I love espresso and have one fairly often from my local coffee shop. I had been considering purchasing an espresso machine for a while. It was fairly intimidating having never made espresso before. I had taken a quick look one time at a kitchen store, there seemed to be a lot of different types of machines with different features. After some careful research and talking with people who had their own machines I eventually made a decision that I’m very happy with. Hopefully you can learn from my experience.
There are four major types of espresso makers, including manual, semi automatic, fully automatic and super automatic machines. These different machines have varying degrees of ease versus control. At one end of the spectrum, manual espresso machines provide the ultimate control over the coffee making process. The super automatic espresso machine, at the other extreme, produces espresso with the least effort required. Understanding this aspect of ease versus control can help you make the right choice for you.
Manual Espresso Maker
The manual espresso machine, sometimes called the piston-driven espresso maker is quite elegant, a pretty stylish addition to your kitchen. It seems that the automatic machines have given these the air of being valuable and old. Some important points to note are they have smaller water reservoirs and can be noisy during initial heating. These makers start at around $400.
Semi Automatic Espresso Maker
The semi automatic espresso maker or the electric pump machine is a lot simpler to operate, because pressure is created by an electric pump instead of by hand. You start the brewing process by turning a knob and end the extraction by turning it the opposite direction. Dosing, tamping and removing the grounds are still performed manually. Due to its price and ease of use, this type is the most popular, especially when compared to the old style machines. Semi automatic espresso machines are generally priced starting at $150.
Fully Automatic Espresso Maker
With one difference, the fully automatic espresso maker or the one-touch system is much like the semi-automatic machine. You just decide when the brewing starts, but the machine will stop itself, after a predefined amount of time. This type of espresso machine is often used in commercial coffee shops and cafes. The starting price is about $450.
Super Automatic Espresso Maker
The super automatic espresso machine’s name says it all. These convenient machines do it all, from grinding to dosing, tamping to brewing. These appliances allow you to sit back and relax while the coffee is prepared. Mind you, they don’t allow for much experimentation. They cost a lot more, from $800 into the thousands.