Buying Guide: The Best Espresso Machines For You

How to Choose the Right Espresso Machine

Espresso Machine

When you need a strong pick-me-up in the mornings, espresso is the perfect beverage for you. To make a great cup of espresso whenever you need it, you'll need an espresso maker that is durable and reliable. Before you buy your next machine, be sure to use this espresso machine buying guide to help you choose the ideal appliance for your kitchen.

Coffee presses, percolators and coffee makers all have a place in your kitchen, but for the true Italian experience consider buying an espresso machine for your home. Knowing which espresso machine to buy means finding the model is easy to use, fits your lifestyle and delivers the best possible espresso every day. Compare the different types of machines and look at the features on each model to determine which is right for you, and don't forget to consider any additional accessories you might need to make these small kitchen appliances work their best.

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Types of Espresso Machines

There are several different types of espresso machines to choose from. Some are fully automatic, while others require you to handle each step. Be sure to compare the ease of use for each machine as well as the espresso machine design before you buy your espresso maker.

Stovetop Espresso Makers

Stovetop Espresso Maker

Stovetop espresso machines typically offer the most affordable option. These models are typically made from aluminum or stainless steel, and they work by using steam pressure to drive water through the fine coffee grounds to deliver your freshly brewed beverage. Though they are similar in appearance to percolators, the method of brewing is what separates the two types of coffee makers apart. Stovetop espresso makers are available in capacities ranging from two cups to 12 cups. You'll want to choose the espresso machine design that best fits the amount of espresso you will typically make, as stovetop units work best at full capacity.

Steam-Driven Espresso machines

Steam-driven espresso machines are the mid-range option. While more expensive than stovetop machines, they offer added convenience at quicker brewing times. These machines operate in much the same way as the stovetop models do, but they can be plugged in, so you can use your stove for making breakfast while your espresso brews. Most steam-driven models need to cool completely in between batches, so they aren't ideal for serving large crowds. If the machine is only being used for a few shots of espresso every morning, a steam-driven machine might be the right option for you.

Pump-Driven Espresso Machines

Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Machine

When you are conducting an espresso machine comparison to help decide which espresso machine to buy, you may want to consider a pump-driven machine. These are typically considered to be the top of the line, and they are very easy to use. These machines don't rely on steam, so they can deliver stronger, bolder flavor with every serving of espresso. You won't need a carafe to use this type of machine, so you can brew our beverage directly into your cup or mug. The water reservoir can be opened at any point during the brewing process, making it easy to brew batch after batch of espresso for large gatherings. These machines are also the only type that can produce crema.

Pump-Driven Machine Options

If you decide on a pump-driven espresso machine, you'll need to choose between a fully and partially automatic model. Semi-automatic espresso makers deliver your beverage with just a touch of a button, while semi-automatic models require you to control the beginning and end of the brewing process. Both types are easy to use, but beginners usually enjoy the experience more with fully automated models.

Espresso Machine Features

Espresso machines also come with different features, particularly when you shop for pump-driven models. Some come with built-in milk heaters and frothers, which are ideal when you want to make cappuccinos or lattes at home. Espresso machines with drip trays make it easier to clean the machine after each use, and removable water reservoirs allow you to keep the water tank clean. Be sure to look for a machine that has easy-to-use controls that allow you to control the brew strength and volume. Compare each espresso machine to see which one offers these features, so you get a machine that is easy to operate and lets you make a variety of drinks at home.

Additional Options

Automatic Espresso Machine Many of the leading coffee and espresso machine manufacturers offer machines that make both espresso and coffee. These types of espresso machines help to save space on your counter and give you a one-stop brewing station in your kitchen. These usually feature a fully automatic espresso machine, making it easier to create your morning beverage, and they are ideal for coffee drinkers that like a shot or two of espresso in their morning cup of Joe. However, they may not create enough pressure to pull a full-flavored shot of espresso, so if you're a conessiour you'll probably be better off with a separate espresso machine.

As you decide which espresso machine to buy, take a look at any coffee accessories you might need. Coffee grinders that can make the fine grounds needed for espresso come in handy, especially if you don't have easy access to a coffee shop. Knock boxes help you to dispose of your grounds more easily, so you won't leave a mess in your kitchen sink after brewing a batch of espresso. Steaming pitchers are essential if you want to make frothy cappuccinos and lattes.

When it comes to buying specialty electrics, you have many options available to you. Use this espresso machine buying guide to help you choose the right espresso machine for your home.

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