Coffee Machine Buying Guide
So you have finally decided to invest in buying an espresso machine to decorate your kitchen. Now, the next step is to equip yourself with the proper knowledge that what features and characteristics you should look for while buying your first or second espresso machine.
To help assist you in making this choice easier, here are some important features of an ideal espresso machine which you should look for once you are out on the hunt.
To begin with, first you need to know what a typical espresso machine is consisting of. A typical espresso machine is composed of;
· Water reservoir
Let us skim through each component to understand what it does and what you should look for while buying.
1. Water Reservoir
This is the container where the water is reserved for the use. You don’t have to be very concerned about its size as its good to have not much water reserved. It’s always better to keep changing the reservoir water if the machine is not used for long.
Pump plays an important role in coffee making, as it forces the water into the boiler first and then through the coffee grounds under pressure. There is a myth that as much the force will be, as better the extraction would be. However, there is no reality to this myth and a bar pressure of 8 to 10 is enough to make quality extraction. Therefore, while looking for your espresso machine, only consider two factors about its pumps; one that it produces 8-10 bar pressure and second that it’s made up of quality material.
It is the part, which is actually responsible for the brewing process. Water is boiled in the boiler and therefore it is the size, weight and design of boiler that matters most than its material. All boilers are subject to lime and mineral scale buildup over time, so you don’t have to be particularly concerned about its material. Most espresso machine makers use the boiler for both brewing and steaming purposes. However, for high budget semi-autos and super auto machines, steamer and brewer have separate boilers. The only difference you got with combined and separated boilers is the interval of 45-75 seconds in combined one and no waiting time for the separated one, once you press the steam button.
The most important part of an espresso machine is Portafilter, which actually holds the coffee beans for the brewing process. Ideally, it should be made up of forged brass as compared to Aluminum, because a heavy grouphandle retains more heat and it feels solid about the durability and quality of the machine. The filter basket in Portafilter should be large enough to contain 7 to 14 grams of coffee.
Steaming wands are indispensable for the frothing process and manufacturers use a variety of ways to operate the steaming wands. Some use a knob while others use a lever or a button, analog or digital, to activate the steaming wand. It’s always better to prefer a knob or lever than a digital button as knob is easily repairable and durable.
Thermostats are the indicator of heat pressure in your boiler, which is used to indicate brewing heat and steam pressure. Most manufacturers install different thermostats for measuring the temperature of boiler and steam. You should look that your barista has a thermal fuse installed, which is a useful tool for overheat protection.
Grinder is the most important part of an espresso machine, as a correct grinder is essential for a fresh, flavorful espresso. While looking for the Grinder, you should be ready to make a little more investment, keeping in mind that a low budget blade grinder would spoil the taste of your espresso. You can make a mouth watering espresso just by the use of a fine, sharp blade grinder. Built-in-grinders should be given preference over separate grinders, as they grind very quickly and produce a very hot espresso.