Whether you prefer an automatic drip coffee maker or the meditation of a perfect...
In the world of coffee and espresso makers, there are the enduring classics like the Rancilio Silvia or the Gaggia Classic, machines that never go out of style, no matter what else is available. Then there are the fashionistas, the latest high tech multi-machines that brew just about anything you can imagine. Some of these newest gadgets are just that – gadgets. Some of them, though, represent more than just a nod to fashion. They are true advances in technology with enduring lines and looks that will stay in style far longer than this year’s magazine spread. Here’s a quick look at this year’s most popular coffee and espresso makers.
The Silvia is a forever-favorite, at the top of the barista’s most wanted list year after year. The Miss Silvia is widely regarded as the choice of experts, the machine that responds to the hand of a true master barista. While most reviewers agree that the Silvia can be a bit finicky about the coffee grind, they also agree that when you get it right, no other machine can consistently produce the same high quality espresso. The Silvia is the perfect compromise between commercial machines and the home market.
The Caffe Nero is part of Delonghi’s mid-price range, a quality three-in-one coffee maker that can make coffee, espresso and cappucino. The Nero takes versatility to the edge, with a portafilter that takes both loose ground coffee or pre-packaged E.S.E. coffee pods. In addition to coffee and espresso beverages, the Caffe Nero also has a built-in hot water dispenser so you can make hot tea, cocoa or consomme. With a price tag of under $300, it’s about the most affordable pump espresso makers.
Francis Francis! X1
The Francis Francis! line of espresso makers is easily one of the most famous lines of espresso makers in history, and the X1 is the single most recognizable espresso maker in the world. It’s been featured in countless movies and television shows, and its sleek retro-modern styling have made it a classic example of functional art. Designed by renowned Italian architect, Luca Trazzi for Illycafe, the X1 comes in ten colors from black to pale blue. Unfortunately, the reviews consistently pan the espresso made by the Francis Francis! X1.
Braun is one of the big names in home appliances, and the Braun Tassimo is typical of the high-tech, sleek gadgets that the company produce. The One-Cup Tassimo coffee system uses a proprietary T-cup container to make one cup portions of a wide variety of drinks, including dozens of varities of coffee, espresso, cappuccino, lattes, hot chocolate and tea. Braun introduces seasonal T-cups for special occasions, and is a sleekly styled machine that looks nice sitting on your kitchen counter. It’s one of several one-cup brewing systems that simplify the process of brewing coffee and other hot beverages.
Whatever your choice of convenience, style and quality, there are machines on the market that will suit your tastes well – and if you shop around, you’ll find them at prices that suit your pocketbook as well. I’ve seen Silvias on auction sites for as little as $300, though the Francis! Francis! is a bit pricier. Still, kick around, see what you find, and put a bit of style on your kitchen counter top.