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The Ultimate Guide to Espresso Machines

An espresso machine is a great way to enjoy coffee at home, but choosing the right model can be confusing. We've put together this guide to help you understand how different models work, so that you can pick the best one for your kitchen.

Do you want to buy an espresso machine but don't know where to start? Our guide to espresso machines will help you choose the right one for your needs.

Introducing EveryThing Espresso Machines

Most of us already struggled with the decision-making process of choosing an espresso machine. Because let’s be honest, instead of always running to your favorite local cafe for a perfect glass of espresso, it would be much easier to make your favorite for yourself at home.

Also, if you are very shocked by the prices of better quality espresso machines, also keep in mind that if you buy your own machine, you will save quite a bit on a daily basis by avoiding the expensive experience that cafes offer today.

You should know that there are many different types of espresso machines. Each type may have a different price and different capabilities. While even the most up-to-date machine is very good, it may not meet your expectations. Instead of buying a random espresso machine, simply because this is considered the best, buy one that you can (and will) use regularly.

What are Espresso Machines?

Espresso machines brew coffee by forcing pressurized water near the boiling point through a "puck" of ground coffee and a filter in order to produce a thick, concentrated coffee called espresso.

Once the process begins pressurized water is forced into the grouphead and so through the ground coffee that is held in the porta-filter. If the water is too cold the coffee will taste sour and if the water is too hot the coffee will taste bitter. So a good quality espresso machine should control the temperature of the brewed water so that it is within a few degrees of the ideal heat to make that perfect espresso coffee.

Using an espresso machine will produce a rich almost syrupy beverage as it extracts and emulsifies the oils that are found in the ground coffee. The ideal double shot of espresso should take between 25 to 30 seconds to arrive from the time when the machine's pump is first turned on.

What's the difference between a manual and automatic espresso machine?

A manual espresso machine uses pressure to force water through ground beans, while an automatic machine does the same thing using steam. Both methods produce a similar result, but there are some key differences. Manual machines tend to be more expensive than automatic ones, and require more maintenance. Automatic machines are also easier to use, as they do not need any special training. They are also quieter, and produce less noise when running.

Types of Espresso Machines

You'll find there are several different types of espresso machines on the market today. Each type has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. Here we'll take a closer look at some of the most popular model types.

There are the main types espresso machines. Super-automatic, Semi-automatic, Commercial, Prosumer, Manual Lever, Single Serve and Refurbished Espresso machines. Each type has its own different level of oversight, functionality advantage and better purpose.

So to find the best espresso machine for your business, you will need to consider how often you'll be making espresso, how much control you want over the brewing process, how perfect do you want your espresso, how artistic are you with your espresso and how much labor are you willing to sacrifice to make the perfect espresso. Every type has its better advantage than the others and its disadvantage compared to others. Let's summarize all these factors for you.

1. Super-Automatic Espresso Machines

Super-automatic coffee machines allow very convenient coffee brewing, but are primarily an ideal choice for higher volume use; they do great service in offices, community halls, and even families where multiple coffee lovers live together.

These automatic espresso machines have a built-in coffee grinder, so all you have to do is fill the containers with coffee beans, water, and milk, and the machine grinds coffee, froths the milk, heats the water, and dispenses the coffee at the touch of a button. These machines are therefore very simple and comfortable to use but can be an “oversized” solution for individual use. Fortunately, smaller machines with smaller dimensions have appeared today, but they still represent a higher price range than the simplest filter coffee makers. We can decide for ourselves how much the experience of coffee is worth, how important the quality of the brew is to us and whether we are happy to pay a one-time higher price for the possibility of making several types of coffee.

If you want to save money, you can also choose automatic espresso machines with ground coffee. They do not have a built-in coffee grinder, so the price of the appliances may be lower. It should be borne in mind, however, that automatic espresso makers are able to produce the best quality coffees precisely thanks to fresh ground. This advantage is lost if we use store-bought crazy coffee, which already loses some of its aromas in the packaging

Top 5 Super-Automatic Machines

2. Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines

Semi-automatic espresso machines offer unparalleled control when crafting your perfect drink! With a little bit of practice and finesse, you can create cafe quality coffee drinks from your kitchen with the help of a semi-auto espresso machine. At TheGadgetSpy, we’ve curated a list of fantastic machines that fit a range of budgets and skill levels. From entry-level, easy to learn on machines all the way up to prosumer options that provide near commercial grade performance, we’re here to help you get started with bringing your favorite cafe home.

Top 5 Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines

3. Commercial Espresso Machines

A commercial espresso machine is a heavy duty coffee machine designed for high volume use, made with larger boilers and bigger heating elements than household machines.

These coffee machines (best for restaurants or large kitchen) deliver one cup of coffee at a time using pressure and heat to brew espresso coffee beans.

Commercial Machines are sold at a high price because of there high volume functions and durability. Designed with perfection to avoid minor errors over time, these espresso machines are built to last.

Take a look at the best commercial espresso machines to buy today

4. Prosumer Espresso Machines

Prosumer machines are espresso machines that are made for use in the home but are based on commercial machines. They work along the same lines, have the same kind of pumps and boilers, usually the same kind of group head, and they are capable (as long as you have a great grinder and are using good quality freshly roasted coffee beans) of producing espresso on a par with the espresso you'll be accustomed to being served in gourmet coffee shops.

Also prosumer machines cost more than consumer machines, but usually less than commercial ones. They often use the famous E61 brew group or group head, brass/copper boilers, 58mm portafilter, rotary or vibration pumps, and so on – features you would usually find on commercial machines rather than consumer ones, and features that make for great espresso and machines which are built to last.

Top 5 Prosumer Espresso Machines

5. Manual Lever Espresso Machine

There is no better way to involve yourself in the process of making espresso than a piston lever espresso machine. Their simplicity creates a small footprint in the kitchen or on your coffee bar while at the same time being more dependable due to their simplicity.

No electronics nor pump to worry about with manual espresso coffee makers! Beyond that they give you the ability to tailor your shots through “pressure profiling.” Pull the lever slowly and smoothly and you will learn to make an espresso smoother and finer than all but the most sophisticated espresso machines available today. Give us a call and let's talk to see if manual lever espresso machines are right for you.

6. Single Lever Espresso Machine

Single Serve espresso machines use portioned coffee. They require the use of convenient espresso pods or capsules which guarantee consistent results. You can search for single serve espresso machines by brand, grinder, price, and color.

7. Refurbished Espresso Machines

Refurbished coffee machines are more than used machines because they undergo maintenance and repair. That way, they function like new.

Some refurbished espresso machines were demo models at stores. Others were from people purchasing them new and returning them after light use. In either case, the manufacturer or a third party puts the espresso machine through a rigorous maintenance and testing process for resale with a great discount. Take A Look...

Small Espresso Machines For Beginners

If you’re concerned about space on the counter in your kitchen, love an amazing coffee or espresso at home, and an easy to use small espresso machine, well these small espresso machines are what you need. Literally these are all the other bigger espresso machines' smaller size version of each brands' best selling espresso machine.

InExpensive, Affordable, and as good as the basic commercial espresso machines

Take a Look...

Understanding The Expresso Machine | Parts And Accessories

To use an espresso machine properly and understand it's purpose to make the perfect espresso, it is important to know all the working parts. TheGadgetSpy breaks down the anatomy of an espresso machine, piece by piece in this article (Read More Here), where the different parts can be found on a unit, and what their purpose serves for making espresso.

​Get an in-depth look on the basic parts of an espresso machine. See their functions, where they are located and what are their purposes are to create your perfect espresso. We detailed this article to give you a clear understanding of the basic espresso machine inside out. If you're going to buy one for your home, you need to know everything about that espresso machine, all its parts, their functions, how to clean, maintain, and preserve them. Read Article >>> Parts Of An Espresso Machine

Which features should I look out for when buying an espresso machine?

If you're looking for a high quality espresso machine, then you'll want to consider how much money you want to spend. You can find very cheap espresso machines, but these won't provide you with the same quality as a higher priced model. Look at the reviews online before making your purchase. This will give you a good idea of what other people think of the product.

Accessories for Espresso Machines

To really liven up any kitchen space and improve the quality of drinks, Whole Latte Love offers a plethora of accessories to ensure you have a satisfying experience as your very own home barista, from mugs to shower screens. To check out a list of all of the accessories that we offer for your espresso machine, click here. We also have tailored access to fit your needs whether you’re a college student or a long-time home barista looking to jazz up your kitchen space.

  • Back to College: Espresso Machines For Starters

  • Essential Accessories for Super-Automatics

  • How to Make The Best Espresso

  • Essential Espresso Accessories

Grinders for Espresso Machines

Espresso machines are a great starting point for getting a great espresso and milk beverage, but to truly maximize your home barista experience, it’s crucial to have a great quality espresso grinder with a full range of grind settings from fine for espresso to coarse for cold brew.

Many espresso grinders we recommend provide additional features for an enhanced home barista experience including a touchscreen display, a worm gear for super-precise grind adjustments, and even internal controls for quiet operation. For a list of all our espresso grinders, click here to access our catalog and for a more recent list, check out our article Top 5 Espresso Grinders.

How To Make An Espresso

When you start to learn how to brew espresso, you get frustrated, and some even give up and they return to the mediocre shots at the famous coffee shop chain. This is understandable because making the perfect espresso is a complex, elaborated, sometimes intuitive combination of coffee quality, extraction pressure and time, water temperature, coffee grind, and roast, and more… If only one of these parameters is off, your espresso shot will be an average one.

How To Choose The Best Espresso Beans

One of the first things that you should know if you’re looking into becoming your own home barista, is that there is no difference between coffee and espresso beans. There is a common misconception that “coffee beans” are different from “espresso beans”, but the reality is, they are the same beans.

All coffee-related beverages from your regular cup of coffee to a cappuccino are made from the same fresh whole beans. The difference in creating your morning joe is how you grind the beans. If you grind the beans coarse, you’ll be able to brew cold brew, french press, a regular cup of coffee and other coffee beverages that require a coarse grind for a great result.

To make espresso beverages, you’ll need to use a fine grind, this is typically used for cappuccinos, lattes, macchiatos, ristrettos, and more. With that being said, there are tons of delicious coffee that we carry from different regions around the world, however, choosing the best bean all comes down to your taste palette.

Do you prefer a light, medium or dark roast? Do you prefer caramel and chocolate flavor notes or more fruity and citrus flavor notes? For a more in-depth review of the different types of coffee and flavor notes, check out our blog Where In The World Does Your Coffee Come From & How Can It Affect The Flavor Notes?

Cleaning & Maintenance

Cleaning and maintaining your espresso machine is crucial to your journey as a home, office or commercial barista. With the right accessories and daily maintenance, your espresso will be full of flavor and your machine will run smoothly for years to come. Here are our most helpful blogs and videos on cleaning and maintaining your espresso machine.

  • Water Filtration For Good Coffee & Espresso Flavor And Equipment Protection

  • BWT Water Filters For Espresso Machines

  • How To Stop or Reduce Scale in Dual Boiler Espresso Machines

  • How To Descale Espresso Machines Heat Exchange Boilers

Water & Filtration For Espresso Machines

Water filters and anti-scale products are great accessories to purchase with your espresso machine. Not only do they keep your espresso tasting and smelling delicious however it extends the life of your machine and extends the time between descaling by removing toxins and chemicals from your water that cause scale. These include lead, aluminum, copper, zinc, chlorine and more.

These chemicals are definitely not things that you want to be consuming in your morning cup of joe, so it’s very important to invest in a great quality water filter and anti-scale solution. For a more in-depth review of water filtration products and descalers, check out our blog Water Filtration For Good Coffee & Espresso Flavor And Equipment Protection.

So should I get a commercial or domestic espresso machine?

If you're looking for a high quality espresso machine with lots of features, then you should consider buying a commercial model. These machines tend to cost more than domestic ones, but they offer better performance and reliability. They also come with a lot of extra bells and whistles, such as programmable timers, temperature control, and automatic cleaning systems.

​To help you make the right choice before buying your espresso machine, Read our expert tips in this article on how to choose the best espresso machine perfect for your needs and worth every dollar. Click To Read This Article


We hope this gives you an in-depth guide to everything you need to know about espresso machines. If you're craving more information and want to learn more about the mysterious world of coffee and espresso, make sure to check out our other complete guides on coffee and espresso, grinders. milk, and coffee makers.

Choosing the type of coffee maker is important, but we can only enjoy the most delicious aromas if our appliances are properly maintained. It is true for all types that sometimes it needs to be descaled or thoroughly cleaned of various deposits and contaminants. Thanks to the regular descaling, we can protect the internal parts, so the device can serve us for many years. Only properly maintained clean appliances can provide a perfect taste experience.

After purchase, it is advisable to perform a clean boiling of water when removing the dirt from the appliance during production and storage. While manufacturing processes follow strict rules, a wash-through “brew” can’t hurt. When buying, you should also find out about the cleaning tablets and other devices made by the manufacturer. These make it much easier to clean coffee machines.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. And as an affiliate of retailers, we earn commission from qualifying purchases.

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