Five important factors that you should consider when buying an espresso machine
Large independent coffee chains have become the distinguishing feature of practically every city in the last few decades. Thus, it stands to reason that the presence of these cafés has given us a craving for coffee at any time. Making espresso at home can be highly tempting, as professional coffee is expensive and lines at cafes can get long before the workday even begins. As you are aware, creating a professional-quality espresso involves more steps than simply adding hot water to ground coffee beans; yet, a good espresso machine can make the process simpler. We’ll walk you through selecting the best espresso machine for your needs in this step-by-step tutorial, so you can start enjoying great coffee!
What exactly is espresso coffee?
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Even though espresso is a popular beverage among coffee enthusiasts, there are still a few widespread myths about this incantation. Although an outdated definition states that the manufacturing of espresso coffee is correlated with the roast’s darkness, you should be aware that espresso coffee may be produced with any roast, from light to dark. Espresso is a phrase used to describe the preparation process of coffee; it is not defined by any particular type of coffee bean.
In general, three essential ingredients—time, temperature, and pressure—are needed to make espresso coffee. Espresso is made by first finely grinding the coffee and then adding it to the machine’s specific filter. This is followed by the process of making espresso coffee, which involves adding hot water to the mixture at a pressure of 9 to 10 bar and a temperature of 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 30 seconds.
Espresso coffee is basically the result of passing through cascade filter layers in order to prepare coffee concentrate, in which a creamy layer is formed in the upper part. It is interesting to know that only properly prepared espresso coffee will have a creamy layer. The quality of the cream reflects both the skill of the barista and the freshness of the coffee. Espresso coffee in its pure form is a delicious drink for enthusiasts, which can be prepared with different proportions of milk for latte, cappuccino, cortado and macchiato.
Five steps to choose a suitable espresso machine
A appropriate device is needed to prepare a professional espresso shot, as we indicated in the introduction. As a result, we’ll walk you through the process of selecting an espresso maker in this area in a few simple stages so you won’t regret your purchase.
1. Convenience or quality? Fully automatic or semi-automatic espresso machine
When buying a home espresso machine, the most important decision is choosing between a fully automatic or semi-automatic machine. The main difference between these two categories of products is that the fully automatic models are perfect and do everything automatically with the touch of a single button. On the other hand, semi-automatic espresso machines need to grind the roasted beans and if you are interested in adding milk, it must be heated manually.
Fully automatic machines are a popular option for those who prioritize convenience, as with these models you can prepare espresso at home in an easy and hassle-free way. So zombies who can’t even think about grinding beans without drinking a cup of coffee can be brought back to life in less than a minute with the push of a button.
However, using fully automatic models, you will probably get fewer shots, but you will enjoy a rich and full espresso. These machines are quick and easy, but naturally, they don’t reach the quality of coffees from your favorite local coffee shop.
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Semi-automatic espresso machines require a little more work compared to previous models. In fact, to prepare espresso with a semi-automatic espresso machine, you must first grind the coffee manually, and before starting the coffee brewing cycle, you must insert the machine’s portafilter.
You can get 10 to 20 shots of espresso using semi-automatic espresso machines, and even if you invest in a good semi-automatic machine, you can get much better tasting espresso than fully automatic models. Also, the semi-automatic espresso maker allows you to take the amount of coffee and water to the trial and error crucible so that you can get to know the subtleties of making espresso coffee. These devices are a better choice for those who enjoy the process of making coffee and want to have a tastier drink with a little more effort.
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2. Sheathed or unsheathed; Is Nespresso a good option to buy?
Nespresso machines fall into the fully automatic genre and are a single-capsule system, which means you’ll find coffee in a can and small capsules that you’ll need to place in the machine’s pod. With these types of capsules, you are almost free from the trouble of cleaning the device, and you can also quickly switch between different types of coffee and different brands and try any type of product.
The biggest disadvantage of this category of goods is its price, because to make a shot of coffee you have to pay twice the cost of a shot of espresso coffee made from fresh beans!
Are Nespresso capsules environmentally friendly?
In addition to the additional costs we mentioned in the previous section, many users are concerned about the environmental impact of these small capsules. But it is interesting to know that Nespresso (Nestle company) provides free recycling services for these capsules.
Some people admit that buying these capsule products is an unnecessary waste system; Furthermore, recycling is not a 100% efficient process, so it is better not to produce any recyclable waste in the first place. The good news is that Nespresso’s efforts in sustainable packaging and environmental sourcing are continuously increasing.
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A greener alternative to the Nespresso machine is a fully automatic espresso machine that uses fresh beans. All you have to do is put the beans in this machine and it will grind them automatically. This method is almost as convenient as using a Nespresso machine, only with a little extra cleaning involved (cleaning out the grounds container).
3. Do you like coffee with milk?
Let’s say you’re not an espresso drinker and you’re interested in making your coffee a little milder by using milk. Warm milk and its foam are necessary to prepare cortado, cappuccino or latte, so buying a device with the ability to add milk is one of the things you should pay attention to. In general, espresso machines with automatic and built-in frothers are the easiest to operate, and the presence of milk steam bars in their structure helps to make a high-quality latte compared to other models (products with independent frothers).
Nespresso machines most likely don’t have a milk frother, although there are exceptions, but you can buy a stand-alone frother for models that don’t have milk frothing capabilities. However, these small devices need to be washed and cleaned after each use, although this is not difficult, but it reduces the convenience of the pod models and certainly calls into question the value of buying them, which were more for convenience.
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4. Consider the ease of cleaning the espresso machine!
Cleaning the espresso machine is probably one of those parts that most people avoid, when it comes to the ease of cleaning the machine, you need to evaluate the daily and long-term cleaning needs! The daily needs of an espresso machine include tasks such as emptying the drip trays and cleaning the steam and foam bars and emptying the grounds (in a fully automatic espresso machine).
Long-term cleanings include descaling the device. Descaling can be done every few months depending on the consumption and hardness of the water in your area.
Sheathed models are more convenient to clean, but adding a separate and independent milk frother to the machine will increase cleaning significantly. If you normally use milk in your coffee, we recommend that you buy a fully automatic espresso machine with a milk frother, as it is the best model among all the options in terms of ease of cleaning.
5. Do not forget to grind the coffee beans
Many models on the market often have built-in grinders or use coffee capsules that eliminate the need for grinding. If you end up choosing an espresso machine that doesn’t have a grinder, you need to get an independent grinder and grind the beans with it to experience fresh coffee.
If you are looking to buy a separate grinder for your espresso machine, make sure that the selected model is suitable for your espresso machine before purchasing. Espresso grinders come in a wide variety of sizes. In the same vein, we recommend that you avoid small grinders if you have an espresso machine, as this most likely means that the amount of coffee they can produce is so low that it is not worth making a single shot of espresso.