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It won't matter how rich, expensive or high quality your coffee beans are, they
won't produce the best flavour if the grinding isn't right. There is more than
one type of grinder on the market and when evaluating grind and brew coffee
makers, you will want to pay careful attention to the grinder.
The Grinding Side of Coffee Making
Some grinders come with blades and some have burr type grinders. The generally
consensus among coffee growers is that the burr type is best. The blades tend to
cut the coffee in a way that doesn't release the best flavour. On the other
hand, 2” burrs will gently chop the beans into a well ground consistency that
will enhance the bean's flavour. The objective here is a fine, consistent grind.
The Brewer
The other side of the combination grind and brew coffee makers is the brewing
component. This will consist of a water reservoir, a filter and the cup or pot
area to catch the hot coffee. Brewers come with a thermostat to heat water to
the perfect temperature. Filer areas can hold a filter designed to hold enough
grounds to make a full pot, or have single serving filters. The most important
part of the brewing side of things to consider is how well the water is filtered
as well as the coffee. If tap water is used and contains minerals, there must be
a water filtration system to avoid having chemicals or minerals change the taste
of the coffee. You could of course use filtered water, but in combination units
convenience is the goal.
Putting the Two Together
Combination units have taken the best grinders and best brewers and put them
conveniently together. Many combo units have timers so you can program them to
grind and brew just minutes before you are ready to enjoy the coffee. This
freshly ground and brewed coffee can be waiting for you and begin the process as
you sleep. You will wake up to the aroma and flavours that will help you start
your day just right.
There are various sizes and styles of combination coffee makers. Depending on
the recipe (Espresso, Latte, etc) or if you plan to make more single cup drinks
than pots, you can right the model for your needs.
In addition to comparing features you will want to compare your personal needs
to the machine's abilities. For example, the super automatic Espresso maker or
Cappuccino Makers are designed for the busiest people. They go from stone cold
to a freshly brewed cup of coffee in a matter of minutes. There is also a clean
up time to factor in. With super automatic styles, there is no clean up so you
can save even more time with these models.
The basic formula for the perfect, freshest brew then is to begin with the
beans. Select a flavour from around the world that appeals to you. Next, make
sure you retain that flavour by grinding it with a burr style grinder (not
usually found at your local grocery store) to ensure the texture is just right
for brewing. Then brew with pure water and a good filter that won't change the
flavour. Grind and brew coffee makers with all of these features will do the
job. The rest of the features, such as timers, automatic cleaning, etc. will
just be foam on your latte!