Coffee, Americano, Lungo, ristretto, espresso, cappuccino, latte macchiato- there are so many names within the coffee world, but do they all matter? Are they all different? Is it possible to make an espresso with any coffee machine? Scroll down to find out the answers to some of the most popular questions related to espresso machines.
Page Table of Contents
- How does the coffee machine differs from the espresso machine?
- What does the ideal espresso look/feel like?
- Do you buy an espresso machine or have to consider some aspects before?
- The conclusion
- Top 5
- FAQs on espresso machines
How does the coffee machine differs from the espresso machine?
It makes sense that we begin with highlighting the difference between the coffee and espresso. Even if both types come from the coffee bean, the machines use different processes, leading to different coffee results.
Without getting technical, you should know that it’s not a matter of which of the two is better. Since each of the machines should create the best drink (whether that it’s coffee or espresso), you should focus on how to get the one fitting your needs (and budget) the best way.
What does the ideal espresso look/feel like?
You’ll know that you got yourself a great espresso machine by the final taste and texture of your espresso. Several features help an appliance get there, but here’s how to recognize the ideal espresso in the first place:
- It’s thicker than the filter coffee, presenting a rich and creamy flavor
- The heart of the espresso is the bottom layer and includes the color of the coffee. It should be deep and rich brown
- With the body being the middle layer of the espresso, you should know that it has to have a caramel brown color
- The golden layer sitting on top is the crèma, and it gives the most delicate flavors. It’s what makes the barista master or not the art of making espresso.
Do you buy an espresso machine or have to consider some aspects before?
Ideally, you don’t want to have to check your wallet when shopping. However, there’s always a limitation at the end of the day.
Apart from the build, or they feel that an espresso machine has, there are some other aspects you should think about before buying:
- How much of an espresso snob are you?
Some people like to feel and control every single step of the process, which is why semi-automatic espresso machines are a reliable option. If you don’t necessarily want to manage the process, look for a super-automatic machine, but check your wallet too. These models never come cheap.
- Do you have time for maintenance?
A super-automatic machine is easy to take care, especially when compared to a semi-automatic model. You need to wash the filter and portafilter after every use when using a semi-automatic machine.
- Your level of skill
If you have no power nor interest in developing one when making coffee, go with automatic and super-automatic models. Dosing and tamping are only some of the skills you need when using a semi-automatic machine.
- How fast do you want your espresso?
A super-automatic machine doesn’t need much time for priming, brewing, and cleaning. The semi-automatic requires more time for cleaning, using, and everything else.
You need to have a clear image of what you’re planning to obtain from an espresso machine and how much money you have for that. The market is generous, so make time to finish the selection process.
1. De’Longhi Automatic Coffee & Espresso Machine
The De’Longhi ECAM35020W Dinamica Automatic Coffee & Espresso Machine only needs 40 seconds for heating up. It’s an Italian espresso machine that comes with 15 bar high-performance pump, and you can brew the beans for every shot of espresso.
The machine comes with built-in steel burr grinder so that you can have a fresh espresso every morning. The manual frother is built-in as easy to adjust so that you control the steam and foam levels. The foam is smooth and durable for your lattes and cappuccinos. As for the steel burr grinder, it has 13 setting options so you can try various beans.
You can also adjust the size and strength of your drinks, choosing one of the five strength settings (from extra mild to extra strong). No worries about waking up very early in the morning either since you can also program the drink lengths too.
It’s effortless to clean the machine as its brew unit is removable, whereas the drip tray is dishwasher safe. You don’t need any chemicals for cleaning the removable parts- throw them in the dishwasher.
Everything about the machine is straightforward: the installation, the use, and the cleaning. The auto shut-off feature is the perfect example since the device turns off on its use when not in use for a while.
Let’s list the most important features:
- It’s easy to set it up, use, and clean
- It heats up in 40 seconds
- The built-in frother is easy to adjust
- The grinder comes with 13 setting options
The inherent problems aren’t many:
- Even though you can use tall mugs, you may scratch the machine
- The first use may feel tricky to some
Regardless of the minor problems, the espresso machine is going to make many espresso snobs happy.
2. Gaggia Anima Prestige Automatic Coffee Machine
There are many positive things to say about the Gaggia Anima Prestige Automatic Coffee Machine, and we should start with the user-friendly interface. The machine has an LCD screen which helps you brew and made a list of drinks, basic and customers alike.
The design is well thought out, and the machine comes with easy to access bean hopper and water reservoir. The 60oz water tank is easy to access on the top left of the device, whereas the 8.8oz bean hopper is accessible from the top right of the machine.
Many may like the machine for being programmable. You can set the time for when you want your espresso to be ready in the morning. The appliance includes three different temperature settings for increased customization.
The milk recipient is easy to use, and you can pour the frothed milk right into your cup, enjoying a smooth foam every time. You may easily remove the milk tank and place it in the refrigerator when not in use.
The brew group is also removable so that you may rinse it and take care of it regularly. Let’s not forget to mention the Adapting System that allows you to adjust the grinder’s operation to the beans.
On top of everything else, the machine has a Low Energy Standby mode, going to standby mode after not running for one hour.
Let’s list the things we like the most:
- The bean hopper and water reservoir are easy to access
- The machine has three different temperature settings
- It’s easy to operate, and the LCD is easy to read
- You get plenty of control over your drinks
The inherent problems aren’t major:
- The water recipient could be bigger
- Some doubt its durability
All things considered, the machine is loaded with great features that ease out the use and let you get the espresso you want. And it looks nice too!
3. Delonghi Perfecta Digital Super Automatic
Nothing means smooth like a super-automatic espresso machine, and the Delonghi ESAM5500B Perfecta Digital Super Automatic is one good example within its category.
Thanks to its “Single Touch” hot milk system, the machine prepares latte and cappuccino fast and easy every time. You only need to slide the milk tank onto the front of the device. You may easily store the milk tank in the refrigerator until use.
The digital control panel is easy to use and comes with programmable menu settings. You can adjust the start time, clock, temperature, improve start time, coffee strength, and the auto-off.
The “Direct-to-brew” system lets you grind beans immediately so that you can enjoy the freshest espresso. The professional-grade conical low-pitch burr grinder gives fresh and flavored coffee every single time. Besides, the brewing system is compact and easy to remove for cleaning.
Since the machine comes with a double boiler system, you don’t need to wait between your espresso and your cappuccino.
Unlike other models, this one works with both whole beans and ground coffee. It also lets you select from four cup-size options, whereas
the digital controls, the removable drip tray, and the cup warmer turn the espresso machine into one of the best choices that you could have for this kind of price.
Summing it all for the pros:
- You can grind both whole and ground coffee
- It allows adjustments for the clock, the start time, temperatures, and coffee strength
- The milk recipient is easy to remove and use
- It comes with a double boiler system
We’re not making a drama out of some minor problems:
- The frother’s performance isn’t constant
- It’s better that you hand wash it
The machine may not be all roses and rainbows, but it’s still a great machine, and it’s worth every single penny.
4. Jura D6 Platinum Super-Automatic Espresso Machine
If you’re looking for a beautiful looking espresso maker that also makes coffee and cappuccino, the Jura D6 Platinum Super-Automatic Espresso Machine is a keeper.
The machine has a sleek and elegant design, looking great on any small kitchen countertop. It uses clear text for the display and has a user-friendly switch. Allowing you to enjoy six different drinks thanks to the Easy Cappuccino system and the Aroma G2 built-in grinder, the machine performs reliably. The grinder works fast, whereas the Pulse Extraction process technology improves the flavor of the final product. Nevertheless, you may control the water level, coffee strength, and temperature.
It’s an easy to use espresso machine that you can also operate from your tablet or smartphone (it comes with the optional Smart Connect).
You don’t need to worry about the quality of your espresso since the machine includes Clearyl water filters. They ensure the quality of the flavor and protect against limescale, removing substances that may alter your espresso. The Intelligent Water System is efficient, with the coffee machine and filter cartridge being connected wireless by RFID technology. The filter is identified automatically, and the device is excellent.
Let’s check the positive things once more:
- You may control it from your smartphone or tablet
- It lets you control the water level, the temperature, and the coffee strength
- The Pulse Extraction Process gives excellent flavor to the products
- The filters protect against limescale and ensure good taste for the espresso
Don’t mind the downsides, since they’re minor:
- The design could be better (coffee residue may collect in the brewing unit)
- Some experienced problems even sooner than expected
As long as you’re able to see the right parts and don’t lose faith over the inherent problems, the machine is a good buy and an elegant model.
5. Breville Barista Touch Espresso Maker
When you love your espresso, but don’t care for the process much, the Breville BES880BSS Barista Touch Espresso Maker is a great choice. You only have to grind, brew, and milk so you cannot have any easier than that.
The adjustability is important since you can customize the coffee strength, milk texture, and temperature of your drinks. You can even store the favorite setting and create up to 8 personalized coffees.
The auto steam wand lets you get the right milk temperature and texture for your milk drinks. The microfoam is tasty and stays like that.
Many technologies explain the performance and quality of your drinks. The ThermoJet heating system provides extreme extraction temperature in three seconds, whereas the PID (Digital Temperature Control) gives water at the right temperature for the best espresso extraction.
With a single touch, the built-in, conical burr grinder with dose control is going to offer the right amount of coffee. The grinding cradle allows you grind straight into the porta filter, for hands-free operation.
The flexibility of controls and the touch screen operation turn the machine into a fantastic competitor within its category.
Let’s check the functional aspects once again:
- You can customize and store your favorite drinks
- The touch screen display is user-friendly
- The automatic micro-foam texturing gives flavor to your milk drinks
- The machine is well made and adjustable
The problems are no reason for one to back down:
- Some think that the espresso isn’t hot enough
- It’s a tad messy
All in all, the espresso machine is highly adjustable, dependable, and easy to use. What’s not to like about that?
FAQs on espresso machines
Q: Do espresso machines clog?
A: As long as you\re taking good care of your espresso machine, you shouldn’t worry about your machine clogging. However, if the clog does happen, it’s best to clean it thoroughly and get rid of the clog. You should always clean the unit after every use when it’s still warm. Once the debris is cooled and hardened, it’s going to be a lot more challenging to remove.
Q: Should you worry about the effects of mineral buildup on the espresso machine?
A: Limescale can build up in time and lower the water flow in the machine, resulting in heating problems. As time goes by, the amount of coffee coming out of the device is going to get lower, and the temperature of your drinks can get smaller too.
Q: Does your espresso machine needs both cleaning and descaling?
A: When you’re cleaning the espresso machine, you only remove the built-up coffee oil residue that collects inside the machine. In time, the waste is going to give a bitter taste to your coffee. Cleaning keeps the espresso tasting fresh at all time.
Descaling means that you remove the mineral buildup forming on the heating element of the entire equipment of your espresso machine. The buildup doesn’t allow the water to reach the best temperature for extracting the full flavor from the beans.
Q: What’s the most common troubleshooting for espresso machines?
A: You turn on the pump, but there is no espresso coming out. You should start by checking the water recipient to see if there’s plenty. Sometimes, the coffee itself can block the water from making it through as you grounded it too finely. The pump may be clogged as well, which is why you need to descale the machine every month.