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I'm not really a massive coffee drinker but I recently seem to be relying on a cup more and more to get me through the afternoon at school. Despite knowing that water is much better for me in terms of hydration it just never seems to give me the kick I need to get through an art lesson (picture piles of paper, pots of glue, pallets of paint... then a whirlwind coming through and that's what my classroom resembles) or a PE lesson (picture thirty five children, inject them with hyper beans and turn their volume up by one hundred decibels and that's my lesson) in the afternoon! Sometimes I just have to give in to the smell of coffee and grab a large mug full!
At school we have a rather battered looking Delonghi ICM 30 Coffee Machine, it's battered because I owned it for a year and a half prior to donating it to my school back at Christmas when my boyfriend invested in a rather swanky (and impossibly complicated to operate) model. We purchased it back in September 2010 for around £40 from Amazon, it's currently still on Amazon for the price of £38.81 and first came out in January 2008. It's arguably quite a dated model in that it was first released over four years ago but we opted for it as it seemed affordable and suited our needs - I can't be doing with too many buttons and options as I get confused!
The coffee machine arrived in a fairly standard box which weighed 3.6kg. Inside the box was the coffee machine, the carafe (or jug if you associate carafe with wine like I do!) for it and an instructions manual. The coffee machine itself weighs 2.3kg and measures approximately 34cm by 30cm by 37cm. It's largely black in colour so will fit into the majority of kitchens and despite it being somewhat dated, it actually still looks quite modern. It boasts full frontal access which is ideal if, like us, you want to house it under a cupboard which won't allow top access, a removable carafe that can serve up to twelve cups of coffee at a time and an automatic shit off feature too.
Preparing the filter coffee is fairly straightforward, you simply open the frontal door and using the jug (to ensure you don't overfill it) you pour the required amount of water into the water compartment. You then place the permanent filter in the filter holder and spoon in the ground coffee, making sure to level it off once finished. Once that's completed you simply close the door and place the jug on the plate with the lid on. In order to switch the coffee maker on you simply click on the on / off switch which is located on the base, a small red light will also come on to show you it's working. The coffee will start to come out quite quickly, after about twenty seconds.
I find that to make a full carafe of coffee takes about two to three minutes in total which is quite quick in my mind. If you leave the coffee maker switched on even after it's made the coffee, it will keep the coffee at the ideal temperature for serving. You can also remove the jug before all the coffee is filtered, it will automatically stop dripping down but you are warned not to leave it for too long so as to avoid a mass downpour when you put the carafe back in. There is also a warming plate on top of the machine which allows you to warm a cup or two prior to filling it with coffee which is a nice addition. Obviously this only works if you don't have it directly under a cupboard!
The coffee it makes obviously depends a lot on the coffee beans that you purchase but I've found that the quality and the taste is really good with this machine. The coffee is always boiling hot (I can't stand it lukewarm) and the taste is really pure and isn't altered during the brewing process. We once had some coffee with this machine and then used it again in a friend's machine, it really did taste like we'd used two different coffees as the one that came out of my friend's machine had a much more acidic taste to it. In fact we've never had any complaints regarding taste when we've used this and the fact it can keep coffee warm for however long is great too!
When we had this at home we used it once or twice a week, normally at weekends or when we had people round. At school it seems to get used most days (even multiple times if we're having a stressful day... on parents evenings it about four times!) and it's still going strong without any problems at all. Cleaning the machine is really straightforward; we simply put the carafe in the dishwasher after using it and wipe down the coffee maker about once every month or two as it really doesn't get dirty. It's also recommended that you descale the coffee maker every three hundred cups on average, I've bought a product that does this for me from my local supermarket.
I would recommend the Delonghi ICM 30 Coffee Machine if you're looking for an affordable and basic machine as I've never had any problems. However I do know someone that had a bad time with it leaking water and returned theirs back to Delonghi so it is worth researching these things thoroughly. It does offer a one year manufacturer's guarantee if you do come across any problems like my friend did. However on this plus side I do really like this machine it as it produces nice tasting coffee fairly quickly, as there's a permanent filter inside it there's no need really to buy filter papers which keeps the usage costs down and it's easy to clean (bonus)!
Thanks for reading!
DeLonghi 12 cup filter coffee maker with non-drip advice that enables you to remove the jug anytime / including while coffee is brewing / Short name: DeLonghi ICM30