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How to maintain an automatic coffee machine?

Maintenance of an automatic coffee machine is quite simple because…
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Maintenance of an automatic coffee machine is quite simple because it is highly automated. In most cases, the machine itself indicates in one way or another that a certain maintenance program needs to be performed. Maintenance of automatic coffee machines can be divided into daily and non-daily maintenance.
Daily maintenance:
1. Fill with water and beans (if necessary).
2. If the appliance has a milk system, rinse it thoroughly by disassembling all parts of the milk system (even if the appliance has an automatic rinsing program).
3. Discard the grounds from the coffee grounds container, drain the water from the drip tray and wash it.

Non-daily maintenance:
1. If you use a water filter, it must be replaced regularly (approximately every few months).
2. Descaling program. The automatic coffee machine asks for it. It is very important to do it on time and with special products indicated for that purpose (by no means with citric acid or vinegar).
3. Cleaning program. The automatic coffee machine asks for it. The program uses special coffee degreasing and residue removal tablets. A cleaning program should be performed about every few hundred portions produced.
4. Manual cleaning of the coffee brewing unit. Once a month, we remove the brewing unit, rinse under running tap water, dry and lubricate the moving parts with special grease. (This must be done for all coffee machines except JURA brand machines).

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Which coffee machine makes the most delicious coffee?

The coffee machine won't make tasteless coffee taste better. Therefore,…
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The coffee machine won't make tasteless coffee taste better. Therefore, the taste of coffee depends largely on what you put in the coffee machine. But unfortunately, a coffee machine can very simply “ruin” good coffee. How? If it is not adjusted properly (grinding coarseness is set incorrectly, the wrong temperature is selected) or if it is dirty inside (clogged coffee system with old coffee residue, mold in the coffee maker), even the most delicious coffee may become tasteless.
Why then do the prices of coffee machines differ so much when the taste of the coffee produced can be the same?
When you buy a coffee machine, you pay for the variety of drinks available, the ability to adjust and program various settings, ease of operation, ease of maintenance, design, finish, and brand prestige.

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What are the types of coffee machines?

Coffee machines can be classified according to their type as…
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Coffee machines can be classified according to their type as follows:
1. Automatic coffee machines. Makes coffee from whole beans at the touch of a button. Depending on the milk system available, you can also make coffee drinks with milk. They can be divided into domestic, office and vending coffice machines.
2. Semi-automatic coffee machines. Also known as espresso machines that make it possible to become your own barista. You can grind beans freshly in desired coarseness using a separate or integrated (if equipped) grinder, tamp ground coffee in the portafilter handle, insert the handle into the machine, pressa button and prepare one or two portions of coffee. You can froth the milk with a steam wand manually. These machines can be further divided into domestic and professional types.
3. Capsule coffee machines. Makes coffee from coffee capsules. Feature: Each capsule system uses only capsules adapted for that capsule system.
4. Coffee makers. Filter or moka type coffee makers that make coffee from pre-ground coffee beans.
5. Percolators. Appliances used to prepare large quantities of filter coffee, which are extremely popular in the field of Horeca.
6. Various coffee brewing tools. Increasingly popular variety of brewing tools to experiment with a variety of coffee flavours. Chemex, Aeropress, V60, French Press ...

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What is the difference between automatic coffee machines?

With such a great variety of automatic coffee machines, many…
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With such a great variety of automatic coffee machines, many are wondering about the main differences between them. All the more so as prices range from 300 to several thousand pounds. Key differences:
1. A variety of available drinks. Some machines prepare only espresso and black coffee, while others make up to several dozen different recipes at the touch of a button.
2. Type of milk system. There are three main types of automatic coffee machines according to the type of milk system available: Machines with a steam nozzle (you need to froth the milk manually, like a barista), machines with an automatic frother, which is separate from the coffee system (the machine prepares the milk foam separately from coffee), machines with a fully automatic milk system (just press the button and the machine prepares a milk-based coffee beverage). There are several types of automatic milk systems: With a connected milk pipe (you can put it directly into the milk package) or with an integrated milk container.
3. Customization of taste. All automatic coffee machines have the possibility to adjust the grinding level, the amount of ground coffee used, the water temperature, and the portion size. The key question is: How much customization do you get? Can you choose from only a few levels, or from a dozen? High-end coffee machines even have the ability to adjust the flow rate of water through the coffee (depending on the consistency and taste of the coffee being prepared) and the consistency and temperature of the milk foam.
4. Programming features. In lower-end coffee machines, only certain coffee parameters can be adjusted. On high-end coffee machines, it is possible to program and save all your settings, not only for one person, but for the whole family by creating several user profiles. This way everyone can have their own separate menu named after them with their favourite drinks.
5. Type of control. Depending on the type of control available, the machine is easier or more complex to operate. It can be a small text screen with control buttons or a wide colourful touch screen with the ability to control the coffee machine via a smart app directly from your phone or another smart device.
6. Maintenance. In cheaper automatic coffee machines, the maintenance process is indicated by symbols - without the user manual, it can be tricky to follow the steps of a certain maintenance program. With a high-end coffee machine, everything is clearly displayed on the wide colourful screen - you just need to follow the instructions which are often in pictures. In addition, some machines are more automated and require less manual work, while others require more.
7. Design and finishing materials. Automatic coffee machines can have a simple plastic body, be metallic, shiny or matte, or covered in more luxurious materials. They can have water tanks or cup lighting, offer unique, interesting shapes and designs.

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About coffee machines

Nowadays, coffee preparation can be encountered almost anywhere. Even though this drink is often prepared differently in different corners of the world, the majority of people know how to brew coffee and have done it at least once in one way or another. While in some places, the process of coffee brewing is based on traditions that are hundreds of years old, in other countries, the coffee preparation ritual keeps evolving along with the modern technologies. 

For around twenty years now, the world of coffee has been revolving around espresso. Specialised cafés and the start of the third-wave barista movement definitely added to the popularity of this drink. Having tried truly delicious, expertly prepared coffee, people now wanted their home-brewed drinks to be just as good, so they started looking for coffee makers or machines that would suit their needs best. Fast development of the espresso culture encouraged coffee lovers to turn towards age-old Italian traditions, so most of them were on a search for an appliance that would allow them to brew the most delicious possible version of this classic drink. Espresso and espresso-based beverages can be brewed in a variety of coffee machines that utilise pressure of at least 9 bar. If we tried to imagine the process of espresso preparation, many of us would probably think about the traditional espresso machines that professional baristas rule over in our favourite cafés. Nowadays, smaller versions of these appliances, designed specially for domestic use, are available.

Nevertheless, coffee machines of this type are usually bought by people who have spent some time working in the field of coffee brewing or who are ready to become true home baristas in order to take advantage of all the possibilities offered by these appliances, certain skills and time are needed. Because of this reason, bean-to-cup coffee machines are encountered in people’s homes much more frequently: not only can they brew high-quality, delicious espresso, but they’re also capable of frothing milk all by themselves. Those who value simplicity, don’t have much space in their kitchen and want to prepare a cup of delicious coffee as simply as possible can also choose capsule, pod or pad machines, which definitely come in handy if you’re short on time, yet still aren’t willing to compromise on the quality of your coffee. Fans of black coffee often go for drip coffee makers, which enable people to brew coffee as if they’re true artisans, keeping their own coffee secrets and preparing drinks that can be found in their home only. These people also tend to choose coffee beans extremely carefully, as a subtle, yet rich, flavour is best suited for filter coffee drinks. 

Below, we present the main coffee machine types: 

Bean-to-cup coffee machines

Bean-to-cup coffee machines are a fairly recent invention, yet even within a short space of time, their popularity shot up at a dazzling rate, quickly turning these appliances from a luxury product into one of the key kitchen appliances. The biggest advantages of these machines include fast, high-quality preparation of coffee using freshly ground coffee beans, a wide selection of recipes and an opportunity to enjoy restaurant-level coffee at home. Furthermore, as modern technologies keep advancing, bean-to-cup coffee machines are becoming more and more innovative. The technologies integrated in these appliances make their maintenance, operation and use of resources a whole lot simpler. During the process of coffee brewing, calculations are being performed, enabling the machine to automatically assess whether the drink is being prepared correctly and adjust its preparation in pursuit of the best possible result. The latest appliances of this kind are equipped with special systems that allow coffee lovers to prepare milk of their desired temperature and consistency, as well as add the ingredients in a certain order, hence brewing a drink that has been prepared according to the authentic recipe. Premium-class models can also be operated remotely, straight from your smart device, via a mobile app that enables you to create your own coffee recipes, as well as view information related to the machine’s cleaning programs, coffee temperature and other important nuances. 

Bean-to-cup coffee machines are perfect for those of you who dream about enjoying a variety of delicious coffee drinks prepared quickly, easily and with close to no effort on your part. 

Built-in bean-to-cup coffee machines

If you’re in the process of moving to a new house, it’s worth considering the possibility of purchasing a built-in bean-to-cup coffee machine that will fit seamlessly into your interior. Appliances of this type are particularly handy when seeking to save some space in your kitchen and looking for a truly modern solution. The latest built-in coffee machines are characterised by easy maintenance, a wide selection of recipes and contemporary design.

Semi-automatic coffee machines

Coffee machines of this type are usually encountered in cafés and bars. It was precisely semi-automatic machines that gave birth to the espresso culture. Nowadays, the manufacturers of coffee brewing tools have advanced so far that this type of appliances can be successfully adapted to domestic use. Domestic semi-automatic machines are usually much smaller, they use up less electricity, while some of them are even equipped with  a built-in coffee grinder. In order to take full advantage of the possibilities offered by a semi-automatic appliance, you should spend some time learning about them — to brew coffee properly, you’ll need to adjust the grinder, choose the right amount and temperature of water, as well as teach yourself how to froth milk. You might spend several months experimenting and learning about the subtleties of coffee preparation, but eventually, you’ll be drinking coffee that is just as good as the one you’d be served in a restaurant. 

If you want to deepen your understanding of the art of coffee preparation, as well as all of its numerous nuances, and if you’re the kind of person who tends to enjoy the process and wants to be in full control of the resulting coffee drink, a semi-automatic appliance is the right one for you! 

Capsule coffee machines

Without a doubt, these are one of the most popular coffee machines nowadays — they take up little space (you can even take them with you when going on a trip!), are quite cheap, as well as offer the possibility of brewing espresso-based drinks (thanks to sufficient pressure) and preparing a particularly wide variety of different coffee drinks using capsules (one capsule equals one coffee portion). It’s quick, convenient and simple — everything that a modern person could ever need.

Most capsule coffee machines are equipped with one of the two most popular capsule systems: Dolce Gusto or Nespresso. Dolce Gusto coffee machines are designed for those who want to have a variety of drinks to choose from and enjoy milk-based beverages. If you’re one of such people, you’ll be able to choose a capsule created specially for your favourite recipe cappuccino, latte macchiato, caramel latte macchiato and numerous others — in advance. All you’ll have to do then is put one capsule or a few capsules one after the other into the coffee machine, push a button and your coffee will be ready to drink in an instant! On the other hand, Nespresso machines are exceptionally stylish and can reach 19-bar pressure. Nespresso offers a particularly wide selection of different coffee varieties (from coffee blends to various specialty coffees from different regions) for your espresso or black coffee drinks. If you’re a lover of milk-based drinks, choose a model with an integrated milk system it’ll enable you to prepare coffee with real milk (in the case of Dolce Gusto, milk-based drinks contain milk powder).

What has made capsule machines so popular is easy operation, fast preparation of coffee and an opportunity for each family member to choose different drinks that they enjoy the most. Both Dolce Gusto and Nespresso appliances are extremely easy to maintain. Automated descaling programs will protect your coffee machine from limescale deposits. Moreover, these machines can be disassembled with ease and their components can be washed under a tap or in a dishwasher. 

Coffee machines of this type are perfect for people who want their coffee to be prepared quickly. The owners of capsule machines also enjoy making coffee drinks from various bean varieties.

Pod coffee machines

Pod coffee machines use pods when preparing drinks. Just like the capsules, pods contain portioned coffee, but, unlike in capsules, this coffee is compressed in advance. Some coffee brewing appliances brew coffee from pods only, but most domestic semi-automatic machines can prepare drinks using both ground coffee and pods, which is why they can be regarded as pod coffee machines as well. If you encounter the sign E.S.E. (Easy Serving Espresso) on such a machine, this means that it’s equipped with sieves-filters created specially for coffee pods. All in all, pods offer a convenient and quick way of brewing some delicious coffee. 

These coffee machines should be purchased by people who value convenience when preparing coffee. Due to their small size, these appliances are also a great choice if you tend to travel a lot and dislike coffee served in hotels. 

Pad coffee machines

Pad coffee machines prepare drinks using coffee pads. Unlike in coffee pods, coffee in pads isn’t compressed, which is why the beverages brewed with the help of this method are particularly light. While these appliances utilise pressure that is lower than that required for a cup of proper espresso, the drinks still get coated with delicious crema. Because of this, these machines offer an ideal compromise between espresso and filter coffee. 

Even though coffee pads are extremely firm (otherwise they wouldn’t be able to handle the pressure used by these machines), they’re still environmentally friendly and decompose rapidly. Just like the process of coffee brewing itself, the maintenance of these appliances is extremely simple and guaranteed to take very little of your time. Instead of spending hours cleaning your coffee machine, you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy delicious coffee!

If you’re a lover of high-quality, light coffee that’s brewed quickly and can be prepared using different coffee beans each time, a pad coffee machine definitely deserves a place in your kitchen. 

Filter coffee machines

Drinks brewed in filter coffee machines are usually extremely light, yet still full of flavour. They’re the very antithesis of espresso, whose flavour is rich, yet the tasting notes locked inside it are concentrated and usually centred around a single point. One of the biggest advantages of filter coffee machines is the fact that they enable you to brew a larger amount of coffee, leave the jug on the hotplate and forget all about having to prepare another cup of coffee for the rest of the afternoon. To avoid being disappointed by this brewing method, it’s important to choose high-quality, delicious coffee beans. This is because, while unveiling the full flavour of your beans, a filter coffee machine might also reveal their shortcomings. When it comes to the drip brewing method, the beans most suitable for it should consist of 100% arabica, while their roast level should be no darker than medium. Only by using coffee like this will you be able to unveil the full potential of this coffee brewing device. 

Filter coffee machines are ideal for people who are interested in discovering hidden nuances of their coffee beans’ flavour. Fans of subtle and light coffee will also appreciate these appliances. A coffee machine of this type will definitely come in handy in a small office — brewing a larger amount of coffee will allow all office workers to enjoy a cup of coffee without forming a queue in front of the coffee machine. 

If you’re unsure which coffee machine type is the right one for you, the Coffee Friend consultants are always ready to help you make your decision!