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Espresso machines are an essential part of every coffee lover’s kitchen. You can make all your favorite coffee-house gourmet drinks at home, for a friction of the price. If you’re buying an espresso machine for the first time, then you’re probably confused by the many types of different machines available. In this post, we’ll briefly introduce the types of espresso machines available for the home consumer.
Manual Espresso Machines (also known as a lever espresso machine):
This type of machine calls for some effort since they are not pump driven. You get the extraction by pulling the lever and applying strength. A lever espresso machine is a bit tricky to use, pulling the perfect espresso shot with it requires a lot of patience till you get it right. It is not recommended for beginners.
Semi-automatic Espresso Machines:
In this machine, the extraction is done by turning the water flow on, and then off once you have enough coffee on your hands. The machines are pump driven, with a rocker switch connected to the pump. So then, when you turn on the switch, you turn on the pump. Semi-automatic espresso machines also have a steam wand that allows you to heat and froth milk with ease. They’re fairly affordable and are available at a range starting at under $100 and up to $300+. See some examples here. This type of machine makes an excellent beginner’s espresso machine.
Automatic Espresso Machines:
In an automatic espresso machine, the controls are set such that all you have to do is push a single button and the machine will automatically push through the right amount of water. They also are pump driven; only in this case, a microprocessor that controls the pump is installed in the machine. Various shot sizes are programmed into the espresso so all you have to do is press the right button. An automatic espresso machine also has a steam wand that you can use to warm your milk, and in some cases, it has an automatic milk frother. It also gives you extractions that are consistent and repeatable. This helps you get a consistent quality every time. This is the perfect espresso machine for someone who is looking for luxury and convenience. The most popular automatic espresso machine is Nespresso, which you can learn more about here.
Super Automatic Espresso Machines:
Super automatic espresso machines are the ultimate espresso machine for home, and are the easiest to use. All you have to do is fill the espresso with coffee beans, press the right button and watch the machine do the rest of the work. When you turn on your machine and click the desired button, the machine grinds the right amount of coffee beans, packs it into an internal porter filter, does the extraction and dumps the used coffee grounds into its internal knock box. All you have to do is empty the knock box (where used ground is collected) every now and then, ensure there is enough water in the reservoir and put the roasted coffee beans in the hopper. This type of machine is the most expensive, usually costing more than a $1000. However, there are some great exceptions, the Philips Saeco Vienna Plus is well less than $500, and there are many that super-automatics that are less than $1000.
More resources on types of espresso machines for home:
a Keurig 2.0 Brewer is the only Keurig that can brew both single cup servings as well a full carafe. The machine is available in a number of models that vary in sizes, so you can choose the right one for your needs.
Keurig K55 is an excellent choice for single cup brewing with a large 48 oz reservoir. Perfect for brewing many cups without the need to refill.
Keurig K15 is perfect for a single user who needs something compact. It has no water reservoir, instead you add a fresh cup of water for every brew. It's very small in size in comparison to other Keurigs.
KitchenAid Personal Coffee Maker
This personal coffee maker by KitchenAid is compact in size and brews directly into your mug or travel mug. Use it with your favorite coffee ground and never worry about coffee pods.
Hamilton Beach Single Serve Scoop Coffee Maker
This convenient coffee maker by Hamilton Beach allows you to brew a single cup in different sizes using your favorite coffee ground. It can also adjust the coffee brew from regular to bold. This, in addition to many great features.
Ninja Coffee Bar
The Ninja Coffee Bar gives you the best of all words. It is a single-serve (using coffee ground), it is also able to make a full carafe and specialty coffee drinks.
Keurig K55 Coffee Maker
The Keurig K55 allows you to brew a cup of coffee using a K-Cup pod, which is available from so many brands like Green Mountain, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and many more. It also has a refillable pod that allows you to use your own coffee ground.
Keurig 2.0 Coffee Maker
Keurig 2.0, like the K55, brews K-Cups from many different brands, which doesn't limit your options. The 2.0 model allows you to additionally brew a full carafe along side many different cup sizes.
The Nespresso CitiZ&Milk allows you to brew espresso, and thanks to its built-in frother, you can easily heat and froth milk for drinks like Cappuccino and Latte.
Nespresso Lattissima Pro
The Lattissima Pro takes it up to another level with its fully automated drink preparation. Using the LCD touch screen, choose the drink you want to brew and the Lattissima will do everything else.
Nespresso Evoluo VertuoLine Machine
The Evoluo is part of Nespresso's VertuoLine brewers which allow you to brew a full cup of coffee in addition to espresso and espresso-based drinks. So, if you enjoy your cup of coffee as well as a frothy cup of Cappuccino or Latte, this would be a nice option for you.