When you find that perfect espresso at that quaint little coffee shop, one can’t help but think about how much money you can save if only you can make the perfect espresso at home! The good news is you can. Making a great espresso starts with the best espresso machine. We are going to supply you with what we believe to be the top espresso machinesaround. We are going to offer a quick look and, further down the page, you will be able to find detailed reviews of those that made our list!
Top 4 Espresso Machines
Breville Barista BES860XL Review
Breville Australia has been in business long enough and they have now created a stylish espresso machine without a wallet bursting price tag. At 600 dollars you can take home the Breville Barista BES860XL machine and make your espresso experience one to die for. This espresso machine is revolutionary thanks to the many features that make it easy even for amateur espresso brewers. Interestingly enough, the BES860XL also embraces the customers’ needs for space by being an ideal machine to those with limited kitchen counter space.
This espresso machine is a worthy purchase that contributes to fresh, cafe quality espresso in the comfort of your home. The process might be slightly difficult at first- you must get parameters right if you want a perfect, fresh espresso full of flavor- but the Breville espresso machine makes it worthwhile by making it much faster and easier. The coffee maker utilizes advanced technology to guarantee a fresh cup any day.
Here are the features of Breville Barista BE860XL that make it a recommended machine:
This iconic feature makes grinding coffee beans less of a nightmare. Using it, your beans will be ground in record time. This is an incredible feature for espresso lovers as the faster beans are ground, the fresher the cup.
This button is used to select the filter basket you would like to use. Once you choose the basket size (single or double wall), the burr grinder adds the precise amount of coffee necessary. This makes your espresso making experience more enjoyable since you don’t have to do it manually. Such precision also enables users to make café quality espressos in the comfort of their homes.
Thermocoil heating system
The perfect espresso must be made in accurate heat conditions. The thermocil does just this by regulating water temperature for maximum flavor.
Removable water tank
This feature helps to remove impurities and improve the quality of your coffee. The filter is replaceable for additional convenience.
Grind size and quantity selector
As the name suggests, this feature allows you to choose from fine to coarse grains. You can also regulate the amount of beans needed in the filter basket.
This provides for professional tamping control to get that perfect cup of espresso every time.
No slip feet
These are carefully designed to ensure that the machine doesn’t slip off when the grinder is in motion. Not only do they keep your machine on the counter but it helps to eliminate some of the noise during the grinding process.
Easy to clean
For a better cleaning experience, the Breville Barista Expresso machine tells you when it needs to be cleaned via its ‘Clean me light’ indicator. The coffee machine also removes excess water from the basket so only solid granules are left. It is much easier to clean it this way. In addition, there is a drip tray for wet and dry spills. When full, the ‘empty me’ indicator comes alive. With such impeccable cleaning apparatus, the process is much less of a hassle.
These are but some of Breville Barista’s exceptional features that help simplify the process of making espressos at home. Besides these, it is optimized for durability and functionalism. If you are just a beginner, the dual wall pressurized filters are the best option for you. They regulate ingredients accurately for a well flavored espresso. If you like the thrill of a challenge though, go for the single wall non pressurized filter basket which lets you experiment. This way you can learn and hone rare espresso making skills.
The 860, as many loving customers love to call it is an exceptional machine all round. It provides the best learning experience for amateur espresso makers. It comes with a highly informative user’s manual to improve the experience.
The Breville makes for a good gift item as it is long-lasting machine and BPA free as well. All products that come into contact with fluids are made of stainless steel. This product has a very appealing finish which greatly improves the décor of your kitchen.
This is the espresso machine for all thanks to its nondiscriminatory price tag. You can find very exciting deals for it on eBay and get discounts. Customer satisfaction is top on Breville manufacturer’s agenda. Besides giving you a rare opportunity to explore the fine art of espressos, the 860 comes with a 360 degree swivel steam wand for your cappuccinos and lattes. This makes it the machine of choice as you don’t have to use extra cash for more machines if you feel like a different coffee drink.
Breville 860, with its near magical features encompasses what every coffee lover dreams of-speed. Every feature is optimized to quickly make an espresso so a quality cup full of flavor is brewed every time. As every avid espresso drinker would tell you, a fresh cup only comes from freshly ground beans-every second lost contributes to poor flavor. To get pure espressos, at home all you need is a Breville Barista BES860XL.
There are also accessories available for this machine that make it more user friendly like the cup warmer on to and a coffee scoop not to mention the handy water filter holder. There are effective cleaning discs, tools and tables, all subtly tucked away for use when needed. The espresso machine has been made under stringent rules and regulations to guarantee user safety.
With a Breville Barista, you are able to save money , time and energy and enjoy the most flavor rich espresso you will have ever tasted. The ease of operation is a welcome plus for first time baristas. If you have a difficult time using this machine, consult the user manual. You will find everything detailed there.
It is time to upgrade your coffee experience- get a barista to forget any nightmares you have about espresso making. This machine will make you appreciate your espresso even more. There is no hassle cleaning, makes very rich espressos and even lattes and it is a beautiful addition to your kitchen.
Final Review and Comments
If you look at comments on Amazon you will see that this machine has over a 4 star rating with 237+ reviews. There are a few issues to make not of though. Here’s some of the pros and cons:
- Great price for an espresso machine with a built in burr grinder, especially for a home machine.
- Easy to use for a beginner, automation makes it user friendly
- Makes great espresso
- Under pressure some people experience the machine leaking into the tray and onto the counter.
- Some users had their grinder break after a year
If you have the money and counter space it might be a good idea to invest in a machine that only brews espresso and then buy a grinder separately.
DeLonghi EC702 15 Bar Pump Review
Coffee has always been a popular drink and a symbol of friendship and comfort. However, for true coffee aficionados, plain old coffee is just that – plain. True coffee lovers have come to appreciate the deep richness of the perfect cup of espresso or a foamy cappuccino or a delicious, milky latte.
Some people think that espresso is just really strong coffee and while technically that’s true – espresso is simply boiling hot water and coffee grounds, there is so much more to it. Making the perfect cup of espresso depends on getting your water very hot and forcing it through very finely ground coffee beans.
This results in highly concentrated, somewhat thicker brew than your average cup of Joe. A perfect cup of espresso will also be set apart from its more pedestrian cousin by the distinctive topping of crema or frothing of the coffee – not milk – on the top. Espresso’s unique taste and consistency comes from two things – how
finely the coffee is ground and the high pressure way water is forced through those grounds. An special espresso machine must be used to make the drink and pouring a cup of espresso is also known as “pulling a shot.” This terms comes from the original, non-mechanical espresso machines that used a piston type lever to force the hot water through the dense collection of coffee grounds.
What many people don’t realize is that espresso is often the base for many of your other favorite coffee drinks like lattes or cappuccinos. One thing to remember is that espresso, because of the high density of coffee beans needed to make it, generally has more caffeine per unit of volume than a regular cup of coffee. Good thing espresso is also traditionally served in a much smaller cup.
But do you always need to go to a coffee bar to get the perfect cup of espresso? Not anymore, since many companies have perfected the at home espresso machine. But there are some important things to consider when buying a home espresso maker. At its simplest, an espresso machine or pot contains a sealed vessel to hold water, and a reservoir to hold the beans on top of it with a tube that raises up and out of it. The water is heated up to the boiling point and it has nowhere to go up but up through the coffee grounds and then out of the tube – and into your cup.
But you don’t need to go old school anymore – there are a number of affordable, attractive and really cool espresso machines on the market that will give you a cafe quality cup at home. For a high quality, built to last home espresso machine, consider the DeLonghi EC702. The DeLonghi EC 702 Pump Espresso Maker is a high quality automatic pump machine with a mid-range price. There are a host of great features with the DeLonghi, the first being it’s sleek stainless steel design. This is one kitchen machine you’re definitely going to want to leave out in the open in any style of kitchen.
The DeLonghi has some top of the line qualities that make brewing drinks at home a snap. I love the unique dual function filter holder. This sounds super fancy but what it means is that you can either use pre-measured pods of coffee beans in the machine or use a the basket to hold your own, normal espresso ground beans that you buy at the store. The pods are super convenient to get your morning espresso – no measuring needed, but they generally cost more than buying ground coffee in bulk. At least with the DeLonghi you have a choice, and I think this makes for one of it’s better features, and a much more affordable option to buying an espresso a day at the coffee cafe.
Another nice quality of the DeLonghi EC702 15-Bar-Pump is that includes two thermostats. You may be thinking why do you need this? After all espresso is supposed to be brewed hot. However the separate thermostats let you ideally dial in the perfect temperature for cappuccino or espresso drink. This helps to get a perfect cup almost every time.
Another nice feature, and one that the person in charge of clean up duty in your house will especially appreciate is the DeLonghi’s anti drip drip design on the coffee nozzle. This means a mess-free cleanup and no yucky coffee stains and drips on your counters or the machine itself.
The DeLonghi EC702 has a few other features that separate it from the pack of espresso makers. It includes a cup warming tray so you can gently warm two cups at a time – before you make your coffee. I think this might be one of it’s true little ‘wow’ features and it’s the little things like this that really make this particular espresso maker stand out from the rest.
For those of you who want your espresso maker for making your favorite frothy drinks, the DeLonghi also addresses that need. It includes a built in frother attachment. to add perfectly frothed milk to cappuccinos and lattes. And the machine has a self priming feature which means that you turn on a button and the water quickly and cleanly heats up, to the perfect temperature, every time. What does this mean for you – less wait time – key on a cold morning when you’re dying for your first cup of coffee.
Since buying an espresso every day at a gourmet coffee shop can really add up, even getting one of the ‘fancier’ home brewing machines can result in a good deal of savings over the long run. But you don’t have to break the bank, especially when you look at mid-range, high quality machine like the DeLonghi EC702 15-Bar-Pump home espresso maker. With it sleek stainless steel exterior, dual mode filter, frother attachment – and cup warming tray, it’s one of your best bets for value versus price. You’ll be well on your way to making coffee quality drinks in no time when you get one of these.
Mr. Coffee BVMC-ECMP1000 Cafe Barista Review
There are not many people in this world that dislike a nice cup of frothy espresso coffee. The refreshing Aroma and the creamy layer on top attract the attention of even non coffee drinkers, enticing them to have a sip. The credit for all the popularity of espresso coffee should actually go to Espresso machines. It is these machines that actually mixes the different ingredients and applies the required pressure to produce that tasty espresso coffee. One can find these espresso machines in gas stations, Laundromats, grocery stores, book stores, movie theaters and other such public gathering places. It’s not only the commercial espresso machines that have achieved significant growth, but also the domestic espresso machines that have seen a huge rise in demand.
- This Barista model comes with a fully electronic control panel that lets the user to choose from an available list of options including Espresso, Cappuccino or Latte
- Automatic milk frother feature allows the user to select the required milk froth levels
- The Milk reservoir provided comes in the form of a removable reservoir. After completing the espresso process, the milk left over in the reservoir can be taken out and stored in the refrigerator.
- Water Reservoir also comes in the form of a removable tank, which is easy to wash and maintain.
Wide Range of Benefits Provided by Mr. Coffee BVMC-ECMP1000 Cafe Barista
Mr Coffee has been at the fore front of designing and manufacturing espresso coffee machines and can be considered as a pioneer in this field. This Espresso model comes with some of the most modern features that cannot be found in the other models available in the market place.These features make this model a great kitchen utility item.
Provision for making a wide range of Coffeehouse drinks
The kind of coffee varieties that can be prepared using this espresso machine is limitless. One can prepare creamy cappuccinos, lattes, Espressos, Toffee Latte and Caramel Cappuccinos with this Barista espresso machine.
User Friendly Control Panel
The single touch control panel makes it easy for the users to operate this Barista Espresso machine. The indicator lights that come as part of the control panel clearly reveal the current selection options made by the user. The control panel also comes with separate buttons for frothing and cleaning.
Dynamic Froth Adjustment
The BVMC-ECMP1000 provides an ample pressure of 15 bars that is more than sufficient to make tasty and frothy Espressos. This espresso machine provides the option of adjusting the espresso levels or the froth levels in a dynamic manner. By seeing the froth getting formed, users can make use of a froth dial to increase or decrease the froth thickness levels.
Dish Washer Safe
Most of the components that come as part of this Barista model can be loaded in the top rack of the dish washer without any concerns.
Easy to Handle
The On/Off switch controls are provided on the side of the panel and the removable drip trays provided makes it easy to handle for people who are using an Espresso machine for the first time.
Mr. Coffee BVMC-ECMP1000 Cafe Barista Components Included:
1. Espresso maker
2. Porta Filter
3. Measuring Scoop
4. single shot of Espresso Filter Cup
5. Double shot of Espresso Filter Cup
6. Removable water Reservoir
- This espresso machine comes with a large tank that is easy to fill
- Easy to use portafilter to fill and re-insert into the machine. Some machines on the market can be a hassle to use.
- Presets for each function: small and large cappuccino, small and large latte, single or double espresso
- Can customize your own shots up to five ounces
- Adjustable milk frother so you can get the perfect amount of milk to your liking
- Milk tank makes frothing easy. Fill up the tank, insert and push a button!
- Does not use espresso pods so you can use whatever coffee you prefer
- Dishwasher safe parts make it easy to clean
- The 15 bar pump produces a lot of pressure
- The portafilter can drip at times. Be sure to pay attention the first couple times you brew espresso
- Milk container must be in the “perfect” spot for the machine to start
At a $199 price point this machine is a steal for what you get. You get an automatic type machine to brew all of your favorite drinks but you also get the customization with the size of drink, amount of milk, and type of drink.
If you are looking for a great home espresso/latte/cappuccino machine this just might be the one for you.
De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Review
If you want a quick but still extremely delicious cup of espresso or cappuccino, then you can count on the De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump to make it. Many customers have bought this bar pump the moment it hit the stores and has been a well-sought coffee machine ever since.
Here are the various features of the De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump. We will discuss each feature in detail.
The De’Longhi EC155 is a self-priming bar pump. Self-priming allows you to set the temperature quickly so you will not have to wait as a long for the pump to heat up. That way, you do not have to wait for the pump to begin working. Just set up the right temperature, pour the ingredients and water, and then let the machine handle the rest.
- The EC155 has a water tank which can be easily removed, a tray for dripping, and a boiler made of stainless steel. Because the water tank is removable, you can clean it with ease. The dripping tray allows you to catch spills properly, thus leaving behind less mess. The stainless steel boiler lasts for a long time and does not rust, so you can count on it to boil your coffee for many years.
- You can easily prepare espresso and cappuccino with the EC155 bar pump. This gives you the flexibility to enjoy cappuccino or espresso whenever you want. You can even prepare both at the same time! The EC155 has two thermostats – one for espresso and one for cappuccino.
- If you want to add froth on your coffee, then you can use the swivel jet frother feature. If you want to use coffee pods or ground coffee to prepare your coffee faster, then you can use the filter holder. With these two features, you will feel like you are preparing restaurant-grade coffee.
- The EC155 is easy to clean. You can remove the tank and the dip tray and attach them back easily. There is an indicator light too, which alerts you when the tank is running out of water already.
The EC155 comes with a one-year warranty, so you can be assured of De’Longhi’s commitment when it comes to your beloved coffee pump and your coffee-drinking experience.
Now, why is the De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump well-liked by many avid coffee brewers? Why do people keep buying? Also, does it have any cons, and if so, what are they? Here they are, in turn:
Pros of the EC155
- This espresso machine is rather cheap compared to other espresso machines that we have reviewed but it still makes the grade when it comes to great espresso.
- Because of the filter holder, anyone who wants to make coffee can choose between coffee pods and ground coffee. This feature enables a whole array of flavors to emerge – use any of your favorite coffees!. This feature is often found only on high-priced espresso makers. The EC155 has the filter holder, but its price still remains reasonable, given the convenience it grants.
- Both setting up and cleaning up are easy. People who want coffee often do not want to wait for long before they can drink. (Think of the usual time when people want coffee: in the morning. They wouldn’t want to be late at work.) They also wouldn’t want to take a long time cleaning the pump. The EC155 is both easy to set up and clean up, thus causing you no hassles every time you want coffee.
- The EC155 doesn’t consume a lot of space in a closet or on the table. Because of its silver accents, it is also a good-looking espresso machine. It adds aesthetic value to your coffee drinking experience. Also, if you do not have plans to use it for a long time or if you want to use the machine outdoors, you can easily detach the parts, store them, and attach them again later.
- Because of the size of the water tank, it is possible to prepare 8 to 10 cups of coffee in one go with the EC155. This means that it is convenient for gatherings and parties. If you want to serve high-grade espresso to everyone, you can do so fast. You will know how much water is left in the tank by checking the section at the back of the basket.
- Even with long-time use, many customers still state that the EC155 works properly, as if it were new. That eases worries that the coffee pump may break down and also saves you money and maintenance time in the long run, because you are confident in its functioning. In case of problems, you can take advantage of the 1-year warranty period to have your EC155 fixed.
Cons of the EC155
- Although the EC155 still works very well after long-time use, sometimes grounds may enter the machine,which can result in a longer heating time. That can be remedied easily by constant cleaning. Even if the EC155 still works the same after six months, cleaning every month is recommended. It not only keeps the pump in top shape; it is also sound kitchen practice.
- The EC155 makes some noise when in use. It definitely is not quiet. However, this is typical of all high quality espresso machines.
- Although you can prepare many cups of coffee with EC155 with a full tank of water, you can only prepare one or two cups at any given time. Thus you can use the EC155 to provide coffee for guests, but you should plan beforehand. You should know how long it takes to make a cup of espresso and cappuccino.
- The built-in tamper does not work the best. It is recommended to buy a quality metal one.
- There is not a lot of clearance under the machine so pulling into a mug or small pitcher is not possible.
After all these, what can we say about the De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump? With its really small price tag this espresso machine should definitely be at the top of your list. You will save plenty of money making your own gourmet coffee drinks in your own kitchen. Maintenance of the coffee pump is a breeze, and so is setting up and cleaning. Many customers are already enjoying a great cup of espresso from the EC155, so you better give it a go too.
What To Look For When Buying An Espresso Machine
Ah espresso machines, the luxury items which make our mornings that much more delightful. If you are a coffee aficionado much like me, you will no doubt see yourself above the instant coffee masses and settle for at least reasonable quality coffee beans. An espresso machine is no doubt a sizable investment, however with a few helpful tips and insights, you are sure to make every penny spent count, not to mention even save a few in the process.
Before buying an espresso machine you need to understand the different types of machines that are there. Espresso machines are available as manually operated, semi-automatic, fully-automatic and super-automatic. Let’s take a look at each of them:
Manual/Lever Espresso Machines:
These are reminiscent of the bygone era. They look beautiful however are also very hard to use. Manual espresso machines were the first machines to achieve 8+ atmospheric pressure and were renowned for making some of the best brews when operated by skilled baristas; on the other end of the spectrum they were also notorious for frustrating first time users with their difficult to operate mechanics. With these machines, you are required to fill a porta-filter handle with the grounded coffee tamping it down and lock the coffee into the group. Finally you are required to pull down the handle; this part is a little tricky as you have to pull it down in the correct way because if you pull it down too fast or too slow, your espresso will not be as good tasting.
Lever based espresso machines are rare these days and only purists seem to opt for them.
Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines:
Semi-automatic espresso machines were the product of combing an electric pump with a traditional lever espresso machine. These were the results of the work of Achilles Gaggia who developed the system in 1938. The pump created the optimal pressure which until recently only skilled baristas could execute and allowed everyone to make great tasting coffee without a tedious learning curve. Much like the manual machines, semi-automatics have a porta-filter which needs to be filled with coffee but after that has been locked in; it uses the pump to create the required pressure instead of your arm’s strength. As the pump is very consistent in implementing the right pressure, the resulting brew always ends up tasting more or less the way it should.
There are a large variety of semi-automatic espresso machines available in the market ranging in price from $60 to $1,500 per piece. The price difference is due to different functionalities that the machines offer, for instance the Asacado Steel Duo Espresso available at offers dual heating so that you can froth milk while making the espresso shots, this can really speed things up as there is no waiting involved.
Fully-Automatic Espresso Machines:
Fully can help you make some of the best espressos ever and then some more. Besides the electric pump, these also have an electronic system within them which allows the machine to deliver precisely measured amount of water through the coffee and also an automated temperature control for the boiler. All of these can be programmed to presets which is where their automation comes in.
Fully automatic espresso machines are available from $100 to $1000 per piece.
Super-Automatic Espresso Machines:
These are the crème-de-la-crème of espresso machines, also known as bean to cup machines; they can ground the coffee, tamp it and finally extract and discharge the grounds. All you really need to do is fill the bean hopper and add water to the container. Some machines will also allow you to automatically froth the milk as well and can be program to make your morning coffee using timers.
Of course such impressive features come at a high price – most super automatics cost anywhere from $500 to $3,000.
So What Do You Need to Look Out For?
With so many choices at hand and then a plethora of brands, it becomes rather hard to make a pick. However all really boils down to how much you are willing to spend and just how interested you are in your caffeine fix.
Some of the more important and universal considerations include the pressure at which the water is pushed into the coffee which needs to be between 8 and 15 bar atmosphere, which is quite a lot. It is the quality of these high pressure components that largely decides the price of a machine. Know that quality of the pump which has been designed to be used for 2 – 3 cups a week is going to be very different from those which are built to withstand 1000s of cups per day. In fact domestic machines are clearly marked out and should not be used for a professional setup.
Another important consideration is temperature control for the boiler. This is so because espresso is brewed at a certain temperature, however milk froths at a much high temperature; maintaining a good balance between the two is crucial to a good brew; even a 1 degree offset can completely change the taste of your espresso.
Some other things you can keep an eye out for are – the water storage capacity for instance. Most espresso machines will allow enough water storage within them for a serving of 8 cups. Some of the larger espresso machines can be fitted to refrigerator with a water dispenser as well. Again you will need to determine how the water goes into the machine as you might not be willing to reroute water supplies to your coffee machine. Finally you might also be interested in a frother which can allow you to blend espresso based beverages such as cappuccinos, americanos and macchiatos. In order to froth the milk correctly, the espresso needs to have a spout from which pressurized milk can flow from.
Whether you are buying a state of the art super automatic espresso made out of copper or just a simple $50 plastic machine, you need to review what’s under the hood before you make your call. Usually it is recommended you see and touch the machine in person before purchasing, however when you are buying online this will not be possible, in which case you will be required to do some research. Online review sites and web-boards are excellent resources to help you gain some insights and it is highly recommended that you become a part of a good coffee brewing community online.
The Brewing Process of an Espresso Machine
A keen understanding of the brewing process of an espresso machine is the foremost step towards making a perfect cup of espresso. Although it may take a couple of attempts before you get the taste you desire, brewing espresso is not overly difficult. If you have the proper knowledge of your machine, the beans and the brewing process, you are just a few steps away from creating one of the best cups of espresso that you will have. One of the important things to achieve in a great cup of espresso is the swirl of crema, which provides great taste and texture to your cup of coffee. Most espresso machines have the ability to brew in such a way that it has a perfect blend of everything, great taste while also retaining the incredible aroma.
Different types of espresso machines are very popular nowadays and can be used at home to brew delicious cafe style espresso. You may choose a machine according to your needs and of course your budget. The steam powered espresso machines are quite inexpensive and is a great choice, if you have limited budget. But these machines are less effective than other higher quality ones. They are easy to use but do not have regulated temperature and adequate pressure to create a great cup of espresso. On the other hand, semi-automatic and pump-driven espresso machines are expensive but work well in creating the right taste and texture needed for a quality cup. The more you spend on your machine, the more likely you are to brew a terrific tasting drink. Super automatic machines may not require your interference and are capable of brewing without much work from you.
In general, all the espresso machines have a very similar brewing process. Understanding how it works will not only help you in buying the right espresso machine, but will also help you to enhance the taste of the brew. A shot of espresso is attained by passing the right temperature of water with a force of about 1.5 ounces through finely ground coffee beans. If done as per the instructions, you will end up with a great tasting and great looking cup of quality espresso. The process of brewing is simple and the right equipment makes it even simpler. It’s all about ideal temperature and pressure during the brewing process
The complete brewing process involves the following steps:
The perfect roast and grind
Whichever coffee bean or roast you choose to brew with it will require a fine grind. Depending on the model of the espresso machine that you own it could require a separate coffee grinder. Ground coffee tends to become stale rather quickly so it’s always best to grind the beans just before brewing. Additionally, try to use freshly roasted coffee beans if you are trying to achieve the perfect espresso. Stale coffee beans will inhibit your espresso’s taste compared to using all fresh ingredients. Also light roasts do not provide as much taste due to a lack of oils and darker roast actually have too much oil. Medium roasts have the perfect proportions for making espresso.
Pre-heating the machine as well as your cup and portafilter is another important step in making a good espresso. A pre-heated machine provides a better taste and blend to your coffee. This step is extremely important, because if avoided, it may highly dampen the taste and quality of the drink. The machine is heated by passing a blank shot of hot water or by simply switching it on a few minutes before brewing the coffee.
Preparing the portafilter
The Portafilter is the filter in the espresso machine, in which the ground beans are filled. Every espresso machine comes with a filter. Some machines may have separate portafilters that can be attached during brewing. Filling the portafiller with the chosen grind of coffee bean is the next step in the brewing process of an espresso machine. Almost seven grams of ground coffee is required for making one shot of espresso which is the standard for all machines. Once you get used to brewing espresso you can vary the quantities to suit your tastes.
The espresso machine comes with a tool, often called a tamper. Tamping is a process in which pressure is applied with the help of the tamper to compact the coffee grounds, inside the portafilter basket. When water is forced through this compacted coffee grind, it produces espresso. Therefore, tamping is essential in brewing the espresso in an ideal way. Too much tamping and too little tamping may considerably increase and decrease the time taken by water to pass through it, respectively. Some espresso machines come with improved technologies, which are equipped to retain the perfect resistance in the portafilters, to insure the correct tamping pressure. Most brewing machines provide the sufficient amount of brewing pressure, but some of the inexpensive machines may not be as efficient as others and could not deliver quality espresso that you desire.
Once all the above steps are completed, the role of brewing temperature as well as pressure is the last step for the espresso machines, to deliver your espresso. Espresso machines have a built in thermostat that controls the temperature of water and ensures the correct temperature of the water to produce the finest taste. If water is not hot enough it can drastically affect the taste of your espresso drink.
A good espresso machine can definitely help you achieve a barista quality espresso at home. Although you may face some difficulties when doing it the first time, after a few attempts you will begin to master the art of making perfect espresso. While deciding which espresso maker to buy, consider how much maintenance it requires. Most machines may require regular maintenance in removing deposited minerals that come from water, or else it may result in a block of the pump.
Once you understand the brewing process of an espresso machine and buy the right equipment for yourself, you can start making your own espresso and can continue doing so for years. Once you are accustomed to the process, you you can try other variations of your beverage by trying different roasts and grinds. From there you can move on to any espresso based drink you can think of!
The Difference Between Coffee and Espresso
The main common ingredient in a coffee and an espresso is the use of coffee beans. The primary difference in these two forms of drinks is the way it is made. The difference between a cup of coffee and a shot of espresso is how it is brewed and in the flow of water. Espresso shot is more concentrated with high caffeine content. The following are a few major differences in both of them.
Both use the same coffee beans, but the variety of beans used in preparing them wholly depends on the retailer or the coffee shop that sells coffee and espresso. The espresso requires the coffee beans to be grounded very finely. The beans in an espresso are roasted for a longer time and the blend in usually dark, and strong. Any type of coffee bean at any roast level can be used to prepare an espresso. The choice of roast depends on your liking.
In a coffee the beans can be ground to different variety coarseness depending on the type of brew like a drip coffee, percolator, and French press. Espresso is also prepared using an espresso machine, but the coffee grind needs to be very fine. All Espressos are coffee, but all coffees are not espresso.
What makes an espresso unique is the brewing technique. A special espresso machine is used to brew espressos, though you can make espresso in a pot on a stove, but the final product is much inferior than the one brewed using an espresso machine. An espresso machine should be used if you need to drink good quality and a perfect espresso. One to two espresso shots are made at a time taking around 20 seconds each. All this process goes through a carefully set temperature and pressure to produce an extraction that is popularly known as espresso. The process requires the grind to be very fine to create a dense puck to maintain a constant pressure for extraction. Here, the role of an espresso machine is very crucial as it helps maintain constant water temperature and also aids in controlling the pressure and duration of the extraction, which cannot be produced on a stove. In an espresso finely ground coffee is compressed into dark and dense coffee along with hot water. Espresso blends contain a small percentage of Robusta beans to produce light brown colored foam on top of the espresso shot. Milk is usually not used in an espresso.
Coffee on the other hand is prepared by combining the correct portion of ground coffee beans along with hot water. A percolator, a drip-coffee maker or a French press is used to prepare a coffee. A coffee makes use of a filter and the brewing process, which takes a minimum few minutes to even half an hour depending on the percolator. The water is filtered through the coffee and collected in a pot. Usually milk is used in a coffee. Coffee made using a percolator is called as filter coffee in many Asian countries.
Cappuccinos, Lattes, and mochas are some of the most popular espresso beverages. These beverages are made using espresso shots, and foamed or steamed milk. Even chocolate syrups are also used in some beverages. Espresso is served with or without milk. They are generally drunk using an espresso cup, which is much smaller than a coffee cup.
Coffee is prepared using milk with cream and sugar or without milk. A large number of coffee drinks are very similar to espresso beverages with milk. A drip coffee is prepared by dripping boiling water over the ground coffee. Coffee mixed along with steamed milk is called misto.
Espresso is very popular in the United States, Europe and many South American nations. Coffee on the other hand is the most popular morning drink of majority of people worldwide. Cappuccino and Lattes are the most liked coffee based drink around the world. In countries like the United States coffee is also sold as espresso roast, which is typically a dark roast variety of coffee beans with an oily surface.
Variety of Flavors
Coffee beans come in different variety flavors depending on the brand. Espresso cannot be prepared using flavored beans. Only unflavored beans are used in making an Espresso. Flavored syrups are added additionally to an espresso to give a flavor to lattes and cappuccinos. The flavors include vanilla, raspberry, and hazelnut to name a few. Even coffee can be prepared using these flavors, but this is not required as you can use flavored beans to make coffee, which is not possible in an espresso.
Different blend of types of coffee beans from various countries can be used to make an espresso. Espresso uses less water and is dark and strong, a preferred choice of many people in Europe. The basic rule in an espresso blending process is the subdued levels of acidity; should be heavy bodied, and be sweet enough to bring a balance in the bitter and acidic flavors in the blend. Espresso has a lot more caffeine and taste as compared to coffee. Espresso is the other name for concentrated coffee and the regular coffee is called the watered down coffee. This is why we find the cups of espresso much smaller than the cups of coffee. Because of the high concentration of caffeine and taste espresso can be used to make other beverages like Mocha.
Espresso drinks can be made hot or cold according to your preferences. Just by using different brewing techniques the same coffee beans can used to make different variations of drinks, which is quiet surprising. This is possible due to the flexibility of the coffee beans. Coffee is the most generic term used by most people. A good quality coffee or an Espresso depends on the good source of fresh coffee beans. It is the brewing technique that makes these beans assumes different flavors and taste. The choice of drink solely rests on each individual’s personal taste and linking.
Tips for Brewing Espresso at Home
According to a survey, nearly 25% of Americans skip their breakfast, but 50% drink coffee in the morning. If you are one of those 50% of people then it is a must that your day starts with something that is tasty and refreshing. Brewing espresso is not just following some steps and getting mediocre results. Chances are that you don’t even realize what you’re missing with the best cup of home brewed espresso. Espresso needs a distinct, fast brewing method that uses pressure to brew, and not gravity, and is always prepared fresh to enjoy it on the spot. Therefore, when you are trying to make a perfect espresso at home you need to understand the four basic fundamentals of brewing espresso, which are: grind, proportion, water and freshness.
Preserving Freshness and Flavor of Coffee
Moisture, heat and light are enemies of coffee. Because the aging process of the coffee accelerates by getting in contact with light and heat it is better to keep them at a cool and dark place. Moisture could easily spoil coffee and you must protect your coffee to keep it as fresh as possible.
Skip the Refrigerator
This is a common mistake but you should never store coffee in a refrigerator or freezer, as the moisture of the appliances would spoil your coffee.
Choose the Right Container
You should use container that is made of ceramic or glass. The color of the container should be dark and it must be completely opaque. You must make sure that the container is airtight. Even if it’s kept in a pantry light still gets into the room frequently when you open the pantry up.
Buy Coffee in Smaller Quantities
If you want to get the best flavor out of your coffee it is better to buy your coffee every fifteen days and every week is even better. Generally for espresso, coffee storage between 4 to 14 days is ideal time before the coffee gets consumed. After 14 days, degradation of the coffee starts and the bitterness in the coffee increases rapidly. Due to the increase in acidity content and decrease in sweetness, you will start to notice a stale flavor in your coffee. Controlling the amount of acidity is very important in coffee and when trying to make a top notch cup of espresso it is even more noticeable.
Buy the Right Type of Coffee Beans
It is best to ask your roasting company for the proper advice in this matter. There are certain coffee beans that are better for espresso coffee. There are many beliefs among people who think that darker is stronger and stronger is better. Start of by getting a small amount of a couple different type of beans and find the ones that suit your tastes the best. Experimentation is key when brewing espresso since everyone has different tastes.
Roast of Coffee Beans
The roast level for espresso coffee beans is different from other types of coffee beans. The reason for this is the amount of pressure and speed that the process of extraction involves. If the roasted coffee bean reaches a stage when it starts to lose oil from its surface, then it generally means that the inherent flavor of the coffee beans are being lost and it is over-roasted. If your coffee beans are too dark roasted then your coffee would taste bitter, no matter how well you follow these tips. If you like to make coffee using milk, then it is better to avoid light roasted beans, because you need your coffee to cut through the flavor of milk.
Grind ‘em Up!
You should know that once the coffee beans have been ground, they are more prone to getting stale. Usually within 15 minutes of grinding the coffee, its quality starts getting compromised significantly.
It is important that the grind size of your coffee is consistent and it is better to have smaller grinds for espresso. You must get as fine of a grind from your machine as possible. The grinding usually takes nearly 10 to 15 seconds, but most importantly it needs to get the results that are consistent.
It is highly recommended that a burr coffee grinder be used to grind your beans. Burr grinders actually grind the coffee beans into a very fine mixture where inexpensive coffee grinders simply chop them into small pieces.
Proportion of Coffee
Generally the proportion suggested is 2 tablespoon of grounds for every cup of coffee you are brewing, but the final decision rests in your taste buds. If you think that 2 tablespoon is too strong you could always use slightly less.
The most important aspect to consider in this step is consistency. It will probably take a couple cups of espresso before you find the perfect strength for your liking. Once you find the exact amount of coffee grounds to use be sure to use the same amount each and every time.
Use of tap water when brewing espresso coffee is not a good idea. You should always use filtered water. Any hint of taste or contaminants in the water can drastically affect the end result. Brewing espresso coffee with fresh filtered water helps in enhancing the flavor of your coffee. A big mistake many beginners have is spending good money on a nice espresso machine to turn around and use tap water to make a sub-par cup of espresso.
The temperature of water when brewing the espresso coffee should be between 92 and 96 degree Celsius or 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The water will be on the cusp of boiling and this is generally regulated by the brewing machine.
44% of the people, who brew coffee in their homes, make two cups of coffee every day. Therefore, putting a little extra effort in your coffee-making process could give you superb cup every time. Taking care of these simple but very important tips above will help to make sure you have the best espresso every time.