Philip Gegan is a retired UK attorney who loves coffee and everything to do with it. He aims in chooseacoffeemaker.com to review all leading makes and models of coffee maker available in the United States that have a decent number of reviews and a high average score from reviewers on Amazon.com and other leading retail sites.
Where the BUNN BX-D Velocity Brew coffee brewer differs is that it has been designed specifically for use in high altitudes. That is, above 4,000 feet. There are users who live in low altitudes who say it performs with no problems. So it seems that you don't have to live in the mountains to get a good brew from this product.
All three of these BUNN products earn a high average rating from users on Amazon. Sites like this aren't allowed under Amazon's terms and conditions to quote the exact figures, but you can easily check them for yourself at the links we give you.
BUNN prides itself on its brewers brewing 4 to 10 cups (20 to 50 ounces) in about 3 minutes, and that's what all three models do.
We have reviews here on four top espresso machines that vary in price from just short of $600 down to a little over $110.
The least expensive espresso machine that commands an average rating of over 4 stars at Amazon.com is the Cuisinox Roma Stainless Steel Stovetop Espresso Maker. Cuisinox have so much confidence in it that they give a 25 year warranty.
It comes in two sizes - basically for more than two people and for use by one person only. But don't be deceived by it's low price. Cuisinox have made this possible not by skimping on quality, but simply by doing away with the heating device.
You use your own stove or cooker to heat the coffee. After all, you have a cooker already. You may as well use it to heat up your coffee as well as for all your other cooking, right? That's how the reasoning goes. If you go along with it then this machine may be the one for you.
At the other end of the price range of these top espresso machines is the Breville Barista Express BES870XL. This is a top of the range espresso maker which does everything from grinding the beans to frothing the milk.
Probably the most distinguishing feature of the Barista Express is its 1600 watt thermocoil heating system (coupled with a 15 bar Italian pump), which gives it the power to do just about everything to do with coffee making at the same time.
It replaces Breville's previous model, the 860, being more powerful and versatile. It's semi-automatic, which gives you complete control over each aspect of the coffee-making process if you wish. Or you can leave most of the settings on default.
Perhaps that's the only thing that might put some people off this product - there's such a lot to take in when learning how to use it to its fullest extent. But if you're a barista or studying to become one then you'll be at home experimenting with every setting until you can produce coffees and espressos customized to anyone's exact requirements, just as in a coffee shop.
The C60 and D60 are almost identical top espresso machines, with cosmetic differences only, and are both in the $220/$230 price range (though the price of the D60 varies more according to color). They're single serve machines, but give you a large amount of control over the strength and size of your brew.
At a glance you'll know how much water remains in the reservoir and at what stage the machine is in its coffee-making routine. It's fast, easy to clean, and has auto shut-off. But is it for you?
That leaves us with the Nespresso U D50 - a super-easy to use espresso machine that comes with an Aeroccino Milk Frother included. It's less expensive than the Breville or the Nespresso C60 / D60, but more expensive than the Cuisinox Roma.
It's very compact, and you have a choice of three cup sizes, two levels of froth, or no froth at all, and they can all be hot or cold. The only drawback is that you're restricted to using Nespresso's own coffee pods. You can use your own grinds, but it's messy and works out no cheaper in the long run.
Nespresso have concentrated on ease of use with this machine. All you do is put the pod in place and this espresso machine does the rest. The milk frother, too, has a one-touch operation. When your espresso is delivered the pod is ejected into the pod dispensing bin, and that doesn't have to be emptied until it's holding 12 empties.
It has a 60 oz water reservoir, enough for about 8 cups, so you don't have to refill constantly. The LCD readout displays the time and other useful information, and there's an alarm when the machine needs descaling. Cleaning is made easy with a removable drip tray, which also makes the use of a travel mug very easy.
All this means great tasting coffee. The speed at which it is delivered is very fast as well, which is why this product is a contender for "best home coffee maker" under $280.
The Bonavita BV1800 TH 8-Cup Coffee Maker has the power of German technology behind it. It has a massive 1400W thermal block heater that lets it produce 8 5-ounce cups in just 5 or 6 minutes. That's about as fast as you can get, considering the coffee takes its time to release the flavor.
It uses the "shower-head" method of filtering the water through the grinds for maximum flavor extraction. The thermal carafe is of glass lined stainless steel, though there is an alternative, preferred by some, of all-glass. Both keep the temperature of the coffee high for lengthy periods.
It's well made, easy to clean, and has no superfluous knobs or buttons. This product certainly deserves its place on the list for the best home coffee maker.
The BUNN MCU Single Cup Multi-Use Home Coffee Brewer is a little less expensive than the first two products we've discussed. But what makes it quite unique is that it has four brewing trays that enable you to make all kinds of drinks with it.
As the name implies, you can only brew for one person at a time, though if you fill it to capacity you can squeeze enough out for two people - about 7 oz each.
The advantage of being a single brew machine is that, with no reservoir to keep warm, it can produce water of exactly the right temperature within about a minute for any kind of drink - tea, coffee or hot chocolate.
With the good looks that all BUNN coffee makers have, this product is also rightly on this list.
The BUNN BT Velocity Brew 10-Cup Thermal Carafe Home Coffee Brewer is a large capacity machine capable of brewing 50 oz of coffee (10 cups) at a time and keeping the coffee in the carafe warm for up to 4 hours. It also keeps the water in the stainless steel internal water tank hot all the while it is on.
It only takes about 14 minutes to heat the water up from room temperature to be ready to start brewing. It's very easy - just fill the water reservoir, put in your coffee grounds, and close the lid. The spray head is designed so that it saturates the whole of the coffee grounds to extract the full flavor.
You can leave the BUNN BT on all day - just refill the water reservoir and clean and replenish the filter cone each time you run out of water. Some users have reported a problem with this model involving the water overflowing during the brewing process, but this is easily overcome, as described in our more detailed review of this product.
What caught my eye first about the Keurig K40 Elite Brewing System is that it has a massive 1,500-watt motor. This explains its super speed in reheating the water between brews (15 seconds). So it's ideal for entertaining - you don't have to keep your guests waiting while the water heats up for their coffee.
Being a Keurig model, it obviously takes K-Cups, but you're not restricted to just those. You can have Starbucks pods, or your own favorite brews and filters. If you prefer, you can use a reusable K-Cup filter.
The K40 can be made to produce a wide variety of different drinks very quickly. It's easy to operate and to clean. It can take heavy use by up to six people and is very reliable - certainly reliable enough to be in this short-list.
This machine is for you if you just want a single brew at a time, and simplicity. Mr Coffee uses Keurig technology, and that means K-Cups.
If the cost of K-Cups bothers you then you can use the reusable K-Cup filter if you prefer. Each brew takes only between 60 and 100 seconds, so there's not much waiting around. You have a choice of 6, 8 or 10 oz cup sizes, and a 40 oz water reservoir.
If you want to avoid problems with cleaning, though, you do have to use bottled or filtered water, or so Mr Coffee say. Subject to that, cleaning it is almost as easy as using it, so that's why this coffee maker deserves to be considered for the best home coffee maker under $280.
Have you just found your best home coffee maker that's under $280? I certainly hope this post has helped steer you in the right direction. And if you think other models deserve to be included here, then just leave a comment, and I'll take it further.
Frank Sinatra told us there's an awful lot of coffee in Brazil. And there are an awful lot of coffee makers and espresso makers that you can buy.
Perhaps that's why you can read the reviews, both on the manufacturers' sites and on Amazon, and be puzzled. Because there's a basic contradiction between satisfied and dissatisfied users. I've only familiarized myself with those coffee makers that score highly in the reviews, with an average of over 4 stars out of 5. But I always leave the reviews pages with a question in my head, which is ...
"How is it that, with so many people saying what a wonderful machine this is, there are always a few disgruntled customers who leave a one- or two-star score and a negative review?"
No doubt there are cases where the customer has had an unfortunate experience with the product. And maybe it wasn't his fault. But I feel that there are also many cases where the purchaser of the product has simply not learned how to use a coffee maker properly, and when the machine eventually gives out because of misuse, they feel it has failed them, instead of the other way round.
So, for what it's worth, here are three great tips on how to use a coffee maker so that it will give you longer service, better tasting coffee, and pleasant memories.
1. Read the User Manual
Modern coffee makers are very complex machines - and not just the best-rated coffee makers, but even the economy, low-priced bargains. Depending on exactly how far they take over the coffee-making process, they have to
boil or heat the water to an exact temperature,
perhaps filter it first,
move it somehow onto the coffee grinds or K-Cup (or similar pod),
arrange for it to filter through at the right pace - too fast and it won't capture the flavor of the coffee, too slow and the coffee will be too bitter,
Some coffee makers don't do all of this, of course, but they all do at least some of it, and they often depend on you, the user, treating it in the right way, whether by way of programming it properly or simply ensuring that the correct amount of water is poured into the reservoir.
That's why there's a user manual. So ensure that you read it thoroughly before you unpack your new coffee or espresso maker. It's amazing how many people evidently fail to do that.
Depending on the manufacturer and the model, you'll find there's a great deal of advice and tips on getting the best out of your product, and you'll be far less likely to find fault with it.
2. Don't Neglect Your Coffee Maker
Coffee and espresso makers are, by and large, wonderful machines that eliminate many mundane chores from our lives as well as produce great tasting coffee and other drinks.
But there's one mundane chore that they can't eliminate completely, and that's the chore of looking after them. Nearly all of them are complex electronic machines that have to deal with boiling water and coffee grounds every day. They get soiled. Different parts expand and contract at different rates with the extreme heat that is generated from time to time, and this all takes its toll eventually.
So it's important not to expect the impossible from them. Carelessly pouring cold water onto a boiling hot surface is one way in which you could cause an otherwise reliable machine to malfunction. Have consideration for what it has to do, and appreciate it for what it is.
It's not invincible; more like a pet, in a way. The more care and love you give it, the more you'll get back in return.
3. Keep It Clean
This follows on from tip # 2 above. If you know how to clean a coffee maker and do so regularly, then you're probably looking after it in other ways as well. But if you don't clean up after each brew then the coffee grounds will find their way into all kinds of places where they shouldn't go and cause damage of one sort or another.
Ensure the water you put in your reservoir is "clean" by filtering it. Keep the reservoir itself clean by rinsing it out regularly, and wash all washable parts, such as the carafe and filter holder, after each use. It's a chore, but if you don't you may find yourself writing a negative review about a good product, saying how it let you down after only ten months.
We hope these three tips help ensure you know how to use a coffee maker properly.
The Nespresso U D50 Espresso Maker (with Aeroccino Milk Frother) is currently available as a used item from a few sellers via Amazon. We originally wrote this review when it was a regular item featured on Amazon, and we have decided to leave it on this site as it may be of use to some.
This espresso maker and milk frother have been described as a perfect combination, and by Nespresso themselves as "the ultimate machine in modularity, simplicity, and purity."
That sounds pretty lofty, and it is quite unusual to find two distinct products being sold as a duo. But Nespresso must have their reasons for it, and they certainly stand by their decision. So let's take a look at this product pair and see if it's worthy of the praise.
The Nespresso U D50 has been designed for ease of use. Essentially, you just press a button to make your selection, place the pod in place, and the machine, with its 19 bar pump pressure, will pierce the pod, brew the coffee and eject the used capsule into the capsule dispenser at the end. It couldn't get much simpler.
The Aeroccino milk frother, too, has a rapid, one-touch system that puts it into action preparing hot or cold froths, with or without foam. It heats the milk to around 130 degrees - not quite as hot as the coffee shop, but hot enough for nearly all home espresso drinkers.
There are two levels of froth - latte, and cappuccino - or the froth setting can be turned off. It can froth the milk while warming it, or leave it cold. It does work best with regular milk but can also take almond milk, which, naturally, won't be quite so frothy.
You can customize how the espresso maker looks. The water tank at the back, which can hold a decent 27 fluid ounces, can be rotated 180 degrees around the machine.
The pre-set cup sizes accord to the standard Ristretto, Espresso, and Lungo but if these aren't to your liking you can change them and the U D50 will remember your new settings. You simply press the appropriate cup size buttons while using the slider at the same time.
How Long Do You Have To Wait?
Delicious coffee, even from a capsule, can't be delivered instantly, of course. But this coffee maker comes pretty close. It heats up ready for use in around one to one and a half minutes. Each espresso then takes around 20 seconds.
As we've just noted, the milk frother has variable settings as to frothing and heating, so that affects the speed of delivery, but hot frothed milk generally takes around a minute, depending on its original temperature.
The All-Important Flavor
Flavor, as we all know, depends on a number of things. A clean coffee maker with no left-over grinds, fresh filtered water, and fresh, quality coffee grinds. The first two are down to us, but as far as the coffee is concerned, Nespresso choose only Grand's Cruz green coffees for their capsules, to ensure you get close to coffee shop standards.
And with seventeen varieties to choose from, as well as three cup sizes for strength adjustment, you won't have much of a problem in finding a flavor to suit your palate.
What About The Running Costs of the Nespresso U D50?
The Nespresso U D50 was designed to use Nespresso coffee capsules only. Probably the most convenient place to purchase them is at Nespresso's website, where you buy in batches of 50 and the price works out at about 60c a pod. Depending on your taste, you may find that you need two pods for each cup.
You have seventeen varieties to choose from and you receive a sample of each with your new machine. While it's possible to buy reusable filters and grind your own beans, that doesn't work out much cheaper, if at all, and the flavor is certainly inferior to that of the Nespresso pods.
Electricity consumption is normal for this kind of device, and the espresso maker has an auto off setting set for 9 minutes of non-use.
And The Cleaning . . ?
Keeping your Nespresso U D50 clean is easy. After each brew, the pod is automatically released into the capsule dispenser. A light indicates when the water tank is empty or the capsule dispenser is full.
Then you just empty the pod dispensing bin (which holds up to 12 used capsules), rinse the drip tray, and refresh the water if necessary. With the Aeroccino milk frother, you just rinse the inside of it after each use and make sure you don't get the base wet.
Some coffee makers have a nasty habit of the spout dripping after each brew and eventually filling the drip tray, but the U D50 has a retracting outlet, so that problem is avoided.
Nespresso made this espresso maker and milk frother to be compact and simple to use. But it also had to produce coffee that its users would love, and, judging from most of the reviews, they do. That's the Nespresso U D50 Espresso Maker with Aeroccino Milk Frother for you.
We're not posting a full review of the BUNN Velocity Brew BXB (pictured left) on ChooseACoffeeMaker.com simply because it is essentially the same model as the BUNN GRB (and the BUNN BXBD High Altitude Brewer, though this does have one or two more variations and may no longer be available). In addition, it has itself been discontinued, though you may be able to find second-user models online. Click here for our review of the GRB. The final letter of these models - B or W - indicates whether the color of the body is black or white.
All three of these BUNN products earn a high average rating from users on Amazon. Sites like this aren't allowed under Amazon's terms and conditions to quote the exact figures, but you can easily check them for yourself at the links we give you.
BUNN prides itself on its brewers brewing 4 to 10 cups (20 to 50 ounces) in about 3 minutes, and that's what all three models do.
The Breville BES840XL Infuser, also known as the Infuser Espresso Machine, is the ideal machine for those of us who want all the benefits of the Breville BES870XL but want to grind our beans separately.
This espresso maker looks similar to the BES870XL, except that it has no burr grinder or outlet port built in. It comes in at nearly $100 cheaper. So is there anything else you don't get, that you would with the 870?
What everyone wants from an espresso maker like this is great tasting coffee. Of course, good looks count as well, but these come as secondary by quite a margin.
The Breville BES840XL Infuser does, in fact, look good, and is compact enough for small work tops. But its main distinguishing feature is what Breville call its pre-infusion function, which enhances the taste of the coffee.
We all know how the coffee grinds have to be completely saturated so as to release their flavor fully, and that this is invariably done through a sprinkler method with the water being forced in under high pressure.
The trouble with this is that if there are gaps and other irregularities in the coffee puck (as there often are) the water can sometimes bounce off parts of it and fail to capture the full flavor, and this weakens the final taste.
The Breville BES840XL Infuser overcomes that problem by releasing the water onto the grinds under low pressure at first. This allows it to seep into all the grinds, allowing them to expand at a more natural rate. Then the water pressure is increased to squeeze all the goodness out of the grinds and into the coffee itself.
A little complicated, perhaps, but it results in superbly tasting coffee from this remarkable espresso machine. It heats to the right temperature in around a minute, and in 5 minutes it will have made 2 cups of coffee. This is fast by any standard. It also takes only 45 to 60 seconds to steam regular fat milk, and is equally fast with other kinds of milk.
Other models from Breville feature an auto purge function that automatically adjusts the water temperature downwards after it has steamed the milk, so it's not too hot for extracting the espresso. The Breville BES840XL Infuser has that very same function as well.
The replaceable water filter in the 61 fl oz tank will deal with all the impurities in your water supply. The result of all this is to bring you some of the best tasting coffee that it's possible to make.
No-one can say that Breville are taking any chances with the taste of your coffee.
Breville BES840XL Infuser Build Quality and Design
The build quality and design features of Breville domestic machines are legendary. At the heart of the Infuser is the 1600 watt thermocoil heating system with control over the water temperature being achieved through an integrated stainless steel water coil.
A 15 bar Italian pump ensures that you won't have any problem getting the water pressure sufficiently high. Automatic settings, such as temperature and pressure, work in tandem with programmable settings such as the volume of grinds you use, and the degree of grinding and tamping you decide upon.
Indicators show when the drip tray needs emptying or the machine itself needs cleaning. And, of course, Breville's distinguishing feature - the pressure gauge - tells you whether or not the extraction pressure is correct.
The design of the Breville BES840XL Infuser is such that you don't have to stick with your usual coffee cups or mugs - a travel mug can be accommodated as well.
The volume of each shot is pre-set, and you can accept these or over-ride them manually, or even re-program with your own preferences. And as with other Breville espresso machines the steam wand that dispenses the milk froth can be rotated round 360 degrees for complete control over your lattes and cappuccinos.
From the cup and mug warmer on the top to the magnetic tamper that clings to its appointed place when not in use, Breville have gone to a lot of trouble to make this espresso maker easy to use.
No Hassle Cleaning
The Breville BES840XL Infuser has a system that removes excess water from the ground coffee in the filter basket, making removal of the resulting residue very easy. The drip tray and water tanks can easily be removed, and you should replace the water filter every two months or so.
Even though you have a water filter, as with all coffee makers, it's best to use filtered water anyway and to decalcify your espresso machine every three or four months using white vinegar. But at least you don't have a grinder on it to clean as well - a separate grinder is invariably easier to clean.
Consumer Ratings for the Breville BES840XL Infuser
At the time of writing (May 2019), over 580 users have left reviews on Amazon and awarded this espresso maker an average score of over 4 stars. Well over 60 per-cent have awarded the full five stars.
Most of them love how easy it is to use, clean and understand. Most agree it's a great machine for the price, though the alleged savings of $300 have been called into question.
Some reviewers have had a problem in getting the pressure gauge to register any reading at all. It turns out that they may have been using too coarse a grind. The answer seems to be to use a finer grind, even a Turkish grind, to fill the portafilter in two or three stages, and to tamp down after each stage so that your grind is compact and firm.
I've mentioned that the BES840XL Infuser is around $100 cheaper than the BES870XL, largely because it doesn't have a burr grinder built in. But that's about the only thing the BES870XL has that the Infuser doesn't.
Whatever the savings this product is still expensive at around $430. However, if you're a serious coffee connoisseur then it will be money well spent, and if you're a regular at Starbucks then doubly so. One user claims that their BES840XL Infuser paid for itself in three months!
It's fun to learn how to use, and once you've mastered the art then, provided you clean it when the time comes, the Breville BES840XL Infuser will provide you with world class coffee of all types without complaint for years to come.
The CV-DSC40 VE is proof that you really can re-invent the wheel and sell it at a higher price. Provided, of course, that you add a whole lot more value. And give people the extras that they didn't realize they needed until now. It takes what an ordinary kettle does - boil water - and turns it into an art form. That is, a practical system for solving a lot of life's little problems. Problems that we never knew we had until we saw what it can do for us.
What can this Zojirushi Hybrid Water Boiler and Warmer give you that an ordinary kettle cannot? The answer is water of whatever temperature you need, whenever you need it.
The Zojirushi CV-DSC40 boils your water for you, and then lets it cool to just the temperature you want, and no lower. The pre-loaded defaults are 175 degrees (appropriate for green teas), 195 degrees (for oolong and white teas), and 208 degrees (for coffee, instant noodles, and black, herbal and pu-erh tea).
The control panel displays the temperature of the water in the reservoir at all times, and you can control it to whatever you want through the computerized control system.
So what is it that you want this device to help you prepare? Coffee and tea of all kinds, soups, noodles, oatmeal - you can prepare all of these easily with water from this hybrid water boiler heated to exactly the right temperature.
You can find countless other uses for it as well, such as warming baby bottles and blanching vegetables. Once you get it in your kitchen you'll never be lost for ways in which to use it.
This Zojirushi Hybrid Water Boiler is a delight to use - and so fast
Who would have thought that a utility that is basically a kettle could be such fun to use? At the touch of a button, you can re-boil the water or re-set the current temperature. You'll hear an audible beep when the water has boiled, or when the water level in the container has dropped below the minimum level.
It boils as fast as a standard kettle, taking from 7 to 15 minutes to boil a full 4 liters straight from the tap, depending on the temperature of the tap water and the kitchen conditions. Boiling a full container starting from 195 degrees takes about 4 minutes.
Many users use the six- to ten-hour timer feature to have the water heated for their morning tea or coffee when they awake. Just set it for when you want your hot water and this Zojirushi hybrid water boiler does the rest.
The driving force behind this machine is a comfortably sized 840 watt water boiler. The water container is vacuum insulated and is able to accommodate 4 liters. The exterior is clear-coated stainless steel that looks good in any kitchen. All materials used in its construction are BPA-free.
Inside, the interior is also stainless steel with an anodized coating, probably Teflon. It conceals the heating element, which doesn't come into contact with the water. Some gaskets and the outer lid are plastic. If and when they suffer from the daily punishment meted out to them, they can be easily and cheaply replaced.
The water level gauge is not only sleek-looking, but on account of its wrap-around design you can easily read it from almost any angle.
The base is on a swivel, so it's easy to orient in any direction. And, being made in Japan, this product is pure quality. It carries a one-year limited warranty from Zojirushi.
Any device that deals with boiling hot water every day is liable to suffer from the mineral deposits that come with that water, as well as the tremendous forces of expansion and contraction that come with extreme temperatures.
But the non-stick coating of the container ensures that this water boiler can cope with it all without many problems. Of course, you have to boil a couple of container-fulls and discard them when you first use the machine, to expel any impurities left over from the factory, but after that you only need to clean it occasionally. Zojirushi supply their own cleaning powder for the purpose - there's an instructional video on Amazon's page.
Click here for some great tips on how to clean a coffee maker (opens in new tab). Using filtered water goes a long way towards keeping the interior clean enough to make the cleaning chore a rare event.
Safety Aspects of this Zojirushi Hybrid Water Boiler
Safety is paramount when a device regularly dispenses hot or boiling water. The power cord is just 3 feet long and detachable (as well as magnetic). It easily comes out of the socket if accidentally caught or knocked, rather than risk having the whole device, hot water and all, become mobile and out of control.
To pour the hot water you need to press the Unlock button and then the Dispense button, just to ensure that a responsible adult is doing the dispensing, and not, for example, a small child. And, of course, it has auto shut-off.
Here's a short video showing how the Zojirushi CV-DSC40 VE does its job:
Over 540 users on Amazon have reviewed this product at the time of writing (February 2019) and awarded it an average of over 4 stars. They particularly love its speed, convenience, ease of use and safety, as well as its good looks.
The only real bone of contention relates to the way in which it always boils the water before leaving it to cool to the desired temperature, a process that can sometimes take a while.
It may be something that Zojirushi can address when they update this model, so it simply heats the water to the new required temperature and no more. [NB Zojirushi have already updated this model - see the opening line of this review.] Nevertheless, this doesn't seem to trouble the vast majority of users.
Zojirushi are a Japanese company and this product is made in Japan. This is reflected in both the design and the quality of it.
For convenience, ease of use, build quality and design, as well as safety, it would be very hard to imagine any other similar product coming close to the Zojirushi CV-DSC40 VE Hybrid Water Boiler and Warmer. We believe we can recommend this product to you without any hesitation.
If you take a quick look at the Breville BMF600XL Milk Café Milk Frother, all you'll see would be a sleek, stainless steel exterior with just one simple control knob. You'd think that it was just another one of those milk frothers that gives you a choice of two - take it or leave it.
But when you see what this device can do, it's like opening a whole new world of coffee and milk frothing, of exotic drinks of smooth, tantalizing flavors, or creamy froth that you never knew existed before.
So far, so good, but can it really be worth the not insubstantial price tag of not far south of $130?
The Breville BMF600XL consists of a base unit, which controls the induction power, and a jug, or carafe, in which the milk froths are made. Both are of stainless steel. The only plastic parts are the lid and the two frothing discs - one smooth, for making lattes, and the other with slits, for making foam for cappuccinos.
The disc that isn't being used is stored on a magnetic hook at the back, so it's almost impossible to lose. The power cord, too, stores away easily when not required.
The carafe has a minimum fill line, and if you fill to that level then you'll have enough milk for two 10 ounce cups of coffee. You can make enough for four cups at a time if you wish.
The knob on the base unit lets you control the temperature of the milk produced. You can have a cold stir for a cold drink (though you won't have so much froth), or you can take the heat up to 160 degrees and all points in between.
A froth needs more than just heat, of course. It needs stirring. The BMF600XL uses its discs for this. They're not turned mechanically, but magnetically. Take the disc you need, according to whether you want foam or not, and press it home into the containing slot. Make sure it's stable before you start. Like any brilliant idea, it's basically very simple and produces great results.
And the build quality is such that there's no reason why it shouldn't continue doing so for many years.
Breville BMF600XL - The Machine That Does Everything
Frothing milk is actually only one of the functions that this machine carries out quietly and reliably. It's also a hot chocolate maker if you just add the appropriate ingredients, though there is a little skill involved in this (see below).
Apart from regular full-fat milk, you can use almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk or skimmed milk (which produces the largest froth). If you prefer you can add cocoa, agaves or coffee, so that your drink is ready made without having to prepare another part of it elsewhere.
And you don't have to have a froth at all. You can make steamed milk. In fact, using it as a flavored milk steamer is one of its most popular uses.
It does produce very hot milk (though you can, of course, reduce the temperature setting), and it's capable of melting chocolate chips fed into it through the lid whilst foaming the milk. It's quiet too, and if you're up to latte art then this machine won't let you down.
The recipe book that comes with the frother itself contains a number of other dishes, so experiment and discover which kind of brew you prefer, because sometimes it seems this machine can do almost anything.
One reviewer on Amazon describes the Breville BMF600XL as "fast, simple and reliable". If you set the temperature to its highest and pour in milk to the minimum level in the carafe then you'll have your frothed milk ready in between one and two minutes, depending on the original temperature of the milk, and prevailing conditions in your kitchen.
You'll Want To Know About This ...
I'm always mentioning in my reviews about how coffee makers, espresso makers, and milk frothers, are not just kitchen appliances like refrigerators or cookers, which can take a certain amount of punishment through careless handling, and so on.
They are, in effect, precision instruments, and this is particularly true in this case. We've seen how the BMF600XL has two frothing discs, and how you always use one of them, depending on whether you're making a lot of foam or not, to stir the milk while it's being heated.
The disc must be allowed to spin freely, using the magnetic field generated. So it must be clean. If there's any dust, powder or anything at all on it then it will be out of balance and won't spin properly or at all. Sometimes it may need a slight tap with a spoon to start it off, if it's reluctant to start moving.
The best temperature for producing frothy milk is 140 degrees to 160 degrees. Most users set it to around the maximum to start with, and then adjust when they know their machine better.
The BMF600XL needs to be started as soon as you've poured the milk into the carafe. Any delay may lead to condensation being formed and the motor may shut off. Observe the instructions in the User Manual - you need to press the button a second time to start the frothing process.
If you're making, for example, hot chocolate, then don't just dump the chocolate concentrate into the top of the milk. That may disturb the spin of the disc. Wait until the milk is warm, and then sprinkle it in slowly, using the facility in the lid that's there for the purpose.
Reviewers on Amazon are very favorable towards the BMF600XL, giving it an average of nearly 4.4 stars in nearly 1,240 reviews at the time of writing (May 2019). They particularly like its versatility, and how it produces delicious milk froths and drinks.
A few have mentioned problems in getting it to start, but with the tips given here, this should present no problem to you. The price is another point sometimes raised, but then you do get what you pay for here.
The great majority of users are more than happy with their milk frother. Click here for our view of coffee maker reviews.
The Breville BMF600XL Milk Café Milk Frother is an extremely adaptable, reliable machine that looks good and is easy to clean as well. It can make you a milk drink exactly to your requirements in no more than a couple of minutes, and is quite capable of remaining in regular use for many years. At the very least, this deserves careful consideration for your next milk frother.
If you like to grind your own coffee beans and yearn for a way to produce at home the flavor and taste normally only experienced in high class coffee houses, then you must consider the Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder.
You get a 2 year warranty and you can choose between five colors - black, chrome, copper, red, and white. The size is compact enough to fit under your kitchen cabinets and it looks great. But does it produce the coffee grinds that will have you and your house guests swooning with delight?
The Bodum Bistro Burr Grinder - Getting The Exact Grinds That You Want
Whether you prefer your grinds fine for espressos or coarse for French presses, the Bodum Bistro has you covered. Once you know the amount of time needed to produce the grind you want then you can set the timer and leave the machine to do the rest.
There are over fourteen grind settings, which are continually adjustable, so you can experiment until you find the exact setting that's right for you. And the Bistro has one other feature that sets it apart from other coffee grinders, and that relates to the glass receiver pot into which the ground beans fall.
Bodum claims it solves the problem of static electricity in the pot. Static can cause the grounds to "jump" and attach themselves to any object before being placed in the coffee pot. This can reduce the amount of grinds used and affect the taste and strength of your brew.
The solution? A borosilicate glass catcher for the grinds to fall into. This greatly reduces the amount of static liable to affect them. The net result is better-tasting coffee. Some kinds of oily bean may still produce more static than even the Bistro can handle, and this can result in some of the grinds still clinging to the inside of the glass catcher, but this is quite rare and the amount is negligible, though a quick rinse afterward is in order.
The Bodum Bistro uses a burr grinder, which generates less heat than a blade grinder - heat that can cause a bitter taste to the coffee in other machines. By crushing, rather than slicing, the beans, a burr grinder preserves more of the flavor. All the grind parts are metal, not plastic, and this too means better-tasting coffee as well as a longer lasting grinder.
You'll find that you're using fewer beans for your pot of coffee and that the grind is much more even, giving a fuller flavor to your favorite drink.
The borosilicate glass catcher and metal grind parts aren't the only signs of build quality here. The hopper is of thick, clear plastic, the outside of the grinder is rubberized in a variety of fun colors, and the two main buttons look smart in a strong contrasting color.
Because the Bistro is a small machine it can only handle a limited quantity of beans at one time. Nevertheless, you can comfortably grind enough for one or two mugs at a time, and then some more a few minutes later if needed.
Easy To Handle (And That Includes Cleaning)
The control buttons are large and highly visible, and to set how finely the beans are ground you simply twist the upper bean container. It's easy to grip the machine firmly when you're using or cleaning it.
You can easily remove the hopper and the grind container for rinsing under running water. You can also remove the upper burr and brush it clean. Turn the whole machine upside down and shake to remove any excess grinds from the lower burr. You should only need to do this about once a week.
Consumer Ratings for the Bodum Bistro Burr Grinder
The Bodum Bistro scores an average of over 3.5 stars on Amazon at the time of writing (May 2019), from nearly 2,700 reviewers. Over two-thirds give 4 or 5 stars. Overall satisfaction with it is high, with the main plus points being value for money, efficiency, and ease of use.
Some users don't like the 5-minute wait that's recommended between 20-second grinds, but that's down to the laws of physics with a compact grinder like this, so there's not much that can be done there. And sometimes the use of oily beans causes some mess in the glass jar, which necessitates rinsing it out before the next grind.
The Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder may have a small footprint but it has a big heart. Its solid construction, especially of the burr grinder parts, means that it can take whatever punishment you may care to throw at it. If you're after great tasting coffee from superbly ground coffee beans (and who isn't?) then you'll love this coffee grinder.