Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world and brewing it at home is among the best experiences related to it. The idea of selecting the right beans and getting the perfect mix is an art in itself and once you are engrossed in it, you will love it! Brewing the best coffee requires more than just the right beans or ground coffee. It needs the perfect coffee making machine. There are several types of coffee makers across various price ranges so it is not a concrete answer about which is the best one. Depending on your choice and taste in coffee and budget, you should select the right type of coffee maker. The best way to learn about a specific coffee maker is to read as many reviews as you can about it and this site provides just that for you. Read on to find out more about coffee makers and the world you are getting into!
Espresso Machine Types
There are several types of coffee maker machines and before deciding to buy one, it is a good idea to know the different types so you can narrow down your search. Coffee makers can be steam-driven, pump driver, and stovetop.
Steam-driven machines are the more primitive ones that run on electricity. The idea of every coffee maker is simple; the water needs to percolate through the coffee and collect all the aroma and flavor. In a steam-driven machine, this is done with the help of boiling water and the pressure developed by the steam that comes as a result. Steam-driven machines are known to be less efficient than pump-driven ones because there is no external force on them. However, steam-driven machines are much less expensive and make for the best ones to buy if you are on a budget.
- Manual lever machines: Coming to the pump-driven machines, as the name suggests, these machines have a pump in them that forces the water through the coffee. Pump driven machines can be manual or automatic. The manual ones are designed in a conventional way but the build quality is usually stellar. You will have a lever that needs to be pressed to get the right pressure to force the water through the coffee. Depending on the pressure you apply, the strength of the coffee will vary.
- Electric machines: In the electric variants, there are three types; semi-automatic, automatic, and super-automatic. Semi-automatic ones are the most basic ones in the picture and require the coffee to be put in its ground form and usually do not have features such as a frothing nozzle. On the other hand, automatic ones have the extra features to fine-tune your coffee but might need adjustment from time to time to get the strength right. Super-automatic machines are the most advanced ones you get and you can load just the roasted beans into the machine and get the coffee of your choice depending on your settings. It is automatic (computer-controlled) and is very efficient.
- Stovetop espresso makers: The last type of coffee or espresso makers is called stovetop type and as you might have guessed, they are operated on a conventional flame stove. The heat from the flame is used to generate the steam which forces the water into the coffee and brings up the espresso. These are simple to use and some come with a hybrid of electrical control in them for the best results. There is another, more detailed article about the types of coffee machines and it is best to go through that for a clearer understanding.
Espresso Machine Features
When deciding on which machine to buy, there are certain criteria or features to look for. Among them is the time that it takes for the coffee to brew, the option of loading beans directly into the machine, the ease of maintenance, which is explained in detail considering its importance in a special article, included accessories such as a frothing cylinder and nozzle and the level of automation in the machine. If you are particularly interested in having the machine do all the work, check whether you can store your preferences. Reading about the machines should give you an idea about what it can actually do. Every criterion is explained in the article about Espresso Machine Features and it is recommended that you go through it.
Best Espresso Machines
KRUPS EA8250 Fully Auto Espresso Machine Review
The Krups EA8250 Espresseria sits on a high pedestal among coffee makers for its unique capabilities and impeccable qualities. It easily produces some of the best coffees you can expect out of a machine in a kitchen and seems to do all that rather effortlessly. The machine has years of German experience in the engineering behind it and a very aesthetically appealing design that is sure to make your kitchen a more enjoyable place. It has a rather sophisticated exterior with easy to use digital controls that make coffee brewing a very pleasurable experience.
At first glance, you might be surprised by the size of the Krups Espresseria. It is quite big for a coffee machine but on closer looks at its features and capabilities, the package is completely understandable. The machine stands a good 1 foot high on the kitchen counter and its fine finished exterior is quite inviting; you will definitely want to use it more than once during the course of the day. The build quality of this machine is very good and it will hardly get damaged considering the quality of materials used. Moreover, given the size and weight of the machine, chances are you will not be moving it around too much so that is one less thing to worry about.
Coming to the features and functions of the machine, simply put, calling the Krups Espresseria a mere espresso machine is an insult to the device and the effort behind developing it. The machine is capable of brewing espresso, coffee, cappuccino and even the simplest cup of tea to satisfy your beverage desires. Being fully automatic, there is no effort required on part of the user to get the cup of coffee that you so deserve! The type of coffee and other aspects of it such as the strength can be set to your liking using the LCD panel that is on the front of the machine. It is very easy to use and requires nothing more than using a few buttons and following the instructions on the screen. The machine is very quick too and the coffee will be ready in a very short while. Moreover, the inside is tweaked to ensure that heat is transferred properly and the use of a single thermostat ensures that the coffee is uniformly heated, which preserves the natural aroma.
While it is one thing to be able to give you a lot of options with the coffee, it is a whole other deal to ensure that every cup feels like it is brewed by professionals. The Krups Espresseria ensures that each brew has the natural aroma of the coffee, straight from the plants as the burr grinder works away to grind fresh beans for every brew. The compact thermal block system and the 15-bar pump push the coffee powder uniformly and for every single brew offer the appropriate temperature. Moreover, the 1.8-l water tank and the 275-g coffee powder reservoir ensure that you will be informed well in advance when you are running out of coffee.
The Krups Espresseria tops the medium-range line of coffee making machines. Its neat little features like the frothing nozzle that enables you to add milk froth whenever you please go a long way in ensuring the quality of the brew on an individual basis. This machine has a strong user base, with most of its users being very happy with the machine. There are almost no problems with this espresso machine and the testing has shown that the taste of the coffee from it is beyond imagination.
- Patented brewing chamber is engineered for superior heat transfer and has a single thermostat to deliver constant heat
- After each brewing, excess water discharges automatically to the drip tray; automatic rinsing, cleaning and descaling programs
- LCD display, central “one-touch” button; precise settings allow the user the preparation of a “tailor-made” cup of coffee
- 1.8-liter water tank with empty water tank detection, 275-gram bean capacity; removable drip tray with integrated floater; removable cake container
- Includes Krups xs6000 liquid cleaner for milk systems which helps clean the steam/frothing nozzle on your espresso machines; 15 cleanings per bottle
- Great coffee quality with original brewing functions
- A large variety of coffee drinks
- Large reservoirs
- Large in size and heavy to move around
De'Longhi ESAM3300 Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine Review
As its name says, De'Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica is certainly magnificent and is a great espresso machine to have in the kitchen. Its unique style and sophisticated design make the best coffee possible at home, you can save your daily trip to the local coffee shop, and the best part is that there is no need to wait in the line because this machine is very, very quick. DeLonghi Magnifica has the ability to prepare a range of caffeine drinks including espresso, cappuccino, latte, etc. and with its unique features, it is sure to sway your taste buds!
On the outside, DeLonghi Magnifica is a rather large machine. It has an easy to use the panel on the front that has a few controls in the form of a couple of buttons and dials, all of which are easy to set. You can program this machine to prepare coffee to your liking be it just perfect or strong if you are feeling low. Moreover, the cappuccino system on the front can accommodate a range of milk containers as its unique design allows for rotation to any angle. In addition to the versatility in input containers, you can collect the coffee in any form of a cup or tall mug as the spigot height can be adjusted as per your liking. All the design features are very impressive and convenient and in all probability, you will not have even a single problem when dealing with this machine.
On the inside, there is one of DeLonghi’s most famous patents: a mechanism that allows you to load in just the beans and get coffee out of it. The machine will do the grinding for you, after which you can enjoy the benefit of coffee in the way you like it. Moreover, the beans are ground only when the coffee is being prepared to get the best flavor and taste out of it. This might seem like it will take a lot of time but the mechanism is pretty efficient and you can have the coffee ready very quickly. There are also twin-boilers on the inside that are made of stainless steel, allow for even heat distribution, and come with the option of reheating. The reheating facility keeps the machine at the appropriate temperature irrespective of how long it took for the first cup to be made.
The machine comes with a 60oz water tank that can be removed and placed back with ease and a 7oz container to hold the coffee beans. Moreover, maintaining the machine is very easy as there are built-in functions for rinsing and decalcification. Scales and calcification is not a problem with this machine as the inside working is very efficient. Furthermore, the trays and the containers can all be removed with ease and cleaned without any effort.
Among the espresso machines in the market, this model is at the top and rightfully so considering its features and efficiency. Almost all the current owners and regular users of this machine are happy with it and have faced no problems whatsoever. A few users have mentioned that the build quality can be better because regular use seems to scratch the exterior but apart from that, the machine will greatly add to the quality of your kitchen.
- Patented “Cappuccino System” frother; mixes steam and milk to create a rich, creamy froth for perfect drinks every time
- Easy-to-use rotary and push-button control panel with programmable menu settings
- Grinds beans instantly with the patented “Direct-to-Brew” system. The brewing system is compact and removable for easy cleaning.
- No waiting between preparing espresso and cappuccino with the double boiler system
- Professional-quality, conical low-pitch burr grinder. Grind settings allow you to adjust the fineness for all types of beans
- Supports several varieties of coffee drinks
- Beans are ground instantly to preserve the aroma
- Easy to program
- Build quality
- Price is slightly on the higher side
KRUPS XP4600 Silver Art Collection Pump Espresso Machine Review
The Krups XP4600 can be called elegance redefined and even that would be an understatement. It is part of the Silver Art collection that has been designed to perfection by some of the top designers in the world and the quality really shows in terms of its aesthetics, which use a generous blend of wood, chrome, and glass to create the perfect appliance for your kitchen. On first looks, you might think this machine does not perform well enough considering the minimal mechanisms that are seen outside. However, the truth could not be more different as the Krups XP4600 is a genius when it comes to coffee making and especially in providing finishing touches to your daily “cuppa”.
The machine, when started, gives you complete satisfaction of proper compacting of the coffee just by the solid grinding sound it makes. And this is quite true thanks to the machine’s tamp system that compresses the coffee properly and lets the same amount out each time you use it. Loading the coffee grounds into the machine is pretty simple as there are not too many latches and buttons to open and press. In addition, the coffee grounds are held with a filter that can be tightened to dry up; something that is really useful if you want the coffee to last a while.
Coming to the quality, the concentration is uniform across all the cups of coffee. This machine does not give out cups that are too strong or the opposite. The temperature is also perfect and the coffee jug that comes along with this machine is good enough to keep the temperature from dropping too quickly. There is the feature of making one or two cups of coffee in one go and is rather neat as it saves time, for obvious reasons. The inside has another of Krups’ innovative systems: the Thermoblock. This mechanism uses a high-pressure system that helps in heating up quickly and even reduces scaling on the inside. At high pressures, preheating is known to take far less time. The pressure created inside reaches up to 15 bar, which means your coffee should be ready very soon.
The machine comes with a variety of programming options that are self-explanatory and can be adjusted with the help of a few buttons and a dial on the front. There is a manual in the box that explains every detail clearly. The machine also has a frothing nozzle that can be used to steam the coffee if you like it that way. Krups offers several accessories for this machine to make your frothing job easier, so be sure to check them out as well.
Krups XP4600 is easily among the most used coffee makers in the world. There are hardly any defects with it as testing proved and most users would not change a thing about it if given an option. However, one improvement that several owners suggested was that the filter drying of the coffee grounds could be made easier. Right now, it has to be tightened for the coffee to dry, and in some cases, it takes longer than usual.
The best part of the machine is easily the exterior of it that adds a touch of class and elegance to your kitchen and for its price, the Krups XP4600 is clearly worth every penny.
- Krups precise tamp system compresses the coffee grounds perfectly providing an optimal ground coffee tamp that produces uniform results every time
- Thermoblock system with 15 bar pump for faster preheating and reduced limescale build-up
- Universal filter holder: ground coffee, ese pods, 1 or 2 cups
- The exclusive design of stainless steel, chrome and wood optics
- Programmable; steam, frothing nozzle
- Variety of programmable options
- Great build quality and aesthetics
- Quick heating and coffee making
- Filter drying takes longer than it should
Importance Of Coffee Grinders For Making The Perfect Espresso
Coffee grinders are among the most important accessories to have when you are brewing your own coffee at home. They ensure that you get the best flavor and aroma as grinding the beans just before brewing is the best practice. There are several aspects to look out for when buying a grinder, especially the type of grinder and the features that it has. Sometimes, the lesser the features, the better! Read on to find out more about what type of grinder is right for you.
Broadly, there are two types of grinders: blade and burr grinders. They are categorized based on the mechanism inside that works to grind the coffee beans to a powder. The blade grinders have a set of typical stainless steel blades, which revolve at a high speed crushing the beans to a fine powder. The good part about blades is that they are very quick and you can get the job done very fast but they tend to grind a little too much and your powder might be too fine, which will clog up the filter in your espresso machine. On the other hand, burr grinders have burrs on the inside, which crush the beans by rubbing them against different surfaces and you will end up with a coarser powder. Usually, you can adjust how fine you want the powder depending on the machine’s settings and speed. Having a grinder with the option of different finesse settings is very useful. Burr grinders also get the job done quickly but they have a cut off time after which they will not run to avoid overheating the motor.
There are some other features of a grinder that you should look at. Some coffee grinders have the option of dosing. Dosing refers to the facility of having a fixed amount of coffee delivered at each go. This means that when you ask for a dose, the exact amount, irrespective of how much you will use will be delivered to you. The idea behind a dosing machine is that it is useful in professional coffee shops where every machine has to deliver the same. If you are going to make a large number of cups at one go, it is a good idea to use it. Otherwise, there will be a lot of waste and it is best to avoid a machine with a dosing facility. One useful feature is to have a stepped particle size facility. This will give you a good idea about how fine your coffee will be and will allow for better tamping. It is better to go with the preset sizes than to handle it manually and get the right size yourself.
As with any accessory, you will have to think about the price because an espresso machine is not very cheap! If you have a high-end machine, there is no need for a grinder as a lot of them already have built-in ones. However, a good rule of thumb is to spend around 30-40% of your espresso machine’s price on a grinder.
How To Clean The Espresso Machine
Espresso machines make the best coffee out of your beans but they need to be maintained properly in order to do so. This is because the beans have certain oils that not only add flavor to your brew but also leave behind some emulsions that add a poor aftertaste after repeated use. There are certain parts of the coffee machine that are affected more than the others are, and in this article, you can find out about which part to clean when and how.
The most commonly affected part is the filter inside. This is where the water percolates down after tamping from where it collects the flavor. If your coffee is ground too much, the filter will get clogged and you will not get any coffee after a while. Some espresso machines have temporary replaceable filters and you can change them as needed depending on the size of the particles in your coffee ground. For machines with a permanent filter, this should ideally be cleaned every week. Cleaning a filter is first done with a simple soak in water followed by a pressurized wash. Some of them are even dishwasher compatible so check with the manual first.
The other important parts of the espresso machine that need to be cleaned are the shower screen, the steaming wand, and of course the storage. If your machine comes with a manual, it should provide step-by-step instructions on how to do this and it is best to follow them. The key is to remember that the steaming wand should not be cleaned too often, perhaps once every two months if you use it on a daily basis. The storage should be cleaned whenever you change your coffee and the water storage should be checked for scales. The scales are best removed with vinegar but if your machine has a self-descaling system, use that to get the job done. For cleaning the shower screen, it is a good idea to check every two weeks and if it is blocked up too much, go for a full flush cleaning. This is done by sending in water without coffee and if you have a manual machine, at high pressure. For other parts such as the carafe and the water storage, you should rinse it every time you use to ensure there are no stains and to prevent the taste of stale coffee from ruining your fresh brew.
Maintaining a coffee maker machine is not as difficult as it might seem. In fact, many modern espresso machines will tell you which part of the machine requires cleaning and at the right time too. However, if you have one of the conventional manual ones, then best check it every two weeks and whichever part needs flushing, get it done. Most of the jobs, you can do at home but if you are unsure, go to the service center to avoid any unnecessary damage.