If you consider yourself an espresso connoisseur then you’re not alone – the popularity of the drink has risen tremendously in the last decade within North America. As a result of the spread of premium cafes like Starbucks, consumers have fallen in love with the highly concentrated single-fluid-ounce drink. For those of us who can’t imagine even going a day without their prized cup of espresso in the morning, purchasing an espresso machine makes a lot of sense.
There are many espresso machines available, ranging in price from $100 or less to several thousand dollars, so which do you choose? And why are they so expensive? The reason that espresso machines are more expensive than regular coffee makers is that the process of making a shot of espresso is much more complicated. It requires 135 pounds of water pressure per square inch and a 25-second extraction time. Additionally, you’re going to pay more money for a super automatic espresso machine because it does much more work than a manual espresso machine.
A manual espresso machine requires an operator to pump a lever that pressurizes the hot water and sends it through the ground coffee. The term “pulling a shot” comes from this style of espresso machine because it required pulling a long handle to create the shot; the Gaggia espresso machine was the first to offer this type of design in 1945. Espresso machines were originally driven by steam.
An automatic or pump espresso machine comes in several variations – semi-automatic, automatic and super automatic – all of which use a motor-driven pump rather than an operator to pressurize hot water. Until recently, pumps were mainly used in the construction of a commercial espresso machine to minimize handling and maximize the number of cups that could be brewed in a given day.
Some of the most popular espresso machines on the market include:
There are many factors that go into finding the best espresso machine for you. Price, quality of the finished product and convenience are just three to consider. While espresso machines may be pricey, many of them will pay for themselves within a year, for those who regularly indulge in two cups of a day.
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