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Testing coffee machines

Now it is difficult to imagine, but before the invention of coffee machines, no espresso existed in nature. Moreover, at first nobody brewed coffee or roasted coffee. Coffee berries just chewed.

Historians claim that this outrage lasted for almost four hundred years.

An ancient device specifically designed for making coffee is jazz, otherwise called turkish.

Taking advantage of it, people found out that if you start making coffee in a cezve to boil, most of its taste and aroma will disappear — and this rule underlies the action of the most modern coffee machines.

This way of making coffee — unhurried and requiring continuous attention — suited everyone. But only so far there was no hurry. The first signs of anxiety appeared at the beginning of the 19th century, when Jean-Baptist de Bellua, the archbishop of Paris invented the drip coffee maker.

Hot water was dripping through the filter (metal or porcelain), which was covered with a layer of ground coffee.

Over the next hundred years, this coffee pot has undergone many changes to the design plan, but in general terms remained the same.

Above — a container with hot water, in the middle — the filter, at the bottom — the finished drink.

Perhaps, in the 19th century there was no decent family in Europe or America, where a coffee pot would not stand on the table.

However, the time was such that the inventors continuously continued to invent. Despite the setbacks (it came to explosions), they tried to create more and more coffee machines, in particular, using pairs. In 1843, the French designer Edouard Loisel de Sante made the first such machine capable of working confidently, and in 1855, after many improvements, presented it to the public at the Paris exhibition.

According to eyewitnesses, and the size and manner of work, it was very much like a locomotive, but was called «Loisel’s hydrostatic vase».

She brewed coffee quickly, but poorly — it turned out bitter and unsaturated.

From the top of our current knowledge, we can say that the steam pressure was too low, and the temperature (remember, coffee does not tolerate too high a temperature?) Is too high.

The Italians took further steps towards the “right” espresso.

The first one is Luigi Bezzera from Milan — registered its patent on November 19, 1901.

His coffee machine was much more compact than any of its predecessors, and its work was based on the combined use of hot water and steam. The main thing — it was in Bezzer’s car that the so-called “groups” appeared.

The group is part of the design of the coffee machine, which allows to prepare coffee in portions.

It consists of a portafilter (aka “horn” or “holder”), a filter that is installed into the holder (then a portion of ground coffee is poured into it and compacted), and the head of the group (the part of the structure into which the horn is inserted).

When a group appeared in the coffee machine, it appeared and barista, that is, the bartender who deals exclusively with coffee.

At the same time, the culture of the Italian cafe itself was born — the most important component of such an elusive concept as “dolce vita”.

By the way, the word «espresso» It came into use at the same time.

However, Bezzer was apparently not a very good merchant, and in 1903 another Italian entrepreneur, Desiderio pavoni — bought from him a patent for the production of coffee machines and put this production on a solid commercial basis.

It is the installation of the machine La pavoni in a restaurant Regio, in New York, marked the beginning of the global expansion of the Italians in the field of coffee.

Third Italian — Giovanni Hajia — Invented the hand piston, with the help of which it was possible to finally get rid of the damned, not amenable to adjusting the vapor pressure and control the cooking process manually.

He patented his invention on August 8, 1947, and this day can be called the birthday of espresso, as we know it.

An additional bonus of using a hand piston was the formation of a thick, caramel-colored froth on the surface of the coffee.

Barista is called this “cream” foam, and she is one of the main signs of a properly prepared espresso.
In this regard, the question arises: what is the right espresso?

In technical terms, espresso is a beverage produced by espresso machine from 6.5–7 g of ground coffee, at a pressure of 9 bar, at a water temperature of 88–94 ° C, in an amount of 25–35 ml, with an extraction time of 25–30 seconds.

In fact, everything is more complicated.

Properly prepared espresso does not need sugar.

It leaves a long, pleasant aftertaste. If you tried the espresso and it turned out to be too bitter or too sour, then the point is most likely not in the coffee, but in the one who prepared it.

Nevertheless, besides the personality of the barista, many other factors influence the quality of espresso.

Here are the most important ones.

Proper coffee.

It must have the correct grinding — «for espresso.» If you buy coffee beans — well, buy a new one at the same time coffee grinder, which will not crush, but break the grain.

Ideally, it should have a special “espresso coffee” mode.

Another iron rule — “grind coffee only on a cup and cook it immediately”.

Temperature.

All that the coffee comes into contact with must be heated — both the cups, the filter horn, and the head of the group.

Therefore, before proceeding to the preparation, the machine must be “shed” — that is, spend one cycle “idle” so that all the parts get warm (and the water, on the contrary, has lost a few degrees).

Hygiene. Once you have prepared an espresso, wipe the group thoroughly — it should be dry and clean. If we are talking about a home car, at least once a month it should be washed with a special detergent.

Otherwise, a touch of so-called coffee oil forms on the parts in contact with the coffee — it is because of it that the espresso turns sour.

Speed. Do not brake! Once you have loaded the coffee, immediately start cooking and immediately place the cup under the horn.

Espresso should also be drunk quickly — it “lives” only 15 seconds, and then turns into a memory.

With the invention of the hand piston, the gold standard of espresso appeared, but the development of coffee machines did not stop there. Among the innovations we are interested in two.

Firstly, the so-called pump (that is, the pump), which practically displaced the piston to the retro area. Now, not only professionals, but also amateurs in their own kitchens could prepare espresso.

And among the barista, women appeared — the water through the coffee began to drive electricity, and not the muscular strength of the barista pressing the lever.

The working pressure of the pump is usually 15 bar (this indicator can be found in the passport of any decent espresso machine).

You may ask: why do we need these 15 bars, if 9 bar pressure is ideal for making espresso?

The whole point is that the working pressure is spent not only on the preparation of coffee, but also on some processes occurring inside the machine, and at the level of the horn, the indicator is the same 9 bar.

So do not worry.

Secondly, we are interested in devices for producing milk foam. Because neither cappuccino, nor latte are impossible without it.

These devices are called «Cappuccinators», and there are four types of them: automatic cappuccinator, panarello, Milk island and mechanical.

Mechanical is such a tiny, battery-powered mixer. Milk Island is a jug that connects to the steam system of a coffee machine.

Pour milk, turn the steam valve — and in half a minute the foam is ready.

But in practice — of course, if you do not need to prepare the foam forty times an hour — the application of Milk Island seems to be unjustified: you just do not need as much foam.

An automatic cappuccinator or pan parello is much more often incorporated into household coffee machines. Moreover, the automatic cappuccinator is not even always visible — only the tube is visible, which must be immersed in milk, and then press the corresponding button.

The device itself will draw out the right amount of milk, mix it with steam, foam it, and then give it to the cup.

When using panarello, you yourself control the process by dropping the nozzle into a container of milk, directing a stream of steam and mixing milk, air and steam.

Handling panarello requires some skill, but the result can be exceptional.

The essence of the test was that in each of the presented machines it was necessary to prepare a cup of espresso and evaluate how tasty this very espresso turned out.

For the test, we attracted a professional barista Olga Stepanova.

We declare with full responsibility: without her help, we would hardly have succeeded. We evaluated the quality of espresso on a five-point scale, where “5 points” is an absolutely perfect espresso (and no machine received such an assessment), and “1 point” — coffee, which you don’t even want to try (and this estimate, fortunately, no one received). The degree of difficulty in preparing machines for work was also taken into account.

Rowenta perfecto

Machine type — horn
Features:
Thermoblock compact system. Uses as much water as necessary for cooking — as a result, espresso is always prepared from fresh water.

Coffee Tablet Pressing System Optipress.

Allows you to adjust the strength of the drink.
Operating pressure — 15 bar
Body material — plastic and steel
Horn Material — steel
Cappuccinator — panarello
Ease of preparation — simply
Ease of Management — very simple
Used coffee — ground
The ability to cook 2 cups at the same time — Yes
Espresso quality — four
Price* — new, estimated price of 9000 rubles.
Subjective assessment: superior amateur car.

Kitchen Aid Artisan-
Espressomachine

Machine type — horn
Features:
Retro design, minimum settings.

Two independent boilers, allowing to simultaneously prepare coffee and make foam.
Operating pressure — 15 bar
Body material — metal
Horn Material — steel
Cappuccinator — panarello
Ease of preparation — skill required
Ease of Management — requires a serious skill
Used coffee — ground or pods (coffee, portion packaged in paper bags)
The ability to cook 2 cups at the same time — Yes
Espresso quality — 3
Price* — from 44 910 rubles.
Subjective assessment: professional machine for coffee fans; requires skills, habits and love.

Saeco armonia

Machine type — horn
Operating pressure — 15 bar
Body material — plastic
Horn Material — plastic / steel
Cappuccinator — panarello
Ease of preparation — very simple
Ease of Management — very simple
Used coffee — ground or in pods (coffee, portion packaged in paper bags)
The ability to cook 2 cups at the same time — Yes
Espresso quality — four
Price* — from 6000 rub.
Subjective assessment: great car amateur level.

Krups XP4050

Machine type — horn
Features:
Programming the amount of water per cup and coffee strength.

Three replaceable filters — for one and two cups of espresso, as well as for ESE coffee.
Operating pressure — 15 bar
Body material — plastic and steel
Horn Material — plastic / steel
Cappuccinator — automatic
Ease of preparation — simply
Ease of Management — simply
Used coffee — ground
The ability to cook 2 cups at the same time — Yes
Espresso quality — 3
Price* — from 8058 rubles.
Price quality — OK
Subjective assessment: good amateur car, horn unusually light.

Melitta lattea

Machine type — espresso machine
Features:
Built-in coffee grinder.

Programs: decalcification, fat removal, washing, etc.

The ability to adjust the grinding, temperature and water volume, etc.
Operating pressure — 15 bar
Body material — plastic
Cappuccinator — proprietary system for preparing milk foam from dry milk mix milk2shower.
Ease of preparation — average
Ease of Management — very simple
Used coffee — grain
The ability to cook 2 cups at the same time — Yes
Espresso quality — four
Price* — from 33 700 rub.
Subjective assessment: an unusual form factor, but the coffee prepares beautifully; confused only by binding to the product of a particular manufacturer (foam can only be prepared from Melitta powder)

* Prices of online stores at the time of publication numbers

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