Which espresso machine to choose and purchase to prepare a very good espresso and espresso milk drinks?
Everybody who is looking for an espresso machine needs a proper answer to this question.
Then the question narrows down “How Much to Spend”. If you have a budget of
$ 500 plus, you may be expecting a decent home espresso machine. However, if you look at any internet coffee forum and research a little bit more, you will soon understand that one can easily spend up to $1500 – $2000 or more for a home espresso machine to prepare a really good espresso. Then you may have to re-evaluate and you need and answer to the question, “what do I really need?”
One of the most important questions that needs to be made clear is which coffee machine system is the best.
As coffee lover with many “baristi” (plural of “barista”) (here please likt to barista to Wikipedia) friends I can answer as simple as I can to all these above and much more.
Very much simplified: there are normally 3 systems of home espresso machines. With these three systems in mind and the different price range, and if you are not just buying a coffee machine but a real decent espresso machine, then I can divide my answer to your question in three parts.
These parts are based mainly on this concern: Whether the system can provide the necessary right temperature, temperature stability and pressure while getting espresso. Otherwise, your espresso might not taste like espresso and you may also have a difficult time duplicating the same result by coffee preparation.
Basically, the 3 different systems are:
1. The single circuit System
A single circuit system has one only boiler and technically, “single circuit” means that the heated water is used both for preparing the espresso and for foaming the milk.
This boiler is heated up to 100 – 115 ℃ o a little bit more to get team. For espresso, it must be cooled down to 90 ℃.
Or vice versa. After the preparation of the coffee the sieve carrier espresso machine must continue heating up to create steam for the milk froth preparation.
2. Dual circuit System
An espresso machine system with 2 circuits also has only one boiler, but through this boiler an extra tube (heat exchanger or HX, for short) is passed. The machines with this type of configurations are also called Heat Exchanger espresso machines (or HX espresso machines).
The boiler is under a high pressure, 9 Bars or more, and is used for getting steam (for froth milk preparation) and also hot water (example: for tea or cocoa). When espresso is made, cold water is pumped into the heat exchanger. This tube is configures in a very special way, so that the water is heated up while flowing through the HX and arrives at the brewing group with ideal temperature (about 88-95°C) for the espresso extraction.
3. Dual boiler (Double boiler) system
As the name explains, a dual boiler expresso machine has two boilers and is basically like a system with 2 single circuit. One boiler is designated for espresso brewing and the other for steam preparation used for milk frothing.
As a side note, you could consider the hand lever machines and the thermo-block machines as autonomous systems. But generally, they also belong to the categories mentioned above.
All three systems have their place and there is no best or worst system. The expresso machine choice it depends on the application you need and your personal preference.
For a single circuit system, you can decide if you drink mostly espresso or milk based coffee drinks such as Cappuccino or Cafe Latte. However, if you are more a milk based coffee drinker, then this system is a little bit limited, since you need to often milk foam. Everyday milk frothing will raise the boiler temperature and subsequently cooling it down for espresso can be for you a big challenge.
For espresso lovers (and may be an occasional Cappuccino drinkers), I believe a single circuit machine can be the perfect choice. It is inexpensive compared to the other systems and does exactly what you need: A very good Espresso!!!
You will have better results with an additional PID controller, such a system will allow you greater control over your brewing preferences.
If drink more milk based espresso drinks (i.e. Cafe Latte or Cappuccino), this requires much milk frothing. In this case I recommend you to choose a system with double circuit system.
It eliminates the annoying heating up and cooling down heating routines. With the tow circuit espresso machines (HX espresso machines), you purchase a very stable system, which allows you to get sequential shot after shot of espressos or your favour milk based espresso drinks.
However, if you need and request total technical perfection and want to know that you have the supreme espresso machine in your kitchen, then you should consider the dual boiler system. The advantage with this system is that both boilers can be independently controlled for the best results.
Here, my notice to you is, that the best espresso machine is not a guarantee for a perfect espresso.
Few influencing factors for the best espresso preparation: skills of the operator, quality of the grinder and the freshness and quality of the coffee beans.
Once you have decided on a system, you can consider other factors, including your personal feeling on the machine.
You can find here, very comfortably, many excellent Espresso Machines (with these 3 systems) Online to choose and in best price.
From my experience, a system with 2 circuits system is usually the better choice, with reasonable costs. That’s why, I recommend a dual circuit system as a good and rational choice to start your espresso journey to the coffee world. It offers the best value for money.
If you are a perfectionist and want only the best coffee and coffee preparation, you can upgrade to the Dual Boiler system.
You can be confident that based on my experience, a solid and simple system with dual circuit is exactly what many people need.