Automatic coffee and espresso makers are a small but growing market. You may reading this looking at purchasing a home pump espresso machines. Available with various functions, these machines range from $400 to $1 500, with the most of the espresso makers being between $400 and $600. An increasing number of our customers are planning to upgrade to the conveniences offered by semiautomatic or fully automatic coffee and espresso makers. While fully automatic machines still present a very small market, they are also the machines with the highest sales growth rate.
What is espresso?
Espresso comes from the Latin word to press out, which is the process employed to produce espresso – the strong coffee is brewed by forcing water under pressure at a high temperature through darkly roasted, finely ground coffee beans.
The ‘ideal’ espresso is about 1.5 fluid ounces of coffee under a top layer of crema, the hazelnut-coloured cream that provides the visual impression of a quality espresso. In order to create this crema, the temperature of the water can not be set as high as it is on a drip coffeemaker.
What are the different features available?
Pump machines are available with varying levels of automation, each with different functions, including proper brewing pressure, regulated temperature, instant repeat of a brewing cycle, and simultaneous brewing. Specialty pump machines should offer between 15 and 18 bars of pressure. While quality espresso is typically produced at between 9 and 11 atmospheres of pressure, a pump machine should have more power than it needs to make the espresso in order to perform properly. If the pressure is too low, the water will run through the machine too quickly, producing a weak coffee. If it is too high, the beans will be over-extracted, resulting in an excessively bitter coffee.
Other features may include an easy to use ad easy to clean frother, a removable water tank, and an adequate power unit (boiler or thermoblock) for fast recovery time between espresso brewing and milk frothing. A boiler type requires between 50 seconds to 2 minutes to recover after espresso brewing. Recovery time with a thermablock takes between 2 and 30 seconds.
Types of Machines
Basic Pump Machines
Basic pump machines involve the operator in all of the coffee-makings steps. A lever is turned to activate the pump, he water then runs through the coffee until the pump is shut off.
Programmable Pump Machines
Programmable make one or two cups of espresso with the push of a button and stop automatically. A flow meter controls the amount of water that runs through the coffee. This feature can be programmed so that the machine delivers the same amount and strength of coffee consistently.
Semiautomatic machines control the tamping, brewing, and removal of used coffee grounds. The operator puts the coffee into the machine, and by closing the machine, activates the tamping. Before making additional espresso, the machine automatically discards the used coffee into an internal container.
Combination machines provide the convenience of a pump machine for espresso making and and automatic drip coffeemaker.
Fully Automatic Machines
Fully automatic machines regulate the process from whole bean to espresso – grinding the beans, tamping, and brewing the coffee, discarding used grinds, and self-cleaning.
What accessories are available?
An important accessory for a home pump espresso machine is a burr grinder, as it grinds the coffee beans slowly and evenly. Small blade grinders may produce grinds of varying sizes and often create very fine particles of coffee that may clog up the holes of the portafilter, prohibiting coffee brewing.