Professional coffee machines are extremely expensive, but is the price only determined by the quality of the coffee produced and is it possible to brew an excellent drink at home without overpaying? Let’s try to figure it out and start an investigation code-named “What is the difference between coffee for a million? “.
Carob coffee machines
Of the carob coffee machines, let’s compare the professional Italian La Marzocco for 500 thousand rubles and the Swiss Solis for home use, costing about ten times cheaper.
Professional La Marzocco for 550 thousand and household Solis for 55 thousand
Carob coffee machines – they only brew espresso on their own, to get a cappuccino, you need to beat the milk foam separately. Such coffee machines may have a steam frother for milk frothing, but never have a built-in coffee grinder.
Such coffee machines are used in most coffee houses and restaurants, they produce excellent rich and aromatic coffee. The main indicator of coffee quality is a dense golden-brown foam-cream, it has a minimum of air bubbles, a maximum of taste and aroma. The color of the foam determines the strength of the coffee, the lighter the foam, the less strong the coffee.
In the category of automatic coffee machines, let’s compare the German WMF 9000 S for 1 million rubles and the Swiss Nivona CafeRomatica NICR 960 for home use.
WMF 9000 S for 1 million rubles and Nivona CafeRomatica NICR 960 for 160 thousand rubles.
The more expensive the automatic coffee machine, the more recipes it knows and brews coffee according to them in a fully automatic mode: espresso, latte, cappuccino and more. Such machines can have one, two or even three containers for different types of coffee, a built-in coffee grinder and a cappuccinatore. You just need to pour coffee beans, pour milk and water, press one button and get a ready-made drink.
Such coffee machines are most often used in places with high traffic, where speed and ease of preparation are important. For example, at gas stations, in the lobby of office buildings and shopping centers.
What in a coffee machine can affect the taste of coffee
Housing material – can affect the final result. Remember, for example, terrible Chinese teapots and the smell from them. How many times did you have to boil it before the smell was all washed out. The metal case does not give any smell.
Temperature – For proper extraction, the temperature of the water must be below the boiling point. If the temperature is high, then the coffee becomes bitter, if it is too low, then the coffee turns sour. To find your taste, you should play with this parameter and find your ideal coffee temperature. Some coffee machines use a PID controller that provides very precise temperature control.
Warming cups – true gourmets will always warm the cup before pouring coffee into it so that the freshly brewed drink is not stressed by temperature changes and maintains the brewing temperature. The smaller the amount of coffee brewed, the more important it is to use preheated cups. If your coffee machine does not have this option, you can heat the cup with hot water or steam.
Grinding degree (does not always depend on the coffee machine) – the degree of grinding affects the time it takes for water to pass through the coffee tablet (extraction). Coarsely ground coffee has a shorter water passage time than the same variety, but with a finer grind. With a longer extraction time, more aromas are extracted and the coffee becomes strong.
Manometer – A manometer measures the pressure at which water passes through ground coffee. The ideal extraction range is between 8 and 12 on the pressure gauge while brewing coffee, especially for espresso coffee. Then the espresso coffee has a thin and even crema.
Dishonest manufacturers neutralize a small pressure by narrowing the supply pipe and there is visually foam in the coffee, but this is far from foam-cream.
If the pointer drops below 6 bar, then the water flows through the portafilter too quickly. The coffee comes out watery and has a slightly colored or insufficient crema and may taste sour.
If the pressure gauge pointer rises above 13 bar, the water flow is too slow. The coffee turns out bitter, cream-cream with spots or has an uneven consistency.
Portafilter is the same horn, only in a professional language. It can be without a bottom, in this design a filter basket is visible and you can check the quality of a coffee tablet. Baskets can be with “improver” and without. They are needed for very fine grinding of coffee, which is usually sold in a store.
Pre-wetting coffee (blooming) – today experts argue how much this function is needed in modern machines. But they agree that this function is necessary for ground coffee from the store. Ground coffee quickly loses its aromatic properties, and when steeped, the taste and aroma of coffee become more intense.
Timer – needed to vary the intensity of the espresso. The longer the brewing process takes, the less intense the coffee will be. Different times, different tastes.
Pump Type – Rotary pumps, unlike vibrating ones, create more stable pressure and make little noise, but they take up a lot of space and are expensive.
Preparation of cappuccino – in carob coffee makers, cappuccino is prepared manually using a steam tap. The stronger the steam and the faster it heats up, the faster you can froth the milk and get a dense foam. In automatic coffee machines, cappuccino is prepared without human assistance.
What does not depend on the coffee machine
The quality and taste of beans is the most important parameter, even more important than the coffee machine. If everything is clear with quality, then with taste it is more difficult – you need to try many varieties of coffee to find your own. The quality of coffee beans is affected by both roasting and the person who roasts them. Gourmets know not only their favorite varieties of coffee beans, the geography of their origin, but also the name of the person who roasts the beans.
Grinding – Grinding should be uniform. This means that all coffee particles must be the same size. If the particle size in one portion is very different, it will not be possible to control the taste: small particles will brew quickly, large ones slowly, but how many small ones are in the portion and how many large ones are unknown. The best coffee grinders are burr grinders. And the best millstones are ceramic and steel. Professionals use freestanding coffee grinders and do not use built-in ones.
Water quality – if chlorine is in water, then chlorine is in coffee, and so on for each element of the Mendeleev Periodic Table of Chemical Elements contained in water. Not very tasty, right? Therefore, you need to take bottled water or put a filter.
Barista’s talent and experience – obtaining delicious and aromatic coffee is a delicate process that requires time and patience. If you are serious about becoming a pro, consider your first hundred cups of homemade coffee as an investment in a delicious future. Never give up trying to find the perfect balance of coffee beans, grind, temperature, pressure and brew time. You will definitely succeed!
Professional La Marzocco vs Homemade Solis
Comparison of the main parameters:
Obviously, the La Marzocco coffee machine is a real “SUV” for the most sophisticated coffee lovers. The model we are talking about is compact and designed for one group, otherwise it is no different from larger models that are chosen for expensive cafes and restaurants. In our country, it has not become widespread in the consumer segment, which cannot be said about countries where coffee is a national drink.
Miniature La Marzocco is chosen for home use by true coffee connoisseurs and passionate people, owners of bakeries, cafes and pizzerias. They admire the taste and aroma of the drink, for them there are no minuses in this machine. It seems that this baby was specially created for professional use at home.
The Solis coffee machine has a lot in common with the professional La Marzocco – a three-way solenoid, a real pressure gauge, a basket without an improver, a steam cappuccino tap. In addition, the Solis coffee machine has a group diameter of 54 mm, which is also a good quality claim.
The Solis is a high-end machine that brews an excellent drink, but still brews homemade coffee. Unlike La Marzocco, Solis has one thermoblock for both coffee and cappuccino, which affects the final result. Another difference not in favor of Solis is the vibration pump. According to reviews, this is the best coffee machine for home use and the only one with so many professional fillings inside.
Professional WMF vs household NIVONA
Comparison of the main parameters:
WMF 9000 S
NIVONA CafeRomatica NICR
Cost, rub 1 004 779 159 999
Producing country Germany Switzerland
Corpus material Plastic/stainless steel Plastic
Cup warmer – +
Thermometer + +
Built-in coffee grinder Millstone Millstone
Millstone material Steel Steel
Grind adjustment + +
Execution type Automatic Automatic
Preparing a cappuccino Automatic Automatic
Coffee pre-wetting + +
Maximum steam pressure, bar 15 15
Heater type Boiler Thermoblock
Warming up the insides + +
If there is a noticeable difference in the taste of coffee between professional and household coffee machines, the situation is different with automatic coffee machines.
Most likely, you have tried coffee from a large automatic coffee machine in some public place, such as a gas station. Terminals for non-cash payment are often connected to them, and a drink is selected by pressing a touch button. These coffee machines are productive, reliable and easy to operate, as they are designed for use not by specially trained baristas, but by ordinary people. Therefore, the taste and aroma of coffee from a coffee machine for a million and for a hundred thousand rubles is the same.
It is difficult to divide automatic coffee machines into professional and household ones according to the quality of the drink. They do not require the presence of a barista, you do not even need to understand all the settings of the machine, but simply press one button and get predictably good results.
In the end – what is the difference between a coffee for a million?
If we talk about automatic coffee machines, then nothing – everything depends on the beans, the rest is done by the technique according to the same given scenario. Carob coffee machines have more functions, features and settings – user participation in the process is necessary. This is what makes it possible to make different, and therefore ideal coffee for yourself or a guest. Whatever one may say, but in the carob versions everything rests on the barista, and we will not completely write off the technological characteristics listed above.