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Bond Girl

Fancy Coffee Systems

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As part of my kitchen renovation, I am thinking of installing a Miele coffee system. Here's the thing: I am not a coffee connoisseur. I'd be lucky if I can tell you the difference between coffee and espresso on any given day. So, the question for all you guys who knows about coffee out there is, is it worth it? Does it really make better coffee?

The whole thing comes in at $2000.

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I happen to know someone who does enjoy good coffee/espresso and installed one of these systems, the CVA-615. Hint: this person is a Microsoft millionaire who pretty much just boils water on his 60" Viking stove. This is enough to make me weep.

The Miele looks cool, and my friend says it is a 'babe magnet', but to my taste, it made mediocre espresso and worse coffee. It is essentially a superautomatic machine, the kind in which you press a button, and the machine does all the rest. I found it interesting when the grinder part broke after about a year, he bought a Krups coffeemaker and blade grinder instead, which makes much better coffee. He gets his espresso at Starbucks now, which is another thread.

If your sole criterion is quality, you can do much better for cheaper. If style is an important consideration, the Miele does look good.

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Jeffrey Steingarten did extensive testing for his column and results are included in his anthology It must've been something I ate. They're rather lengthy to excerpt here but he tried >244 combos of machine, coffee and pod/not pod.

My non-cooking friend just bought a house recently and asked what kind of stove she should buy. I suggested a bright, shiny stainless steel box that she could use to store her carryout menus. :wink:

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Yeah, the look was what sucked me in. I thought I get a reality check here. No need for a babe magnet here in NYC. The guys I date wouldn't know a coffee machine if their lives depend on it.

So, what would be a cool system to get that will make decent coffee? The Illy machine looks pretty cool too. Any thoughts on that? And, I even get to take it with me when I move.

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Jeffrey Steingarten did extensive testing for his column and results are included in his anthology It must've been something I ate.  They're rather lengthy to excerpt here but he tried >244 combos of machine, coffee and pod/not pod.

My non-cooking friend just bought a house recently and asked what kind of stove she should buy.  I suggested a bright, shiny stainless steel box that she could use to store her carryout menus. :wink:

The stove business is off topic here, but let's just said I'm still agnizing over my stove decision. The nice ones like Wolf, DCS or Viking are really temperamental. Rumour has it that the DCS at Craft got serviced so often that the service guy actually bought a boat and named it Craft. The not so nice ones run well and has less problems, but less precision cooking and less nice looking..

Back to coffee systems....

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Back when I was single, my personal 'babe magnet' was to offer some nice cheesecake brownies and a custom espresso/cappa/latte, all homemade of course. The combination of the creamy cappa, the silky cheescake, the chewy and moist dark chocolate brownie seemed to be a winner for most. Let's just say that I was popular. If they did not like dessert and coffee, they were quickly eliminated from consideration.

And Bond Girl (I almost mistakenly typed Bong Girl, there. Oops.), are you looking for a means to make good drip coffee or good espresso?


Edited by MGLloyd (log)

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Good drip coffee for a start. I want a nice looking machine that will give me good coffee. Right now, I have one of those Bodum 2 chamber things, and they are a pain in the ass to set up and clean.

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Good drip coffee for a start.  I want a nice looking machine that will give me good coffee.  Right now, I have one of those Bodum 2 chamber things, and they are a pain in the ass to set up and clean.

Bond Girl, do you mean a Vacuum Pot?? That is one of the BEST ways to brew coffee (though ours is a Cona). A Chemex pour over is excellent as well. The New Aeropress does a great job (one cup at a time only). I'm not a big fan of the new, hi tech machines. I think the older methods beat them hands down for taste. If I had to recommend a "machine" though, I suppose it would be a Technivorm. They keep a fairly true temperature, which is important in coffee brewing. Regardless of method, you'll need a good grinder (fresh beans < 10 days from roast are required for decent coffee). I use a Zassenhaus hand grinder but there are many high end grinders that do a good job - around $200.

If you want something a little stronger that ALWAYS makes a great cup and is kinda fun to use, try a Bialetti Brikka. There are 2 cup and 4 cup (1.75 oz cups!) models (I prefer the 2 cup). Heating it on the stove for about 3 minutes, it suddenly goes nuts and coffee "explodes" into the upper chamber in about 2 seconds.

We are offering a brewing class to our customers so brewing is "on my mind" these days

Ken

www.daybreakcc.com

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I don't know. I'm really liking the looks of the Miele CVA615 and it uses a whole coffee bean system. I wonder if there's somewhere I can go to check out how decent the coffee is.

Come to think of it, my car dealer has a Miele system. I liked the coffee there. I must go back and look at which one they have.

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For drip coffee, look at the Capresso MT500 and a good blade or burr grinder with fresh whole beans.

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Yes, I have a vaccum chamber pot. I got suckered into the look for that one too. So I ended up getting it, but now it just sits one my self and friends come by and say, oooh that is a cool looking thing.

MG, Is this it? Can you recommend a grinder?

Marlene, I love the Miele for the way it looks too, and many friends are already making fun of me as being in the same league with Jay-Z (he has one). But, ultimately I want something that makes sense rather than something that looks good. Even though I can't tell you good coffee from bad coffee, I want, at least, to be confident that I am making decent coffee.

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BG, that is indeed it. I have one just like it on my counter. We have had it for a little bit over two years, and it is the best automatic drip maker we have ever had. The key points for me were (1) brewing temperature. This is one of the few drip makers that is within the recommended temperature range of 195-202 degrees. (2) thermal carafe, as opposed to a hot plate that 'cooks' the coffee. (3) a 50 ounce capacity, since my wife and I drink a lot of coffee. (4) A robust build that should last. In terms of brewing quality and flavor, it is better than the numerous Braun and Krups units that we have had over the years.

In terms of a grinder, I have a Rocky grinder for my espresso, but it costs $ 250 and I use it only for espresso. For the drip and press, we use a KitchenAid blade grinder that costs $ 30. I particularly like this grinder insofar as you can remove the stainless steel grinding chamber and clean it in the dishwasher. I have done taste tests with the Capresso and grinding the coffee in the Rocky and the KA grinder. We could not tell a difference, and fineness and uniformity of grind is not as important with drip as it is for espresso. So I save the expensive grinder for the espresso.

The final key element for good coffee is to use as fresh beans as possible. I keep them whole in an airtight container in the freezer. At brewing time, I take the proper amount of beans out, return the jar to the freezer, and grind the beans right then. They are still frozen as the hot water hits them in the filter basket. To ensure maximum freshness, I actually roast my own beans at home, but finding a good local roaster and using the beans within a week of roasting will also give excellent results.

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Bond Girl, Miele has three systems, which one were you looking at? The reason I like the one I mentioned is because of the three of them, that's the only one that uses whole beans, and you can set the grind, the water temp etc to your own preferences. The other two use some other system, but it's not whole bean, and I'd distrust that. Plus, although it's integrated into the cabinetry, it's a stand alone system, so I don't have to concern myself with plumbing, just standard electrical.

I've discovered the Miele Canada actually has a design showroom here where you can test the products out, so trip up there may be in order for me!

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The other two Miele cabinet systems use the Nespresso pods instead of grinding whole beans. In my opinion, the pods offer a relatively limited selection of coffee and are quite expensive. I have also only seen pods sized to make one shot of espresso. I wonder what you do if you want two shots, make two singles right after each other?

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Yes, exactly. At least with the whole bean system, you've got more control over flavour and amount.

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Yes, the Miele that I was contemplating indeed uses whole beans. That's the model favored by most rap stars in NYC. I had initailly wanted it because (1) I am a sucker for design; (2) it would free up counterspace formerly occupied by one vaccum chamber coffee machine and one elaborate Gaggia espresso maker; (3) it does not require additional plumbing.

But most of my friends who has done teh showroom trip with me has not let me live it down since. Labels of being "ghetto-fabulous" has been flying among my social circles. Appropriate because I live in a really slum part of NYC. Although I am not one to buckle under peer pressure, I would hate to be labeled as the stupid girl who spend a lot of money on a coffee system that makes mediocre coffee.

The miele showroom here does demos as well. I thought the coffee wasn't bad, but it wasn't overwhelming either.

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Yes, exactly.  At least with the whole bean system, you've got more control over flavour and amount.

... and freshness. Do you know where those PODs have been??? Hmmmm????? :biggrin:

I didn't realize that Miele systems were $2000... Wow! That seems like a lot. It does look cool though. I guess I'd think about that if I had unlimited funds and was rebuilding my kitchen..... Alas, no.

Ken

www.daybreakcc.com

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MG, thanks for the rec. The Capresso looks very cool too. I think they sell it on Amazon and at a fraction of what the Miele costs. But, not cup warming drawers....Hmmm, have to figure out a way to built that into the cabinets.

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The Technivorm, is it this one? Do any of these parts go missing? I can see that this is what my cleaning lady would break in a second. But, this looks super cool.....

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That is indeed one of the Technivorm models. But it has a flaw that would remove it from consideration by most serious coffee people: a hot plate that cooks the coffee after brewing. I do know some people who have one of the Technivorm models, but they immediately pour the coffee from the decanter into a thermal carafe to avoid the post-brew hotplate cooking process. If I recall correctly, Technivorm does make a model with a thermal carafe.

The Technivorm is also on the tall side, so if you plan on putting it under a cabinet, you will have the measure the clearance first.

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Come to think of it, my car dealer has a Miele system.  I liked the coffee there.  I must go back and look at which one they have.

Which option package does the Miele system come with? Having a coffee brewer in the car is a very appealing idea.

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It is possible that the coffee used in the Miele you tested was neither fresh, nor ground properly, or just wasn't particularly good coffee. It is pretty expensive, but I might consider this when I remodel in the fall.

If you aren't going with the Miele, I would definately stay away from glass carafes. Thermal carafes keep your coffee hot without cooking the coffee on the plate as MGLloyd points out. And they break. I looked at the Capresso before I bought my Cuisinart Grind and Brew, and thought it might be hard to clean. The basket, grinder etc all come out of the Cuisinart very easily for cleaning. Capresso does make some damn fine coffee makers though. And both the Capresso and Cuisinart are no slouches in the height department either. The Cuisinart is 15 inches high to the top of the grinder. The Capresso is 14 inches high. I had to get my carpenter to shave an inch off my cabinet valance so it would fit underneath. My husband usually makes coffee at 5:30 a.m. when he goes to work. When I get up around 7:30, the coffee is still hot and fresh. The biggest drawback to the Cuisinart is that is sounds like an airplane taking off while it's grinding.

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  If I recall correctly, Technivorm does make a model with a thermal carafe. 

They do, scoll down to the bottom of the page...

Technivorm

You are spot on about the hot plate... Avoid at all costs. All the Technivorm models do, however, brew a great pot of coffee... Also for a fraction of the cost of the Miele systems.... Can't help with the built in part though (and no car option I'm aware of :laugh: )

Ken

www.daybreakcc.com


Edited by kbuzbee (log)

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I have one of the superautomatic machines that is plumbed into the bar in the family room. I can't get a photo of it right now because there are 80-some boxes of books, files and stuff stacked in front of the bar along with my housekeeper's stationary bike and five cases of champagne I am storing for a neighbor.

The machine was installed a couple of years ago, I think it is a Saeco. The plumber had to put a pressure reduction valve on the water line. It also has a separate container for milk to froth it automatically. I haven't used it much myself, but it has been used quite a bit at parties.

I found it, or one like it, except for the color. Mine is all stainless with some black bits here and there and the milk container is black. I paid more than the price listed here.

Saeco machine

It makes regular coffee too, as I recall. The enthusiasts bring their own beans.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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The Saeco website has a great video of how this thing works. Never tried it myself but it looks very cool.

Their website doesn't list the real urls so you have to go to:

Saeco

click on consumer products->Make yourself a coffee -> The Brew Group (movie)

The Saeco USA headquarters just relocated near me. I keep meaning to get over there one day.

Ken

Daybreak Coffee Company


Edited by kbuzbee (log)

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