How best to produce the perfect cup of coffee at home within your budget.

How best to produce the perfect cup of coffee at home within your budget.

What is it that drove you to buy that coffee maker? Whether it’s a plunger, a stove top, a filter machine, a grinder with a stove top, or a machine with no grinder—the bottom line is, when it comes to machines, ask yourself what it is your trying to achieve. Hopefully it’s the flavour, and/or the aesthetically pleasing addition to your kitchen.

If you look at the domestic machines that are available today, they under extract, the never give you the rich darkness of crema that you would achieve from a café and they’ll advertise 19 bar or 20 bar of pressure. That’s actually not what you’re after. A normal commercial machine sits at 9 bar. So, the domestic machine will under extract which leaves your coffee lacking richness both in colour and flavour.

So, what should you be looking for if you want to produce a beautiful espresso coffee at home? At the top end, select a machine and training combination. You’d be looking at about $4000. A machine is generally $2500-$3000, and a grinder is around about $1000. Something important to consider—do you want a machine that you can take to the bach ie easily transportable or something that’s permanently connected at home? It all depends on how serious you are about having a good cup of coffee.

To get a decent cup of coffee you could go budget range & buy yourself a plunger, however do make sure you visit your local roaster, somewhere they sell fresh coffee. Ensure you get it ground that day to ensure its freshness. And don’t buy too much—just 250g should last you a week.

Different coffee roasters have a different opinions. It can get confusing. If you want the right advice seek out the right person. And everybody, especially when it comes to machines, will probably lean towards the agency that imports their machine. Sometimes, you almost need to talk to someone who’s not importing machines to get a more objective point of view.

A lot of the machines out there can’t be serviced locally, so that’s a problem. You don’t want to buy a machine that can’t be serviced locally. La Pavoni Domus is my pick, so far as value for money goes.

It has a conical grinder, is close to commercial pressure, has a tank, is stainless steal, and is small. And there’s a service agent in Auckland—and even better it’s Italian!

But if you’re on a budget, and want to produce a coffee that’s close to espresso style, here are my tips:

Budget of $200:
Food grade aluminum stove top. Again go for an Italian, they are better quality. It might cost you around $50 for a decent size. And with the rest of your money buy the best burr grinder you can. Buy fresh coffee. Don’t buy supermarket, and don’t buy use-by coffee—you have no idea when it was roasted.

Budget of $1000:
Spend $900 on the grinder. And then buy a stove top. Buy the decent grinder first so you can save for a decent machine, that’s my thinking there. Mazza offers a lifetime warranty, which is a massive bonus.

Budget of $3000-$4000:
Some questions to ask yourself: Do you entertain? Or is it just for you at home?

If you entertain, and sky’s the limit, I would get a two group, plumbed in. With a grinder. If you went on TradeMe you could seriously have that for as little as three grand. That’s including a grinder. A two-group machine you can pick up for as little as two. You may have to spend a little bit of money fixing it up.

If you’re not entertaining, you’d have a grinder and single group commercial machine. Plumbed in or tank model, ready to go. Roasters will include things like jugs. Once you get above that $1500 you need to start thinking about spending a couple of hundred on training.

But bottom line: if you’re on a medium budget, you can’t go wrong with the La Pavoni Domus. All in one, tap model, whip it off to your bach. I really rate it.