While coffee is a lifesaver in any situation, frequently buying your cup of joe can be expensive.
More so when you tend to drink multiple cups throughout the day.
As such, many people choose to purchase an espresso machine to try and cut back on expenses.
But with the numerous espresso machine models in the market, choosing one can be difficult.
However, you don’t have to worry. This article will enumerate the essential factors you need to consider when shopping for a home espresso machine.
What factors should you consider?
When looking, you need to ask yourself these questions:
- How large should the espresso machine be?
- What types of drinks will you make?
- How many drinks are you planning to make?
- What is your budget?
The answers to these questions will give you a rough outline of what model you are looking for.
How large should it be?
Before looking for an espresso machine, you need to know where you will place it.
As such, grab your tape measure and assess the dimensions of your countertop or table.
You wouldn’t want to purchase an espresso machine that is too big or too small to fit into your kitchen space.
Also, consider the machine’s water source.
Are you going to connect it with your main water connection, or are you fine with the machine’s built-in water reservoir?
Remember, the more features the espresso machine will have, the larger it will be.
What types of coffee drinks are you making?
Espresso machines also differ on what type of drinks they can make.
Most machines provide several pre-set coffee options that you can choose from.
Some machines even come with an option that lets the user customize their preferred drink.
If you want more drink variety, then an espresso machine that comes with a steam wand is ideal since you can make milk-based beverages.
Does it allow me to control temperature?
The secret to having a good cup of coffee is its temperature.
Hence, many espresso machines often come with features that enable the users to control and adjust the temperature settings.
You can find the following temperature regulators in most espresso machines:
Pressure Switch/ thermostat
You usually see this feature in simpler espresso machines.
The pressure switch/thermostat already operates at a set temperature.
Hence, all you will need to do is press the button and wait for the machine to make coffee.
This feature is ideal for those who are not too fussy with their daily cup of joe.
Digital or Proportional Integral Derivative (PID) controller
The Digital or PID controller enables the user to adjust the brewing temperature freely.
Both are essentially the same; however, the PID provides more information and control than the digital variant.
PID controllers also let the users adjust the algorithm.
How many drinks can I make simultaneously?
Aside from the temperature, you will also have to consider the number of boilers you have since this indicates how many cups of coffee the machine can make.
Single-boiler espresso machines only have one boiler that both brews espresso and steam milk.
With one boiler, the machine can only focus on one task at a time.
You will have to wait for the espresso machine to finish brewing the coffee before you can steam milk or vice versa.
Sometimes, the waiting time can be quite long, which is not ideal if you prepare multiple coffee beverages.
Dual-boiler espresso machines have two boilers that come with a heating element.
With this, the machine can simultaneously brew espresso and steam milk.
However, the extra boiler means an increase in the price.
Nonetheless, you will always get the convenience of making multiple drinks at a time and skipping that long waiting period.
Heat-exchanger espresso machines have a large boiler that houses a smaller one inside.
As such, the machine can simultaneously brew espresso and steam milk.
How it works is that the machine keeps the water at a steaming temperature rather than boiling it.
The surrounding steam will then provide enough warmth to heat the smaller boiler.
Heat-exchanger espresso machines are the cheaper alternative to dual-boiler systems.
However, there is a learning curve since users will need to learn how to purge the brewing water routinely to prevent it from overheating.
How much am I willing to spend?
Of course, we should not forget about the budget.
The wide selection of espresso machines on the market complicates the entire purchasing process.
As such, setting up a budget is beneficial since it can help narrow down the choices.
Plus, the budget makes the user more aware of which features they prioritize and want in the machine.
Grinders are a vital aspect of the brewing process as it determines the quality of the extraction.
Some espresso machines come with built-in grinders; however, these tend to be expensive.
Whether you purchase a built-in one or separately, choose one made of steel as they are more durable.
Moreover, the bigger the burr’s diameter, the better it is at extracting.
The grinder should also be easy to adjust, and it has to be ground straight into the portafilter.
Espresso machines accommodate the standard mug size.
However, espresso machines with removable drip trays can accommodate larger cup sizes and travel mugs.
Fancier (and more expensive) espresso machines have this feature that ensures that the machine only uses a set amount of water for extraction and turns it off at the desired time.
This feature makes the machine simpler to use and gives the user more control over their drink.
Hopefully, this article was able to help you out in choosing the best espresso machine for your needs.
Regardless of the given choices, the choice of what model to buy will ultimately depend on you.
Also, make sure to thoroughly research before you purchase by reading various reviews or asking sales personnel/customer service.
We wish you luck in finding your espresso machine.