Before you embark on buying your dream espresso machine , you will face many options like types and styles, from simple stovetop version to stylish imported machines and full-featured automatic machines.
This can be a daunting task; what you need to do is to ask yourself some questions to determine what type of machine to buy as there is a wide variety of espresso machines with different faculties and specialities.
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Every brand and feature of espresso machine will produce different results. Note that the highest quality models usually produce the best tasting coffee.
If you drink beverages such cappuccinos, doppios and unflavoured lattes, you probably have high expectations. If mochas, caramel lattes are your thing then flavour of coffee is less critical as the added flavours are not dependent on the machine.
If your intention is to save money at the cafe. You probably need a machine that produces quality espresso with minimal effort.
If you need to make espresso often and many at a go, it is good to consider a machine that produces espresso faster or many cups in a sitting.
You will need a machine with features like built-in grinder and milk steamer which handles many cups in a single take and produces fast espresso.
If so, it is better for you to stay clear of steam-driven machine and get a premium manual machine with professional grade construction.
If you are a beginner, then choose a basic machine with helpful features like a pod adapter, foaming attachment or maybe a fully automated machine.
Prices vary significantly from model to model due to the fact that true espresso is dependent on pressure, temperature, coffee quality, grind, dose, water quality and skill.
When you pay less, you get strong coffee which is suitable to mix with flavour and steamed milk. The unit will be simple to use and easy to maintain.
When you pay more, you get features like rapid heating, a pump, built-in grinder, control over pressure and true espresso.
You can actually get a steam espresso machine for just below $50 while a high end commercial or semi-automatic espresso machine can cost above $10,000.
The next step is to determine what type of machine will best suit your purpose.
There are two basic types of espresso machines (mechanism-wise) for your consideration: steam-driven and pump-driven.
Steam or steam pressure is used to forced water through the coffee grounds to produce espresso. The first espresso machines worked on a steam-pressure foundation, and they are still in use today.
They are cheaper than a pump-driven machines and cannot produce true espresso (only very strong coffee) because they cannot generate enough pressure or provide the precise temperature control necessary.
Espresso character: Strong and light bodied coffee
Suitable for: As they cost less than a pump-drive machine it is best suited for people who are on a tight budget and enjoy occasional flavoured drinks. It is also a good entry level for beginners to "test waters".
An electric pump is used to force water through the coffee grounds. This process produces true espresso. There are two different types of Pump-drive machines:
Perfect for espresso connoisseur. Takes longer time and more effort in producing a cup of espresso as you have control over every subtle nuance that goes into espresso. What you get is the best-quality and taste out of the machine.
As it is semi-automatic, the water temperature and pressure are automated to produce that perfect cup of espresso.
User is able to adjust the pump, the steam and water flow for a customised taste.
There is no in-built grinder so you must fill the portafilter with ground coffee and tamp the grounds yourself.
Espresso character: Rich and full bodied, true espresso.
Suitable for: People mastering the art of espresso, wanting their own precise taste, temperature and body in their shots.
People mastering the art of espresso, wanting their own precise taste, temperature and body in their shots.
If you do not have the time or find no need to fine-tune a particular taste for your espresso and just want great tasting cup of espresso, go for super-automatic espresso machine.
Almost all of the brewing steps are automatic - built-in coffee grinder grinds, tamps and extracts the espresso shot automatically.
If you connect the machine to a water line, it will fill automatically as well, if not you can always add water manually.
A push of the button will dispense high quality espresso in minutes. Higher-end models have the ability to froth and dispense milk too to give you the option for lattes.
Espresso character: Rich and full bodied, true espresso.
Suitable for: People who enjoy great cup of coffee and prefer convenience over control.
|Espresso Machine Model||What We Like About It||User Feedback||Guide for Price||Our Rating Out of 5|
|Mr. Coffee ECM160||1 - 4 cup brewing capacity, Easy to clean & Produces strong coffee.||Very Good||Cheap||4.25 / 5|
|Rancilio Silvia||Easy to clean, warming top surface to pre-heat cup & stainless steel finish.||Very Good||Affordable||4.5 / 5|
|Breville BES900XL||LCD display, simple to use, consistent and programmable.||Very Good||Higher Price||4 / 5|
|Gaggia 14101 Classic||Combination coffee/espresso machine, preheat 5 cups at once, frothing wand included.||Good||Affordable||4 / 5|
|DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica||Easy to use with push buttons and programmable menu settings.||Good||Cheap||3.75 / 5|
|Jura Impressa Z9||Auto rinse and clean, Six pre-programmed drinks with one touch button.||Good||Higher Price||3.5 / 5|
|Nespresso D60 Pixie||Fast - makes your drink in 30 seconds & fully automatic - works via Nestle coffee capsule||Exceptional||Affordable||5 / 5|
Finally, to make things easier for you, we have pick our top 7 best espresso machine for 2015. We have highlighted the pros and cons of each machine for you to make an informed decision.
Once you have decided on your purpose, the type of machine you want and your budget, it is time to research on the different brands of your choice.
You should compare feature on similar models so you can determine the best value. Here are some features to take into consideration as you compare the brands
There is always a risk of scalding, burns or fire with an espresso machine. Since heating elements do not change colour or texture when they are hot, you can consider these:
One year warranty is the industry standard for espresso machines, usually covering manufacturer defects. Make sure there is traditional phone and email support. Most companies these days can perform tech support via Facebook or other social media platforms.