Choosing an Espresso Coffee Maker

By | November 25, 2016

There are so many different models of espresso coffee maker on the market, from the simple single cup espresso makers to machines as sophisticated as the Elektra Espresso Machine.

It can appear really confusing to know which particular brand and model will suit your particular home or kitchen.

Let’s See a “Good” Espresso Maker!

Essentially, though, a really good espresso coffee maker for home use, and light office applications should be:

  • easy to use;
  • easy to clean;
  • easy to purchase; and
  • easy to maintain.

Crucially, though, any machine you buy should create enough pressure (or ‘bars’) to insure that the espresso or cappuccino delivers a top quality flavor.

The best espresso machines should minimally have those two basic features, and several more that we will discuss later on, because making espresso at home should be an enjoyable experience … not drudgery.

So, when it comes to selecting home an espresso coffee maker, there’s several things to consider:

  • How often will you be using your espresso coffee and cappuccino machine?
  • Will you keep it on your counter, or do you prefer a built in model?
  • How much of the espresso making task do you prefer to control yourself?

If you are one of the many people today looking to add an espresso coffee maker to enhance your home coffee enjoyment, and perhaps entertain friends, you’ll definitely want to know the differences between the various automatic espresso machines, super automatic espresso machines, semi automatic espresso machines and manual espresso machines.

Just knowing your basic needs that you will want in your espresso maker, you will be able to make the best choice for a home espresso machine. Let’s simply go over some of the basics to help you in your quest for the right espresso maker.

Automatic espresso machines

Automatic espresso machines are sometimes confused with super automatic espresso machines, but the difference between the two machines is:

  • An automatic espresso machine will dispense the liquid, but you still need to grind, tamp and dose your espresso shot.
  • A super automatic will do absolutely everything for you … once you program in your custom settings and set the espresso maker up.

Automatic espresso coffee machines are for someone who really doesn’t want to try being a barista, but wants a home espresso coffee maker that produces espresso shots just like the local coffee house.

An automatic espresso machine like this Saeco espresso machine, will impress both you and your friends.

This automatic espresso machine is from Saeco

Either of these types of automatic espresso machines will completely automate the entire espresso making process for you.

So that you can simply sip a great cup of espresso or cappuccino with the least amount of fuss. These are considered the best espresso machines for both taste and pleasure.

As with all espresso machines, it is important to select good espresso beans to brew in the espresso maker.

After adding your choice beans into the hopper, the super automatic espresso machine will go to work for you … grinding your beans, dosing, tamping the grounds, and then pulling you perfect espresso shot. All at the push of a button.

With one of the automatic espresso machines, you will need a separate conical burr coffee grinder.

Of course, as with most appliances, you get what you pay for. An automatic or super automatic espresso machine type of espresso coffee maker is a bit more costly than other types of espresso coffee makers for the home.

Semi automatic espresso machines

You can save money by electing to do some of the espresso making yourself with any of the semi automatic espresso machines. These types of espresso makers typically feature the water being delivered via pump (rather than manual force). A three-way valve dissipates any remaining brew pressure.

This espresso coffee maker from Breville allows custom settings from manual espresso to fully automatic

You can have it all with this espresso coffee maker by Breville

Some of the semi automatic espresso machines allow for a programmed amount of water to flow through a flowmeter.

This type of espresso maker will automatically shut down the pump at the just the right time with what is known as a solenoid valve.

These machines won’t do all the tamping, dosing, or even the grinding for you, but you will spend less money for one of these machines.

And many people enjoy having a little more control over the outcome of their espresso drink. The finished shot is a true work of art.

The latest from Breville is a combination espresso machine that does it all! With the push of a button their programmable espresso maker gives you the option of:

  • Fully automatic
  • Semi automatic
  • Custom or manual espresso shot

If you are uncertain how much of the espresso making process you really care to do yourself, this machine has you covered.

Manual espresso machines

As you may have guessed, manual espresso machines are quite basic as compared to their automated counterparts.

Manual espresso machines are the least expensive of the 3 basic types of espresso coffee and cappuccino machines, but they require the greatest amount of barista-like skills.

manual espresso makers can be as elaborate as this la P

manual espresso makers can be as simple as this hand press espresso machine


The top manual espresso coffee makers will offer a large amount of pressure
, but a bar pressure of 8 or more while the water is being forced through the tamped grinds is typically good for a home machine.

And a manual machine will deliver a nice, hot brew. After a couple of tries, you will soon become hooked on perfecting the espresso shot. You will find a great amount of enjoyment with a manual espresso machine.

There is a quiet pleasure at pulling a great tasting espresso shot. From selecting the most aromatic beans, to the finished cup you will find yourself offering to make espressos for all who come to visit.

Stove top espresso makers

You will discover these stovetop percolators to be fun and practical espresso makers on the burners of most every home or kitchen in Italy.

This moka maker is really a stove top espresso maker

This manual espresso maker is actually a Moka pot, or a moka maker.

Not a true espresso maker, but you will find that a moka pot brews a wonderful tasting cup of coffee, full of rich flavor without any bitterness.

I prefer the aroma and flavor of this style of coffee brewing over the automatic drip coffee makers.

This moka maker produces a cross between a dripped cup of coffee and an espresso shot.

The results of using a moka pot, such as this one, will give you a thinner than espresso, but richer than perked cup of coffee.

The advantages are that they do work on the stove top, there are no electrical parts to wear out, they are fully portable, and a moka pot is easy to clean.

Espresso Coffee Maker: Are they all really the same?