With the Pandemic taking us from our routines and closing many of the favourite jaunts where we used to socialise over our fave brew, it’s no wonder more and more of us are looking for new ways to recreate them and with restrictions and lockdown, the best way to do so is at home.
One that seems to be missed the most is the beloved coffee shop, and it is no wonder. Up until last year, we used to rely on them to perk us up on the way to work (oh how we miss that early AM flat white before getting on the tube!), chat with colleagues at lunch and socialise with friends over a slice a red velvet cake and a frothy latte at the weekends.
You cannot recreate the social interactions; well, you can try with a Zoom get-together of course. But you can recreate the coffee experience, all you need is a decent machine and some fresh coffee beans.
But which is best?
Do you need a French Press, a Bean to Cup machine, Espresso Maker, or a Pod Machine such as Nespresso?
Well, if you are going for the coffee shop experience it really comes down to a choice of two…
Nespresso vs Bean to Cup
A Bean to Cup Machine
Firstly, a Bean to Cup Coffee machine is one, where you add fresh coffee beans in the top and ultimately the coffee of your choice comes out the bottom.
A true bean to cup is a one touch coffee machine, in that you should only have to press a button and the rest is automatic. But in reality, they come with various levels of automation.
The main benefit is convenience really, apart from adding the beans to the top, you only need to add a cup at the bottom and you are ready to go…!
Another great feature is the pure range of drinks some of these machines can make. We are not just talking about an espresso, no some will even do the milk frothing for you, and produce Barista quality Latte’s, Cappuccino’s and Caffe macchiato.
But with convenience and functionality comes with a price tag. You can expect to pay anything from one hundred all the way up to several thousand pounds.
A good manufacturer to start with would be Delonghi who offer a full range of Bean to Cup Coffee Machines, check them out here. They offer everything from entry level to top of the range and all are excellent.
One of big benefits over a pod coffee machine, is the control you have. Yes, you can have it fully automated, but as you learn, you can start to control different aspects of the process. Anything from grind size, the amount of coffee to the brewing pressure can normally be customised.
This allows you to be able to get creative, and you are allowed visitors you can impress them with Barista skills. If you get one with a manual steam wand, then you can even practice Latte Art.
- Convenience of one touch operation
- Full range of Coffee Specialities
- Can use fresh coffee beans
- Automatic Milk Frothing
- More Expensive
- Bulky you need some worktop space
- Cleaning and Descaling can be fiddly
A Nespresso Coffee Machine
People often talk about “Nespresso pods”, when they really mean capsule machines, this could include Dolce Gusto, Nespresso, or Lavazza Pods. So, for this purpose I will refer to them universally as pods.
A coffee purist will try and tell you not to bother with pod machines, they will argue they are not real coffee machines. But you do not have to listen to these people they are coffee snobs.
In reality pod coffee machines are very popular, and this is for a reason, they do produce a high-quality coffee. Certainly, better than the filter coffee machines most people have at home.
The real attraction here is how simple they are to operate, simply add the pod and push a button, and hey presto, you have a decent espresso.
Getting anything more though can be a challenge, most pod coffee machines do not froth milk or offer you freshly made lattes. No normally you will need a separate milk texture machine, and these are not as good as a steam wand.
But as always if you want to spend enough then you can get a pod machine with steam wand, but you will be paying as much if not more than a bean to cup coffee machine.
- Simple to use
- Good quality Coffee
- Small and discrete
- Cheaper (they start £40)
- No Milk Frothing options
- No range of drinks available
- Pods can cost more than Coffee beans
So, which one is best?
Well, it is not really a case of which is best as they both do what they do well. But more a case of which is best for you.
And this depends on what you are looking for, if you want to create the coffee shop experience and impress your friends with a full menu, then I must recommend a bean to cup machine for you.
On the other hand, if you simply want a quick shot of the black stuff to pick you up before you start the day, then you should probably save the extra pennies and get yourself a Nespresso machine.
Either way you will not be disappointed, and if your current solution is a jar of instant, then you are in for a real treat.