Coffee Reviews & Guides
Coffee’s a particular passion of mine, and since starting Viva Flavor I’ve written a lot of home brewing guides, coffee machine reviews and general buying guides.
As this section of the site’s grown so much over time though, it’s become a little harder to find exactly what you need. This is especially true if you’re just getting started with the site.
To help you find your way around, I’ve put together a comprehensive guide that will help you jump straight into whatever coffee-related content you need at any given moment.
As I publish more articles in this category, I’ll be sure to add them to this collection. You can also use the links below to jump straight to the section you’re most interested in.
Coffee Guides & Questions
Here are some of the most popular coffee guides I’ve written for the site. Just click on the tab to move between brewing guides and common questions.
How To Make Turkish Coffee At Home – Turkish coffee is a uniquely sociable experience, although it’s fair to say the intense bitterness won’t be for everyone. Still, I recommend everyone tries this at least once. I’ve also included a video that will help you show off your fortune telling skills to your friends!
The Vietnamese Coffee Guide – I absolutely adore Vietnamese coffee, and was hooked from the first time I visited the country in 2007. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face, and equally guaranteed to pile a few pounds onto your waistline if you make this a habit! This is my favorite all-time coffee brewing method, and I’ve explained exactly how you can make it for yourself at home.
The Cold Brew Coffee Guide – You don’t need any kind of fancy equipment to make truly delicious cold brew coffee in your own kitchen. As long as you have access to coarse-ground coffee and a mason jar, you’ve everything you need to enjoy a modern classic from the coffee world.
The Ultimate Guide To Coffee Beans – Whatever questions you might have about the coffee bean, I’m confident you’ll find the answer in this massive guide I wrote for the site in the summer of 2019. From the coffee bean’s origins to modern production methods, this is one to settle into with a big cup of joe in your hand.
How To Froth & Steam Milk At Home – There’s a fine art indeed to whipping up the kind of smooth microfoam you’ll enjoy in a coffee house latte. In this article, I’ve explained the basics of how to use the sort of steam wand you’ll find on a home espresso machine. I’ve also included some clever hacks for creating a rough and ready foam without a wand.
How To Make Iced Coffee In A French Press – You can’t beat French Press coffee. It’s a simple, cost-effective way of making a much better cup of coffee in the morning. For those hotter days though you want something a little more refreshing. This article explains how to make the perfect cup of iced French Press coffee.
How To Keep Coffee Hot – There’s nothing worse than a good cup of coffee gone tepid. What are the best methods for keeping that cup of coffee hot though? This article explains all the options you have, along with some tips for stopping the problem occurring in the first place!
How To Clean A Reusable Coffee Filter – Fail to clean your filter from time to time and you’ll notice a marked decline in the quality of your coffee. Worst still, you run the risk of allowing bacteria to develop. This guide explains four simple methods for getting your permanent coffee filter back to factory condition.
How To Counter Caffeine – Got a bad case of the coffee jitters? It happens to the best of us, but there are a few things you can do to ride out the worst of it. Better still is to change your consumption habits and in this article you’ll find lots of helpful tips for doing just this.
How To Dispose Of Coffee Grounds – STOP! Before you throw the contents of your French Press in the bin, there are plenty of uses for those old coffee grounds. From fertilizing the garden to neutralizing odors, there are plenty of uses for your old coffee grounds.
How To Clean A Stainless Steel Coffee Pot – Don’t throw that dirty old coffee pot away just yet! There are a handful of really simple methods for bring it back to life, using a few common kitchen tools you likely already have to hand. I’ve put together a guide that starts with an easy method that works 90% of the time. If that doesn’t work, I’ve got a few more tricks that should get the job done.
How To Dispose Of A Coffee Maker – No-one likes adding to the world’s landfill mass, but what are your options when it comes to disposing of an old coffee maker? This guide explains all of your options when you’re ready to upgrade or replace your existing machine.
Why Does Caffeine Make You Tired? – Ever found yourself unexpectedly tired from drinking even a strong cup of coffee? The way caffeine interacts with the body is a complex thing. I’ve explained the science behind what’s happening here, and provided some essential tips to help you beat caffeine-induced fatigue.
What Is A Breve Coffee? – The simple answer to that question is that it’s an exceptionally luxurious twist on the classic latte. Rather than adding a milk froth, you whip up some half and half for an incredibly creamy finish. Best enjoyed as an occasional treat, this is definitely one to add to your coffee brewing repertoire.
What Is A Long Black Coffee? – Bored of bog-standard espresso shots but not a fan of milky coffee? A long black might be just what you need, but what makes it different from an Americano? This guide contains everything you need to know about this popular drink, with instructions for making it at home.
How Is Flavored Coffee Made? – Ever wondered just how those hazelnut syrups are actually made? This guide explains the three main methods that are used to flavor beans, and I’ve included a few recipes for making your own clever concoctions at home.
Why Do People Drink Coffee After Dinner? – There’s no better way to turbo-charge the day than by chugging down a super-caffeinated cup of coffee. So what makes it such a dependable after-dinner drink? I’ve got a few thoughts that might provide an answer to that question.
Can Coffee Go Bad? – There’s nothing worse than having a fresh batch of your favorite coffee turn bad. This article explains why coffee beans deteriorate in unsuitable environments, and what you can do to store them properly for a longer life.
What Is Breakfast Blend Coffee? – Good question, and why isn’t there a lunch, brunch or dinner blend? In this article I’ve answered the most common questions about this particular type of coffee. I’ve also highlighted some of my favorite brands to help you dip into the best stuff right away.
How Long Does Cold Brew Coffee Last? – Struggling to stay on top of your cold brew storage? I’ve put together an article that explains how to prepare and store your cold brew so you get the best possible experience from every last drop of this delicious stuff.
What Is Peaberry Coffee? – The Peaberry strain of coffee is a bit of an enigma to most home coffee enthusiasts. I’ve put together an article that explains some of the most common questions surrounding this bean, from how it grows to why it’s so expensive.
How Big Is A Coffee Scoop? – It’s a simple question, but understanding scoop sizes is essential if you’re to achieve consistent results with your brewing. I’ve also answered some of the common questions that surround this topic.
Coffee Maker Reviews
Looking to flex your home barista brewing skills a little more? Perhaps you just need a more convenient way to get your morning caffeine fix inside you?
I’m always reviewing the latest coffee machines to hit the market, as well as those that have stood the test of time to become trusted classics.
I’ve separated these by manufacturer, so just use the tabs to jump between different brands.
Gaggia Brera – This one’s a bit of a clunker in terms of design, but beauty’s in the eye of the beholder, right? The conical burr grinder does a great job of prepping your coffee beans to perfection, and there’s a bypass doser so you can continue using your favorite pre-ground coffee as and when you want to.
Gaggia Classic – The Classic’s another rather industrial-looking thing, but there’s no knocking the espresso it makes. That wasn’t true of the original machine released under this name, but much work has been done to address some of the common complaints. Find out more by reading my detailed review.
Gaggia Accademia – If you need high quality coffee in your life, but really don’t have the time to handle the process yourself, then a super-automatic machine might be just what you need. I’ve reviewed one of Gaggia’s most popular machines in this category.
De’Longhi EC702 – De’Longhi’s popular espresso machine has a lot going for it: a big water reservoir, easy for beginner brewers to use, and separate thermostats for brewing and steaming. It’s a little industrial in design and I found the microfoam wanting, but have a read of the review for a full overview.
De’Longhi Dedica – The Dedica has proved a big hit with readers who have just a couple of coffee drinkers in their household. The quality of the espresso is very good, although there is a minor learning curve to overcome if you want to get the very best results from it.
De’Longhi EC155 – The EC155 has been around for more than decade now, and has enjoyed continual performance tweaks to keep it at the very top of the entry-level espresso game. It’s not without its limitations, but you could do a lot worse than this surprisingly effective budget espresso machine.
Keurig K15 – The K15 is the most basic Keurig coffee maker on the market, and represents a very small, very portable pod brewing machine. A redesign on the original model has led to a number of improvements, which I’ve covered in detail in my review.
Keurig K55 – The K55 (or K-Classic) is a step up from the K15 in terms of water reservoir. That does mean though that it has a larger footprint than its smaller cousin. It takes four or five minutes to get the first brew out of this one, but subsequent cups are ready in under a minute.
Keurig K200 – If you need to serve a number of guests, the K200 is the first machine in the Keurig range that’s up to the job. Just be aware that you’ll need to buy the official carafe separately if you want to make use of its bulk-brewing potential.
Keurig K250 – The most colorful collection at this end of the Keurig range. There are enough color options available here to suit just about every kitchen design. It doesn’t do anything too special, but the aesthetic options are a nice twist.
Keurig K475 – Effectively the replacement for the highly popular K450. There’s a generous selection of strength and temperature settings to play around with here, allowing you to tweak your pod coffee to suit your tastes.
Keurig K575 – An 80oz water reservoir makes this machine more suitable for coffee-guzzling families. Although it still looks very much like a Keurig machine, the addition of a color touchscreen adds a little extra class.
Keurig K-Select – The K-Select’s 52oz water reservoir acts as a very welcome middle-ground for coffee consumption. It’s a little primitive in its design, but I was pretty impressed with how well it works.
Keurig K-Compact – Keurig has a machine that’s designed specifically for smaller kitchen spaces. I think it needs just a slightly larger water reservoir to be considered a must-have, but it still does a great job of brewing up Keurig coffee in a small form factor.
The Smallest Keurig Coffee Maker – If your Keurig addiction is such that you can’t go without your fix while traveling, I’ve taken a look at the most space-efficient Keurig-compatible machines on the market. There’s something suitable in here for even the lightest of travelers, so make sure you have a good look through my round-up.
Keurig coffee isn’t my favorite if I’m completely honest, but I recognize that a lot of people are interested in how this popular manufacturer’s different machines stack up. Each to their own!
For the most part it’s a case of comparing water capacity, pod compatibility and brewing options – no extra description necessary for these. If you just want to know how popular pairs stack up against each other, I’ve got you covered.
Nespresso Essenza Mini – The first Nespresso machine I reviewed for the site is very well-suited to small kitchens. I believe the quality of Nespresso pod coffee is far superior to Keurig, and this is a very good machine if you’re short on countertop space. It’s a little noisy, but that’s pod-coffee for you!
Nespresso Evoluo – The Evoluo is ideal if you have a household that likes a combination of espresso shot coffee and longer coffee drinks. As an all-in-one hybrid machine it ticks a lot of boxes, and the larger water reservoir is a very welcome feature.
Cuisinart Coffee On Demand – If you like the idea of setting up a morning’s worth of coffee, ready to dispense when you need a top-up, then the DCC-3000 might just be the machine for you. I’ve taken a really in-depth look at what to expect from this clever coffee dispenser.
Cuisinart SS-10 – This is one of the most popular Keurig-compatible single serve coffee makers on the market. It goes a little further in giving you everything you need right out of the box, and does a pretty mean job of brewing pod coffee. Take a look at my in-depth review if you want to learn more about it.
Cuisinart Coffee Makers – Cuisinart has a hand in all kinds of kitchenware, but over the years it’s quietly carved out a really solid reputation for making high-quality coffee machines. I’ve reviewed five of its most popular machines in detail, so you can work out which of these branded machines is best for you.
Mr Coffee Cafe Barista – This is a very fun machine with a dedicated milk reservoir for adding those final frothy flourishes to cappuccinos and lattes. There’s a lot to go over with this one, so make sure you read the review for the full lowdown.
Breville Infuser – I was really impressed with Breville’s Infuser espresso machine. The presets make really, really good espresso, but as you gain confidence you can take more direct control of the brewing process. An impressive mid-range machine that helps you develop your brewing skills when you’re ready to do so.
Bodum Pour Over Coffee Maker – Pour over coffee is one of the simplest brewing methods you can tackle at home, but the results are genuinely stunning. Bodum’s pour over maker has been popular for many years now, and represents a very cost-effective way of exploring this corner of the coffee world!
Coffee Maker Types
If you have a good idea of the type of coffee machine you need, but aren’t sure what the best model in each category is, you’ll find answers to some of the most common questions here.
You’ll find a clear recommendation for each kind of machine within each article, and an in-depth review of the best models in each case:
Automatic Pour Over Coffee Makers – If you want to really elevate your coffee at home, a pour over machine is the way to go. First they “bloom” the coffee to enhance overall extraction, then the water is carefully showered through the grounds to deliver a remarkable coffee experience. They’re not cheap though, so make sure you read this round-up thoroughly before diving in.
Grind And Brew Coffee Makers – Everyone knows the best coffee comes from freshly ground whole beans. I wanted to find out what the best options were in this category, and reviewed a number of appliances that will grind and brew your next cup of coffee to perfection.
Single Cup Coffee Makers – Want freshly ground coffee but in a single cup or travel mug serving? Well, truth be told there aren’t as many options in this category as there used to be. Still, I’ve undertaken detailed research to uncover the best models that just about get the job done.
Latte Machines – For something smoother, you’ll want a dedicated latte machine. I’ve reviewed some of the most popular machines that are all about this all-time classic. There are some big winners and big losers in this category, so make sure you check it out.
Cappuccino Makers – Everyone loves a classic cappuccino, and for a little investment you can save a huge amount of money in the long run. Why go to a Starbucks again when you can whip up a frothy coffee from the comfort of your own kitchen?
Semi Automatic Espresso Machines – If you’re ready to take a little more hands-on control over the brewing process, take a look at my guide to the best semi-automatic espresso machines. If the idea of twiddling knobs and steaming milk makes you giddy with excitement, this is the kind of coffee maker you need to get in your life.
Dual Coffee Makers – If you want the option to make larger percolator brews alongside pod coffee, this is the kind of machine to look into. I’ve reviewed five of the most popular two way coffee makers to help you make the best buying choice.
Thermal Carafe Coffee Makers – If you’re the type who likes to whip up a bunch of coffee to be savored throughout the day, it’s vital you get a machine with a heat-retaining thermal carafe. It’s safe to say that some do a much better job of holding lukewarm coffee at bay than others, however…
4 Cup Coffee Makers – Sometimes you just want a super-simple machine that will make a family-sized batch of coffee. To help you find the right one for your household, I’ve taken a look at some of the worthiest contenders in this category. You’ll find something for every budget in here, so even if you’re running your household on a shoestring you can still find a coffee maker that will work for you.
For help buying all the bits and bobs needed to make a killer cup of coffee at home!
Cold Brew Coffee Grinders – Coarseness is really important for a successful batch of cold brew. In this article I’ve reviewed some of the most popular options available on the market today. There’s something in here for every budget.
Thermal Coffee Carafes – If you’re looking to retain the heat for a bigger batch, I’ve created a guide that explains exactly what you need to look for when shopping around for a thermal coffee carafe. Whether you’re entertaining guests or just need to keep an office of thirsty workers happy, this article has you covered.
Coffee Mug Warmers – When you’ve spent time making a great cup of coffee, the last thing you want to do is come back from a phone call and take a cold slurp of it. Cup warmer technology has come a long way over the last ten years, and I’ve put together a review covering five of my favorites.
French Press Travel Mugs – If you’ve been dutifully brewing your French Press cafetiere each morning, then pouring from there to your travel mug then I’ve got good news. There are some amazing travel mugs that actually let you brew directly in the mug. I’ve reviewed half of the dozen of the best ones available on the market right now.
Coffee Grinders For French Press – This is another coffee brewing method that requires a coarse grind – no one likes a mouthful of silty grit in their drink! There are some other considerations for French Press as well, and so I put together a comprehensive guide for this classic brewing method.
I’m slowly working my way through my favorite beans and pods, and producing in-depth reviews of each one as I go.
The articles in this section will help you pick the perfect bean or blend for whatever brewing method you have in mind!
Coffee For French Press – This coffee brewing method requires a very particular kind of coffee bean. I’ve taken a detailed look at some of the most flavorful coffee you can buy for the classic French Press brewing method.
Strongest K-Cup Coffee – As convenient as Keurig pods are, there’s no getting away from the fact that the flavor can be noticeably weak. Fortunately there are some incredibly potent brands that do a great job of livening up the Keurig coffee experience. I’ve also included some clever hacks on how to make your regular pods turn out a much more flavorful drink.
Ethiopian Coffee – There is nothing in the world that will upgrade your appreciation for coffee like the beans grown in Ethiopia! If you’ve not tried them yet, you’re seriously missing out. I’ve got a great guide that will help you find a solid starting point for your journey through this incredible corner of the coffee world.
Costa Rican Coffee – Did you know that Costa Rican coffee farmers can only grow Arabica beans by law? The end result is a country-wide coffee industry that produces some of the best beans in the world. I’ve picked out five of my favorites and explained how to explore the country’s tremendous coffee.
Dark Roast Coffee Beans– If you like your coffee flavor to be super-intense, and put a very quick spring in your morning step, check out some of my favorite brands in this category.