The ECAM26455M features dual stainless steel-lined thermoblock heating in order to provide steaming and brewing power for your espresso and other drinks you wish to prepare with it with a very low cycling time. Compared to regular boiler systems, the thermoblock system is capable of much lower warm-up times paired with on-demand and efficient water usage.
I'm coming up on a year with this machine in December. It can be a little picky about the beans (not oily). But with lavazza super crema beans, it performs quite well. I very seldom get a shot that I don't like. I vary my drinks day to day, and enjoy straight espresso, cortados, lattes, and occasionally coffee. It doesn't disappoint in either of the modes. I don't like that if I program my drink (2 shot espresso) and double tap the start button, it will simply pull double the volume, and not do a full 2 cycles of the double shot. There is a noticeable difference in the quality of the shots when I do this.
It’s affordable (£70 at Argos at the time of writing; Dolce Gusto pods are priced at around £4 for a box of 16) and incredibly simple to set up and use. Simply fill the removable water tank with cold H2O, pop your chosen coffee pod into a slide-out drawer at the front, stick a cup under the spout and hit the power button. When it turns from red to green (a mere few seconds) the machine is ready. You then push the water lever either left (for cold drinks) or right (for hot drinks) until the desired amount of your drink is in the cup. Then slide out the drawer, expel the pod and throw it away.
Strength and temperature selection for a precise cup – The unit has four selections for the strength of coffee you want and lets you control the brew temperature for different drinks. This is a great way to customize a cup of coffee for guests and family. Instead of a pot evaporating away on the heater all day, just dial in the strength desired and 60 seconds later, you have your perfect cup of coffee.
Like the Sage Express, Panasonic’s NC-ZA1 is a “bean to cup” espresso machine: it takes whole beans, grinds them and pushes hot water through them at pressure to produce a cup of coffee. That’s pretty much where the similarities end, however, because unlike the old-school Express, the NC-ZA1 makes almost the entire process automated – and controllable via touchscreen.
While we can sing the praises of the E6 all day, the fact is that there is a bit of a learning curve with it. The instruction manual can be a little confusing to some people, and setting up your cleaning system can take a while. Also, plan on spending more time with maintenance than you would with other coffee makers. In the end, it ensures that your machine is always ready to go, but it can be a bit of a time investment.
You also get programmable push-button controls for milk, hot water and espresso outputs and given the fact that the 1003380 Accademia dispenses great beverages on demand, it’s great for those who don’t like to wait for long before their drink is ready. In total, there are 7 buttons that you can use in order to prepare one of the following drinks hot water, latte macchiato, latte, cappuccino, cafe lungo, cafe and of course, espresso.