, this function greatly simplifies the maintenance of the coffee maker.
— Water filter. Built-in filter to purify the water used in the coffee preparation process. According to the principle of operation, such devices are in many ways similar to filter jugs: a filter cartridge is installed in the water tank, through which the liquid passes “along the way” to the brewing unit. At the same time, the presence of a filter is indicated only for those coffee makers that were originally equipped with suc...h a cartridge. The specific capabilities of the filter may vary, but anyway it will be useful if for one reason or another you are not sure about the quality of the water you use (or just want to have an additional guarantee just in case). However the filter elements must be changed periodically, which means additional costs.
— Display. A small external screen that makes the operation of the coffee maker more visual. Various service information can be displayed here, for example, data about the started preparation program and the time it ended, about the volume of water in the tank or coffee in the coffee grinder (in models with a built-in coffee grinder), warnings about emergency situations, etc. We emphasize that in this case we are talking about traditional displays; touch screens are listed as a separate feature (see below).
— Touchscreen. Touch-sensitive screen — similar to those used in smartphones and tablets. Such a screen not only displays various information about the operation of the coffee maker — the device is also controlled through it. At the same time, such control often turns out to be more convenient and visual than traditional methods such as buttons or rotary knobs: a wide variety of visual elements (buttons, sliders, counters, etc.) can be displayed on the screen, depending on the current task. The main disadvantage of such equipment is the rather high cost. In addition, it makes sense to use touch screens only in advanced units with an abundance of features. So this feature is almost guaranteed to be a sign of a high-end coffee maker.
— Touch buttons. The presence of touch buttons on the control panel of the coffee machine. Such buttons have a number of advantages over conventional mechanical ones. Firstly, they do not need to be pressed with force — a light touch is enough. Secondly, the touchpad gives the whole device a stylish and “technological” appearance. Thirdly, such a panel has no gaps where dirt can accumulate, and protruding parts, so it is extremely easy to clean. On the other hand, sensors are quite expensive, and therefore they are found mainly in fairly advanced models — middle and top levels. Note that such buttons may well be combined with a touch screen (see above), although most often the display in such coffee makers is normal (and sometimes not at all).
— Management via the Internet. The ability to control the coffee maker via the Internet. The specific implementation of such control may be different: in some models you need to use a special application on a smartphone or tablet, in others it is enough to open a special Internet page in any browser. Anyway, this function allows you to control the coffee maker from anywhere in the world where there is a connection to the World Wide Web, as well as receive various information about its status (executing program, coffee / water remaining, error messages, etc.). It is unlikely that control via the Internet will be required when traveling to another continent, but it may turn out to be useful, for example, on the way home from work — you can “order” a portion of your favorite drink in advance and receive it immediately upon return, or check the rest of the coffee and, if necessary, buy more his. The coffee maker itself usually connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi.
— Smartphone control. The ability to remotely control the coffee maker from a smartphone or other gadget (for example, a tablet) with a special application installed on it. Such an application actually turns the gadget into an interactive remote control: from it you can not only give various commands to the coffee maker, but also monitor its operation parameters and receive various notifications. The convenience of this function is obvious: it eliminates the need to once again approach the coffee maker. The connection is usually via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, which is enough for reliable communication within a few metres, even through walls. We emphasize that this function should not be confused with control via the Internet (see above): in this case, we are talking about a direct connection between the coffee maker and the control gadget.
— Cooking timer. A function that allows you to delay the start of coffee preparation by a certain time. For example, you can program a coffee maker in the evening, so that in the morning the owner is already waiting in the kitchen for ready-made coffee. There are also more advanced timers that allow you to set several "starting points" during the day or even on the days of the week.
— Protection from children. The ability to lock the control panel of the coffee maker — thus, a curious child will not be able to independently start the device or change its mode of operation. Such a lock can be removed, for example, by simultaneously pressing several keys, or in another way, accessible to an adult and inaccessible to a child.
— 2 boilers. The presence in the coffee maker of two separate boilers — elements for heating water. The main meaning of this design lies in the “separation of tasks”: one of the boilers is directly responsible for heating the water for making coffee, the second for generating steam for frothing milk. Without such specialization, with one boiler, the process of preparing cappuccino and other similar drinks would take quite a long time: after making espresso, you would have to wait until the boiler goes into steam mode, and after whipping the foam, cool it to return to espresso mode . The presence of two boilers allows you to do without switching modes and significantly speed up the process. In addition, in such models, the main heater — for water — can be made not in the form of a boiler, but in the form of a thermoblock (where not the entire volume of the contents is heated, but small portions of water that are directly supplied to the holder during cooking).
Anyway, this design is especially convenient in coffee shops, restaurants, etc., where you have to prepare different drinks and the speed of preparation is important. But if the coffee maker is planned to be used mainly for coffee drinks without milk, this function will be rather redundant.
— Thermometer. The presence of a built-in thermometer in the design of the coffee maker allows you to accurately determine the temperature of water, foamed milk, a finished drink, etc. The specific nuances of using a thermometer may be different, but anyway, this function allows you to accurately control the cooking mode; this is especially appreciated by professional baristas and gourmets, who carefully monitor all the nuances of preparing their favorite drink. Also note that thermometers are often made mechanical — in the form of a "dial with an arrow"; such devices are not as accurate as digital ones, but they look interesting and give coffee makers a stylish look. At the same time, not specific numbers, but general temperature ranges (“low temperature”, “optimal”, “high”), highlighted by their own colours, may be provided on the scale of a mechanical thermometer.
— Manometer. An indicator that displays the pressure in the coffee maker tank. This function is found mainly in espresso coffee makers (see “Type”): an increased steam pressure is required to make espresso, while a pressure gauge allows you to control the status of the coffee maker and check whether it is ready for use. Also, such equipment will be useful from a safety point of view: you cannot open a pressure tank, you must first make sure that it has fallen to a safe level.
— Temper. The built-in tamper is a special device for tightly compacting coffee in the holder of an espresso coffee maker. This procedure is necessary to achieve the desired quality of brewing: proper compaction ensures the optimal density of ground coffee particles and uniform extraction. Tempers are also available as separate devices, resembling round seals, and many professional baristas prefer to use such tools. However, built-in fixtures have a number of practical advantages. The main one is that such a “press” is constantly in one place, it is not lost and is always at hand. In addition, in some advanced coffee machines with coffee grinders, the tamper is built right into the ground coffee supply mechanism, and after loading the holder, it is enough to turn the lever to tamp the contents; such systems are not only extremely easy to use, but also provide consistent tamping quality regardless of the user's skill. However, there is also a simpler version of the design, the so-called “heel” — a tempera sole installed directly on the coffee maker body.
— Increased thermal insulation. The presence of reinforced thermal insulation in the tanks of the coffee maker. The general principle of this design is that the tank is equipped with double walls, in the space between which there is a vacuum or a layer of special thermal insulating material. This minimizes heat loss, keeping the contents warm for a long time and avoiding wasted energy for additional heating. The specific type of tank where additional thermal insulation is used depends on the type of coffee maker (see above): in filtration models this is a container for finished coffee, in espresso coffee machines it is a container for milk (it makes no sense to additionally insulate a water boiler for a number of reasons, to In addition, many espresso coffee makers do not have a boiler as such and use thermoblocks with a flow heating principle).
The pressure that occurs in the tank of the coffee maker during normal operation.
This parameter is relevant for espresso coffee makers and geyser models (see "Type") — it is in them that coffee is prepared at increased steam pressure. At the same time, in the second case, this parameter can be ignored — in "geysers" the extraction of soluble substances from coffee occurs mainly due to high temperature. But for espresso coffee makers, pressure is a key characteristic. With an eye on it, all such devices can be divided into two categories. The first is the entry-level models, in which the pressure is only 4 – 5 bar. Such a modest figure is compensated by the high temperature of the steam, due to which the coffee aroma is relatively weak, but quite a lot of caffeine is extracted into the drink. More advanced espresso machines provide 15 bar and even higher ( 19 bar); this significantly affects the cost, but the coffee turns out to be as rich and aromatic as possible.
Maximum cup height
The highest height of a cup (or other container) that can be used with a coffee maker — a larger vessel simply does not fit under the spout.
This parameter makes it easier to choose compatible cookware. The smallest value of this indicator is about 75 mm, and in some models the allowable cup height reaches 160 mm and even more. For comparison, the classic demitas coffee cup used for espresso is about 60mm high. a standard 200 mL disposable cup is just over 90 mm, and a 400 mL ceramic mug (standard proportions) is about 120 mm.
The diameter of the horn for the vast majority of home coffee pods and entry-level coffee machines is 52 or 54 mm. In higher-end devices, this figure is 58 mm. Knowing the diameter of the horn, you can choose the right tamper - a tool for forming the correct "coffee pill" in the portafilter when preparing espresso.
Removable or pull-out basket in the design of the coffee machine for collecting and storing ground coffee waste. Designed for a certain number of servings of thick, their countdown is usually carried out by a counter. When the container is filled with used coffee, the device gives a signal to empty the container. Until it is empty, the coffee maker will not be able to make coffee.
Power consumption of the coffee maker. Usually, this indicator is comparable with the power of the heater installed in the device.
This parameter is selected by the manufacturer, taking into account other performance characteristics (type of device, tank volume, additional functions, etc.), so that the coffee maker can effectively cope with its tasks. Therefore, in fact, power is of secondary importance: when choosing, it is worth deciding first of all on other practical points, and only then look at power. In general, a more powerful coffee maker (ceteris paribus) will quickly cope with the preparation of coffee, but it will also cost more.
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