If you’re wondering what to look for in an espresso machine for the home or office, it’s important you narrow down what you want. Everyone has different needs, so what works nicely for one person may be incompatible with your lifestyle.
What To Look For In An Espresso Machine
Don’t have time for the full article? Here’s a quick answer to your question:
Your home espresso machine should be chosen based on size, price, pressure bars, and convenience features. Convenience features can look like a built-in steam wand or built-in grinder. If you want a cheap espresso machine, make sure it at least has seven pressure bars and a self-cleaning protocol.
Curious to know more? We’re going to list all the details that go into a home espresso model, from compatible size to pressure bars.
What Should I Look For In An Espresso Machine?
There’s no need to fear choice fatigue. While there are many home espresso machines on the market, not all of them are suited to your coffee brewing lifestyle. The ones that match you best will revolve around details like size, price, and convenience features.
Choose a Compatible Size
Where will you put your espresso machine? Some are small enough to fit onto even the most cramped desk, while others are wide enough to take up a whole kitchen counter.
Take some measuring tape or a ruler to your ideal brewing spot and measure it out.
Find The Right Price
It’s no secret that espresso machines are expensive. Some are more affordable and designed for casual use, while others are built for high-frequency brewing in busy locations.
Expect to pay between $300 to $700 for smaller, casual espresso machines and up to $3,000 for heavy-duty models. A nice middle ground between price and quality is $1,000.
Espresso is created through a mixture of steam and pressure. Pressure bars tell you the capability of your espresso machine and how well it can press out a high-quality shot.
If you notice your coffee tasting bland or lacking crema, it could be because your espresso machine isn’t applying enough pressure. Nine bars is considered professional grade, while the lowest you can find on the market is three and a half.
You may think more bars are better, but that’s not the case! You can actually overextract your espresso with fourteen or fifteen bars of pressure. It’s all about happy balance in the coffee world.
Narrow Down Your Must-Have Convenience Features
What else can you expect with your espresso machine? Consider focusing on convenience features: these are details designed to make your coffee brewing experience faster or easier.
Fast brewing times: Some espresso machines can make shots in as little as three seconds.
Built-in coffee grinder: No need to fumble around with different parts and pieces. A built-in coffee grinder comes with several settings to get you enjoying all kinds of coffee brewing methods.
Built-in steam wand: While you can buy these separately, many espresso machines come with one already attached.
What Should I Look For In a Cheap Espresso Machine?
If you’re on a tight budget and can’t go for the higher models, you’re still in luck. Cheap espresso machines can still make a delightful cup of coffee.
A cheap espresso machine should at least have the following features:
This is an ideal feature for both beginners and experienced homebrewers. This allows you to dial in a favorite setting and lock it in, saving it for later use. You can do this for both single and double shot espresso.
Decent Pressure Bars
Try to find an affordable home espresso machine with a minimum of seven pressure bars. While you can still make espresso with less bars, it’ll miss out on more powerful flavors.
If you’re concerned about the longevity of your machine, seek out a model that takes some of the maintenance off your hands. This can look like an automated cleaning mechanism to rinse out the gasket.
How To Use Espresso Machine For Beginners
While each espresso machine will come with unique features, there’s a commonality that links them all together.
Get a Fine Coffee Grind
Your coffee grind should look soft and fluffy, similar to flour (but not as coarse as sand).
Fill The Portafilter
Make sure your portafilter is equipped with its basket, then fill it up to the top.
Tamp Your Coffee
Most espresso machines come with a coffee tamper. This is what you use to flatten the coffee into the portafilter.
Put The Portafilter Into The Gasket
Slot your portafilter into the gasket and twist it into place. Most home espresso machines will hold the portafilter in place so you can steam milk or do dishes.
Adjust Your Settings
Both semiautomatic and superautomatic espresso machines come with pre-programmed settings you can turn on instantly.
Extract Your Coffee
Once everything is in place, just turn your machine on and extract your coffee. Your coffee should come out with a rich, amber color with a layer of golden crema on top.
Buying your first espresso machine can be daunting. You want to get the most bang for your buck, right?
Reach out to our live chat or send us a message with your coffee-related questions and concerns. We’re ready and waiting to help you buy your first espresso machine and enjoy all the perks.