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Thread: Are there any good built-in coffee makers?

  1. #1
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    Are there any good built-in coffee makers?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I'm remodeling my kitchen and I'd love to put in a fancy built-in coffee maker. Problem is I've tried black coffee made by several of them and have been very underwhelmed. Especially considering the price! I've even tried the $11,000 TopBrewer and didn't think the coffee it makes is any better.

    I have a feeling these machines might make good espresso/cappuccino/latte/etc. But I don't drink that stuff. I drink coffee and I drink it black. Does anyone know if there is a built-in coffee maker that actually makes good coffee?

    I love the convenience of these things and I really love the way they look built into a cabinet wall. But if I can't get a good cup of coffee out of it then it's not much use to me.

    Advice?
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  2. #2
    TC
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    Quote Originally Posted by uscpsycho View Post
    Does anyone know if there is a built-in coffee maker that actually makes good coffee?
    Nope. If you want great, you need to invest yourself into the process.

    I love the convenience of these things and I really love the way they look built into a cabinet wall. But if I can't get a good cup of coffee out of it then it's not much use to me.

    Advice?
    $10k will buy you a setup most here can only dream of. It will also look so good, you won't need to try to hide it in a wall or bench.

    In addition, it will also make exceptional coffee in the right hands.
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  3. #3
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    My sister has the Miele built in "espresso" coffee machine, which i think is the biggest waste of money out. I don't think it does any style of coffee well at all. The built in grinder is useless, certainly not fine enough for proper espresso. I would certainly follow Chris' advice, and look at buying a fantastic grinder and machine that look great and do a fantastic coffee. I imagine a beautiful lever machine with a big conical grinder would fit in the $10000 budget with money to spare.

  4. #4
    TOK
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    Or....further to post # 2 above:


    Yes there are.

    Make sure you have a built in cupboard with a plinth that rolls in and out of the cupboard, and a "roller door" type cover for the cupboard.

    It needs to be the right size for your intended equipment.

    Purchase a good coffee machine to your liking, a suitable matching grinder, and place them on the plinth.

    When you want coffee, roll up the roller door, move the plinth out, use the machine and grinder.

    Clean up.

    Move the plinth with equipment back into the cupboard.

    Pull down the roller door.

    Jobs done
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  5. #5
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    The built in coffee makers are in the $3K range. At least those are the mainstream ones sold by appliance stores. That's about as much as I'd possibly dream of spending on a coffee maker if they made good coffee with the press of a button. Remember, I don't drink any of the fancy stuff, just plain coffee. Aren't those lever machines really designed for espresso and milk frothing? Maybe the $10K suggestions were because I mentioned the TopBrewer. Yes, I've tried it but even if I loved it I wouldn't be buying it for that kind of money.

    I honestly don't want to sacrifice that much kitchen counter space for a fancy coffee setup. I currently make my coffee every day with a $30 Aeropress which takes up zero space and makes exceptional coffee. But it's a time consuming, slightly messy process. I'd love to press a button and get coffee as good but it doesn't sound like that's going to happen.

    If I could find a used built-in for half the price I might still buy one just because they look so darn cool in an appliance wall and I'd be able to easily make espressos and cappuccinos for my friends. But I guess it's not something I'd use to make my own coffee.

  6. #6
    Senior Member speleomike's Avatar
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    Tok had the best suggestion of all with a movable "plinth". Best value for money and you will get a good coffee.
    It would be a talking point and original. Heck with 11k you could spend several k on the machine and have enough left to have a quiet electric door made of classy polished wood.
    Also with a build in machine eventually parts will be unavailable, it won't work, and you will have either a hole in the wall or a decoration that will look as dated as it is.

    Mike

  7. #7
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Are there any good built-in coffee makers?

    I'm not sure why everyone thinks the OP has $11k to spend when he's quite clearly stated he will spend $3k max. Anyway, to answer your question more practically uscpsycho I wouldn't recommend getting a built in at all. Those $3k Mieles and Aristons often pop up 2nd hand for $500 or so here in NZ. Why? Because they're crap. They don't make great coffee and they are notoriously unreliable. Nothing worse than having major issues with an appliance thats difficult to fix cause it's stuck in the wall.
    If you want something that's just easy to use then for your sort of black coffee a Breville Youbrew would probably do it. But if you want something that looks good and can do other types of coffee for guests and family why don't you consider a super-auto? People will probably jump in here and say DON'T DO IT! But I reckon a decent one could just fit the bill. I know someone that has a Delonghi and if the beans are fresh, the machine flushed and the milk fresh it is capable of a reasonable coffee. I'd take it over Nespresso any day. Someone else might be able to make a specific recommendation, but I'm sure I remember hearing that Jura and Delonghi are the only brands worth considering.

  8. #8
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    "I might still buy one just because they look so darn cool in an appliance wall"

    Why not just print out a poster sized pic of a pretty machine and mount it on your appliance wall... job done and cheap too!
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    I'm not sure why everyone thinks the OP has $11k to spend when he's quite clearly stated he will spend $3k max. Anyway, to answer your question more practically uscpsycho I wouldn't recommend getting a built in at all. Those $3k Mieles and Aristons often pop up 2nd hand for $500 or so here in NZ. Why? Because they're crap. They don't make great coffee and they are notoriously unreliable. Nothing worse than having major issues with an appliance thats difficult to fix cause it's stuck in the wall.
    If you want something that's just easy to use then for your sort of black coffee a Breville Youbrew would probably do it. But if you want something that looks good and can do other types of coffee for guests and family why don't you consider a super-auto? People will probably jump in here and say DON'T DO IT! But I reckon a decent one could just fit the bill. I know someone that has a Delonghi and if the beans are fresh, the machine flushed and the milk fresh it is capable of a reasonable coffee. I'd take it over Nespresso any day. Someone else might be able to make a specific recommendation, but I'm sure I remember hearing that Jura and Delonghi are the only brands worth considering.
    Thanks for the suggestions. You've given me some homework. I'll research this stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    "I might still buy one just because they look so darn cool in an appliance wall"

    Why not just print out a poster sized pic of a pretty machine and mount it on your appliance wall... job done and cheap too!
    Way to take what I said TOTALLY out of context. SMH
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  10. #10
    TOK
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    You should be able to buy a good small HX machine and suitalbe grinder for well within 3 thou. The money will have been spent on reliable quality equipment that makes quality coffee, rather than on design "excellence" that is nowhere as reliable as the former, nor will it make coffee commensurate with the price tag.

    The alternatives then are:
    a) Dont put on a plinth.
    b) Put them on a plinth to roll back and park at the back of the bench when not in use. Pull forward to use.
    c) Put them on a plinth and roll back into an appliance cupboard with door.

    The only reason I mention that stuff, is because the OP asked about equipment that lives in a cupboard...

    Lastly. If you want to buy an automatic machine (someone mentioned the Miele) for the "convenience", then you are better off buying a free standing automatic machine of your choice, where there is a good range to choose from, rather than restricting yourself to the very very small number (2?) of machines that are "inbuilt". Same reason as before....spend similar money or less, and get a better machine...just that it lives on the bench rather than being inbuilt.

    The thing being, do you want a good coffee machine, or an appliance in a cupboard. The "inbuilt" thing is nothing more than an irrelevant distraction in the real purpose of the discussion which is believe...."...I want to buy a *coffee machine*...".
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  11. #11
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    There is a lot of big talk in the coffee industry and most of that big talk has little or no reasoning or substance.

    People talk about dollars, make and model and in the end it's quite often big talk. The end result is often contradictions in posts with misinformation.
    Lets all out and pay a zillion dollars for an espresso machine when it's really the grinder which is more important.
    Interesting you point out contradictions which tend to support my view.
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  12. #12
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    Rather than being critical I will say I have seen some all in on office coffee makers that are 98% in my opinion but you might have to adjust the internal grinder daily which takes some skill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    If you want something that's just easy to use then for your sort of black coffee a Breville Youbrew would probably do it. But if you want something that looks good and can do other types of coffee for guests and family why don't you consider a super-auto? People will probably jump in here and say DON'T DO IT! But I reckon a decent one could just fit the bill. I know someone that has a Delonghi and if the beans are fresh, the machine flushed and the milk fresh it is capable of a reasonable coffee. I'd take it over Nespresso any day. Someone else might be able to make a specific recommendation, but I'm sure I remember hearing that Jura and Delonghi are the only brands worth considering.
    I just checked out the Youbrew and that is not what I want. Doesn't seem like it's really designed for making a single cup at a time, it's more of a regular coffee machine but glorified. And the reviews aren't all that great.

    I researched the super-automatic machines and that might actually be more along the lines of what I'm looking for in my situation. I think Nespresso coffee is crap and would never consider that though, so if these super-autos are in the same ballpark, I won't be happy with it. There are quite a few of these on Amazon which are highly reviews. This one in particular caught my eye. Still a lot of money compared to my trusty Aeropress so it better make a damn good cup of Joe!

    Quote Originally Posted by TOK View Post
    You should be able to buy a good small HX machine and suitalbe grinder for well within 3 thou. The money will have been spent on reliable quality equipment that makes quality coffee, rather than on design "excellence" that is nowhere as reliable as the former, nor will it make coffee commensurate with the price tag.

    The alternatives then are:
    a) Dont put on a plinth.
    b) Put them on a plinth to roll back and park at the back of the bench when not in use. Pull forward to use.
    c) Put them on a plinth and roll back into an appliance cupboard with door.

    The only reason I mention that stuff, is because the OP asked about equipment that lives in a cupboard...

    Lastly. If you want to buy an automatic machine (someone mentioned the Miele) for the "convenience", then you are better off buying a free standing automatic machine of your choice, where there is a good range to choose from, rather than restricting yourself to the very very small number (2?) of machines that are "inbuilt". Same reason as before....spend similar money or less, and get a better machine...just that it lives on the bench rather than being inbuilt.

    The thing being, do you want a good coffee machine, or an appliance in a cupboard. The "inbuilt" thing is nothing more than an irrelevant distraction in the real purpose of the discussion which is believe...."...I want to buy a *coffee machine*...".
    Didn't know anything about HX machines until I just did a little research. But like the lever machines, aren't these all espresso machines? So I'd really be making americanos instead of coffee. I've never considered those to be the same thing. Are the considered the same by coffee snobs? ;-)

    Regarding the cupboard, I don't think I ever said I want to hide the coffee machine. On the contrary, if it is beautiful I'd like to show it off. The built-in coffee machines are built into the cabinets like a microwave would be, you can totally see it and they look pretty darn cool. If I had a fancy looking machine I'd proudly display it in my kitchen rather than trying to tuck it away. Now if I had that Youbrew or a Keurig or something like that, well there's nothing to see there so I'd be more inclined to tuck that away so it doesn't draw attention to itself among all the other nice appliances.

    Thanks for the engaging discussion guys. I love good coffee but I'm far from being the most knowledgable person about the equipment and the process so I'm learning a lot here. But I do know a great cup of coffee when I have one. That little Aeropress has me spoiled with how good and inexpensively it makes great coffee. It's just the process I hate. And yes, I grind fresh coffee for every single cup I make. If I'm building a brand new kitchen so I'm looking for some way of automating the process to get coffee that's just as good. It's all I drink and all I care about, don't need to ever make espresso, cappuccino or anything else.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Yes that all seems to back up what I said. An espresso machine, whether it's an HX or single boiler and separate grinder are not really what you're after. If anything they are MORE work and potentially more mess than your Aeropress, at least while you're learning anyway. You want something with push button convenience, but capable of a little influence on your behalf to get it tasting the way you like it.
    The You Brew can definitely make a single coffee, you simply put a cup in place of the jug and select the single cup program. But you're right in saying that there's nothing fancy about them and they can't make a latte for a guest. So that brings us back to the super-autos.
    I don't know heaps about them, but that Krups one is the sort of thing you are looking at. I'm not sure that Krups have the best name, but again I can't say for sure. I'd start with Jura and Delonghi and maybe a low end Franke if they're not too expensive. With any purchase like this I'd certainly recommend you check them out in the flesh before you buy. Just have a look around, you'll find super-autos everywhere from apartment stores to specialty shops and electrical retailers. If you're in a big city you might even have a Delonghi shop there, I know they have one in Auckland. Kitchen showrooms sometimes have them too. Good luck, let us know if you find something.

    PS. When you say you only drink 'coffee' you mean you only drink black coffee. Cappuccinos, lattes, espressos are all types of coffee and in a cafe you'll usually get an espresso based coffee. The 'coffee' you like is most similar to espresso based drinks such as a long black or Americano. But you'd probably quite like black coffee made other ways such as pour-over or syphon coffee.

  15. #15
    dmo
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    Have you considered the Behmor Brazen?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmo View Post
    Have you considered the Behmor Brazen?
    I was just about to say the same thing. Wouldn't it be the best option?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmo View Post
    Have you considered the Behmor Brazen?
    Never heard of it. I just checked it out and it sounds like it makes good coffee, but it doesn't look like it's really designed for making just one or two cups at a time. However, while it might be a tad easier to make coffee with this than an Aeropress, it seems like clean up is a lot more work than an Aeropress. The Aeropress is so darn easy to clean!

    What I was hoping to find is a machine that would do everything for me at the press of a button. Like a Keurig but without the shi*ty coffee. Sounds like the super-auto machines might be the way to go. But they're a lot of money so I need to find a place where I can try them out before purchase.

  18. #18
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uscpsycho View Post
    Never heard of it. I just checked it out and it sounds like it makes good coffee, but it doesn't look like it's really designed for making just one or two cups at a time.
    The Behmor Brazen will make a single cup or a whole pot.

    Quote Originally Posted by uscpsycho View Post
    What I was hoping to find is a machine that would do everything for me at the press of a button. Like a Keurig but without the shi*ty coffee. Sounds like the super-auto machines might be the way to go. But they're a lot of money so I need to find a place where I can try them out before purchase.
    Just as with a non-super-auto, to maintain the best coffee possible the grind will need to be regularly adjusted on a super-auto. Just as the super-auto will require regular cleaning as well. There is no machine out there that will make great coffee with only a push of a button with nothing else ever having to be done to it. As much as some want it and despite manufacturers and retailers claims to the contrary, it just....doesn't....exist. I had what was arguably the best super-auto available ($USD25,000 MSRP) on my bench for half a year and the difference between what it produced and what came out of the non-super-auto HX sitting next to it was easily discernible.


    Java "It pays to know your machines" phile
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    The Behmor Brazen will make a single cup or a whole pot.



    Just as with a non-super-auto, to maintain the best coffee possible the grind will need to be regularly adjusted on a super-auto. Just as the super-auto will require regular cleaning as well. There is no machine out there that will make great coffee with only a push of a button with nothing else ever having to be done to it. As much as some want it and despite manufacturers and retailers claims to the contrary, it just....doesn't....exist. I had what was arguably the best super-auto available ($USD25,000 MSRP) on my bench for half a year and the difference between what it produced and what came out of the non-super-auto HX sitting next to it was easily discernible.


    Java "It pays to know your machines" phile
    I can't help but wonder if the super-auto machines are that much better than the built-in coffee makers I am not crazy about. What would make one of these better than a built in?

    I don't want something that works with a push of a button with nothing that EVER needs to be done. But something that doesn't require a process for EVERY cup. You know?

    The more I read here the more I think that the Aeropress is really the best way to make 1-2 cups of coffee. That is, once you figure out the technique & "recipe" that works for you. I use the inverted method and after some trial and error I love my coffee. But it takes like six minutes to make which means I resort to the Keurig when I don't have the time or when I'm feeling lazy. I guess for $30 I shouldn't complain...

  20. #20
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Six whole minutes!
    So... you want a displayable sexy looking machine that can put out a quality cup of coffee in less than 6 minutes... but not just with the press of a single button... as you really don't mind being a part of the "process". Hmmmm... I think I'll file this one in the "Too Hard" basket and move right along.
    Good luck with your search and please let us know what you finally come up with... it should prove interesting.

    Disclaimer: Any smart-assery found in the above is entirely due to the time of day and the relative ludicrousness of the quest

  21. #21
    TC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    So... you want a displayable sexy looking machine that can put out a quality cup of coffee in less than 6 minutes... but not just with the press of a single button... as you really don't mind being a part of the "process".....
    Easy fix. They call it a barista and some are sexy machines. Many can manage a quality cup in less than 6 minutes.

    Available now at your local cafe
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  22. #22
    Caffeinated kopigeek's Avatar
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    Are there any good built-in coffee makers?

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    My advice to the OP is to stick with your aeropress for now and in the meantime visit some retailers in your area to try out the various machines, whether they are super autos or semi automatics or manuals.

    You never know, once you taste an espresso from a decent machine you might change your mind and your requirements for what you need/want at home.

    Just keep in mind there is no magical machine that allows you press to press a button and produce a quality cup of coffee.
    Last edited by kopigeek; 21st July 2015 at 04:47 PM.
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