Fancy a hot cup of espresso coffee? Let the best espresso machines do the honors!
As a diehard coffeeholic, we understand that you crave your daily dose of coffee to start your day. However, you can’t always count on coffee shops. There are days when you want to enjoy coffee in the comfort of your home, without splurging a fortune on a coffee cafe.
And if it’s an espresso shot, you need to pull it off really well.
That’s where an espresso coffee machine comes in.
Thanks to the ingenious coffee manufacturers, the coffee market has no dearth of espresso machine best suited to your needs. From a basic small home espresso machine to a fully commercial espresso machine, and the ‘authentic’ Italian espresso machine, there’s nothing stopping you from being your own home barista.
In this guide, we will show you everything you need to know about espresso coffee machines.
So grab a mug of your favorite espresso and prepare to get your caffeine fix once and for all!
What is the Espresso Machine?
Wait, isn’t espresso a coffee machine? Or is an espresso machine different from other coffee machines?
It’s okay if you haven’t thought about it before. We have got other things to worry about (like sipping on the espresso itself). However, if you want to devour the taste and creamy texture of the cafe-like espresso coffee in your home, you must know what an espresso machine actually is.
Unlike other coffee machines that slowly and steadily filter hot water through grounded coffee beans, an espresso coffee machine yields highly pressurized and nearly boiling water through super-fine coffee grounds. It is this slight difference in the preparation method that makes an espresso coffee rich in flavor, creamy in texture, and just pure heaven.
Yes, brewing a cup of espresso coffee is not everyone’s cup of tea, an espresso machine can be your savior. All you need to do is to get your hands on a nice espresso machine and learn how to use it.
Sounds like a fair deal to get your caffeine fix, right from your own kitchen – doesn’t it?
How to Use Espresso Machine?
What’s the use of getting an espresso machine when you have no clue about how to use it? Brewing that perfect cup of espresso is more of an art rather than science. Yes, your ingredient measurements should be on point, but it’s the experience and right techniques that will nurture and polish that hidden barista in you.
Before you move on to trying out your first attempt at making espresso, ensure to use the finest variety of dark roasted coffee beans.
Secondly, use a scale. No questions asked. If this is your first attempt, you clearly can’t and shouldn’t rely on chances. Measure each ingredient using a scale to achieve that cafe-like espresso consistency at home.
Lastly, avoid using pre-ground coffee. It may seem unimportant but using freshly ground coffee takes the taste and aroma of your espresso to a whole new level.
Step-By-Step Guide to Use Espresso Machine
Now that you’ve got everything set up to try out your first espresso shot, here’s a stepwise process about how to use the espresso machine:
- Get your hands on an amazing espresso coffee machine. Don’t know where and which one to get from? Read on and you’ll find different types of espresso machines to choose from!
- Turn it on (duh.)
- Preheat your espresso machine. It might take a while, but you’ve got to be patient to nail that perfect shot.
- Now is the time measure and grind the caffelicious goodness – the coffee beans. We always recommend grinding your coffee beans right before using the espresso machine. Once you’ve ground your coffee means, pour this ground goodness in your machine’s portafilter.
- Tare the weighing scale and measure about 20grams of ground espresso coffee in your portafilter.
- If your espresso machine carries a built-in coffee grinder, you can grind your coffee directly into the portafilter.
- So now that you’ve transferred the ground coffee into the portafilter, level it up and remove the heaped mountain of coffee gently using your hands.
- Even out the coffee by removing all the excess coffee ground from the surface of the portafilter and prepare for the next step.
- Tamping. This has to be one of the most critical steps about using an espresso coffee machine. All you need to do is to press down straight with adequate pressure until the top bed of the coffee ground evens out.
- Remove the excess coffee ground from the sides, top, and edges of the portafilter and brace yourself for the most exciting part.
- Brewing! This is where you finally pull your first shot. If your espresso machine contains a pressure gauge, it’s best to note the pressure setting at which you pulled your first shot.
- You’re done. Your very first pure espresso is ready. However, if you are a fan of milk-based espresso coffee, keep reading to learn how to work on milk using an espresso maker.
- It’s time to steam your milk. Pour cold milk in your milk pitcher and turn on your steamer wand.
- Start frothing your milk with the steamer wand. At this point, you want to make sure that your steamer wand tip is slightly below the milk surface.
- As soon as you’ve achieved the desired consistency and temperature (139-149 F), put your wand down and purge your now frothed milk.
PRO TIP: Ensure to maintain your milk’s temperature. Too little heat will collapse your espresso’s foam. On the contrary, going overboard will destroy the taste. The sweet spot lies somewhere in between the right temperature, and you’ll learn it with time.
Types of Espresso Coffee Machine
With a plethora of different types of espresso makers in the market, finding the best one can be a daunting task. Each of these come with their own sets of pros and cons. Let’s go through each so you know which one will serve the best for you.
Manual Espresso Machine vs Automatic Espresso Machine
Automation is undoubtedly the most critical factor to consider while buying an espresso coffee machine.
Manual Espresso Machine
Coffeeholics who love to follow the traditional style of brewing coffee go for a manual espresso machine. In this type, you need to manually pump a lever to bring about the pressure needed to pull a perfect espresso shot.
Though manual machines are largely replaced by the automatic varieties, some coffee lovers still prefer manual espresso machine. It’s because of the complete freedom you get in the brewing process. When pulled off perfectly, a manual espresso maker allows you to brew the espresso of your dreams.
Automatic Espresso Machine
Automatic espresso machines are hands-down the first choice of coffeeholics who want to spend less time brewing the coffee, and more time enjoying every sip they take. Automatic machines can be fully automatic or semi-automatic. The main difference between the two is the fully-automatic machines do everything from grinding, to tamping, and pulling the shot.
In semi-automatic machines, you are the one who has to pull the shot. Other than that, all other functions are automated.
Home Espresso Machine vs Commercial Espresso Machine
You already know which one you use at home and which espresso machine fits best for commercial use in coffee shops and cafes.
Home Espresso Machine
You use a home espresso machine to brew coffee at home, for yourself, and/or your family and guests. These are great for everyday use at home. The best home espresso maker should be able to do the job and help you get your daily dose of caffeine easily and effortlessly.
Commercial Espresso Machine
A commercial espresso machine is the busiest lady in the lot. It’s always up and running, churning out caffelicious goodness one after another. If you’re running a coffee shop or planning to open one, you need to get a commercial espresso maker.
Italian Espresso Machine
Espresso coffee is native to Italy. So it’s pretty obvious that an Italian espresso machine brings you the taste and flavor straight from Italy into your kitchen.
What makes an Italian espresso maker a hit among religious coffee lovers is its quality which is built-in to pull off the richest and creamiest Italian espresso shot for you.
Things to Consider When Buying Espresso Coffee Machine
Espresso machines vary widely in their functions and sizes, but they all must serve one common goal – help you brew densely flavored espresso!
The market is populated with tons of espresso makers, and finding the one that rightly fits your needs is a far cry from easy. The following are some things you can consider when buying an espresso coffee machine.
Must be easy-to-use
This is super important if you are just starting out. Coffeeholics who have never brewed espresso must lookout for something that’s easy to use, comes with clear instructions, and requires minimum effort from their end. Once you know how to knock great espresso shots one after another, you can always move on to a fancier and more complex version later.
Must be easy to clean and maintain
Can’t emphasize the cleaning part enough! Brewing espresso is fun. Sipping on that steaming hot espresso shot is eternal bliss, but what comes next? There are coffee makers that are super easy to clean and maintain. So, unless you are a clean freak who finds the cleaning part therapeutic, look out for espresso makers that are relatively easier to maintain and clean.
Must brew your favorite coffee drinks
What do you love the most – Coffee? Espresso? Cappuccino? Latte? All of them?
Espresso makers come with a wide range of functions. Some of these coffee makers can brew different types of caffeinated drinks and offer a range of adjustable options.
Must be durable
As a coffeeholic, you’ll need to use your espresso machine every single day. Thus, durability is a key factor to look out for when buying an espresso machine.
Typically, espresso coffee machines that are built with pure stainless steel material tend to last longer. Also, most of the leading coffee maker brands come with a warranty. Moreover, the coffee machine brand itself, it’s reputation, and reviews from real customers can also help you in finding a durable espresso maker.
Consider the size
If you own a small kitchen and need an espresso machine that doesn’t take up the entire space on your countertop, the size will be a key feature to look out for. Thankfully, espresso machines come in all sizes and designs, so you always have multiple options to choose from.
The Best Espresso Machines
The best espresso machines do one job – they churn out great espresso shots with minimal effort. It’s just the selection part that is most distressing and time-consuming.
Below we have selected and reviewed some of the best espresso machines you can count on. They include everything from a small espresso machine to a fully Italian espresso machine and as well as a commercial espresso machine.
De’ Longhi Magnifica ESAM3300 Super Automatic Espresso and Coffee Machine
The original espresso is the Italian espresso. That being said, there’s no doubt in the fact that an Italian espresso machine is hands down the best choice for bringing the rich taste and creamy texture to your espresso, straight from Italy.
If you too are looking for a premium quality Italian espresso machine, the De’ Longhi Magnifica ESAM3300 might end your search. Built in Italy and sold by a leading Italian brand, this machine is undoubtedly the most in-demand espresso machine out there.
The machine has a container capacity of 8.8 ounces and features an easy-to-use rotary and push-button. Since it is fully automatic, the ESAM3300 carries programmable menu settings. It also includes a coffee bean grinder, which makes the brewing process direct and ultra-simple for you.
The best part? The espresso machine also houses a patented cappuccino system, which means brewing rich, creamy, and frothy cappuccinos and lattes become deliciously effortless.
Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso Maker
If you are an entry-level home barista in making, Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso Maker can be your savior. This easy-to-use semi-automatic machine makes your espressos, cappuccinos, and lattes – all with a one-touch control panel!
Not just that, Barista Espresso Maker also includes an automatic milk frother, so you can make super-creamy cappuccinos and lattes without worrying about frothing milk separately. How cool is that? What’s more, the machine isn’t only easy to use – it’s incredibly easy to clean and maintain as well. It includes a tray that can be adjusted for different sizes of coffee mugs and cups. You can easily remove each reservoir manually and clean it in a breeze.
All in all, Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso Maker is truly a life-saver for a coffeeholic who wants espresso and creamy cappuccinos with very little effort!
De’Longhi EC155 15 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
We can’t and we won’t ever get enough of De’Longhi Espresso machines. They exist to brew nothing but delicious coffee, cappuccinos, lattes, and espresso right from the comfort of your home. Whether you are a fan of pure Italian espresso, creamy cappuccino, or latte, the EC155 knows how to pull each of them.
The EC155 is among the most popular and highly recommended espresso machines by De’Longhi. Featuring as a small espresso machine, it’s light on pocket yet heavy on performance. The espresso and coffee maker includes a stainless steel boiler and 15 bar pressure to make great-tasting espresso.
You can use ground coffee or pods in this espresso machine. It has a multipurpose filter holder and dedicated thermostats that control temperature and pressure, giving you full control over your espresso.
Overall, the De’Longhi EC155 15 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker is a cheap espresso machine with quality attributes similar to that of a high-end one.
Breville BES500BSS Bambino Plus Espresso Machine
If you want to develop coffee-shop espresso taste right in your kitchen, look no further than the BES500BSS Bambino Plus Espresso Machine by Breville. It’s a small espresso machine that you won’t occupy much space in your kitchen but will deliver a taste similar to that of a commercial espresso machine.
The BES500BSS features a digital temperature control system, which, along with a pre-infusion mechanism brings forth the richest and strongest flavors in your espresso.
The brewing process in this machine is also simple. All you need to do is press the main button and let the magic begin. Since the machine also includes automatic milk steaming wand, you can rest assured that pulling that perfect espresso shot will require little or no effort from your end.
What’s more? The machine has a super-fast heating time of around three seconds, leaving you and your beloved espresso only a few seconds apart. Doesn’t it sound like a dream come true? Finally, an automatic purging system always keeps the temperature in check thus keeping the taste and of your espresso consistent in every shot.
La Pavoni PUB 1EM-R-1 Group Commercial Espresso Machine
If you own a coffee shop or are just starting out a coffee cafe, small home espresso machines won’t do the job. This is where a commercial espresso machine comes in. The La Pavoni PUB 1EM-R-1 Group Espresso Commercial Espresso machine is a semi-automatic espresso maker designed for commercial use.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can a buying guide complete without an FAQ section?
Got any questions? Read on and our FAQ part might help you out!
What is the best cheap espresso machine?
We have reviewed it – it’s the EC155 15 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker by De’Longhi. Super cheap yet super functional, this espresso machine is one the most running coffee maker products by De’Longhi. It’s also highly durable and made with pure stainless steel. If you are tight on budget but do not want to compromise on quality, the EC155 is for you!
What is the best espresso machine for home?
The options here are endless. We personally love Bambino Plus Espresso Machine by Brevil. It’s super compact yet looks so fancy. The best part about this machine is that despite its small size, it produces that café-like taste right in your home kitchen.
What is the best espresso machine for beginners?
Again, the options are endless. Our favorite one is the Mr. Coffee Café Barista Home Maker. We literally swear by this machine. It’s so simple to use, giving you an easy one-touch control panel. The best feature about this espresso machine is its automatic milk frother that makes rich and creamy cappuccinos and lattes.
Ready for the shot?
And we are done.
And we hope our guide helped you!
If you are a coffee lover and are serious about brewing coffee at your home, now is the time. Pulling a great espresso shot is not as tricky as the coffee shop baristas make you think. With the right machine and some practice, you too can be your own barista.
Don’t believe us? Try one of the machines have reviewed above, and we promise, you won’t ever look back.