6 espresso machine types for easier home brewing

December 26, 2014

Recreating rich Italian caféespressos in your own kitchen can be easier than you think. Here's what you should know before buying an espresso machine.

6 espresso machine types for easier home brewing

Types of espresso machines

Espresso machines are available in several types, most being either steam or pump espresso machines:

  1. Steam espresso machine: Using steam pressure to produce a quick and frothy espresso, a steam espresso machine is best for the beginner espresso maker because of its simple and inexpensive construction.
  2. Stovetop espresso machine: A type of steam espresso machine, it is heated on the stove top, until the optimal temperature forces pressurized water to be driven through the coffee. They often come with a steam wand for that creamy froth that makes an espresso special.
  3. Pump espresso machine: Pump espresso machines are considered the best for making an authentic espresso. A pump forces water through the boiler and then through the coffee grounds at an ideal temperature and pressure to create a rich and dark espresso. Automatic and semi-automatic espresso machines are types of pump espresso machines.
  4. Automatic espresso machine: Automatic espresso machines are fast and easy to operate. They offer pre-programmed espresso shot sizes for quick and consistent espresso.
  5. Semi-automatic espresso machines: Semi-automatic espresso machines offer more control than automatic models, giving you the ability to tinker with and perfect the process of grinding, tamping and brewing your espresso.
  6. Super automatic espresso machines: With the super automatic espresso machine, you simply press a button and the grinding, boiling and brewing is done automatically. It's great for saving time in the morning or for serving family and friends in your home.

Espresso machine features

Consider the features you might like before buying an espresso machine.

  • Boiler: A powerful boiler is necessary to create the perfect espresso.
  • Thermostat: A reliable thermostat manages the boiler's heating element to retain the perfect temperature.
  • Thermoblock: As an alternative to a boiler, a thermoblock heats water as it moves through a set of pipes on its way to the coffee grounds.
  • Portafiltre: The portafiltre carries and compresses the coffee grounds so that water can be pumped through. Look for one with a heat-proof handle.
  • Grinder: Grinding the coffee grounds to the right consistency allows the most flavour to seep into the finished product.

Factors to consider when buying an espresso machine

Consider these two key factors when buying your next espresso machine:

Time: If you like to spend the time and energy on brewing the best espresso possible, consider purchasing a semi-automatic model.

Convenience: To save time while still enjoying the espresso experience, consider purchasing an automatic, super automatic or steam model.


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