Without claiming to list all the details of a coffee brewer, we will try to “translate” the terms from “coffee” into American and explain what is what and how to deal with it.
Pitcher. Stainless steel pitcher for milk froth. Steel is used because it conducts heat well, because you have to watch the temperature of the milk when you make a froth. It is better not to buy plastic pitchers.
Jigger. This is the name of the measuring cup used by baristas.
Temper. This is a manual press for getting so called “pellet”, i.e. pressed coffee. Specialists say that a simple pestle is good for tempera. Ideally the weight of the filter should be 20 kg, so the filter should not be flexible – it will break, and it is not convenient to press it.
Waste container. Such an accessory makes life much easier for espresso drinkers with the whole family or for coffee drinkers who drink several cups a day. One slam of the Holder against the container partition – and the “spent” portion of coffee pops out of the filter into the special compartment. No spoon scraping, no rinsing – you can brew another espresso immediately.
Boiler and thermoblock. When buying, find out what material they are made of ideally stainless steel , what power the device has, whether it has a thermal protection.
The pump. An espresso machine needs pressure, which is provided by a pump. In the technical characteristics manufacturers write the maximum possible pressure for the tested devices this parameter should not be less than 15 bar. Keep in mind that it is not the maximum pressure but the working pressure that determines the quality of the espresso and the espresso foam that everyone loves. It can be 15 to 10 bar. Some devices in our test it is a VORK model are equipped with a barometer. This step by the manufacturer is a demonstration of confidence in the quality of the pump.
Holder. This is the name of the actual cone filter holder into which the filter with the coffee is inserted: it is through which the water flows. This is the most important part of the coffee maker, part of the so-called “brewing unit” of the appliance. Holder should preferably be made of brass, stainless steel, as aluminum alloy horns can deform during use.
You can determine the material by the weight of the holder: heavy means steel or, in more expensive models, brass. It is important that the holding handle is also metal, “dressed” in plastic only for thermal protection – if you can’t see it, look at the weight of the part. Inlays and channels, rubber rings in the cup of the Holder are supposed to help get better foam, but such devices are not needed in appliances that follow the basic parameter for espresso machines – 10 atmospheres minimum working pressure.
It’s the pressure, not the various diffusers and agitators that should make the crema, or as coffee puffs call it, the creamer. Moreover, the rubber gaskets will inevitably need to be replaced, and soon. Sometimes the whole holder is replaced for this reason.
Filters. Normally you will find two filter inserts for one or two espresso drinks. There are two important points which are taken into account by specialists: the location of the holes in the filter and the presence of various plastic inserts and channels in the bottom of the filter.
If the holes are located across the bottom, to get coffee with a good crema will be harder, if in the center – easier the secret is in the pressure distribution . You can tell the truth about the number of holes only by looking at the filter from the back, not the inside. The filters can also include the so-called adapters for the cups, which are included only in some devices. It’s important that the filter must fit snugly into the holder.
Removable reservoir. This is generally a plastic tub where the hose from the pump which draws the water for brewing the coffee is inserted. It is important that the container is easy to insert and remove, and the user does not have to constantly turn or lift the device to do this. Indicator of maximum and minimum water level adds convenience, but is not found in every model.
Sometimes there is an air lock in the water supply hose and water does not flow into the holding tank with the button on. You can remove the air lock by turning on the steam: the system is “blown” and the water supply is restored.
Cappuccinator. In coffee makers, it can be automatic rare or manual. In the models in the test, only the KRUPS coffee machine has an automatic cappuccinator. In other devices the principle of operation is the following: the cappuccinator nozzle is lowered about 1 cm into the jigger filled with milk usually 100 ml of milk is poured there , the steam valve opens or the relevant button is pressed, the milk froth is whipped with the circular movements of the pitcher around the cappuccinator nozzle.
Marmite. It is a stand for heating and drying cups, which becomes warm by heating the thermoblock. The cups are placed upside down on it, thus they are heated from inside. It is needed for a more complete disclosure of the coffee flavor and for better preservation of the temperature of the drink – real coffee lovers pour espresso only in heated cups.
Drip tray. Available in all devices, convenient for collecting spilled liquids, can be used when a small amount of water is spilled for cleaning. If you want to drink coffee from a cup that does not fit the height, in most devices the tray can be removed. Some models have a water level indicator – this is convenient.