It takes effect, for example, in the event of damage caused by heavy rain and floods

It takes effect, for example, in the event of damage caused by heavy rain and floods

Some of the devices themselves are also very cheap. "Expensive models hardly offer any advantages", so the Stiftung Warentest. In the last test of 15 filter coffee machines (12/2011), a 25 euro device brewed the best coffee. At least as important, however, is that you can easily prepare larger quantities with the filter coffee machine. Anyone expecting a larger company would be poorly served with a single portion coffee machine alone. By the time the last one finally has his coffee, the first one would have drunk it long ago.

The trend is towards a second coffee machine

However, the filter coffee machine alone is no longer enough for many people. If you just want to quickly brew a single cup, it takes significantly longer than a single-portion coffee machine. In addition, filter coffee machines are anything but all-rounders. You cannot prepare espresso, cappuccino and latte macchiato with them. "The trend is towards a second machine", has been observing coffee expert Preibisch for a number of years. According to him, there were already two coffee machines in around every third German household (33.7 percent) in 2013. In 2009 it was only 23 percent of households.

Coffee machines with capsules brew delicious, but quite expensive coffee

For a quick cup in between, capsule or pad coffee machines are ideal. You can use it to prepare your hot drink in just a minute. The coffee comes ready-portioned into the machine either in the form of aluminum or plastic capsules or in cellulose pads. Capsule machines deliver quite good results in terms of taste, product tester Dammschneider praises. The capsules often contain very high quality coffee, explains specialist Preibisch. Since capsule machines work with high pressure, they can also be used to brew espresso with real crema. In addition, the cleaning effort is very low.

The price per capsule starts at around 25 cents and the coffee is therefore comparatively expensive. For special flavors or noble varieties, more than 40 cents per capsule are due. From an ecological point of view, capsule machines do not do well either. "They cause a lot of rubbish, the aluminum or plastic capsules pollute the environment", complains Susanne Heutling from the Federal Environment Agency.

Pad coffee machines do not bind consumers to one manufacturer

Both in terms of price per cup and in terms of the eco-balance, pad coffee machines are better off. The coffee pads can simply be disposed of with organic waste. The production is also less energy-intensive than with aluminum capsules. In terms of price, even branded coffee, at 13 to 14 cents per pad, is well below the cost of coffee capsules. In addition, you are not limited to a specific manufacturer.theme statement of to kill a mockingbird You can also easily use the coffee pods of other brands or pads from the discounter, which then cost a few cents less.

In terms of taste, the coffee from the pad machine lies somewhere between filter coffee and espresso, says goods tester Dammschneider. Similar to the capsule machines, handling is simple and the cleaning effort is relatively low. Like the capsule machines, coffee machines with pads are hardly suitable for entertaining several guests at once and are therefore particularly suitable as a supplement to the filter coffee machine.

Fully automatic coffee machines are a good choice for heavy drinkers who love variety

Fully automatic coffee machines are by far the most expensive to buy. But they are extremely versatile. "You can make cappuccino, espresso or latte macchiato at the push of a button", explains Dammschneider. Although this should supposedly also be possible with capsules and pads, one should often not expect a tasty treat. "Real latte macchiato is prepared with real espresso and fresh milk, not with flavored milk powder or milk from a capsule"According to a conclusion by Stiftung Warentest, after the latte macchiato made from capsules and pads in particular was rated poorly in the sensory test.

Good fully automatic coffee machines, on the other hand, have an integrated coffee grinder, water tank and often a frothing nozzle for the milk. This allows the various coffee specialties to be prepared in barista quality. For those who drink a lot, the high purchase price is less important. Because during operation, the price per cup is about the same as for filter coffee machines and thus significantly below the costs that are incurred for pods or even capsules. Another advantage according to goods tester dam cutter: "You can brew larger quantities faster and have more options."

Fully automatic coffee machines require intensive cleaning and maintenance

The downside of the extensive equipment, however, reveals itself in the cleaning and maintenance effort. The all-rounders need a lot of care. "Regular descaling is essential"says Dammschneider. In addition, coffee residue should always be thoroughly removed from inside the machine. "Hygiene is particularly important when frothing milk." In everyday practice this means: Clean the hoses and nozzle every day after use. "Since coffee contains many oils and oxidizes, cleaning the bean tank is also important", adds Preibisch. Otherwise a brown layer of fat will quickly form on the walls of the tank.

Stiftung Warentest: fully automatic coffee machines put to the test For the best aroma: filter coffee machines with grinder

Alternatives to electric coffee makers

A good and cheap alternative to electric coffee machines can be espresso makers, which are especially popular in Italy. These small aluminum jugs are used on the stove. "They deliver mocha that is close to espresso", explains Dammschneider. Preibisch believes that the so-called Karlsbader jug, which was used to prepare coffee a hundred years ago, also provides a good taste result for household use. You don’t need to use a paper filter here because the jug already contains a porcelain filter. "The big advantage is that porcelain is tasteless and the filter can be cleaned very easily."

When landlords announce a rent increase, tenants should act. Because rent increases are very often incorrect. The Stiftung Warentest points this out in the February issue of its Finanztest magazine. Resistance can therefore be worthwhile for the tenant. In some cases, even the entire rent increase is ineffective.

Rent increase: Tenants do not have to pay for these mistakes Tenancy law: The most common rip-off tricks used by landlords Rent, deposit, repairs: Rental agreement – important rules and ineffective clauses Tenancy law: Heating failure in winter: Rent reduction of up to 100 percent permitted No equal rights for all tenants: Tenancy Law – Nine Persistent Mistakes Repairing Made Easy Tenancy Law: Court rulings and tips on the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords

Rental prices in Germany are rising massively, especially in the attractive metropolitan areas. Many landlords and housing associations enforce substantial rent increases every year. But mistakes can make the rent increase ineffective so that a tenant no longer has to pay it.

Clear rules apply to rent increases

According to Finanztest, the rent of privately financed apartments should only increase every 15 months. The upper limit is increases of 20 percent within three years. In addition, the landlord must adhere to certain rules when increasing the rent, explain the experts. For example, the rent may only be increased up to the so-called local comparative rent.

Experts can uncover mistakes in rent increases

Not infrequently, however, the landlord made mistakes which in individual cases could even make the entire rent increase ineffective. In any case, an incorrect rent increase is open to attack. Finanztest advises tenants to seek thorough advice before responding to a rent increase letter – for example from a local tenants’ association.

Rent increases due to apportionable investments

In the case of rent increases as a result of modernization, the following applies: The landlord may allocate eleven percent of the costs to the annual rent. However, the investment must improve energy efficiency or the quality of living in the long term. Maintenance costs for renovation and repairs are not included. In addition, the tenant can stop the modernization in cases of hardship – and thus the rent increase. Landlords are allowed to pass these investment and renovation costs on to the rent.

Serious accident at a traditional festival: after the fat explosion in a frying pan, a woman died from her injuries. There are first insights into the course of the accident.

At a traditional festival in Freudenberg-Alchen in Siegerland, there was a fat explosion in a large frying pan with 14 injured. Initially, six of them were in mortal danger, said a police spokesman on Sunday in Siegen. On Monday morning, a 67-year-old died from her serious injuries and died in hospital. Another woman was still in mortal danger. The seriously injured were flown by helicopter to special clinics in the Ruhr area and to Cologne.

Oil must have dripped onto the gas burner

At the time of the accident it is said to have rained in Freudenberg. It was initially unclear whether rainwater got into the hot fat and thus triggered the explosion. According to initial findings, oil that had dripped onto the gas burner under the pan evidently caused a flash of fire. In the opinion of the authorities, however, it was probably not a gas explosion. The criminal police started an investigation.

According to a police spokesman, the exploded frying pan was double-walled – so there was a space in between. In the gap there was most likely oil, as the spokesman said, citing the findings of a fire expert at the scene of the accident. Apparently there was overpressure before the accident, as a result of which the oil leaked out of the pan through holes and flowed onto the flame of the gas burner. The further investigations should now clarify why the overpressure was created by which the pan was, as it were, inflated.


California: 33 bodies recovered on excursion boat after fire infernoSafety: How do you put out burning fat in the kitchen?

 The so-called "Backesfest" an old village bakery is traditionally put into operation. Rescue workers, fire brigade and police rushed to the scene with a larger number. The police could not initially say how many people were visiting the festival at the time of the explosion.

Sources used: news agencies dpa, AFP

Household contents insurance is sensible protection. In some cases there are considerable differences in both price and performance. "Financial test" has subjected the policies to a test. The most expensive tariffs cost up to five times as much as the cheapest. Insured persons should be careful with old contracts. In many cases there is a risk of underinsurance.

Stiftung Warentest has for the magazine "Financial test" 144 tariffs tested by 60 providers. For insurance customers, in addition to the scope of the insurance benefit, the tariffs also play a role when choosing a household insurance. What many do not know: These depend largely on the insured person’s place of residence. Especially in cities with many break-ins, the premiums are usually higher than in cities with a low risk of break-ins. Stiftung Warentest used two model cities as a basis for the comparison of household insurance: Munich, with a low risk of burglary, and Cologne, with a high risk.

Significant price differences between the tested policies

In the best case scenario, for example, a customer pays 56 euros a year to protect the contents of the same apartment in Munich – as with the Black Forest. In the most expensive case, customers had to shell out 277 euros at Arag – almost five times as much. In Cologne, the low tariff costs 131 euros a year with the media, while the most expensive insurer, Allianz, charges 516 euros for it. None of the tariffs tested include any protection against natural hazards. (Source: Finanztest 4/2018).

Insurance against natural hazards

Insurance customers can also book protection against natural hazards with their contents insurance. It takes effect, for example, in the event of damage caused by heavy rain and floods.

Here, too, there are significant differences in the tariffs. While the cheaper providers in the Munich area are already with 72 euros (Black Forest), 77 euros (media) or 83 euros (Docura), customers in Cologne have to dig deeper into their pockets again. The cheapest provider is again the media with 156 euros, followed by the Black Forest with 162 euros and the Ammerländer with 192 euros. With the most expensive policy in Cologne, Allianz is once again in the lead with 650 euros for a household insurance including natural hazard insurance – almost twice as much as the most expensive tariff with Zurich for the city of Munich at 344 euros (source: Finanztest 4/2018).

Tip: When choosing a natural hazard insurance, insurance customers should not only look at the tariff, but also at a possible deductible including the minimum and maximum participation, which can amount to several thousand euros. 

Insurance companies are also picky and have exclusion criteria: While some of them carry out a case-by-case check in the event of damage, other insurance companies exclude houses and properties that are located in ZÜRS zones 3 to 4 from insurance cover. Others check whether there have already been previous claims or insurance claims in the last five or ten years.

ZÜRS zones: To calculate risk, the insurers have developed the zoning system for floods, backwater and heavy rain – called ZÜRS Geo for short. There are four ZÜRS zones, with 1 standing for low risk and 4 for high risk.

What is an underinsurance waiver?

Insurance customers should consider one more thing: the risk of underinsurance. This particularly affects customers who took out their home contents insurance years ago and did not adapt it to their changing living conditions. In this case, policyholders run the risk that the actual value of the risk no longer corresponds to the sum insured. Then the damage will not be charged in full but on a pro rata basis. Customers are left with some of the damage.

To counter this, policyholders can also agree to an underinsurance waiver with their insurance companies.