Your guide to coffee machines and how to work them

20 Apr 2021


Coffee machines come in all shapes and sizes, so which one will be right for your lifestyle?

Nothing beats a nice cup of coffee, does it? We simply can’t imagine a morning without a piping hot cup of the stuff. In fact, we can’t imagine an afternoon without it either – we’re coffee lovers through and through.

That’s why we’ve expanded our cacao obsession into a coffee bean one too. We spend months carefully selecting beans from small, sustainable farms around the world, and roasted and blended them into five distinctive coffee varieties. Perhaps you’ll go for our punchy Rocket blend, or settle back into your armchair with a silky-smooth, mellow Cashmere.

Once you’ve found the blend that particularly appeals to your taste buds, it’s time to find the right coffee machine to make it with.

When it comes to making a cup of coffee, there are plenty of different methods and gadgets available. From filter machines to instant coffee, we all have our preferred way of rustling up a cuppa. Our personal favourite way to brew coffee is with one of our very own soon-to-be-released coffee machine – the Podster.

Whether you’re already the proud owner of a coffee machine or are thinking about adding one to your kitchen, you may have a lot of questions about how they work and how to best use them. Fortunately, we’ve put together this handy guide all about coffee machines, so read on to dive into a world of coffee-making history and knowledge.

What is a coffee machine?

home espresso

Quite simply, a coffee machine – sometimes known as a coffee maker – is an appliance used to brew coffee. Found in households around the globe, they are kitchen staples for coffee lovers and come in many different shapes and sizes. We love coffee machines and offer our very own version – the Podster.

People have been brewing coffee in different ways and in different pots for hundreds of years, so the coffee machine has a long history.

Italian inventor Angelo Moriodno invented the modern espresso machine in 1884. As the name suggests, espresso machines make espresso, which forms the base of cappuccino, lattes, and a variety of other café favourites.

Filter coffee machines – the ones you always see in American sitcoms or in offices – came later. German housewife Melitta Bentz used a piece of blotting paper from her son’s school book to create the first-ever coffee filter in 1908.

How does a coffee machine work?

You may never have wondered what goes on inside your coffee machine. Or if you have, you’ve probably imagined it to be complicated, right? It’s actually surprisingly simple.

Espresso Machine

An espresso machine forces pressurised water that’s almost-boiling through ground coffee and a filter to produce espresso – a strong, thick coffee.

Filter Coffee Machine

A filter coffee machine heats water from the in-built reservoir and pours it into a filter filled with ground coffee. From there, the freshly brewed coffee drips down into a jug. The good thing about a filter coffee machine is that it keeps your coffee hot, so you have a jug of fresh, hot coffee to drink all day.

How to use a coffee machine

If you’ve ever used a coffee machine before, you’ll realise just how easy it is. Maybe you haven’t, but you’re thinking about getting one. These step-by-step instructions may convince you that your kitchen needs one…

For a pod espresso machine, the first thing you’ll need to do is add water to the reservoir. You can then pop your pod into the pod-holder before adjusting the setting of your machine to make sure the strength of the coffee suits your taste. Once that’s done, you can hit “start” or “brew” or whatever it says on your machine’s button. All you need to do is to put your favourite mug in the designated area. A perfectly brewed coffee is on its way!

How to use a filter coffee machine

filter coffee machine seen from above

If you’re using a filter coffee machine, you’ll initially need to add a filter to the filter basket. Then it’s time to measure out your coffee – the amount you’ll need will depend on how many cups you’re planning to make and how strong you like your coffee to be. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to press the button that’ll get it started and patiently wait for it to brew. When it’s finished, all that’s left to do is pour and enjoy.

If you’re looking for a little something to enjoy alongside your delicious coffee, look no further than our Dunking Biscuits. Biscuits that have been designed for dipping, these are quite literally made to enjoy with a steaming hot coffee.

How to make using a coffee machine sustainable

We should all be making an effort to live as sustainably as possible, including when it comes to coffee and coffee machines. Although these machines are great for our taste buds, it’s important to note that they’re not always great for the planet.


A major reason for this is coffee pods. Unfortunately, they aren’t easy to recycle, meaning that thousands end up filling landfill sites every single day. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. We make it easy to use coffee pods in a sustainable way with our nifty new gadget the Podcycler. Compatible with all brands of aluminium pods, the Podcycler presses out wet ground coffee from the used coffee pods. It means the pods can be easily recycled with household waste. It also it separates the coffee grounds, which you can then use however you wish. Throw them in the compost, enrich your plants’ soil, or make your own homemade coffee scrub – get creative! 

We also offer our very own coffee pods which are 100% recyclable. These come in four delicious varieties – Rocket, The One, The One Decaf, and Cashmere. From the turbo-charged Rocket to the mellow Cashmere (and everything in between) we have the perfect pod for every mood and occasion. Whether you need a quick caffeine fix or some blissful “me time”, we’ve got your coffee covered.

Where your coffee comes from

When we talk about sustainability, ethics is also hugely important. This is because coffee can’t be sustainable unless it’s also sustainable for the people who grow it. If you want to make your coffee machine sustainable, it’s therefore important to choose coffee that’s ethical.

We pride ourselves on being an ethical company with a transparent supply chain. We source our coffee from small, sustainable farms where the farmers receive equal treatment and fair pay, so you can enjoy our coffee with peace of mind.

Coffee Machines

We hope this guide has helped you understand coffee machines a little better and possibly decide to treat yourself to one (trust us, you won’t regret it!). If you’re still unsure or aren’t a huge coffee consumer, you may like to check out the Velvetiser, our hot chocolate machine. Although primarily designed to produce ultra-creamy hot chocolate, it can also steam milk for coffee. That makes it the perfect choice for anyone who wants a nice cup of coffee every once in a while but also wants a more versatile machine.

Maybe you don’t just love drinking coffee, but love eating it too? We revel in mixing coffee with chocolate to create some delicious cacao coffee goodies. From our Coffee and Walnut Cake Selector to our Tiramisu Chocolates, we have a large range of treats that coffee fans are sure to adore. We also offer a Velvetised Espresso Martini Cream Liqueur for anyone who’s looking for a way to enjoy a tipple with a tantalising kick of caffeine…

From coffee machines to coffee-infused truffles, find your next caffeine fix at Hotel Chocolat.