Home Espresso Machines 101

Home espresso machines have become more popular than ever in the past few years. With the cost of shopping for coffee skyrocketing, more and more families are opting for buying a home espresso machine.

Home machines are scaled back versions of the commercial ones used in coffee shops. How scaled back is up to you. You can spend a lot of money and have a top of the line, do it all machine or buy a lower end machine and still make wonderful espressos.

The basic premise is that the machine will force hot water over finely ground coffee under pressure, creating an espresso with a beautiful crema. How the machine goes about creating your espresso depends on the type of machine.

Types of Machines

Pump machines are typically the most expensive of the machines. Although they do create the most excellent espressos, they are typically the largest and noisiest of the machines. Commercial machines are usually pump machines although there are home espresso machines that are pump also. Pump machines also require more maintenance as they can become clogged with mineral deposits.

Manual machines use a manual lever and piston to create pressure. If used often they can be strenuous on the arm. These machines do not create a consistent espresso as the pressure varies based on amount of arm strength. Lever/piston machines are very quiet with few parts and low maintenance.

Steam powered machines are the most common ones found in homes. They are quick and easy to use. They are small enough to fit in home kitchens. These espresso machines use steam from the heated water to create pressure. The pressure in these machines isn’t always sufficient to make a great espresso.

Another basic simple espresso machine is the moka pot or percolator. These use a pressurized bottom half to send the steam though the coffee into the top half where the espresso is collected. The main advantages are that they are very simple to use and are the least expensive of all the models. However, they have no frothing tools or method for frothing, have less pressure than mechanical versions, which means less flavor is extracted from the coffee.

Determine Your Needs

Buying an espresso machine for your home should be considered an investment. You need to evaluate how often you plan to use the machine, if it’s an occasional use, you can probably go with a less expensive one. If, however, you are a daily espresso drinker, you will probably want to go with a more expensive machine that can stand up to more use. You should also look for one with a good warranty.

When determining your needs you should also consider how much space you have for the machine. For occasional use you might consider a smaller machine that you can put away. Or perhaps even a coffee maker/espresso maker combo machine.


It’s a good idea to decide how much you want to spend on a machine before you start hunting one. One good way to get an idea is to consider how often you purchase an espresso or espresso based drinks and figure how much you spend monthly. This will help you decide how much you can spend on a machine and have it pay for itself.

With all your information gathered you are ready to go find yourself a machine made for home use. There are many reputable companies that have home machines. Some are also commercial espresso makers and probably make the best machines. Whatever your decision you will be delighted with your hot, fresh espresso made while still in your pajamas.

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