An espresso machine allows you to enjoy the best Italian-style coffee at home or at the office, a quality coffee to meet your needs and stimulate your senses.
The variety of espresso machines is quite wide and this can make it difficult to choose your coffee maker, but make sure you take the time to think about what best suits your needs and budget.
What are the criteria to consider?
Deciding how much you want to spend helps you narrow down the list of espresso machines you’re going to buy. The good news is that there is a wide range of espresso machine offers, with excellent value for money.
Taking into account the space available for the location of your coffeemaker is important. Fortunately, there are machines that fit in tight spaces. In the worst case, choose one that you can easily store.
If you only want to make espresso, buy one that only makes coffee. If you want to make espresso with milk or cappuccino, for example, choose a machine with a steam tube to create froth. As for the quality of the coffee, it’s important to take pressure into account; the more bars a machine applies, the better your espresso coffee will be.
Another important issue is the use of ground coffee. Some espresso machines include the possibility to grind coffee. But if you want to use freshly ground coffee, you can always buy a coffee grinder separately. Cleaning and maintenance should also be considered, as some systems require more effort than others.
Choose an espresso coffee machine model that uses a pump as the driving mechanism if you want a coffeemaker with a spray tube for liquids, as they need a system to heat water and steam. You can also choose between a coffeemaker with a single boiler for coffee and steam or a double boiler.
The semi-automatic espresso machine
The semi-automatic type is the most common, with an electric stirring pump that is manually activated and deactivated by the user. These machines are relatively simple to operate, but (with a lever) require manual intervention. Most semi-automatic models are relatively simple mechanically and often do not have complex printed circuit boards or internal mechanisms.
With a little practice and good quality coffee, you can produce an authentic espresso coffee with a thick crema. This type of coffee machine is preferable if you just want a good, fast espresso and don’t have much interest in experimenting or investing in a good grinder. It requires a little more practice and a very fine grind, but the results can be amazing.
The Super-Automatic Espresso Machine
The super-automatic espresso machines are sophisticated; the mechanism goes from bean to cup by simple knobs. They use an integrated coffee grinder and brewing mechanisms that automatically grind the coffee, fill and settle, brew a predetermined volume of espresso and then dispose of the internal waste. Each cycle usually lasts a few minutes. This model can also froth milk for cappuccino or latte preparation using a steam nozzle or an automatic milk frothing system depending on the model.
It requires more counter space than semi-automatic machines, some models can be quite large, although smaller models are also available.
There are also capsule espresso machines which are the ultimate in convenience and are ideal for offices, restaurants and other catering operations as well as at home. Simply insert a pre-filled capsule of ground coffee into the espresso machine and at the touch of a button produce a rich, thick, authentic espresso.