Guide to buying an Espresso Maker
So, you're interested in obtaining a real espresso machine so you can brew authentic espresso. For coffee enthusiasts, home espresso is one of the most captivating subjects out there. It’s perhaps the most distinctive white whale we have, offering almost limitless room to improve the craft, fine-tune the results in the cup, and unearth even more insight into the elusive art and science of making the perfect little shot of coffee. you start with a higher quality of coffee beans and then brew them through a process that produces a greater intensity of flavor than what you’d experience with your typical cup of American joe.
Before we get into the best espresso machines you can buy for your home, let's take a look at all the key terms and information that you need to know to make an informed purchase.
What can you make with an Espresso Machine?
If you own an espresso machine, any one of these can be made in your kitchen for less money, as long as you have the proper ingredients and a little time to spend on them.
Traditionally, the macchiato is made by combining a shot of espresso with a small splash of milk.
The point of this drink is to have an espresso slightly moderated or subdued by a splash of milk on top to add some extra foam and temper the strong flavor. It has a much stronger flavor than other coffee drinks.
A cappuccino is made by topping a shot of espresso with steamed milk and milk foam. Typically, it contains equal parts of each and is made up of about 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 foamed milk.
Cappuccino is one of the most popular ways to drink espresso and easy to make at home if you have an espresso maker.
The term “café latte” literally translates to “coffee milk.” It generally involves adding steamed milk to a single shot of espresso. This is similar to a cappuccino, but with more milk and only a thin layer of foam. Compared with the other beverages, lattes have a more mild, slightly sweet flavor.
Like a Latte, the mocha is a much stronger tasting coffee, but there are some differences in the way that this is made which can cause some confusion, but with chocolate added in.
The amount of milk in a mocha should be much less than you find in a latte.
Types of Espresso Machines
Manual Espresso Maker
Manual espresso machines offer old-world style and craftsmanship with the capability to brew exquisite espresso. Manual machines use a lever to create the pressure needed for extraction. However, they do require the highest degree of skill to master and are only recommended for the hands-on espresso purist who is willing to invest some time and experiment. They look great and certainly have their market, but they take a lot of effort. Pulling a perfect espresso shot from a lever espresso machine is a truly rewarding experience. It’s unlikely that you’ll want one as your everyday machine.
Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine
Semi-automatic espresso machines have electric pumps, which immediately make them much easier to use than their manual counterparts. They take some of the work out of your hands.
Semi-automatic espresso machines are the most common type, featuring an electric brewing pump which is manually turned on and off by the user. These machines are relatively simple to operate, gives you a mix of the control that people like in manual machines. They’re the most popular type of espresso machine on the market today.
Fully Automatic Espresso Maker
Fully automatic machines do it all. Simply make sure that they have coffee and water and press a button. They don’t allow you any control over the extraction, but they deliver a somewhat consistent espresso with minimum effort. As a result, they’re even easier to use than semi-automatic models, but they take one more piece of control out of your hands – which can be an issue if you’re very particular about how you like your espresso.
What are the factors to consider when buying an Espresso Maker?
You should know how much the espresso machine can handle before purchasing it. A professional-grade espresso machine should be able to work all day without malfunctioning. Based on brand reputation and reviews, you can gain a clearer picture of just how long you can count on a particular model to last. Many of the higher-end espresso machine models come with a warranty, which can give you some idea of what to expect from their durability.
Ease of Cleaning
Cleaning the espresso machine can be a task, but it is necessary to do every so often to keep it operating at a high level. If you end up with a model that’s easy to use but a pain to clean, then it’s not actually all that convenient after all. The more features and components the machine has, the more likely it will take you a long time to clean. Make sure you have an idea of what will be involved in cleaning your espresso maker before you buy it.
Most espresso machines can make espresso-based drinks like, lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos. If you like these brews make sure you purchase an espresso machine that comes with a frother which froths the pressurized milk.
Before buying any espresso maker check what customers are saying in reviews about their experiences dealing with different brands when they need help (or even better, if customers say they’ve had the machines for years without needing help).