Tired Of Standing In The Line At Your Local Coffee Shop Every Morning? Let Us Help You Figure Out How To Make Rich, Flavorsome Gourmet Coffee At Your Home Without Any Hassle!
There is nothing better than an espresso for an early morning pick-me-up; it instantly refreshes, rejuvenates, and gets you up and running, ready to take on the day.
So wouldn’t it be nice to have a coffee machine at home, so you don’t have to bleed money every time you want some caffeine in your system?
Do the math yourself. Factor in what you’ll pay for the coffee grounds, electricity, cost of the machine, and you’ll find that an espresso shot will roughly cost around 25 to 35 cents at home.
On the other hand, getting coffee from the local café (not even accounting for Starbucks prices here) will easily set you back $2 every time.
So an at-home coffee machine setup can help you save about $602.25. If you drink two cups a day, the number goes up to $1204.5.
Now factor in the exorbitant prices of specialty coffee drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, macchiato and espressos, along with the fact that you can brew them at home, and you already know that it’s a good deal to invest in a coffee machine.
Here at Café Last, we aim to make your life easier by presenting you with a wealth of choices when it comes to gourmet coffee makers. You can choose between manual, semi-automatic, automatic, or super-automatic machines, and chances are that we can help you find one that fits right into your budget.
Read on to learn how to make espresso at home!
Pick A Quality Espresso Maker
Topping our reviews is the magnificent Europiccola 8 Cup Manual/Lever Espresso Machine by La Pavoni.
It’s a traditional espresso maker that lets you stay in control of the coffee-making process since this machine isn’t automated.
The company variants of the Europiccola line include the EPC-8, EPW-8, and EPBB-8. There isn’t much difference between them, except for the color of the base and boiler size.
It’s made from chrome-plated stainless steel, making it highly durable and guaranteed to last a lifetime, with regular upkeep.
However, since it is a manual machine, using it presents a steep learning curve. But people still love it because this how coffee is supposed to be made. Once you’ve figured it out, you’ll appreciate the machine for providing the best possible espresso.
The extraction process is quite simple – lift the lever to drive water to the coffee grounds – then lower it to open the passage for the water to pass through the grounds and deliver espresso.
It relies on a lever-based mechanism, so your job is to ensure that enough pressure has built up within the boiler before you pull on that lever to get piping hot, caffeine-rich coffee.
An internal thermostat is made available alongside a piston and steam to ensure that you get the right amount of pressure when need be. One brew cycle or level-pull is good enough to serve two espressos.
Additionally, the Europiccola also allows you to make milky drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos, etc. as it features an automatic milk foamer. You’ll also get a measuring spoon with the machine to ensure precise measurements for all ingredients.
To top it all, the featured boiler has a 20-ounce capacity that can deliver eight two-ounce cups so if you live with an extended family or have friends over, and everyone can have stellar coffee every day.
- Internal thermostat
- Steam wand
- Automatic cappuccino frother
- 8 cup capacity
- Difficult to master
Check the prices for the La Pavoni Europiccola 8 Cup Manual/Lever Espresso Machine EPC-8, EPW-8, and EPBB-8.
Steps To Use An Espresso Maker
Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to do to get the perfect espresso shot every time you use your coffee maker.
- Step 1 — Switch on the espresso maker and let it warm up for at least 10 to 15 minutes
- Step 2 — Always get the right bean to coffee balance; try a few times till you nail it. We recommend using a digital scale to know the exact quantity instead of relying on guesswork
- Step 3 — Figure out if you need to grind the coffee first, or if you’ll be using a store-bought variant. Remember, espresso’s need a fine grind, so experiment until you get it right
- Step 4 — Either grind directly into the portafilter or add grinded coffee grounds to it
- Step 5 — Tamp the coffee to make the perfect espresso and make sure you use the same procedure and force every time, to avoid variations in taste.
- Step 6 — If you see any residual grounds outside the portafilter, brush them off by hand
- Step 7 — Now bring in the group head, and get to brewing. Make a note of the time taken to brew, this may vary depending on the machine, but ideally, 25 to 40 seconds is a reasonable brew time
Things To Consider When Buying An Espresso Maker For Home Use
Before you head out to the market, ask yourself:
- How much am I willing to spend on an espresso maker and a grinder? (Experts recommend a 60/40 budget, respectively)
- What is my preferable drink — espresso shots, cappuccinos, tall lattes, Americano, etc.? (This will help you decide on the type of machine you require)
- How many drinks will I make from one brew cycle? (this again relates to the size of the machine, boiler capacity, and output)
- How much space do I have on my counter to host the machine?
Different Kinds Of Espresso Makers
Espresso machines are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can always find something that aligns with your need and budget.
Here’re a few of the most widely used kinds of espresso makers:
It manages and controls every part of your espresso-making such as tampering coffee grounds, grinding beans, and the rest of the brewing process.
With this kind of espresso machine, you don’t have to worry about brewing at all. Just remember to tamp coffee beans and grind them first.
The good part about this automatic appliance is that you won’t have to stick around the machine since it can switch off automatically once the shots are ready.
Most baristas prefer a semi-automatic unit as it lets you be in control and tailor the coffee-making experience according to your needs.
In this kind of espresso machine, you can tamp coffee grounds in your coffee maker’s portafilter, grind beans, and switch on and off when espresso is ready.
Whether you love the coffee-making ritual and are mesmerized by the aroma of fresh coffee, a manual appliance will be a good fit. You are entirely in control, and use a lever-based mechanism to pump out coffee.
It’s always a plus when you know how much you are sure to spend before heading out.
Many people tend to spend more on an espresso maker, but cheap out when it comes to buying a grinder — avoid doing that. You cannot achieve that professional taste with an uneven grind.
Their choice is wholly justified, as some of those dual-boiler, multiple-group units can be a bit pricy. Despite that, with considerations on how good of a coffee you may have, and how the espresso maker will raise your kitchen’s aesthetic appeal—people go for it.
Typically, a standard espresso maker will cost you around $350 to $700 plus. But, if you go for those luxury units known and loved for their efficiency and palette-pleasing shots, be ready to pay anywhere from $2,000 up to $40,000.
Most machines can brew perfect shots; however, not all can steam and froth large-sized lattes or other milk specialty drinks.
Make sure you buy a one for all solution from the get-go, it will last you for years and years, plus it will defeat the purpose of purchasing separate machines in the long run.
That said, if you like to have large milky drinks and not just a shot or two of espresso, buying a machine with a heat exchange boiler or a dual-boiler will be in your best interest.
If you just need your daily morning dosage of Americano or espresso, a single boiler may be right up your alley.
A Cup Or More
Is the morning coffee more like a ritual that charges you for the day? Do you buy more coffee every break you get, or is that morning cuppa all you need to survive?
Does the whole family love coffee?
Do you tend to friends and family often, and serve them coffee while you chat?
Depending on your answer, a single boiler small unit may be good enough if you have a cup or two throughout the day.
But, if you entertain many people or have a few cups across the day, go for a bigger dual boiler.
It would be pointless to buy an exceptional machine that does not fit. Most espresso makers may be top filling units, so you need to have enough space at the top to easily open and fill.
Since you would be turning to your machine every day, for most of the year, define a place where it should sit; stowing it away after each use is an inconvenience one should not have to deal with.
Therefore, before heading out, make a note of the dimensions available to host the potential espresso maker. Accordingly, choose a unit that matches the size.
Cleanliness And Upkeep
Regardless of what espresso maker you end up with, it would help if you kept them clean at all times. A lousy filter or milk and hard water stains can significantly lower the quality of the brew.
It would be best to clean the unit after each use; a gentle rinse and wipe may be good enough. However, you should carry out deep-cleaning by scaling the unit every month.
Many espresso makers have self-cleaning features — a click and wait will lead to a spick and span machine.
It is always a plus when the parts of the coffee maker are rated to be dishwasher-safe.
You just need to pull them apart, like the embedded grinders, detachable drip trays, and portafilter (group handle), and toss them into the washer.
The Right Grinder
As we stated earlier, many people do not put much thought when buying a grinder — don’t be a part of that lot!
An ideal move would be to drive down to your go-to coffee shop and check what type of grinder they use. Pay close attention to the size of the burr, and whether they use a flat or conical burr.
Even if you find another less-expensive unit from another brand, with the same configurations, it would be a good buy.
The aim is to have a grinder that can manage various grind sizes, from fine to coarse, and everything in between.
The grinded coffee grounds should be uniform; having big and small chunks in between may not allow you to prepare a quality cup.
What Features You Should Consider In An Espresso Maker For Home
Preset or automatic settings come handy if you have little to no time before heading out the door and long for consistent lip-smacking espresso-based drinks.
But if time allows and you like making personalized espresso cups, go for machines with manual settings as they will enable you to customize not only the drink’s strength but a lot more!
You may not need a frother if all you do is make Espresso shots; however, if you want to create lattes, cappuccinos, macchiato, mochas, and other milky specialties; a frothing pitcher is much-needed.
While some espresso makers include a frothing wand, others don’t have one attached to them.
Usually, uneven coffee beans affect the taste and tone of your espresso shots. But with the help of tamper, you can quickly quash coffee grounds equally.
Dual Vs. Single Boiler
Espresso makers come in a variety of boiler types. The most common and widely used is a double or single boiler.
In the single boiler machine, you won’t be able to brew your coffee along with steam milk simultaneously. Instead, you’ve to pull the shot and steam the milk after the boiler is heated again.
Whereas, the dual boiler espresso maker allows you to do both these things at once and also saves time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Type Of Grinder Should I Use To Compliment My Espresso Maker?
Grinders play an essential role in perfecting that creamy espresso cup. When it comes to espresso, the grind has to be fine, and even; if coarse, you won’t get the taste you long for.
That said, here are some popular grinders perfect for home use:
- La Pavoni JR Coffee Grinder PA-JRD
- Casadio Enea Automatic Home Coffee Grinder
- Casadio Enea On Demand Home Coffee Grinder
- La Pavoni Zip Junior Auto Grinder ZIP-JR-R
- Fiorenzato F4 Nano V2 Electronic Coffee Grinder
- Fiorenzato F64 Evo Electronic Coffee Grinder
- Isomac Home Coffee Grinder MPI
Should I Choose An Espresso Machine That Works With Pods/Capsules Or Beans?
Typically, pod/capsules based units tend to be cheaper than bean-based units. However, when it comes to the ingredients, pods get pricier then beans or pre-made grounds.
So, in the long run, you will save more by not buying a pod espresso maker.
Generally, pod machines are cheaper than genuine espresso machines, but the pods themselves can be quite expensive.
Which Type Of Coffee Beans Work Best With Espresso Machines?
To get the maximum flavor and adequate extraction, it would be best to use dark roasted beans as they have a less acidic profile and have a fair amount of natural oils. This combination leads to a creamy espresso shot we all crave for.
What Is The Ideal Pressure And Temperature For Making Espresso?
Ideally, you should buy a machine that is capable of pumping up to 15 bars of pressure; but to a mean espresso cup, 9 bars is the sweet spot.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article! We really hope you have enjoyed it.
If you have any questions in regards to espresso or coffee, feel free to reach out to us. Here at Cafe Last, we are always available for help.