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M100 + Aeroccino = Steaming hot cup of success.
Magimix Nespresso M100
Author Name: John
Magimix Nespresso M100
Advantages: High quality coffee, high pressure pump, essentially free Aeroccino, brilliant practicality.
Please note my review includes the 'Aeroccino' device which is often included in the same box as the Magimix M100. I will first deal with the M100 machine itself, then write a shorter review for the Aeroccino.
Cost: £126 from www.johnlewis.com - Also available in store. £30 cashback available until early 2009 - see redemption forms in-store for details.
--- First Impressions and Appearances---
Upon purchasing the machine I was surprised by the large box. I did not sample the M100 before purchase, and was concerned that the machine might be very large. Fortunately, the machine is actually extremely compact, and is much smaller than many other coffee machines on the market. It's dimensions are approximately 25cm x 16cm x 29cm. Bear in mind that the cup in the above image is an espresso cup.
The M100 is very unobtrusive on the work surface, and thanks to the comtemporary but simple design should sit well in any kitchen. The device is mainly plastic, which is finished to a high standard. The pod-insertion lever (silver thing on top) is metal and very sturdy. The grill on which the cup sits is chromed and once again of a good quality. The M100 is on the whole very well constructed and designed.
During my time using the machine I have only encountered one problem with the design. The platform on which the cup sits is fixed and non-adjustable. Once again bearing in mind that the cup in the picture is an espresso cup, there is very little room between the nozzle and the platform. Wide cappucino mugs, or any conventional sized mugs fit easily under the nozzle with some simple manoevering, but tall glasses such as those often used for caffe lattes will not sit on the platform. Instead, you must hold the glass under the nozzle. This is a tiny disadvantage to a brilliant machine. Frankly, this 'disadvantage' can be ignored. I almost feel guilty writing it.
--- Functionality ---
The Nespresso M100 is extraordinarily easy to use. When you start up the machine for the first time you simply turn it on, wait roughly 45 seconds for the internal heating element to warm up, then press a button to pass water through the machine. After you have allowed a little water through, to 'flush' the system, you are ready to start. Within a minute of turning it on you are ready to start making coffee. Inserting a pod involves lifting the aforementioned lever and simply dropping in a pod. Once you are ready to start, you palce a cup under the nozzle and press the same button to start the water flow. There are only 2 buttons on the entire machine - but you need no more than this. The M100 is successful in its simplicity.
The water tank holds 1 litre and if sufficiently large. The machine does not have a built in steam attachment (which is where the Aeroccino comes in handy) but this keeps the price down. Thus, all of the water is used in the coffee and it should make 10 cups before it is empty. Refilling it is fast and simple, a 10 second job. It simply clips out of place and slides back in.
As mentioned in previous reviews, the machine does not automatically switch off once a certain amount of water has passed through. Instead you must manually press the same switch again and the water will swap. You do not have to hold the button down during the process.
Once you have finished using the pod (each pod will make 1 cup of coffee) you raise the lever and the pod drops through into a collection basket which can be removed and emptied later. This is an overlooked and useful feature. The basket holds perhaps 7 or 8 capsules before it is full, so there is not need to empty it constantly. You can insert a new pod in its place and you are ready to start again. This process takes perhaps 2-3 seconds.
After you are finished with the machine, you flush a little more water though and empty the collection basket, giving it a quick wipe. Cleaning the machine is as simple as that.
The only downside I can propose in regards to functionality is that the water flow is manual. Getting the perfect cup of coffee is very much a case of trial and error, although this is part of the fun. You will very quickly learn how much water to pass through each time to get the perfect strength. The strength of coffee from the pod lowers as more water is passed through.
The pods themselves are very easy to use. This machine does not take loose coffee grounds and only works with the Nespresso branded pods. However, the coffee within these pods is of a very high quality. You recieve 12 tester pods which cover the variety of coffee's provided by Nespresso, which is very useful. Priced at £0.25 per capsule, the cost is very reasonable. More expensive than your instant coffee but cheaper and of no less quality than your Starbucks or Costa Coffee ranges. Pods are available via online order, freephone or through a mail order scheme. More details are given in the 'bumph' of instructions provided with the machine.
Included is an attractive little folder to keep all of the information and instructions. Details of the coffee types are provided, as well as information on how to operate and maintain your machine. Instructions are detailed if a little confusing. The key operational instructions are in diagram format, and they required a degree of creative interpretation. However once again this is a tiny tiny flaw and in no way impacts on the quality of the machine.
If you have done research into coffee machines at this price range you will have no doubt seen the new Gaggia range of similarly priced machines such as the Gaggia K1. These utilise a Gaggia specific pod-system, which according to many of the in-store experts is not as good as the Nespresso system. Also, they voiced concerns that the new gaggia pods, if not successful, may be dropped. On the other hand, the Nespresso pod system is well established so there should be no difficulty obtaining pods in the long term.
--- Performance ---
Brilliant. The system uses a water pump system as opposed to a steam system to pump the coffee through the machine. A pump system is far superior, as the steam system often burns the grounds and leads to a bitter coffee.
The pressure of a pump is measured in bar, and anything above 15 bar is acknowledged to extract the full flavour from the coffee. The M100 boasts a powerful 19 bar pump, much higher than rivals such as the Gaggia Cafitaly system which utilises a 15 bar pump.
The M100 uses thermoblock heating technology, which means that there is no boiling of water involved. The water is quickly heated as it passes through the machine to be steaming hot by the time it reaches your cup. This means there is no waiting around for water to boil.
The quality of the coffee is exceptional, and unrivalled by many more expensive machines I have tried. It produces rich, smooth espressos with a superb crema. The variation in coffee styles provides something for everybodys palate, and with some milk froth/warm milk the Cappucinos and Lattes are superb as well.
The machine makes a fair bit of noise but this is expected given the power of the pump. It is no louder than the majority of other coffee machines on the market. Vibrations are minimal. Reviews on products such as the Gaggia K1 suggest that vibrations on other machines can be so bad as to spill coffee from the cup!
The coffee from the machine is hot but not boiling. It is wise to run a little hot water into the cup first to ensure your coffee is steaming hot. The machine takes approximately 50 seconds to pass the required amount of water through each pod.
As previously mentioned the machine does not come with a steam attachment. This small sacrifice keeps the cost low, and with the Aeroccino is not a sacrifice at all.
The cost-performace ratio of the machine is huge. When they demonstrate the Nespresso system in John Lewis or any other store they don't use the expensive Krupps Nespresso system - they use the Magimix M100, because it makes exactly the same coffee. The only difference between the M100 and more expensive machines is things like a digital display. For the Layman wanting to enjoy a simple but brilliant cup of coffee for a reasonable price, the M100 is in my experience unbeatable. For the price, almost perfection. 5 stars across the board.
This milk warmer and foamer is being sold packaged with the M100 by many retailers.
It is the size of a large mug, and finished in chrome. Once again it is very attractive and will sit well in any kitchen. The construction appears to be solid.
The aeroccino comes with two attachments depending on whether you want frothed milk or warm milk. These attachments are magnetic, and simply drop into the machine. To turn the machine on you simply place it on its base (plugged into the mains) and press the start button. The machine then operates for a set time. Unfortunately you cannot regulate this time. If your milk is not frothed then you cannot run the program again. I believe this is due to a temperature sensor in the unit. Once the milk is at a certain temerature it will not work again until cold milk is inserted. This can lead to the milk being warm but the froth being insufficient. I used to have to use my Aerolatte (a small electric whisk) to adequately froth the milk before using it.
There are two ways to solve this problem. First, use very cold milk. This means by the time it has been heated the froth should be sufficient. The second solution, albeit a bit odd, is to use CRAVENDALE FILTERED MILK. I don't know what it is about this milk but it seems to work brilliantly. Now I have found this milk I don't need to use the aerolatte at all. I know in theory milk is milk but for whatever reason this certain type of milk works the best by far.
The capacity of the aeroccino is only enough for a single cup of coffee. This apparent disadvantage works quite nicely however. As the M100 is pumping through its coffee you can be getting the milk ready, and no time is lost. By doing this you can output a cup every minute and a half or so.
Note the Aeroccino retails at ~£46, so this package is truly brilliant value for money.
The unit is very easy to clean, it just needs a good wipe out.
--- SUMMARY ---
This package is excellent value for money. With the £30 cashback you get the M100 and Aeroccino for £97 - unrivalled value in my experience. Some slight trial and error will have you producing excellent coffee's in no time.
I would recommend this product to anybody with a small budget who wants simple and very high quality coffee. Although the need for a steam attachment is made redundant by the Aeroccino, some may prefer to increase their budget and get these extra (what I perceive to be unneccessary) features.
The combination of the two products is a brilliant idea and I whole-heartedly recommend its purchase.
Summary: Excellent investment. A superb machine in every way. Almost faultless.
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