Specialty coffee machines can be very expensive and are a significant investment. The most common machines are semi automatic or super automatic machines. Both have benefits, depending on your preference and the amount of money you are willing to spend. Take some time to learn the features and benefits of each type before you make a purchase.
Semi Automatic Expresso Machines
Semi automatic machines allow you more control in the brewing process. These are the most popular in home machines. You start and stop the brewing process, which only takes about thirty seconds. Most come with either a frothing adapter or a stem want for making cappuccino or other specialty drinks.
Semi automatics come with either a pressurized or a commercial portafilter. A commercial portafilter has a metal holder with a plastic handle. These are found on coffee shop cappuccino makers. You need to get the grind setting, tamp pressure and timing right to get the best cup possible. It takes a few tries to perfect this process.
A pressurized portafilter has a ring inside that adjusts the flow of the water. the water will flow slower for coarse grounds and faster for finer grounds. The ring also enhances the crema on top and makes a better cup with less effort from you. With a pressurized portafilter, you don’t need to worry as much about the tamp pressure or grind of the beans.
Super Automatic Machines
Some people prefer a super automatic machine. With a super automatic, you can make a complete cup of Expresso or cappuccino with the push of one button. When you first set up the machine, you pre program everything and then it’s ready to go. If you want a fast cup with little effort, or aren’t skilled at brewing, you may want a machine that can do it all for you.
Great Features of Expresso Machines
There is a wide difference in the price of Expresso makers. Part of the price difference lies in the features of the machine. The more features, the higher the price.
o A digital display allows you to control many options on your machine. You can set the timer to shut off or enter the energy saving mode. Program the machine for the water level or amount of coffee grounds to affect the taste and strength of the drink. Set the temperature for the finished drink. Some even allow you to program the machine for the hardness of your water.
o A bypass doser allows you to use different coffees. With this feature, you can bypass the grinding process and use pre ground coffee.
o An adjustable dosage feature allows you to adjust the amount of beans to be ground. Most allow for between six and thirteen grams, depending on the machine.
o A rapid steam feature will go from brewing temperature to steam temperature in ten seconds.