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How I Review Products

See how we review products

Last updated: September 29, 2023

Coffee equipment is expensive so I try to make sure that I only recommend products that can make good coffee, are reliable, and are (at the very least) fairly priced.

Here’s how I review coffee equipment, and how I select which equipment to include in my roundups.

Purchasing Coffee Equipment

Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way: I do NOT purchase all the equipment that I review.

I have, however, purchased and tested a fair chunk of the machines I recommend. 

My general rule is that I purchase every product that I review individually, however, for my larger roundups, I may include products that I have not used.

Me with some of the Keurig machines I reviewed

There are exceptions to this rule, however, I do aim to eventually have purchased and tested every product featured on this website.

All products that I get my hands on I will have purchased myself, rather than being sent for free by a manufacturer. This is to eliminate any potential bias from my review.

How I Test Purchased Products

Here is what I do when I test a coffee machine that I bought:

Unbox and Set Up

I pay particular attention to how long it takes me to set up the machine, and how clear the instructions are for setting it up. 

If it’s so easy that I don’t even need to look at the manual then great. If I need to pour through YouTube videos just to set the machine up then that’s negative marks.

Taste Test

I will drink the machine’s coffee and (in the case of more feature-rich machines) all its other available drinks. 

Since a lot of machines require dialing in, I generally drink around 50 coffees per machine over the course of a few days.

Durability Test 

I will remove all of a machine’s removable parts and bend them to the point where they feel like they might break (I’ve broken more than one machine doing this). 

If there are any fragile parts or obvious potential points of failure then I’ll let you know. 

I tend to combine these findings with other people’s experiences on Reddit and manufacturers’ warranties to give an estimate of a machine’s lifespan.

Intuitiveness Test 

I will use the machine’s full range of functionalities (this generally involves making all its available drinks, as well as running cleaning and descaling cycles) to check how easily they are all accessed.

Again, negative marks if I had to look up how to do any of this. It should all be obvious.

Cleaning test

I will clean the machine, following its instructions, and take note of how long this takes and how much of a pain it is generally. 

I’ll also put all its removable parts in the dishwasher and take note of whether this causes any of its parts to deteriorate.

In addition to these tests, I also pay attention to the following:

  • How loud the machine is: my housemate works next door to my testing room, if he complains then it gets negative marks.
  • What accessories does the machine come with: If I need to buy a load of extra stuff to get the best from the machine, then that’s negative marks. At the very least the machine should come with the basics needed to use and maintain it for a year.
  • How messy the machine is to use: Things like drippy spouts, seemingly random rinse cycles, and hard-to-clean tubes will count against a machine.
  • How the machine looks and feels: I know aesthetics is subjective, but if a machine takes up a huge amount of counter space, is suspiciously lightweight, or makes me cringe when I touch it, then I’ll take note of that. I’ll also check if a machine has any sharp edges (I’ve cut my finger on a drip tray grill on more than one occasion).
  • Whether the machine offers good value for money: I take the machine’s recommended retail price into consideration and ask myself whether it’s worth the money. I pay particular attention to how long I think the machine will last, and how it compares to other similarly priced machines here.

How I Research Products

I will research every product featured on my website extensively online before recommending it on this site.

I do this regardless of whether I have tested the product personally myself. Coffee machine manufacturers can have quality assurance issues (this is true of all hardware – not just coffee machines) and ultimately one unit of a model is a small sample size.

Here are the ways that I research coffee equipment:

Understanding a Machine’s Price Relative to Other Machines

I try to focus my recommendations on getting you as good value for money a machine as possible. I do this by comparing the prices of a machine and comparing it to the prices of machines with a similar level of functionality.

Watching YouTube Unboxing and Reviews

It’s basically impossible to fabricate a YouTube video (unlike a written review where you can say whatever you want about a product), so they’re a great place to see how a coffee machine works. 

I tend to just use YouTube videos to try to ascertain how user-friendly a coffee machine is, rather than taking a reviewers’ assessment of its performance at face value.

Reddit 

There are several subreddits dedicated to specific types of coffee machines. These include r/nespresso, r/keurig and r/superautomatic. People also discuss and recommend espresso machines regularly on the espresso subreddit

If you have used Reddit for more than two minutes you will know people are very blunt on there, so I can get unfiltered feedback on what these machines are like to use. If I want to find out something specific about a machine I will ask on the most relevant subreddit.

Facebook Groups

I mainly use relevant Facebook groups to poll or interview owners of specific machines.

Speaking to Manufacturers

If I want to find out specific technicalities of machines I will try to contact manufacturers directly. 

I’ll also sometimes test out customer support teams with made-up problems just to see how helpful they are. 

This helps me ascertain how good manufacturers are with delivery times, warranties, and replacement parts.

Digging Through Instruction Manuals

I get most of the basic, technical information about products from their instruction manuals. This data tends to be more accurate than the stuff you find online, even on Amazon listings. 

Instruction manuals also give you a good idea of how intuitive a coffee machine is to use. If a coffee machine requires a 100-page manual, then it’s not going to be the most user-friendly.

Amazon Reviews

I’ll pour through product reviews on Amazon to see if I can find any recurring strong or weak points about the product that users have flagged up. I tend to ignore one-off issues, but if something comes up over and over again, then I’ll mention it.

What I Never Do

I never do the following:

Take Sponsorships

I don’t accept money or freebies from coffee machine manufacturers/retailers. This is to maintain impartiality.

Post Anything Without Thorough Research

All products featured on this site have gone through the research process that I’ve outlined here.
If you have found any claims about coffee machines on this site to be incorrect then please let me know at oli@drinkycoffee.com.

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