Espresso Machines! Everything you need to know about this cool machine that produces the great ‘Italian Coffee’!
Like most of people I like to start my day with a great cup of coffee, because in my opinion this is the perfect way to start your day. These days, when our life is too busy at home, at the office, in the family, with children and friends, our everyday life is surrounded by machines, machines that make our life easy by saving us time and giving satisfaction.
One of these great machines that helps you whenever you feel dizzy, tired or less energetic is an espresso machine; it helps during your working time, in the morning, or before starting your day and also when you are in the middle of something like a little conversation, a meeting or when you are with your friends.
I’ve started to build up this site to help those who are searching for the best espresso machine, a machine that can give them the perfect boost to start the day. I’ve done a lot of research regarding this subject and I will try to help you decide how you can choose the best espresso machine that will fulfill all your needs, based on expert ratings, price, pump pressure, water tank size, body materials and others.
Let’s take a brief walk and know about this addictive beverage and the machine itself that brings it into reality.
Let’s talk about the Machine itself
The story of this amazing machine goes over 200 years back when it was first invented and brought to use in 1884. Ever since, several modifications and improvements have been made to the original machine and today there are many versions available in the market to choose from.
Let’s take a look at the types of this machine for a moment. Depending on the performance, espresso machines can be divided into the following categories:
Automatic Espresso Machines
Just when you hear the word “automatic” you can imagine how easy is to use this kind of machines. These kinds of machines are a lot more expensive than other because they do all the work and all you have to do is just press a button, no bother at all with grinding your coffee beans or tamping them.
Lever/Piston Espresso Machines
The level/piston espresso machines are the original design and they require a lot of manual work in order to obtain an espresso shot. Because the pressure is produced by a manual piston and lever, this machine doesn’t make any noise at all. Another good thing is the low maintenance due to its few components, but the quality of the espresso can vary according to your skill. But once you perfected your method, this machine can produce some of the best espresso shots you have ever imagined. Because of their classic design sometimes this machines are used for interior decoration.
Pump-driven Espresso Machines
Pump-driven espresso machines are an alternative to piston-driven machines because these last ones are rare and very few people are skilled enough to use them. The pump-driven machines are used by people who enjoy not only the espresso shot, but also the entire process behind making it. This machine is a very powerful one because the pressure level is sometimes five times higher than other kinds of espresso machines. Because of this very high pressure, mineral residue is building up and can clog the pump, so regular maintenance is required.
Steam-driven Espresso Machines
This kind of machine is destined for those who are on a tight budget. It is a smaller machine that is available in sleek designs. Their main advantage is that there are very easy to use, but with the lower price they came with some disadvantages. The main one is that the machines have lower power than the pump drives machines and there are times that can’t maintain the ideal water temperature or the pressure created isn’t strong enough for a perfect cup of espresso.
The steam driven machine produces a strong coffee and is very affordable. You can get it for around 40$ to 60$. But if you want the Best Espresso Machine that will let you taste the real cream topped Espresso, then simply go for the pump driven ones. They will cost you some extra real bucks though.
How does an espresso machine works?
There are different kinds of machines that make espresso. All this appliances offer the same basic mechanism, one that forces pressurized water through the coffee grounds. But the main difference is how a particular pressure is created for each type of espresso machine.
The taste of coffee is more pleasant if you are using medium roasted coffee beans (dark brown color with a very little greasy) and a device performance to prepare the most tasty flavors.
Varying grain dust, water temperature, pressure, degree of compression and the quantity of coffee, can get a variety of tastes. Water temperature must be between 88-90ºC because too hot water diminishes the flavor and not so hot water will give you a long and tasteless coffee. The ideal pressure should be at least 9 bars, but new machines allow water pressure adjustment inside of portafilter (or group handle). The grain should be similar to that of granulated sugar, because water passes easily trough large granulated coffee. The coffee with very little grain do not let water to enter, resulting a bitter coffee.
The quantity of coffee can vary between 7 and 10 grams, depending on the volume of portafilter. Pressing is performed by a tamper at a pressure of 15 to 20kg. Espresso machines for home use, can prepare a delicious coffee in just 25 seconds.
There are lots of models designed to produce espresso. Many of them share some common elements, like:
- Thermo block system – ensures water temperature for each model unique coffee. This system instantly heats a specific quantity of water used for each cup, increasing espresso’s quality;
- Ceramic grinder – grinds beans for each cup fully preserving flavor and freshness;
- Automatic cleaning and descaling ensure hygiene preparation of coffee circuit and before going into stand-by takes place automatic cleaning and descaling;
- Simultaneous preparation of one or two cups of coffee in a very short time is allowed;
- The best espresso machines are equipped with special containers for milk, they are removable in order to keep them in the refrigerator when not in use;
- Hot water function is ideal for making tea;
- Heated cups allow you to warm cups for immediate use, because the secret of a good espresso is to drink it when it is hot;
Beside flavor, an espresso should have a creamy consistence and must be covered by a hazelnut color cream. Thus choosing the best espresso requires proper follow of some essential steps:
- When starting espresso, coffee color poring through portafilter must be dark brown and only towards the end of cooking should form a creamy foam by color of caramel.
- During cooking, coffee should not have watery consistency because in this situation are not extracted essential properties that provide a consistent and smooth taste.
- Coffee temperature thus obtained should beat at least 60°C;
- A little astringent bitter taste combined with sweet creamy foam (due sugars extracted from coffee) obtaining a unique flavor;
And at the end of this entire process, flavor and inviting scent will follow you throughout the entire day.
Alright, fine. But why in the world it is so popular?
The consumption of Espresso in United States has really grown tremendously in the last 20 years. In major cities like Seattle and Washington, you just can’t see a single street around without seeing an Espresso Café or cart. Not just the streets, but people are heavily buying the Espresso Machines for their homes as well and the numbers are only adding up! Well, having it at home nowadays seems like having a ‘diamond gadget’ to many, especially if you just can’t live without getting a taste of that amazing beverage every day. And once you get yourself skilled using it, it’s just impossible to stop.
The popularity of this product really makes me wonder sometimes, what’s so special about it? One can’t really answer this particular question without tasting the stuff it creates. But seriously, will you invest hundreds if not over a thousand dollars on the best coffee maker in the market? Well let’s justify this question in a simple manner.
Let’s say you love Espresso and like to drink it every day. Now imagine spending 7$ on a cup every single day. Well, that’s just 7 right? Yes, that’s right; just 7! But think of yourself spending the same “just 7$” every day for one year! How many have you got? Well, I guess some 2555$? And just to remind you that’s just ‘One Cup’ a day! How about simply buying a machine that makes it all for you at home for 200$, or 400$ or even 600$? And this time, you can make and taste any number of cups you want; and now you smile!!!
So, I guess now you understand why it is so popular and why so many people are investing so much into it. The reasons are quite simple. The coffee itself is amazing and buying something that just saves you enough time and money over the time and regularly serves that lovely taste within minutes is definitely a smart decision. Besides for those who are addicted to this amazing beverage, having it home is like “couldn’t ask for more”.
There are espresso machines with special container for milk. So whether you want a cappuccino, latte macchiato or espresso, these awesome appliances can do all this and more. Based on the classic espresso these machines can perform a wide range of drinks:
Ristretto is a short coffee (25ml) water comes into contact with granulation for a short period, being extracted a small quantity of caffeine and a greater quantity of coffee oils;
Macchiato – obtained from a frothy milk (200ml) stained with a dash of espresso (30ml);
Doppio – double espresso;
Cappuccino – is achieved by adding a cup of 120 ml, one third frothed milk, one third hot milk and 25ml of espresso;
Read More: Most Popular Espresso Coffee Recipes
Enough said! It’s time now to check out the other side of the coin!
I do agree that this a must have for many who just can’t spend a day without taking a sip of it and frankly speaking, like I said before, it is best to have one home than spending more and more every now and then on the streets. But there are also some negative sides of it.
There are some issues that you need to know. Not all types of the machine give the similar quality output. The steam based ones, that are cheaper and affordable, don’t produce the cream on the top espresso and the brewing takes longer than compared to the pump based versions. So that figures out, you have to invest some really good bucks to get the best of it! Besides, the steam based and semi-automatic pump based machines require a bit of skill to make it work. So that’s another thing to take note of.
The final verdict
After lots of praising and little badmouthing this is a cool kitchen accessory, I want to admit one thing here at the end; I am not at all trying to sell this and neither trying to convince you how good it is! I just wanted to give you a detailed brief of what it is all about and why people are talking about it.
There are many advantages of owning one especially if are seriously addicted to coffee on daily basis. This will really save you lot of time and money over the time. And that being said, even investing some extra bucks on the Best Espresso Machine in the market will pay you back well considering you won’t quit drinking it, at least for the next couple of years.
An espresso machine it’s not all about espresso. Because the espresso is the main ingredient for all your favorite coffee drinks you can use this machine not only for a classic espresso but also for a delicious latte macchiato or a creamy cappuccino, enjoying every time the distinctive taste of freshly ground coffee beans, regardless the specialty of your choice.
You can find espresso machines from entry-level to commercial and professional systems. A professional one can cost you thousands of dollars. Some of the best manufacturers in the espresso machine market include: Breville, Francis Francis, Keurig, De’Longhi, Saeco, Krups, La Pavoni, Gaggia, Jura, Nespresso, and more.
The product is really good and if you are one of those mad espresso lovers, you will definitely love the freedom of tasting one after having prepared it with your very own hands. Once you will find the best espresso machine for you, I’m sure that you will be able to enjoy that distinctive Italian “dolce vita” into the comfort of your own home.