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Delving into automatics

The era of the self-flagellating barista is over.

Overly obtuse and complicated brewing procedures that were once entertaining and exciting are now simply annoying. “There are no points for difficulty in coffee”. What really matters is using fantastic coffee and thoroughly enjoying the cups that you brew.

To that end we’ve been on the hunt for an automatic filter coffee brewer that we aren’t just happy to recommend, but wholeheartedly endorse, stock and sell to our customers. 

When we first dipped our toes into the world of auto-brewers we knew that we had to do a lot of experimenting. Upon testing a wide range of drip coffee makers we were scoring the machines in the following categories:

Ergonomics:
We looked at how comfortable and easy it is to engage with the machine, in preparing a pot, brewing and cleaning down, assessing the tactile qualities of the materials as well as sturdiness.

Brewing Temperature:
Assessing whether the machine is able to get the water up to an adequate brewing temperature, how quickly it does so and how stable it remains throughout the brewing process

Extraction Quality:
We trialled different recipes and techniques with each brewer, playing every role from skilled barista to someone half-asleep and feeling lazy in the morning. We rinsed filter papers, agitated as necessary and levelled the coffee bed for a more involved brewing procedure, but also trialled simply adding coffee and water by eye, with no intervention during the brewing process. Our thoughts behind these tests were that the better brewer would be the one that can adequately extract the coffee in a range of different scenarios. Using a refractometer we could check which machine brewed a stronger cup when using the same dose of coffee and water, thus informing us as to the more efficient option. 

Consistency:
It wouldn’t do to simply test the brewers once, so we brewed pot after pot of a wide range of coffees using water of varying hardness to see how the brewers coped in multiple scenarios. 

Speed:
Good things come to those who wait, but you can’t deny that your first cup in the morning can’t arrive quickly enough. Given that the machines will be popular in offices and cafes as well as in the home we wanted to make sure we selected a brewer that doesn’t take an age to produce a pot. 

Design:
You can’t overlook the importance of a slick looking machine. The footprint of the machine as well as the choice and finish of materials needs to lead to a pleasing aesthetic.

Value for Money:
There are some super cheap and some crazy expensive automatic brewers out there. It was important to us to find something with good build quality but not cost the earth, as the more people that can enjoy our coffee, the better.

Deliciousness:
Obviously this relies on the brewer delivering well on the above criteria, but we made sure to taste, taste and taste again to ensure the brewer reliably produces something utterly delicious.

Our Winner: The Technivorm Moccamaster

The Moccamaster ticked every box for us, and we’ve since been using it to brew fresh pots every day in the Workshop Coffee roastery as an extension of our roasted coffee QC program (and to perk the team up during a day’s roasting and packing).

A lesson in utilitarian, industrial aesthetic and a great example of quality manufacturing, the machine is hand-built in the Netherlands and comes with a 5 year manufacturer’s warranty. 

We were able to brew well extracted pots of coffee with minimal intervention, and have put together this concise brewing guide for those wanting to get the best out of their investment. 

We’re also importing and selling the new CGWS-130B electric burr grinder from Wilfa in Norway. Together they both deliver great results for minimal effort on your part: win win. 


James Bailey
James Bailey

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