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Let’s test home appliances: coffee machines

coffee machines

Are you dreaming of a coffee machine? Let your dreams come true – choose a home appliance according to your taste and budget. All the coffee lovers can be divided into two groups. The first prefer coffee made only in a Turkish coffee pot, the other like cooking it with a coffee maker pushing only one button. For the second group of people we’ve tested different types of coffee machines with different cost which can brighten a coffee nerd’s day at home and at the office.

Coffee machines are divided into several types and differ from each other in the way of cooking coffee. The simplest and cheapest one is a drip coffee maker which makes coffee by passing the water through the box with ground coffee beans. Capsule coffee machines are also easy-to-use, but have more functions than drip ones. They make beverages with the help of special capsules which contain different kinds of grind coffee in different strength. Mixing them with dry milk you can make, for example, latte or cappuccino. There’s also an espresso machine  which uses a special portafilter filled with ground coffee. Fully automatic coffee machines are more functional and expensive. They can do almost everything on its own – ground coffee, make portions, heat the water to the necessary temperature and even warm up the cup. Our classification is quite relative. Professionals will definitely remember about Moka pots, Single-serve coffeemaker and so on.

Bosch TASSIMO VIVY (T12): a little goes a long way

Bosch TASSIMO VIVY (T12)Design. Tassimo Vivy is the most compact model among all the capsule coffee machines. Its width is only 17 cm and its height is less than 30 cm. The model is made in three colours: black, pink and white. For the test we had the black one. Its body is made of glossy plastic, and designers didn’t leave any corners making its shape round. The platform for cups can be set in two ways to let you make coffee in cups of different size.

PeculiaritiesThis is a capsule machine, which can make coffee by pushing only one button. The only thing you need to do is to set the chosen capsule (In the Bosch Company they call them T-discs), add some water and push the button. To make more compound coffee beverages with milk, you will have to use the combination of different capsules, but they all are sold in one pack. In the given pack you can even find capsules for making tea or cocoa. Vivy lets you know when it should be clean and has an automatic mode for cleaning up and descaling. It can also switch off on itself when you don’t use for some time.

In PracticeTassimo Vivy is a really very small and light coffee maker which doesn’t take so much space. Due to its size it seemed a perfect variant for my tiny kitchen. But the coffee machine is as small as its water container. You can put only 800 ml in it. So, if you often make coffee, you should have water ready to hand and add it to the coffee machine regularly. At the same time the water is heated rather quickly. After pushing the button the home appliance stands still for a while (as if it counts to five) and then it starts cooking. If you’ve taken a small cup by mistake, just push the button once more and the coffee machine will stop its work.

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It’s nice that Bosch cooperates with different coffee manufacturers and among numerous T-discs you can choose the brand you like best of all. But the cost of such coffee is rather high. In the nearest to my apartment supermarket a set with 16 portions is sold at the price of 6 dollars. Thus, one cup of coffee will cost you 0,4 dollars. It’s definitely cheaper than in a café, but more expensive than if I make it myself in a Turkish coffee pot.

VITEK VT – 1513 BK: a horn of plenty

VITEK VT – 1513 BKDesignIt’s not a big coffee machine made of black plastic with steel elements. Designers didn’t thoughtfully hide the water container inside the home appliance and made it of transparent plastic to make the control of the water level much easier for you. On its top there is a special place for heating up cups. It has enough space to put four cups for espresso or two for a standard portion of Americano.

Peculiarities. It’s the only espresso machine taken for our test. For its use you need some ground coffee which should be put into a portafilter with a special spoon. The portafilter is also set into the machine where the aromatic drink is cooked and the strength of which depends on the amount of water and grind coffee.

One of the main advantages of the model is a special water filter due to which coffee is made with dense and rich foam. VT – 1513 can also make milk foam with the help of a cappuccino attachment.

In PracticeThe coffee machine is really so small that it’s impossible to put a big coffee cup under the portafilter, but you can easily place two normal cups there. And you can make two portions at the same time, as the portafilter has also two spouts. By the way, you’ll really get rich and nice foam and it won’t disappear in few minutes.

The coffee machine has, in fact, two functions. It cooks coffee and makes milk foam with the help of steam. It starts its work when you turn the handle. Turn it to the right and you get coffee, turn it to the left and here is steam. It doesn’t turn off automatically. That’s why you need to keep an eye on it and to set the handle into the mid-position when it completes its task.  Not to let drops and the rest of water fall onto your table there is a special tray which is better to clean regularly even if it’s not full. Thus, you’ll prevent unpleasant smell from spreading in your kitchen.

PHILIPS HD 8842: a black square

PHILIPS HD 8842DesignIt’s a classical black model of a square shape. It’s a perfect solution for those who have little space, but like full-functionality. It’s not a very big or narrow automatic coffee machine which can be placed in a small kitchen. The only thing you should take into account is that it demands a rather deep shelf or working place. Lids for water and coffee beans are situated symmetrically on its top.  That’s why it can be put in a narrow, but open place. All the buttons are on the front panel and are always accessible.

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Peculiarities. This model has a few specific peculiarities. The first is ceramic millstones which help to get the smell of burnt beans out of your coffee. The second is the function of CoffeeSwitch which let you change modes from cooking classical coffee into espresso or vice versa. On the coffee machine you’ll find a special handle. If it’s closed, you’ll get a cup of espresso. If it’s open, the home appliance will turn into a usual drip coffee machine and will be ready to cook a drink with a mild flavor. The third peculiarity is the possibility to make coffee for two single cups with the help of two spouts.

In PracticeAs many other coffee machines of the same type, Philips HD 8842 has a rather big water container. It can grind coffee beans itself, and has a container for already the ground coffee as well. It lets you know about any problem – if there’s a lack of water or coffee beans or there’s need to despumate it.

To tell you the truth, best of all I like coffee made in a Turkish pot. And the coffee cooked by Philips HD 8842 is like the one made in a classic way. Perhaps, it is so due to the ceramic millstones. This model also has an easy-to-use foaming attachment which helps you to make cappuccino you like.

Besides, the makers say that they made the controlling system of the coffee machine intuitively understandable. To prove it, I decided not to read the instruction and make everything myself. I easily understand how to use every function except the individual mode for your ideal coffee drink.

DeLonghi Eletta Cappuchino TOP: a land of milk

DeLonghi Eletta Cappuchino TOPDesign. This is the largest coffee machine which has ever been tested in my kitchen. And I can tell you that it will look more natural at an office or in a kitchen of a big country house. It’s made in white colour with steel elements. The controlling panel is situated on its top. The function of every button is singed and written in words. Everything that is going on with the coffee machine is duplicated on its display.  If there’s not enough water or coffee beans in it or it’s time to clean it, the clever home appliance will stop its work and tell its owner what is the reason for the delay.

PeculiaritiesFrom its name you can easily understand that the coffee machine specializes in cooking coffee beverages with milk. Besides espresso, the basic settings have the possibility to make cappuccino, latte macchiato and coffee with milk. All the beverages are made automatically using a special milk container. At the same time you can make milk foam by yourself removing the milk container and using the steam function.

Eletta Cappuchino is much better than the other tested models due to its number of functions. It lets you regulate temperature, the volume of coffee in your cup, make your own settings for your perfect coffee, warm up the cup and choose one of three possible modes to regulate the amount of foam for cappuccino.  It has seven modes for grinding coffee beans, a container fro already ground coffee and five modes of its strength: from extra light to extra strong.  You can set up the machine due to the water hardness in your house and change the basic settings, for example, the volume of milk in cappuccino.

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In Practice. I felt respect for the coffee machine at once if only because it’s as expensive as all my kitchen devices including the washing machine. It makes clear at once that it won’t be just “an extra player” which you’re going use from time to time. Such a home appliance is bought to use it quite often and with pleasure. At the same time it’s necessary to wipe it regularly and keep clean. As all the stains are very easy to see on its beautiful white surface and all the handprints will be left and stayed on its chrome elements for a long time.

The buttons are very sensitive and a slight touch will be enough to push it. But if you hold it down for too long, the machine will consider it as two touches and, for example, stop its work. The cooking process doesn’t take too long, and you’ll get an aromatic beverage which will satisfy all the given settings.

By the way, the automatic modes for making cappuccino and latte cope with the task quite well. So, there’s no need to make foam with the help of the steam and form the beverage on your own. The only thing the machine can’t do is the layered coffee. As during the cooking process all the layers are mixed. But if you don’t take part in baristas’ completion, it won’t be a problem for you.

P.S. The example of the four models shows you how different the price and the number of functions can be. If moderate Bosch Vivy can, in fact, carry out only one task, impressive DeLonghi Eletta Cappuccino TOP will demand some skill and the use of the instruction from its owner. People who drink only one cup of coffee in the morning will appreciate plain VITEK VT-1513 BK, and those who want to enjoy coffee several times a day should pay their attention to PHILIPS HD 8842.

The comparison table of characteristics for the given home appliances

Model Bosch
Price  $75.5  $113  $575  $1800
Capacity  1300W  1350W  1850W 1450W
Type  capsule  portafilter automatic automatic
Volume of the water container 800ml 1250ml 1800ml 2000ml
Possible kinds of beverages it depends capsules  espresso, cappuccino, hot water ristretto, espresso, double espresso, Americano, cappuccino, milk froth, hot water  espresso macchiato, cappuccino, latte, latte macchiato, hot milk, flat white
The possibility of changing settings  no no yes yes
Full-automatic cooking mode  yes no yes yes



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