Finding the Right Espresso Maker for Your Kitchen

Homeowners who are looking for an espresso maker for their kitchen are often faced with the task of finding a good machine, at an affordable price, which does not take up too much room. Fortunately, there are a number of quality models to choose from; quite a few in fact if price is not a major concern. This review does however, take affordability into account.

Stovetop-Adequate for Some but not the Best

The least expensive models will be the stovetop espresso makers, although most cannot be said to brew a true cup of espresso, since most models will not produce crema, and most do not steam or froth milk. If you use an espresso coffee grind however, you may still get the taste you want, and your espresso will be as hot as you care to make it.

Steam Expresso Makers-Better, but Still no Crema

The next step up is the electric steam espresso maker. These models can produce a good-tasting cup of espresso, but the cream is still lacking. Again, using an espresso roast helps deliver the true flavor, and the steam machines will deliver a nice hot cup of brew. Almost all steam machine models can steam and froth milk, so if the lack of crema does not concern you, a steam espresso model could be a fine choice. Steam-driven espresso makers can be found for as low as $50.

A Pump Machine is the Way to Go

If you want a true cup of espresso, crema and all, you’ll need to invest in a pump machine. Since pump machines force water through the grounds that is a little below the boiling point, your cup of espresso may not be quite as hot, but it should taste like espresso, and not like artificially-flavored drip coffee.

Finally, you need to decide whether to go manual, semi-auto, automatic or super automatic. Manual machines require a learning curve, and often a fairly steep one. A homeowner who is not fond of trial and error learning will probably better appreciate a semi-automatic models, although automatic models are best if you are reluctant to learn yet another skill. The super automatic models tend to be much more expensive.

Several Entry-Level Models to Consider

Espresso makers as a rule cost a great deal more than coffee makers, so expect to pay $200 or more for a decent machine. An excellent choice if you have between $250 and $300 in your pocket is the Seaco Aroma. This little model is attractive, compact, and makes 2 cups at a time. To top it off, Seaco is the favorite brand of a good many espresso lovers.

The DeLonghi EC155 is even less expensive. It’s a pump driven model that retails in the neighborhood of $100, and the brand is a good one. Like the Seaco model above, the EC155 is a good choice for a small, apartment-size kitchen, or a dorm room. The DeLonghi EC702 is another nice choice. It’s semi-automatic and retails for under $200.

Push a Button and Leave the Room

If you want a compact fully automatic machine, consider the Nespresso C-100-US-AERO, or a comparable Nespresso single-cup model. This model retails for around $300, but there is no learning curve whatsoever, although it is always a good idea to go through the user’s manual at least once. Another Nespresso model, the Citiz is compact and uses pods instead of grounds. Nespresso is definitely a brand worth looking into when affordability is an issue.

If you are a Mr. Coffee fan, this brand makes espresso makers well. Up to now, these have been steam-driven rather than pump machines and might disappoint. Mr. Coffee has recently come out with a pump model however, and it has received some nice reviews.

Finally, if you are looking for an espresso maker with all of the bells and whistle, one that will make an excellent cup of brew if you just happen to glance in its direction, and one that is reasonably affordable for a super automatic ($430), the Saeco Vienna Plus will add a nice touch to your kitchen.


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