How to Choose A Home Espresso Machine
In today’s busy society, many people who are subjected to fast-paced, high-pressured lifestyles have become accustomed to drinking instant coffee for its convenience. Have you ever thought about the negative aspects of instant coffee? According to some experts, the chemical additives in instant coffee products can cause certain health problems, and some folks have raised concerns about possible carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substances. In the instant-coffee manufacturing process, the coffee bean no doubt loses its original quality and flavor. Considering all of the above aspects, is the idea of purchasing an espresso machine coming to mind?
The Driving Mechanism of Espresso Machines
Espresso machines come in diverse designs. There are mainly three types of espresso makers sharing the same basic premise: hot water is pumped into the coffee grounds by high pressure. If you are considering purchasing one of these units, the first thing you should take into account is what type of espresso machine driving mechanism you prefer. This will determine the process by which you will be making espresso. Each one has a unique mode of operation, and each method requires a different level of skill.
The piston-driven style, also called a lever-driven type, is operated by hand. The operator makes enough pressure to force the hot water into the espresso grounds. Many customers prefer this type, as it can preserve the whole flavor of the coffee bean. Fans claim that achieving the best flavor is nearly impossible with automated or semi-automated machines. The operating method is easy, particularly when it comes to dealing with coffee residue.
Another choice is a steam-driven espresso maker. This type of machine works by sending steam pressure through a boiler to force the hot water into the coffee grounds. This machine is less expensive than other types, as it doesn’t possess many moving parts. The steam-driven machine is not in the recommended product list for beginners, but you will still find this model used in some local coffee shops. Do you like this kind of espresso machine?
For both home users and coffee shops in America today, the pump-driven type is among the most prevailing style of espresso machine. These types can be traced back to about the early 1960’s. This style of machine works great in making cappuccinos, as it perfectly mixes the air, steam, and milk to produce delicious froth. This goes well with the strong espresso flavor to make a popular drink. When discussing heat required for the steam wand, there are two types of boiler machines available —single and double. For a single boiler machine, the hot water for the espresso uses the same internal heating element as used for the milk frothing. Because of this, there will be some time that elapses between brewing the espresso and allowing the temperature to rebound to steam the milk. The double boiler machine ingeniously avoids this problem. The water for the espresso is heated with one boiler, while the steam is heated with another. I strongly recommend the smart design of the double-boiler, pump-driven type.
Three Levels of Automation
Different customers choose diverse levels of automation with various machines. The different styles include semi-automatic espresso machines, total automatic espresso machines, or super-automatic espresso machines. For semi-automatic espresso machines, the operator can have more freedom to control the process. Since the control over the shot can definitely affect the quality of the coffee, this type will be a good choice for highly experienced operators. Automatic machines can give the operator a chance to choose which features of the process are done automatically versus manually. Super-automatic machines will be a good choice for the lazy gays. With just the press of a button, the machine will spontaneously make the espresso for you.
After making a decision in choosing your favorite driving mechanism and automation level, you should pay attention to some specific aspects.
Based on how much lovely espresso you want to make, you should be careful about the quantity of water. Too much water (or too little water) will directly affect the flavor. Summarizing many comments, it is believed that 32oz is the most satisfying choice.
When choosing an espresso machine, you should pay attention to the pressure levels. It is very important in the brewing process. The pump-driven type of machine needs a higher pressure, while a piston-driven machine may need less (about 10 bars). According to users’ comments, a machine with more than 15 bars of pressure will be a good choice.
So, after reading the above information, which kind of espresso machine is suitable for you? I hope this guide will be helpful for making your choice. Practice and invest time in the craft, and you will no doubt become an excellent barista.
Enjoy your espresso!