An espresso machine is quite different from a standard coffee maker or when using instant coffee and stirring in water for a quick cup of Joe on the run. The main difference with espresso coffee machines and their process of making coffee is one of pressure.

Standard coffee makers work by combining hot water with coffee grounds to make a cup of Joe. In the case of espresso machines, they work primarily by using pressure to push the hot water through the coffee.

A fine grind from coffee is required because this helps the water pressure extract as much flavor from the ground beans than when using other coffee-making methods that don’t use pressure in the same way.

The use of fresh beans also makes a difference because it will create a golden colored coating at the top of the coffee. This “crema” layer is a beautiful collection of tiny bubbles that are barely visible to the naked eye.

Modern espresso machines mostly used electric pumps that either rotate or vibrate to create the pressure of the water pushed through the coffee. For the freshest cup of coffee, one should always use freshly roasted coffee beans that haven’t been cut and then grind them up. Once the beans have been ground up, they will hold a strong flavor for only 30 minutes before the coffee grounds will go stale, so act quickly.

Quality coffee beans are available from many sources. A robust grinder is needed to ground whole coffee beans finely enough to make the most of the water pressure from the best espresso machine.

What’s Included With The Best Espresso Machine

An espresso maker is made up of several parts that are easy to put together. For products with a water tank built-in, this can be filled up with water right away to provide the necessary ingredients to create the first cup of espresso coffee.

The larger the coffee maker, the bigger the water tank which is quite convenient for making a generous number of servings of espresso. An indicator light on the machine will confirm either when the water is hot enough or when the water is running low and needs refilling. The instructions with the product will say exactly how the indicator lights work with a particular espresso machine.

Depending on the model, it may be possible to either make espresso or cappuccino, using a thermostat built into the espresso maker as a temperature guide.

Filters can be added to the machine (often need to be purchased separately from the espresso maker) when making certain types of coffee. In some cases, the espresso machine can hold dual filters to increase the amount of coffee brewed at the same time.

Many espresso machines will have a jet frother that will swivel around into position. The frother provides the right golden bubble-based coating at the top of the coffee for an authentic Italian espresso drinking experience every time.

A drip tray will come with the equipment which can be installed in the correct place to avoid any accidental spillage.

The boiler supplied with the espresso equipment when made using stainless steel is more durable for long-term use.

A cup warmer may also be provided to ensure that the coffee mug is ready for a hot dose of caffeine to jump start the day.

The built-in tamper, which pushes down the coffee grounds in the cup before water gets added, is not always as useful as one would like with some espresso machines. Should the one supplied in the box not be good enough, use any flat implement that is more efficient at pushing the coffee grounds into the cup (without doing so excessively).

What To Know Before Making a Purchase

Some espresso machines make just espresso, whereas other ones also make cappuccino too. Decide whether an espresso machine needs to perform a dual role before selecting the right espresso maker for you.

Larger coffee makers have water tanks with a greater capacity. Bigger water tanks mean that the machine can deliver several cups of coffee in a single coffee brewing session, rather than having to stop to refill the water reservoir, and then get brewing again.

Espresso coffee is by definition a smaller 1.5 flow ounce drinking experience that is stronger than what regular coffee drinkers are used to. It is a good idea to try some espresso coffee made by an experienced barista before purchasing an espresso machine for the best outcome.

Other Considerations

The majority of espresso machines can be broken down, cleaned and reassembled without any great difficulty. Maintenance is an important aspect of being able to maintain a coffee maker so it will last through several years of regular use. Look for a product that is easier to assemble and disassemble too.

Best Brands

Mr. Coffee, established in 1970, makes coffee makers, espresso machines, and specialty equipment.

Delonghi is a world famous consumer products brand that makes everything from coffee makers to espresso machines to ice makers.

Bella Housewares like to keep things light and fun. Bella makes espresso machines, popcorn makers, slow cookers, and more.

VonShef is focused on the culinary arts and makes consumer products in the food and beverage niche.

What Consumers Say

Taking a look at consumers’ reviews, these are a few of the opinions most often voiced by buyers:

Regular cleaning: Even with espresso machines where the owner is using distilled water, the apparatus will become clogged up during a month of daily use. Regular monthly cleaning is necessary to avoid the machine running slowly after prolonged use.

Tamper: The built-in tamper with espresso machines is not always very effective. In fact, even a spoon will be useful to push down the coffee into the cup. But do not press the coffee grounds to pack them into the small cup too deep because then the water cannot penetrate the coffee grounds to make the proper espresso.

Bar: Pump espresso machines use a rating system to indicate how much water pressure is applied.