FINDING THE MACHINE PERFECT FOR YOU
If you're about to purchase a coffee machine, you've probably realized that there are a lot of choices and it's a bit confusing trying to decipher all of the various information available.
We have made this section to help you to understand espresso machines a little bit better in order to make it easier for you to choose the model that would fit your needs.
But before we start discussing different types of machines available on the market, lets review some basic facts about espresso. A good espresso cup is the result of forcing about 1.5 ounces of hot water through tightly packed, finely ground coffee.
The basic principles are to extract only the best part, using water which is not quite boiling and under a lot of pressure. The "best part" and "not quite boiling" bits are critical to making good coffee by any means, while "a lot of
pressure" is a neat trick to manage at the same time.
Machines that can do this all at once were only invented in this century. Most low-end home espresso machines settle for "some" pressure, and cheat on the "not quite boiling" part as well. The price of these machines vary between €40 & €80 but we haven't even considered them because the result is strong but bitter, acidic coffee,
nothing like a true espresso.
The two categories of home machines that approach the pressure and temperarture requirements are those known as "pump driven" and those that are manual, lever operated machines..
THE PUMP STYLE
In pump driven espresso machines, an electric pump draws water from the reservoir and sends it in a heating chamber where it's heated to an optimum temperature that varies between 186°F & 192°F; it is then forced by pressure of 9 to 15bar, which alters depending on the models, through the packed coffee grounds in the gruppa.
True espresso requires pressure of at least 9 atmospheres to emulsify the oils and to dissolve the gasses that will magically appear as "crema."
The majority of machines is equipped with two thermal units, one to heat the water for the coffee, the other to generate steam for the frothing mechanism.
The pump-driven espresso machines shown on our site can be divided in semiautomatic e super automatic.
In semiautomatic models, one controls the brewing function manually. These models require the use of ground coffee (except those models that use "espresso pods").The ground coffee is placed in the filter holder and must be tamped carefully before being brewed.
Some of these models have a grinder with batcher incorporated and range in price from €300 to € 500 for the less expensive and lighter weight models
The inside boiler on these machines is usually made of aluminium and the outside housing is made of plastic.
The next higher range of common household machines includes heavier models costing from €500.00 to €1200.00. They usually have a brass boiler chamber and heavier filter holders, plus housing components composed partially or entirely of metal. These heavier models provide a daily usage range stand up to frequent use.
Super automatic machines do it all: grind the coffee beans, prepare the coffee and ejects used grounds. With a single press of the button, the entire process takes only about 30 seconds to enjoy delicious espresso.
THE HAND-OPERATED LEVER STYLE
These machines not only make excellent espresso, they are beautiful crafted objects that make a distinctive impression on your kitchen counter. This style of espresso maker employs a piston that is driven by means of manual pressure or a spring-loaded action.
When lifted, the piston pulls water from the reservoir into a small chamber and then forces the water into a filter of ground coffee when the piston is lowered.
A lever style machine is quiet and simple to use, once you've mastered it.
The skilled operator of a lever machine can attain a level of control and excellence over their shot of espresso not possible with any other type of home machine.