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Why I Switched from Capsules to a Fully Automatic Coffee Machine

29 April 2020
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*This article was shared by Cindy Liao (35), from Singapore, who purchased a De’longhi Dinamica Plus for her home kitchen in October 2019.

Coffee has become a daily routine for me, sometimes drinking 3 to 4 cups each day. For many years, I’ve always been using a capsule coffee machine at home for its convenience. I’ll drop by the supermarket after work, buy coffee pods, and simply put it in the machine for my morning brew.

I came across a De’Longhi roadshow which showcased their range of coffee machines. I was instantly impressed by the technology of its fully automatic coffee machines (FACM), also known as bean-to-cup-machines, and the simplicity of its operation.

What ultimately sealed the deal was that delicious shot of espresso produced by the machine – the aroma and flavour was something I never experienced from the capsule machine I had at home.

The FACM

After some research and online reviews, I purchased the De’Longhi Dinamica Plus from the De’Longhi eShop. Delivery was not only free of charge, but I also received the FACM within 2 business days.

The De’Longhi Dinamica Plus (retail price SGD 1,999) is a bean-to-cup coffee machine that has an in-built adjustable grinder. All I have to do is add whole coffee beans to the machine and it will grind them, heat the water, and dispense a barista brew at the touch of a button.

It’s a wonderful piece of machinery that has turned me into a FACM convert!

Convenience

a black and white image of coffee bean bags on a shelf
With a subscription service, you can save the trouble of heading to the supermarket to restock coffee beans. Photo from Sean Benesh

Who would have known that a FACM would be more convenient than a capsule machine?

For starters, I don’t have to drop by the supermarket anymore. I’ve been using a coffee bean subscription service which delivers to my doorstep once every two weeks. This doesn’t only save me time but ensures that I’m only using the freshest beans.

All coffee machines require regular biweekly maintenance and cleaning to remove the buildup of minerals that affect the coffee taste. But a FACM like mine requires little to no maintenance since there’s an inbuilt automatic cleaning system that kicks in after every use (save for the occasional descaling that needs to be done every 3 months).

Price

coffee beans in a paper bag
For the equal amount of espresso produced, each bag of coffee beans costs significantly lesser than capsule coffee. Photo from Alex Gudino

On average, each capsule was costing me between $1-$1.50, taking into consideration that the capsules that I bought had to be brand-specific so that it’s compatible with the capsule machine I was using.

With my FACM, a 250g bag of coffee beans sets me back by $15-20. This works out to roughly $0.40 per shot, which is significantly cheaper than a capsule that produces the same amount of espresso.

There are also various external costs to take into consideration. Most FACMs come with a frothing mechanism. This eliminates the additional cost of a milk frother, plus I get to enjoy a perfect layer of crema on my fresh brew.

Although the upfront cost of buying a FACM might be considerably higher, the investment is cushioned after a while – you’ll cover the costs and save time.

Here’s a breakdown of the true cost of a FACM vs a capsule machine.

Taste

As compared to fresh coffee beans used for a FACM, capsules contain pre-ground coffee. The advantage is that capsules have a longer shelf life but that in itself means that the end product lacks the aroma or taste of a freshly brewed espresso.

On the other hand, a rich, full-bodied cup of coffee comes out from a FACM. In my opinion, my De’Longhi Dinamica Plus makes as good a latte as a barista.

Here’s why your coffee might be tasting more bitter than usual.

Experimenting with Various Beans

an espresso shot
With a FACM, you can experiment with uniquely flavoured coffee beans if you are feeling adventurous. Photo from Nathan Mullet

For capsule machines, flavours are typically limited unless you can find a compatible brand. This, in turn, constricts the ability to try unique flavours produced by small manufacturers, special blends, or artisanal coffee.

Coffee bean subscription services like the ones I use often roll-out unique flavours such as earl grey and dark berries. For those who prefer the usual blends like me, there’s a variety of single-origin and roasts to choose from online.

Experimenting with Various Beans

finger pressing a button on a coffee machine
The state-of-the-art technology of the De’Longhi Dinamica Plus delivers a perfect cup of coffee. Photo from De’Longhi

Smart Features

Just the press of a button on my De’Longhi Dinamica Plus and I get to enjoy 13 different coffee recipes through the drink menu on the LCD display. I can simply detach the water nozzle and attach the milk-frother to make either a latte, cappuccino, or flat white.

The modern technology of a FACM also ensures that each cup is perfectly brewed by ensuring the optimal infusion pressure, water temperature and coffee bean grind.

Most importantly, my husband and I can personalise and save recipes based on our individual preference in coffee quantity, milk and foam amount, as well as how strong we want the brew to be.

The Final Decision

Making a perfect cup of coffee is an art in itself and a FACM has definitely made it easier for me.

If you are still debating whether to get a FACM, here’s 10 things you might want to consider before getting one.

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Ready to elevate your taste buds to the next level? Explore the De’Longhi eShop for a list of fully automatic coffee machines.