The Espresso Machine market is a complex and vast place, that even for the most experienced and well versed coffee drinkers, it can become a major headache when you are choosing your machine. Factors start coming in such as specific needs, size, functions, and of course the almighty dollar.
So What Do I Look For?
You can begin your search by decided on which type of machine you want to have. There are three different types of machines to choose from and each of them bring something different to the table that is designed for certain consumers and how frequently they drink espressos.
The two mechanical methods that espressos come in that do not include the manual press types are:
- Steam Driven
- Pump Drive
Each kind is great, and it really depends on what you are looking for when you are in your search. To help you better understand each of these lets break them down, and show you the best ones available to you right now.
Pump Driven Espresso Machines
These types of espresso machines are the most common within the modern and more advanced machines that you are going to select from. These machines are operated on an electric pump that creates the pressure that your steam driven machines have to make depending on the temperature you reach. These machines allow you to make the truest and most pure espressos in the world.
There are different sub-types of pump driven machines that espresso machines are labeled as more commonly.
Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines
These machines are half and half usually between manual and automatic features. They have the electric pump that generates the pressure to take the hot water into the coffee grounds to create that perfect shot of espresso. This will cancel out the time consuming task that you have to do with your stove top steam driven machines.
- Water Temperature and Pressure work through the automated system
- Ability to adjust the steam and water flow according to your preference of taste
- Pump is manually operated for you to turn on and off by pressing a button or lifting a switch
- Portafilters are used instead of the grinders that more advanced machines have, which is primarily where the “semi” part of the name comes from since you have to manually insert your coffee grounds into the portafilter before each use.
Semi automatic machines give you the freedom to fine tune your espressos to your own personal liking and preferences, and its why they are so popular on the market today. If you love to be interactive when making your perfect blend of espresso then these are going to be the types of machines that you are going to want to look at.
Our Recommended Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines
Rancilio Silvia espresso-machine – The top single-boiler semi-automatic espresso machine for under $1000. You Get what you pay for.
Breville BES900XL Dual Boiler semi-automatic espresso machine – Best espresso maker on the market that can easily outperform any of your local coffee shops or big name companies like starbucks, costs around $1200.
Gaggia Classic Espresso Machine – Best machine for under $400, great performance at a great price and you can’t miss out on this one! It’s a great deal.
Super-Automatic Espresso Machines
These are the highest end espresso machines that you can get your ahnds on. They do just about everything you can possibly think of, and give you the most automated system that you will come across. You may have to only fill your container for milk and place it under the frother on some models, but that is just about it.
- Coffee Grinders built into the machine so you can grind your own coffee beans before brewing, and in some models can hold two separate flavors that you can mix together or brew separately.
- Connect your machine to a water line, so that you don’t ever have to worry about refilling this machine
- One button touch technology gives you full commanding functions that will provide you with top company brand coffees
- Froth or dispense automated frothed milk that will dispense to your cup automatically which will allow you more options for cappuccinos and lattes.
Our Recommendations Super-Automatic Espresso Machines
DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine – Best value you are going to get with a super-automatic machine that includes two separate boilers for under $1000.
Jura Impressa Z9 One Touch TFT – This machine may cost around $3500, but that is because it is simply THE BEST espresso machine that you can find, we dare you to find one better.
Nespresso Pixie – Terrific super-automatic espresso machine that will not break your bank and will give you the ultimate performance that you expect from it.
Steam Driven Espresso Machines
The original espresso machines, from way back in the day were driven by steam. You can get modern models today that work on the same basic principles but in a much higher efficiency. These machines contain a certain level of steam in the heating chamber where your water boils, the steam then travels through the tubing and squeezes through your espresso grounds and into your cup. Some of the stead driven espresso machines are capable of also producing you “crema” as well but they just don’t have enough pressure for you to achieve the full effect that other espresso machines can.
However, these do create a very strong shot of espresso, due to the simple and over pressurized system with the application of heated steam. They cost considerably less than your pump driven high end espresso machines, and we personally recommend that you opt for a pump driven machine, which you are going to find much more commonly than these.
Steam Driven Espresso Machine Recommendations
Mr. Coffee ECM160 4-Cup Steam Espresso Machine – A cheap alternative to most of your feature rich machines for just below $50!