Bean to Cup machines

Buying a coffee machine as a gift

Struggling to buy a gift for a coffee enthusiast?

The challenge of buying a gift for coffee enthusiast

Have you ever tried to buy music for an musicophile, or an accessory for a car enthusiast. It’s tough because you don’t have the specialist knowledge to get it right.

The same is true when buying for a coffee enthusiast. Buying the “wrong thing” can lead to less that utter delight in the eyes of the recipient.

Coffee enthusiasts often like to perfect their brew. It’s an art and a craft. The thing is though – the enthusiast is striving not just for the perfect brew but a consistent brew. Especially at times like during the early morning rush when the train is due. I confess I am a coffee nut, and I need my coffee to be just so, especially the first one.

Some coffee machines out there are just perfect for the busy person. They are the capsule machines such as Nespresso, Dolce Gusto and Tassimo. Some people, rightly, love these machines because of their simplicity and their clean and consistent operation.

When a capsule won’t do

But for the coffee nut, a capsule system won’t do. It is not just because some of the capsules simply don’t contain enough coffee grind, it’s because the enthusiast doesn’t have the level of control they need. As I say, for some brewing is an art and a craft.

What is needed is a machine that delivers brewing control, great coffee using your choice of freshly ground bean and importantly, and consistent brewing time after time.

The Bean to Cup machine

Say hello to the “Bean To Cup” machine. These machines allow you to set critical aspects of the brewing process but then follow your settings each time.

For the coffee enthusiast, they are terrific. I lived with the De’Longhi ESAM 2800 (see our test here) for a while and loved it. I barely touched my espresso machine when I had this on the bench. I really didn’t want to send it back – but it was a loaned test machine…

If you go to Greggs or McDonalds a Bean to Cup machine is exactly what they use although obviously they are high volume commercial machines. And by the way their coffees are really good and consistently really good even when churned out in busy periods. Which underpins my point.

So, if you want to thoroughly delight a coffee enthusiast – buy him or her a Bean to Cup machine. Check to make sure they don’t have one already as a lot of enthusiasts have already bought one (although might not admit to it).

Prices

Prices vary significantly for Bean To Cup machines. I have seen prices from around £250 to over £3,700. Although they essentially do they same thing (make coffee directly from the bean), it’s the way that they brew the coffee. There is a multitude of features such as a light to illuminate the cups (seriously), side or font mounted water tanks, grinder type, dispenser height adjustment (important to control the crema), whether pre-ground coffee can be used and where the input hopper is located, the pump type and pressure (although 15 Bar is common), noise levels (noise can vary for different pump and grinder types), if they have a cup warmer, water filters, and more – and more still.

Some boast their own patented system for drink preparation. Some have an integral milk-frother that can deliver latte and cappuccino with a single touch of a button – this is delightful and ideal if you always drink a milked coffee and drink them frequently. Personally I prefer a simple steam wand – it’s easy to use (and simple to clean) for the occasional milked coffee and a wand doesn’t require the regular, sometimes fiddly, cleaning of a “milk preparation system”. A steam wand means that you have a separate preparation step to take, however.

Some of the machines have simple buttons (even some of the very expensive machines only have simple controls), whereas some have illuminate displays, and some have multi-line LCD displays, on their panels.

As I say – I lived with this De’Longhi machine and loved it, and although it is more expensive that many “pod” type machines, I would say – as a coffee enthusiast – that I would prefer to receive this as a gift. If you wish to buy a more expensive gift then don’t let us stop you but make sure you are getting a machine that will delight a coffee nut – and isn’t all just pretty looks. As a coffee nut “taste” trumps “pretty” in my humble opinion.

You may like to browse our selection of Bean to Cup machines here, or checkout other gift ideas in our shop.

Whatever you buy, though, if your decision. Spend wisely.

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