Counter culture: Some star kitchen appliance buys

Counter culture: Some star kitchen appliance buys

Kya deLongchamps turns the spotlight on countertop stars to look out for in the last throes of the January sales.

LEAVING that small appliance on show? Ensure it earns its place.

The sales are drawing to a close, but there are still some searing bargains in seriously useful, durable machines and gadgetry.

BEAN TO CUP BARISTA

You can dispense up to €4,000 on top-of-the-line bean-to-cup coffee machines and the latest tricked-up models are now detailed to app operation from your phone or device.

This clickbait is completely daft unless the receiving cup actually levitates across the kitchen.

A slightly less terrifyingly priced countertop servant from market leader Miele, the C6350 balances practical detailing and superb fuzzy intelligence including a conical grinding mill, heated cup rack, ground coffee option and one-touch operation for two cups (no more bleating from the kitchen that the second espresso is on the way).

When you’re in a real hurry, the C6350 dispenses up to eight cups, one after the other into a coffee or teapot placed under the spout.

It also cleans the milk pipe-work automatically after every drink (yeah) and offers an AutoDescale descaling program; €1,349, Harvey Norman.

Miele C6350
Miele C6350

For the price of 10 americanos, pick up a Morphy Richards (162740) Coffee and Go Filter Coffee Machine which uses an Earth-friendly permanent filter to drop a fresh coffee into your travel mug as you skim out the door; €24.99, Argos.

SKELETAL SCALE

Love, love, love this little gem of design, the Joseph Joseph Triscale — small enough to slip into a containers on the worktop.

Just fold open this elegant three-armed digital scale to effortlessly balance any container for accurate results for up to 5kg (bowl included).

Counter culture: Some star kitchen appliance buys

Once you know the weight of the bowl there is even add-and-weight facility to get through a whole recipe. Designed for Joseph Joseph by Morph; €36, suppliers include Meadows & Byrne.

POD PICKS

If you prefer the one-shot pod coffee experience — good news. Recyclable aluminium pods are actually environmentally friendly when properly disposed off in the waste stream. Some firms, including Nespresso, offer drop-off points for their empty pods, nespresso.com.

Lavazza and Bewleys sell fully compostable pods both online and in-store, bewleys.com. For a retro classic with barista detailing and silky espressos take a look at the Breville One-Touch VCF108 in white with rose gold accents, a large 1.4l tank and 19 bar pressure.

Breville One-Touch VCF108
Breville One-Touch VCF108

The machine takes fully compostable ESE pods and ground coffee; €169.99 at Currys on sale.

For the purist, my money’s on the Francis Francis Illy X7.1 Espresso coffee maker, which looks fantastic in growling 1960s Italian whip-lash lines; from €201, cafeitalia.ie.

For Bauhaus-styling around the same price point, De’Longhi Nespresso Lattissima One is highly respected for milky coffee lovers, with plenty of parts that can go straight to the dishwasher, from €159 on sale and online including Amazon.

Follow consumer reviews to find the best machine for your available space, coffee tastes and budget (the milk features can add technical complexity and 30% more centimetres in width).

The choice is simply overwhelming on the shop floor and there’s a considerable up-tick in detailing from €100 to €150.

Keep in mind that automatic milk requires a separate pod (Dolce Gusto and Tassimo), which can push your spend per cup to well over 60c.

ICE, ICE BABY

Not having an icemaker integrated into a super fridge, and hating that urgent scrabble in the bowels of the freezer for slightly mouldy tasting cubes from last month, this icemaker caught our attention.

The Icebreaker Urban Mini Hand-Held Ice Cube Maker serves ice a cube at a time from an elegant, slightly retro hand crank right to your glass or at the table for your guests.

Sealed against leaks and odours it’s ready in eight hours and with its insulated body, take it out to the patio and leave it even in full sun for up to an hour ready for that sophisticated “clink clink” moment.

Very chill in a variety of colours including a fresh lemon yellow, €39.95, coolstuff.com.

MIX IT UP

KitchenAid K appeared in 1930 and is still the crowned countertop king of kitchen mixers, and held up year after year by the Good Housekeeping Institute (UK) as perfection for muscling and finessing cakes, breads and desserts with its tilt-head action.

What remains impressive in the age of the throw- away, swiftly obsolete appliance is its quality and engineering and that of its close companion in the winning stakes the 50s Retro Smeg SMF03, both in die-cast aluminium.

Yes, there are processors aplenty to do the same work — but if you’re leaving the machine on show it had better look this good.

Kitchen Aid Artisan
Kitchen Aid Artisan

That spend on 350w of industrial power, planetary action and looks might seem less than tasty, but whipping, beating and kneading many cheaper machines into submission these proven foodie favourites will potentially provide an heirloom.

Feel the quality and take a test drive in-store.

Smeg are vying with KitchenAid with additional food prep’ accessorising this year, including a new pasta roller set, a multi-food grinder, a slicer, a grater and a ravioli maker. From €430 for the 4.8l bowl at Currys.

Both machines can be left proudly on show (sans attachments) and the Smeg’s motor is housed in a jet engine-style bullet of colour and chrome.

The KitchenAid Artisan 4.8l (at Harvey Norman in red, just €329 during its big sale event, normally around €600), is comparable to far lighter, plastic, fugly machines and the worthy, sturdy Kenwood Kmix with its huge 1000w motor, 5l bowl and legions of devoted followers from sale prices of €279 at Argos in cream.

Kenwood Kmix
Kenwood Kmix

For added culinary talents, we remain impressed by the 22 branded plug n’ play KitchenAid accessories: the hang-on KitchenAid food processor at €229, meat grinder €149 and even a sausage stiffer, also powered by the machine at €29, kitchenaid.ie.

Got €300 to spend on something searingly modern? The Bosch MaxxiMum 3.9L offers excellent value and award-winning looks, with a 1,000w motor, patisserie set (professional beating whisk, professional flexible stirring whisk, kneading hook), continuous shredder with professional Supercut cutting disc, reversible shredding disc and grating disc.

From €250 on sale, did.ie.

HERB APPEAL

Counter culture: Some star kitchen appliance buys

With a 10-year anniversary edition out, the Smart Garden 3 is ideal for the determined plant killer who longs to grown their own herbs, but has no horticultural compassion in their bleak soul.

With seeds supplied in biodegradable plugins, an LED light to get us through the dark days, and a large 1.3l/three-week, self-managing reservoir to keep your victims alive — how can you fail? Smart Garden claims its system includes perfectly calibrated automated watering, light and nutrients; €99.95, eu.clickandgrow.com.

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