An espresso machine brews a thick and concentrated coffee beverage by forcing hot water through a basket that contains finely ground and tightly packed coffee at very high pressure. As such, the resulting coffee beverage has a richer flavor and a dense foam at the top. To purchase the best espresso machine, evaluate the following factors carefully:
A boiler is important because it produces the stem for frothing milk. Take note some manufacturers call the boiler a thermoblock. This means you should not shun machines that do not necessarily use the term “boiler.” With this in mind, some espresso machines come with an in-built boiler while others have a separate thermoblock. In addition, some thermoblocks can steam espresso continuously while others only work intermittently. Irrespective of how steaming works or where the boiler is located, an espresso machine with a boiler is a good choice.
In general, there are two types of espresso machines: pump and steam driven. A pump-driven machine heats water and then forces it through the ground coffee using an internal pump. Since the force applied at this point is higher than in a steam-driven machine, the resulting espresso has a higher quality and more pronounced/better taste. On the other hand, a steam-driven espresso machine boils water and forces it through ground coffee via application of steam pressure. The only problem is a steam-driven machine does not produce full-flavored espresso. As such, pump-driven machines are more expensive compared to steam-driven ones. Moreover, a steam-driven machine can only produce one carafe at a time while a pump-driven machine does not rely on a carafe.
Choose a machine that has a thermostat to protect it from overheating. Some machines use internally fitted thermal fuses for this purpose. However, such a fuse would have to be replaced by a qualified technician in the event it “trips”. You will also come across machines fitted with a re-settable thermostat. Finally, some high-end espresso machines come with adjustable pressure thermostats that are highly reliable.
It is advisable to purchase an espresso machine with a quality, in-built grinder. In general, the bigger and stronger the grinder motor, the better its ability to run quietly and produce more finely ground coffee for making espresso.
When shopping for an espresso machine, consider factors such as the grinder, type, thermostat specifications, and boiler. It is also wise to go online and compare the prices and features of the machines available. However, do not let price trump the other factors discussed in this article.