Hi all,

I wrote a note a few months ago about what you can expect from a "better" coffeemaker and I thought I would update on what I have done recently. I found out that the BES840 is available from the Good Guys on request (you can't just buy it from the store). There is an identical looking machine with a grinder built in but I don't need that.

My old machine was a $200 sunbeam and I thought that since I now go to the trouble of roasting my own coffee it would be worth getting a better machine. I am writing this for people in the same situation.

So what do you get for your $600?

Obviously the machine is better constructed and they go to great lengths to ensure that the water is pure by including a little activated charcoal filter in the reservoir.

It heats up much faster than the cheap machine and seems to be extremely even in heat. The cheap one kept going up and down in temperature.

The other things are convenience, when you hit the single shot or double shot it actually measures the water going through and stops automatically (and if you don't like the quantity you can adjust it with some funky button pushing). The speed with with is froths the milk is something to behold.

So those are the functional behaviours, how about quality?

First the coffee maker has a pressure gauge to tell you how you packed the coffee. It also runs a little water through the grounds first so that when the main flow goes through it is more consistent. The coffee takes about 30 seconds to run through and what you get has a pleasing body, lovely aroma and it's not bitter or weak tasting. I think for the first time I "get" espresso coffee.

The milk that results from the frothing is silky in texture and has a body that you can't get with the cheaper machines.

When you pour it into the shot the "mouth feel" is delightful and somehow the coffee has more "zip" than before.

Also, strangely it seems to have more caffeine in it. I used to have two double shots in the morning on Sat and Sunday but now I find one double shot is quite sufficient or my heart starts racing!

Finally the experience of making coffee has become more fun. I can't wait to get downstairs and make a cup of coffee. Whatever happens that day, at least I started with a good cup of coffee!

So there you are, my experience of a better coffee machine.