Advantages and disadvantages of an automatic espresso machine
Buying an automatic espresso machine is a smart move especially if you start your day with a cup of coffee or if you take it several times throughout your day. That said, before buying an automatic espresso machine it is essential that you learn about its pros and cons.
Speed – Automatic espresso machines are designed to brew coffee, creamy and tasty cappuccino among others in less than a minute.
Making a special drink – With an automatic espresso machine, you will be able to make lattes, cappuccinos and other unique drinks at the touch of a button.
Safety – Safety is a major concern when using a traditional or manual coffee machine. As you probably know, the process of making coffee manually may expose you to hot water and steam. Both can do real damage to your skin. Using an automatic espresso machine, on the other hand, is risk-free. All you have to do to get a cup of delicious espresso is to push a couple of buttons.
Fresh beans – It no news that roasted coffee beans are better than ground beans. Ground beans lose their flavor and taste with time. Roasted beans, on the other hand, hold their freshness until you ground them. Since automatic coffee machines have inbuilt grinders, you will only need to grind your coffee beans when you need a cup of delicious hot coffee. This gives you a fresh and tasty coffee every time you use it.
Cost – Truth be told, most automatic espresso machines on the market are super expensive. Yes, there are cheap espresso machine below $200. But most of them are inconsistent and may not suit you.
Not for everyone – An automatic coffee machine is not suitable for people who don’t consume coffee often. The reason for this is that it uses fresh beans. So, if you don’t grind and brew them quickly, they will go bad.
Features to consider while choosing an espresso machine
Below are some important features you need to give your attention to before buying an automatic espresso machine.
Water dispensing container – A regular espresso machine can make 7 to 8 cups of espresso at a go. Some models connect to an external water source. This will save users from the stress of refilling it every time
How much coffee can it carry? – If you are a regular coffee drinker, it is essential that you check how much fresh coffee beans an espresso machine can hold before buying it.
Inbuilt grinders – The way coffee beans are ground will determine how an espresso will taste. Keep in mind that some espresso machines don’t have an inbuilt grinder. To get a fresh and delicious coffee without stressing yourself out, you need an espresso machine with an inbuilt grinder.
It should be able to froth – Apart from brewing coffee, a good espresso machine should be able to froth premium beverages like cappuccino and macchiato.
Type: semi-automatic vs. super-automatic
Irrespective of your coffee background, there is a possibility that you might have heard about the super-automatic and semi-automatic espresso machines. But have you ever wondered what set these two apart? Let’s clarify the difference between semi-automatic and super-automatic espresso machine.
Semi-automatic machines are perfect for those looking for a traditional espresso machine. Its major features include a boiler, a dedicated switch to deactivate and activate the pump and a portafilter. Most semi-automatic espresso machines on the market are programmable. A good example of a semi-automatic machine on our list is the Rancilio Silvia.
Super-automatic machines are designed to do everything for you. At the touch of a button, it will grind, tramp, and brew coffee beans into a rich, creamy and delicious espresso. They are perfect for people who like to drink coffee regularly or for commercial purposes.
Brew temperature and water pressure
Whether you are going for a semi-automatic or a super automatic espresso machine, it is important that you check their brew temperature and bar pressure. These two are critical to the making of a perfect espresso. The bar pressure is what extract the flavor from the ground coffee beans and create the cream on your coffee drink.
The ideal bar pressure for home use ranges from 15 to 19. If the beans are smoothly ground, 11 bar will do.
Espresso strength levels
Many super-automatic espresso machines and some semi-automatic ones come with various espresso strength options. This might be great if, for example, several people with different tastes use the machine, or you just don’t like monotony. The best machines on our list offer five strengths levels, while the Breville Oracle boasts as many as eight.
Grinding – Most automatic espresso machines have an inbuilt grinder designed to crush coffee beans.
Brew pause – The brew pause setting creates a window to stop the brewing process to pour yourself a cup of coffee and continue brewing afterward.
Cup warmer – Some automatic machines have a special hot plate that will keep your coffee warm. Keep in mind that this feature can ruin your coffee if you leave it on it for a long time.
Water filter – This filters the water that will be used to make your espresso.
Clock – This feature is designed to alert you when your cup of coffee is ready.
Frothing – Most super automatic espresso machines come with a frothing feature you can use to make creamy cappuccinos and macchiato.
Maintenance and ease of cleaning
Let’s face it; no one loves cleaning – maybe a few people do. So when purchasing an automatic espresso machine, it is important that you consider how easy it is to clean. It is also wise to go for an espresso machine that has a large water tank. This will save you from refilling it each time you want a cup of coffee.
Most automatic espresso machine comes with a 1 or 2-year warranty. So, if the machine happens to develop a fault or breaks down within the warranty period, the machine it will be repaired or replaced for free.
Tips on making the perfect espresso
Making a perfect espresso is going to be difficult for you if you are new to coffee making. Below are two tips that can help you out.
Coffee beans – Only use fresh coffee beans to prepare your coffee. Grind them moments before using them so that they don’t lose their flavor and taste.
Be clean – Ignoring coffee spills and not cleaning your espresso machine regularly may ruin the taste of your coffee.