Espresso is a coffee beverage that is made by forcing pressurized steamed water through finely ground coffee beans. This particular brand of coffee is enjoyed by millions of coffee drinkers all over the world and it is estimated that at least 1.5 million people purchase an espresso machine every year.
While there is nothing like enjoying the fine taste of a fresh cup of espresso at a local coffee shop or restaurant, an espresso lover should consider making their own version of this drink at home.
Making a cup of espresso at home can be challenging since many people might not know which type of machine to use for the job. The information presented here aims to help you choose which is the best espresso machine for you.
The Top 5 Recommended Espresso Machines:
Types of Espresso Machines:
There are so many different types of espresso machines to choose from that it could easily frustrate a person with trying to figure out which one is the best to pick. Manufacturers have created 8 different designs for espresso machines.
- Steam Machines: Steam-driven machines work by forcing hot water through the coffee with the use of steam pressure.
- Piston Machines: This particular espresso machine uses a lever that is pumped by a person making the coffee drink. When the lever is pumped it produces a shot sized cup of espresso.
- Pump Machines: Pump machines are similar to the piston model but they do not use a lever. This particular espresso machine uses an internal pump to create a shot of coffee. There is also an electric pump version.
- Single Broiler Machines: Single broilers are designed to “brew” coffee but not steam the liquid. The machines only have a single broiler and they also come with the addition of a steam wand.
- Single Broiler, Dual Chamber: The Single Broiler, Dual Chamber uses a single chamber to heat water for brewing and to boil water for steaming milk. This machine takes some time to transition from heating water to steaming milk.
- Heat Exchanger: In short, a heat exchanger espresso unit uses a single broiler and a heat exchange unit to convert the temperature of steaming water into a brewing temperature.
- Dual Broiler: Dual broilers have two separate broiler chambers that are used to brewing and steaming water.
- Air-Pump Machines: Air-pump machines use compressed air to force to produce an espresso coffee. Users who have this machine must add hot water to the unit with the use of a kettle or flask. The compressed air is supplied by a hand pump or compressor.
These are the basic 8 types of espresso models that are available on the market today. Some of the machine types are easy to use such as the steam driven machines but others like the piston model take a lot more skill to operate.
“What Type of Espresso Machine Is Right for You?”
Best Espresso Machine – Automated or Manual:
Espresso coffee makers also have to decide if they want to purchase an automated or manual machine. Automated espresso machines are designed to make coffee on their own with little or no help from the owner.
An espresso coffee maker who decides to use a manual machine will be responsible for making the coffee with very little help from a machine.
Automated machines have valves, grinders, pumps, and sensors that help to facilitate the brewing process.
- Semi-automatic machines use a pump rather than manual force to deliver water.
- Automatic machines use pumps to push out a specified amount of water that is programmed to flow through a meter. Once the water passes through a meter the pumps shut off. Automatic espresso machine owners will still have to manually grind and tamp (pack) the coffee grounds.
- Super-automatic machines will grind the coffee, tamp it and extract the espresso without any help from the operator.
Semi-automatic and manual machines are used for controlling the shot quality of espresso. Semi-automatic machines also produce espresso at a faster rate.
Super-automatic machines do not allow a person to interfere with the espresso making process which means that an owner cannot control the quality of espresso that is being produced.
Manual Pump Machines:
A manual pump machine is listed in a class all by itself because this type of machine requires skill and knowledge to operate.
Manual espresso machines will require an individual to carry out the process of making a cup of espresso from start to finish on their own. They will have to learn how to grind the beans, pack them in into a machine and how to deliver the steaming water at the proper temperature and pressure.
A person will also have to purchase a coffee grinder with a manual pump machine.
The Most Popular Brands of Espresso Machines:
There are many manufacturers that produce espresso machines and some of the most recognized brands include Krups, Mr. Coffee, Starbucks, Nespresso, Braun, Bialetti, Capresso, and Saeco.
Mr. Coffee and Krups machines dominate the market since many consumers buy at least one of these two models. However, other brands such as Nespresso, Starbucks, and Braun all produce espresso machines that are highly rated in the market.
How to Choose the Best from All these Brands?
Above mentioned manufacturers are just the most popular espresso machine brands. There are much more in the market to choose from.
Everyone from these manufacturers has a good reputation, positive and negative reviews about their products in various Internet resources and wide price range of their products.
You can ask yourself, which one to choose from all these espresso machine brands? Let’s try to answer this confusing question.
When you make your decision about any of espresso machine brands is advisable to pay attention to several circumstances.
First of all reviews about products are important. Nevertheless, reviews always will be both positive, and negative. Different people always have a different opinion, wishes, and preferences, what is normal.
However, if positive reviews dominate in reviews that are a very good sign. Usually, people trouble themselves for writing reviews when they are unhappy about something.
There are more opportunities that somebody will write about something bad than something good. If appliance works perfectly there is no need to worry about. But if appliance broke or don’t work well everybody will feel sorry or maybe even angry and wants to share this experience and warn others about it. It’s in human nature.
Secondly, you can take a look how long time the company act in the market. Fairly long experience in the market is quite an excellent mark. To get more data and additional information about criteria to pay your attention when to choose your appliance for coffee making you can read more advises and suggestions in coffee maker page.
Nowadays almost all manufacturers produce all types of these appliances. The price of the machine could depend on brand name popularity, materials used in process of production and almost from its type. The most automated equipment the most expensive it is.
How to Choose from Espresso Machines Best One for You?
First, answer these questions to pick best espresso machine for yourself.
- What is the acceptable price range for your espresso maker?
- What type of espresso machines do you like best?
- What amount of espresso do you want to produce at one time?
- Is the size of machine important for you?
- How much time can you afford to prepare your espresso (especially in the morning)?
- How about the cleaning of the equipment?
“Choosing an Espresso Machine”
What is the Acceptable Price Range for Your Espresso Machine?
This is a very significant question. If you make a decision about the price range you can afford or are ready to spend for buying espresso machine at the very beginning, it will help you to find between espresso machines best one exactly for you and will make next searching more easily and will help you not waste time.
Currently, prices are in very wide range – from $30 till several thousand. Price depends on the type of espresso machine. As well the more automated is the process of preparing espresso the higher is the price of the appliance and the more you demand from your coffee maker the higher is the price.
We can advise taking into account that more automated mechanisms require not only read manuals but even follow them. That is usually a great problem for us. We don’t like to read manuals. That’s why we prefer simple mechanisms.
However, the best espresso machines are super automatic exactly because of technical solutions which allow preparing the best quality espresso coffee.
When you make a decision between different types of machines it is better to decide about it at the very beginning. This is the second choice after price which is suitable to take at the very beginning of your searching.
Besides, don’t worry, it is absolutely possible to find from all types of espresso machines best espresso machine for your current needs. The offer of these appliances is wide and interesting.
What Amount of Espresso do You Want to Produce at One Time?
If you live with large family and every member of your family prepare at least one or two espressos daily than you would have to have more powerful machine rather than you live alone. For example, if the size of the water reservoir is 42 ounce of water it allows you to prepare approximately 10 cups of espresso before refilling.
Is the Size of the Machine is Important for You?
All espresso machines are almost the same size. However, you have to take into account that super automatic will take up less room than semi automatic appliances.
For example, super automatic machines already have a built-in grinder. You wouldn’t have to think where you will put your grinder. That is a great advantage especially if you have a small kitchen.
Capsule’s espresso machines even don’t need a grinder. You just need capsules with already grounded coffee. In this case, you will have to decide where you will keep coffee capsules.
If the only place to put your appliance is under kitchen sideboard than better before buying espresso machine make certain that there is enough place for it. There could be several specific features of construction that could be better to take into account before you decide which one from several selected machines best fits in your kitchen.
For example, lids of water reservoirs or built-in grinders mostly open upwards. The water reservoir can be removed mostly upwards. You should consider does your chosen place will be convenient where to put your machine if you will have to refill water reservoir in two or three days. In those cases take a closer look at these features of construction to make your best choice.
How Much Time can you Afford to Spend While Preparing Your Espresso?
Capsule espresso machines are best in this regard: they are very easy to use. You only have to put in a capsule and push the button. These are the best espresso machines for lazy people or people who can hardly wake up in the early mornings and always are in a great hurry but can’t imagine the day without a cup of espresso.
As well as super automatic machines will make a shot after you will push the button. You just have to assure that there are enough whole coffee beans in your machine’s grinder and the water tank is full of water. After your espresso will be ready super automatic machine will clean itself out. It is very convenient, isn’t it?
Steam driven and semi automatic machines require much more time for preparing. You will have to do everything by yourself – grind coffee, tamp and so on. However, these are the best espresso machines for people who like to do work by their own hands and be the experts.
How about the Cleaning of the Equipment?
It is better to clean your machine as manufacturers advice so you will avoid unpleasant surprises. Milk frother has to be cleaned after each time of use without any exceptions to avoid blocking of equipment. However, this is very easy to do and don’t requires even a minute.
Even the best espresso machine requires being cleaned at least after every 300 cups. If you prepare approximately three cups of coffee every day than you can count that cleaning of the whole appliance has to be made every three months. In case if you have hard water than it is advisable to clean your machine more frequently.
As you see that is fairly easy to pick the best espresso machine suited for your taste. You just have to decide what characteristics are more important for your needs, wishes or some additional circumstances. In some cases, these circumstances could be very significant.
For example, if you have to get up early in the morning while another family still sleep you have to take into account that almost all coffee makers are pretty noisy especially super automatic machines because of built-in grinders. This problem could be solved if you choose already grounded coffee.