Most people who love specialty coffee drinks eventually purchase an espresso maker. With a good one, you can make all your favourite drinks in the comfort of your own kitchen and try out a new recipe or two. Since this is a large investment, you should spend some time learning about these machines before you buy. Learn about the features available and then read some reviews to find the best machine for your home.
Common Types of Espresso Maker
Manual Espresso Makers
Manual machines require you to do all the work. You measure and grind the beans, tamp the grounds and brew the coffee. These are the least expensive machines. Some avid espresso drinkers will only use a manual machine.
Semi Automatic Machines
Semi automatics do some of the work for you. You adjust the water temperature and pressure. Grind and tamp the beans and the machine will do the rest. They are more expensive than a manual machine, but much more affordable than a fully automatic model. These machines are a good first cappuccino maker.
Automatic machines do the whole job for you. All you need to do is add the water and the beans. With the touch of one button, you will have a great cup of your favourite java drink.
Super Automatic Machines
Super automatics do everything from grinding and tamping the beans to the finished product. They pre infuse the beans with water for more flavour than other machines. The entire process is faster than regular automatics. These machines are often found in restaurants and coffee bars.
Great Espresso Maker Features
The features vary from machine to machine. When comparing two models, look at the features included with each to determine which will suit your needs better.
More expensive machines often have a built in grinder. The beans are ground for each individual cup. This results in more flavour from the oils inside the beans. The drink will taste fresh with this feature.
For cappuccino or latte drinks, you will need a frother. This can either be a frothing wand or a separate milk container. More expensive models have a container.
Pods are small packets that consist of a filter material on the outside and ground beans on the inside. The pods are pre measured for one cup. Just put the pod in the machine and brew your coffee. Most people either love the pods for the convenience or hate them and lament the bitter taste.
Some of the more expensive machines have a built in water filter to remove chlorine or other chemicals from the water prior to brewing. These are mostly carbon filters. If your water is heavily chlorinated, you will notice the difference with a built in filter.
A cup warmer keeps the cup warm before brewing. This results in a hotter drink. This feature is usually located on the top of the machine.
Hot Water Dispenser
Some machines have a separate valve for dispensing hot water. This feature is great for making tea or hot chocolate. Most machines used in commercial establishments have this feature.
Some Other Things to Consider
o Steel or brass machines are best. Some people detect an aftertaste with aluminium machines.
o Look at the pump pressure on home coffee makers. More powerful pumps work will with finer grounds. You should have a minimum of 14 bars or more for pump pressure.
o Look for a removable water tank. This is easier for cleaning or emptying and will prevent stagnant water from collecting at the bottom of the tank.