The breakfast essentials every kitchen needs

We know the first meal of the day is serious business, so we consulted an expert in the kitchen on how to pick the essentials to help make your mornings run smoothly and deliciously.

Breakfast is the time of the day when many of us grab our first cup of coffee, make a soothing brew of tea or rely on the humble toaster to produce a crispy slice of sourdough for our smashed avocado on toast. With this in mind, we spoke to appliances expert Gary Brown, senior brand manager at Harvey Norman, to find out what you need to know before investing in a new kettle, toaster or coffee machine for your home.

According to Gary, when buying breakfast essentials, it’s important to be across the latest technological innovations, and decide what features you really need. For example, toasters of the future are set to be driven by smart technology and some high-end models are equipped with the ability to pre-set toasting preferences for colour and crispiness. As kettles are predominantly now used by tea-drinkers, you can buy options with pre-sets for specific types of tea, such as black or green tea, to optimise your brew.

“Further innovations include extra-fast boiling times of two minutes or less, and models that can maintain the temperature of boiled water for up to 20 minutes,” says Gary. But coffee machine tech has gone further than that – new machines allow you to program your personal preferences into the machine, so it can make the perfect cup, bean options and all, at the touch of a single button. “Some machines have app capabilities, so you can make a coffee using your phone,” he says. So let’s get started!

1. a warm and toasty toaster

Toasters vary wildly in price, starting at $30 for a basic model and skyrocketing up to $1000 for a Smeg by Dolce & Gabbana collaboration. However Harvey Norman’s Gary Brown tells us you can get a reliable, tech-savvy model for around $130. “The difference in pricing reflects the consistency of even toasting and the toaster’s ability to efficiently cope with café-style breads and large quantities,” he says. For particular eaters who have specific toast preferences, Gary recommends investing in a model that offers control over the heat and time the bread spends in the machine. “Some of the more expensive models also have automatic functions that toast to a pre-set preference at the touch of a button, and I recommend a four-slice or extra-large toaster for families or those who prefer Turkish or sourdough bread,” he says. If you plan to keep your appliances on the kitchen bench – as seen on the left – be sure to select an aesthetic that reflects your scheme. A retro Smeg toaster may suit a country kitchen, while stainless steel is best for contemporary kitchens.

Photographer: Annette O’Brien

2. a coffee machine for your caffeine fix

Coffee machines range from a couple of hundred dollars up to $4000. “For those who prefer black coffee, you only need a basic machine that uses beans or pods, but doesn’t froth milk,” says Gary. “For the casual flat white or cappuccino drinkers, a mid-range machine that has both coffee and milk-frothing capabilities is best, but serious caffeine connoisseurs that crave control over their beans, pour and milk need a high-end machine.” Coffee machines that use pods are easy to use and clean, while automatic machines allow you to select your own beans without having to do the work yourself. A fully manual machine hands control over to the user entirely. These chic machines are now a centrepiece in many kitchens, as seen at left, so ensure your machine has space to shine by keeping surrounding pieces at a minimum.

Photographer: Simon Whitbread

3. put the kettle on

While most people purchase a kettle and toaster in a set, and look for colourways to match their kitchen, Gary explains that colour options and design-led shapes will cost more. Kettles range in price from $20 to triple figures, but you should be able to nab a pretty kettle with a long shelf life and reliable performance between $100 and $130. “Kettles are now predominantly used by the tea drinkers in the household,” says Gary. “As standard sizing for kettles is between 1.4L and 1.7L across the board, capacity isn’t really an issue.” Ensure the tech in your kettle reflects the way you’ll use it and store it – an electric kettle is best for benchtops, as seen at right. A stovetop design is nostalgic and a chic choice for eclectic interiors.

A café-quality coffee machine is an essential ingredient in every contemporary kitchen. This one is an ECM benchtop coffee machine.

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