So, you’ve finally decided that you could save several hundred dollars a month by making your own lattes, and you want to buy an espresso coffee machine. You thought you could just go down to the local big box store and pick one up. You can’t imagine how much you need to know to find the perfect espresso coffee machine.
First, you have to know what it takes to make espresso. If you aren’t going to do it right, you might just as well use your old coffee pot. Espresso is made by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee under pressure. You’re trying to extract all the flavor and leave behind all the oils that can make coffee bitter. That means that a decent espresso coffee machine must, at the very least, heat the water and use pressure to force it through the coffee.
Usually, your espresso coffee machine has some extras, like a frothing wand. A frothing wand allows you to force steam through milk to heat and froth it for cappuccinos. Some have grinders built into them. That way you get freshly ground coffee, and it’s ground specifically for espresso. Coffee is ground much finer for espresso than for your regular morning cup. You can also get an all-in-one espresso coffee machine that lets you choose whether you want to make coffee or espresso. Some are programmable, and you can set them to brew coffee at 6 am and make you a cup of espresso at 6 pm.
Alternatives to An Espresso Coffee Machine
Besides your Mr. Coffee and his cousin, the percolator, there are some coffee pots that make a decent substitute for espresso. Moka pots are stovetop espresso makers. They have two chambers. You put water in the lower chamber, and coffee in the filter between the chambers. As the water heats, it creates pressure that forces it up through the coffee grounds and into the upper chamber. You pour your espresso from the upper chamber. Moka pots work pretty well, but don’t make as smooth a cup of espresso as an espresso coffee machine.
Some people use a French press to make espresso. To use a French press, you heat the water separately. You put the ground coffee in the pot and pour boiling water over it. After letting it set for a few minutes, you use a press to separate the grounds from the coffee. A French press makes a great cup of coffee, but it’s not espresso. The water is in contact with the coffee too long for it to be espresso.
Finally, there is the cezve, or Turkish coffee pot. Turkish coffee makes espresso look like colored water. The grounds aren’t separated from the coffee. They say you pour the coffee off of the grounds after they’ve settled, but actually Turkish coffee is so strong and thick it’s hard to tell the coffee from the grounds. However, now that you know all that you need to know about finding an espresso coffee machine, you can go to the big box store and buy the right one.