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Thread: Choice Magazine survey

  1. #1
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    Choice Magazine survey

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Choice Magazine has just surveyed manual and semi-automatic machines for under $1000.
    I havent paid to read their findings, but doubt if theyd be very useful, as although the machines surveyed include the Silvia and ECM Botticelli, theyve ignored the appropriate Sunbeam machine, the 6910. and set up against Silvia etc their budget 5600 which sells for only approx $250. Hardly a proper comparison.....
    Heres a list of the machines theyve surveyed ... if anyone knows the survey results, please let us know.
    * ASCASO Dream M.F
    * BODUM 3020 Euro Granos
    * BREVILLE 800ES
    * DELONGHI Le Cube EN185.M + Aeroccino
    * ECM Botticelli II
    * KENWOOD ES630
    * KRUPS XP 4050
    * LA PAVONI Eurobar De Luxe V230
    * MAGIMIX LExpresso Program Automatic 11233
    * RANCILIO Miss Silvia
    * SAECO Via Venezia Espresso
    * SOLIS Crema SL 90
    * STARBUCKS Barista
    * SUNBEAM Café Latte EM5600
    * VICE VERSA Koala

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    My Mum told me about this over the phone, apparently Silvia ended up about half way down the list and the Magimix came out on top. It takes quite a bit of explaining to someone not in the know how the test is cr*p. I work with someone who used to work at Choice and he reckons its best used as toilet paper...

  3. #3
    Senior Member julsajet's Avatar
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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Sounds like similar results to their survey last year, total bull.

    Whod want their advice, when you get the best advice here.

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    I saw a recent copy of house and garden that had a similar article on all sorts of espresso machines. I think they listed a 6900 or a 6910, but as far as serious machines went that was it about it. I didnt even both reading it. Ill have a look tonight and see what it said. I don;t know if they were comparing machines or just listing what was around.

  5. #5
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    This has already been discussed.
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1166398601/15#15

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Thought it had a familiar ring to it. I wouldnt think Choice would do a similar survey so soon.

    --Robusto

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Actually, this is a new survey and in the most recent issue of Choice magazine...

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Anyone with a copy care to enlighten us on which "highly regarded" palates they chose to use this time? *:-?...

    If they wanted real ratings, theyd give em to us.... I can see it now:

    #1- Crap
    #2- Wannabe crap
    #3- Pressurised P/f crap
    #4- Made by Kraps
    #5- Works now but in 3 months it will be crap...and so on....

    Or perhaps Im just a cynic ;) *;D

  9. #9
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Ummm... I have read the article and it was the same plates :)

    My boss dropped a copy on my desk last week, I dont have easy access to a scanner else I would have scanned it for all to giggle.

    The highlight of the article was a single line that mentioned something like "you can even roast your own" in reference to fresh coffee is best.

    Ill grab the magazine at work tomorrow so I can quote it properly.

  10. #10
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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    All is now clear then....the winner was clearly the one which produced the stenciled chocky pattern on top ;) ;D

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    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Im sure you would all agree with this quote from their website:

    Espresso machines - 5 minute CHOICE

    Looking for an espresso machine? Heres what to look for:

    A pump or pump thermoblock machine is a must if you want to:

    * Make Italian-style espresso with a good crema.

    * Make consecutive cups of espresso. Steam machines get quite hot and should cool down between cups.

    * Froth milk (say for hot chocolate) without making coffee. With most steam machines you have to make coffee first.

    Also, look for:

    * A removable water container — it makes filling the machine easier.

    * A removable drip tray — its easier to keep clean.

    * Easy-to-clean surfaces (no cracks or grooves).

    * Controls should be easy to use.

    * The filter basket holder should hold the basket securely in place and be easy to clean.

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis link=1173669662/0#10 date=1173699890
    Im sure you would all agree with this quote from their website ...
    Most definitely! Other desirable features to look for include:

    *Standard plug to conveniently obtain power from your household supply

    *Solid case to provide structural integrity

    *Visible exterior so that you dont lose it

    *Water container made of waterproof material

    Cheers,

    Luca

  13. #13
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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Quote Originally Posted by Beanmeister link=1173669662/0#6 date=1173697272
    Actually, this is a new survey and in the most recent issue of Choice magazine...
    My latest copy doesnt seem to have arrived; but its extremely unusual for them to test the exact same list of machines and so soon.

    grendels post was 18 Dec, its not quite 3 months so that would mean no more than 2 issues ago.

    Have you got the last few copies handy (I dont) so you can double check?

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    My latest copy doesnt seem to have arrived; but its extremely unusual for them to test the exact same list of machines and so soon.

    grendels post was 18 Dec, its not quite 3 months so that would mean no more than 2 issues ago.

    Have you got the last few copies handy (I dont) so you can double check?
    Apologies Thundergod, it appears that it is the December issue (my parents and their subscription is interstate so I cant check that way) but a bit of a web search reveals that youre correct. Perhaps they received it a month late or hadnt had a chance to read it before Christmas and so only just rediscovered that issue. The coincidence of someone creating a new thread about it convinced me that it was the latest one...

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    I think Im still an on-line subscriber to Choice.... Ill look it up tonight and try to cut and paste some handy hints for us all.

    --Robusto

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Quote Originally Posted by robusto link=1173669662/0#14 date=1173741087
    I think Im still an on-line subscriber to Choice.... Ill look it up tonight and try to cut and paste some *handy hints for us all.

    --Robusto
    Here is it- but in 2 pieces due to size- p 1-7 zip attached



  17. #17
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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    and the second of 2 bits....p 8-14 attached..

    A big thank you to Matt G for the file....

    Interesting to see the membership of the tasting panel and that identical machines can get different reviews...
    The mind can only boggle as to what they might have put through the machines.....

    2mcm


  18. #18
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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Thanks Chris and Matt G.

    One of our testers swears by using
    local beans over the major players, which he believes to be fresher than those available in supermarkets.
    Only one of three?

    Why is the ECM Botticelli II "expensive" at $995 but the ASCASO Dream M.F at $999 not?
    Is it because they couldnt find a bad point?

    This shows a lack of consistency in the appraisal and a definite subjectivity rather than objectivity.
    Why select such a broad price range if they are going to punish the ones at the top of the bracket with comments like that?
    I might have to consider cancelling my subscription.

  19. #19
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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1173669662/15#17 date=1173744887
    Thanks Chris and Matt G.

    One of our testers swears by using
    local beans over the major players, which he believes to be fresher than those available in supermarkets.
    Only one of three?

    Why is the ECM Botticelli II "expensive" at $995 but the ASCASO Dream M.F at $999 not?
    Is it because they couldnt find a bad point?

    This shows a lack of consistency in the appraisal and a definite subjectivity rather than objectivity.
    Why select such a broad price range if they are going to punish the ones at the top of the bracket with comments like that?
    I might have to consider cancelling my subscription.
    Yeah- and the other two? You decide! *;D...I wonder what grinder they used??? *:-?

  20. #20
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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Did they say what beans they used? I didnt notice if they did.

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    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    The dot point I was talking about was on page 32 under the heading "The Daily Grind"

    "If youre feeling really adventurous you can buy green beans and roast them yourself - some people use a popcorn popper"

    I thought it was interesting that the above would make it into print and I look forward to the future Choice magazine article "Poppers on test" when they also use coffee roasting as a method of allocating score ...maybe Choice will have to source their experts for that one from somewhere else?

    One thing that did catch my eye was that in blind taste tests the Delonghi Le Cube Nespresso Capsule, Magimix LExpresso and the Sunbeam EM5600 all scored top in the taste tests.

    I would dearly love one of our members to slip a coffee into their blind tests to see how it would rate against a pod!


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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Choice, coincidently, has a feature on caffeine:

    -smokers metabolise it faster than non-smokers
    -30 mls of espresso has 40 -90 mg
    -250 ml percolated coffee has 75 - 125 mg
    -250 ml instant coffee has 20 - 40 mg

    Are there heatlh benefits, it asks? :-

    "Its been argued that because caffeine is an antioxidant, it may help prevent the development of some types of cancer. Antioxidants are found in many products derived from plants, and its widely believed that they help protect against diseases such as heart disease, cancer and cataracts.

    Its been found that coffee contains flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties. And recent research suggests that the roasting process generates other antioxidant substances.

    Its role as a stimulant has also been shown to have benefits in specific situations. The amount of caffeine in two cups of coffee has been shown to improve alertness and concentration, and studies have argued it helps some night-shift workers to maintain concentration, potentially reducing the chances of an industrial accident. It may also play a role in reducing driver fatigue and preventing road accidents. And theres good evidence that caffeine enhances sports performance for elite athletes - but not for the average athlete.

    Can you get hooked?
    Theres conflicting evidence on whether caffeine is addictive. Excessive consumption can have physical effects, including sleep difficulties and irritability, but addicts dont exhibit the signs usually associated with a classic drug dependence. Some people, though, cant do without their daily caffeine fix.

    The degree to which youre affected depends on how fast you metabolise caffeine. Too much caffeine may make you feel restless and anxious and make your hands tremble.

    If you cut your consumption, these symptoms will disappear, but you can experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop suddenly – for example, tiredness and headaches. If you want to cut back, its best done gradually to avoid these mild side effects.

    ......./"

    -Robusto



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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Hate to spoil the fun, but that review IS an old one. It says last updated December 2006.

    --Robusto

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    sigh... yes, we have a few different converstaions going on here.

    The magazine that I was holding in my hand was dated
    MARCH 2007

    The dot point I was talking about was on page 32 under the heading "The Daily Grind"

    "If youre feeling really adventurous you can buy green beans and roast them yourself - some people use a popcorn popper"

    I thought it was interesting that the above would make it into print and I look forward to the future Choice magazine article "Poppers on test" when they also use coffee roasting as a method of allocating score ...maybe Choice will have to source their experts for that one from somewhere else?

    One thing that did catch my eye was that in blind taste tests the Delonghi Le Cube Nespresso Capsule, Magimix LExpresso and the Sunbeam EM5600 all scored top in the taste tests.

    I would dearly love one of our members to slip a coffee into their blind tests to see how it would rate against a pod!

  25. #25
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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    To be honest,

    I dont know why any of us really care what Choice have to say :-?.....

    They have not, to date, shown any interest in developing a proper and comprehensive understanding of the coffee processes or employing people who do possess this knowledge and experience to properly manage the review process on Choices behalf. And, given that they continue to demonstrate an undying and unswerving attitude to ignore all the issues that are salient to undertaking such reviews with even the slightest modicum of professionalism, I will do my utmost to ignore all such ignorant and blatantly arrogant posturing by their editorial staff who seem to think that they know it all and are above any criticism offered by recognised industry professionals.

    There, thats my $0.02 worth ;)

    Mal.

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    theyll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes..... :)

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Theyre only down the road from me Mal.
    I could pop in and have a word to Indira for you if you like.

  28. #28
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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Feel free TG,

    Although I believe Indira is the public face representing Choice, not chief of the editorial staff....

    Mal.

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Quote Originally Posted by varanid99 link=1173669662/15#25 date=1173791985
    theyll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes..... :)
    Or Mal might be if Choice googles this page.

    Mals chances of a free subscription just slid a little too.
    ;-)


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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    I think the latest is a revision of the former test.
    I like the reference to the Sunbeam 6900 theyd tested previously, in 2005.
    "Bad points: The pushbuttons are harder to press than on some other models"......
    I havent found that yet with my 6910, but Ill keep trying. Some of those pushbuttons can be darn annoying!

  31. #31
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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Freeman link=1173669662/15#28 date=1173793704
    Quote Originally Posted by varanid99 link=1173669662/15#25 date=1173791985
    theyll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes..... :)
    Or Mal might be if Choice googles this page.

    Mals chances of a free subscription just slid a little too.
    ;-)
    Damn,

    I was so looking forward to that ::)

    Mal.
    P.S.
    Editors of Choice and I have exchanged a few differences of opinion via a number of written exchanges over the years..... They really do NOT enjoy criticism of the methods they employ, no matter how positively this is expressed, and seem to sincerely believe that they are above reproach where their testing methods are concerned.

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    So if a consumer of a consumer magazine has an issue with the consumer organisation and their testing methods who do you call for advice - a shonky mechanic?

    I would have hoped that in holding people to high standards they might have been more open to advice. Certainly the list had a large number of machines rating highly that just dont make good coffee.

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Maybe we should flood their inbox with an avalanche of mail.

    -Robusto

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    You can always report them to some agency for misleading the public.

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Ummm

    will I get flamed if I stick up for choice here???

    Okay so they dont do very well on the coffee machine front... and I take Mals point about their inability to accept constructive feedback(as no doubt it is coming from Mal) . I think you have to keep in mind that the difference between their reviews of coffee machines and a coffeesnobs is a matter of refined / unrefined palate and differing priorities. For a coffeesnob for example price may never be weighted as highly (if at all) as it is in Choice. Ease of use might also be something that wouldnt even occur to a CS - how many posts to we read about people "getting used to" their new machines.

    So, I think good coffee is just one of those things that cant be reviewed by a popular consumer magazine - a bit like wine really. There seems to be more to understand about the quality of coffee than there is to understand about the quality of dishwashers. Too much to distill through their testing methodology.

    In any case, they ARE the only consumer advocacy group around with any clout. The other ACCC associated website (notgoodenough.org.au) also seems to be quite powerful as a "lobby" group for individuals. Given the number of posts made here about poor quality service from companies - we cant really ignore that.


    I used their review to buy my Asko dishwasher (which they do seem to do well!) and their babys gear guides have been invaluable in helping us avoid spending stupid amounts of money on things we dont need. (yes I know this has nothing to do with coffee)

    And lets face it Indira is COOL! Who wouldnt want to listen to her? :)

    Cheers,

    Meg (choice subscriber from WAY back)

  36. #36
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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Meg,

    Whilst Ill agree Choice do get some things right....

    Their coffee machine review isnt one of them. Their overall rating isnt the issue but more their rating for things like quality of the coffee, even ease of use.

    The scores they give bear little resemblance to what the machines really do, and without details of what they used etc ... for example if they used old stale coffee then those brands with pressurised PFs will outperform the normal machines.....

    Who would put old stale coffee in an expensive machine (well maybe Choice).... and with the appropriate coffee for that machine the results would have been way different....

    What if I decided I was going to review cars..... and I chose diesel as the fuel (but didnt state that in the results....)
    Gee the Rolls Royce and the Ferrari were cr@p ..... they wouldnt even start!!!

    Fair review of cars? - I dont think so...... and that is also true of the Choice review of coffee machines.... they can write down the more expensive machines on value for money, and in some cases maybe a little for ease of use.... BUT........ in this case the results are too suspect to have any value.

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    JavaB,

    absolutely agree! The coffee machine reviews were silly. I was just hoping people werent writing them off completely because of these.

    cheers,

    Meg

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    What is Quality?


    (sorry. On a Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence kick at the moment.....)

  39. #39
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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    No,

    Certainly not Meg. I think JB hit the nail on the head with his description and comparison with wine...... Not from the perspective of drinking the stuff, but making it.

    I know there is a significant group of people who love to make their own wine at home too, a couple of our friends do. I can imagine if Choice decided to tackle this most sacred of pastimes (to the people who do it), and made all sorts of uneducated statements about which method produces the best wine, and why another method is not as good as its too difficult to do and the wine doesnt taste as good anyway (never mind that they used Woolies bought grapes instead of specialist ripened on the vine varieties).

    It probably comes down to confusion over what constitutes a coffee making appliance and that which is a very specialised piece of hardware requiring dedication and a development of hard won skills to use successfully. Perhaps they should limit their "reviews" to hardware that is sold under the general banner of Appliances and bought by consumers who consider them to be the same.... Such as lower echelon Breville, Sunbeam, DeLonghi, Krupps, types of machines.

    Of course the other issue, is the lack of stress placed on the importance of owning a good quality grinder. None of their reviews, especially the earlier ones, waste much printers ink on this very important topic.... The current review makes a passing comment only that you should grind the coffee immediately prior to brewing...... A good point of course but thats about all they have to say on the matter of grinding coffee. Anyway, all this venting is good for the soul but wont realise any change in the way Choice goes about its business of reviewing coffee machines.... They are, after all, only appliances and not specialised pieces of equipment :P.

    Cheers,
    Mal.

  40. #40
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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Quote Originally Posted by varanid99 link=1173669662/30#37 date=1173879554
    (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)
    Great book by the way 8-)

    Mal.

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1173669662/30#35 date=1173874007
    Meg,

    Whilst Ill agree Choice do get some things right....

    Their coffee machine review isnt one of them. Their overall rating isnt the issue but more their rating for things like quality of the coffee, even ease of use.

    The scores they give bear little resemblance to what the machines really do, and without details of what they used etc ... for example if they used old stale coffee then those brands with pressurised PFs will outperform the normal machines.....

    Who would put old stale coffee in an expensive machine (well maybe Choice).... and with the appropriate coffee for that machine the results would have been way different....

    What if I decided I was going to review cars..... and I chose diesel as the fuel (but didnt state that in the results....)
    Gee the Rolls Royce and the Ferrari were cr@p ..... they wouldnt even start!!!

    Fair review of cars? - I dont think so...... and that is also true of the Choice review of coffee machines.... they can write down the more expensive machines on value for money, and in some cases maybe a little for ease of use.... BUT........ in this case the results are too suspect to have any value.
    I understand what youre saying, JavaB, but Choice caters for the average Joe - and in the case of coffee and cars that means Vittorio bricks and unleaded petrol. The average person doesnt use fresh roasted coffee, they are used to the taste of stale preground beans and if they happen to get fresh coffee, it tastes different to what they are used to. Brands such as Vittorio are marketed as the best, and so most people go for that. So supermarket coffee is what Choice would have used. It probably wouldnt occur to them to go to a roaster and get fresh beans, and in the same way they wouldnt think of putting diesel in a Rolls or Ferrari.

    Pity though.

  42. #42
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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    They are only a few minutes away from Hazel if they wanted fresh coffee.

    varanid99 - What is quality?
    It varies. Basically it menas something is fit for purpose. So things need to meet a minimum standard otherwise they dont represent quality in the eyes of the beholder.

    To understand what level of quality is expected, a requirements determination process needs to be undertaken ahead of the build/test to set that standard.

    Thats why I asked grendel in his original post what Choice were testing/looking for.

    If you dont set the expectations you dont know if the result is quality or not.

    I see too many holes in the expectations that Choice set up front for there to be any meaningful output from their published findings.

    The setup was flawed.

    Garbage in = garbage out.

    FOr balance, having said that, I still like reading it as a starting point to keep me informed on consumer happenings.

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Viv,

    Choice either need to test just low end "appliances" (as Mal suggested) or qualify their testing with what they used (supermarket pre-ground) with a disclaimer something like "Results may vary with different quality/freshness of beans"....

    It is ridiculous to compare quality machines with low end appliances in any meaningful (to the consumer) way without giving some insight as to what the results mean......

    It would be like comparing front loader and top loader washing machines using the same (ordinary) washing powder in both...... the front loaders would be a disaster (My brother in law has already tried "normal" detergent in a front loader ::)).

    And that is a valid comparison as to get the most out of a washing machine you need to use the correct detergent - Choice know this and it is reported correctly...... Why cant the same methodology be used for coffee machines?

    "Ordinary consumers" - whatever that means- can and do use freshly roasted beans (whole and pre-ground) as well as supermarket bricks.... they even sell whole beans in supermarkets!

    So all they need to do is qualify their results - I dont expect a full scientific breakdown - but some indication of the variation which can occur is needed. Without that the consumers are being miss- informed rather than being given valid information with which to make a decision.

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    JavaB, I agree with you, but my point was that the average person doesnt know that there is better coffee than supermarket bricks. The person at Choice responsible for that testing may not realise the significance of it either, particularly since only one of the three testers bothered to point out that fresh roasted coffee is better. You know how many people come to this site that we educate about coffee quality. Thats the world.

    And thats why were Coffee Snobs...... :D

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    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Viv,

    But Choice is about the consumer making an informed choice ;)(funny that!)...

    So wouldnt it be a good idea for them to inform their members about just that.

    They could, for example, have a short spiel about the types of coffee sources which can be used, how they are used and how the resultant coffee varies in taste - broken down into something like:

    Supermarket preground
    Supermarket beans
    Freshly roasted beans.....

    So they are letting their members understand their choice in that area first.... and having done that they could then rate the machines against those types of raw material.....

    Im sure if consumers were properly informed they would make better choices (no doubt with some still preferring the easy, cheap method and machine - as is their right).....

    And isnt that what Choice is all about?..... And isnt that what their members are entitled to? A golden opportunity missed IMHO. ::)

    Until consumer organisations and most retailers see fit to inform consumers of their choice in this area...... we will have plenty of people to help and educate, thats for sure.

  46. #46
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    802

    Re: Choice Magazine survey

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    JavaB, youre right, of course. Ill stop playing devils advocate now, and go and try some of the Malawi beans that I roasted yesterday. I know from the other African beans that I have that its too early, but thats my CHOICE. ;D



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