Talk to 10 different companies and you’ll get 10 different answers for which is the best espresso machine for home. People will assume some things for you, based on their own experiences or past experiences with certain brands or what they think are important. Truthfully – the decision to move to an espresso machine is a smart one for most people, letting you make better drinks in the morning than that bland coffee maker and drastically expanding the variety of drinks you can make.
But there’s so many more options for features and reputation for espresso machines than a regular coffee maker, and a budget to think about too. Here we’ve assumed you’re looking for a super automatic espresso machine from Saeco, and added details below our choices.
Since features generally increase with price, your budget will be a deciding factor – you’ll simply have to spend more to access some features since the cost to implement them is higher. You can make a great quality espresso and other drinks with even the low end machine, but convenience tends to increase as you move up through the models. Here are our recommendations for the best Saeco espresso machine for each category:
- Budget: Moltio Focus
- Best value: Exprelia Evo
- Best overall: Gran Baristo or Gran Baristo Avanti
Best Budget: Moltio Focus
This new Moltio Focus allows the user to easily customize the coffee strength. So you can make all the espresso drinkers in your family happy. It provides excellent steam capability so you can whip up beautiful milk based drinks like cappuccinos, lattes and flat whites. No knobs to activate the steam in this modern sleek machine, steam is controlled by electronics
It comes with two interchangeable bean hoppers plus pre-ground bypass option. So if you are a coffee aficionado and like to change roast or have a decaf from time to time, the Moltio Focus super automatic makes it “super” easy.
Best Value: Exprelia Evo
The Exprelia Evo offers a ton of features and possibilities yet it is still in the mid price range. The biggest advantage is the fact it provides the richest espresso because of its patented Saeco Brewing System (SBS). This feature allows the user to further control the flow rate of hot water through the coffee grinds allowing to manipulate the amount of crema and intensity.
When it comes to frothing milk, the Exprelia Evo provides the best of both worlds – a manual frothier and a carafe system. The sleek stainless steel finish and clean lines makes it a show stopper. You will be sure to get many compliments both for the espresso you serve and for the equipment on your counter.
Best Overall: Gran Baristo or Gran Baristo Avanti
This machine has the smallest footprint on the market. To say it is sleek and modern is an understatement. Consider that the Avanti version is the only super-automatic that has Bluetooth capability. Could you ever imagine customizing your drink from your phone or tablet? Do you like your milk based drinks hot? The carafe on these models allows the milk to reach the highest temperature of any model that uses a carafe.
The Gran Baristo keeps in memory the personal coffee profile for six individuals. It also has an American coffee button pleasing the regular coffee drinker in your midst. Looking to shorten your prep time in the morning then you have to choose the Gran Baristo; It is the only Saeco machine that allows you to brew two espressos simultaneously.
There’s a ton of different makes and models for espresso machines, and a super automatic espresso machine is one of the better choices for home use because they:
- are easy to use – espresso is brewed within seconds of pushing a button, no prep work or cleanup required
- grind espresso FRESH – built-in grinders mean you don’t have to buy a separate piece of equipment so that you can buy fresh-roasted whole bean coffee
- are customizable – letting you set the amount of coffee grounds used, quantity of water, and allow full control of steaming milk (or milk alternatives) to make any number of specialty espresso drinks
Super automatics are also economical since the cost per drink averages just $0.12 as opposed to single serve machines using pre-ground (eg. stale) capsules where a cup of espresso costs anywhere from $0.75 to a dollar per cup.
While brands like Gaggia and Jura have a good reputation, Saeco is the industry leader and original developer in the space. Saeco‘s patented removable brew unit makes maintenance a breeze. With a lineup that spans a dozen models and is updated every couple years, deciding which to buy can be a tricky question. There are three basic things to consider: do you base your choice exclusively on price or do consider value of features for the price or do you just go for the best machine available overall, even if it costs a little more.
Now fully armed with an overview of what each machine offers, you can choose the one that will best suit your needs.
Brewing the Perfect Espresso for Perfect Espresso Drinks
When it comes to espresso brewing there are lots of different choices of espresso brewing machines. The machine you choose will depend upon how often you will use the machine and how much you are willing to spend.
An Espresso Machine Overview
If you are buying a machine for a coffee shop you will want a commercial espresso machine. However if it is for some other type of shop, say an art gallery, you may want to get a prosumer espresso machine which has some of the qualities of a commercial machine but is not designed to produce the large quantities that would be required in a coffee shop.
If you are just brewing your own espresso for yourself and friends, then you will only need a standard home espresso machine.
Also see: The Top Ten Coffees in the World
How Espresso Machines Work
Also available are pod espresso machines which brew pre-packaged pods of espresso. The pod consists of roasted and ground coffee pre-pressed into a puck shape and contained within perforated filter paper which fits into a pod portafilter to brew the espresso.
If you want the ultimate in luxury then you can get a super automatic espresso machine that will grind the coffee beans and also dose, tamp and brew the espresso. It will even eject the spent puck of coffee grounds. All the barista has to do is push a button. Some of these machines even steam and froth the milk.
How the Espresso Machines Work
The piston-driven espresso machine is operated by a barista who pumps a lever to pressurize the heated water and force it through the roasted and ground coffee in order to properly brew the shot of espresso.
With a manual piston machine the barista pulls the lever which directly pushes the water through the ground coffee. With a spring piston machine the user’s manual pull creates tension on a spring that creates the pressure pushing water through the ground coffee in the portafilter.
Many of the espresso machines that cost the least are steam-driven, and drip filter coffee makers with attached espresso machines also typically install a steam-driven model.
Also see: Best Coffees In the World
Most Popular Espresso Machines are Pump-Driven
A pump-driven espresso machine uses a motor to provide the necessary pressure which forces the hot water through the coffee in the portafilter. No physical effort is required of the barista. This is the most popular type of espresso maker. The machine may be connected directly to on-site plumbing, or may be contained in a reservoir in the machine.
A steam-driven espresso machine forces water through the coffee grounds using steam pressure. An air-pump espresso machine, which has the advantage of being very small and portable, uses compressed air to create the pressure that pushes the hot water through the coffee grounds. An electric air compressor may be used or N2O or CO2 cartridges may be used, or you may simply use a hand pump.
Espresso Brewing – A Quick Summary
An optimal pressure is about 135 pounds per square inch, while an optimal temperature is from 88 to 92º Celsius or 190 to 197º Fahrenheit. These specifications will allow you to extract the gourmet coffee’s finest tastes which are “espressed” into a very concentrated shot of premium espresso.
Also see: Five Best Coffees In the World
Why All the Fuss – What’s the Difference in Espresso Brewing Methods
When appreciating the finer points of espresso coffee we assume you are like a cupper (professional coffee taster) savoring the nuances and evaluating all of the basic coffee characteristics including body, sweetness, bitterness, aroma, acidity, and finish/aftertaste.More Espresso Machine Tips
There are many different coffee companies that sell espresso brewing equipment including commercial espresso machines, home espresso machines, single serve coffee brewers, pod coffee makers, and pod espresso machines which can brew either coffee pods or espresso pods or coffee K-Cups.
Some of the most prominent companies include Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Braun (T-Disc single serve coffee maker), Cuisinart (single serve brewing system), Saeco (Saeco espresso), Tassimo (Suprema single serve system coffee makers and espresso makers using T-Discs), and Cuisinart (single serve brewing system).
Other prominent companies areTimothy’s World Coffee (Timothy’s K Cups), Gaggia (Gaggia espresso and espresso machines), Krups (Krups espresso machine), DeLonghi (DeLonghi espresso machine), Lavazza (Lavazza espresso), Keurig (Keurig coffee K-Cups), Illy (Easy Serving Espresso Pods), Gevalia (Signature blend T discs), and Senseo which offers Senseo coffee pods as part of their the Senseo coffee pod system.
Gourmet Espresso and Coffee
For some interesting sayings about coffee check out our Coffee Quotes.
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