On cold winter mornings, having the ability to make a fresh mug of coffee to barista standard is something many coffee fans may get a kick out of. There’s a range of models on the market, from the affordable to the expensively indulgent.
So you’ve curated your art for your living room, lovingly preserved your vinyl collection, slaved over selecting the softest sofa and settled on a book you like; and now you’re going to head off to a café to read it amidst the noise of 10 more babyccinos being frothed up before you’ve finished Chapter One? Perhaps not. The friendliest place to enjoy quality coffee can be right at home, and you don't need barista training either. Or rather, instead of putting all those cardboard cuppa Joe’s on your company credit cards, you’d prefer to be the office hero and buy a machine for work.
Ever wondered what those adverts with George Clooney being sleazy and annoying were actually about? They are for coffee! Nespresso’s pre-ground foil-packaged capsules slot into a home coffee machine without any mess, and produce a range of rich and flavourful coffees. If you love your espresso but hate the fuss, the Magimix M100 Nespresso maker looks super stylish and costs less than £100. You can find a range of Nespresso capsules in different flavours of coffee and there’s a milk frother sold separately, so it can be brought out especially to impress your friends with soft, frothy, chocolate sprinkled rejuvenating goodness. If capsules aren’t your bag, you may prefer a classic stainless steel machine from Gaggia – a smaller version of the Italian coffee machine used in many coffee shops.
And if you like fresh-ground coffee, you might be looking for an excuse to head down to your local coffee shop and pick up a blend instead. Londoners, for example can stop by the Algerian Coffee Store in Soho, choose from more than 140 blends of coffee, and enjoy the timeless rusticity of purchasing ingredients for a fine drink from a distant land, measured by weight, handed over by a human. No bleeps, no customer announcements. The beans are ground as you like, and sealed on the spot. Or you can buy them whole, in which case you’ll need a coffee grinder at home.
In fact, a new machine has been released which can grind the right amount of beans for your cup just when you want. The Saeco Xelsis by Philip makes a cup precisely to your specifications – by using fingerprint recognition. While this is a clever touch, it’s unlikely to be everyone’s cup of tea (or coffee). But then, it does use quieter ceramic grinders, and it cleans itself.
The ’barista in a box’, as it was described by café consultant Paul Meikle-Janney, will set you back £1,700, so it’s really for those who have more love for coffee than sense. But the kiss of soft froth in the morning combined with the heady aromas of your favourite blend might just make the high price worth it.
One convenient way to pay could be by credit card. Credit card application and credit card comparison websites are choc-a-bloc full of forms though, so you might need that strong coffee before you even begin.
A credit card may be a good way of spreading your payments, but bear in mind that you will be charged interest if you do not pay off your balance in full, and late or missed payments may mean you lose any promotional rates and affect your credit rating.
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