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Coffee Appliances

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Coffee & Espresso Machines

Drink it or not, coffee is to be admired for evolving, sparking debate and keeping people awake for over a millennium. Initially, coffee was consumed straight, dark and gritty (the way it is still enjoyed in much of the Middle East) and it stayed this way until the Battle of Vienna in 1683 when retreating Ottomans left piles of beans and a smart shop owner added milk and sugar to make it more palatable to locals.

Coffee's history can be divided into four waves. The first saw its discovery and diaspora around the globe. The second wave was ushered in almost entirely by one company - Starbucks, which opened in 1982 on Pike Street, Seattle. It marked the birth of consumer coffee, and the drink exploded in popularity, becoming a working-hours alternative to alcohol as the social lubricant of the western world. In the third wave, coffee took on a wine-like appreciation with the foregrounding of the origin and terroir of particular coffees (where and how they were grown) as important elements to determining what a coffee would taste like. With the rise in popularity of "Single-Origin" coffees (from one particular region, or area) some governments even began copyrighting the names of certain coffee regions, in the same way that the names of drinks like Champagne, Port, and Cognac have been protected. Finally, coffee seems to have progressed into its fourth wave. This wave - almost as a reaction to the notion that good coffee can only be drunk as espresso in your local cafe - has seen a whole range of new and old brewing techniques brought to the fore, making it possible to brew the world's finest coffees right in the comfort of your own home.

The two ways coffee can be made are by a slow brewing of ground coffee in hot water (filtered coffee) or extracting coffee under pressure (espresso) - for which this selection of fantastic machines are intended. When it comes to making espresso, there are many variables affecting quality including freshness of beans, evenness of grind, water quality, temperature and timing. A fair amount of practice and knowledge is needed to make great espresso on a fully manual machine (like the KitchenAid Artisan Espresso Machine) but there are numerous automated home espresso systems available, too. If simplicity and convenience is key, capsule coffee machines (like Nespresso) are a stellar option.

The right coffee maker for you depends on the experience and end product you're after. If it's simplicity and convenience, a capsule or bean-to-cup coffee machine is probably for you. If your interest is piqued by slow food and speciality coffee, get something that needs to be fed beans, make friends with a local roastery and invest in a burr grinder. Ready to join the fourth wave of coffee? Get some good beans and enjoy exploring the delicious possibilities of great coffee at home.

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