There are those who believe half the pleasure of a great cup of coffee machines comes from the ritual of making it. The details of the ritual vary from person to person and place to place, but the desired effect is the same: a perfect cup of hot, rich, fresh coffee. “Perfect,” of course, is quite subjective. Among people who take coffee machines very seriously, there is a great deal of disagreement as to what types of bean, roast, and grind make the best coffee, how concentrated the grounds should be, whether the coffee should be infused into the water by dripping, steeping, or steaming, and many other details. Regardless of the precise outcome, however, coffee purists will insist that if you want coffee done right, you must make it by hand, with a great deal of care and attention to detail.
I certainly count myself among those who cherish a perfect cup of coffee. And yet, I’ve never been much for ritual. All things being equal, I’d prefer to have my coffee with as little effort as possible. I was delighted to discover that technology allows me to have my café and drink it too, thanks to a breed of coffee machines known as a superautomatic.