Espresso is a fragrant and concentrated coffee beverage, made by forcing hot water at high pressure through coffee beans which have been ground to a very fine or powder like consistency. The coffee is tightly compacted into a basket and the hot water is forced through for a very specific amount of time. To clear up a couple of misconceptions about what espresso is; it is not specific to any coffee bean as it can in fact be made from any type of bean. Espresso can also be any type of roast. This means everyone can experiment to get the exact flavor and strength they enjoy the most.
Espresso machines come in all shapes and sizes. Price differences are huge as they range in price from as low as $20, all the way up to a $1000 and beyond. It appears that there is an almost limitless range to choose from so to make it easier on yourself you simply have to ask a few questions about what you really want out of your espresso machine.
How often are you going to be enjoying an espresso? If you plan on getting your morning jolt from your espresso rather than the usual cup of instant joe, then you want something that is both convenient and sturdy. A 12 month or 2-year warranty also wouldn’t be a bad idea if you plan on making a sizable investment.
For the full espresso experience you really need to go for a pump driven unit to push that steam through at high pressure. Steam driven units just don’t have enough power to draw out the full flavor of the beans. If your budget is a concern, there are quite a few units for under $100 which will do the trick. This is the perfect price point for students who need a few shots of espresso to get through an all-nighter.
Many espresso machines use pre-made pods to create the beverage, meaning you are locked into that particular brand for the life of the machine. While these can be a little more expensive they are still cheaper than a visit to Starbucks and are incredibly convenient and quick; insert the pod, wait a few seconds, and then enjoy with no mess and no fuss. There’s a huge variety of flavors to choose from in whatever brand you settle on so you are sure to find the perfect flavor. One downside is that there is more wastage involved due to the extra packaging.
There are varying levels of automation you will need to consider when deciding on an espresso machine as they vary from old school fully manual like they used to do in the old country, to fully automatic which does everything except drink the espresso for you.
The more automation you want the higher the price goes, but those on a budget can easily settle for an acceptable compromise by foregoing a few of the fancier features and doing some of the steps themselves. For the full experience of making the espresso from go to whoa, and the advantage of spending only a few dollars, you can still get a fully manual espresso maker such as the Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, which is even robust enough to use in the office.