Coffee Talk – French Press, Bialetti, Capsules or Espresso Machine ?

Over the past couple of years, my approach to coffee has changed immensely. Whereas I only used to drink a latte macchiato with vanilla syrup in the beginning, the thought of that actually is repulsing to me now. The more coffee I drank, the less fancy it had to be. Nowadays, I’m the happiest when I get a strong hot espresso right after getting up and a nice little cappuccino when meeting friends for a chat. With my coffee-preferences changing, I have tried and tested a lot of different coffee-making techniques and a few of them I want to talk you through today.

Which coffee brewing method is right for me?

My first ever sip of coffee must have been my mom’s morning coffee back home from our old filter machine. I remember vividly how god-awful I found it and how I wondered if she only gulps that hideous drink down because that disgusting smell wakes her up from a dream-like state in the morning. After a short venture into the world of the skinny vanilla latte, I came to appreciate coffee in its true and most valued form, though. The espresso. With a dash of milk, of course.

So when I moved into my first own flat, almost six years ago, I immediately knew I had to get me a capsule machine (this one)* for the house. And so we did. And I had been loving and drinking my coffee at home like this for years. It’s the easiest way to prepare coffee at home – be it a latte, a cappuccino or a plain espresso. I have loved this and even worked with one of the producers of capsules in the past. As I have grown both, as a person and coffee-lover in the past few months, though, I decided it would be best to switch things up on the coffee brewing department.

After lots of research and numerous discussions with friends and experts, I have found out and realized how damaging this actually is to our environment and health. Furthermore, I have come to the realization that it is way too expensive home-brewedwed coffee. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with paying 3,50 for my cappuccino at the caffé when enjoying a lovely afternoon with a friend. I do not want my 3-5 coffee at home to turn into a financial burden. That is why I decided I needed to break with this habit and venture one step further into the world of the barista.

Using a French Press at home

The first brewing method I tried after the capsule machine was a french press. I got a pretty little thing in copper (buy here) and immediately fell in love. I bought some ground coffee and started making my morning coffee with the little gem. This brewing method is, without doubt, the easiest and cheapest. All you have to do is put your coffee into the French press, add a bit of boiling water and wait for a few minutes to pour into your mug.

French Press – the pros and cons: 

  • + Easy and quick  – probably the best option for beginners
  • + If you opt for a wonderfully copper french press it also doubles as a nice decoration item for the flat
  • + You can easily switch up coffee flavors and strength of your brew
  • – The French press I own is fairly small and only fits one cup of coffee, which to me always seemed like a waste of time, energy and – most importantly – coffee

Back to the roots with my Bialetti

When I had enough of French press coffee, I decided I’d invest in a Bialetti (buy here). I had already known this from my grandparents and used to love waking up to the sound and smell of the Bialetti cooking coffee on the stove when I stayed at their house in the summers. Purchasing this was not only exciting to me because I could learn more about coffee, it also brought back this beautiful nostalgia that I hold so dearly.

I must admit I’m a big fan of the Bialetti. It makes Sunday morning coffee so much more special and never fails to take me back to my childhood. I feel like it also makes my coffee much stronger than any other brewing method I have tried so far and some days that is very much what I need in the mornings.

Bialetti – the pros and cons: 

  • – Of all the brewing methods I have tried so far, I find the Bialetti to be most annoying when cleaning. It always has water spots on it and that drives me crazy and you literally have to thoroughly clean it after every use
  • +/- The coffee gets better over time. When you buy a new Bialetti it will not taste like its supposed to be. The more use you get out of it, the better it gets.
  • – It uses a lot of energy on my stove. As I want to reduce my energy bill and consumption at home, this is something that I do not particularly appreciate.
  • + The coffee from the Bialetti most probably is the best one ever. It’s strong, hot and kicks you right off the ground.
  • + The nostalgia that comes with it. And it’s really pretty too!

The newest member to the family: My espresso machine

I knew I had found my thing when the Bialetti started to get better and better with every use. Still, I wasn’t satisfied as I only had hand brewing methods at home and really wanted to own a machine that was a real game-changer when having friends around. After browsing the net for weeks and talking to almost everyone I know about espresso machines and the possibilities on the market, I found the perfect match. When a colleague at work then talked about how amazing this machine is, I knew I had to get my hands on it. So I now am the very proud owner of a gorgeous vintage inspired De’Longhi Espresso machine (buy here)*.

And I do love it. Just like the French press and my Bialetti, this machine also uses ground coffee. Therefore I ordered a coffee grinder (buy here) as well so I can fully cater to my coffee-lover needs.  Working your way with this machine is also surprisingly easy. I always wanted to own a machine that was like the ones they use in coffee shops. And here I am, pressing my ground coffee into the portafilter in the morning, waiting for my coffee to run into my mug. And I love it. The coffee tastes amazing and it’s so much cheaper and environmentally friendly than the capsule machine I used before.

The pros and cons of using a lever espresso machine: 

  • + Beautiful addition to the kitchen. It has a unique style and makes the whole coffee brewing process look immediately more professional
  • + Environmentally friendly and really cheap in use
  • – Takes up much more space on the kitchen counter than a Bialetti, Chemex or French press
  • + The coffee tastes delicious and you can prepare two espressi at the same time
  • + The machine has a build in water nozzle for the perfect barista milk foam
  • -/+ More expensive when first buying than a French press or Bialetti, much cheaper in use than a capsule machine, though
  • – To me the coffee does not appear as strong as from the Bialetti. It is the perfect blend for a morning coffee and/or cappuccino
  • + Easier to use and much more efficient when having friends over than any other brewing method I have used before

What brewing method do you use at home? Do you have any questions on any of these methods? Hope this was helpful :)

*pr sample

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  • Ein sehr cooler Beitrag meine Liebe. Bzgl. deiner neuesten Errungenschaft habe ich dir ja schon privat geschrieben, da ich auch mit diesem Modell liebäugle. Momentan nutze ich zuhause noch eine Nespresso, diese aber auch tatsächlich nur am Wochenende, so dass sich der Kapselkonsum noch in Grenzen hält. Im Büro haben wir eine professionelle Siebträgermaschine und ich liebe sie. Deswegen wahrscheinlich auch der Wunsche nach einer für zuhause ;)
    Liebst Kathi

  • This post actually came out very handy for me as I’ve literally just bought my new coffee machine on Wednesday and… I hate it! I think I’ve never been so disappointed with any bought product and I immediately think of selling it and buying a different one.

  • Cooler Beitrag, der auch mal die verschiedenen Kaffee-Braumethoden beleuchtet. Gefällt mir gut, ebenso wie die DeLonghi – so was von schick!! Bin gerade ein bisschen schockverliebt :D
    Ich habe für meine eigene Wohnung eine Dolce Gusto Maschine. Ja, ich weiß, für die Umwelt sind Kapselmaschinen eine Katastrophe. Aber da ich nicht so viel Kaffee trinke (und den aus der French Press grauslig finde :D), war es für mich eine super Lösung und ich muss zugeben, ich liebe sie nach einem halben Jahr immer noch heiß und innig. Jeder Italiener würd mich wahrscheinlich schlagen :D
    Liebe Grüße,

  • Sehr interessanter Beitrag! Ich trinke meinen Kaffee schon seit Jahren nur aus der Bialetti und liebe sie nach wie vor. Wenn du sie jeden Tag/sehr häufig benutzt, musst du sie übrigens nicht nach jeder Verwendung putzen. In Italien machen es die meisten so, dass sie das Kaffeepulver bis zur nächsten Verwendung drinlassen und die Bialetti erst dann (nur mit Wasser) ausspülen und neu befüllen. Aber ich störe mich auch nicht an den Wasserflecken :) Und was ich mega praktisch finde, ist, dass man sie schon abends befüllen kann und dann am Morgen einfach nur den Herd anschalten muss. Macht geschmacklich keinerlei Unterschied!
    Einen Nachteil kann ich aber noch ergänzen: es ist mega nervig, Kaffee für mehrere Personen zu kochen und der Geschmack leidet meiner Meinung nach darunter, wenn man den Kaffee nicht sofort trinkt, sondern warmhält.

    LG und schönen Sonntag!

  • Tatsächlich ging es mir am Anfang ganz genau wie dir. Ich habe ausschließlich Latte Macchiato mit Vanille Sirup getrunken. Zwar trinke ich ganz selten auch jetzt noch mal so einen (oder aber mit Karamell), aber am liebsten trinke ich dann doch einen Milchkaffe oder Cappuccino. Diese verfeinere ich aber auch nur zu gern mit einem Flavour. Hier zu Hause habe ich bislang eine ganz normale Filterkaffeemaschine, eine French Press, eine Maschine für Nespresso Kapseln und einen Espresso Maker. Und am meisten nutze ich die Maschine für die Nespresso Kapseln. Ich habe aber auch eine andere Maschine auf meiner Wunschliste, mit der die Kaffeebohnen für jede Art von Kaffee frisch gemahlen werden. Eine Art kleine Baristamaschine. Diesen Wunsch werde ich mir dann auch irgendwann einmal erfüllen.

    Ganz liebe Grüße

  • Hallo Kerstin,
    sehr interessant!
    Ich habe auch jahrelang Nespresso getrunken, wegen des Komforts und das Marketing mit den verschiedenen Limited Editions und der Inszenierung hat mir auch gefallen.
    Andererseits ähnliche Überlegungen wie bei dir, die Umwelt, das Aluminium..
    Seit vorigem Jahr verwende ich eine Espresso-Siebträgermaschine, auch von De Longhi, und bin super zufrieden.
    Das ganze Ritual mit Kaffee in den Siebträger geben, stampfen, einsetzen, der Duft… macht Freude und der Kaffee ist ein Genuss. Viel bewusster und entspannter als mit den Kapseln.
    Und ab und zu verwende ich aus nostalgischen Gründen noch gern eine Bialetti. Übrigens, in Italien hab ich mal eine riesige Bialetti für 50 Tassen gesehen! Wofür auch immer..?
    Ciao Markus

  • Can you recommend a machine to make long coffees with steamed milk? That is my holy grail but I am worried about buying the wrong machine. Also do you go to coffee specialty stores and buy beans or just ground supermarket beans?

    • For that I use my Delonghi espresso maker. It also has a milk steamer integrated and then I simply add my coffee to the foamed milk. It works perfectly fine for me. Admittedly not as well as in big coffee shops but good enough I think ;)
      For the coffee I like to switch it up. For everyday use I have supermarket brands but every now and then I try a speciality.

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