Published on December 7th, 2009 | by Greg0
Sexy Toast and Espresso From Bodum and Krups
Breakfast can be sexy. We’ve got some great kitchen items coming up a bit closer to Christmas, and can’t wait to tell you about items from Fagor, Cuisinart, Zojirushi, Tribest, and Kyocera among others. But today, we’re looking at two of the best names in their respective kitchen arenas. Krups is well known for their coffee gear, and Bodum for their glassware and small appliances. We’ve got one neat, new piece of kitchen gadgetry from each that would look great under your tree this year.
We last saw Bodum when checking out their grinder and nifty travel mug, and are happy to report that their toaster continues the standard set previously. This isn’t a case where a pretty face masks the flaws- this is a decent toaster with a beautiful outside. Looks can be more than skin deep, and the Bodum Bistro Toaster puts your cheap bargain toasters to shame. Breads and bagels brown evenly and consistently, and the 900 watts of power mean that it’s reasonably fast to boot. Adjustable slots mean that most anything will fit and turn out pretty well.
As with most toasters, there is a removable crumb tray and a few settings to help you get your English muffins or your Toaster Strudels done just right. Unlike many, there is a pop-up warming rack- is a nice addition that we ended up using more often than expected when making a getting the rest of a breakfast ready. But the design is definitely what sets this unit apart; guests will ooh and aah and ask about the sleek exterior. The unit is sturdy stainless steel with a rubberized finish, lending the unit an interesting texture. And it’s available in a wide set of colors- ours was a neutral off-white, but funkier red, yellow, purple, and green units are available, among others. $80 isn’t bad for an appliance that can catch the eye and do a great job preparing your PopTarts perfectly, and neither you nor your pastries will regret upgrading from some plastic monstrosity. Available online and in stores.
You might remember Krups from our juicer review, from their line of BeerTenders (which we’ve been trying to test), or excellent waffle makers. But they also make a wide line of coffee machines, from automatic drip machines to those including built-in grinders. Today, we’ve got the Krups XP5240 Precise Tamp Espresso Machine in house, and we’ve been letting our elves get their fill of espresso. Now, we’re coffee lovers here, and are pretty partial to our single-cup brewers and the pod espresso machine we’ve put through the paces. So we were impressed to find out that this machine makes espresso super-simple, and still produces excellent results.
Not only can you use any ground coffee to make your brew, you can use the E.S.E. espresso pods as well. And the single best part of the machine is in the title- the precise tamping mechanism. See, at your local coffee shop, one of the barista’s main tasks is preparing and pulling a good shot of espresso. Assuming properly, finely ground beans, the next trick is the right quantity- and the Krups machine uses some sort of magic to help steer clear of the usual problems here, detecting the quantity and dispensing water appropriately for your desired one or two shots. The final measure is the tamp- the coffee must be tightly packed, evenly pressed- and here again the Krups comes to the rescue, doing a decent job of handling the tamping for you. We liked that the unit heats up fast, in under a minute, less time than many machines. And the XP5240 feels solid and sturdy, and is relatively easy to clean, and produces a nice crema. The steam nozzle, for milk frothing, works surprisingly well considering the size of the unit, though you will have to switch between modes to use it and that can take some time. Overall though, it’s hard to fault this unit- it looks great in any modern kitchen, and manages a nice balance between ease of use, cleanliness, quality, and the all-important price. At only $265 or so, it’s the best espresso maker in it’s class.