Combi coffee makers are an interesting option for those wishing to enjoy filter coffee and espresso in a single machine. However, it is important to remember that these coffee makers tend to be larger than conventional coffee makers due to the combination of both types of preparation.
Although some offer good quality combined functions, achieving the same excellence as a machine specialized in a single task is difficult.
For this reason, I would not recommend acquiring a combi coffee maker if you want to use it at home since they are more suitable for specific situations. For example, they are ideal in shared workspaces or small accommodations that wish to offer their guests various coffee options.
Benefits of a combi coffee maker
Although I do not usually recommend combi coffee makers, there are very specific situations in which these machines can be appropriate due to their particular characteristics.
Note: If you are considering buying a combi coffee maker, I suggest you choose a Delonghi brand, which is recognized as the best on the market.
Here are some of the benefits of combi coffee makers:
- Versatility and variety: One of the main advantages of combi coffee makers is their ability to prepare filter coffee and espresso. In addition to the classic preparations, some models also allow using capsules to prepare different flavors and varieties of espresso.
- Space saving: Instead of having two separate machines, you can enjoy both options in a single device.
- Convenience and ease of use: De’Longhi combi coffee makers are often designed with features that make them easy to use, such as LCD displays, preset program selection, and automated brewing systems.
- Customized options: Some models of De’Longhi combi coffee makers allow you to adjust various brewing parameters, such as coffee strength, water temperature, and the amount of coffee to be used.
Why you should not buy a Combi coffee maker
Although these coffee makers have the advantage of offering both filter coffee and espresso in one device, there are several reasons why I would not recommend their purchase.
1. Espresso needs absolute dedication
Combi coffee machines incorporate an espresso area that generally offers inferior quality compared to a dedicated espresso machine. Combining functions in a single machine can compromise the quality and performance you get when making a true espresso.
In addition, combi coffee makers often have limitations in terms of pressure, temperature and control of the extraction process, which can negatively affect the quality of this beverage.
If your goal is to enjoy the excellence and true essence of espresso, you should opt for a specialized machine that allows you to explore the full potential of this beverage.
2. Filter coffee better in a compact coffee maker
When it comes to preparing filter coffee, it is important to remember that it does not require the same dedication and precision as espresso. However, just like espresso machines, coffee makers specifically for filter coffee are usually designed to be compact and precise, which does not apply to combi coffee makers.
Combination brewers, by combining multiple functions, may not be optimized specifically for filter coffee preparation. This can impact the quality of the coffee and limit the customization and adjustment capacity obtained with a coffee maker specialized in this task.
On the other hand, compact filter coffee brewers stand out for having features that ensure proper extraction, such as uniform water distribution and precise temperature control.
If you are a filter coffee lover and value practicality and precision in the preparation, I recommend you opt for a compact coffee maker specialized in this task.
3. Failures and dangers
There are certain faults and hazards associated with the use of combi coffee makers that are important to be aware of:
- The same type of coffee and degree of grinding for both areas of the coffee maker. It is important to remember that espresso requires finer grinds and darker roasts, while filtered coffee requires the opposite: a coarser grind and lighter roasts. Failure to properly adjust these aspects can significantly affect the flavor and quality of both preparations.
- Handling a metal portafilter close to a glass carafe used for filtered coffee. This type of proximity increases the possibility of accidents and damage, as carelessness could result in breakage or injury.
- Having two hot water sources in the same machine can be potentially dangerous. The proximity of both areas can increase the risk of burns if sufficient care and caution is not taken when handling them.
4. Internal components and failures
Internal components and possible malfunctions are aspects to consider in combi coffee makers:
- Many combi coffee makers share certain components, such as the pump or the thermoblock, between both areas for coffee preparation. However, this can lead to greater wear and tear, making it difficult for them to work simultaneously.
- The quality of the coffee can be affected if any of the areas of the combi coffee maker fail or malfunction. This is because the brewing areas are interconnected, which means that a failure in one of the systems can negatively affect the machine’s overall performance.
If you are considering buying a combi coffee maker, it is important to take into account several aspects:
- On the one hand, espresso quality can be compromised due to a lack of specialization and limitations in pressure, temperature, and extraction process control.
- On the other hand, if your main focus is filter coffee, it is best to consider a compact coffee maker specialized in this task. Combi coffee makers are not specifically optimized for filter coffee and may offer different results.
- In addition, it is important to be aware of the potential pitfalls and dangers associated with using a combi coffee maker, such as handling metal components near glass carafes and the risk of burns due to the proximity of hot water sources.
Before purchasing a combi coffee maker, evaluate your coffee preferences, the quality you want in your brews, and convenience versus specialization. Consider the limitations and potential drawbacks mentioned above to make an informed decision that fits your needs and expectations.