Hate getting up in the morning? That’ll change with the Z6. Just the thought of gazing at this handsome clean, shiny chrome machine was enough to have us leaping out of bed at 6am. Brewing coffee is fairly simple and yields powerful, yet tasty cups. Espresso based drinks are a cinch to produce too—but often taste slightly watered down. The best part is though is the nearly silent grinder, which is quiet enough to run on full power without fear of waking the whole house up. —Neil Gellar
For most people, a cheap $20 Mr. Coffee or any one of its countless clones is all they require to tackle their day-to-day coffee needs. If you'd like to take a step up from those machines, however, the benefits are huge. First, you don't have to endure fresh-brewed java that tastes bitter, harsh, and grows even more noxious the longer it sits on its electric warming plate. Second you'll be enjoying your first cup in no time, typically less than eight minutes.
The very first espresso machines worked on a steam-pressure basis, and they’re still in use today. With this type of machine, steam or steam pressure is used to force water through the coffee grounds and produce espresso. Some steam-driven machines can produce a measure of foam “crema.” But they can’t generate enough pressure or provide the precise temperature control necessary to produce true espresso: They simply make a very strong cup of coffee. However, they cost considerably less than pump-driven machines. Our verdict is that if you’re a true espresso lover and seeking to make a good shot at home, we recommend you steer clear of steam-driven machines. They’ll likely disappoint you.
It’s affordable (£70 at Argos at the time of writing; Dolce Gusto pods are priced at around £4 for a box of 16) and incredibly simple to set up and use. Simply fill the removable water tank with cold H2O, pop your chosen coffee pod into a slide-out drawer at the front, stick a cup under the spout and hit the power button. When it turns from red to green (a mere few seconds) the machine is ready. You then push the water lever either left (for cold drinks) or right (for hot drinks) until the desired amount of your drink is in the cup. Then slide out the drawer, expel the pod and throw it away.
The other point that we wanted to highlight isn’t necessarily a negative per se, but just the fact that it’s a lot to spend, and let’s face it – it is! There’s a lot of machines available in the sub £500 range, and we’d never advocate or encourage spending more than you can afford. Having said that, you do get what you pay for, and in this case we believe it’s exceptional quality. If you really love coffee, it’s probably worth paying as much as you’re comfortable with to get a great machine, and that’s exactly what you’re getting here.
The first thing you’ll probably notice when making your coffee is just how quiet the Giga 5 is. This is thanks to the two ceramic disk grinders that occupy each side of the unit and operate just above a whisper. These discs will probably never wear our and the grind on them is extremely precise and always consistent. It offers 18 completely customizable specialty drinks through the intuitive and easy to navigate display which provide enough variety to satisfy everyone’s tastes.