Tim Hayward, a food critic for the Financial Times, conducted some research on espresso makers, mainly because of his personal disappointment in many of the home espresso makers available on the market. His aim was to find machines that produced a brew with the ‘consistent brilliance of a barista’ without having to buy a ‘half-tonne, £5,000 monster of Italian design’. Here are his top picks:
- Nespresso System. This is a highly popular range of espresso machines of different sizes. These machines produce consistently good cups of coffee, and the pods produced by the Nespresso range have a large variety of different blends. One of the reasons for the good quality is obviously the careful quality control of the coffee blends; another is that most machines have 19 bars of pressure as a standard (compared to 15 bars for other makes). This extra pressure makes for a brew with plenty of rich creams, and a full-bodied flavor. You can choose one of the machines that best suits your living space by clicking here., and you can get a good supply of coffee pods here.
- Cona Vacuum Coffee MachineThe Cona Vacuum Coffee Maker. This unusual-looking coffee maker has been produced in Britain since 1910. The quality glass components are mounted on a chrome stand, and look a little like a high school chemistry experiment. Using a gentle brewing method, with water at exactly the right temperature, the system is set up so that the coffee only makes contact with glass – it never touches metal parts or paper filters, and so the taste is untainted. The coffee is brewed with an alcohol burner, using a vacuum process, as opposed to a pressure process. You need to make sure that the grind is not too fine. Coffee geeks refer to its ‘sublime coffee’ with a ‘delicate taste – there are none of the acidic after flavors of other brewers. The brew takes a little longer than other makers (6 minutes for a full 20 oz. pot), but no one can dispute the ‘coolness’ factor of having one of these unique machines on your counter. This is a machine for the serious coffee snob who wants to show off his individuality! Get it here.
The Handpresso Outdoor Espresso Kit.Handpresso Outdoor Espresso Kit
This is the perfect kit for the Gentleman of Leisure, who likes a relaxed brew of good espresso while on his way to find the Lost Ark, the imprisoned Damsel, or a new species of tree frog. Cased in quality leather, the Handpresso wild espresso maker comes with a thermos flask and four cups. It requires no CO2 cartridges – you simply pump up the machine to 16 bars, add hot water, and then press the button to extract a perfect brew directly into your cup. It makes use of the ESE-sized coffee pods, which are made by several companies (Starbucks, Illy, Lavazza, etc.). This is such an unusual way of making coffee that it will definitely draw comments from your friends! Get it here.
These three unique machines, along with the Aeropress Coffee Maker, are interesting, the conversation stimulating, and great coffee makers. They make great birthday or Christmas presents, especially for the person who has everything (or thinks he has!).