If you consider yourself a connoisseur of that rich, yet smooth espresso taste and your current espresso machine at home could use an upgrade or you are just in the market to purchase yourself one, we definitely have some recommendations for you. Before you start shopping for your new espresso maker, let’s go over the basics to ensure that you find the best model that will not only fit within your budget, but also fit your personal tastes and needs. Ultimately, there is no right or wrong espresso machine; there is only perfect espresso machines that fits your needs.
There are several types of espresso machines which fit within different budgets, so if you have a smaller budget to spend, you can start on the lower scale, and when you can upgrade, you can work your way higher up the expense scale. Here are the basic types:
1) The Steam-Driven Machine – This is a very inexpensive model type which will run you in the range of $40 to $60, however if you are accustomed to true espresso, you may not be as happy with this machine. It makes a drink that resembles a hot drink that is more along the lines of powerful coffee, rather than the espresso that you love so much.
2) The Pump-Driven Machine – This is the unit that you will spend a pretty penny on, but if you like your espresso to taste like, well, espresso, then this is the machine that you want to invest your money in. There are several types of pump-driven models, including:
a. Manual – For true espresso enthusiasts, this device allows you to choose exactly how strong your drink is made. Expect to spend in the range of $250 to $1500.
b. Semi-Automatic – You will not have as much control with this type as you will get with the manual one, in regard to the thickness of the liquid and you will definitely need espresso making skills. Just push the button to fill the cup and press it again before your cup runneth over. These run anywhere between $100 and $1000.
c. Automatic – Have you seen the espresso capsules or pods? This automatic device is easy to use and clean and makes a good cup every time. Better yet, it does not require any real espresso making skills. Budget to spend between $100 and $300 on a machine like this.
d. Super Automatic – If you have a budget without restraints and you can spend between $500 and $3000, you can get a super automatic device that makes a perfect cup of espresso every single time.
The Coffee Grinder
If you are investing in your first espresso machine, then you are also going to want to look into a good coffee grinder. Here is the scoop on coffee grinders, and it’s pretty simple: a great coffee grinder is going to give you an even, smooth grind, while bottom of the line grinders are going to give you an uneven mess of powder that is full of chunks. Chunks are a no-no for espresso, unless you really don’t mind drinking a less than par cup of espresso. In that case, why worry about buying an excellent espresso maker?
Essentially, if you want your extraction to come out perfectly, the coffee grinder that you use will make all of the difference in the world. For a spectacular cup of espresso, you are going to want a nice, fine grind without the chunks, so make sure that the coffee grinder you are using (or purchasing) is at least average, if not better, because a cheap one just won’t cut it. The last thing you want is a cup of coffee mud that forgot it was supposed to be espresso.