Our large coffeemaker seemed a good idea at half price a few years ago, but it collects more dust than it brews espressos or cappuccinos for our household or guests. Truth be told, I’m not a morning person; I need my coffee without having to think about its preparation. And the machine’s novelty has worn off for my once barista-wannabe spouse.
I now wish I had explored all of the options before making any purchase, which is exactly what Isabelle Harvey, the director of regional sales at the Linen Chest, advises. “There’s a wide range of quality choices, but it really depends on your needs and preferences,” she says.
The first thing to consider is the amount of coffee a household or office actually consumes. “Coffeemakers that use capsules are really popular because they’re so fast and convenient, but they become expensive if you drink more than three cups daily,” Harvey says.
With costs ranging from almost $6 to $11 for 10 to 12 capsules, coffee purchases can add up to more than $50 a pound. “You could end up spending $1,500 yearly if you’re not careful,” she warns. “However, the convenience is worth it to those who want that one perfect cup on the run in the morning, or a variety of good coffee always at the ready in seconds for visitors.”
For others, it’s a question of not only budget but tastes. “Do you just want a nicely filtered coffee?” Harvey asks. “Or do you want the ability to whip up some milk for a cappuccino or macchiato?”
If you have time and inclination, hand-pressed filter coffee pots make the most of good quality, freshly ground beans. “They’re for people who enjoy lounging in the morning over a newspaper or regard coffee as important as the wine they serve during a special meal,” Harvey says. “They’re also the most environmentally friendly option.”
For those with a less artisanal lifestyle, push-of-a-button options have come a long way in terms of improved technology. You want a quick filtered cup? You’ve got it! You’d prefer a latte, or perhaps a hot chocolate, or even tea? No problem.
“These multifaceted units take up more space but do almost everything,” Harvey says. “They also have conveniences such as removable containers to refrigerate frothed milk for later use.”
Another consideration is how easy the better machines are to clean. All of this is explained in detail by Harvey and her Linen Chest associates.
She also made me realize that we’re not wedded to one coffeemaker. I can save my existing machine for when the barista spirit recaptures my husband’s inclinations, but I can also shop for a push-of-a-button model to face mornings. And a hand-pressed filter pot would be nice for book club. •