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Your top questions answered about what makes the perfect cuppa


In November, we launched our beautiful new counter-top coffee machine, perfect for those early morning brews that kick start the day. To help you get the most out of your new appliance, we’ve answered your top questions about what makes the perfect cuppa joe.

What the factors affect the brewing of perfect cup of coffee?

The perfect cup is dependent on a number of factors; temperature, water bar pressure, contact time and warm cups. Each one of these can have either a negative or positive impact on the final taste if not correct. For example the Smeg coffee machine is set at 15 bar pressure which is considered the optimal "pressure" to get all the essences of coffee.

Why should you not use boiling water to prepare coffee?

The optimum temperature of 98°C develops the most beautiful flavour and aroma in a cup of coffee. If boiling water is used, this will burn the coffee and create a bitter and unpleasant flavour. This is why the Smeg coffee machine is set at 98°C and also has a cup warming plate on the top of the machine. This ensures that the coffee is always served at the optimum temperature.

What types of coffee can the Smeg Coffee Machine prepare?

  • Espresso – a thicker, concentrated coffee that is prepared using water prepared to 98°C and forced through ground coffee.
  • Double Espresso – a double shot of espresso.
  • Latte Macchiato – a layered drink of foam, espresso and milk. The espresso is poured into the milk last, to ensure that it floats to the top for that bold first sip.
  • Latte – a long milky drink that offers an even mix of espresso and milk for a smooth flavour.
  • Cappuccino – originates from Italy, and is traditionally served with a double espresso, milk and foam.
  • Mocha – A combination of hot chocolate and espresso, topped off with warm frothy milk.
  • Hot Chocolate – make a hot chocolate that much more special with warm frothy milk.

What is so good about Smeg’s Thermoblock pump?

Smeg’s Thermoblock technology ensures quick delivery of the coffee and milk frothing and ensures you’re not waiting to switch between the two functions. Alternative methods can be slow at the initial warm up stage and even slower to switch between coffee and milk dispensing.

What’s the biggest cup of coffee the Smeg machine can give me?

Have no fear, the Smeg coffee machine takes a maximum cup height of 80mm. One of the largest on the market.

What type of coffee should I purchase?

A good quality ground coffee combining Arabica, with a small amount of Robusta. Arabica and Robusta are the type of beans roasted to make coffee.

Arabica beans tend to be sweeter, with a softer taste. The bean’s acidity is higher, thanks to a winey taste that characterizes coffee with excellent acidity. In comparison, Robusta, is stronger with a higher level of caffeine and has a harsher, nuttier taste. Combined, they make a perfectly balances cup.

What type of milk should I use, and what temperature should I heat the milk to?

The best milk to use is semi-skimmed as it’s perfect for creating a thick, creamy and stable foam for cappuccino, latte and hot chocolate. Despite this, it is also possible to use skimmed and soya milk. Heating milk to approximately 60°C is the perfect temperature and the easier way to measure this is with a stainless steel jug. By holding the base of the jug, you can feel the heat and 60°C is just about bearable on skin. Any more than that and you risk burning the milk.

How will I know when to descale the coffee machine?

The Smeg coffee machine will tell you when it needs descaling which can then be done at the press of a button.

Can I programme any of this to my specifications?

Many of the features we’ve talked about our programmable to your taste. These include:

  • Coffee temperature – can be set to low, medium or high dependent on how you like it.
  • Coffee quantity – can be tailored to the user’s cup sizes.
  • Water hardness – to ensure the longevity of the product we recommend setting this according to you water hardness; soft, medium, hard.
  • Auto-shut off – you can choose how long before the machine turns itself off, either 9 minutes, 30 minutes or 3 hours if you’re entertaining.

Why should I trust Italians with my precious cup of coffee?

As is well known, Italians love their coffee. Although they are famous for coffee, the coffee is not actually grown in Italy. The fame comes from their ability to effectively roast the coffee, they have perfected the process of taking a raw bean and making it into the perfect cup of balanced coffee. And they should know what that tastes like, after all it is ingrained in their culture. Italians will drink coffee first thing in the morning, typically espresso or cappuccino; have it after lunch; perhaps a quick shot during the work day; then one after dinner before taking the ritual "passeggiata," or stroll, through the city centre.

Read about how we launched our new coffee machine and citrus juicer at the exclusive Barnyard in London.