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The Benefits of Owning an Espresso Machine Vs. Buying Soda

There will be some people who see your beautiful and shiny espresso machine in your kitchen and scoff over the prospect that you get to enjoy as much espresso as you want, whenever you want, saying that your habit is unhealthy and overly expensive. These people might try to tell you that you spent too much on your machine or that you’re wasting your money on the coffee you drink as well as the equipment to brew it. Learn how to arm yourself with an arsenal of facts and information in order to defend your beloved coffee over those who tell you that soda is the better caffeinated option or that it’s cheaper.

The Cost

Purchasing soda or “pop” might seem simple but there are several different varieties, including diet, flavors, and all natural or hand crafted versions. On the other side, there are even more varieties of coffee beans, espresso beans, coffee pods if you choose to use a pod machine, whole bean varieties, flavors, and fair trade organic coffee as well as machines in addition to the pod machine like an espresso machine, fully automatic versions, or a cappuccino machine. Choosing the type of home machine you’d like to purchase, learning to use it, and deciding on the coffee beans you love most might seem like a much steeper cost than simply purchasing a few bottles of soda for your caffeine intake every week. However, there is more to consider besides money and flavor variety when it comes to what decision you make about which is better for you.

Each type of beverage has its own specifications on caffeine content, sugar content, and other ingredients that contribute to your health and happiness. While you might be looking for simplicity, the idea of purchasing and drinking soda on a regular basis might be more complicated than you realize after you consider these factors.

Caffeine Content

Depending on the type of coffee beans you purchase and the way you brew them, coffee tends to have a lot more caffeine than soda and many people view this as a negative characteristic of the beverage. If you look at it in terms of simplicity, though, the fact is that you’ll have to drink less coffee than soda to get your jolt throughout the day and the effect on your health can be positive. If you plan to have a beverage you can sip all day, a home machine is still a good idea as you can purchase decaffeinated coffee to use in your machine that has barely any caffeine and, unless you add it to your beverage, no sugar content, carbonation, or artificial ingredients. Clearly, that is better than the artificial sugar in diet sodas!

Sugar and Flavors

In nearly every variety of soda, there exists a very high sugar content or some sort of artificial flavoring that makes it taste so good. Granted, there are fruity flavors in addition to the vanillas, chocolates, and cola flavors but all of them have this one flaw: excess sugar content. Even the varieties of soda with labels that indicate zero sugar include artificial sweeteners that may be damaging to your health, especially when consumed in high contents. Many people who have the habit of drinking soda consume at least a couple bottles a week and, unless you’re adding a lot of sugar or artificial sweetener to your coffee several times a day, will amount to much more than the recommended amount of sugar you should be having on a daily basis. There are many studies that show that excess sugar intake is damaging to the immune system, kidney function, and pancreas function, which can lead to the development of type two diabetes. Some of these studies also indicate that soda is the cause of these issues in many cases.

Machine Operation

Another factor in choosing between owning an espresso machine or other home machine and purchasing soda on a regular basis for caffeine intake is learning to operate the machine you decide to install. When it comes to a professional or commercial grade espresso machine, there might be a lot to learn before you can use it in your home with any efficiency. However, there are other varieties of home machine including fully automatic varieties, or a pod machine that works simply by dropping a pod in a reservoir and pressing a button to get a delicious cup of gourmet hot coffee. With all the different flavors to choose from, there are all kinds of options to provide ease and variety in your day-to-day consumption. The big difference is that the flavors don’t have to be achieved by excess sugar, syrups, or artificial chemicals.

The Organic Option

Some kinds of soda are hand crafted and use no artificial ingredients and swap out syrups and artificial sugars for all natural cane sugar and organic ingredients. While these varieties are still better than the commercially produced soda you’d usually find on grocery store shelves, it still has a lot more sugar content than is considered healthy and in many cases these hand crafted organic options have no caffeine content at all.

On the contrary, coffee has its own organic option and any home machine can handle these varieties. Organic coffee often includes “fair trade” labels. This means that the coffee beans were farmed on a plantation that pays its workers a fair wage and trades with companies that adhere to specific regulations.

The Verdict

In the end, the matter of using an espresso machine or other home machine vs. buying soda on a regular basis comes down to personal preference. Judging by the facts, coffee is the better option but if you can’t stand the taste or you’re still averse to learning to use even the simplest machines, the home machine option may not be for you. Weigh all the options and do your research before you make a decision. After you find out more about the different kinds of coffee and soda, choose wisely and remember the positives when defending your choice to those who still believe that soda is better.

Decadence and Your Cappuccino Machine

A hot beverage from your cappuccino machine with all of its beautiful layers can make even the bitterest cold day seem a little warmer. Your hands around a tall mug of flavored coffee and foam and the aroma of everything from the spices and beans you used to the garnish at the top helps to chase away frost and snow to keep all of its properties outside the windows instead of in your moods. Pair this beverage with decadent baked goods and not only will your oven warm your home while your treats bake but will also fill the place with the smell of anticipated tastes you’ll get excited to eat.

It Starts With Cappuccino

Before you can go pairing decadent pastries and other baked goods with the beverages that come from your cappuccino machine, you first need to have an excellent cappuccino. You might be an espresso and steamer newbie who just started learning how to pull shots or you could be an experienced home barista who knows how to make a top notch brew. Either way, there’s always more to learn that will make your skills and the results of your efforts even better.

Take a look at your cappuccino machine and reacquaint yourself with its parts and how they operate. Pull a few shots, steam some milk, make it foam and learn everything there is to know about the steamer on your machine. Experiment with your favorite spices and flavors. Discover everything you love most and put it together into one perfect cappuccino that will pair with the decadence of baked goods and provide the aroma to compliment whatever you decide to make.

Cookies and Brownies

Crunchy or soft, cookies are the best way to share the decadence you make with your cappuccino machine. They’re easy to serve and great for gatherings and parties that include a lot of people. Cookies also come in “bar” form, which is a sort of cousin to the brownie and still easy to serve but tends to be softer and use more ingredients than most cookies. Choose carefully, according to the type of cappuccino you plan to serve or the theme/mood of the event where they’ll be served. You can also use crushed cookie crumbs as a garnish for cappuccino beverages. Try cookie straws that are served in the cappuccino. They’re crunchy and best for dipping, as are mandolins and the classic chocolate chip.

Brownies are one of the most decadent baked goods available to bake. Pack them with chocolate chips, use coffee grounds as flavoring, or top with foamed milk or coffee infused whipped egg whites before placing in the oven for a cappuccino themed twist. A lighter blend of coffee with chocolate shavings as a garnish on top of the foamed milk is a wonderful pairing with any kind of thick and gooey brownie. On the contrary, brownies that are chocolaty and very sweet cut the bitterness of the boldest brew. No matter what, you can’t go wrong!

The Beauty of Cake and Coffee

There’s simplicity and graceful elegance that comes with serving cake with coffee and using your cappuccino machine is only different in that you get to take the concept up a notch. You can bake up a light and airy angel food cake or embrace the decadence of rich chocolate or pound cake. Cater to your guests or enjoy something that only you love. There’s no limit to the beauty that you can create with cake and you can pair all kinds of cappuccino beverages with each one.

One excellent way to pair cappuccino with cake is to use icing that has a coffee flavoring and looks similar to the foam on top of the cappuccino. The harmony created will taste delicious and also look amazing on your table. A cappuccino-flavored cheesecake can be a lighter way to enjoy decadent flavors without all the calories. Explore all the ways that cakes can enhance the flavors of your favorite cappuccino and wow every guest at your next family dinner or social gathering.

Have a Storm Party

When the weather turns really brutal and your friends and family are stuck inside, battle the stir-crazy feelings and depressing moods by baking up some goodies at a storm party. Use your cappuccino machine to get the party started and perk everyone up and then start mixing batters and adding chocolate chips. Take your treats to the couch to enjoy a movie marathon, board games, or interesting conversation to pass the time until it’s safe to go back outside.

If you’re friends and family are not able to be in the same place during the storm, organize a cookie or treat exchange. Everyone bakes up their own favorites and then trades them amongst each other after the storm has passed. Post your findings on social media, use the pictures to lift everyone else’s moods without leaving your home, and let your own creations comfort you while you’re watching the snow fall. The best way to throw a storm party could be to get all of your friends together and everyone works to shovel each other’s driveways, and then bake some treats and enjoy some cappuccino to warm up when you’re all done.

Time Saving Decadence

Storms can also mean a lot of work for your home and that means you won’t have much time to bake treats or brew anything from your cappuccino machine for your friends. You can still enjoy things yourself by brewing your own cappuccino beverages and making cake, brownies, or cookies in a mug. Mug cakes are a single serve sensation that has yielded all kinds of recipes that you can enjoy with your favorite hot beverage. Don’t let time constraints stop you from enjoying decadent treats with your cappuccino. A few ingredients and a microwave will have you sitting down with your sweet snack in just a couple of minutes. No matter what the situation, you can pair decadence with your cappuccino machine every day!

What You Need to Know About Deep Cleaning Your Cappuccino Machine

Using your cappuccino machine is a convenience and a luxury that you enjoy on a daily basis, perhaps even more than once daily but as you do this your machine is gathering coffee grounds and other trace minerals each time you brew a delicious beverage. Regular cleaning is a must and you know that but it’s also a good idea to deep clean the machine every now and then. Learn about the best ways to take get at the tiny nooks and crannies of all the parts in order to keep the machine running at its best for as long as possible.

Your Unique Machine

There is more than one type of home machine that can brew a cappuccino and it matters which kind you have before you start attempting to deep clean. Fully automatic machines might have their own cleaning setting that will do the work for you. A machine with a grinder built in will need to have the grinder parts cleaned separately and dried completely. A steamer wand has a special cleaning regimen as well and the portafilter and pumps in all of these machines must be cleaned carefully since they handle a lot of pressure when being operated. It is imperative that you check user manual for your specific model before you begin any kind of cleaning. This information should tell you about the parts, how they should be cleaned, and how to remove them for cleaning if necessary. Be sure you understand this information before you begin because it will tell you how to do everything safely and in the simplest way possible.

Disconnect and Create a Cleaning Space

The first thing to do before cleaning is to disconnect the machine and bring it to a clean, dry, and stable surface away from the sink. This seems counterproductive but you’re dealing with an electronic machine that has a plug in connection to the wall. It’s best to clean the outside and the parts away from the running water and wet surfaces of the sink.

Create a cleaning space with all of the tools you’ll need to deep clean. These will include: a wash basin, a pitcher for water, clean cloths, and small brushes that will help you get into the tiny places that a cloth can’t reach. You won’t be cleaning the steamer wand at this time. You’ll do that later after the machine is plugged back in.

The Parts You Use Most

When you make a cappuccino, you’re making several different components that, when layered together, create the beverage you know and love. First is the espresso shot, then a layer of hot milk, and a topping of milk foam. This is where it differs from the latte because a late uses more milk and only the foam and not the extra layer of hot milk underneath. The result looks like a light coffee with a foam layer on top and you can see the coffee layers whereas with a latte the top only looks like foam. You might be using your cappuccino machine to pull straight shots of espresso when there’s no time for a full cappuccino or you might have an espresso machine that you use to make lattes, pull shots, and make cappuccinos. Which parts do you use most? Most likely, you’re portafilter will be the part that most needs a deep cleaning because coffee grounds are packed into it no matter which drink you’re making.

The Parts You Should Deep Clean

There are a few parts that you should concentrate on most when giving your home machine a deep cleaning. The portafilter and the brew head are among those parts and they’re tricky to disassemble and this is where the information you gathered from your user manual will come in handy.

Turn the machine on its side and make sure the part you’ll be cleaning is dry before you unscrew it. Be sure to use the right size screwdriver so as not to damage the screw and if there are any gaskets take note of how they’re placed. Clean all the parts and dry thoroughly. Use a small cleaning brush or a toothbrush to get into every place and clean it out. These parts deal with pressurized hot water and coffee grounds so you’re going to see a lot of gunk come out of them and that’s normal. Once the parts are clean and dry, reassemble them onto the machine, making sure that all the screws are tight.

Steamer Wand and Water Pumps

The next parts to clean are a little easier but should still be disassembled and reassembled with great care. Use the same caution with gaskets and screws as you did with the brew head and portafilter. You can use pipe cleaners to clean the steamer wand and use an all purpose cleaner and clean, dry cloth to clean the outside of the machine. Do not use soap and water because they’ll be difficult to rinse since the machine cannot be submerged.

Water pumps don’t get that dirty because they mostly only carry hot water but they could have mineral deposits that cause damage, depending on the type of water that you use. Combat this with a deep cleaning using a mixture of three parts water to one part white vinegar. After the other parts are clean and dry, plug the machine in again and pour the water and vinegar mixture into the water tank. Run the mixture through the machine but don’t let the water tank go completely dry. Once it’s almost empty, refill it with clean water and run that through and run one more tank of water through after that.

How Often Should You Deep Clean?

Disassembling and reassembling parts can take a similar toll on your home machine that dirt and mineral deposits can so it’s important that you deep clean only when you have to. If you use your machine on a daily basis or more, give it all a deep clean monthly or bimonthly. If you use it less than that, limit deep cleaning to two or three times annually and clean the parts without disassembling on a more regular basis. These tips and instructions are guidelines and you should always look to your specific user manual and manufacturer’s information for your specific model before performing any kind of maintenance. When you do, you’ll be able to prolong the life of your machine and keep enjoying cappuccinos, lattes, and espresso in your home whenever you please.

Discover The Different Types of Premium Beverages You Can Make With Your Home Machine

When you look at the menu at a coffee shop, you see all kinds of beverages offered in all different varieties but it’s likely that you go for the same handful of choices that you know and love each time you’re there. We all like our routine, the things we understand, and knowing that the first sip to the last drop will be worth every penny spent. However, there is an entire world of coffee, espresso, and mixtures that you could be missing out on simply because you don’t really comprehend what each kind is and how it’s made. Learn about these varieties and the ways your home machine may be able to deliver them to open your eyes and taste buds to new textures and flavors you never believed could be better than your favorite order at the coffee shop.

  1. Black Coffee and Espresso

    These two are often confused as the same thing, with very strong black coffee being served in tiny cups to be passed off as espresso. If
    you own your own espresso machine, you already know that the difference is in the brewing process and that properly made espresso is nothing like regular black coffee. The drink is rich, velvety, and goes well with milk steamed correctly from the milk steamed from a steamer wand. Fully automatic steamers are particular useful in this respect but a lot of espresso machine models also have steamer wands attached. Black coffee is still an excellent base for many kinds of drinks. Premium beans and a good grinder (most connoisseurs prefer burr grinders to blade grinders) are your best friends in this endeavor.

  2. The Infamous Latte

  3. People have written songs about their love of lattes and depend on them for a source of energy and mood elevation on a daily basis. This is arguably the most popular form of espresso and milk throughout the world. Here in the U.S., the drinks are even considered artistic in many coffee shops and the foamed milk is mixed with the espresso in such a way that a pattern forms in a controlled manner.
    The latte is, in its most basic form, espresso with milk that is steamed into foam poured over it. In many cases spices, syrups, and other additions are added to make signature drinks. You can use recipes of these additions to make a latte in your home. The best way to do this is with an espresso machine and a steamer wand or fully automatic steamer.

  4. The Dainty Cappuccino

    Cappuccino is another combination of milk and espresso but the major difference between a cappuccino and a latte is that
    a cappuccino has more layers. The bottom is a shot of espresso, the next layer is steamed milk, and the top layer is all milk foam. The top layer is usually also garnished with a bit of spice or something flavorful and decorative. This drink is most popular at social gatherings due to its stylish look as well as wonderful taste. A standard cappuccino machine will usually deliver a cappuccino with the push of a button. Most models are fully automatic. You can use the steamer wands on your espresso machine to make cappuccino as well but you’ll have to steam milk for the middle layer and then keep steaming it into foam for the top layer. If you have a separate steamer, you can simulate the drink using regular coffee or flavored coffee but it won’t be the same premium beverage as a traditional cappuccino.

  5. The Mark of the Macchiato

    The macchiato is actually the same name for two different types of premium coffee beverage with the same meaning: the beverage is “marked” which is the literal meaning of the word “macchiato.” An espresso machine will make both varieties of the beverage easily. Depending on your preference, your macchiato will be either espresso with a little bit of steamed milk or steamed milk with a little bit of espresso. In most cafes, it means the latter more often then the former as well as syrups and other additions that make signature drinks similar to the way lattes are served.

  6. Explore Your Machine

    Now that you know how these different varieties of premium beverages are made, try making a few with your own home machine. This may take a bit of trial and error but have fun with it, try some variations you wouldn’t see at a coffee shop, and make each drink your own. Invite your friends over and serve your creations for other opinions and ask them what kinds of drinks they make using their own home machines. Share your explorations on social media and coffee connoisseur websites to get tips from others who have tried the same before you. These endeavors will help you learn from your mistakes and make better drinks every time you try again. Learn everything about how your machine works so you know how to use, clean, and maintain the parts throughout this trial and error process. Who knows, you might develop your own signature drink to make at home and you’ll never have to wait in line or hope someone else makes it correctly for you!

  7. Professional Opinion

    These descriptions will certainly assist you in creating premium beverages with your home machine but it’s also a good idea to go out and try them the way the professionals make them as well. By doing this, you can get a good baseline for how each beverage is supposed to look and taste. Go out to different coffee shops and cafes and order the drinks you’ve never dared to try, then go home and try them with your own machine. Have fun with it and don’t forget to enjoy every drop of your beautiful coffee.

Do Espresso Pod Machines Sacrifice Quality For Convenience?

When one thinks of a «convenient latte», the idea is probably a latte from a café. However, there are other ways to enjoy the convenience of a fast and easy espresso drink without having to deal with paying an extravagant amount and waiting in a line for someone else to make it. Espresso pod machines offer this convenience, but there are many connoisseurs who view this method as incomplete and debate that it delivers a sub par product that isn’t worth the added convenience.

  1. The Espresso Process

    Espresso is often misconstrued as a type of coffee when actually the process of how it’s made is where it gets its name. Espresso must be tightly packed into the portafilter portion of the machine, and then pressurized water is pushed through the grounds to create the espresso shot you love. Fully automatic espresso pod machines use a prepackaged packed portion of espresso in a pod that is dropped into a reservoir for the water to be pushed through. An espresso pod machine uses powdered condensed milk to automatically steam for the latte topping and a more advanced espresso machine uses milk steamers that steam fresh milk.

  2. Quality Beans

    One of the best components of a truly excellent espresso shot is using quality beans and quality grinders to add to the portafilter for production. Espresso pod machines use pre-ground and pre-packed capsules so there is less autonomy for grinding and packing the beans the way you’d like. You also have to look for the flavors and strengths you want in capsules and the selection is not as vast as it is with whole beans. Some pod machines employ the use of empty capsules that allow you to grind the beans as you use them for each serving and pack them yourself.

  3. Froth and Foam

    There are many types of fully automatic steamers that will steam fresh milk for you as well as the steamer wands that come on many espresso machine models. Fully automatic espresso pod machines use a different kind of process with powdered condensed milk. The main issue among espresso connoisseurs is that the foam from this process is not really foam but more of a milk froth. The finished product isn’t as smooth as a latte from a more professional espresso machine or from a café but the taste is similar. The big difference is in texture.

  4. Flavorings

    Syrups and spices are often used to spruce up the average latte and spices added directly to the grounds are the best way to infuse the finished shot of espresso. Since espresso pods use prepackaged espresso, it’s a lot more difficult to add spices before brewing. It’s possible to open the pod and make additions but since they’re packaged specifically, it’s not recommended that you do so. The milk froth that comes from an espresso pod machine has a different consistency than the fresh milk foam from steamers. Infusing this portion of the latte with flavoring or adding syrup will be a bit of a trial and error process if you’re not used to making it this way.

  5. Alternatives

    When you consider these factors, you may side with the connoisseurs and decide that pod machines sacrifice too much quality to enjoy the convenience. You may also not be willing to spend the cost of an espresso machine that doesn’t operate using pods. There are alternatives to both options that you can explore but the bottom line is that none of them are going to give you a café quality latte without a lot of time and work. Any of them may still work for you if you don’t plan to make lattes at home all the time. There’s also a good chance you’ll still have to purchase some equipment to make these options happen.

  6. Learn a New Skill

    Pod machines allow any person to brew espresso at home without having to learn about how an espresso machine works. It would still be advisable to learn about how espresso is made, how your own machine works, and the recipes used to create premium drinks. You’ll learn a new skill and be able to make the most of your home machine, whichever model you decide to purchase.

  7. Know Your Machine

    When considering a home machine, espresso pod machines are appealing because they require a lot less cleaning and maintenance than a more traditional espresso machine. Pod machines are also user friendly but no matter what, you need to know your machine well before you purchase it and use it daily. Ask questions of espresso machine owners that you know and find out what will be required of you to use and maintain your machine. Doing the research allows you to choose a machine that you’ll get the most use out of. Be sure to also measure the space where you’ll be putting your machine so you can determine if the one you want will fit. Check outlets and find out how to install the machine or if you’ll need someone to do so for you.

The Verdict

The facts about espresso pod machines show that you won’t get a café quality latte at home but the sacrifice to quality is not too great that you should dismiss the idea all together. It all depends on the time you’re willing to take to maintain the machine, to learn to use it, and to make your drink. Once you answer those considerations, you’ll be able to better determine if a pod machine is right for you. There are several other models of home machine to choose from so if your desire is for something more advanced or of professional quality, you’re sure to find what suits you with a little bit of research. Make sure your machine is right for you and not simply the next fad. You’re the one who has to operate it and will enjoy it for several years.

The Environmental Impact of Pod Machines and How You Can Reduce the Damage

Coffee Recycling

You may have heard about ways you can use coffee in your compost pile or recycle it in other ways, but with pod machines this is a lot more difficult. K-cups and other single serve coffee pods are an increasingly popular type of home machine, as they allow the user to brew one single cup at a time. The convenience of these machines comes at a price, though, because all those used coffee pods are thrown in the trash to add to the amount of waste incurred by each person. You may not realize that you can recycle used coffee pods and the grounds inside them. A few simple steps can reduce the damaging environmental impact and still grant you the convenience offered by brewing one cup at a time.

  1. What Are Pod Machines?

If you aren’t already aware, a pod machine is a type of coffee maker that uses a tank of readily heated water to brew coffee one cup at a time. The tank holds the water and the user places a “pod” with just enough coffee for a single serving into a special reservoir, then closes the lid. The lid pierces the pod with a small needle and the hot water is sucked up through a mechanism and pushed through the grounds in the pod. The machine sits with the water ready to use at any time so all you have to do to brew your coffee is put a pod in the reservoir and press a button. This is especially convenient in a home where several people like different kinds of coffee. One person can have their bold blend and the next can have a light decaf without having to brew an entire pot of each.

  1. The Ugly Side of Coffee Pods

Many will argue that the convenience of single serve coffee pods is not worth the damage they have on our environment. The different kinds of pods are made of paper and plastic but instead of recycling the grounds and the pods, most people throw them out. With millions of people brewing more than one cup of coffee using their pod machines every day, that’s a lot of recyclable material being thrown in the trash. There’s a way to fix this! A few extra steps keeps the convenience of your favorite home machine alive without putting extra guilt on your conscience.

  1. Recycle Your Coffee Pods

You can recycle the used coffee grounds in the coffee pods you use in many of the same ways you’d recycle coffee grounds that come out of a regular filter. Instead of throwing out the coffee pods when you’re finished with them, you can open them up and remove the grounds. Recycle the empty pod in the proper receptacle and then use the grounds as you see fit. You can use them in compost piles, to enrich soil, and in several other ways. You don’t have to sacrifice your single serve convenience or your love for the environment. With these extra simple steps, you can have the best of both worlds.

  1. Encourage Others

Once you’ve implemented coffee pod recycling in your own home, you can encourage others to do the same in order to further diminish the damaging impact that pods can have on the environment. If your office uses pod machines, talk to your supervisor or higher ups to find out about making recycling a priority when it comes to coffee waste. If there is a community gardening or compost program, the used grounds can be brought there on a daily basis. If everyone pitches in and does their part, implementing these recycling measures will be easy and before you know it, opening up used pods to empty them for recycling will become second nature.

  1. Alternatives

Many coffee connoisseurs are adverse to pod machines because they believe that the water goes through the grounds too quickly and valuable flavors are lost in the process. In addition to environmental impact, these people are of the opinion that the bad outweighs the good when it comes to these machines. If you’ve decided to share this opinion, there are alternatives to pod machines that still offer convenience. You can find a cappuccino machine or espresso machine in the fully automatic variety that will deliver gourmet beverages to the most enthusiastic of coffee lovers.

  1. Considerations

Environmental impact and convenience aren’t the only considerations to be thought about when purchasing a home machine. Cleaning and maintenance offer their own issues in both of these areas. For most pod machines, you only need to refill the water tank, wipe the outside of the machine, and put clear hot water or another solution through the machine once in awhile to clean the system out. However, if you don’t use the machine often enough, you’ll be wasting water because you have to throw out what sits in the tank too long and if you use the machine too much, you’ll be flushing the system to clean it often enough to waste a lot of water as well. A fully automatic cappuccino or espresso machine may need more maintenance than a pod machine because it has more complicated parts and often uses more ingredients. Take these things into consideration when you’re making a purchase and you’ll find the perfect machine for you!

Social Media Awareness

Knowing the environmental impact of pod machines and combating the damage on your own is wonderful, but there is a power in social media that allows you to spread the word quickly and to many different kinds of people. Be positive in your posts and share your own experiences with recycling your coffee pods to show how easy it can be for others to do at home. With a little effort and a lot of love for coffee and the environment, you can make a big difference.

The Home Machine Vs. The Café Experience: Are You Brewing Your Espresso Drinks All Wrong?

Your Favorite Beverage

The latte that you love can start to burn a hole in your budget, and that’s what leads many coffee lovers to buy a premium home machine and learn to make their favorite beverages in their own kitchens. There are many barista’s that argue that this is a great way to ruin the café experience that originally offered you the delights of espresso and foamed milk. They believe that the average person simply doesn’t know about all the subtleties that make each beverage wonderful and so the products they make at home are subpar. Learn about what these subtleties are and if you’re really aware of how to make the best latte possible using the machine you’ve chosen for your kitchen.

  1. Pull a Shot

An espresso machine with milk steamers included is the best piece of equipment you can use to make a latte. In order to get a professional grade beverage, you first need to start off with a good shot of espresso. This is the basic building block of every premium beverage you can make with your home machine. It may take some trial and error, but make sure you can do this effortlessly before you move on to another component. If you have this part wrong, you’ll likely to be disappointed with the finished product.

  1. Know Your Machine

If you’re having trouble pulling a shot, learn more about how your home machine works so you can find out where the difficulties really are. You may be packing the portafilter too tightly or not tightly enough or you may have accidentally adjusted the water pressure or temperature to something that is not ideal. All of these components contribute to pulling a shot that creates a delicious beverage. Learn how each works and you’ll always be able to fix the problems that occur.

  1. Building Your Beverage

After you have your espresso, it’s time to add the rest of the pieces that will give you the latte you’re craving. It’s likely your espresso machine has steamers or you can purchase a separate steamer to achieve the correct foam consistency. While there are other ways to steam milk besides using a steamer wand, these ways are what give you a subpar product, strengthening the argument from baristas that you can’t get a good latte from a home machine. There are specific recipes concerning flavor additions like spices and syrups. Learning these recipes will better help you to make your own creations without diminishing the natural flavors and strength of the espresso itself.

  1. Dos and Don’ts

There are some things that the professionals will always frown upon, like pouring shots over ice or overloading it with sugar and flavorings. These may seem like things that you’d enjoy but what most baristas will tell you is that they shock, strangle, or otherwise diminish the best parts of your beverage. When you use a home machine, you aren’t operating off of a menu. There are no restrictions to what you can do with your drink and in some cases that can be a bad thing. Make sure your getting gourmet quality beans, that you’re grinding them into uniform pieces, and that the other ingredients you are using are top quality. When you’re creating a beverage, give yourself the time to do it right. Even with a fully automatic machine, you have to make sure you’re putting the ingredients together correctly before you start to brew your beverage.

  1. The Ambiance of It All

One of the biggest ways that a home machine may ruin the café experience for you is that you’ll be enjoying your beverage at home instead of amongst the art, music, and people of a café. It’s true that you won’t have a smiling face delivering your order and you won’t get the change of scenery offered by going out to a coffee shop. However, the ambiance of your home could be enough or even better than what you’d find in a café. You can put together your own art and music, catered to your tastes and you can create a little café right in your kitchen.

  1. Social Aspects

A very popular meeting place for dates, gatherings with friends, study groups, and work colleagues is at coffee shops and cafes. When you have a home machine, this experience can either be enhanced or diminished, depending on what you do and how you set the scene. Your home café setup can be more comfortable for the people with whom you want to associate, giving you the social aspects of a safe and trendy meeting place without having to go out to a café. If you’ve mastered the arts of creating premium espresso beverages, the people who meet at your home will never know the difference and you won’t have to wait on lines or hope you can find a table.

Pros and Cons

There are good parts and bad parts to both ways of doing things. A home machine allows you the convenience of having a premium espresso beverage whenever you’d like but you’re the one responsible for cleaning up when you’re done as well as cleaning and maintaining the machine. At a café, someone else is responsible for these things and they make your drink perfect every time, and if they don’t they’ll fix the issue post haste. In your home, there is comfort and the convenience of having your familiar things around you but at a café, you don’t have to worry about the kitchen looking spotless or inviting people you don’t know to your house. A barista is a professional coffee connoisseur but there are ways you can learn similar techniques and be just as good with your home machine. The choice is yours! If you’re looking to purchase a machine of your own, it has to be something you want so do your research, weigh these pros and cons for yourself, and enjoy your premium espresso beverages in the way that’s right for you.

Add a Premium Espresso Machine to the Beverage Station at Your Non-Profit Organization

Help Yourself

Those of you who work in non-profit organizations helping others and creating a better world often do so with little to no gratitude coming your way and yet you continue to do your work. Happy people are better at making others happy and what better way to make yourself and those that work with you happy than by adding a premium espresso machine to the beverage station at your offices? Give everyone the energy and positive mood to do the good they came to do.

  1. It All Starts At Home

Getting an espresso machine added to the beverage station at your non-profit’s offices could take awhile and even be logistically difficult. Start with your home machine and upgrade to something that delivers a gourmet beverage. A good cup of coffee in the morning can elevate your mood and make difficult situations easier to deal with throughout the day and gourmet coffee has the taste and aesthetics to give you the extra boost you need. You probably have a coffee machine in your home now and it’s likely that you also stop at the local café to get a premium beverage during the day. When you use a home machine, you can skip that step and start out with the best.

  1. Share Your Love of Coffee

A premium home machine is able to handle more than the standard coffee maker. With the right machine, you can brew enough to bring a treat to share with everyone on those mornings when you know it will be a long day. The happy surprise will give everyone around you the elevated mood to handle tough problems with a positive attitude and keep things running smoothly. Let everyone have the drive and motivation to start the day right and power through with beautiful coffee.

  1. Become Your Own Barista

Using an espresso machine is not something that everyone simply knows how to do and it’s not the same as using a standard coffee maker. The idea of using the steamers on the machine to foam milk is an education in itself. You can learn these things easily, though, and with a little practice you’ll be your own barista and able to make gourmet beverages even better than they do at the café. You can be the beneficiary of these skills on your own or choose to share what you learn via social media or by making drinks for the people you know.

  1. Sustainable Coffee

One of the reasons that many non-profit offices choose to opt out of a premium espresso machine or other gourmet treats is because they cause more trash that needs to be cleaned and handled. Coffee can be extremely recyclable if the right practices are employed and you can use washable mugs or have everyone bring their own cups that they wash for use with the machine. Show your organization how you can use coffee in sustainable and economical ways and they’ll be more inclined to believe that a new machine is beneficial to everyone.

  1. Commercial Machines

Depending on how many people your espresso machine will service, the option to install a commercial machine might be a good idea. They’re more expensive, but in the long run you won’t be paying for a new machine a short time after you purchase one since the commercial machine will be able to handle all the use it will undergo. In a non-profit office, things can get hectic fast so a lot of people could be using this machine all day. The last thing you need is for it to stop working due to sheer exhaustion.

  1. Outside Help

Installing a premium espresso machine at your non-profit offices may only be the first step. These machines need cleaning, maintenance, and to be operated properly in order to get good use out of them. In many cases, getting outside help to keep the machine operating well is necessary. This is also a good option if you want to offer premium beverages to people that come into the offices for help or to partners and colleagues that come in for meetings. You’ll have someone else there to make the beverages so you don’t have to waste time doing it yourself.

  1. Other Options

If you’d like to spruce up the beverage station at your non-profit offices and give the people you work with the perk they deserve, there are other options besides a premium espresso machine that may be less expensive and take up less space. Depending on the funds available, you can also consider pod machines or a fully automatic cappuccino machine. These options are also a bit more user friendly so the people in the office can use them more easily without having to worry about hiring outside help. You’ll also still be able to offer premium beverages to colleagues and clients when they come into your offices.

Donate Gourmet Beverages

If you know of a non-profit organization that can benefit from a premium espresso machine, you can find ways to donate the machine! Many of these organizations are operating on very limited funds so anything gourmet is out of the question unless they’re using their own money to make it happen. Your community can find a way to pool money together to purchase a gourmet machine to your favorite organization and give the people that work there something that makes them feel appreciated and lets them do more without spending more. This holiday season, when you’re deciding on gifts for friends and family, consider including your local non-profit in your list and see if others are willing to donate a little bit to give them the gift of beautiful coffee. You’d be surprised what a little treat can do for them all year round!

Benefits of Adding a Fully Automatic Home Machine to Your Smart Home Setup

The Perfect Cup

When you wake up in the morning, what aromas do wish you could smell before you even walked into the kitchen? Rich coffee, fresh foamed milk, just the right taste waiting for you and all you had to do was set a timer via an application on your smartphone. This is the way smart home setups are making our dreams come true and you don’t need to spend tons of money redoing your entire home to get the benefits. A fully automatic home machine and a smart outlet are all you need to have the perfect cup of coffee waiting for you when you wake up in the morning.

  1. Explore Your Options

The idea of starting your coffee maker automatically on a timer every morning has been around for a very long time. It’s not a new idea but the advances that have been made allow you to have more than just a cup of coffee. Fully automatic machines can give you cappuccino, lattes, and other gourmet options that a regular coffee maker can’t. Smart home technology is still fairly new but smart outlets are low cost options that let you plug in any appliance and control how and when it is operated via Bluetooth. The advantage there is that even if you forget to set a timer, you can still start the coffee maker from your bed when you wake up in the morning. Finding out if your home machine is compatible with these devices is as easy as looking into the user manual and making a couple of inquiries with the smart outlet manufacturer you’re looking into. Learn which devices and appliances work together and in no time you’ll be on the way to including a machine that starts your gourmet beverage before you get out of bed.

  1. The Decision to Change

Have you made the decision to hop on the smart home bandwagon or are you in deliberation? If you’re still wondering, it’s a good idea to look into how your fully automatic coffee maker will fit into your new smart home setup. Does the coffee make you have now work with what you’d like to do or will you need a new one? Making the decision to change your home is not a simple one even if the decision is to simplify the way your home works. Consider the machines you use, how you use them, and if this is viable option before you go changing everything. A fully automatic home machine might be all you need to update your kitchen instead of introducing it to a system you can run remotely.

  1. Do the Research

Your home machine has to work for you at the end of the day, whether it’s hooked up to your smart home system or not. Consider the types of drinks you like to make and if a fully automatic machine is really right for you at all. If you’re looking to upgrade your machine, you may want to move to something that gives you gourmet drinks that an automatic option can’t provide. Look into all the machines available to you and learn about what their functions are before you make your decision. You want something that will deliver the beautiful coffee you love and that is worth a few extra steps if that’s what you have to do.

  1. Consult Friends

If you’re thinking about adding a fully automatic home machine to your smart home setup, it’s likely you got the idea from someone you know. Ask them about how they made the switch and what pros and cons they’ve encountered about their smart home. You’ll gain valuable information about how to convert your own home and incorporate your coffee maker into the setup and learn to avoid mistakes that will make the changes more difficult. A little bit of input can go a very long way so don’t discount the opinions and experiences of others. Find as many stories as you can from real people who have tried the same thing you’re looking to do.

  1. Talk to Professionals

After you’ve done your research and gathered your testimonials, you’ll know what to ask a professional that might help you set up your smart home. This gives you the know how you need to incorporate your fully automatic home machine so that your coffee desires are not overlooked during your smart home transformation. As you learn and gather information, make up your own designs about how you want your home to work and what you expect out of the coffee maker you’ll be using within the new setup. Cleaning and maintenance must also be considered with all machines involved. Make sure you’ll be able to remove your coffee maker to clean and maintain it properly so you’ll be able to enjoy gourmet beverages at the touch of a button or even through the application that runs your smart home for many years to come.

Add Your Own Style

A smart home setup brings more convenience to everything you do in your house, including using your home machine but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice any of your personal style. As you convert your home to this new technology, make sure you get to add personal touches that make the house yours. Conversion to a new technology is an opportunity to update the styles in each room and create something that blends modern applications with the things you love. Look through magazines and online photos to find different styles you enjoy and put them together with what you already have and what you plan to add. You’ll end up with a home that is not only more convenient but also beautifully designed in all the ways that make you happy.

Reasons To Warm Up The Office With A New Espresso Machine

Aside from espresso actually perking up your employees, there are several other benefits to introducing a new espresso machine to your office at this time of year. The weather is getting colder and storms are rolling in. The days are shorter and the nights come faster. These are all factors that contribute to lowered morale in the office. No one wants to make a trip to the local café when there’s torrential rain pouring down along with cold winds. Instead of your employees and partners having to do without their afternoon (or morning or evening) pickup, introduce a solution that means they don’t have to leave the building.

  1. No Gaps in Productivity

When people have to go without their coffee, it can be more than an inconvenience for them. Working in an office often creates a routine for everyone involved and when that routine is interrupted, their whole day can feel wrong. An office espresso machine stops these gaps in productivity from happening whether it’s raining out, the line at the local coffee shop was too long, or people are simply running late. They’ll never have to give up this part of their routine because the espresso they want will be right there in the office when they arrive.

  1. Aesthetic Appeal

The old coffee maker in the break room might be sputtering and a little decrepit with all the use it takes to keep every employee happily caffeinated. Set up a whole new beverage station with a shiny espresso machine as the focal point. A simple tablecloth under the machine and a couple of stylish containers for extras close by will complete the station and make it look as good as the coffee that comes from it will taste.

  1. Encourage Creativity

Any new addition to the office can spur creativity but an espresso machine is an excellent incentive to encourage even more. Example: give out tickets for specialty additions or for permission to use the espresso machine at all. When an employee provides exemplary support, they can get extra tickets. There are other games you can play along this line like a voting box for a “drink of the week” where people can try to come up with new recipes that everyone will enjoy or getting the biggest coffee enthusiasts of the office together to choose new beans for the machine each month. These little ideas and games give people something extra to look forward to at the office and gives them a reason to use critical thinking skills that will benefit them in other areas of their work.

  1. Positive Reinforcement

Your office espresso machine will need to be cleaned and maintained. You can create a schedule that gives the job to a new person each week. The person before him or her will have to show them how to do it and people will have to hold themselves accountable for getting the job done. Provide positive reinforcement to the person who does this job every week by letting them leave an hour early on the Friday they’re in charge of cleaning and maintenance or some other recognition. This gives employees a job to do that benefits everyone else and a reason to support each other for doing it.

  1. Benefits for the Non-Coffee Drinkers

An espresso machine in the office is still beneficial for those who don’t drink coffee, especially in these increasingly cold weather months. These people can use the hot water spout to instantly have hot water for tea or hot chocolate. They can also enjoy the use of the milk steamers on the machine for tea lattes or a delicious topping to other hot beverages. They may not want the perks of caffeine but they’ll still be happy to have the means to warm up after coming in from the cold.

  1. Benefits for Clients

Your employees aren’t the only ones who are dealing with cold and storms as the season turns. Comfort your clients when they come to your office for meetings and give them a happy surprise that makes their day a little better. Instead of having to talk to clients agitated by the difficulties that come with cold and rain, you’ll be talking to clients who are made content by the hospitality your office will provide. Not only will they leave feeling good about their time spent with you but they’ll likely tell friends and acquaintances about their experience, which brings you even more business.

  1. Late Night Coffee

In this day and age, it’s a frequent occurrence to stay in the office after hours, especially for senior staff or while working on big projects. Make these late nights a lot better with an espresso machine to keep you feeling refreshed as you work. You’ll get more done and possible even leave a lot earlier than you imagined you would and even if you don’t, you’ll never have to worry about the local coffee shop being closed when you need a pick-me-up.

Invest in Espresso

Your research when deciding on the right espresso machine for the office might make you wonder if the expense is actually worth it. Take a moment to understand how much time is lost when people leave the office to get coffee from the local shop, how much is spent on office latte runs if you’re the one picking up the tab, and how much productivity is lost when there’s no time to make these trips at all. If you’re not willing to take the time and extra expense to clean and maintain the machine, a fully automatic model might make this decision a little easier. Either way, the positives are likely to outweigh the costs and your employees, partners, and clients will thank you for investing in espresso.

 

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