When it comes to brewing a cup of coffee, there are plenty of choices available to today’s coffee connoisseur. Consider the drip maker, where the hot water is sprayed across ground coffee inside a conical filter, working its way through the ground coffee and into a mug beneath; or perhaps the French Press, where the ground coffee and water are mixed together for a period of time while the water draws the flavor out of the coffee until the press is depressed to remove the grinds. Then there is the percolator, the stove top method… it can be a complicated endeavor just trying to decide how to make coffee!
But have you ever considered using an espresso machine as your brewing method for coffee? There is something absolutely unique about using an espresso machine to brew coffee, and it comes from the process that the beans go through to reach the state of liquid gold found in your mug – it literally makes the most of the coffee beans, using them to their full potential as nature intended.
Naturally, there are choices to be made here as well, as there are a number of different types of espresso machines available to the home barista. For a moment, let’s compare espresso machines and how they can work to produce the perfect cup of brewed coffee:
Stovetop Espresso Machines
Strictly speaking, stovetop espresso machines are not technically designed to produce espresso – they’re made to create rich, dark coffee with an extraction ratio that is highly similar to what would be produced by traditional espresso makers. Stovetop machines contain three chambers – the water on the bottom, the ground in the middle, with the top chamber empty – and are placed directly on the stove to be heated. The pressure from the heat forces the water up through the coffee grinds and into the top chamber, where the delicious dark coffee is ready to drink. Often, you’ll hear these coffee espresso maker stove top devices referred to as ‘moka pots’.
Superautomatic Espresso Machines
If you want your maker to work for you, a superautomatic espresso machine is the way to go – these espresso machines require little to no work on the part of the operator, and are typically considered the simplest machines to operate. They’re extremely popular for home use, containing features like a built-in grinder, automatic filler and tamping, brew volume that works with your pre-settings, and even a waste disposal feature that dumps out the used grinds! The only thing the home barista needs to do is fill the hopper with beans and add water to the reservoir.