You can call me whatever you want, either a coffee-lover, coffee-maniac or a simple fan of great espresso coffee. The taste of an espresso coffee is one thing in the world that I would die for and I used to queue up in the coffee shop at the corner to give a treat to my taste buds often.
But with the high prices of coffee, I decided to buy an espresso machine of my own, so that I could treat myself with the best espresso whenever I want and also surprise my guests with a great espresso coffee when they visit me. And when I started to search for the best espresso machine, which I thought was a simple task of going online, picking a brand and ordering, but it was not an easy task really.
So here I’ve come up with a complete guide on what are the factors to look out for while buying the best espresso machine for all espresso fans like me:
What is an Espresso Machine?
If you think that the beans used for a normal cup of coffee and an espresso is different, you are totally wrong. The fact is that for both the same beans are used, but the only difference is the way in which coffee is brewed. This is where the magic of the espresso machine comes into play, where it just heats up the water to a certain degree of temperature of around 90-96 degrees and then allows the water to pass through a coffee puck at a certain degree of pressure to create that perfect shot of espresso.
Why you Need the Best Espresso Machine?
Home espresso machines are available in all kinds of sizes, price, style and different features etc. So before you go for an espresso machine, you should determine for what purpose you are going to buy the machine. If you are planning to use it daily, then you can go in for a quality machine and if you intend to use the machine only during the weekends or only at an occasional get-together at home, then you can naturally go in for a less expensive one.
In my case, I’m a big lover of the natural espresso taste than the frothy feel of a cappuccino or the chocolate in mochas, and hence I decided to go for an espresso machine that is a little bit on the expensive side, but delivers me with the best and actual flavor of espresso.
Types of Espresso Machines
During my search for the best espresso machine, I was really amazed at the different types of espresso machines that are categorized based on:
A) How the water boils and passed on to the ground coffee
B) Based on the Pump System
Espresso machines are also categorized based on the in-built pump system that pump system that creates the water pressure and passes on to the brew-head:
– Steam Driven Espresso Machine
The Steam driven espresso machines are the cheapest of the lot, as the water is forced onto the coffee grinds using only the steam pressure. Unlike other piston and pump-driven espresso machines, these steam driven ones are quieter, as they don’t have many moving parts inside to generate the pressure. These espresso machines also provide a longer lifetime and also requires little or no maintenance.
But the only problem with these machines is that, they don’t produce the necessary pressure all times for creating that perfect espresso you would expect. Sometimes the high steam pressure may scald the coffee to give a bitter taste to it. Hence, it is not recommended for real espresso lovers.
– Piston Driven Espresso Machine
The Piston driven espresso machine is another category of espresso machine, where the pressure is delivered by pulling a pump to generate some force to push the water through the coffee. The pump needs to be pulled manually to generate the force and this is what is generally termed as “pulling a shot” in espresso coffee-lover circles.
Since the speed of the pull determines the amount of pressure generated, it requires some practice to get the pull right. There are espresso machines that have pumps that needs to be manually pulled to generate the pressure or machines fitted with spring pistons that builds the necessary tension when the pump is pulled and releases it to produce the required pressure. Both have similar kind of results anyway. You can find these pump system machines in cafes, as they give you complete control over the pressure and also determines the quality of the espresso as well. So for home users, it will not be recommended. Straightening machine