What's The Best Espresso Machine For Home?
Do you love coffee? Do you love the perfect flavor and intensity you get every time you order a cup of coffee at a café? Do you dream of being able to make just as delicious coffee in your own home, but do you need a guide to which espresso machine will be best for you and your kitchen table? We give you advice and guidance on the best espresso machines on the market so you can get up in the morning for a perfectly brewed cappuccino, come home from work to a creamy cafe latte and finish a perfect evening meal with an intense espresso.
Most people go to the café once in a while. Whether alone, with friends, or in larger groups of family members, the common denominator is often a cup of good coffee. But why not delight yourself, your friends and your family with an espresso machine in your own home? This eliminates expensive cafe bills, wet hair in rainy weather and who knows? – Maybe it will be even easier to get up in the morning when you know it is not a cup of instant coffee waiting for you?
When you need to get your first espresso machine, there are many things to consider: What does it cost? Should it be used exclusively for espresso or do you often need to steam milk? What should it look like? There are many decisions to be made, but the most basic one is whether you want to give the machine all the credit for a perfect cup of coffee or if you would like to have a finger in the game yourself?
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Which espresso machine to choose?
When deciding which espresso machine to buy, you must first and foremost settle on yourself how much of the responsibility for the good cup of coffee you want to leave to the machine. In this connection, a distinction is made between manual, semi-automatic and fully automatic espresso machines.
Manual espresso machines
A manual espresso machine is hand operated. Here you fill the filter holder with coffee, tamper the coffee (compress the coffee) and lock the filter holder on the machine. Then press the water through the finely ground coffee using a handle that creates the necessary pressure. This technique is the original espresso technique, and was primarily used before the current pump-driven espresso machine was developed.
- This type of espresso machine does not noise or fill as much as a pump driven machine.
- You can completely control how your coffee tastes.
- Once you’ve learned how to use a manual espresso machine, the coffee result will be perfect.
- The technique of using a manual machine is difficult to learn and is almost exclusively used by professional baristas. If you create pressure too quickly or too slowly, the coffee becomes useless – this type of espresso machine requires a lot of experience.
A manual espresso machine is for you who really want to “nerd” brewing delicious coffee in an authentic way. Making good coffee on a manual espresso machine requires a lot of practice and experience, so coffee brewing on one requires that you have a small barista tucked in your stomach.
Semiautomatic espresso machines
Here is a link to a great guide & overview of the best semi-automatic espresso machine for home use.
In 1938, Achilles Gaggia added an electric pump system to the manual espresso machine, making espresso brewing much easier. Just as with a manual machine, fill the machine’s filter with coffee and tamp it with a semi-automatic espresso machine. The difference is that the machine’s electric pump creates the pressure needed to make a good cup of coffee. This means that the coffee in a semi-automatic espresso machine is made with a uniform, uniform pressure, and thus becomes good every time.
- You decide how hard your coffee should be tamped and how much water should flow through the coffee.
- You decide how much coffee you want to use (and thus how strong the coffee becomes).
- The espresso machine creates the pressure it takes – and the coffee gets good every time.
- The machines are usually cheaper than the fully automatic espresso machines.
- You have the opportunity to “nerd” a little with different ways to brew coffee, and yet be reasonably sure of successful coffee every time.
- With a semi-automatic machine it often takes a little longer to make coffee than with a fully automatic espresso machine.
- There is more cleaning than with a fully automatic espresso machine.
A semi-automatic espresso machine is for you if you would like to keep yourself in control to make the perfect cup of coffee, but do not bother with all the technical skills that come with a manual espresso machine.
Fully automatic espresso machines
A fully automatic espresso machine grinds coffee beans, doses itself and automatically brews the coffee. In addition, many espresso machines can be connected to direct water supply, so filling is not necessary. So the only thing you need to do to get a good cup of coffee is to find a cup and press “start”.
- The quality will be the same every time.
- It is easy and quick to operate.
- You can’t even experiment with tamping, pressure, water temperature and more.
- A fully automatic espresso machine is the most expensive of the three types of espresso machines.
A fully automatic espresso machine is good for you if you want a quick and very easy cup of espresso. This type of machine is also optimal if you are not interested in making a good cup of espresso from scratch, but simply want a good taste every time.
A question of boilers
Once you’ve figured out if your level of ambition fits a manual, semi-automatic or fully automatic espresso machine, you can start to consider what type of coffee drink you are. Are you mostly into espressoshots or milk drinks like cafe latte and cappuccino? Here the number of boilers is crucial (espressonista.dk).
An espresso machine with only one kettle is called a Single Boiler. It is thus the same kettle that supplies both hot water to the coffee and steam to steam milk. This means that the machine cannot brew espresso and produce steam at one time. Because espresso and steam require two different temperatures, it takes some time to switch from one to the other. This means that such a machine is good for you if you love espresso and only rarely throw you out in a cafe latte or a cappuccino. The Single Boiler machines are relatively inexpensive and easier to descale than HX machines.
HX – Heat exchange
An HX machine also has only one boiler, but with the help of a heat exchanger (a pipe that conducts cold water through the boiler so that it is heated) it can both make espresso and produce steam at once. Such a machine is optimal for you if you drink a lot of milk drinks. This is a higher price than the Single Boiler machine.
With a Dual Boiler machine, it is a machine with two boilers – one for espresso and one for steam. This means that you are always ready with the right temperature for both coffee and steam, and you can quickly make various milk drinks. The taste itself does not get better than on an HX machine, but the chance to make a good cup of coffee every time is greater. This type of machine is clearly the most expensive – many machines cost over USD1000.
Test - Find the best models
Once you have decided whether your espresso machine should be manual, semi-automatic or fully automatic and for how many boilers that are optimal for you, it is time to look into the specific products on the market. We have compared the best options, here on the site, and you will find all our tests, and guides in our my article of the best espresso machines for home use, right here.