Want cafe quality coffee in the convenience of your own home? You might find our coffee machine review (member content) helpful in finding the best performing machines. If you’d like a bit more advice on the type of machine or set up for your needs, our coffee machine buying guide has some further information and advice.
We’ve updated our espresso machine review for 2019.
On the flip side I have long lusted after one of the ‘consumer commercial’ machines that weighs enough to crush a counter with double boilers or (shock horror heresy) thermal blocks, and looks the part with gauges and valves, all serviceable. The closest Choice has tested (eg Sunbeam PU8000) have had fairly ordinary scores for taste. Ease of use is not so important to enthusiasts as the dispensed product so I do appreciate the enumeration of the scoring, and I accept the tests are targetting consumers and what they are buying, not enthusiasts.
Regardless it would be interesting to see how a machine such as the $1,800 Saeco SE50 faired among the consumer oriented ranges from Sunbeam, Breville, etc. It is priced similarly to the consumer oriented Sunbeam PU8000 so it and similar machines might be thrown into the mix if budget allowed.
Sometimes the real surprise is like the K-Mart machine - cheaper might be surprisingly good, and sometimes as with many of the Sunbeam and Breville machines hit the mark as well or better than the ‘real’ ones.
A post was merged into an existing topic: Is the $89 Kmart coffee machine worth buying?
Coffee machines that you’re better off avoiding:
And the best coffee machine brands revealed (member content):
It is probably me, but I push back any time pod machines are included as equals or exact replacements for proper espresso machines. The difference in product complexity is non-trivial as well as the differences in skill required as well as the beans we individually are happy to buy, for starters. Sometimes the process is part of the enjoyment, as with vinyl vs CD’s or downloaded music. Then there are the full automatics - another level as well as an affront to purists - and consider whether instant coffee ratings should be combined with the coffee machines output? Taste, reliability, ease of use!
s/old coffee curmudgeon
Another review (member content) and a question. I suspect Choice will respond with the ‘correct’ answer, but.
@BrendanMays or @jhook, the How We Test indicates great beans are procured, it mentions how the flavour of ‘non-espresso filter machines’ is ‘controlled’ but I did not notice it mentioning that the grind was adjusted for each individual machine. It states
We use a reference machine to check the consistency of our taste testers. Our lab testers use single-wall baskets where supplied (double-wall if no single is supplied) and an ECM grinder to get the right grind.
I can imagine the effort necessary to find the best grind for each machine and I presume that would be done, but was it? I could interpret the statement means the ‘right grind’ for the reference machine was used for all, or the ‘best grind’ was established and used for each individual machine. Individual tastes yielding preferences for different grinds? Too many variables so some had to become constants?
After decades of having manuals and semi-automatics I am acutely aware each machine seemingly has its own sweet spot of grind for each bean, and fine adjustments are sometimes necessary to account for weather changes.
Thus using the best beans for blind tastings could be misleading unless the grinds are managed per machine. Would you confirm or correct that Choice testers ‘manage’ the grinds for each machine, individually? Or do they disagree with my premise? Or are all machines tested using a reference grind as determined for the reference machine?
BTW, nice that the few high end machines were added to the test, they are interesting points of comparison.
Good question! I’m checking with the product tester and I’ll let you know
Notwithstanding that, I’m ‘reliably informed’ that if one is particular about the grind then a grinder with speed calibration and conical burrs of a particular Rockwell rating to ensure hardness and consistency and a specific angle of the burrs is the only way to ensure the bean is cleaved appropriately and accurately …
I’ve confirmed with our product testers that the grind is adjusted to suit each individual machine
Awesome! Thanks for confirming it.
Thanks for the video on this machine and for the review!
I don’t like advanced machines and this one seems to be easy to use.
I’m using semi-automatic Gaggia Classic and totally satisfied with this purchase.
If I will need to change my Gaggia I’ll try this machine