One of the first things that millions of us do first thing in the morning is to head for the kettle, reach for a jar of coffee and prepare our first caffeine hit of the day. It’s not just a wake up call that the humble cup of coffee serves a purpose for though, workplace breaks, after meals at social gatherings and service station coffee stops are very common, to name a few.
Coffee is also a lot more varied than it was for our parents’ generations too – things have gone way beyond simply hot coffee being served in the traditional sense, there’s also ice coffee, latte’s mochas, cappuccinos and so much more to choose from.
While the majority of people do happily still drink instant coffee, more and more people are choosing to invest in a coffee machine. There’s a number of reasons for this, the common ones being:
- Prices are falling
Coffee machines are available to suit every budget these days. While this website focuses mainly of the premium end of the market with our bean to cup coffee machine reviews, there’s certainly a lot of lesser machines available under £100 that beat instant coffee hands down. Even the bean to cup variety are a lot cheaper than they used to be, with entry level bean to cup machines available for around £300, and really impressive coffee makers for less than £500.
- The choices are vast
The fact that we can build a vast sprawling website about a subset of the coffee machine market is a great illustration of how big the choice of machines has become in the UK, with even the most expensive of these premium coffee machines weighing in around a thousand pounds. If you wanted to look at every model of coffee machine on the market, simply going through Amazon’s site would take you hours. That’s where reviews sites like this come in – where a lot of the work in identifying key features and benefits has already been done for you.
- We’re getting a taste for better coffee
The fact that so many people love to visit their local Starbucks or call into a Costa Coffee during a motorway services stop shows that people are prepared to pay a premium for really good coffee, and that realisation that the quality is better means people are beginning to want that quality at home too. As the demand grows, more and more people are realising that a home coffee machine actually isn’t as expensive as they thought.
- We’re spending a lot in coffee shops
Following from the last point, home coffee making is exploding in popularity with a whole generation of coffee experts gaining barista skills. The cost of regularly buying a coffee in the well known stores is huge – if it has become a daily visit, then it could easily run into hundreds of pounds a month. That soon pays for a home coffee maker capable of making very similar coffee – and you can even buy the takeaway style cups on Amazon, so you can still enjoy it on the move!
A common belief people have about bean to cup machines is that they’re still not on a par with a visit to the nearest coffee shop, and while that is probably true, it’s likely to be a much more marginal difference that they realise. The noticeable difference is as likely to be down to the coffee beans that are being used as it is to the machine itself. Also, it’s got very little to do with the skills of the barista either, as a lot of coffee shops (including the huge companies) use automatic machines that are all electronically programmed. For example, if you like Starbucks coffee, then simply buying ‘Starbucks beans’ from your nearest outlet is likely to make up all the difference. We touched on this in a recent post about Starbucks coffee machines.
So, rather than deciding to learn to be a barista, perhaps your real goal is to make great coffee at home. Just like making a cake, the ingredients are probably more important than the baking skills that you’ve got, assuming that you’ve got a good recipe to follow. The same goes for coffee – if you’ve got a quality machine that has the pre-programmed cycles you require, buy the right beans then that’s 95% of the battle won. You can often customise the brewing process to really find tune things too – such as how coarse or fine the beans are ground and how much coffee is used to adjust the strength. Hopefully the message is emerging that it isn’t actually as complicated as Starbucks might like you to think!