/ Coffee again - bean-to-cup machine?

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ripper - on 19 Oct 2016
Inspired by the latest in a long line of Aeropress threads, here's my contribution to the ongoing question of coffee wankery:
Bean-to-cup machines - are they any good?
Without noticing it I've saved up a shed-load of Nectar points, which my wife reckons we should use to buy a heavily discounted DeLonghi b-t-c machine she's seen somewhere or other.
I'm slightly skeptical.
Has any one used one? Would it really be a massive step up from our current stove-top espresso pot? I appreciate that freshly-ground beans are likely to produce better results, but would buying a grinder (for much less than the b-t-c machine) and sticking with the stove pot be just as good?
thoughts please, coffee wankers
tom_in_edinburgh - on 19 Oct 2016
In reply to ripper:

I've got a Gaggia Titanium bean to cup machine.

I can't compare it to stove top espresso pots because I'm not a 'coffee wanker' and would never be bothered with anything that involved work to make coffee. It tastes better than instant and as good as Starbucks.

The main thing to understand if you get a bean to cup machine is that it is so easy to make coffee you will quite likely end up drinking a lot more of it. The remaining hassle factors with the bean to cup machines are cleaning it and filling it with water. Some of the newer ones have stupidly small water tanks because they waste volume in the water tank by including cartridges to soften the water. If I was looking again I might consider one that was plumbed in to the water to make it even less effort to make coffee.
TMM on 19 Oct 2016
In reply to ripper:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Philips-Saeco-Minuto-freestanding-Cappuccino/dp/B00BZM35B8

I got one of these off eBay brand new for about £280 6 months ago. I can genuinely say it has been the best gadget investment I have made.
Great coffee, gorgeous crema. It is SO easy. One button. We use instead of a kettle to get hot water for tea as it is much faster.
Guests always commenting on the great taste and smell.

Downsides: The auto cleaning functions (when turned on and off) use a lot of water so you need to empty the drip tray regularly. That's it.

I sold my Dualit coffee grinder and a Dualit coffee machine as a result of this purchase for a combined £130 making it an even better deal. The Dualit machine was a total faff in comparison and never got used as result.


Cú Chullain - on 19 Oct 2016
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> I can't compare it to stove top espresso pots because I'm not a 'coffee wanker' and would never be bothered with anything that involved work to make coffee. It tastes better than instant and as good as Starbucks.

As a 'coffee wanker I can assure you the stove top espresso pots are awesome!
Jimbocz - on 19 Oct 2016
In reply to ripper:

Amongst coffee wankers, bean to cup machines are looked down upon for a few reasons:

They are difficult to keep clean, so all that old gunk builds up and makes your coffee taste bad.

They are complex, break often are difficult and expensive to fix when they do break.

Making coffee is complex and involves a balance between the amount of coffee in the portafilter, how hard it is tamped and how fine it is ground. Every coffee needs to be ground at a different setting to hit the right spot. This spounds like wankery but is not. It's the skills a barista is paid to have. An automatic machine will not make these adjustments.

Any bean to cup machine that is not too crap to own will be more expensive than a decent machine and grinder.

If you want good coffee similar to what you've got, buy a Sage Smart grinder Pro and a subscription to some fresh roasted coffee. Keep using your stove top method.

If you want milky drinks like cappuccino, Buy a Sage Duo Temp Pro and a Smart grinder.


tom_in_edinburgh - on 19 Oct 2016
In reply to Jimbocz:

> Making coffee is complex and involves a balance between the amount of coffee in the portafilter, how hard it is tamped and how fine it is ground. Every coffee needs to be ground at a different setting to hit the right spot. This spounds like wankery but is not. It's the skills a barista is paid to have. An automatic machine will not make these adjustments.

The bean to cup machine has a knob for setting how fine it is ground. You tip in a whole bag of beans at once and change the setting to match. Not that I ever do, but I could if I wanted.

Having said that I think you are basically right, it's about taste vs convenience, bean to cup is more convenient but probably not as good taste as if you do it by hand. I say probably because I doubt if I personally have an accurate enough palate to tell the difference.

Jimbocz - on 19 Oct 2016
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> I say probably because I doubt if I personally have an accurate enough palate to tell the difference.

I don't have some kind is super palate. I can taste when coffee is bad because too much water went through or if it's bad because it was so tightly packed that water can't get through. I can also tell if the beans have been roasted too much like Starbucks. It's like saying I can taste if a bottle of wine has been left open on the counter for two weeks or is the cheapest stuff you can buy.

I will tell you a secret, when the coffee description says it tastes like "morello cherries and sugered grapefruit ", I can't ever taste any of that.
Post edited at 16:41
Indy - on 19 Oct 2016
In reply to ripper:

> Bean-to-cup machines - are they any good?

Have had a Jura Micro Ena 1 for ages and find it excellent. Unfortunately it doesn't do anything involving milk which has led the wife* to make 'comments' whenever a guest has asked for a coffee involving milk i.e latte. So for Valentines day this year I got her a Jura A9. Have had no complaints about it and the milk based drinks are fine if thats what floats your boat.

* she hardly ever drinks coffee.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 19 Oct 2016
In reply to Jimbocz:

> I don't have some kind is super palate. I can taste when coffee is bad because too much water went through or if it's bad because it was so tightly packed that water can't get through. I can also tell if the beans have been roasted too much like Starbucks. It's like saying I can taste if a bottle of wine has been left open on the counter for two weeks or is the cheapest stuff you can buy.

I can tell when coffee is really bad because of those factors too, but the bean to cup machine does OK for grind and water quantity. We always buy the same brand of coffee beans and when we first got the machine we tried a couple of settings on the grinder and programmed in the amount of water. We have one button set up for the way my wife likes it (lots of water) and one for the way I like it. Now its just tip in a new bag of beans when the hopper is empty and press the button. I guess our settings are not optimal but you would need to have a better palate than me for it to be a problem.


ripper - on 19 Oct 2016
In reply to Cú Chullain:

> As a 'coffee wanker I can assure you the stove top espresso pots are awesome!

See, this is what I've always suspected. I'm not a machinery geek and after years of using it day in, day out I don't find it in any way inconvenient. Also I don't give a flying crap about milk foaming - The wife likes her froffy coffy but for me anything with milk in it can f*ck right off.
Cú Chullain - on 19 Oct 2016
In reply to ripper:

> See, this is what I've always suspected. I'm not a machinery geek and after years of using it day in, day out I don't find it in any way inconvenient. Also I don't give a flying crap about milk foaming - The wife likes her froffy coffy but for me anything with milk in it can f*ck right off.

Yep, takes about 15 seconds to grind the coffee, 10 seconds to load it into the pot, whack it in the stove, hop in the shower and 7 mins later I have awesome coffee. Have had the same device for about 9 years now, it's travelled with me to well over 40 countries and has yet to make a duff cup of coffee. Cost me about £25.
Jimbocz - on 20 Oct 2016
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
Sounds good to me.
Gordonbp - on 21 Oct 2016
In reply to Jimbocz:


> If you want milky drinks like cappuccino,

Don't even need that. Make coffee as usual in the stove-top espresso pot.
Heat milk (full fat is best) in a saucepan and whisk using a hand-held milk frother. (£5 from Amazon).
Pour frothed milk into cup, add coffee.
Frank4short - on 21 Oct 2016
In reply to ripper:

I've a Sage Barista which isn't technically a true bean to cup in so far as you have to do most of it yourself. That being said it makes great coffee and offers the flexibility to easily change the settings to accommodate changes in coffee, desired amount of water, etc. as mentioned by others above. It also has a handy pressure gauge which helps in learning/teaching when the pressure is right re: the grind fineness and how heavily you've tamped it down in the basket. You can pour beans in one end and get delicious coffee out the other with a minimum of fuss (and devices on the countertop if you have a significant other who rallies against other peoples' counter clutter), you do however have to involve yourself in the process at a few points. So yeah thumbs up on the sage from me, never mind that famous baldy chef who's put his name to it.
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Philip on 21 Oct 2016
Have you tried the ultimate in coffee experience.

They can roast and produce the coffee at a factory under perfectly controlled conditions and then freeze dry it to preserve the flavour. You release the ultimate cup of coffee with just hot water (plus sugar and some cold milk).


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