Posted on 19 September 2010.
Think about having a fresh, coffee-shop-quality espresso when you get up in the morning ñ without having to leave the house. This is what your very own espresso machine can provide, but it is important to make sure you buy the right product, and know how to use it when you get it home.
Espresso is a syrupy, traditionally Italian, specialty coffee. Coffee shop owners will tell you that making mouth-watering espresso is just like pulling the perfect pint of beer. It requires patience, practice, and is much harder than it looks. Good quality espresso machines can make it easier by controlling the temperature and the internal mechanisms more exactly.
These machines function in several different ways. If, for instance, you value authenticity, and have strong arms, a Piston-driven espresso maker could be for you. The design for this fully-manual espresso machine comes from as far back as 1938. Many are now sold for decorative value in addition to making a good cup of espresso coffee,
There are various types of semi-automatic espresso machines. In all cases the water is delivered via a pump mechanism, but the grinding, preparation and insertion of the coffee must be done by hand. These may be more difficult to find, as recently automatic or super-automatic machines are becoming more popular and cost-effective.
Automatic espresso machines are very similar to the semi-automatic version, but the temperature and amount of the water is also controlled automatically. Super-automatic espresso machines are still mostly for the high-end of the market. These basically only require you to put the coffee beans in! They may also have many extra features, such as milk frothing or filter coffee making. However, some coffee fans believe the super-automatic espresso machines produce poor quality espresso.
Prices for espresso machines range from below fifty dollars to over two thousand dollars. The most expensive are pump-controlled espresso machines, which are generally only used by coffee shops. If you are purchasing one of these, clearly it is vital to find a reputable provider with experience. Thanks to the Internet home espresso machines are becoming more easily available, even from non-specialist shopping websites.
The best advance the Internet has brought though is the increase in consumer reviews of espresso machines. This helps you to purchase based on the experience of others, rather than the sales materials provided by the manufacturer.
Once you have invested in the best espresso machine that suits your tastes, you will need to buy the best quality coffee beans. There is no point blaming the espresso machine if you have scrimped on this vital component! Espresso machine providers often offer their own range of coffee beans, which may be much wider than that available at your local supermarket.
An espresso machine is a perfect investment or gift for somebody really passionate about coffee. You should be willing, like the coffee shop connoisseurs, to put some time and effort into making the perfect cup. If you do this, and choose your espresso machine carefully, you could be well on your way to coffee heaven!
Posted on 16 September 2010.
Instead of running to your local coffee shop or favorite corner cafe for the perfect cut of espresso, consider making your own at home. If the thought of becoming a kitchen barista has you shaking without any caffeine, think again! There are a wide variety of espresso machines that are geared for home use, from the basic to the same machines used by the professionals. However, before you drop a couple hundred of dollars on that top of the line espresso machine, consider your options and needs. Also, if you are experiencing sticker shock from some of the higher end espresso machines, keep in mind that you are saving a great deal on a daily basis by avoiding high priced indulgences at coffee shops or cafes.
The first think you should know before choosing a home espresso machine is that there are several different varieties of machines. Each different type of machine will come with a different price tag and different capabilities. Although the top of the line machine may be nice, it may not necessarily meet your needs. Instead of buying an espresso machine simply because it is deemed the ‘best’, buy a machine that you can (and will) use on a regular basis. The different types of home espresso machines are:
Pump Espresso: Typically what you will find in a coffee shop, a pump espresso machine are usually made for commercial purposes, but can be used in your home. Be prepared to expand your budget if you are looking to purchase a pump espresso machine, since they are typically the priciest of the bunch. Also, pump espresso machines are usually the largest, heaviest, and noisiest of the options, but it produces a fantastic cup of espresso. These machines work by using a pump to keep the water pressure at an appropriate level.
Piston Espresso: If you are looking for a great, low maintenance espresso machine, consider those than run on a piston or lever system. Instead of a pump to create pressure, these machines use a level that must be maneuvered in order to create steam. Although a piston espresso machine is very quiet, they may require a great deal of arm strength to continually pull on the lever. Furthermore, the piston espresso machine is capable of making a great cup of espresso, but it may take practice to get the hang of the process.
Steam Espresso: Using steam to create pressure to make the espresso, these steam powered espresso machines are typically the type found in the home. With smaller machines that occupy less space and cost less money, steam espresso machines are quite quick and easy to use. However, keep in mind that the steam produced may not provide the appropriate level of pressure, so the steam level should be constantly maintained.
Moka Pots: Moka Pots are a stove-top method to producing espresso. The process is simple and easy, although the final product may be less than professional. Using specially designed two-part pot, the steam produced by the water boiling in the bottom of the pot is forced into the top part of the pot, where the coffee is boiling. It requires a great deal less pressure than the other types of home espresso machines, but there is no milk frothing or foaming attachments, so you may have to sacrifice that feature for price and size.
Any one of these different types of home espresso machines will allow you to make a delicious cup of espresso. Your choice should be based upon needs, usability, overall size of the machine, and of course the price. A high end espresso machine can run up a bill in the thousands of dollars.