Writing about coffee machines is something most blokey blogs do eventually so I thought I'd better get it out of my system. Today I'm looking at the less romantic, more practical but ultimately slightly geeky side of Valentine's gifts for us men - and coffee machines are prime among those.
But there's something about a coffee machine that's rather nice to have and I've been testing the De'Longhi Icona bar-pump coffee machine. At £111.70 (sponsored link from Amazon there, although they didn't send me the machine) it's a non-trivial purchase but if you were thinking about espresso and capuccino machines it's a good one.
Operation is easy - you get the hang of how much coffee to put in quite quickly. The water reservoir is deeper than most so you're allowed seconds if there are two of you, which better than many on the market. Steaming the milk can be a bit of a trial - if the arm of the steamer could have been further away from the main body of the machine it might have been easier to steam in anything other than a very narrow jug. We ended up with Lattes whilst aiming for capuccinos more than once. But it brews the coffee well.
My only minor gripe is that I'm fond of ordinary percolated coffee and this just isn't the machine for it. It doesn't claim to be either - and if you're simply after something that makes easy espressos and capuccinos and is easy to clean, this is a good option.