Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links, this means, that every click or product bought through the espresso machine buying guide link drives earnings to The Attic Life.
Coffee lovers innocently start by investing in small homely espresso makers for their caffeine-addict souls. They start with drip filters, milk frothier, stovetop espresso makers, French presses and without much knowledge venture out into the wild world of caffeine brewers, prosumers and semi-auto machinery. They aimlessly browse through a gazillion espresso makers to choose from.
However, if you are one of them and are looking to perfect your craft of making the frothy latte, cappuccino and dark espressos then our espresso machine buying guide is the ultimate toolkit.
Research at the Italian Espresso National Institute concluded with extremely strict standards to what can be called a true and pure espresso. The basic idea of an espresso maker is simply to force a small amount of nearly boiling water under a minimum of 9 bar pressure through finely ground coffee to result in a true espresso. The result? You get a creamier, thick coffee with more caffeine proportions.
Pressure is a key parameter to achieve the perfect espresso, hence a stovetop espresso maker is simply filtered out from the list since it doesn’t really produce the ‘real espresso’. Even then a stovetop espresso maker is highly recommended for anyone starting out on a budget.
Kinds of espresso machines available and how to understand features and specifications:
There are two kinds of espresso machines available, namely, steam-driven and pump-driven. Pump-driven machines are quite common and have more variety available. For instance,
a. Manual Lever Pump: One needs to manually pump the espresso with their hands with no help of electricity in this type of pump.
b. Electronic Pump: In this, one needs to set the right temperature and the machine pumps out the espresso for you.
c. Semi-Automatic Pump: in a semi-automatic pump, one needs to grind the coffee beans and tamp them into the filter before turning on the machine. Once done, you need to pump the button to turn it on until the water turns black, after which you can turn it off.
d. Automatic Pump: Similar to a semi-automatic pump, the automatic pump also needs you to grind the beans and tamp them into the filter. However, the machine automatically brews the espresso out after this aforementioned procedure is taken care of.
e. Super Automatic Pump: All the manual labour is kept at bay with a super automatic pump. The machine grinds the beans, tamps the portafilter, boils the water, pushes lots of pressure and takes care of the waste for you. However, these kinds of espresso makers can be pretty expensive.
f. Capsule / Vending Machines: Whilst there are tons of espresso machine options available, a vending machine is a popular buy. There are also certified batch brewers that create third wave ideals of coffee and let you regulate the recipe to suit your coffee requirements.
Apart from these, a number of fully automatic pod machines like the Nespresso require zero assistance from beyond popping in a pod and pressing a button. All the machines mentioned in this espresso machine buying guide are either pod machines or semi-automatic ones.
Now, before you dive into the investment options, consider the following checklist to go through one-by-one prior to getting yourself an espresso maker.
1. Do not skip the grinder: A good grinder calls for a good espresso maker, if you have a good quality grinder, the rest can easily be taken care of.
2. Consider ownership span: Whilst browsing through price charts, espresso makers cannot be an equivalent to a toaster or microwave, however, one can compare its pricing with that of a home entertainment system or something on the similar spectrum.
3. Consumer Reviewers and Why: Consumer reviews can sometimes turn out to be daunting, painstaking and a time-consuming process. With hundreds and thousands of reviews available online, look out for verified buyers/purchases only. Always look at both sides of the coin, the negatives and the positives to understand what suits your pocket and likings
4. Vendor Tips: Don’t just (just in case meaning) go ahead with word of mouth. A retailer might sometime have a better-quality machine compared to those provided at outlets, or vice versa.
5. Accessories to consider while choosing:
a. Tampers: While artists have their own sets of brushes, craftsmen have their toolkits, an espresso maker has his/her own tamper. A tamper may cost you as little as 10$ to as high as 150$.
b. Cups and Saucers: Producing an espresso is art you cherish the most, then why to provide a cheapskate home, when you can afford to buy a supreme quality set of cups and saucers.
c. Knock Boxes: As much as tampers play a crucial role in an espresso machine, an absence of knock boxes can turn your playful coffee making hours into a messier one.
d. Steaming Pitchers: Steaming pitchers are simply the wrong bought accessories due to the many variants that an average man fails to understand. Almost every other pitcher on display has a bell shape and a wide spout. There are many variants to steaming pitchers and a good affordable one is that with a tapering spout. The ones with wide spout are simply not recommended to acquire a good latte making art.
At the end of the day, caffeine is a fascination for many and an appetite for a lot more. You may come to terms with the fact that a certain component about an espresso enthrals you, and another element altogether may be conjuring someone else’s heart – for instant, cups and saucers, learning to roast on your own or simply upgrading your espresso makers time (race against time phrase) and again with the tech updates happening around you!
Let’s do a quick recap of what you learnt from this espresso machine buying guide:
1. Understand what constitutes a true espresso
2. Kinds of espresso machines available.
3. Learning about machine specifications and key features
4. How to buy the right accessory for your espresso maker
5. Finalizing your budget, usage purposes and needs prior to purchasing an espresso maker
Don’t forget to use this espresso machine buying guide the next time you browse through online stores for the perfect coffee maker for your home or office needs. Take into consideration your needs, budgets and usage purposes. Nevertheless, every drip of espresso that falls through the machine you invest will taste no less than a heavenly drop of pure joy.