In a typical day, the people sip a cup or two in order to get throughout the day. Many folks could not simply miss a cup. Most people do this to perk up their mornings. Some simply wanted to open the day with a fresh grind. Simply put, a cup of coffee is a delight to behold. But then there are things that really need to be done with an additional ‘kick’ and style. That’s when people thought of adding some style and passion to good old coffee. These are the principles that the espresso was born. In a nutshell, it is still cup of coffee, ground and brewed, but with a more passionate way of getting the most out of those beans than simply placing it over hot water.
And with the advent of espresso, looking for a way to do it more efficiently becomes a priority for coffee-lovers. That’s when espresso machines would eventually come into the fruition. The basics of making an espresso is not really that complicated. You got to have some ground coffee then hot water to extract the flavors. But the big difference with an espresso is on how the extracts were collected. Unlike with the usual process of coffee-making, espresso is done by introducing pressurized water, with near boiling point temperature, straight into a “puck” of ground coffee beans then through a filter. The result is a thick and concentrated coffee, this is what the Italians call ‘espresso’.
Its main advantage? It’s full of flavor thus it can be a base of most modern art in coffee-making like your cappuccino and caffè latte. What is an espresso machine then? It is the machine by which the process of making espresso can be simplified and made efficient. The main advantage of having an espresso machine really is winning over the guessing game. Without the machine, the result can vary greatly. The machine therefore gives consistent results and flavors each time you do it, given that you use the same grounds of course.
What are Espresso Machines?
These machines can either be steam-driven, piston-driven, pump-driven, or air-pump-driven. The functions can be either manual or automatic. Manually operated espresso machines needs to be operated by hand. This is the simplest and the first glance on espresso machines during the early years. Then there comes automation and electronics. This time around the machine itself can do almost everything from grinding the beans to boiling the water and everything in between. And with this, the results were even more consistent each time. This as well paved the way for coffee shops to offer consistent result for their customers. As espressos are more than just coffee, it is really a prized cup to have. Think about having a sip over it each morning, it is a special treat a coffee-lover would surely appreciate. And with help of modern espresso machines, it can be as simple as pressing a single button.
Best Espresso Machines
If one has to put in an amount of money, it is always aimed for the best. As there are numerous options for so many things these days, there are times that you get confused over the selection process. Take for instance when you’re looking for an espresso machine. But let’s break the confusion here. If you wanted to invest to an espresso machine, here’s among the best there is.
Mr. Coffee ECMP50
With 15-bar worth of pump system, this semi-automatic espresso machine is powerful enough to extract that coveted dark, rich espresso brew from each coffee ground. It also comes with a frothing arm which is able to create that creamy froth to top off your cappuccinos and lattes. It has a dual-shot brewing system to make 2 single shots in one go. Its thermal block heating system provides that barista-speed brewing and even heating all the time. Then there’s its drip catcher, which removable and washable, that collects coffee drips a nice addition in keeping your brew space neat and clean. It features a removable 40-ounce water reservoir which can be filled easily for added convenience. It comes with one-touch brew and steam controls, with Ready Indicator Lights, making brewing fast and easy.
Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
First off, this semi-auto machine looks clean and neat with its stainless steel exterior. It comes with an ergonomic porta filter handle, the same component and proven design found in Rancilio commercial machines. It has that commercial grade group head for superb heat stability and extraction quality every time. Its chrome plated, brass boiler can hold 0.3 liters (12oz) is able to produce outstanding steaming power and remarkable recovery time between shots. It comes with two quarts water reservoir which is removal for easy refilling even during operation. With its, articulating steam wand, it offers complete range of motion and with professional steaming knob that precisely controls the steaming pressure you need. It has a classic linear design which fits most decors. And for added convenience, you opt to buy an optional pod and capsule adaptor kit. This machine sports a 15-bar pressure pump.
This is an automatic espresso machine, push a button and wait for your brew. It also has an integrated burr grinder with adjustable settings so you can have fresh beans every time. With its compact size, it’s amazing that it has the features of a full-size automatic machine. It comes with a built-in water filtration system so you can conveniently use tap water. It has that Aroma button which releases water slowly to saturate coffee grounds a little at a time thus extracting a fuller flavor. With its patented cappuccino system frother, it easily prepares latte and cappuccino. This machine mixes steam and milk to create a rich, creamy froth for that perfect drink. Also, it can save up to 77-percent energy with its energy-saving switch that turns off the machine when idle for an hour.
This is a semi-automatic machine with can be programmed and can dispense 2 or one cup espressos in one go. It comes with pre-infusion function which applies low water pressure at the start of the extraction to gently expand grinds for that even extraction. It also has that powerful, 1600w, thermocoil heating system that sports an integrated stainless steel water coil for accurately control over water temperatures. Then there’s its auto purge function that automatically adjusts water temperature after steam to come up with optimal espresso extraction temperature. This machine features a 15-bar Italian pump that provides complete volumetric control for preset, manual over-ride or re-programmable volumes.
DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic
If you’re a person that wanted more control over your espressos, this might just fit your needs. This machine comes with a patented “Cappuccino System” frother that mixes steam and milk to create a rich, creamy froth easily. It has an easy-to-use rotary and push button control panel with programmable menu settings for added control. Also, it comes with a professional-quality, conical low-pitch built-in burr grinder with adjustable grind fineness. This machine sports its patented, compact and easy-to-clean “Direct-to-Brew” system for fewer hassles as well. It comes with 15-bar worth of pump pressure for perfect extractions. Further, you will appreciate its double boiler system as it can have a no-waiting time between preparing espresso and cappuccino.
With 15-Bar Italian pump, you can be assured that this semi-automatic machine will extract every ounce of flavor and aroma from your beans. It also comes with a powerful, 1600W Thermo coil system for even and fast heating of water. It has a purge function that automatically adjusts water temperature after steam to gain optimum espresso extraction temperature during operation. It has stainless steel conical burr grinder with 1/2 lb. sealed bean hopper. Its water reservoir can fit 67 fl. oz. of liquid making your refilling trips lesser through its removable water tank. Read our Breville VES870XL Review
Mr. Coffee BVMC-ECMP1000
This automatic machine boasts of its One Touch Control Panel for single or double shot options of espresso, cappuccino or latte. Now that’s what you call convenience. Also, it has an automatic milk frother which makes frothing up your milk in creamy cappuccinos and lattes effortless. It comes with a removable milk reservoir which can be filled, clean and store pretty easily. It also has an adjustable cup tray so you can adjust the right height for smaller demitasse cups to some huge travel mugs. This machine has a removable water reservoir which fills up easily at the sink and is able to hold enough water to brew shot after shot. It comes with a drip catcher, which is removable, that can keep coffee drips in one place so you can have a neat and clean brewing space. Read our Mr. Coffee BVMC-ECMP1000 Review
Different Types of Espresso machines
If you are looking for an espresso machine then you’ll be looking into different types of it. Each has its one unique characteristic that fits different needs. From the manually operated ones to the most sophisticated, you better know each type to know which one suit your needs.
Espresso machine with grinder. The basic function of any espresso machine is to introduce pressurized hot water into a puck where the previously ground coffee beans are. At such most people only buy previously ground beans in order to save time. But the thing is, there are speculations that previously ground coffee loses its flavor right after it’s packed. This makes coffee lovers mourn. For that, some people opt for whole, roasted beans then grind it and feed it to the machine. But the thing is, this can be very time consuming, not to mention messy. Thus makers of espresso machine took some action thus building a machine that will grind your beans and feed it directly into the filter and wait for a minute or two for your espresso. These types of machines are the forefront of convenience in the espresso making realm.
Manual and Lever espresso machine. As with any espresso machine, this one makes some great morning espressos. But the great difference is in the mechanism. Most modern machine runs with the use electronics to cater for grinding to espresso making. But then there are conservative folks that simply wanted to take charge over the process. This is where lever espresso machines, also known as manual espresso machines, fits. Driven by hand, the lever espresso machine simply makes the experience more involving. As it requires your intervention, there are lots of details that can make or break your espresso. Thus, many people love it for this very reason. It’s a simple way to make a statement out of your every espresso mix.
Built in espresso machine. If you’re in for more sophistication and style, this one might just be your pick. The machines mentioned above require a table or sink where you can put it on. And you can actually move it around where it fits your needs. But some people like their machine to seamlessly fit their kitchen, something that will look as a real part of their home. This is where built in espresso machine fits the bill. The main difference of this type is its ability to be inserted through the wall making it look as though it’s a part of your kitchen. It often commands higher price and labor during installation but it will easily become the centerpiece of your kitchen or dining room with the right arrangement.
Commercial espresso machine. If you are looking for the ultimate solution for your business, commercial espresso machine may just be the right for you. This type features the same functions as with built-in or espresso machine with grinder, the main difference is in its capacity which can easily cater a huge number of people in a single go. Although it is intended for commercial purposes, some people actually prefer this type for its speed and convenience.
Different Brands of Espresso Machines
Some people prefer certain brand of appliances or cars. Perhaps these people have had a good history with the brand or maybe they had read or heard wonderful things about it. And in when it comes to espresso machines, some brands do stand out from the crowd. Some of these brands have long history with espresso, some simply made a difference. Here are some brands worth remembering when you’re looking for one.
Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
Gaggia. The history of espresso machine is never complete without mentioning this brand. Founded by the Italian Achille Gaggia on late 1930’s, this brand is almost synonymous with the word espresso. The main ingredient of this success can be traced down on the fact that Achille Gaggia wanted a machine to cater his own café’s needs. Thus he designed a machine which utilizes piston mechanism which forces water through the coffee grounds at high pressure. This process revolutionized espresso making which took approximately 15 seconds to produce a single espresso shot. The designs are rooted from elegance and functionality which makes Gaggia espresso machines a perfect centerpiece.
Kitchenaid. Back in 1919, this company started with their introduction of Stand Mixer. After that success, it grew to cater various kitchen needs then stemming to espresso machines. This company only specializes in kitchen appliances thus quality is quite superb when it comes to long term use.
Cuisinart. This is an American brand of home appliances. It was initiated by Carl Sontheimer back in 1971. Founded to bring food processor to the US soil, this eventually grew and catered various appliances. This company sells modern sample of espresso machines with automation to match functionality. These machines are easy to use and have good build quality. Another plus is that this brands offers among the best mid-range machines with prefect pricing.
Rancilio. This is yet another Italian brand to bring perfectly brewed espresso in homes. The company was founded by Roberto Rancilio in 1927. This company is among the first to adapt to piston driven lever piston technology from Gaggia. Known for ergonomics standards, Rancilio espresso machines can create your next espresso without a fuss. Check out our review of one of the most popular espresso machine by Rancilio. Rancilio HSD-Silvia Review
Mr. Coffee ECM160
Mr coffee . Based in USA, this American brand is brewing coffee since 1970. This is an original American coffee maker brand which eventually found its way with espresso machines. If you wanted a simple, cheaper option for your espresso maker, this brand offers you the right path. Known for modern styling and durability, Mr. Coffee’s espresso machines offers performance to fit your home needs.
Delonghi . Delonghi is an Italy-based brand that offers espresso machines. Formerly known to produce heaters and air conditioners, they finally ventured to espresso machines. With a lineup ranging from simple coffee grinder to automatic espresso machines, this company offers a huge number of choices for coffee lovers. Ease of use and elegance is the key with Delonghi espresso makers and it’s, without a doubt, a good choice that will remind you each morning. Check out these great delonghi espresso machines.
Capresso 118.05 EC PRO
Capresso. Intended to introduce Euro-styled coffee maker to US market back in1994, it was just a matter of time until Capresso designed its own espresso machines. The company was known to many ‘firsts’ when it comes to coffee making machines. They were the first to introduce standalone automatic milk-frother and burr grinder to feature sensors, to mention a few. For this reason, espresso machines from this company are guaranteed to offer functionality and durability packed in a wonderful piece. Take a peek at these Capresso Espresso Machines
How to choose the best espresso machine?
There are things in life that worth taking time to decide. Like when you buy a car or perhaps your dream house. But those are modern life’s necessities. When people think about the better side of life, that’s when hobbies and the likes comes to mind. And these things are worth taking time so you know you’re going to get your money’s worth. These days however, the humble coffee has taken enough stage presence that people are into it, even hanging and sipping it each morning. That’s when people thought of buying an espresso machine. But first consider these things.
If you’ve been looking into some espresso machines for some time then you’ll know that each machine, from manual to super automatics, put how much pressure the machine can deliver. Some have low around 8-9 bars. The commonly used, and often regarded as “enough” for this application, is 15 bars. There are machines that deliver 17 and even 19 bars worth of pressure. This shows how much pressure will be delivered into the grounds or pods. The higher the pressure, the better the result of extraction is. But as mentioned above, 15 bars is already enough to squeeze every flavor and aroma from your grounds.
Know your needs
Well, first thing to consider is, are you going to use the machine for commercial purposes? Remember that there are espresso machines for your home that you can always choose. Take for instance when your daily requirements like sipping around three cups a day. Or maybe you might invite some friends to come over for some coffee sessions once in a while. These can be done by a smaller machine like semi-automatic or even by manual versions. But if you are going to use it for your business, you need something ‘bigger’ and ‘better’ than that. For this purpose, you may want to consider a commercial espresso machine which delivers fast and efficient results.
Automatic or not?
This is actually connected with the consideration above. Often times, your personal needs, or even your office’s, a semi-automatic or manual version could be the best option. Every person is unique. And each has its own preference. Some might want to do things their way, the manual; some wanted to have some involvement, the semi-automatic, and some wanted simply to wait and be amazed as to how the machine can come up with the same set of flavors each time. Simply put, if you want a machine that delivers the goods with very minimal human intervention needed then you should go with a super automatic. These machines can deliver almost identical results each time. Semi-automatic on the other hand delivers also the same results each time but you need to keep things in check like the grounds or how much pressure actually was put in while tamping. Then there’s the manual version which actually makes use of your own muscles to create the right pressure. Some people love the manual version for the reason of uniqueness. This version has a lot of variables thus it results to a unique blend its time. This one is sought after by the people who enjoy adding their own character to their espresso. Both semi-automatic and super automatic commonly have its own steaming wand/milk frother.
Some machines have 2 boilers but single-boiler machines still can get the job done. What’s the difference? It really boils down to speed. On one hand, with machines that delivers steam, hot water and brewing, having a single boiler would mean it has to pause for a few seconds before it can do the next step. Dual boiler machines on the other hand can do two things at once, you can do the brewing and the frothing simultaneously. But the thing with boilers, you need to check the capacity as well. Huge boiler will definitely require longer time to fully heat the water but will deliver more steam and brewing, perfect for continuous brewing cycles. Smaller boilers require shorter time to reach to full heat capacity but it would require frequent recovery time. All in all, it really boils down to your needs. Weight it and see whether you require full automation, from beans to cup, or you wanted some variations to fit your needs.
Ease of use
As mentioned above, speed is the “thing” when you wanted to venture into a coffee shop business. As time and efficiency is a huge turning point, an efficient machine with a huge boiler and built-in grinder is your friend. Think about this, if you have 10 persons lining up to get their espresso delivered, it would be a deal breaker for your customer if they have to wait for more than 10 minutes to get their orders delivered. And take note that a huge boiler will be a huge turning point when you wanted to shorten the waiting time.
This is often the first thing that people checks on before buying a product. And although it must be on your checklist, remember that quality comes with a price. Cheaper options could be your first choice but take note about the features that comes with it. It could be cheap because it comes with a smaller boiler. Or maybe it does not come with a grinder. Remember that a properly ground coffee can mean everything when you wanted to make an espresso. Don’t think that you can always opt for a commercially ground coffee. If you wanted a perfect balance on your coffee, grinding it yourself becomes a must.
Espresso Machine Reviews
Lastly, don’t forget to check out the reviews of the espresso machine you are interested in. You can find this reviews on forums, product website and amazon product pages.