Contributed by Alex Green
From boosting energy levels and physical performance to enhancing concentration and short-term memory, coffee presents countless benefits. That’s why you need this wonder beverage in constant supply. You may know how to make a cappuccino without an espresso machine, but coffee makers are a whole lot more convenient. For starters, you can brew different coffee varieties to suit your taste. An espresso machine also saves you preparation time and trips to the coffee shop!
But the perfect machine can be elusive, with the numerous models in the market. Whether you’re upgrading your office or home kitchen, here’s what to consider when choosing an espresso machine.
Things to consider when choosing an espresso machine
Espresso makers have a large price range. Ordinarily, an espresso machine’s cost depends on its brand and capabilities. For example, a smart espresso maker costs more than regular coffee makers. Another consideration is the appliance’s use. Don’t buy a restaurant coffee maker when you only drink one cappuccino in the morning. Durability also comes into play. While cheap machines overheat after continuous use, high-end alternatives can run all day without breaking down.
Additionally, consider the appliance’s maintenance costs. Besides power usage, find out the availability and price of accessories like filters. You don’t want to buy a machine that you cannot maintain. Even so, price doesn’t necessarily determine performance. Some low-priced espresso machines are more effective than high-end models. Remember, you can start with a mid-range coffee and espresso machine and upgrade later.
Although they’re faster than regular coffee makers, espresso makers have different brewing speeds. A slow brewer may be an ideal espresso machine for home use, but it’s inconvenient when you’re in a hurry. You also need a fast espresso machine if you have frequent guests. For starters, we recommend choosing an espresso machine that can froth milk and mix it with coffee.
Because they complete every step for you, automatics work faster than manual coffee makers. That goes hand in hand with the water supply. Detachable reservoirs are faster to refill than built-in options since you’re not adding water to a hot tank. Moreover, get a larger tank to minimise refill frequency.
Nobody wants to deal with a cumbersome espresso machine before going to work. Unless you’re patient enough to learn its controls, get a coffee maker that’s easy to operate. Additionally, consider the appliance’s ease of cleaning. Besides attracting bacteria, a dirty espresso machine ruins the coffee’s taste. The coffee maker should support disassembly and reassembly for easy cleaning. It should also have a drip tray to prevent spills.
Alternatively, get a self-cleaning machine. All you need to do is add water and detergent to the coffee maker and press a button. However, wash the machine with the right soap to protect its components. Similarly, rinse it properly lest you destroy the coffee’s flavor.
In addition, you’ll also want to consider the coffee maker’s storage options — your appliance should fit in your kitchen cabinet without posing safety hazards.
Consider your household’s size before choosing an espresso machine. For instance, don’t buy a 12-cup espresso machine if you live alone. On the other hand, a single-cup coffee maker cannot meet restaurant demands.
Coffee-drinking habits also come into play. Get a larger machine if your family members have breakfast together and drink the same coffee variety. However, a single-cup machine will do if your housemates rise at different times. In addition to the water storage, check the espresso machine’s grinder capacity. You need a big grinder to brew coffee for large groups.
5. Extra features
The best espresso machine has extra features for hassle-free preparations. First off, some appliances have programmable clocks to brew your coffee at specific times each day. That way, you don’t waste time making coffee when you’re in a rush. You can also select the taste, whether you like your coffee strong, medium, or light. Another feature is the sound notification, so you don’t forget your coffee in the machine while performing other tasks.
Auto-shutoff is another great feature — it reduces power consumption and protects your coffee maker from overheating when you leave it idle. A water level indicator also tells you when to refill the tank. Furthermore, you can enjoy fresh coffee if the appliance has built-in grinders; all you have to do is add coffee beans to the machine and wait for your drink! Some coffee makers even allow you to pause brewing while you fill your cup.
When buying an espresso machine, taking it home and setting it up isn’t the end. Your coffee maker still needs maintenance. In addition to regular cleaning, replace worn out parts and empty the machine when coffee stays too long. If it’s not an automatic espresso machine, switch it off when idle to save energy. However, consult your owner’s manual for maintenance procedures and cleaning products.
Do you have a coffee maker of your own? Feel free to share your own tips on choosing an espresso machine in the comments section!
Featured image credit: Andrew Poplavsky via Canva Pro