Revenge is a dish best served cold. Coffee is a beverage best served fresh. Fresh coffee isn’t as simple as placing ground coffee in a machine while having hot water poured over it. If that were the case, instant coffee would a be a practical option. The freshness of coffee, however, greatly depends on the coffee beans being freshly ground as pre-ground coffee usually loses its freshness during storage.
Nowadays, manufacturers have started to come up with coffee makers that have integrated grinders as well. Although coffee grinders may be bought separately, a combination may be a better space-saving option. It also provides a better bean-to-cup alternative so you are sure of getting as fresh a cup as possible.
There are many models of coffee makers with grinders to choose from these days. Some, however, are better than others. What should you choose then and what should you look out for? Which is the one that is most suited for you?
Consider these pointers when looking for a coffee maker and grinder combo so you can come up with the right decision. Keep in mind that coffee maker/grinder combo is actually two appliances in one. It is because of this reason that this article will be looking at the features of the grinder and coffee machine separately.
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THE KIND OF GRINDER: BURR VS. BLADE
Coffee grinder/maker combos will have either a burr grinder or blade grinder. Generally, burr grinders are said to be better than blade grinders. Burr grinders are known to result in more consistent and equal grind sizes as compared to blade grinders. With more consistent coffee grounds, you can expect better flavor.
Blade grinders, besides producing inconsistent coffee grounds, also tend to heat up the beans while they are being ground. Coffee beans are known to be highly volatile so the slightest change in temperature during grinding may easily affect the flavor profile of the coffee.
Look for a grinder/coffee machine combo that offers different grind size options. The size of the ground can also affect the flavor profile of your coffee. There may also be times when you would want to use some other method of coffee extraction such as a press or mokka pot instead of the attached coffee machine. Different grind size options will enable you to take full advantage of the grinder in this case.
COFFEE MACHINE FEATURES
THE COFFEE FILTER
Many of these coffee machines will have you using disposable paper filters for the filter basket. While this may be a regular practice for many coffee machines, there are coffee machines now that have washable coffee filters instead. Washable coffee filter help you save a few bucks as you no longer will need to constantly change coffee filters whenever you feel that urge to drink a cuppa. Consider it to be an environment-saving feature as well!
TYPE OF CARAFE
You may think that the carafe isn’t much of a deal breaker when it comes to coffee machines. While many of the coffee machine/grinder combos out in the market will have the standard glass carafe, there are those that have thermal carafes that can keep the temperature of your coffee for up to three hours. This can prove to be very useful when you need to brew your coffee before preparing for work or brewing your coffee in the middle of winter when five minutes can make a huge difference in terms of keeping your coffee warm.
Thermal carafes are usually double-walled so they seal in the heat even after brewing. You won’t have to worry about your coffee cooling down, especially if you feel like drinking one cup after another for that extra zing.
TANK AND BEANHOPPER : SIZE AND LOCATION
One thing that you would really hate to do on a frequent basis is to keep on refilling the water tank and beanhopper. See to it that the water tank and beanhopper are placed in convenient areas so that it won’t be hard to pull them out whenever you need to refill them. Some coffee machines will have water tanks and beanhoppers that have bigger capacities so you won’t need to keep on doing refills every time you want to have that brew.
Coffee machines will also feature various serving sizes. If you are in household that has many family members, consider getting a coffee machine that can brew more than one single cup at a time. If the coffee machine you have in mind has a thermal carafe as well, having one that can brew more cups in a single time will also turn out to be more practical and energy-saving as well.
CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE
Like all other kinds of appliances, coffee machine/grinder combinations need to be cleaned and maintained. Choose one that is designed in such a way that parts cab be easily be disassembled and reassembled so that cleaning won’t be much of a hassle. The simpler the process, the better.
OTHER FEATURES TO CONSIDER
Besides basic features, some coffee makers take the extra step of having extra features that will add a bit of variety, if not convenience, to your everyday brewing experience. There are those coffee makers that offer flavor intensity options so that you have a choice of having light or highly intense brews.
Coffee makers that offer programmable features up to 24 hours is something to look into as well. This is especially useful if you are always off to an early start and the last thing that you would want to skip is your morning coffee.
Pause buttons are also pretty cool, especially if you have to serve coffee to a number of individuals. Pause buttons can hold the brewing process midway so you wont have to wait for the entire brewing process to finish before serving out the coffee.
As an energy-saving feature, auto shutoffs also can also be quite practical. With auto shutoffs, you won’t also have to worry about forgetting to switch off that coffee machine during an early morning rush out of your home.
One of life’s greatest pleasures is to have that early morning fresh brew. Coffee either helps you relax or aids you for that early morning sprint. Whatever the purpose though, its freshness always counts for that full coffee experience. Getting the right appliance and knowing how to get it will make every dollar count and make your daily coffee experience worth every penny.