Which sort of espresso machine is best for me?
Whether you are an aspiring home barista literally starting to experiment with different coffee drinks or an expert with years of experience making your favorite java, selecting a new espresso coffee machine can be a daunting task.
There are a number of features to consider when buying your machine, including quality, maintenance, size, ease fuse of work with, location and, of course, cost. Countless companies offer a number of models nevertheless choosing the level of automation might be the most important element in your espresso coffee machine purchase decision.
The coffee purist will often select a manual machine allowing complete control of every part of the brewing method, including grinding the beans and pumping the lever to generate the pressure necessary to pull a shot. But, the majority of passionate coffee-lovers will select a semi-automatic, automatic, or super-automatic espresso coffee machine because they can produce an wonderful espresso coffee with less effort.
Why brew at home?
Convenience and value. There’s nothing like waking up and pulling a shot of espresso in your PJs, especially during the weekends, when you really don’t want to leave your house early in the morning. You also save tons of dollars by brewing at home as opposed to paying the high prices at local coffee shops.
Nervous at the prospect of making in home espresso? Don’t be. The machines comes with a quick start guide to lead you through the process. You can also consult this great espresso brewing guide for more in depth knowledge.
Types of coffee crafted with an espresso machine
Espresso coffee is a coffee-brewing technique developed in Italy that produces a strong shot of caffé characterized by the crema, a dense layer of foam on its surface. Hot water at high pressure (usually 9 bars) is forced through a tightly packed filter basket of finely ground coffee beans.
Most coffee drinks consist of three essential ingredients: espresso, steamed milk and foam. The following are actually a few of the bevande al caffè available at coffee shops that you can make at home with an espresso machine.
- Espresso: Sometimes spoken about as a short black, the espresso is a single demitasse (“half cup”) of approximately 1 oz. of highly bold coffee, usually sipped with sugar.
- Espresso coffee doppio: A double shot of espresso coffee for coffee drinkers seeking an extra caffeine punch.
- Cappuccino: A favorite early morning ingest consisting of about one-third espresso, one-third hot milk, capped off with one-third foam, and often served with artistic designs floating on top.
- Caffé latte: One or two espresso coffee shots, combined with a greater proportion of milk to coffee than a cappuccino, produce a weaker and milkier taste without the acidity and bitterness of coffee.
- Espresso macchiato: An espresso marked (macchiato in Italian) or topped off with a small quantity of hot foamed milk.
- Latte Macchiato: A demitasse of espresso coffee is slowly poured into a 10-ounce glass half-filled with hot foamed milk producing a ingest with graduated coffee color layers.
- Americano: Hot water is added to an espresso coffee producing a consume like a representative Filter coffee, however with more caffeine.
Advantages of a manual espresso coffee machine
- Complete control over the brewing process: The operator of a manual espresso not only controls the pressure with the pump lever but ought to also grind the coffee beans, weigh out the correct dosage, pack and tamp the portafilter. Once the right combination of factors is found, the barista can create the “ideal” espresso with maximum flavor every time.
- Quality of espresso: Even though high-quality super-automatic espresso machines allow users to fine-tune and calibrate their coffee to make superb espresso, the best manual machines can outperform them when used appropriately.
- Satisfaction from the art of manual brewing: Operating a manual machine offers a “hands-on” experience requiring the barista’s focus and precision. The procedure of pulling your own shot can be more satisfying than pushing a button on a machine that does it for you.
- An attractive kitchen appliance: The classic look of a manual espresso coffee machine offers an aesthetically pleasing conversation piece for the home kitchen.
Disadvantages of a manual espresso machine
- Practice steeps fantastic (lots of it): Dedication, practice and consistency are necessary to produce a better espresso with a manual machine than an automatic one. Even some coffee fanatics claim the procedure is cumbersome and the manual labor necessary produces only marginally better results.
- Physically exhausting: Pumping the lever can be exhausting, indeed more tiring than pushing the button on an automatic espresso machine.
- Needs a separate grinder: Brewing an espresso coffee with a manual machine calls for grinding the beans to the desired coarseness using a separate mill, while super-automatic espresso coffee machines have a built-in bean coffee mill.
Perfect manual espresso coffee machine
Manual: Flair Espresso coffee Maker – Classic We like the Flair Classic Espresso Maker Classic model for the professional extent espresso shots it makes as well as its unique aesthetic design, compact form and reasonable price.
Automatic espresso coffee machines
Automatic espresso machines can be divided into three subcategories: semi-automatic, fully-automatic, and super-automatic. While each has its own features, none of them require pumping a lever to pull a shot of espresso.
Semi-automatic espresso coffee machine
The semi-automatic espresso coffee machine uses a motorized pump to generate enough pressure to pass hot water through the coffee grinds. Nevertheless, you have control over the shot timing, allowing you to pull a shot that suits your taste. Like a manual machine, you still needs to grind the beans, weigh the desired dosage, and tamp the finely ground coffee in the portafilter.
Fully-automatic espresso machine
The fully-automatic machine takes the espresso coffee technique one step further. You can just push a button to pull a shot, with no stress (or control) over the timing. You will still need to grind the beans in a separate grinding machine, dosage and tamp.
Super-automatic espresso coffee machine
A notch above the fully-automatic machine, the super-automatic grinds, doses and tamps your beans for you before automatically pulling the shot. Some machines will even steam the milk for a cappuccino. The best models offer programmable options that provide some control over the brew, however less than a semi-automatic or manual machine.
Benefits of an Automatic Espresso coffee Machine
- Convenient to use: All the automatic machines take less time to make that great cup than the manual machines.
- Minimal cleanup: An espresso coffee brewed with an automatic machine produces less water spillage and no loose coffee grounds.
- No barista skills required: The high-end super-automatic machines do everything with a simple press of a button.
- No practice needed: Pulling a good quality shot on a manual espresso machine takes skill and practice. The automatic machines require none.
Drawbacks of an automatic espresso machine
- Lack of complete control: Even though the high-end super-automatic machines provide more control of the final product, none of the automatic models allow complete control like the manual machines for pulling an espresso shot.
- Cost may be exorbitant: The super-automatic machines are the a lot of expensive models and may be cost-prohibitive for lots of users. The less expensive machines offer less flexibility.
- A learning curve may be required: While the semi-automatic machines allow more control, the user may be necessary to experiment until the right combination produces the perfect espresso coffee.
- A less attractive kitchen appliance: The attractiveness of any kitchen appliance is subjective, nevertheless most automatic espresso coffee machines won’t provide a manual machine’s classic retro look.
Best automatic espresso machines
Super-automatic: Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine
The Barista Express has a built-in burr grinding machine and customizable settings that permit the home barista to consistently produce fantastic espresso. The affordable super-automatic machine is easy to clean, and its stainless-steel design steeps it an attractive addition to any kitchen counter.
Fully-automatic: De’Longhi ESAM04110S Magnifica Fully Automatic Espresso coffee Machine
We like the De’Longhi Magnifica for its programming options. While the default settings produce an excellent espresso, customizing them to your taste will automatically produce a cup crafted to your preferred temperature, richness and density.
Semi-automatic: Espresso Works Espresso Machine and Cappuccino Maker
The high-pressure frother on the EspressoWorks Espresso coffee Machine and Cappuccino Maker brews café quality lattes, macchiatos, americanos and cappuccinos. The low price steeps it an attractive preference for coffee drinkers who prefer milk-based drinks.
Which type of espresso machine must I buy?
Manual machines with total control over the espresso-making technique are ideal for coffee enthusiasts with the passion and patience for creating the wonderful shot. However if you are a coffee lover with high standards and little time for making a delicious espresso, an automatic machine is the right option for you.
Jeff Harper is a writer for BestReviews.
BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
This article was firstly published here, and it was adapted for our blog for our section about Espresso.