Why would you want to get the best espresso machine for your needs? The answer is simple – you would want to be satisfied with the results and enjoy your espresso and other specialty drinks after each and every preparation.
Surely, you know that the result of your coffee drinks will depend on a lot of factors. However, the espresso machine that you’re using plays a vital role in achieving perfect results ALL THE TIME.
It is therefore important to pick the right unit when planning to prepare your own gourmet coffee selections at home. With the right technologies present in your coffee machine, you can literally make coffee shop quality coffees in your own kitchen.
How to Buy a Good Grinder
You only have 2 choices when making your own espresso at home. You can either buy a coffee machine AND a grinder OR get an espresso machine with a built-in grinder. But you definitely, absolutely, positively need a grinder. Why? The reason for this is that freshly ground coffee always tastes better. So don’t even think of getting pre-packed coffee if you’re aiming for true coffee goodness nirvana.
Since the final result of your brewed coffee will greatly depend on the quality of your coffee grinder, please don’t skimp on it. An inferior grinder will also produce inferior coffee granules. A high quality grinder, on the other hand, can produce precise particle sizes – and this is needed for good extraction.
Needless to say, it’s advisable to get brands that are well-known and reputable in the industry. For a coffee grinder, getting brands like Gaggia, Breville, and Rancilio are some of the best choices because their products are known to be durable, functional and long lasting.
Check on the grinder’s features too; and make sure that important features such as grind control and sealed bean hopper are present. Having a large bean hopper is also a plus so that it can hold a large amount of coffee beans in one setting.
A lot of coffee connoisseurs also prefer a conical grinder over a flat grinder. With a conical grinder, less heat is produced because it spins slower than a flat grinder. Coffee flavor is better retained that way.
Steam Driven Vs. Pump Driven
When choosing an espresso machine, you can pick from a steam driven unit or a pump driven one. It would be wise to know the difference so as to be able to make the right choice. But before that, know for a fact that you need 3 factors to pull a perfect espresso shot – right temperature, right pressure, and proper ground coffee beans.
A pump driven machine is considered to be a mid-range model and you can get one for about $100 to $200. While it can definitely produce the right temperature and right pressure, inexperienced baristas can make a mistake with the type of ground coffee used. With a little practice, it’s possible to make great tasting coffee with a pump driven coffee machine.
A steam driven machine is a type of low-end coffee machine. You can get one for less than a hundred dollars. This type of espresso machine uses water vapor to create steam, but it is not capable of producing high temperature. Because of that, expect low quality espresso when you use a steam driven unit.
Semi-Automatic Vs Automatic
A semi-automatic espresso machine uses an automatic pump, automatic temperature control, and automatic switches to engage and disengage the machine’s pump. The user (you) still decides when to turn on and turn off the pump.
With a fully automatic espresso machine, everything is automatic – pump, temperature control, and activation switches. There could also be programmable settings that can be selected by simply pressing on a button.
Since the important variables in making a great espresso are taken off your hands with a semi or fully automatic coffee machine, you will less likely make mistakes. The result – perfect espresso shots and great tasting coffee drinks.
Also called lever espresso machines, there are 2 basic types of manual espresso machines – the spring piston lever machine and direct lever espresso machine. Both can be very disappointing as far as the results are concerned; but if you become an expert at any of these, you can make the best espresso shots with these units.
With a spring piston lever, you need to pull down the lever to create pressure. Releasing the lever will automatically push the water through ground coffee with the use of calibrated spring.
With a direct lever coffee machine, you need to keep on pushing down on the lever to complete the process of extraction. It’s as manual and hands-on as you can get when it comes to pulling a shot of espresso.
The prices of espresso machines will basically depend on the type and model. Home coffee machines can be anywhere from $100 to $1,000. Commercial units can be around $2,000 or even more.
It will also depend on the brand, features, and technology employed on a particular item. Units that carry more advanced features are definitely more expensive than simple and entry level models.
Manual machines are also cheaper than semi-automatic and automatic espresso machines. Manually providing water pressure, however, can be very difficult. And this can result in low quality (and undrinkable) coffee. It’s REALLY
HARD to pull perfect shots of espresso on manual machines.
With a higher budget, you will definitely end up with a better espresso machine.
Coffee making accessories can definitely make the process of brewing coffee and preparing espresso shots more personal. The right tools can also help in achieving your desired results.
While most espresso machine packages include the necessary accessories to quickly start pulling espresso shots and making other specialty drinks, you might want to get some items that you are personally comfortable using.
As a tamper is a necessary tool in making espresso, you would want to make sure that you love your tamper. If you don’t like the one that’s included in the package, get a new one. It will make your coffee preparation more personalized.
For presentation and better coffee experience, get a good set of cup and saucer. Yes, like those in coffee shops. Your espresso will taste better in good looking espresso cups. The same holds true when making latte and cappuccino drinks. Put these fancy drinks in fancy cups for a memorable experience in drinking coffee each and every time.
When choosing a steaming pitcher for your foaming milk, go for one with pointed spout. It’s easier to control and you can make latte art easily with it.
Don’t forget to get some cleaning supplies too. A cleaning rag is essential as well as coffee machine descaling tablets.
Picking the Perfect Espresso Machine for the Perfect Espresso Shot
The type of espresso machine you pick for your home use will depend on how you want to prepare your espresso. A certified coffee lover will surely enjoy the process of coffee preparation as every minute and every second spent on making a great cup of coffee is ALWAYS worth it.
We recommend getting a grinder or an espresso machine with built-in grinder so that you can start making espresso effortlessly. Save up for the best unit that you can afford and get a taste of heaven as often as you like in your own kitchen.