The best espresso machine is the one that suits your (and its user’s) needs.
How to choose the right espresso machine for your needs?
Here’re some questions to help you choose an espresso machine:
1. Who will be using it?
If you expect a lot of people to be using the espresso machine, it’s better to go for a fuss-free option that anyone can use without training. And those are usually the super automatic espresso machines.
This will ensure less frustration and also reduce the likelihood of inexperienced users damaging the machine.
2. What type of beverages would you like to enjoy?
A fully manual espresso machine is great for brewing a good cup of coffee and frothing milk. But if you’d like beverages like hot chocolate or milo, you don’t need the machine.
Comparatively, some super-automatic machines may offer the option to brew hot chocolate. Just ask your supplier!
3. How much coffee do you expect to consume in a month?
Your estimated consumption will give you a better idea of a suitable espresso machine model for your needs.
If you are using it at home for a small family or even just for your own consumption, an espresso machine with a smaller boiler may suffice. But if you’re looking for one for your office pantry to cater to 50 pax, then you may need something with a bigger volume. Also, you may not need to install a direct water source installation for the former, but will definitely need it for the latter.
Types of Espresso Machines
The coffee industry has many solutions for coffee lovers. Traditionally, espresso machines are designed to brew a consistent cup of espresso-based coffee.
Today, depending on the type of machine you choose, they could provide a balance between providing the best quality and taste as well as convenience and flexibility for the user. And yes, espresso machines are not limited to restaurants or offices, they can be used in homes.
There are 3 main types of espresso machines that give their users different levels of control over your final cup of coffee. To truly understand their differences, let’s take a quick walk through the evolution of espresso machines.
Early espresso machines were:
1. Manual Espresso Machines
These require the highest level of skill. The barista has full control over the espresso shot usually with a lever. From the pressure to the timing and even the temperature of the water, the barista can fully customise their shot.
Such machines are still around, with modern variations like the Flair espresso maker that’s being marketed to home baristas.
That said, my opinion is that you can never fully achieve 9 bars of pressure on a manual espresso maker, which could limit your repertoire. However, low pressure espressos seems to be trending recently, so to each his own!
2. Semi Automatic Espresso Machines
Then came the semi-automatic espresso machines. These require the barista to calibrate, grind, tamp the coffee and time their own shots. However, the water pressure and temperature are controlled by the machine, hence “semi” automatic. Most semi-automatic machines come with a steamer to allow you to froth your own milk.
Espresso machines in this category come with a variable range of control. From the Decent espresso machines that let you pre-program your extraction profile to the Profitec Pro series that have a single level of pressure control.
3. Fully Automatic Espresso Machines
Next, the fully automatic espresso machines will handle the espresso shot dynamics for you. All you need to do is to calibrate, grind and tamp your coffee before pressing a button. The machine takes care of the brewing.
These are designed for the beginner coffee brewer because they take care of most of the technical work for you. Some even come with automatic milk frothing capabilities.
Popular options in this category include all in one machines like the Breville Touch and the Breville Barista Express, both come with a build-in grinder. The key difference is that the Touch also comes with automatic milk texturing so that you get perfectly heated and frothed milk every single time. All you need to do is to pour the milk to make your own latte art.
If you prefer to get a separate grinder like the Niche, there are fully automatic options without a built-in grinder, like the De’longhi EC155M too.
4. Super Automatic Espresso Machine
Finally, the super automatic espresso machines which are also known as Bean to Cup Coffee Machines. These are fully done for your coffee machines that function pretty much like a vending machine. All you need to do is simply need to fill the machine with freshly roasted coffee beans and milk and select the drink of your choice.
Some common brands in Singapore include Jura, WMF, DeLonghi, Lavazza, Gaggia, and Rooma.
The Super-Automatic espresso machines are the go-to choice if you wish to cater for a wide range of users. Hence, these are often found in office pantries and even convenient shops, allowing anyone to brew a decent, consistent cup of coffee without any fuss.
The best espresso machine for you is…
Ultimately, it would depend on how you would like to use your machine, and who will be the one using it.
If you’re looking for an espresso machine or coffee machine for your office, read this. And feel free to reach out for help.
Stay caffeinated ☕