There are different types of coffee machines: Professional, super-automatic, carob, lever type, capsule and automatic for home and office. But how to understand all the variety and choose a suitable option for yourself? What is the difference between coffee machines? What are the pitfalls?
Do you want to buy an espresso machine but don’t know how to choose it? Not sure whether to invest in a semi-professional car or semi-automatic? Are you wondering if your new coffee machine needs a function to change the pressure profile? Read our guide to buying the best coffee machine for your home, cafe or business.
Factors that should be taken into account
- 1 Factors that should be taken into account
- 2 Choosing a coffee machine for a coffee shop
- 3 Choosing a coffee machine for home
- 4 Choosing a machine for business
There are many good cars out there, but what is good for one person may not be the best choice for another. Before you make any decision, think about what you want to get. Next on the items that you should pay attention to:
- The quality of your espresso
- Time spent on making espresso
- Installation location (required space, existing infrastructure)
- Who will work at the coffee machine
- Target audience (you and your family, your colleagues, your guests at the coffee shop)
- Will you prepare drinks with or without milk
- Any other preferences (design, manufacturer, country of manufacture, etc.)
But to make an informed choice, you need to analyze where you will prepare your perfect shot of espresso.
Choosing a coffee machine for a coffee shop
Professional machines allow you to fully control the espresso. There are many factors that affect the taste, aroma, and quality of espresso: the amount of grinding, pressure, temperature, extraction time, and more. Some machines allow you to fine-tune these parameters so that you can emphasize the acidity, enhance the taste, or hide a grain defect.
A machine can smooth out human error, but a good Barista who understands their machine and knows how to make the best espresso is just as important for making quality drinks. Some professional machines have a touch-screen display to make it easier to control the preparation of espresso. But if it breaks, will you be able to continue using the coffee machine and will your baristas know how to manually control these factors?
Before choosing a machine, learn how it works when preparing two or more drinks at the same time.
How many groups in the car do you need? Do you need one steam tube or more? Having two or more groups will help prevent a queue of orders, but it will add to cleaning and maintenance concerns. Accordingly, you will need more space to install a two – or three-group coffee machine.
Ask the seller about the number of boilers and how quickly the pressure is restored after making one espresso. Pressure stability is an important indicator of performance, and the most popular models have at least two boilers. In a busy cafe or coffee shop with good traffic, it is important to make sure that the espresso is stable even during periods of maximum load.
You may need a pressure-controlled coffee machine. Different pressure settings can significantly affect the final result. Adjusting the pressure can in some cases improve extraction and reduce the formation of cracks in the formed tablet, which also negatively affects the quality of the espresso.
And while you may think that you just need a stable water pressure indicator, setting the water pressure is another way to control the extraction. Can your coffee machine do this, and how important is it to you?
Here are a few other factors to keep in mind before purchasing a car in a coffee shop:
- Find out how long the coffee machine takes to heat up after you turn it on, so you can be sure that it will be ready for the start of the Barista’s shift each morning.
- If you are going to prepare drinks with milk whipping, check how easy it is to use the steam engine. Some of the cars more accurate control of vapor than others.
- Check your power consumption. Larger coffee machines require more power, but some models have energy-saving options.
- Sometimes the machine requires the installation of water filters. Will you be able to provide it?
Choosing a coffee machine for home
If you regularly take coffee on your way to work, a home coffee machine can be a good investment. But how much time and effort are you willing to spend every day making a Cup of coffee? When choosing a home coffee machine, there is also something to think about.
All espresso machines require certain maintenance: removing coffee grounds or empty capsules, cleaning the water collection tray, filling the water tank, etc. Also, decide whether you need a machine with a removable cooking group or not. This is the part of the machine where you insert the portafilter.
Some machines are equipped with removable cooking groups that can be easily opened for cleaning or inspection. Coffee machines with a built-in cooking group provide automatic cleaning. These are harder to get into if something goes wrong.
If you want everything to be in your hands, choose a coffee machine with a removable cooking group. If you prefer the machine to clean itself, you will probably have to pay extra for maintenance if something breaks.
As with professional machines, you should consider the pump pressure. The pressure determines how intense the taste of the resulting coffee will be, as well as the quality of the cream. Look for a car with a pressure of 9 bar or more.
A lever espresso machine
Lever coffee machines (sometimes referred to as manual coffee machines) use a lever to create the pressure needed to make espresso. They look great and certainly have a buyer, but it takes a lot of effort to work with them. It is unlikely that you will want to do this every day.
Semi-professional coffee machines
Alternatively, you can consider purchasing a professional or semi-professional single-group machine with a cappuccino machine. They allow you to prepare the same espresso-based drinks as in coffee shops. But ask yourself how well a complex machine suits you.
With semi-professional machines, you will need to monitor the parameters of espresso, as baristas do: adjust the grinding and amount of ground grain, be able to properly pace, etc.to learn everything, it will take time. Maybe you will like it; in this case, go ahead, buy and enjoy mastering these parameters.
However, if you just want to have a quick and hassle-free coffee in the morning, this is not the type of machine you need.
Semi-automatic and super-automatic machines
If you think that using semi-professional machines requires too much attention, consider a semi-automatic. These coffee machines take some of the work on themselves.
The usual set of functions includes a digital display, buttons with ready-made programs, grain grinding, pre-wetting, and temperature control. Select the program and click the button. It’s a lot harder to mess it up, but you’re still in control.
Superautomatic machines are even easier to use. Start the pump by pressing the button and turn it off when the extraction is complete. This machine does most of the work itself. And this is the most popular type of coffee machine for home.
Automatic and capsule coffee machines
Automatic machines do all the work themselves. Just make sure that the machine has coffee beans and water, and press the button. They won’t allow you to control the extraction in any way, but they will make a pretty good espresso with minimal effort.
Capsule machines almost completely eliminate human error. Make sure that the water tank is full, insert a sealed coffee capsule into the machine, and press the button.
They do not need to be cleaned from coffee grounds but do not forget about the harmful effects of single-use plastic packaging on the environment. Some manufacturers are switching to recyclable or biodegradable materials, but do you really need this capsule? Many automatic machines leave a neat “washer” of ground coffee after cooking, which is convenient to throw away.
Capsule coffee machines are not popular among manufacturers that deal with specialty coffee. And you are limited in the choice of capsules to use with a particular model of the machine – most of the brands that produce capsules are quite secondary. But there is a growing market for instant coffee capsules, where companies are working to create high-quality instant coffee capsules, including those made from recyclable materials.
Choosing a machine for business
Some companies offer coffee as an additional option. You may want to serve coffee to the guests of your hair salon, shop, or wine bar. In this case, you will need a reliable, fast and easy-to-use coffee machine. Depending on your business, you may not need to strictly control the preparation of espresso. The same applies to companies where a coffee machine is purchased for employees.
To get a good coffee with minimal effort, both automatic and capsule machines, or even coffee vending machines, are suitable. There are also SCA-certified filter coffee makers that prepare coffee according to third-wave standards and allow you to customize the recipe according to the grain.
When buying an espresso machine, you need to consider many factors. If you remember all this, you will be able to choose the optimal coffee machine for your needs. And don’t be afraid to go shopping, study the assortment and ask questions. The money spent will be worth it when you make your delicious espresso.