Ask any true coffee-lover worldwide about the best cup of coffee and you'd most likely get an answer "The Espresso!" This one tiny shot of pure coffee adorned with foam at the top gives a kick-start to many of us, awakening our minds and bodies and making us fit to survive through the rest of the day. Most people who haven't had a good cup of espresso typically say they don't like it because it is bitter. If espresso is bitter, it most likely hasn't been made properly as it is supposed to taste like a cup of molten bitter-sweet chocolate. It doesn't need sugar; it is naturally sweet. This belief is true at least for US, while in UK and India, the opposite might be true. In any case, so many of us depend on Barista, Starbucks or Peet's and other cafes for our daily dose of caffeine, that it's easier to invest in a high-quality espresso machine and brew your own cup, which I'm sure would not only save you a lot of "moolah", but also give you immense satisfaction! The million-dollar question though: "How to choose the perfect Espresso Machine? and How to Brew your Coffee the right way??"
The sad fact is, outside of Italy and the other Latin espresso-making countries, few people have had real espresso. Most cafés sell overpriced hot milk with coffee flavoring, and the majority of the mass market home espresso machines are designed to produce the same. So for most of us who insist on good espresso made with organic coffee beans, the only option is to make it ourselves.
Espresso is made when water is forced through a puck of ground coffee at 9 bar of pressure to extract 2 ounces in 25 seconds. However, good espresso is not easy to make — it takes practice. But with the right tools, the best java beans, and a little technique, you can enjoy this bliss at home. When buying a new Espresso Maker, ask yourself these 4 questions:
1. Does this machine produce exceptional espresso?
2. Does this machine have the steaming ability to make outstanding foam?
3. Would I be proud to use this machine in my home to serve cappuccinos and lattes to my guests?
4. Is this worth the price I pay for my coffee everyday?
These essentially translate into the following criteria:
Quality: How consistent was the machine? How good were the shots of espresso it produced? The layer of foam at the top of a shot is called the crema—how thick and well-formed was this layer? When I poured some sugar on it, did it take more than a second or two for the granules to sink through? And how well did it foam milk for cappuccinos?
Convenience/Usability: How difficult was the machine to master? How easy was the machine to use on a daily basis? How long did it take to disassemble and clean? How quickly did it heat up? Espresso cups should be warmed before use—did the machine have a cup warmer? And, for those living in cramped quarters and cooking in cramped kitchens, how much countertop space did it occupy?
Looks: Making a good cup of espresso is something of an art form, and the best espresso machines are themselves works of art. As well they should be, given how much they cost and how much time you'll spend using them (not to mention looking at them sitting on your kitchen counter). All of which is to say that, when it comes to espresso makers, looks count.
Value: On an average, a cup costs 4 bucks, and 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year gives roughly 1500 dollars per year that you spend for just one cup of coffee per day. So accommodate this in the price of the machine you are looking for, and also the added value of being able to use it anytime at home or work!
I'm sure you can find a wide variety of machines of different brands in the market. For beginners, try Saeco or Krupps. Make sure you check out some true reviews for a machine that you've seen or liked before jumping into buying it. Select ones that others have rated high based on personal experience.
I hope this write-up helps you make a suitable choice. After all, this is the first cup of morning caffeine that we are talking about, and our body deserves to be given nothing but the best and the perfect, right?!!
If you liked this post, please subscribe to our feed so you'd never miss a recipe or article again!