The commercial filter coffee machine has been with us for several years and is still very popular with many. Although various fully automatic machines and pod and capsule competitors with cappuccino, espresso and latte macchiato are already on the market, many still swear by the taste of normal brewed filter coffee. But even with filter coffee machines, there are numerous features and quality features that you should consider when buying.
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The Best Filter Coffee Machines Guide in 2019
Almost all filter coffee machines work on the principle of gravity filtering. The water from the water tank runs through a downpipe into the heater. This is attached to the bottom of the machine under the integrated hot plate. The water is heated to about 100 ° C and through a riser, the hot water reaches the coffee powder in the filter. After the brewing process, the heater will continue to operate. For appliances with a glass jug, it keeps the coffee warm via the built-in hotplate. For devices with a thermos flask that is not required, the pot takes over the holding and the heater is switched off automatically after the end of the brewing process.
But it is also important the brewing process: The boiled water usually trickles over the coffee grounds in cheap equipment. This method has the disadvantage that the water pretty quickly cools during the brewing process and only a small amount of water coming into contact with a lot of coffee. High-quality coffee machines use the so-called “brewing method”, which offers some advantages. The boiling water is first retained and collected in a container. A built-in restraint opens as soon as the optimum amount of water was heated to pour the water in connection with a blast over the ground coffee. This increases the amount of water comes with the coffee into contact, the water does not cool down so fast and the flavors can develop fully.
Paper filter vs. permanent filters
When purchasing a filter coffee machine, you have the choice between two different filter types. The classic filter coffee machine has a plastic holder for a normal paper filter. This is reused with every coffee preparation and then composted or thrown away.
Meanwhile, filter coffee machines with so-called “permanent filter” are offered. Such a permanent filter has a fine-meshed stainless steel mesh. However, this type of filter must be completely cleaned after each brewing process. The effort is thus significantly greater compared to the paper filter. Careful cleaning of the filter is therefore important because the oily coffee constituents can accumulate in the filter and cause an unpleasant aftertaste. In addition, one should let the hands of cheap filters. These may give off ingredients (including harmful ones) to the hot coffee water.
Comparison of coffee systems – pod, capsule and fully automatic
Coffee can be prepared in a variety of ways today. In addition to the filter coffee machine capsule machines, coffee pod machines and fully automatic coffee machines are used. The advantages and disadvantages of these machine types are listed below.
- Capsule machine: A so-called portion coffee machine is provided with a coffee capsule and the coffee is prepared at the touch of a button. These capsules are made of plastic and contain about eight grams of coffee. When clamping the capsule small spines drill a hole in the top and bottom of the capsule. In the capsule interior, a small sieve is attached to the top, the lower sieve of the capsule functions like a portafilter. The water flows through the top opening through the coffee powder and flows through the second hole into the cup. One advantage is that the coffee is sealed until used and much of the flavor is retained. As far as the price/performance ratio is concerned, the capsule machine is considerably more expensive than the filter coffee machines in terms of the purchase price as well as the follow-up costs.
- Pod machine: In these devices, the coffee is introduced into the machine by means of so-called coffee pods. When the pod is in the cradle, the water is squeezed through the pod at the right temperature and pressure, and the coffee runs into the cup. Due to the relatively short brewing time the coffee is low in irritants and bitter substances. In the price/performance ratio, the pod machine is in the middle of the field between filter coffee machine and capsule machines. The machines themselves are already available at relatively low prices, but the pods are considerably more expensive per gram of coffee than normal ground filter coffee.
- Coffee machine: Most of these units have a milk foam function and an integrated grinder for freshly ground coffee beans. With such a device can be produced all the famous Italian coffee specialties – from cappuccino to latte macchiato. They work with higher pressure and about 90 degrees Celsius hot water so that the coffee powder creates a strong, dark espresso with crema. From the price/performance ratio, a coffee machine is the most expensive. The machines for beginners often cost well over 500 pounds. In addition, there is regular maintenance, which can also devour a lot of money.
Features of filter coffee machines
The integrated grinder: Shortly after grinding the coffee beans, some of the aromas are lost. The new and high-quality filter coffee machines have an integrated grinder. Before brewing the coffee is freshly ground and caught in the coffee filter. For most models, it is also possible to use instant coffee.
The timer and the aroma selection switch: These belong to the basic equipment of high-quality filter coffee machines. The timer allows you to program a built-in timer to prepare the coffee machine the night before. The aroma selector switch offers the possibility of determining coffee strength and aroma. Basically, only the water is heated slower, leaving more time to go through the filter and extract flavorings.
The thermos flask: on many models, a thermos flask has replaced the glass jug and the hotplate. In the thermos the coffee is caught directly and stays warm for many hours. In addition, positive, the coffee machine consumes significantly less power thanks to the missing hot plate.
The integrated water filter: Currently also filter coffee machines are equipped with an activated carbon filter. The water is automatically filtered in the coffee maker and the aroma of the coffee is improved. Purchase a machine with an integrated water filter if the hardness of your tap water is high. In normal or low hardness, the water filter is not necessary and should be removed from the machine.
Test winner of Stiftung Warentest
The Stiftung Warentest has recently ( 07/2018 ) again tested some filter coffee machines. Machines with glass and thermos flasks were considered as well as models with a grinder. In summary, it can already be said that it is not the price that always has to be decisive: coffee makers starting at 40 pounds have already achieved the quality rating “good”. In principle, however, almost all tested models were convincing. There were no big outliers. Assessment criteria included coffee sensory evaluation (35%), brewing (25%), handling (20%), environmental performance (10%), and shelf life and safety (5% each).
To many astonishments, a filter coffee machine with a thermos flask was able to achieve the best mark in the entire test. The Melitta Look Therm 1011-10 is already available for less than 60 pounds and could reach the quality rating 1.9 “Good”. In the sensory evaluation of brewed coffee, the machine even achieved the highest grade 1.7 “Good”. The coffee tasted good to the testers and less watery than other models. As a test winner among the filter coffee machines with glass jug, three models were able to achieve the top score of 2.1 “good”. Below that is the very cheap Krups Pro Aroma Plus KM321, which is already available for less than £50 and was convincing in all areas. The Philips Café Gourmet HD5408 / 20 was particularly convincing in the sensory evaluation with the grade 1.9 “Good”. She was the best at removing the ingredients from the ground coffee. The coffee machine works according to the direct brewing principle. It first brings the water to brew and then pours boiling water continuously into the filter.
The winner in the field of filter coffee machines with grinder is again Melitta. With the AromaFresh 1021-01, the company was able to retake the grade 2.0 “good” in the test. In the assessment of the coffee, the machine could leave the competitors behind. The coffee from the machine tasted in the opinion of the testers less watery than many others. Only in terms of environmental features, the machine could not convince the testers with a “satisfactory” to 100 percent.
Upcoming EU regulation
According to a new EU directive, coffee machines produced from 2015 onwards will have to turn themselves off after a period of five minutes. This rule applies to filter machines that have a thermos flask. Filter machines with uninsulated coffee containers have a maximum waiting time of up to 40 minutes. For coffee machines and pod or capsule machines, there is a maximum waiting time of 30 minutes after the end of the last brewing cycle.