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Espresso Machines Buying Guide

Espresso machines are the must-have in today's modern kitchen especially if a coffee lover makes his or her home there. These machines provide coffee that is very similar to what you may receive when you visit a barista in Italy or just your favorite coffee shop down the street. Not all models are the same, though. If you are a true espresso lover and want a good cup every day, you will want to spend more to get a higher quality. If you do not like this potent concoction often, then do not invest as much but still buy quality. The coffee's quality, in fact, is not just based on the beans, but also on the functionality of the machine.


What to Expect

If you spend way too much on coffee from that expensive coffee shop, a better option may be to buy your own espresso machine. Some of the top brands available today provide coffee comparable to these shops. You will find simple models designed as many Italian households have used for years, stovetop models. Others include steam machines, which use steam to pump the hot water over the grounds. You could select an electric design as well. Perhaps the most consistent coffee comes from these electric models.


Some espresso machines are fully automatic with complete programming options. Others include a manual, old-fashioned design. You will also find those that include grinders for coffee beans. Some versions are a combination of all of these. The more features included, the higher the cost will be. Keep in mind that some designs, including some of the modern favorites, brew just one cup at a time. Some of these require you to purchase specifically designed pods to use within them. This can increase costs without a lot of benefits.


Types to Consider

Some key models are better than others are. Consider these descriptions to determine which ones are ideal for your buying needs.


Traditional Stove Top

Designed simply, these use steam created by the water boiling on the stove to filter through the coffee grounds. While this may be the most traditional approach to creating espresso, it is not always the best option for busy people on their way to work. It also does not produce the same type of flavor and consistency that you may get from a coffee shop, which is what many buyers are looking for when buying these machines.


Standalone Espresso Machines

Some designs are a simple stand-alone style. They are simply a brewer that functions very simply. Some do have programming options. Most of these are electronic. You will find these offer the best price point for the quality produced.


Mixed Models

For those that like espresso after a meal and regular American coffee in the morning, there are combination machines. These machines often feature two different brewing stations, one for each coffee version. These models can be very worthwhile if you want to have both included. However, for a higher quality product, select a different model.


Grinders

Some models of espresso makers provide it all. They have a location to store coffee beans. Then, they will roast the beans as desired (this is less common.) They will feature Grinders so that you are always getting very fresh coffee. They brew the coffee at that point. The grounds are stored in a container for you to dispose of from time to time.


Single Cup Brewers

Designed to be the ideal go-to solution in homes, these single cup brewers are a good option for those who just one a cup of coffee a day. These machines sometimes feature espresso options, but not always. It is important to consider espresso makers that are truly working as this type of coffee requires - using steam to brew.


Function Differences

The use of espresso makers is often expressed as a form of art. The fact is, the use of these makers sold readily today does not necessarily provide the same brewing method. In traditional models, found in France or Italy, the method requires a different approach. In the most traditional form, tightly packed coffee is added to the device. Then, hot water is forced through it under pressure. This creates a very concentrated form of coffee unlike what is consistent in the United States. The best models of espresso makers produce a product similar to this. However, automatic makers do not use the same process and this can change the flavor of the finished result often weakening the coffee significantly.


Features to Look For

It is easy to be caught up in all of the features offered by espresso makers. However, not all features are worthwhile. Some just add to the price tag without offering any key benefit. The following things are the most important elements to look for in these machines.


Programming

One of the most sought-after features many espresso maker owners want to have is a programming feature. Though common in today's moderate to higher range standard coffee machines, these provide an excellent benefit on espresso makers as well. Keep in mind that programming may include grinding as well as brewing in some machines.


Grinders

Models with grinders are heavier, but provide a more stable, long-term design. They do cost more, but the quality is often higher. Look for models that store beans, too.


Additional Coffee Options

Some machines also create cappuccino and other favorites of coffee, including mochas. It is up to the user to determine if this is worthwhile. It does not necessarily add to the value of the machine since most multi-functional machines provide a lower quality overall. Look for specially designed espresso machines for the best results.


Conclusion

When buying espresso machines make sure to look for ratings and look for comparisons on individual models. You also need to consider the type of beans and the amount of water used. Buy quality that will last if you are a serious investor. Commercial models can run thousands of dollars but do not provide benefits to the home user (these are built for volume.) On the other hand, some people enjoy single brew options the best for their convenience. It's also worth checking some of the more versatile regular coffee makers as an alternative.