Like many of my colleagues, I take my coffee seriously – which is why instead of having savings, I have one of the best espresso machines in my kitchen. Everybody knows that the best coffee makers, especially 15 bar espresso ones, cost a fortune. Right?
Maybe not. I'd normally dismiss a cheap coffee maker as a false economy, but when it comes from the same company that makes our current second favourite espresso maker I'm much more interested. Beem, whose Espresso Grind Profession earned a coveted and rare T3 Platinum Award, is also behind the new ESPRESSO-SELECT-TOUCH, which is capitalised for no good reason, possibly because someone in marketing had one double espresso too many.
The RRP was a respectably low £129.99 but now it's even lower: £103.99.
So what do you get for a tiny fraction of what I paid for my supercharged espresso engine?
Beem ESPRESSO-SELECT-TOUCH: key features
The headline features here are the thermoblock heating and pump system which delivers 15 bar pressure. The water pipe is stainless steel for corrosion resistance and you have a choice of two stainless steel sieves for single or double espresso. The portafilter is 51mm diameter and the tank has a capacity of 1.5L so doesn't need refilling too frequently, and there's an included steam nozzle for frothing up your milk.
If you're unfamiliar with the brand, as I was, Beem is a German firm that's been making coffee equipment for 50 years – but it's only recently moved into the domestic market with products such as the £399 Profession mentioned above.
Clearly some corners have been cut to get the price this low, so for example while the device is described as stainless steel it's really black plastic with stainless steel facings and hardware. But it looks nice enough and while it doesn't have the extensive feature set of my much more expensive machine, I only ever use the same setting on that – so unless you're a fan of multiple programmes, this should do just fine.
Of course, the most important part of any coffee machine isn't how it works or how it looks but how good the coffee tastes. I can't see any reason to think this will taste any poorer than other 15-bar machines but I'm looking forward to seeing my colleagues' review of it in the not too distant future.