Coffee drinkers of the world agree that espresso machines are an absolute necessity. We read over tons of coffee maker reviews and research new ways of making the strong, energy giving beverage.
Having the right machine AND the right method is of the utmost importance. But you WILL need a machine to make the drink. What is espresso and how is it made?
To understand the finer points of this coffee based drink, it is essential to know what it is and where it came from.
Originally, espresso was not brewed but created by forcing steam or extremely hot water through coffee that was ground super fine under pressure. This created a more robust, full bodied concentrated beverage with more dissolved solids than regular coffee beverages.
The concentration of the coffee gives it a much thicker consistency and a single serving is measured in shots (about 1 oz usually). Since it is created under pressure, the elements of the espresso break down quickly due to oxidation.
Espresso is consumed as a standalone beverage, but is also the basis for cappuccinos, lattes and mochas. All have the characteristic tartness of the original espresso concoction.
Types of Espresso Machine
Basically, espresso machines are made in several types. There are steam driven machines, piston driven machines and pump driven machines. Steam driven types operate by forcing water through the coffee grounds using steam pressure. This was the original method and was the ONLY method until the 1940s. This type of design is still used today in low end machines for consumers. The cost is low because there is no need for moving parts.
Piston driven type machines have a lever that is pulled by the user to place pressure on the water and send it through the coffee grounds. Now there are two variations of this design; manual and spring piston.
Manual versions are directly pumped by the user while the spring piston ones operate a tension spring that delivers the water through the grinds. NOTE: This type of espresso machine brought about the cream on top of a properly made espresso shot.
Pump drive machines are another variance of the piston type but the pressure is delivered by a motorized pump, not a manual lever. This is said to be a more accurate way of creating pressure. Some enthusiasts agree, others do not. It really is a matter of preference. This design has become very popular in espresso bars everywhere with home versions having a single chamber for the water.
What Makes A Good Espresso Machine?
The thing to look for in an espresso machine is one that fits your consumption level. Most home espresso makers have a single chamber for the water.
If you plan to entertain, you may want to invest a few more bucks and go for a commercial grade machine with several separate water chambers. That way, you can actually prepare a few different beverages at one time.
Some will also have a feature that allows you to steam milk for your coffee. Better machines will have a separate apparatus for this. Otherwise, you may need to allow some time for the machine to switch modes. That can be a bother sometimes.
As you can see above, the choice is one of features, like buying a car or new TV set. Like I read somewhere, it will be YOUR lifestyle that ultimately defines your need. With that in mind, it will take research and homework on your part.
Good name brands include Dualit, Briel, Gaggia, Krups, Capresso, DeLonghi, Saeco, and Russell Hobbs. All make consumer grade machines as well as commercial ones.
Depending on what you want to spend, the quality is dependent. Usually, the consumer grade espresso machines can be purchased for around $150 to $200. Of course, the commercial machines can run into the thousands.
To find the espresso machine that is right for you, it takes a little time to read coffee makers reviews. A stovetop style espresso maker will fit well for someone who doesn’t have much time for detailed clean up and such but enjoys the taste and fragrance of the drink.
A single chamber steam driven machine is the choice for an espresso purist and gets you back to the basics. So take some time, read the reviews and make sure you know how to make espresso to ensure you have a good, positive experience every time.
Note: Sometimes espresso is wrongly spelled as “expresso” or as “expreso”, making it difficult to find in Internet queries.
These are in my opinion the best espresso machines:
The Rancilio Sylvia has become one of the highest ranked espresso products now sold. That is due to the high quality and a two year warranty. You can understand when you see the durable stainless steel casing.
The Breville 800ESXL is a fun machine to have. It is not just a good looking espresso maker, but is good at what it does. It has quite a number of novel features
Lets find out why the Bar32 is so popular in Europe and North America. Lets start with the most obvious feature, that is its good looks, and the fact that it makes an excellent espresso.
For less than $100, you won’t find a better expresso machine than the Delonghi EC155 The machine is easy to operate and at the same time it produces a good quality espresso with the right amount of crema.
The system itself is made up of a coffee machine into which specialized single-serve coffee capsules are brewed.
Here are more articles on espresso making:
If you are looking for a long-lasting espresso machine but you are on a limited budget, you can certainly find a winner in Breville espresso machines.
These pots are good for individuals who want fast espresso at home without spending too much on expensive espresso machines. Is this an affordable alternative to make good espresso?
This espresso machine made buyers feel at ease with the easy to use controls and the many accessories.
With an at home espresso machine, you can easily prepare for work by filling a thermos with the fancy espresso based cream and sugar filled drink of your choice, whatever that may be.
The Rancilio coffee makers are widely recognized as being some of the finest machines for brewing delicious coffee beverages.
Many Saeco machine users have sworn to the durability of the espresso machine and the quality of the coffee that the machine produces.
It is quite easy to make a latte or a cappuccino with the espresso from this pot. They come in all makes and sizes.
The Nescafe Dolce Gusto Piccolo Plus Coffeemaker makes a very good espresso for a little, automatic maker. You are able to control the ratio of coffee to milk. The machine makes a large assortment of drinks.