Good espresso cannot be made without a good machine. The home espresso market is flooded with a variety of machines, however it is important to understand the differences between different types of machines so you can select the one that fits best according to your requirements; taste, ease of handling and consumption.
Let’s discuss the details of these differences so it can help make your mind for the best espresso machine for your kitchen.
Manual Espresso Machines
The first espresso machines were these manual ones and as their name suggests, these machines rely on a manual lever (often made up of metal), which is used instead of electric pumps. This lever makes a shot, which forces the water through the grounds. The timing and accuracy of pulling a perfect shot depend upon the level of expertise and this is why these machines are not suitable for an average home user.
Although this machine is quite affordable as compared to the other ones but Café barista, bartenders, home coffee geeks and enthusiasts are more into these kinds of machines. On commercial grounds, only few cafes use manual machines, as they need proper time and training to make a cup of perfect espresso. For an average home user, this is certainly not the most recommended type of machine.
Semi-automatic Espresso Machines
Semi autos are more like the kitchen blenders we use. Just as a blender is started and stopped with a push button, similarly semi autos brew the coffee with the push and pull of a button. These machines rely on electronic pumps that force the water through the grounds on a push of a button. The price is also affordable and they require little time to master the tricks and skills involved to make the right espresso through them. The only thing, which may be a turn off for some, is the manual cleaning required of the portafilter after each brewing.
This machine is the most widely used one in Cafes and houses because of its ease of use, price affordability and the control it provides its user to extract the desired taste of coffee.
Automatic Espresso Machines
These are just like semi-autos but replace the manual push of a button with a preset automatic brewing cycle. The timings of starting and stopping of the electric pumps can be set by the user for the type of coffee they require. Some coffee types require short brewing cycle, such as Ristretto while others, Lungo, require longer cycles.
If convenience matters over learning the art of coffee making then this is the most suitable one. Although it’s not as affordable as the semi-autos and the quality of the shot is also not in the user control, but they make a superior taste coffee with less requirement of expertise.
Super Automatic Machines
This is a completely automated solution for making a quality taste espresso with little user input. All you require is only the adding of coffee beans into the grinder and the rest of the procedure will be completely handled by the machine, which includes grinding of the beans, tamping the grounds into the filter and brewing according to the preset timings. Super autos also come up with a self-cleaning feature so you don’t need to clean the portafilter and It has an internal bin where it dumps the used grounds.
This machine is ideal for those coffee fans for whom money is not an issue and prefer a quick solution for making quality and superior taste espresso without learning the skill of operating a manual espresso maker.
Single Serve Coffee Pod Machines
If you are looking for an easy solution for making your espresso without investing in a big machine then these small single serve pods are ideal for you. They use a pre-packaged coffee that fits into the machine, called pods, to make espresso. From inside, the machine heats the water and once the pressure is built up, it fires it through the coffee grounds (pod). The pods can only be used once for each cup of coffee and you can make only one cup at a time.
Capsule Espresso Machines
The latest technology in coffee making is the use if capsules. They are best suited for those who have very busy schedules and have little time to make coffee, especially in the morning, and dont mind beeing tied too a single brand of coffee. Capsules are pre-packaged sealed pots of ground coffee, which fit into the machine and machine pierce it to force hot water through, to drip out the coffee.
A capsule machine can only be used for a single serving and they take only a single brand of capsule (e.g Nespresso, Caffitaly), so this makes your espresso choice limited to the variety offered by the brand.