Choices are a-brewing
DON'T know about you but there is hardly a functional thought in my house before that first cup of morning coffee.
If the truth be known, I even wake up extra early so that I can have mine in peace and quiet - without the rug rats tugging at my arm for their cereal.
It is without doubt a feeling mirrored in households across the country as the age-old elixir breathes new life into fuzzy brains.
So you're in the market for a coffee machine but with such a range of sizes, functions and prices where do you start?
Perhaps a good place would be to decide how you will be taking your coffee.
Do you prefer a short black, do you like yours without the cream on top or do you prefer a flavoured cuppa with a whipped milk frenzy?
Then consider the daily consumption of the household.
You want to brew the right number of cups in a single cycle so as to cut the wastage of good coffee.
You don't need a 12-cup maker if you're only drinking two cups at a sitting.
Finally do a comparison of prices, keeping in mind brands that are not as flashy as the top names. and looking at a list of functions for common reference points.
These are the choice of coffee purists.
They are usually cheaper (Sunbeam Cafe Espresso, $109) because they require you to drive them.
They allow you to play with more settings giving you more choice in the subtle variation of flavours and you can froth for a cappuccino or latte.
Some skill is needed to use them and getting the right brew can take time.
This is the most popular type of machine sold in Australia.
The pump, boiler and temperature control mechanisms are automated but you are still required to grind the beans and start and stop the brewing process.
The range is extensive including the Breville Infuser Espresso Machine at $549.
You simply add the beans and water and let the machine do the rest.
Automatic machines generally brew a better, more consistent cup and some machines can even be programmed for the preferences of each user.
They can be a tad noisy and a fair bit pricier (Juna Ena Micro 9 One Touch at $1299).
Immensely popular, pod machines are allowing more coffee drinkers to bring that cafe feeling into their homes - and quickly.
They can be automatic or semi-automatic and rely on coffee pods.
While the machines are reasonably priced (Nescafe Dolce Gusto Genio, $179) they only accept pods unique to the manufacturer.
In practice, the pricing of the pods equates to about $100 per kilogram of coffee.