Bean-to-cup coffee machines are all the rage, and it is easy to understand why – they offer unparalleled taste and convenience. However, not all bean-to-cup machines are created equal, so if you unsure about how to select the perfect machine for your needs – read on for some advice from Miele’s coffee machine expert, Jon Molyneaux.
16 August 2022, Johannesburg: Bean-to-cup coffee machines are exactly what they sound like – whole coffee beans go in, and delicious freshly brewed coffee comes out. No pods, filter paper, or grounds all over the counter – just beans and hot water. Says Jon Molyneaux from leading appliance and coffee machine manufacturer, Miele: “Quality is by far the main reason to invest in a bean-to-cup coffee machine – there’s truly nothing better, fresher, or smoother than a cup of coffee that has been freshly brewed from whole beans.”
He explains that this is because the natural oils in coffee beans are bursting with flavour and aroma – so the fresher the ground coffee, the better the flavour: “Coffee beans are very porous, and once ground, they quickly begin to lose flavour and moisture. When you purchase ground coffee from a store, it was probably processed a while ago, and even though it is sealed, it will undoubtedly have begun to dry out, and lose its distinct flavour by the time it gets to our cup. This is where the real magic of a bean-to-cup machine comes in, as they freshly grind the coffee beans for each cup to create luxury-level coffee, enabling you to make a barista-worthy hot beverages in the comfort of your own home.”
He notes that the added convenience is of course another reason that makes these machines so popular: “Technically speaking of course, you could manually grind the coffee beans and make the coffee yourself. However, a high-quality bean-to-cup machine will do this effortlessly, and more, at a touch of a single button – from grinding, to brewing, heating and frothing the milk, and even cleaning the machine – everything is done for you!”
What’s more is that since you won’t be purchasing pods, sachets or filter paper, these machines will not only save you money, but they are a much more environmentally friendly option as well. The bottom line is – if you love your coffee, then a bean-to-cup coffee machine is a must-have investment. Here are some defining features that Jon says you should look out for when you are choosing which machine to buy:
A quality grinder: The grinder is at the heart of every bean-to-cup machine –. the finer the grind, the slower and more bitter the extraction, while a coarse grind makes a more acidic coffee. Looking at the quality of the grinder says a lot about the machine in question. Miele’s coffee machines for example, boast an innovative conical grinder that is designed to grind coffee beans in a unique aroma-preserving manner, explains Jon: “Called AromaticSystemFresh, Miele has positioned its conical grinder directly above the brew unit to ensure that no remnants from a previous brewing process remain in the grinder. This guarantees unadulterated flavour. The conical grinder is also very quiet, so that even if your machine is situated in your living area, it won’t make a noise when you are trying to unwind and relax.”
Wide range & versatility: Any bean-to-cup coffee machine should be able to prepare a wide variety of creative coffees at a touch of a button. “Whether it’s a long black, flat white, espresso macchiato, or something else – Miele’s coffee machines can prepare a variety of speciality hot beverages, comprising 16 different coffee variations alone. And, if you fancy a tea, the Miele’s Generation 7000 range of coffee machines are more than willing to oblige – black, herb, fruit and green tea is always brewed at the ideal temperature respectively. Another new convenience feature is the coffee and tea pot function – perfect for when visitors arrive, as the unit can deliver up to eight cups into a pot at one time.”
Personalised flavours: Jon notes that high-end machines, such as those from Miele, will also cater for personalised flavour with regards to your coffee bean selection: “Miele’s patented CoffeeSelectensures maximum enjoyment and top-quality coffee. The system comprises three separate containers for different types of beans – so each coffee speciality is prepared with the right type of bean. You can select the bean types manually or assign them permanently to particular drinks – giving you maximum flexibility.”
Automatic milk frothing: Essential for those who love a cappuccino or café latte, bean-to-cup machines will come with a milk frother or have the option to buy a frothing accessory separately. However, for maximum convenience, it is best to invest in a machine with a built-in automatic milk frother that allows you to froth milk or make a milky hot beverage at a touch of a button. Says Jon: “anyone who appreciates the value of a perfect cup of coffee knows that it’s not just the quality of the beans and créma that matter – the milk froth is crucial too. Miele’s automatic MilkPerfection system adds two burst of steam that enable it to create double milk frothing. This double Venturi process not only increases the temperature of the milk froth, but also creates a particularly light texture.”
Custom programming: One of the coolest features of more advanced bean-to-cup machines is that of being able to program your own custom coffee creations. After experimenting with various strengths, temperatures, milk contents and so on, you can ask the machine to remember exactly how to automatically make your custom coffee for you. “For a personalised experience. Miele’s coffee machines allow you to save up to 10 customised profiles with individual settings for your favourite hot beverages so that you don’t have to enter them every time. The user profiles contain all the parameters for your favourite drinks: bean type, quantity of coffee, water temperature and quantity, and milk/milk froth quantities if applicable,” explains Jon.
Easy cleaning and descaling: Cleaning is always an arduous task, so it is highly advisable to invest in a machine that have built-in automatic cleaning systems that will take care of this for you, advises Jon: “For example, practical functions make Miele’s coffee machines extremely easy to clean. The milk pipework and brew unit are cleaned automatically with the AutoClean function – saving you time and giving you more freedom. In addition, you can do away with manual descaling thanks to the machine’s AutoDescale function (depending on model). With the ComfortClean system, many of the components can be cleaned in the dishwasher.”
Quality and longevity: Since bean-to-cup coffee machines are a sizeable investment, it is essential that you choose the best quality that you can afford from a well-known and loved brand, says Jon: “The more durable your bean-to-cup machine, the better the investment. Like all of Miele’s appliances, its range of coffee machines are designed, manufactured and tested to last for a minimum of 20 years – not only does this save you money in the long run, but it is also a better environmentally sustainable choice as it dramatically reduces the overall carbon footprint of the machine.”
Miele coffee machines are only available from Miele directly – visit www.miele.co.za to find a Miele Gallery closest to you, or to browse and shop online.