Who doesn’t want to escape the exhaustion of whisking coffee by hand when you can get your heart’s desire with an espresso machine? However, it’s a mistake to bring home the first item you see. If you’re not willing to compromise on your coffee, you must know what to look for in an espresso machine before you invest.
It could be a perfectly brewed cup of coffee, a latte, or a cappuccino. You can have it all in a matter of minutes with an espresso machine, at any time of day! Still undecided? Don’t worry, because this espresso machine guide will walk you through all you need to know about espresso machines.
What to Look for in an Espresso Machine: Everything You Need to Know
A cup of coffee is only as good as the machine that brews it. This is why, as a coffee fanatic, you need to purchase only the best espresso machine. There is no compromising on quality. So, here are a few things that every coffee enthusiast must consider before buying an espresso machine.
Factors to Consider (If You Desire Nothing But The Best!)
Before purchasing a commercial espresso machine you need to consider the features you most desire. Additionally, you need to look out for necessary features. It’s better not to be stuck with bells and whistles that will do you no good. Here are some essentials to get you started.
Your espresso machine must be able to handle the load you will throw at it. A high-quality espresso machine should function flawlessly all day without any hiccups. On the flip side, a cheaper low-budget machine might only tolerate a limited load. Overheating or other cases of malfunction could be an issue there.
Make sure you examine everything; from the bean capacity to the quantity of water it can hold. Pick the espresso machine that compliments your coffee and supply requirements. You do not want to be stuck with a machine that is constantly breaking down. Especially if you wish to place it in your coffee shop!
In any case, avoid extremely cheap machines at all costs! Those may not be a bargain but a red flag through and through.
2. Grinding Capacity
An espresso machine may or may not include a built-in grinder. In the other instance, you’ll have to buy an espresso grinder separately. While built-in grinders are a blessing, it also means you will have to spend a little extra on the machine.
However, if you are comfortable grinding espresso or coffee beans separately, by all means, go for it! Still, keep in mind the amount of coffee you’ll be brewing. If it’s a lot, for many people or customers, then you will need a grinder with a larger capacity.
Last but not least, consider if the grinder automatically feeds the ground coffee into the basket or if it must be done manually. Some machines eliminate this extra step. So, if you want this level of convenience in your life, invest in a high-tech espresso machine with all of these cool functions.
3. Water Storage:
Typically, an espresso machine can hold enough water to brew 8 cups of coffee. If you’re making more, well then you’ll need to explore other options.
You can buy an espresso machine with a water tank and a filling spout. Using a funnel, you can easily fill up the tank and make as much coffee as you want. Alternatively, you can purchase a machine that connects with an external water source, e.g, a dispenser. Here, you will need to make piping accommodations and adjustments.
However, if you’re not looking for commercial espresso machines then you don’t need the extra hubbub. A typical espresso machine will be the perfect addition to your home.
There is no telling when you might suddenly crave a latte or macchiatos. If you wish to satisfy such cravings you need an espresso machine with a frother. Remember froth is the essence of that perfect cappuccino. In case, you don’t have a milk frother, steamed milk will get the job done.
The good news is that most espresso machines come equipped with a frother. So, unless you are looking for extremely cheap machines, you are covered for this treat!
5. Frequency of Use:
It is extremely important to know beforehand your extent of usage. Do you plan to occasionally brew coffee in the espresso machine? Or will your machine be constantly grinding and churning out espresso drinks?
Your occasional coffee cravings can easily be fulfilled with either a single or small dual boiler. If you’re making cups after cups then you’re better suited with the larger dual boiler machine.
6. Cleaning Ease:
One extremely exhausting chore that accompanies espresso machines is the cleaning. And no, there is no escape from it. You need to frequently clean the machine for good and hygienic coffee.
Make sure you familiarize yourself with the method of cleaning and the equipment that must be cleaned. From the cups, water tank, and frother, to any other detachable equipment. You must know how to clean and sanitize it all.
Remember to rinse thoroughly! You do not want a soap aftertaste in your coffee.
7. Easy Usability:
Hi-tech expensive espresso machines mean advanced and complex options. You will need to learn the complex mechanisms so you can earn that cup of coffee. However, once you learn them, it’s coffee time any time, every time!
If you wish for an easy-to-operate espresso machine then you may want to consider machines for beginners. These contain all the basic features one will need to brew a good cup of coffee.
8. Custom Adjustments:
Yes, custom adjustments in your espresso machine are important. These can either be necessary adjustments to its features or simply its style. You want the espresso machine to fit in your home or cafe. Not stick out like a sore thumb.
There are several aesthetically pleasing adjustments you can make to your espresso machine. From its color to its material or even the angle or length of its pipe or spout. Style or equip it as you like! There is a wide window of customization possibilities.
This is easily the most important decision you make. In fact, it is the first thing you should be thinking about. A great espresso machine doesn’t necessarily have to mean a super expensive machine.
However, do not just rush into the cheapest machine either. It is important to strike a balance. Unless you can afford the highest quality machine without a second thought, plan ahead of your purchase. Do not spend money on advanced features that you may not even need.
10. Customer Service:
An espresso machine is an investment that you plan to make long-term use of. To ensure its durability and overcome any problems you will have to contact the company or manufacturers.
So your purchase should be made at a company that offers great customer service.
Make sure you check the product and customer service reviews. Find out how customers felt after their purchase from different brands. How reachable were they for issues? How often did issues arise?
It is important to not only choose a good espresso machine but a good brand to buy from. You definitely want to avoid hours of waiting on phone calls to the company whenever a problem arises.
Recipes It Can Make for You
With an espresso machine at home, you can get your dose of caffeine quickly and cheaply. Here is a list of caffeinated delicacies you can enjoy with your espresso machine.
The simplest but most desirable quick fix for many people. You can make as many cups of coffee as you like at any time. No waiting in queues and no spending extra money. Just grind some of your favorite beans and let the espresso machine do its magic!
An espresso shot or an espresso double shot is the raw liquid coffee straight from the machine. As strong as it is, espresso fans love drinking it as it is. Nothing extra added to it. This darker and more bitter liquid drunk in its raw state is surprisingly pretty popular among coffee enthusiasts.
Craving something less strong than an espresso shot? A macchiato is a perfect choice! A small quantity of steamed milk added to the espresso shot gives you a macchiato. This drink has a nice foamy texture and the milk tames the strong natural flavor of the espresso.
One of the most popular forms of coffee that you can drink to your heart’s desire with an espresso machine at your home. It is a very convenient drink made just like a macchiato except you make it milkier.
Imagine a cappuccino but milkier, and you get a latte. With a thin layer of foam, this drink is one of the favorites of most coffee fanatics. And you can brew as much of it as you wish in your very own espresso machine!
This drink is a key to the hearts of many chocolate lovers. It’s made like a cappuccino but it’s a lot more chocolatey!
7. Blonde Espresso:
Famous for being the coffee for coffee haters, this fancy drink can easily be your norm with a coffee machine. Blonde Espresso is a balanced and milky drink that saves your tastebuds from bitter coffee and still gives you a good hit of caffeine.
Types of Espresso Machines
Espresso machines primarily differ in their ease of usability. Here are some different types of espresso machines you will come across as you explore.
1. Super-automatic Espresso Machines
The name does not deceive. This espresso machine is extremely automatic and as convenient as it gets.
An ideal choice for those who desire quick and efficient working, this machine pleases at the press of a button. Nothing more. The mechanism of this espresso machine is as simple as adding coffee beans and pressing a button.
A super-automatic espresso machine is a perfect choice for those who need their dose of coffee quickly and very frequently. If you are not into the fancies of flavors and extra froth and foam, this is an ideal machine for you. You can get coffee fast and easy all day long.
- Extremely easy to use
- Includes built-in -grinders and programmable features
- Includes other special features and functions
- Typically very expensive. However, you might be able to find smaller and relatively cheaper versions.
- Offers an almost hands-free experience with bare minimum manual labor involved.
2. Semi-automatic Espresso Machines
Semi-automatic espresso machines strike an intricate balance between manual and automatic machines. They offer enough control to please those who like manual machines while being pretty easy and convenient to use.
These machines are significantly trending in the espresso machine market. Although you can find some models in a budget-friendly price range, the really good ones will require you to have deeper pockets
- Easier to use compared to simple manual machines
- Offer an adequate amount of control to users
- Budget-friendly models are available
- Espresso quality is not compromised
- Top-quality models are pricy
- Ease of use compared to more automatic machines is compromised.
3. Manual Espresso Machines
This type of espresso machine is made for those who want to earn every cup of coffee they drink. While manual labor is a lot, the benefit is the higher level of control you get. You can make just the right cup of coffee for yourself since you control the entire process.
However, this also means you can just as easily mess up. With a manual machine, you will need some time to hone your skills.
Manual espresso machines have an aesthetically pleasing outlook. With either a spring-piston or long lever they exude an almost vintage vibe. Regardless, for all the aesthetics, manual work, and good coffee, they do come pretty costly.
- You can brew high-quality espresso that tastes heavenly
- Offers extra control throughout the process
- Aesthetically attractive outlook
- Boast a good reputation of durability
- They can be very expensive
- Difficult to operate
- Recommended for experienced professionals such as baristas
4. Prosumer Machines
The prosumer espresso machines share features with highly commercial espresso machines. These professional machines with extremely complex mechanisms. Safe to say they are not everyone’s cup of tea (or coffee!).
While it offers quick and easy coffee, there is a lot to learn before the quick and easy part comes. You need to learn to manipulate parameters like grinding regulations, ground quantity, etc. However, this learning can be fun for enthusiasts.
- Produces coffee quickly
- You can enjoy coffee drinks like that of a good café
- Manual labor is not required
- Recommended for professionals
- Complex mechanisms may not be suitable for all
- An expensive piece of equipment
Popular Espresso Machine Manufacturers
Ensuring that you are buying an espresso machine from a reliable brand is extremely important. It’s a long-term investment and you want to be in good and trusting hands. Especially if you are spending a lot of money.
1. Breville Espresso Machines
Although there are mixed thoughts by reviewing customers for Breville, it is generally more positively reviewed. Customers can have the most contrasting opinions for the same machine model. While some users cannot praise Breville’s espresso shot enough, others seem frustrated with its features.
These espresso machines are very simple to use. The most common complaints regarding their machines are about clogging and difficulty in cleaning the Breville Espresso Machine. But overall, customers appear happy with their experience.
2. Delonghi Espresso Machines
Delonghi is an extremely reliable and trusted brand among customers. They produce several models of espresso machines and leave customers extremely satisfied.
The most appealing feature of this brand is its wide range of affordability that caters to most all people. From affordable yet good to extremely pricy hi-tech models, they have espresso machines for all. All you have to do is choose the right one for you and learn how to use it!
3. Gaggia Espresso Machines
Gaggia is one extremely popular brand among users for its espresso machines. They produce a wide variety of espresso machines and are very positively reviewed. It seems that customers cannot sing enough praises of Gaggia.
The most common praise for Gaggia comes from its products’ durability. Customer claim they did not need a replacement for as long as 30 years! Moreover, they also highly appreciate its ease of usability and flavor quality.
However, the one complaint that bothers customers is the high shipping cost for replacement parts under warranty.
4. Capresso Espresso Machines
Capresso Espresso makers enjoy an overall positive image in the hearts of their customers. They produce espresso machine models that start from extremely reasonable prices. Even the cheapest of their products tends to have good quality.
Capresso machines are frequently praised for being easy to use and offering an experience that is worth every penny.
5. Keurig Coffee Makers
Commonly known for its single-serving coffee brewers, Keurig enjoys overall positive customer reviews. The brand is affordable and makes very easy-to-use brewers. There is, but, one limitation.
With Keurig, your espresso can only be made with Rivo single-serve packets. Customers are generally happy with the flavor and quality of Rivo coffee according to positive reviews. However, Keurig is not for those who wish to experiment.
Our Top Recommended Espresso Machines
There is a lot to consider, many options, and much to choose from. So, if you are confused, that’s okay! Here are some of our top recommendations you can explore for a start.
1. Breville Barista Espresso Machine
This steel exterior espresso machine is a dream come true for any coffee enthusiast. If you are particular about your coffee and wish to do minimal work for it, this is the ideal espresso machine for you! Its programmable settings allow you all the control to make your preferred coffee.
Firstly, it is equipped with a built-in grinder. That too with a sizing dial so you can grind size no matter the beans you use. With this machine, you can even control the grinding dose for a fresh batch whenever you desire. And the water pressure in it is something to be marveled at!
It’s got a digital temperature control, features to micro-foam milk texture, and much more! All these perks are doubled with its great capacity for everyday use. Plus, it comes with several different accessories for instance coffee scoop, integrated tamper, milk jug, etc. A perfect deal!
Includes a built-in grinder
Easy maintenance and easy to clean
Includes top quality frother
Takes significant counter space in the kitchen
Complex mechanism (require reading a manual thoroughly)
2. Mr. Coffee Espresso & Cappuccino Maker
It comprises a one-touch control panel where you can easily choose the drink you wish to brew. Moreover, the removable and easy-to-fill water and milk tanks make life (and coffee making) so much easier! The press of a few buttons is all you gotta do.
One very cool feature of this machine is the automatic frother that gives your coffee a grand texture. It’s simple and easy and produces great coffee! However, to enjoy all benefits, Mr. Coffee requires a good understanding of its features. Yes, you will have to read the manual.
Produces great quality coffee
Not suitable for a very long time usage
3. Keurig Coffee Maker
Are you looking for an espresso machine that is affordable, does not take up much space, and produces good coffee? Keurig coffee maker is the choice you need to make! To do you one better, it is even energy-efficient!
This easy-to-use espresso machine can brew you up to four cups of coffee without needing a refill. You can fit this bad boy neatly in your kitchen and brew 8, 10, or 12 cups size of coffee anytime! And if you’re a clean freak, it comes with a removable drip tray to save you from the mess.
So, if you don’t mind a plastic exterior and desire quick fixes of coffee throughout the day, Keurig is the choice you make.
Heats water very quickly
Extremely easy to use
Tips For Buying an Espresso Machine for Home
There is a huge difference between buying an espresso machine for home and buying it for a café. How professional (hence, complex) do you want it to be? How much time are you willing to put in a single cup of coffee at home? There’s much to consider.
Here are some tips to help you decide:
- Keep in mind that an espresso machine requires frequent cleaning and maintenance.
- Some machines comprise a detachable brew group. This makes it easier to clean. However, you have to manually do it.
- Some machines have a built-in brew group. It cleans automatically which saves time. However, it can be tricky to check it for issues and cleanliness.
- It is important to know the pump pressure. This determines the extent of flavor your machine extracts from the coffee. A machine with 9 or more bars would be a good choice.
Tips for Buying an Espresso Machine for Café
When you are serving a large crowd of customers you need reliable and professional espresso machines. There can be no compromises on the quality or the speed. You want an espresso machine that is equipped to serve in peak periods.
Here’s what you should consider when buying a commercial espresso machine:
- Examine how long the espresso machine takes to heat up when switched on. You cannot waste time waiting for it to heat up.
- For latte art, make sure it has an easy to use the steam wand
- Find out its energy consumption. It is better to use energy-efficient machines
- Some espresso machines allow you to install water filters. Keeping your business in mind, figure out if that’s a viable option.
- Check for the number of boilers. Boilers are responsible for creating pressure. You will need the pressure to resume quickly.
- You might want to consider a machine with variable pressure options to enhance the extraction.
- De’Longhi Stilosa
- Breville Bambino Plus
- Gaggia Classic Pro
- Breville Barista Pro, etc.
There are several other espresso machines from various brands that will impress you in the reliability area.
It is still important to remember that the brewing pressure should be 8 to 9 bars if you want a great espresso!
When you are buying an espresso machine it is extremely important to know what you want first. An espresso machine comes in various models comprising a wide range of features. So, don’t go overthinking brands and pumps before knowing your preferences.
Your requirements and desires are what will help you make the decision. Before wondering what to look for in an espresso machine, figure out what you want. What’s your preference is; semi-automatic or super-automatic espresso machine or a manual one? And finally, when you begin your search, this espresso machine guide will be here to aid you which will eventually help you to pull a great shot of Espresso!