Coffee Machine Guide

Why Bella Barista?

Our fantastic range is carefully selected by us, for you. We use our expertise to shop around, so you don’t have to. If it is not in our range then there will be a reason! You will never look back when you buy one of our machines

Each one of our exceptional coffee machines comes with:

  • Our excellent service commitment; take a look at trust pilot and/or the independent coffee forums
  • On-going technical support provided by our on-site team
  • Individual checking by us and preparation for the UK market
  • A despatch time within 48 hours for all machines in stock
 

Which type of machine do you need?

This is the start of your journey with Bella Barista, the type of machine that will be right for you.  Let us guide you to the perfect machine to suit you; our role is to use our expertise to help you make the right choice.

What is important to us:

  • Reliability
  • Performance
  • Value for money
  • Ability to repair & readily obtain spare parts

 

Here in the UK, 80% of our coffees are milk based. But more and more coffee lovers are enjoying the experience of a good espresso The optimum temperature for ‘pulling a shot’ of espresso, the basis for all coffee, is 93-95°C.  The best temperature for steaming milk is 125°C.  The art of great coffee making is to get these temperatures from your machine.

The main types of coffee makers work in different ways, here is our guide.

Filter/Drip Price Range £6-£300

This method of “brewing” coffee is having a huge resurgence with many high end London coffee houses offering this type of coffee.  It can sometimes be called pour over as the water is poured over the coffee grains and then diffused thorough a filter. The most significant change is the introduction of specialist filter machines that are able to control temperature better. The most important component to deliver a perfect coffee is freshly roasted and ground coffee. It is considered the best way to taste the differences between single origin coffees.

Benefits of Filter/Drip

Points to Consider

Very low initial cost
Perfect for long black coffee drinkers
Brings out the best in Single origin coffees

No way of producing steam
Not able to make milk based drinks

 

 

 

Stove top £29-£300


Considered the “traditional” Italian way of making coffee the “Bialetti” style stove top was made famous by Mussolini to show the advancement of the use of Aluminium in Italy. We have listed only Stainless steel pots as these give a better flavour. Ground coffee is placed into the centre compartment and then when the water boils it passes through the coffee into the top compartment. This method of coffee making appeals to those who like a strong brewed coffee.

Benefits of Stove Top

Points to Consider

Very low initial cost
Very portable can be used on different
heating sources so ideal for camping/ boats

No way of producing steam
Not able to make milk based drinks

 

 

 

Thermoblock Machines Price Range £99-£600

Thermoblock machines heat the water as it is used, similar to the way water is heated in a shower. This makes them smaller & much cheaper than a conventional boiler.  The vast majority of budget coffee machines (below £200) will have thermoblocks. There is a wide range available, some with one thermoblock, some with two, some with a thermoblock  AND a boiler.  Some single thermoblock machines allow you to heat the water for espresso, then immediately for steam, then back again for another shot of espresso. For steam, the water passes through more slowly thereby reaching the higher temperature needed.

Benefits of Thermoblocks

Points to Consider

Allows compact design because thermoblock a lot smaller than conventional boiler

Lower cost than heat exchangers or single boilers

Smaller machines

High Quality coffee at an affordable price

Experimenting  can be fun, learning to get it right

Some thermoblocks struggle to maintain temperature

With a single thermoblock you can not pull a shot and steam at the same time and is about 3 times slower than Boiler machines to steam milk

Not as efficient as Heat Exchangers or Dual Boilers

 

 

 

Capsule: Price Range £300 to £1000

One of the most significant changes in the world of coffee largely due to the massive advertising budget of Nespresso . They offer convenience and simplicity but come with a high ingredient cost. Our range of these is not as we find that our customers are upgrading from this type of machine to enjoy the benefits of “real” coffe

Benefits of Capsule

Points to Consider

Convenience
Less mess
Grinder not requires

High cost of coffee 5 times more expensive than buying beans
No possibility of altering extraction
Far from FRESH coffee

 

 

 

  Bean to Cup

There are an increasing number of coffee drinkers that want to enjoy the benefits of freshly ground coffee but want the convenience and space saving of having the grinder and coffee machine in one package and are willing to give up the ability “to fine tune”  in return for a simple single button operation. There are also the customers that have recognised the convenience of having capsules but want to progress to a fresher and far more economical way of making coffee.It is to recognise and fulfill this demand that we have decided to include bean to cup machines in our range. As with all our machines these will have been rigorously tested before they are included in our range

 

 

Benefits of Bean to Cup

Points to Consider

Convenience
Compact
One touch Operation
Quick Heat up
Freshly Ground Beans 
Can be used by all family

Less control than separate grinder
Longevity
Low temperature of Milk Based drinks
Time taken to produce milk based drinks 

 

 

 



Single Boilers (SB): Price Range £300 to £800

As the name suggests, one boiler does it all, but not at the same time.  First, it heats water to the correct temperature for your espresso. Then it takes time to reach the hotter temperature to make steam for the milk. . Conversely you have to wait until water cools down to make your next coffee extraction. . Most single boilers contain a reservoir for water; they are not connected to the mains supply.  Single boilers are at the low to mid end of the price range and with time spent to get it right, you will have a lovely shot of espresso.

Single Boilers Pros

Single Boilers Cons

Lower cost than heat exchangers
High Quality Espresso coffee at an affordable price Experimenting  can be fun, learning to get it right

Single boilers struggle to maintain temperature
The boiler takes time to reheat the water from the optimal espresso temperature to the optimal steam temperature
Inconvenience of time delay
Trickier to master to obtain the perfect coffee,you may need time & patience to get the best results

Lever Machines (LM) £1300 to £3000

This is the most traditional “espresso” machine and was the first to enable water under pressure to pass through the coffee grains to give a better extraction. The pressure being gained by the compression of the lever. The lever method obviously requires some physical effort and was soon superseded in the mass market with machines that gained the pressure from electric pumps. Purists have come to recognise that the way the lever delivers the pressure in fact produces a perfect pressure profile for the perfect espresso. It must be pointed out that there is considerable pressure exerted by the lever and should be operated with caution.

Benefits of Lever

Points to Consider

No electric pump to replace
Very good pressure profile
Best for espresso

Difficulty of operating the lever
Extra space required because of lever
More experience required to produce consistent espressos

 

 

 

Heat Exchanger (HX):   Price Range £800 to £1800

These clever machines have one boiler (WITH AN INTERNAL HEAT EXCHANGER) which heats the water for your espresso AT THE SAME TIME as creating the steam for your milk.  No waiting, less fuss. This is the largest selection of the Bella Barista range, the heat exchanger is a pipe contained within the boiler which the water heats as it passes through then mixes with the right amount of cold to make the perfect temperature for your espresso much more reliably. The beauty of these machines is, the super-heated steam for milk is available simultaneously.  The small down-side is, if there is a long time between pulling shots the water can become too hot. This is easy to overcome by flushing water through the group head for a few seconds, known as a ‘cooling flush’. Our range of Heat Exchangers includes models that can adjust temperature/pressure and you can choose from a mains supply, an internal reservoir machine or one that has both.

Heat Exchangers Pros

Heat Exchanger Cons

Heats the water for coffee AND steam simultaneously

Can produce multiple cups of coffee without delay

Easier to obtain the perfect shot of espresso
Choice of internal reservoir or mains supply
More adjustable/controllable
Higher build quality
More convenient than single boilers
Reliable temperature control
Boiler refills automatically
Perfect steam power for milk based coffees

More expensive than single boilers

Larger

More difficult to change temperature than dual boilers

Some skill required, e.g. ‘cooling flushes’

 

 

Dual Boiler: Price Range £1200 - £5000

Unsurprisingly, these machines have two boilers.  One heats the water for the perfect espresso, the other heats water perfectly for the steam.  With a dual boiler, not only can you do both at the same time but many dual boiler coffee machines let you control the temperature according to the coffee you are using, ultimate control to produce perfect coffee.

Benefits of Dual Boilers

Points to Consider

Two separate boilers for individual temperature control (via PID)
No need for cooling flush
Very easy to obtain the perfect shot of espresso
Choice of internal reservoir or mains supply
Solid temperature stability
More adjustable/controllable
Easier to obtain the perfect shot of espresso
Ability to pull shots at different temperatures
Convenient
Reliable temperature control
Boiler refills automatically
Perfect steam power for milk based coffees

More expensive than single boilers & Heat exchangers

Larger size

Can be difficult to descale

 

Pressure Profile : Price Range £2500 - £5000 |

Benefits of Pressure Profile

Points to Consider

Two separate boilers for individual temperature control (via PID) Reliable temperature control
No need for cooling flush
Very easy to obtain the perfect shot of espresso with the ability to change pressure profile of shot
Choice of internal reservoir or mains supply
Solid temperature stability
More adjustable/controllable
Easier to obtain the perfect shot of espresso
Ability to pull shots at different and temperatures and pressure profiles
Convenient
Boiler refills automatically
Perfect steam power for milk based coffees

More expensive than Dual Boilers

Can be difficult to descale

Requires expertise in manually changing the pressure profiles

 

 Other points to Consider

Full Automatic or Manual?

In a commercial setting, fully automatic machines tend to be used; a button is pressed & a shot is produced.  This sounds easy doesn’t it, but we believe it is important that you have full control.  With a manual machine, you can look at the shot being pulled and stop it if it ‘blonds’ (the extraction goes slightly paler indicating the less desirable parts of the coffee are being released into your cup). Again, this is something you will learn easily.

 

Vibration or rotary pump

Vibration pumps are smaller & less expensive so they are found in most domestic machines. Our machines that are fitted with vibration pumps will contain only top quality pumps. Rotary pumps tend to be slightly quieter and are a better pump to choose if you will be plumbing in your machine at any point. The rotary pump is designed for heavy commercial use so will last longer, but can be three times more expensive than vibration pumps to exchange so this should be factored into your choice..

 

PID

This is a precise, computer controlled thermostat which ultimately, gives better temperature control with a smaller ‘dead band’, preventing the machine overshooting or undershooting  the heat required by pulsing heat in short, rapid and controlled increments. PID comes into its own when used with dual boiler machines.  It means each boiler has its temperature regulated or adjusted.  The problem with some PID dual boilers is that when the PID is used to control the steam boiler, it can prevent the boiler from recovering temperature quickly.  Again, this is something that can be overcome by larger heating elements in the steam boiler or simply programming the PID to allow the steam boiler to recover quickly.

 

Grinder , Ready Ground or Capsule

18 is the figure used by many Italian coffee expert when quantifying the best time scales in the coffee production
Green Beans  Good for 18 months
Roasted coffee Good for 18 weeks (we say 6)
Ground Coffee Good for 18 minutes

As you can see from this ideally coffee should be drunk within 18 minutes of being ground which if you do not have a grinder is very difficult. Manufacturers over the years have tried various ways of sealing the coffee after it has been ground to retain the flavour, with out doubt the most successful has been the introduction of the capsule this  not only preserves the flavour but also  simplifies the coffee making process.  Of course there is no substitute for grinding your own to give the best and freshest flavour. Unfortunately grinders capable of grinding coffee fine enough for espresso machine do not come cheap