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Coffee Goes Hi-Tech
By Dawn Gordon Luks
There's nothing like a great cup of java to kick-start your morning routine. Aside from the great aroma, taste and small jolt, recent studies indicate that coffee can also be beneficial to your health if not abused.
What's the best way to brew this ubiquitous bean? Of course, there are age-old methods such as a French press, or the more modern percolator, or the even more recent drip-paper filter approach made popular by the infamous Mr. Coffee. These days, however, we have a host of electronically elegant choices.
If you like coffee, tea and hot chocolate and want the ultimate in convenience then you should put the K-Cup system at the top of your list. Developed by Keurig in the mid to late 90's, this system has really caught on and there are literally hundreds of different beverage pods available. K-Cup machines brew coffee or tea by piercing the foil seal on top of the plastic K-Cup with a spray nozzle, while simultaneously piercing the bottom of the K-cup with a discharge nozzle. Grounds contained inside the K-cup sit within a paper filter. A measured quantity of hot water is forced through the K-Cup, passing through the grounds and through the filter into the waiting cup or mug below. A brewing temperature of 192 degrees Fahrenheit is the default setting, with some models permitting you to alter the temperature above and below that point. An important item to note is that any ground coffee can be used in a K-Cup machine via a special MY K-CUP® reusable filter cup that you can purchase separately. It works in almost all K-Cup machines.
Breville BKC700XL ($249) www.breville.com
This sleek stainless steel machine features advanced brewing technology that evenly
distributes water through the K-Cup® resulting in a richer and more flavorful cup. Other features include a built-in water filter, adjustable brewing temperatures and a removable drip tray to accommodate large travel mugs. Choose from five brew sizes including: Extra-Large Travel Mug (11.25oz), Large (9.25oz), Medium (7.25oz), Small, Bold Flavor (5.25oz), and Iced Beverage (3.25oz). Comes with an 18 K-Cup variety pack and K-Cup measuring spoon.
The Tassimo system was first introduced in France in 2004 and has since become very popular. Tassimo Pods called T-Discs, have a bar code printed on their labels. Once inserted, the Tassimo machine reads the bar code to calculate the amount of water, brewing time, and temperature for the specific beverage. The brewing process takes between 30-60 seconds. Unlike the K-Cup system mentioned above, Tassimo machines can make real espresso and Lattes (with special milk pods,) in addition to American coffee.
Tassimo Bosch Suprema ($169.99) http://www.tassimodirect.com/tassimo/index.aspx
This machine features an extra large 61oz water tank and a built-in Mavea water filtration system with an LCD readout that indicates when it's time to change the filter. The Suprema can be set for different cup sizes and features an adjustable cup stand. Simply insert a T DISC and press a button - the machine does the rest.
Jura-Capresso Impressa C5 Super Automatic ($999.00) www.capresso.com
Considered the Rolls Royce of coffee machines, Capresso specializes in ultra-sophisticated brewing units that automatically do everything you need to make a great cup of coffee or espresso. Whole beans and water are stored in on board containers. A push of a button starts the 60-second process. The beans are ground in a burr grinder, the coffee is then tamped and brewed, and the grounds are discarded into an internal waste bin. And if you like Lattes, the C5 froths and steams milk into a pitcher or right in your cup. Such automation and quality doesn't come cheap. Models can go as high as $3000.
- 64 ounce water container
- 18 bar pressure pump
- Clearyl Blue Water Filtration- Removes chlorine, lead, aluminum and copper from your tap water
- Bypass funnel for pre-ground coffee
- Commercial grade conical steel burr grinder with 6 fineness settings
- Height adjustable dual coffee spout
- Self monitoring rinsing, cleaning and descaling programs
Dawn Gordon Luks is a veteran consumer electronics journalist. In addition to her writing schedule, Dawn also designs home audio, home theater, and home automation installations in South Florida. Send an email to Dawn Gordon Luks.