When purchasing an at-home espresso machine, you of course, want to buy the BEST at-home espresso machine out there for your money. You will want to narrow down the best espresso makers, choose the favorite models you want, and price check them.
It is also very important to read home espresso machine reviews, because you will want to know how other buyers liked the model(s) you are interested in before buying it yourself. Reviews are helpful: they offer the pros, the cons, and some of the other issues others may have had with the product that you should be aware of. They also highlight the positive aspects and features of the machine that you weren’t aware of before, but may be a deal maker.
While it can be a bit overwhelming to decide where to start since there are so many brands and models available, it really is just a matter of finding the best functional fit for you. So, let’s break down the types available.
First, there are the boiler types. There are three main types of espresso machines: the single boiler, the double/dual boiler, and the heat exchanger.
If you want temperature consistency and ability to steam milk and pull shots at the time, you definitely want a double/dual boiler, which is not unheard of buying for one’s home, but more often seen in cafes. For most people, the single boiler or the heat exchanger are perfect for their everyday needs.
Second, you must consider the size of the espresso machine and the amount of counter space you have available. Not only are espresso machines often measured in metric units (so be sure to know exactly how much counter space you have), but you will need a burr grinder to make the best use of your espresso machine, so add that to the amount of counter space that will be taken up when you choose a machine.
Some people are surprised when they buy a home espresso machine (typically the double/dual boiler types), that some have to be plumbed in. That is not a mistake you want to be stuck with, so take time to not only read the popularity of the product, but make sure that it works for you. If you do not or cannot plumb in the espresso machine, buy one that you can manually fill the water reservoir inside the machine—some actually have the capacity of being both—but for the most part, the best at home espresso machine for most individuals will be a non-plumbed model.
Most importantly, are the main category of machines—these are: manual, semi-automatic, super automatic, and full automatic. These four main categories on today’s market will make a difference in your search. It is incredibly important that while some types have their charms or go with the retro look of your kitchen, that they are not that practical unless you are an actual barista or are willing to spend considerable time to figure them out every time you use your machine.
Manual espresso machines, for examples, are retro and great looking, but they are extremely complicated compared to modern styles. In manual machines, there is no crank start mechanism, the user has to push the water through the coffee manually, and the variation will likely be all over the place. For experienced baristas, this is great; but for most people, like you and I, it is best to stay away from a nice espresso machine that we will most certainly make a mess of.
Semi-automatic espresso machines allow the user to decide whether to turn the water pump on and off (the manual type has no constant water pressure—hence the “semi” in this type of machine), and due to this electric pump and automated boiler controls, these are the most popular traditional espresso machines being used today.
The fully automatic machines are similar to semi-automatic espresso machines, except they have an electric overseer of sorts to regulate the amount of water being passed through the espresso. A fully automatic machine often has redundant semi-automatic controls.
Finally, the super automatic espresso machines are the high-tech, modern version of an all-included electronic machine. They have all of the bells and whistles, many have a built-in grinding apparatus and other gadgets, which can save on counter space, and super automatics have become more popular because they can dilute an espresso-brewed coffee into the strength of a regular cup, so that the drinker can enjoy a “caffe crèma” taste and drink more of it rather than shots of espresso.
So, there you have it—there are a few things to look for when buying an at home espresso maker, but if you decide the type of machine you want, consider your available counter space, consider the space of a coffee grinder in addition to the machine, consider the price and your budget, and consider your experience with espresso machines and whether you are a novice or an experienced espresso maker—you should narrow down your options quite well and find the perfect espresso machine for you.
Remember the following steps:
• Choose your espresso machine type
• Know your available counter space
• Think about your intended usage and if the machine you are looking at meets it
• Be sure to include your grinder in your measurements as well as your shopping cart (I suggest you buy a well-known and highly-rated grinder since you are investing in an espresso machine).
o If you are purchasing a Super Automatic espresso machine, many will have built-in grinders, so be sure to read the product details.
• Price-shop around a bit to find the best deal. Oftentimes, you can save money using retailers that provide free shipping, have available promo codes, or are having a sale.
If you are new to the espresso-making world, it is best to avoid manual type espresso machines altogether. The super automatic will also be more expensive and you will probably not have the knowledge or actual need to use all of the gadgets this type of espresso machine has, either.
While the semi-automatic type of machine is the most popular traditional espresso machine, you should consider both the semi-automatic and the full automatic types for your purchase if you are starting out as a novice, or simply want a hassle-free espresso. They are priced better, have a smaller counter space footprint, they are easier for a novice to learn to use and appreciate the art of espresso making, and most importantly, they will make you an excellent espresso—which is the whole reason you bought one in the first place. Happy shopping!