Unlike regular drip coffee makers, espresso machines make coffee by forcing less water through the coffee blends, at high pressure, usually up to 8 or more bars of pressure. This process produces the significantly tastier and more flavourful coffee used in Espressos, lattes, and cappuccinos.
There are many models of Espresso machines available in the market, designed to fit varying needs and budgets. There are semi-automatic, automatic, and super-automatic Espresso machines. Not to talk of other added bells and whistles; grinders, frothers, etcetera. We can blame no one for getting spoilt for choice, given the sheer number of available options. To make the selection more simple for you, we’ve tested several Espresso machines, graded them based on their performances using specific parameters, and listed them in the table below.
Why Should You Choose an Espresso Machine?
To get these coffee variants at any commercial coffeehouse would cost you about $2 for Espressos, $3 for lattes, and $4 for cappuccinos. This adds up substantially, especially if you, like most people, drink coffee every morning. Simply purchasing an Espresso machine helps you cut all of these costs, making it even more convenient for you to enjoy your coffee every morning. But, purchasing an espresso machine should not just be about saving costs. Below are four reasons, apart from cost-saving, why you should choose an espresso machine.
It Saves Time.
Espresso machines save time on making coffee. Because the machine relies on pressure instead of the drip method to extract coffee, it shortens the production time to between 20 and 30 seconds. So, instead of having to wait in line for your favorite coffee drink at a coffeehouse, the machine will produce it for you, in the comfort of your home, in just 30 seconds. It’s a no-brainer!
It Gives You Full Control
Espresso machines put you in complete control of producing your coffee. With regular drip coffee makers, you can only get one typical kind of coffee. But, with espresso machines, you get to control many factors and produce the coffee just as you like it. Most people pay commercial coffeehouses because of the several details that they can choose about their coffee. With an espresso machine, you can do the same.
It Affords You Variations
Unlike other coffee maker models that only produce one kind of coffee drink, choosing an espresso machine allows you to explore many different options. You can choose to have lattes, macchiatos or cappuccinos. What better way to spice up your daily coffee ritual than with variety?
It Makes You a Better Host
Coffee has always been credited as a beautiful tool of socialization. Not only is it a great conversation starter, but so many deals also get sealed over coffee. It creates a somewhat cheery atmosphere. And it is much better when it is to the taste of your visitors. With an espresso machine, you can proudly hand your boss that cup of iced cappuccino that you know he likes instead of just regular coffee.
What to Look for
When picking an espresso machine, you have to look out for a couple of factors to ensure that whichever one you pick is the one most suited to your lifestyle.
- Budget: The first thing to do is to create a budget. Acquaint yourself with the average prices of espresso machines, and then note down how much you are willing to spend. With that in mind, you can begin to look out for espresso machine models that fit your budget.
- Preferred Coffee Drink: Despite producing a wide range of coffee drinks, different espresso machines have varying abilities. Don’t just pick out any espresso machine. Look out for one that can produce coffee to your exact taste. For example, you can’t pull two shots simultaneously from a single boiler espresso machine. So, if you want to include milk in your coffee, you’d have to wait for the machine to heat up again. On the other hand, double boiler espresso machines can produce both coffee and milk simultaneously.
- Frequency and volume: When looking for an espresso machine, you also have to look out for machines that can handle the volume of coffee that you need, at the frequency that you need it. If you are more like the “single cup of coffee”, “only in the morning” kind of person, you may get a small espresso machine. If on the other hand, if you have a family that requires several cups of coffee in the morning or need to drink coffee at other times during the day, you may pick a bigger espresso machine.
How to Use an Espresso Machine?
Regardless of how imposing they may look; espresso machines are pretty simple to use with all their many shiny parts. While there might be quite several varying models in the market, they all work based on the same principle. Follow these general steps, and you’ll be able to work any espresso machine model.
- Turn It on To Preheat It: Just like you would do with your ovens and other similar home appliances, you have to turn your espresso machine on for a few minutes to preheat it. Another method is to pull coffee shots without actually putting coffee grinds in the machine.
- Measure Your Beans and Grind Them: Then, take out the espresso beans you intend to use, measure them out, grind them, and then transfer the grinds into the portafilter. If your machine is equipped with a grinder, just put the beans in it; the grinds will be transferred into the portafilter when grinding is done.
- Level the Grinds: When the grinds are into your portafilter, the next thing to do is level them. First, shave away any grinds above the portafilter’s recommended capacity. Then, push them down and into the corners of the container, and then level it off with your fingers to ensure a smooth, flat surface.
- Tamp Them: Then, using the tamper, push the grinds down to level them further and compress them. It is important to ensure consistent extraction of the coffee.
- Put It in The Machine and Pull Your Shots: Finally, put the portafilter into the machine, and you can begin to pull coffee shots in a matter of seconds.
Best for Home
We can’t outrightly tell you what espresso machine is best for use at home. What we can advise is that, while looking out for an espresso machine for your home, your priority must be to find one that is easy to use, fits your lifestyle and your countertop. It might get ugly keeping a noticeably outsized coffee machine on your kitchen countertop.
Honestly, espresso machines are quite expensive. Purchasing one for your kitchen may cost up to $5,000, which, considering that it is not exactly an essential piece of kitchen equipment, may seem like a difficult decision. But it doesn’t have to be. Using the right criteria in your selection process will significantly ease the process.
How to Clean an Espresso Machine?
To clean your espresso machine, follow these steps:
- Take out the portafilter;
- Place the cleaning blank in it;
- Measure in some espresso machine cleaning powder;
- Put the portafilter back in;
- Switch the machine and brew to make the cleaning powder run through the machine;
- When that is done, take out the portafilter and rinse it;
- Repeat the circle several times, without cleaning powder, to rinse the machine.
What Coffee to Use for An Espresso Machine?
Espresso machines will work will any kind of coffee roasts. However, if you use regular coffee roasts, you will get funny-tasting coffee. Dark or French coffee roasts are the best blends to use in espresso machines.
What Is the Best Espresso Machine?
Considering the number of essential variables, we can’t outrightly tell you which espresso machine is the best one. However, we guarantee that if you use the criteria we’ve listed in this article, you will find the espresso machine most suited to your lifestyle.
Where to Buy an Espresso Machine?
You can get espresso machines at any superstore nearest to you. And if you’d like, you can browse online stores and have it delivered to your doorstep.
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