If you are about to select your first or a new espresso machine, use this guide to help you make an intelligent decision before you make a purchase.
They used to be found only on commercial coffee shops but nowadays, espresso machines are becoming a favorite equipment for home use. Espresso coffee machine sales represent a small 4% of all coffee makers sold each year, but that number should be on the rise, now that Starbucks has been shutting down a remarkable number of its local shops. Espresso coffee is one of the the top favorites of coffee drinkers. Its rich, potent and robust flavor, plus the shorter time it takes to brew has appealed to many.
Which Espresso Machine Should I Buy?
It can be a bit mind blowing trying to decide which model to buy. Whatever type you choose, see to it that it is solidly built to handle the pressure of built up heat and steam needed to concoct espressos and cappuccinos each day. A sturdy model for home use will run you about $200 for good base model. If you are interested in high end, the best and trusted models come up to about a thousand dollars or even higher.
4 Types of Espresso Machines
There are 4 types of espresso machines: manual, semi-automatic, automatic and fully automatic. All four types deliver fantastic coffee, but as you graduate from manual to fully automatic the amount of work you need to do decreases. That’s usually the norm on anything – when the amount of work involved decreases, the cost goes up. Some of the high-end automatic machines grind, measure, tamp, brew, serve and clean up with a single touch. They are perfectly suited for home and office use.
The Importance of Steam
Steam is a key feature for espresso coffee preparation. It is responsible for the required pressure to force water through the espresso granules. Steam is one of the considerations when looking for espresso machines. Lower end models can be a risky investment since durability and steam efficiency can be uncertain. Smaller models also speak of a lack of sufficient space that is essential to steam pressure build-up. The steaming process for milk can also turn to a big issue with these espresso machines. Some low-end models do not include a milk steaming feature. If they do then the pressure may be lacking on power that even making one good cappuccino is a labor-intensive production. On these basic models temperature and pressure cannot be controlled and steam build up might be a problem.
The boiler of the espresso machine heats up the water until it produces steam, and the pressure builds up until it is strong enough to drive the hot water through the coffee grounds. In pump-type espresso units, an electrically driven pump pushes hot water into a chamber where it blends with coffee.
Manual pump espresso machines are also available and cost a lot less. These pumps require lots of experimentation to master the steam building process. You need to put in the right amount of water and the best brewing time.